Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB

choose me on this service; for I have for life and happiness upon the result a strong assurance that I will not of your endeavours.” be altogether unsuccessful with Lord May God judge me, as I do my Thomas. But your lordship has told best for all parties !” said Talbot. me what it wrings my heart to hear. “And now, my lord, as I start in so I have had sorrows of my own, my short a time, I would, if it please you, lord, for this year back, that bave made spend a part of it with one who is very me familiar with grief; but my heart dear to me : it is long, my lord, since were callous indeed if it were not we have had a happy half-hour to ourtouched by the miserable end that you selves before today.” tell me my benefactor has come to. “Go to her, my son,” said Cromer : Pardon this emotion, my lord, it will "go to her, and assure her of every kind be shortly gone; but I cannot just now office that tenderness can bestow upon control it. I may say I had no other her till you return. It is hard to sepafather : a kinder father I could not rate you now; but there is no other have had. From my sixth year his man can do the work, and it must not house was my home; his countenance be delayed.” was my only patrimony. Yes, my lord; In half-an-bourafter, Ellen descended doubt me not, I will strive to repay to the courtyard, leaning on the arm him : but alas that I can never do as of her husband. The Archbishop's athis bounty towards me would deserve! tendants had a horse litter prepared My lord, it was no wonder I forgot for her journey to the abbey: it was the ny allegiance, when I thought that same, although more carefully spread such a man had met with foul play : and curtained, that had borne her to but, as I took up the sword last June Maynooth. “Ah, Ellen," said Talbot, for his sake, I now take up this message as he placed her with her attendant in of

peace with a right willing heart, and the rude vehicle, “we had a different only pray God to grant me success prospect before us the night we last drew proportioned to my zeal in the under- these curtains round us in Barnsbeg!" taking."

“May the Queen of Heaven keep us That would bring all things to from ever spending such a night again!" a happy issue, I doubt not,” replied she replied; “but, thank God, all were Cromer; "and now, if you will come well now if you could but succeed in to me and Sir William Skeffington in this blessed errand. Dear John, spare half-an-hour, your instructions will be no intreaty, use every argument. Oh, ready. But before you go, Sir John, if you but restore us to peace, we will lest it should seem strange that I have have purchased such a blessing cheaply talked so earnestly with you in this by all we have endured.” matter, it behoves me to explain still "I shall do my best, love,” he refarther. The Lord Deputy is sur- plied. “ And now, till I return, be rounded by adventurers, needy, grasp- careful of yourself

. Norah, I expect ing, and unscrupulous. These are, one to see Art with my Lord Thomas : and all, desirons of prosecuting the who knows but I may bring him back war while an acre of the rebel's estates a free man before the week is over ? remains to be confiscated. This has Now, then, farewell. I shall seck you been the secret of so inany failures in at Saint Mary's on my return; and negociation, and this influence will may Heaven bless you, and all good operate even now in rendering the angels watch over you till then !" terns which you will have to propose

The litter, with its attending cortege, less acceptable than they would be if moved on, and Talbot returned to the left to the unbiassed arrangement of courtyard, to receive his instructions. the Lord Deputy himself. I have The sight which met his eyes as he therefore sought, so far as I have been issued out from under the low archway able, to urge you to such perseverance was such as to dispel the joy that had and exertion as will be needed before expanded his heart the moment before. this proud lord can be brought to Six of the rebel prisoners hung writhing stomach our conditions; and I again from as many temporary gallowses in beseech you to remember how many the agony of death the others stood or thousands of your countrymen depend knelt around, awaiting their fate, as two

confessors prepared them successively Justice, “when it does not prejudice for execution. « Oh, God,"exclaimed the the vindication of the King's authority.” knight, raising his eyes in silent prayer, But Talbot waited to hear no farther "grant that I may be the instrument of discussion : he returned to the courtputting an end to these horrors !" and yard, where he found the liberated with a confirmed determination to use galloglass already forced on horseback, every means of accomplishing his pur- but blessing God for their escape. pose, he proceeded to the keep, averting They would have thrown themselves his eyes

from the shocking spectacle as on their knees when they saw their dehe passed; and, shuddering to hear the liverer; but Talbot sprang on Glundhu, murmured prayers of those who were (for his charger had been brought to next to undergo the dreadful sentence. Maynooth at the saine time with himThe Archbishop received him with a self,) and, clapping spurs to his sides, look of melancholy intelligence, and, dashed out of the gateway, glad to handing him a packet, said, These, leave such a scene of blood and torture Sir John, are your instructions, which behind him. O'Madden and Sheridan you may peruse by the road. I trust now pricked forward to the head of in God they may afford a remedy for the party, to point out their route, and all such scenes as you have just passed Talbot received their thanks as they tlırough ; but, should they fail, I doubt rode beside him. not you will be able to console your “ Indeed, Master O'Madden,” said 8::]f by the reflection that it will not be the Knight, in reply to the fervent for lack of any exertion on your part. acknowledgments of the captain of the Now mount. Sir John, and ride day platform, “ I have received a greater and night till you do your errand.” service at your hands than you at

