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forbearing, as was his constancy firm and enduring. Born and brought up amidst the storms of war, he had no other idea of life, save a constant succession of siege and battle, of violent incursion or midnight foray; of peace, he knew nothing, except in the tranquillity of his own temper, which disaster or adversity had never as yet ruffled, and which had enabled him hitherto to bear, with equal cheerfulness and equanimity, the blight of ill fortune, and the sunshine of prosperity.
u He wore a light cuirass, over a dress of quilted leather, richly ornamented with silver; a saffron-coloured mantle embroidered with the same, and clasped at the throat with a Dealg Fallainne, or brooch of jewels; this mantle of fine cloth was edged with a rich and heavy silver fringe; his buskins were inlaid with silver plates; on his head lie wore a high Montero cap of the same cloth as the mantle; and a sword was suspended by his side, of a length and breadth which proved that it would require an ami of no common strength to wield.
"On his right hand sat the Countess; of slender make, but of a stature exceeding the usual height of woman; her features, although delicate and beautiful, were strongly marked, and her brow bore the impress of high intellectual superiority. Her dress was a rich brocade of cloth of gold, with slecves reaching to the grounif, but which were open in front high enough to allow her hands and wrists, bound with splendid bracelets, to be visible; her mantle also was clasped with jewels, and a superb diadem of precious stones, slightly circled without confining her long black hair, which flowed around her, descending almost to the knee.
"On the left of the throne, a step lower down, sat Elinor, their only and beloved child. Her fair and delicate brow, and her soft brown ringlets, were encircled with a bandeau of pearls. Her girdle, her sleeves, and the bosom of her dress, were covered with ornaments of the same kind; whilst a veil of the thinnest and most transparent texture, in the form of a Spanish mantilla, was passed lightly over the back part of her head, and wrapped round her arms, which were modestly folded across her bosom as she sat.
"On either side of the throne, and on a level with the rest of the floor, were ranged the bards of the Tanist, in long loose robes of various colours, girt around the middle with a leathern belt and silver buckle, and fastened at the throat and sleeves with massive ornaments of the same metal.
"On each side of the hall, and within the torch bearers, were the foot soldiers, Kenme and Gallowglasses, each armed with a light shirt of mail, a battle-axe, broad-sword, and small crooked bow, with a quiver of short arrows at their back.
"The centre of the hall was occupied by the tables, on which was spread a banquet almost too ample, even for the numbers who were to partake of it; and on either side of the tables was sufficient space for the train of the Spanish Ambassador, who now approached, preceded by a band of warlike and spirit-stirring music.
"Don Sebastian dc Aquila, the Spanish Envoy, was a man considerably past the middle of life, of a graceful and soldier-like demeanour, whilst the vivacity of his piercing black eyes relieved the general gravity of his countcnauce. Hisdress was of the most splendid fashion ami material then worn at the Court of Spain, and his gallant and proud followers were as nobly, although less richly attired."
The Envoy delivers his credentials, and tells that the reinforcements from Spain are now entering the Bay of Dingle. This diplomatic business concluded, the band strike up the grace chorus, and Don Sebastiau leads the fair Countess of Desmond to the board. The solemn festival ends in a fray. In the midst of his gallant speeches, the Spaniard is startled by what he mistakes for the yelling of wild beasts.—
"Not so the Irish there assembled; no sooner had the distant sound, at first scarce heeded amidst their revelry, become distinctly audible, than it was answered by similar cries, but still more appalling from being nearer. In an instant every sword was in air; the torches were flung to the ground, and the bearers, joining in the general cry and warlike action, trampled them under their feet; and by the lurid and half extinguished fires and smoke with which the hall was filled, added to the horror of the scene.
"To the astonished Spaniards, the figures of the wild Irish, with their longhair, or coluns, streaming around, and seen through the fire and smoke, appeared like demons broke loose from hell: but the continued and terrific war-cry, the waving of swords, and simultaneous rushing towards the entrance, soon made it manifest that all this confusion was the result of some hostile attack from without, not altogether unusual, since the sounds which announced it were so readily comprehended.
