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mother, you who possess every charm of mind as well as person, why are you not here, to teach your poor Elinor how to hold this wandering heart T
"She dressed herself to receive him, arranging her ornaments with the utmost care, and in the most becoming manner.
"* If my looks please him not, I have no other attraction.' She wept, and thereby increased the evil which she apprehended; her smiles would have had a better chance, for those brilliant smiles had formed her principal charm, beyond even the perfection of her form and features; it was the life, the light, the radiance of her vivacity, which had held him ever at her side, a delighted listener to her playful trifling. Lord Grey was a selfish man, and required amusement; her joyous laugh was wont ever to put him in good humour with himself and others—the scene was now changed for both. Elinor, an only and idolized child, had been accustomed from infancy to have her every wish regarded as a law: with a less gentle disposition, this might have made her imperious; on her temper it produced the effect of pettishncss, and the impossibility of bearing contradiction. In her new situation, circumstances unavoidably occurred to cross her, which, instead of being thrown off lightly, or borne with firmness, were met with tears and lamentations.
"Lord Grey's conduct, with respect to the attack on Desmond Castle, and the capture of the Earl, had lowered her opinion of him; and she had the indiscretion to let him see the effect so produced. This was sufficient to cause dissension ; the charm of union once destroyed, and his temper ruffled, angry and mortifying words succeeded; then fresh tears and complaints; and all the illusion of love was dispelled. Touched by the spear of Ithurial, each started up in their proper form before the eyes of the other; he beheld, instead of a divinity, a weak-spirited and spoiled child, whose personal loveliness was insufficient to influence him; once he thought that she wanted good sense and good temper, but he was mistaken in some degree; she was not really deficient in either, except only in suffering him to perceive that she no longer regarded him as a hero.
"Late in the evening Lord Grey at length arrived; but before he approached Elinor's apartment, delayed a considerable time, giving directions to his officers respecting various alterations to be made in the fortifications and defences of the Town and Castle; and when he did enter, he walked for some minutes up and down the room without speaking; his brow was contracted and he looked harassed.
"' Thou art fatigued, Leonard,' she said tenderly. 'Yes,' he replied, after a pause; ' thy kinsman gave nie but little rest or respite, the curse of anarchy seems to be on this country; would I had never seen it; the King has appointed me Lord Deputy, also, to increase my difficulties—thou wilt now be, at least, a temporary Queen, Elinor,' he continued in a kinder tone, * and reign, for a time, over more civilized subjects than those of thy father in the wilds of Munster.'
"The mention of her father brought the ever ready tears into the eyes of Elinor. Lord Grey observed them, and the cause: his brow became again contracted, and she dared not ask if he could give her tidings of that dear Father, of that much loved Mother.
"' Thy kinsman, Lord Thomas Fitzgerald,' continued Lord Grey, ' I am credibly informed, means to attempt forcing my intrenchments here. I only hope he may pursue such intention—that is a kind of warfare, in which, I trust, I am more than a match for this inexperienced boy. I love not playing at hide and seek amongst swamps and wildernesses; but I would I were once hand to hand with him. What blaiiches thy cheek, fair Lady? fcarest thou the weight of my arm for thy gentle Cousin?'
"' What strange language, Leonard!' cried the terrified Elinor; ' what thoughts are passing in thy mind?'
"' Knowest thou not, my fair one,' he replied, suddenly seizing her wrist with a force that pained her; 'knowest thou not, that thy kinsman hath sworn by the Holy Cross, and pledged himself to his clan to make good his oath, that the widow of Lord Leonard Grey may yet be a fitting bride for the young leader of the Gcraldines. Hast thou no confidant, no favourite maiden here, to whisper such tale in thiue ear?'
