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THE FORD FAMILY.
One murder makes a villain,
The Groans of Grania Weal.
ADJOINING the cloisters of the ruined abbey, was a small cell, which had once served either as a prison for refractory monks, or refectory
wines : it was, now, a hall of conference for the rebel chief, and one of his most effective coadjutors. Its entrance, was from a dark corner of one of the cloisters, and concealed from casual observation, by a heap of loose rubbish. The uncertain light that found its way within the humid walls, struggled through brambles and long grass, which overshadowed an aperture in the arched roof, and threw fitful, and dancing gleams, from the early day, on the open countenance of the young insurgent chief, and the compressed lips, and projecting brows, of his dark associate. It was the morning after Macalbert had left the wilds of Erris in the fisherman's boat, and his companion was the man of the mountains; or, as he was commonly called, “ Murtagh Na Knuck.”
Though the whole soul of Macalbert revolted from the deed of the homicide, yet, among his present associates, Murtagh was almost the only one on whom he could place any dependence. There was a determination of purpose, a quickness of apprehension, and shrewdness of judgment, in this man's character, deepened, and concentrated by his hatred of those who had done him and his country wrong, that he sought in vain, among the more volatile and thoughtless mass, with whom, he was now bound in close fellowship - men, who could feel their wrongs keenly, and daringly resent them: but, unused to reflection, and acting from impulse, it was difficult to bind them in unity of purpose, to a remote act.
Macalbert had, already, given directions for sending out scouts for observation; and likewise, for an available force to hold itself in readiness to act on short notice. A “patron,” which means a festival in honor of the patron saint of some holy well, was to be held that day in the neighbourhood. This was thought a favorable circumstance, as it would admit of the assembling of a great number of their friends