"The Earl was amongst the first to spring on his feet; and utteriog the war-cry of the Desmonds, to rush forwards with drawn sword to the contest; and Don Se. bastian, recovering from his first astonishment, endeavoured to collect his yet more amazed followers; and whilst he, still through the fire and smoke, kept in view the tall figure of the Earl, bearing down all opposition, sprang into the thickest of the fray. Although from, to his own unpractised ear, the similarity of the cries, and to his confused vision, the exact resemblance of dress and appearance, he was unable to distinguish friends from foes.
"The hall was cleared of all save fire and smoke, the wreck of the overturned banquet, and the alarmed, although not surprised women; consisting of the Countess and her daughter, the foster mother and sister of the latter, and ten or a dozen young girls, tire-women, and hand-maidens, sprightly and courageous lasses, who pressed closely around the Countess and Elinor, not from any personal apprehensions of their own, but in order to protect the wife and daughter of their Chieftain from inconveuience or insult, in case the English should have any share in this attack; for from their own countrymen, even those most hostile to their clan, they had no idea of either; at least, no intentional inconvenience, and certainly no insult.
"* Ah! Cush la ma chree, my princess of the world,' cried Elinor's nurse, Alice; 'dont be,afther spiling the beautiful eyes of ye wid crying, shurc it's only thim thievin spalpeens the Butlers, an there'll be no harm done at all; my Rosy, jew el,' addressing her daughter, 'myself wishes ye'd run an git ready some yerbs an plasthers, for we'll hav a power o'cut heads to cure before morn in.'"
"Rose, in obedience to her mother's order, quitting her place beside Elinor, opened a little postern door close to where the group were collected; but it required a powerful effort of her native courage to suppress a violent scream, on seeing a number of men in ambush without, whom the quick eye of the Irish lass, even by the flaring aud unsteady light of the half-extinguished torches, at once discovered to be strengers; and, consequently, to them, enemies of a much more dangerous description than even the ' thieving Butlers.'"
The castle is stormed: the Countess witnesses the bloody conflict raging without, hand to hand and man to man, till the Earl is finally wounded, overpowered and made prisoner, and her daughter carried off by Lord Grey. Between the captive Earl and Sir Edmund Butler, one of the Ormond family, who fights on the English side, the following conversation takes place. There is an old family quarrel between the Geraldines and the Ormonds: the speakers are travelling towards Kilkenny Castle, where Desmond is to be imprisoned and detained as a hostage, till the pleasure of Kiug Henry is learned.
■ ' The seditious spirit,' said Sir Edmund, ' diffused by you and your adherents through the cities of the south, is more particularly galling and irritating to his Majesty the King, at this period; when the whole attention of Ms government is required to relieve the nation from those afflicting calamities which a series of wars and devastations have produced. Yet his Majesty, in his tender love and kindness towards his deluded subjects of the Anglo-Irish race, is willing to extend his mercy towards those who seek it by sincere penitence and submission—cease, then, these factious clamours.'
"' What call you factious clamours?' interrupted the Earl. 'Our grievances have been frequently laid before the throne—but without redress or notice—treaties have been violated, submissions received, with a shameful and contemptuous disregard to the most solemn promises—our fortunes have been torn from us, our consciences hare been enslaved; but our oppressors, not yet satiated, now prepare to exterminate the wretched natives who have presumed to assert their liberty; and thus to erect a tyrannical dominion, even over those who call themselves English subjects; and are to infatuated as not to discern that the present is the common cause of all.'
"Here, exhausted by his own vehemence, the Earl sunk back upon his iron couch; and Sir Edmund, either not choosing to reply, or not having any argument ready, rode on in silence.
u A few hours more of march brought the whole party, now sufficiently weary, to a small village, where they were enabled to procure rest and refreshment, and some assistance for the wounded Earl."