"' Oh, Leonard, Leonard!' cried Elinor, now giving way, without restraint, to the flood of tears which she had before struggled to suppress; 'who or what can have poisoned thy mind with such strange, such degrading suspicions? Believe it not— Lord Thomas never could have swonr, or said aught resembling that disgraceful story, which has been imposed on thee by some cruel enemy to all—and forme,' she continued, suddenly throwing herself at his feet, and wrapping her white arms around him, 'have I not, too fatally, fondly, proved my love to thee ?—have I not sacrificed all? parents, kindred, my good name; ami not disgraced, in the eyes of my clan, by my marriage with an Englishman, their professed enemy ?—and, probably, disowned by my beloved parents, for my ingratitude in forsaking them in their adversity —for thee, for thee, Leonard, have I not risked, have I not endured all this? and where are my thanks?' she continued bowing her fair face on his knees; * oh, not in thine heart, not in thine heart; thou canst love me no longer; surely such cruel, such degrading suspicion is incompatible with love.'
"As she raised her imploring eyes to his, Lord Grey was softened; he lifted her from the ground, and kissing her forehead, said:
"' Be composed, Elinor ; I meant not all which I might in my irritation have said; I think no ill of thee, notwithstanding the regret thou hast even now expressed, for having sacrificed thy station, as daughter and heiress of the wild Chieftain of a still wilder clan, notwithstanding thy regret for having given up that savage grandeur, to be the wife of an English noble, and the Vice-Queen of a Court, something, 1 trust, more refined than the one to which thou hast been accustomed; still thou art my wife, and as such I will consider thee; and make others do so also; let me see no more tears now, I am weary of them.'
"'Alas I alas!' she exclaimed, ' by what hand are those tears to be dried, if not by thine, my Lord, my husband, still beloved by me, although I have lost the power to charm?'
"' Elinor,' replied Lord Grey, sternly, ' I love not reproaches; to-morrow I hold a court as Viceroy, preparatory to my triumphal entry into the capital, which I will effect ere long, and that over the bodies of the traitorous insurgents. (Elinor shuddered.) Do thou prepare thyself to grace that Court, as becomes my wife, and as thy high-spirited and Queen-like mother would, were she so placed. Let not thine eyes be dimmed with tears, lest mcu should say that Lord Grey's choice had not even beauty to recommend her.'
"Elinor scarce heeded the implied affront to herself contained in these words, her ears were only caught by this, his first voluntary mention of her Mother, and that mention an encomium. Clasping her hands together, she exclaimed—
"' My mother I Leonard, dear Leonard, tell me of my mother 1*
"A slight pang of conscience smote Lord Grey, as he thought of the circumstances, and the relentless hands in which he had left that lady; putting Elinor away from him, but gently,he said:
"'I have no leisure now for further converse: embarrassing and complicated business presses on me; I must council with my officers j retire thou to thine oratory, and pray for a more cheerful temper.'
"Elinor obeyed in silence; slowly, and with faltering steps, she withdrew from the presence of him, of whom she had so lately been the idol; and now,
"'I have loved!' she exclaimed, 'and am chastened; my warm affections are chilled, and thrown back by an iron grasp. Iam alone, alone, indeed; for me there is no hope; I am punished even by the fulfilment of my own wishes. Is this to be my future lot; are there none now to feel with, to comprehend me ?—no, not one— there were, and I have myself rejected, abandoned, all who loved, all who valued me; and do I dare complain? Father of Heaven! forgive thine erring child!' Flinging herself on her knees, she prayed in agony."
From this painful interview Lord Grey proceeds to the council-table, at which appears O'Kelly, a low ruffian, but not a treacherous villain like the un-Irish Parese. His conduct and character, as an Irishman, is consistent and intelligible, for he is for some imagined private slight, the bitter and vengeful enemy of the Earl of Desmond. By his advice, the Lord Deputy resolves to follow the insurgents into the mountain fastnesses to which they had betaken themselves in some force. Their mountain camp in the valley of Glendalough is to be stormed in form, and on this wild expedition Elinor is compelled to follow her husband, and the troops who are destined to destroy her father, her kinsmen, and her countrymen. It is on Christmas Day this march is begun, and again the writer revels in the power of picturesque description, followed by scenes of intense interest. The tents are pitched for the night.