My lord," replied the Knight, “I mine. But for your timely account of will need a sufficient escort as well as Wafer's death, the Archbishop. would quides."

never have thought of examining my “ Your escort is prepared,” replied enemy, and I might have lain under the Archbishop; " but I doubt me if the blame of Archbishop Alan's murder they know the country sufficiently for to this hour.” rapid travelling. Where lies the rebel Look yonder, your nobleness,” said now, my Lord Deputy ?”

Sheridan, turning round at that moment My last intelligence left him near and pointing to the barbican, while a the Slieve Bloom mountains," replied grim smile spread itself over his harsh Skeffington;“but, if the Knight pleases, features. As he spoke, a pike was raised he can have one of these unfortunate above the parapet, having a human head kirns of the garrison, whose life I will stuck on the point. forrive on condition of his guiding the “A fit end for him!” said O'Madden. party. Is there any of the Irish whom “The executioner might well say, 'here you would choose for such a service, is the bead of a traitor,' when he held Sir John?"

up that of Christopher Parez.” “ My lord,” replied Talbot, “the two May God forgive him," said Talbot: men who know the country beyond the “ he was my bitter and unprovoked pale better than any others in Lein- enemy." ster are O'Madden and Sheridan, who “A bitter enemy, indeed,” replied would, either or both, gratefully pur- O'Madden; “to sacrifice hundreds of chase their pardons by such a service : friends that never injured him to his they are without in the courtyard.” ill will against you alone. It must have

• Take them,” said Skelfington; “but been something stronger than mere see that you bring them back in safe malice that could have made him so custody. We will draft them into the wanton a traitor." Kin z's new levies. Salisbury, tell the “ He has paid the penalty of his Provost-marshal to give the poor ras treason now," said Talbot, "and let cals up: A little clemency, my Lord that be enough for the present : mean Chief Justice, may, after all, be use- time, Master O'Madden, which of these ful in reconciling the people to our roads shall we take ?” O'Madden, thus authority.”

rebuked, confined himself to his duties • Yes, my lord,” replied the Chief as guide, and did not again mention

the name of Parez during their journey. dwellings equally straitened, for the They took a south-westerly course ground was trampled bare, and ploughed through Kildare, towards the confines with waggon wheels, while the rude of Ofaly, where they learned, by the framework of many deserted huts stood report of the country on the borders of here and there among scattered piles the pale, that Lord Thomas's army was of provender, and the useless lumber likely to be found, as he had within of temporary cattle-sheds and stables. the last two days effected a junction Two great tag-statis rose from different with O'Connor, and was only awaiting quarters of the unoccupied ground, the arrival of O'Neil from the north neither of them bearing any standard ; to march in full force upon Dublin. but the Geraldine banner waved from Talbot heard this intelligence with a third of similar proportions, over the great regret : he had hoped to find remaining division. "Talbot was afraid Lord Thomas alone in the command to trust himself with any too favouraof his own troops, and he knew how ble conjecture, so, without waiting to difficult it would be to urge ungrateful speculate on such a strange appearconditions on a man already possessed ance, 'he demanded instant admission of powerful resources, and daily ex to the camp. The gates were readily pecting a further accession to his thrown open to his party, and they strength; bound also by engagements advanced, with their flag of truce disto others, and perhaps not altogether played, to the tower in the centre of independent of their direction in the the little eminence where the insurgent disposal of even his own forces. Still leaders were assembled. Talbot was at he had a great sustaining confidence once ushered into the chief apartment, in the goodness of his cause, and be a stone vaulted room, furnished with came but the more zealously disposed no other windows than a few narrow as he saw his chances of success grow- loop holes, but made cheerful by a ing more uncertain. About sunset next blazing hearth, and partially hung with evening the peaceful cavalcade drew