In the evening, the Earl is joined by his wife, in despair for the loss of her child, of whose fate she is ignorant, though suspicion points to the English commander. Here we leave them, to turn to the Earl of Kildare, the father of Lord Thomas Fitzgerald, the hero of the story. The Earl is now in London, making terms for his family at the court of Henry; and is rumoured to have become so great a favourite, that he is even spoken of for Lord Deputy of the kingdom. Alan, Archbishop of Dublin, a crafty and ambitious priest, determines to frustrate this arrangement; and his intrigues prove but too successful. In his pay is Parese, the traitorous foster-brother of Lord Thomas, and the ready tool of the Archbishop. And now the scene changes to the Castle of Clontarf, where we are first introduced to the young chief of the Geraldines.
"He sat in a small apartment, richly furnished, and illuminated by a number of waxen tapers. Many papers lay scattered on the table before him, and from time to time he started from his seat, and paced the room with a hurried step and highly ex. cited manner. His age did not appear to exceed one and twenty. Uncommonly tall and slender, he was yet so perfectly well formed, as to be eminently graceful in every movement; his dark hazel eyes were full of flic and vivacity; his complexion, although extremely florid, was so sunburnt, that it would have been accounted dark, were it not for the whiteness of his ample forehead, which was graced by a profusion of brown curling hair; and in the restless animation of his ever-varying countenance, it was easy to discover the rash and impatient temper common to his nation, but more peculiarly the lot of Lord Thomas Fitzgerald.
"During one of his sudden starts, pacing the floor of his apartment, the door was softly opened, and a man stood within, of an age not exceeding his own; of low stature, and swarthy complexion. The unpleasant appearance of this person was increased by a sinister expression in his eyes, which were perpetually cast down, or wandering with a kind of stolen glance from object to object, never directly meeting the looks of another, and more especially seeming to quail under those of Lord Thomas.
"'What intelligence bringest thou, Parese?' said the young Lord, impatiently; 'thy countenance, man, forebodes evil—speak.' .
"* In sooth, my good Lord, it is most evil,' returned Parese. 'Your noble father'
"' Proceed; why dost thou pause ?' exclaimed Lord Thomas; 'I am prepared.'
"* No, my Lord,' replied Parese, ' I doubt my tidings surpass even your apprehensions—your noble father, the Earl of Kildare, the Lord Deputy of Ireland, has been, by the English Government, brought to trial—condemned—and executed. Stand up, my Lord, you turn pale, you stagger—stand up, my Lord, you live—for veugeance.'
"Lord Thomas, with a heavy groan, covering his eyes with his hands, leaned against the wall of the apartment, unconscious of the efforts made by his foster-brother, Parese, to arouse him; but, after a few minutes, suddenly throwing h\m off with a wild cry, he sprang forwards, exclaiming,
"' To horse! to horse! let us not delay—my arms, Parese,—begone! there is not an instant to lose.'
"' Whither, my Lord, at this hour of the night? For what purpose? What can be done now f
"' Much, Parese, much may be done; we must away to Dublin; the Lords of the Council are now sitting in Saint Mary's Abbey—ere they break up this night will Thomas Fitzgerald inform them, that not in vain shall the blood of the murdered Kildare cry out for vengeance. Down with the tyrant!' he continued, striking his hand violently on the table; 'dearly, dearly shall he rue this act.'"