"Elinor's litter, which was carried in the rear-gnard, did not arrive until every thing had been prepared for her accommodation; and she had nothing to complain of with respect to her personal comfort, as far as this day's march was concerned, being removed at once from her litter, into a splendidly fitted up tent, lighted and warmed by a number of lamps, as well as by a stove placed in the centre.
"Keeling her spirits raised by this seeming attention on the part of Lord Grey, when the evening arrangements were completed, and the Oflicers assembled in their Vice-Queen's tent, she held her little court with a considerable share of her native vivacity, and graceful playfulness of manner,—a manner, which had so oft, in other days, fascinated him whom she still sought in vain to charm. Perhaps, if his mind h3d been more disengaged, he might, for a little while, have mingled with pleasure in the admiring crowd by which Elinor was surrounded; but since the hour when the advance guard had first halted, and arrangements for passing the night had been entered into, O'Kelly had disappeared, and no person could give the least account of him, or conjecture in which direction he had gone."
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"Shortly after Lord Grey had taken his station beside Elinor's chair, whose animation was increased by his presence, and who listened with glowing cheeks and sparkling eyes to his approval of her well-intentioned efforts, a messenger from one of the advanced outposts arrived with information to the Commander-in-Chief, that a native Irish Harper, a blind old man, led by a boy, had demanded admission to the Camp, in order to be allowed to make trial of his skill in the presence of the ViceQueen.
"On the first emotion, Lord Grey started up angrily, with the intention of ordering the insolent intruder to be detained prisoner, and severely punished for his presumption; but the next moment he smiled at his own folly, in supposing that any such person would really venture to present himself in that manner, thus risking life and liberty, in an enemy's Camp, for the sake of a few coins to be earned by his performance. It now appeared quite obvious to the Deputy, that this was a masquerading frolic of O'Kelly's.
"This conviction at once relieved all the unpleasant feelings and suspicions excited by the non-appearance of the Guide in the earlier part of the night; and giving orders for the immediate admission of the wandering Minstrel, he prepared himself to be infinitely pleased and amused with whatever should ensue; then, seeing Sir Stephen Drury look excessively surprised, he whispered to him a few words, bidding him set his mind at rest, as he himself felt his spirits much lightened, by having his strong apprehensions of treachery at once so agreeably removed.
"In pursuance of Lord Grey's order, the blind Harper and his youthful guide now presented themselves at the entrance of the tent; and highly as the Deputy had previously thought of O'Kelly's powers of transmutation, still he experienced considerable surprise on beholding the figures which now appeared before him.
"As if by the power of magic, the square, thickset, vulgar, and clownlike O'Kelly, (if it could indeed be him,) was transformed into an extremely tall, slender, and graceful figure, graceful in defiance of the stoop of apparent old age. He was clothed in the long, loose robes worn by the native Irish Bards, a white beard descended to his girdle, and a profusion of long hair, of the same venerable hue, flowed over his shoulders; his eye-lids were partly closed over the seemingly sightless orbs; and holding in one hand a small Irish harp, he leant the other on the shoulder of a boy, in whose round, dimpled, and blushing cheeks, in the downcast glances of the sparkling, merry, yet modest eye, and the clustering curls of the bright chesnut hair, Elinor, with throbbing heart, thought she discovered a resemblance,—yes, more than a resemblance, it was identity; she felt that the Minstrel's childish-looking Guide, although in the garb of a boy, could be no other than her pretty little foster-sister Rose; how came she there? who then was that Harper, seemingly so old and blind, and yet—Elinor shivered with dread as she looked on the tall, graceful form, and thought who that Harper might be; he spoke a few words in the Irish language; the voice deep, full, and of a most peculiar tone, brought conviction at once to her mind; she could not be mistaken, and she dared not look around to read in the countenance of others, if there were any who had made the same discovery."
The interest of the scene deepens,—the harper sings a song of love and war, in the midst of which Lord Leonard is summoned forth. The minstrel, when invited by the attendants, refuses to touch the refreshments or to pledge the wine-cup of the English Lord Lieutenant. He retires, while his youthful attendant, kneeling to kiss the hem of the robe of the Lady Grey, places a billet beneath the cushion which supports her feet. Alarm is given by the awakened suspicions of the English commander; scenes of confusion follow each other rapidly; the false harper is made prisoner, and, removing his disguise, the eyes of Lord Grey are blasted by the stately form and haughty brow of Lord Thomas Fitzgerald. The chief of Geraldine is sent off a prisoner to the castle of Wicklow, and the English hold themselves in readiness to attack next morning, should an enemy dare to appear after the capture of their leader.
With the dawn they recommence their march.
"' But into what strange wild place hast thou led me 'r' cried Lord Grey, suddenly halting, as the heavy clouds, which had before obscured his view, rolling slowly upwards, revealed the tremendous black mountains enclosing the Valley of Gleudalough on three sides, whilst, in the narrow pass by which they were entering, the broken ground, partly marsh from the overflowing of the river, and every where encumbered with rocks, embarrassed the march of the harassed and wearied troops to such a degree, that deep murmurs passed from man to man; numbers had dropped exhausted by the way, and nothing hut the strong habit of discipline, joined to threats, enabled the subordinate officers to keep the most vigorous on foot; and those means would h:ive failed of even their temporary effect, had not the promises so liberally made by O'Kelly, respecting the immense quantity of gold and precious stones, to be found in those motmtains, by exciting the cupidity of the soldiers, blinding them at first to the desperate measures which their w rongly advised commander was so madly pursuing.
"'Turn, my Lord, I implore you, whilst it is yet time,' exclaimed Sir Stephen Drury; 'enter no further into this gloomy vale—not a man amougst all the soldiers is capable of action—every step they advance encumbers them more and more—all order of march is lost—one half are sunk helpless in the yielding soil, and the remainder are scattered clambering over the rocks.'
"Lord Grey, hesitating, looked back upon the confusion and distress of his army, and saw, also, that if he persisted to advance, it must be alone—that none were either able, or willing to follow, or fitted for action if they did; without staying to consider how far he was himself to blame, he turned fiercely on O'Kelly; and shaking his drawn sword over the bead of the shrinking Guide, began, in a loud and furious tone, the most vehement reproaches; but ere three words had passed his lips, 'Shanet a boo,' the w ell-known war cry of the Desmonds, burst forth on every side, in one wild and prolonged yell—which, taken up by the various mountain echoes, seemed to multiply the thousands of human voices into millions.
"The already dark and cloudy atmosphere was totally obscured by flights of arrows, pouring like a hail storm from summit to base of every surrounding mountain; whilst the guiding hands by which they were impelled continued invisible.
"This destructive storm issued from heath and copsewood, that rendered the assailers completely impervious to the irregular and confused return of arrows and musketry which the astonished English vainly endeavoured to bring to bear on their hidden foes; their ammunition, mostly wet, injured by rain, and the various bogs and morasses through which their march had been conducted, was, with a few exceptions, nearly useless, and the arrows shot into the air at random, rested amongst the trees, from whence they were gathered, and, with insulting shouts, returned to their owners, in hostile guise, accompanied by showers of stones, and often enormous rocks hurled on the heads of these devoted men, doing fearful execution ou all those who had kept on the drier sides of the valley close to the mountain base.