a temporary tapestry of banners and near the rebel camp. Lord Thomas's tent canvassing. A long table bore the army was posted in and about a castle remains of a banquet, and round the occupying a little plain, surrounded on upper end of this out the heads of the three sides by bog and thicket, and enterprise. Lord Thomas rose, as did defended on the fourth by a trench, the rest of the party, when Talbot staked and palisadoed, with strong appeared at the door ; but the rebel gateways in the centre. A prey of lord made no advance to meet him. upwards of a thousand head of cattle, “I come, my lord and gentlemen," said which had been driven out of Butler's the Knight, somewhat piqued at so country across the whole breadth of cold a reception, “ upon a mission from Ofaly, afforded the messengers of peace men who would willingly be your friends a guide for the last ten miles of their if you will permit them. Nay I crave road; and had it not been for their to know when your lordship will be at timely aid, it might have proved im- leisure to bear iny errand ?” possible, with all their guides' know “ Those who would have our friend. ledge of the country, to have reached ship,” replied Lord Thomas, "might their destination that night, so intri- show, meihinks, somewhat more respect cate and rugged were the paths that to our honour, than to require that we traversed the seemingly interminable should treat with a man in your condiforest surrounding it. At length, how- tion, Sir John Talbou.” ever, they drew up at the entrance to • My lord,” replied the Knight, “I the post described above; but Talbot have to blame myself in not first deliwas surprised to observe that the huts vering this paper, which will explain to and tents composing the camp be- you how my embassy cannot be counted fore him, instead of being pitched over as any disparagement to your lordthe whole space of open ground, which ship's power or quality.” So saying, he was not by any means too extensive took forth an open letter, which he sent for their exclusive occupation, were forward to the head of the table by an crowded closely together in one corner, attendant. while the rest of the plain appeared to Lord Thomas coloured deeply as he bave been recently occupied by similar read the paper, and, ere he had quite

finished its perusal, threw it on the these proud barbarians, that are neither table, and advanced with frank good fit to command nor willing to obey." will to meet and welcome his old “ We are well rid of thein,” cried companion. “By my honour, Sir John,” one of the Fitzgeralds, more excited by he said, grasping his hand, “ I am re wine than the others; “ a crew of prickjoiced at this ; and right glad I am to eared wood-kernes ! | They would have be able to bid you welcome to my their bonaghts and their black mail quarters as I could wish by an old out of Desmond ! they would let us friend, and, I will say, a true and hold by coyne and living without the worthy one, till my own miserable pale ! A pity that their brehons are error, which I heartily pray you to not sitting in Mary's Abbey portioning forgive, drove you from the service in out Kildare among their gilly redjust and reasonable indignation. Uncles shanks! Let the bare-legged savage and gentlemen, I pray you, forgive me go back to Dungannon, say 1; we for not first telling you that this charge have fought our own battle before now, against Sir John Talbot has been al- and can again !" together set aside, that he is quite “ Can and will, Maurice," said Sir innocent of Alan's blood, and that the Oliver. “ So, let us forget that church's bann against him has been dissension and its ill issue; for we peremptorily remitted. Read the paper, are here bound to do justice to this Sir Oliver ; it is under the hand and injured gentleman, by attending to his seal of the Primate: read it aloud, that proposals in the first place; not, howwe may all hear it.”

ever, till I read this paper, as my “ Before God, Sir John,” cried the nephew desires, that you may all know old Knight, cordially shaking Talbot ye sit in honourable company.” He by the hand, ere he had yet looked at then, with a loud voice, read the Archthe Primate's letter, “I am better bishop's letter :pleased to hear this than if

you

had “* To all whom it may concern : brought us the Gunner's head for your know that we, Richard Armagh, Pricredentials! But surely you have not mate of all Ireland, having diligently intaken service with the churls ? though, quired into the truth of certain charges, by my honour, if you did, it would be whereby Sir John Talbot, Knight, stood little wonder, after the wrong you have accused of being a partaker in the foul suffered at our hands."

and sacrilegious murder of our brother “ No, Sir Oliver," said Talbot, “ I

of Dublin, at Artane, in July last past,

do find that the said Sir John Talbot, shall never bear arms against your Knight, is clearly innocent of all partibrother's banuer; but I would fain becipation in that horrid cruelty. Whereof service as a peaceful negociator, if fore, we have remitted and abolishmy Lord Thomas will but listen to ed the unjust sentence erewhile prosuch terms as I can propose.”