The tempter has now done his office; with a tumultuary band of his clansmen and followers, which his voice summoned from their carouse, or their slumbers, Lord Thomas rushes on to Dublin, and bursts upon the Council, then sitting. A violent scene follows; yet he had nearly listened to the wise and temperate counsels of the virtuous Cromar, the Chancellor of the Kingdom, and his affectionate and paternal friend from childhood. But the songs of the Bards, who raise their harps among the clansmen without, and the shouts of the multitude, again madden his hot blood and roused passions: and, from that moment, Lord Thomas is a rebel. That wild cry of Chrom-a-boo! the slogan of the Geraldines, sounds to his heart like a war trumpet. His standard is joined by his kinsmen, chieftains of O'Conner and O'Carroll; and their first exploit is the surprisal, assault, and capture of the castle of Kilkenny, and the release of the Earl, whose warden, Sir Edmund Butler, is made prisoner in his stead. These scenes give opportunity for much beautiful description, and many romantic incidents, and picturesque situations, to which we cannot even advert. The conduct of the rash and sanguine young chief, who, impelled by so many generous motives, the temptings of a fiend, and the intrigues of a faction whose object it is to divide and govern, and his plans for uniting all the native Irish, of capturing the wily archbishop, and gaining possession of Dublin, most painfully recall the events of a later attempt at organization. The scheme of operation is, indeed, nearly the same.
While the chiefs, after the capture of Kilkenny Castle, return towards Dublin to attempt to rescue Elinor, and gain possession of the capital, the Countess of Desmond, escorted bya small party, and in charge of Redmond, a young chivalrous warrior of the tribe of O'Carroll, who worships her as a divinity, his secret idol, has many singular adventures; and at last, in the convent of St. Woolstan's, where she seeks shelter, encounters Lord Leonard Grey and the archbishop, and almost rejoices in the captivity into which she has been betrayed, from the hope of gaining tidings of her daughter. On the entrance of Lord Leonard Grey,—
"Clasping her hands together, she could only articulate the name of her daughter, when, overpowered by contending emotions, she sunk fainting at his feet.
"Lord Grey, surprised, and somewhat moved, raised her in his arms; and calling loudly for assistance, bore her himself to another apartment, and desired that her own woman should be summoned to attend her; however, ere Alice appeared, he withdrew, not choosing, at that moment, to listen to clamorous interrogations, which he was by no means prepared to answer.
"Returning to the Archbishop, he said:
"' This Lady's nerves appear to be more easily affected than I had calculated—I believed her to be of a very different description from her daughter."
"' Be not uneasy,' replied the Archbishop; 'she will shew nerve enough just now when she is put to the proof—I know something of this haughty lady, who has fallen so opportunely into our hands—I saw somewhat of her spirit, when she accompanied her husband in his imprisonment in the Tower of London—would they had both remained there—his most gracious Majesty was, in that instance, by much too lenient.'
"' Your Grace thinks then that this Lady will prove unmanageable?' said Lord Grey.
"' Not altogether,' rejoined Alan, sneeringly; 'she is still a woman—but the blood of the Geraldines, which is rather of an inflammable nature, flows in her veins —however, I know her influence over her husband to be almost unbounded; and if by threats, or otherwise, we can induce her to exert it, we may get some hold over
these traitors they have mustered a force, and have shewn a degree of power which
1 did not wot of in that respect; Parese rather misled me by his information—I misdoubt me of that villain, and wish I had him in hands—we have raised a hornet's nest about us, which it may not be easy to smother.'
"'I find in the Irish,' said Lord Grey, pacing the apartment with folded arms, * an embarrassing, and not a very honourable enemy: instead of marching to the field, in all the pomp and pride of chivalry, and engaging in an open and regular battle, they dart upon us from inaccessible woods and morasses—to these they retire at the approach of the Royal army—from these they again issue upon any prospect of advantage; but before 1 can draw out my forces, they are already vanished, so as to keep me in perpetual perplexity, without permitting me to strike any decisive blow;—in this new kind of war, and in a strange country, little glory is to be acquired, and much damage to be apprehended.'
"' When you come to be opposed personally to Lord Thomas Fitzgerald,' returned the Archbishop, ' you will not have such a complaint to repeat; you will find him hot, and rash enough when his blood is up, to dare a battle under any circumstances, but he has resources, on which I did not calculate. That arch-traitor, Kildare, before his departure for England, probably foreseeing what would happen, fortified hvs castles at Maynooth, Clootarf, and elsewhere, with the King's stoics and artillery, which this hopeful youth is now turning against his Majesty's liege subjects, but the vengeance of Parliament shall be extended to his adherents and kinsmen, of whom I hare a long catalogue—all shall be attainted of high treason, so as to reduce this family, which has so long maintained the first rank in Ireland, to the lowest state of depression and disgrace.'
"' To secure the interests of the Crown,' replied Lord Grey, 'and to control the disaffected, it is absolutely necessary that none but men of English birth should be intrusted with the care of the principal places of strength, throughout the whole of the English settlements.'
"' That,' returned Alan, 'is the principal cause of my present anxiety to reach England, in order to represent to my friend, the Cardinal; and, through him, to impress his Majesty with the absolute necessity of the most coercive measures with these discontented factions, the which can ouly be effectually done by placing all authority in English hands.'"
Next day the Countess, who has dismissed Redmond, too high spirited to permit a soldier to remain near her while his arm was wanted for his country, finds Lord Leonard gone, and is informed by the archbishop that Elinor is his wife, and in safety at the Abbey of Wicklow. There is in this intelligence something like consolation. While her husband, all her kinsmen of the Geraldines, and her beloved nephew Lord Thomas, are mustering their forces, her son-in-law, now appointed viceroy, returns to Wicklow to draw out the English troops to meet and attack them. The unhappy lady has now a long conversation with the archbishop, who endeavours, by warnings and threats, to alienate her from the cause of her country and her family. He informs her that the scaffold is the inevitable fate of the Earl and his rebel nephew; and deliberately recites the words of the act of attainder:
"' Whatl' exclaimed the Countess, i do those who are oppressed owe allegiance to the tyranny that grinds them? A people, conquered by force and fraud, lu'ld in subjection by the sword, and cruelly treated in their servitude, have nothing to consider but the means and season of resistance; the Earl of Desmond will never lay duu u his 3rms while there is misery on the one side and oppression on the other.'
"' You speak boldly, Madam,' returned Alan; 'methinks you "ill change your manner when you see your husband led fortli to the scaffold.'"
We cannot follow the discourse between the high-spirited lady, and the ambitious and subtle tool of the English tiovornment, who soon afterwards terminates his career of villany and dark intrigue under the hand of his coadjutor Parese. Nor can we follow the rapid course of military and political events, but to atone for this, shall treat our readers with a domestic scene, exhibiting the changed condition of the heiress of Desmond :—
"In her solitary apartment in the Abbey of Wicklow, Elinor awaited with feverish impatience the arrival of Lord Grey, who had been absent more than a fortnight, she knew not where. Even in the short space of time which had elapsed since the commencement of this history, care and anxiety had faded the roses on her check, and dimmed the lustre of her soft blue eye. She had never, since the night of their abrupt separation, learnt aught concerning her parents; she had exchanged the protection of those tender and indulgent friends, for the caprices of one, by turns a passionate and jealous lover, and a haughty and imperious tyrant. Gentle, amiable, endowed with beauty far beyond that which generally falls to the lot of woman, scarcely entered into her seventeenth year, she had already drawn her lot in life, and lost, and this, too, by her own act—she had chosen for herself, had rejected, for this man's sake, one who loved her far better than one human being merits to be loved by another, from her he had met with only indifference and ingratitude, and she, had she met with any thing more than her conduct had deserved ? Of this she was fully sensible; but did that lighten the pang! Ah, no, 'Fatal beauty!' she exclaimed, 'even had I been less fair, still Thomas would have loved me, and I should have escaped the notice of him who values only that beauty, treats me as a plaything for his leisure hours, to be thrown aside when his mood is serious. Alas! if I am not to be the friend, the companion of my husband, then am I, indeed, alone. Oh! my