"A retreat was sounded in vain—floundering in the bogs, stumbling over dead and dying, without path and without guide, the scene became not a rout, but absolute slaughter; when the Kearne and Gallmvglasses, breaking from their covert, and pouring in countless thousands from the mountains, rushed like an overwhelming torrent upon the English soldiers; who, despairing of quarter from the infuriated Irish, and not knowing even the language in which to demand it, fought with gallantry and desperation to the very last—few escaped to tell the dreadful tale; Lord Grey, severely wounded at the beginning of the rout, bad been seized by O'Kelly, who dragged him, in defiance of his resistance, into the covert of some thick bushes, from whence he led him by a path, known only to himself, into a cave, where binding his wound as well as circumstances and materials would permit, and wrapping him in his own mantle, he covered him with withered leaves and heath; then placing himself on a stone near the entrance, lie smeared his face and clothes with the blood of his unfortunate commander, and prepared to act the part of a wounded person belonging to the Irish party, in case any stragglers should pass that way.
"They continued in this concealment for some hours, O'Kelly intending to conduct the despairing and half-distracted Lord Grey, after night fall, towards the place where they had left the encampment; if, indeed, it yet remained.
"' Miserable man,' cried Lord Grey, when the agony of contending feelings could find vent in words; 'miserable man, what fiend tempted thee to decoy me into this fatal place? I thank thee not for the life thou hast now preserved; better, far better to have fallen honourably with my slaughtered soldiers; but thus! never, oh, never more may Leonard Grey behold the face of man; death I could have borne with firmness, but not disgrace.'"
Elinor is now with her victorious father and his countrymen; and next day a broken band of English soldiers rally round Lord Grey, who reaches the gates of Dublin, and finds the city and the garrison still in the hands of his friends.
To relieve Lord Thomas from durance, and to find out the Countess, still mysteriously hid about the Convent of St. Woolstan's, is the first duty thought of by the Earl of Desmond. By the help of the devoted Redmond, the prison of the lady is found; and after a train of incidents highly romantic, but somewhat tedious withal, her deliverance is effected. We then follow the fortunes of Lord Thomas, who has braved many perils and escaped from his castle and prison. He is making his way back across the country, self-upbraided for the rashness with which he had exposed himself to the enemy, and brought his followers into peril, when, resting at the mouth of a cave, in the winter's sun, to recruit from excessive fatigue, his ears are greeted with the beloved sound of chrom-a-boo!
The insurgent leaders, again united, once more form a plan of operations, and retire to Maynooth, but after another desperate attempt to surprise Dublin. This again is a part of the tale which revives many sad memories of recent events and times. We could have wished to give the whole scene, which is exceedingly animated, but must rest content with a very brief extract.
"Two hours before day-break, on the morning of the 18th of January, all within the Irish Camp was in movement: Lord Thomas Fitzgerald, at the head of his Clan, prepared to lead the assault.
« ' Friends, countrymen, fellow soldiers,' he addressed them, ' and you, Gcraldines, Clansmen of the murdered Kildare, his son invokes your aid; the choice is before you; to be a nation of freemen, led only by Chiefs of your own race, of your own blood, or the bondsmen and slaves of a foreign tyranny. Masters of the sea, reinforcements and provisions arrive ever)' day for the support of the English Garrti=on; we have nothing to expect but from our own exertions, and our own valour. We are lost, if we do not save ourselves; for God and our country, for our homes, and for our hearths, do we struggle; our enemy for plunder, and to become, by our extermination, undisturbed possessors of this our beautiful land. Let the motive sanctify the means; come on, my brothers, follow me to victory; the Capital of your country is hefore you, in the hand of a foreign foe; let us wrest it from his grasp, and we are once more the Lords of our own soil.'
"The only answer to this address was the wild and terrific war-cry; flic Irishrushed to the assault, headed by their gallant Chieftain."
The insurgents are now concentrated in the fortress of Maynooth, in which also are the Countess and Elinor. They and the town are betrayed by the arch-villain Parese, and drawn into snares; but he now pays for his crimes with his life. The scene of the death of Parese, though of much less interest than many of those of the siege, is short enough to be extracted; we shall give it. Parese is doing some of his treacherous errands in Dublin, and is thus questioned by the Lord Deputy, to whose evil passions a furious jealousy is now added:—