nounced against him for that supposed The young lord bit his lip. “I will crime, by certain well-disposed but not pretend to conceal froin you,” be misjudging servants of the church; said, turning to Talbot, "what you and we hereby command all churchmust learn before you leave us, if you men of our primacy to admit the said have not guessed as much from the Sir John Talbot, Knight, to the enjoyappearance of our camp already. We ment of all such comfortable rites and are in no condition to reject a reason consolations as the church extends to able proposal. We have lost two power- other members of her holy communion. ful auxiliaries; O'Connor and O'Neill - Richard Armagh.-Given athave left us to fight our battle single- How, in the devil's name, is this ?" handed; but it is not the first time I exclaimed Sir Oliver, stopping short have trusted to my own house to shelter when he came to the dating of the dome from a worse storm than I think cument. “Given at his Majesty's castle will blow from England for a year to of Maynooth, this eight-and-twentieth

Let them go; we are two of March !—fore God, this looks thousand of my own name and kindred, as if the Gunner had been too many and as many more of allies less ambi- for us!” tious for themselves and more likely They all turned their eyes upon to be serviceable to their captain than Talbot for a reply, and many brave

come.

men changed colour as they awaited who are all equally concerned with

the information he would give. Lord myself in whatever has to do with our 44 Thomas poured out a goblet of wine, common cause.”

and drank it off at a draught. “Speak “ My lord, I will have to tell you out," he said, returning the cup, with a that which you would rather hear alone.” violent motion of his band, to the table, “ Tell it here, in God's name, Sir " speak out, Sir John, are we late to John: if it do make a woman of me, raise the siege ?"

I am not ashamed to show my kinsinen - Maynooth is taken," replied Talbot: and friends that I can be sad at our * the English stormed the place a little misfortunes." before sunrise yesterday."

" Then, my lord, I must tell you There was a minute's dead silence; that you have been much deceived in at length Lord Thomas took his hand your warden." from his brow, to which he had uncon “ What, did Kit not play his part sciously been pressing it. “ It is ill like a man ?” news, kinsman," he said; “but it is “ He played his part like a traitor, not the first mishap we have bad to my lord, as he ever was. He sold the get the better of; and since Maynooth castle." is fallen, we can but drink a cup of “Now, by the King of the Elements, wine to the corner-stone of Rathangan; Sir John," exclaimed Lord Thomas, and yet there were many brave fellows starting to his feet, “ if you have said in Maynooth ; some that were both this of my foster-brother without such near and dear to me: but I doubt not proof as shall satisfy this honourable they played their part as well as they company" -But Sir Oliver, intermight. But now, Sir John, I suppose posing, cut short the incompleted

the survivors of my people have been threat :| all executed ?" He spoke with forced “ Nephew, sit down; remember you

calmness, but it was evident the news are at your own board: if Sir John had crushed him sorely.

Talbot has made this charge out of * Not all, my lord,” replied the mere malice-for I know that he and Knight." The lieutenant of the bar. Parez have long been bitter enemies bican and his company made their there is no man here will more readily escape.”

resent the injury done yourkinsman; but * 1 little thought to hear that the hear him out, for, by iny father's bones, son of Connogher had turned his back I should little wonder if Parez had upon his friends, and they in that proved all he says, after the hateful pinch," exclaimed Lord Thomas. villainy that, but for me, he would

• My lord, he did not fly till the have practised on the citizens' children place was lost past all hope of reco- that day in Preston's Inns. very; and when he did make good his " What villainy ?” cried Lord Thoretreat, it was through the ranks of mas, “ I never heard of any villainy the enemy, in as soldierly a sally as that he had attempted on the citizens' I ever saw given from castle gates." children.”

Well, be it so; but I will venture “ Then, on my word, I have been to say my warden did not leave his much to blame in not telling you of it post while a man of his company stood ere now, my lord,” replied Sir Oliver ; by him."

“ he would have set the innocent iniMy lord," said Talbot, “ I have fants on his breastwork to deter the some further news, which, if it be your gunners on the castle wall from firing pleasure, I would rather communicate into his battery, had I not, by God's in private, as well as the proposals good providence, come up at the which I have been directed to submit minute and rescued them from certain 10 your own judgment."

destruction.” If anything that you have to say “I never heard of this before," said affects yourself,

Sir John,” replied Lord Thomas, colouring, partly with Fitzgerald, “I will willingly attend indignation at the base design, and you in my own apartment; but if your partly with vexation at the prospect of news in any way touches our enter more displeasing intelligence. prise

, I pray you to tell it openly in Talbot took advantage of the pause presence of these noble gentlemen, that followed to proceed :

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

« On my

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »