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Eagan were got through the souter- wee, "dinna think it's wi' ony glee I'm rain. The other troopers left behind doing this wark, but it is my duty." were getting very anxious, for the "I didna blame you, Colonel," anarresting party had been awa' twa or swered the O'Hara. “I tried to do my three hours. As my father bad fired duty too." the shot that broke the O'Hara's leg, A minute or twa after they reached he insisted that the O'Hara should hae this cliff, just about whar we are sitbis horse. The Colonel approved, and ting. As they did so, the O'Han saddirected my father to tak' the bridle, dently kicked his horse fiercely wi' the while he himselrode by his side. heel o' his unwounded leg. It bounded Eagan MacEagan, as he was by the ar forward, pu'ing the reins frae my farangement wl' Michael to be pardoned, ther's hands, and nearly knocking wasna bound, but walked a few paces Colonel Adair out o' his saddle. Bebehind his maister, while the troopers fore ony ane kenned what he was rode in files on each side. Michael about, the O'Hara jumped the horse walked by himsel behint, naebody ower this dike and headed straight for speaking to him or caring for his com- the cliff. Colonel Adair caa'd on him pany.
to stop, but he answered only wi' a It was a cauld clear morn, my father wave o' his hand as the horse wi' him said, when the wee company left the on its back bounded ower the edge o' auld Duncairn Road and debouched on the precipice. this mountain-path along the clifs, All the company ran up as near the about a mile south frae here. The tide edge as they daured in fine excitewas out, and the sun was just rising ment. As they glowered ower it a ower the far awa' hills o' Scotland. wild squeel o' terror was heard. Every Up till then the O'Hara hadna ance ane turned towards whar it came frae, spoken. When the fresh air o' the and there they saw Eagan MacEagan sea blew on his pale face he wakened wi' wee Michael in his arms disappearup a wee and looked out ance or twice ing ower the edge, shouting as he went, in a wistfu' sort o' way ower the “Ye misshapen cur, come after the ocean. Then he drooped his head on maister ye hae betrayed!" his breast again and seemed to muse. When Colonel Adair had recovered Suddently a bit doon there be lifted from his amazement at this awfu' endhis head and turned to Colonel ing o' the business, he caa'd on his men Adair.
to follow him doon to the shore to re"It's a sair thing, Colonel," he said, cover the bodies before the tide came "that the last o' the O'Haras should in. Though they went doon the hill die on the scaffold like a felon."
at a brave pace, it took them a good "It is a sair thing, O'Hara," answered wee while to reach the bottom o' the Colonel Adair, in a very soft and clic. When they got there they started kindly voice.
looking into ane anither's faces in a The O'Hara was silent again for a startled way. The bodies o' wee Mi. minute.
chael and the horse were there dead "And it's a sairer thing," he then enough, but na trace could they find o said, “that he should be betrayed to those o' the O'Hara and Eagan! As death by ane o' his ain household.” they searched right and left wi'out re
"It is a very sair thing," answered sult, the men whispered in an awesome Colonel Adair,
way amang themsel's. The clif is five The O'Hara was again silent.
hundred feet high. Nae human being "O'Hara," said Colonel Adair after a could jump ower it and live wi'out the aid o' heaven or hell. Had the O'Hara However that may be, the bodies some such aid after a'? The men, ay were never found, and the Glens folk and Colonel Adair himsel, were as wad never admit that the last O'Hara pale as corpses as they thought o' a' was dead. They always said that he this, and my father thanked God he was saved by the intervention o' the had put the silver buttons in his pistols, Virgin, and was living wi' his faithfu' or maybe nane o' the yeomen wad e'er Eagan in a cave high up the face o' hae left that auld secret dungeon alive the cliff, whar he wad bide till the that morn.
Catholics were ance mair oppressed, When my father had gathered his when he wad ance mair come to their wits thegither again, he thought o' an aid. Ay, and the Protestants, though explanation which was afterwards put they pretended they had nae doubt but about as the true ane by the authori- the bodies had been stolen awa' and ties. The shore along the cliff here buried secretly, were in truth no sae was then, as now, a great place for sure o' that after a'. Lang, lang after kelp-gatherers; and then, as now, they the leap, travellers by night ower the came doon to it whenever the tide was auld Duncairn Road wad tell tales o out, though it was the very skreigh o' seeing the O'Hara or his ghaist, wi' his day; and then, as now, a' the kelp-gath- big flaming eyes and his big red-brown erers were Glens folk. That morn my beard, hovering about among the dark father noted not ane was to be seen places in Duncairn Wood, and for when the troopers reached the shore. mony years ony ane wha had done Well, how was that? Was it no that wrang to a Glens man wad grue when they had seen the men coming ower such tales were told. And to this day the cliff, and finding out wha they auld Protestant women along the shore were, had, to save the bodies frae in- still talk o' the warlock O'Hara, and dignity, ta'en them awa' to ane o' the frighten their bairns wl' the terror o' mony caves kent o' only by themsel's his name. and their friends the smugglers?
Andrew James. Blackwood's Magazine.
GO TO SKELLIG!
"Skellig! Skellig! Go to Skellig!” tive, but often exquisitely painful, was It is half a lifetime since I heard the the Skellig List. In it the weapons of cry, but it rings in my ears still. Each anonymous satire had unlimited play: Shrove-Tuesday in those far-ot days names were coupled together in a way a band of "the boys" paraded, making that was always reckless; and when life painfully adventurous for any of for any reason the subjects were uneither sex who had too long run coun- popular, the list degenerated into an ter to local sentiment by avoiding the exceedingly scurrilous lampoon. It is holy estate of matrimony. The penalty no wonder that as Sbrove-Tuesday in the case of the unprotected was drew near, bachelors and spinsters sometimes rough enough. Buckets full alike winced at the thought of being of water, a souse in sea or lake, a com- exposed to such floods of ribald railpulsory boating, these were some oflery. the consequences; plead as the victims I do not know that it would be posmight, there was no escaping the sible to recover specimens of those water. A form of torture less primi- old Skellig Lists, proper or improper;
I am quite sure that, if I could, the ies the ecclesiastical remains, accounts Editor would think many of them un for the presence of the monks by pointdesirable for the purposes of publica- ing to the many similar settlements tion. The following couplet alone lin- which for the sake of retirement were gers in my memory:
made on islands whether in sea or lake.
Whatever of truth there may be in. -'8 blood is bright and clear; It will not mix with his small beer.
this, it is impossible to resist feeling
that the glamor of the place had a If so solitary a specimen gives no idea powerful influence too; and certainly of the variety and ingenuity of the at there would seem to be no other way tacks, it will at least serve to illustrate of accounting for the domination which the personalities with which the darts the monks of the Skellig and their abwere barbed.
bot gradually came to exercise. Never Had Skellig Lists and the cry Go to to all appearances numerous, with Skellig been limited to the southern nothing in their rocks to give them town in which I lived, not many would wealth, they found their sway spreadthink either the one or the other worth ing far and wide. They served as recalling. So far as I can ascertain models for neighboring communities; the force of outraged public opinion they sent out branches, which estab bas almost suppressed alike the lists lished flourishing foundations on the and the observances. I find however mainland; they acquired rights and that all round the south-west of Ire- dignities, traces of which remained land the Skellig customs were once long after they had been suppressed; general, and that in remote corners finally, they so impressed the popular traces of them still remain. I find also imagination that crowds of pilgrims an explanation of the rites, in a source were drawn year after year to essay which seems to have exercised an in the difficult and uncertain passage fuence powerful and widespread in from the mainland, and to undergo penearly days, and one whose fascination ances the most dangerous as they trarunder a different form still makes it ersed the rocks. In fact it seemed as self felt, these things show that Go to though the Skellig combination of Skellig is more than a local cry, and beauty and inaccessibility had so won is likely to command general interest. upon the fervor of Celtic devotion, that
Some miles from the mainland off there was no admiration too great, no the coast of Kerry, he who consults the sacrifice too costly to be offered on map may find two dots-one the Great, their shrine. the other the Little Skellig. At first But it will be asked what possible sight ordinary islands, they are in connection, beyond a coincidence in the reality rocks, which rise, in forms of name, can these sea-girt isles of the singular beauty, sheer from the ocean. monks have had with the hymeneal' To see them in their romantic situa- celebrations of Skellig night. No doubt tion, and to hear the cries of the sea many of those who reluctantly "went birds which in myriads make them to Skellig" on Shrove-Tuesday bad their homes, are enough to cause a never heard of the Skelligs; and many longing for a closer acquaintance; so more who knew of the rocks could not tbat as we land, if the wild waves per- have explained the connection. Yet mit the liberty, we are scarcely sur- there seems little reason to doubt that prised to find that for centuries colo we have in the custom, and in its prevnies of monks dwelt on the larger of alence, evidence not only of the Skel. the two. The antiquarian, as he stud- lig influence, but also of one of the
characteristic features of the early south and west of Ireland. These Irish Church. It is well known that were the occasions when the Skellig originally the Church of Ireland tena- discrepancy carried blessings with it. ciously and uncompromisingly clung to Lent might be in full rule upon the its independence, and declined subjec- mainland, but on the Skelligs Shrovetion to the Church of Rome. Did not Tuesday had not yet arrived. What Colman, successor of Aidan, Northum- did it matter that the islands were disbria's Apostle, rather than keep Easter tant and the passage perilous ? Was. at the Roman date, resign bis bishop- not the goal of matrimony waiting at ric, turn his back on all that the Irish the end? monks had done for the north of Eng- It needs no vivid imagination to enland, and retire to an obscurity in Ire- ter into the feelings with which such land, which possessed at least the sov- liberties and licenses were welcomed. ereign attraction of independence and by man and maid. He who first whisthe privilege of celebrating Easter in pered “Go to Skellig," must indeed accordance with the ancient Irish have been held to be inspired. Whousage? But Ireland too was destined can wonder that the inspiration spread to be gradually subdued by Rome. Be and that “Go to Skellig,” voluntarily if fore the Saxons, the British Chris- you choose, involuntarily if you do not, tians had retreated into the fastnesses became the rule for all who had tarried. of Wales and Cornwall. Somewbat till the Shrove Tuesday wedding hourssimilarly those who clung to Irish cus bad flown? The connection between toms, and in particular to their own those old wedding-trips and the moddate for Easter, found themselves ern saturnalia is manifest. The cry, driven further and further, until in Go to Skellig, and the inevitable water, the end Irish ecclesiastical independ taken together are quite sufficient to. ence lingered only in the islands of recall the romantic past. the West. Nothing is more likely than Centuries have gone by since lovers that the Skelligs should have been the desired to visit the rocks to invoke the very last stronghold of the Irish assistance of the monks; but the longEaster. There would be few to inter. ing for the scene of the monks' labors fere with a community so respected, is not dead, nor is it likely to die. For and their isolated and difficult position their own sake the Skelligs fascinatewould place them beyond the reach of us still. The strongest known instance all but the most deliberate and deter of this is to be found in a light-keeper mined assaults.
who, when his term of duty was over, Thus it came to pass that Easter on absolutely refused to leave. "Well," the Skelligs and Easter on the main said his chiefs, "if you won't come land were kept at different dates, and when you are bidden, you shall stay it would follow that when the Skellig whether you like it or no." And stay Easter was the later, the Skellig he did, to his inexpressible joy, guardShrove-Tuesday would be later also. ing the cells and churches, carrying out Here was an opportunity too precious any necessary repairs in the ruins and to be lost. Marriages in Lent are con- in the great flights of steps; on and on trary to Church order, hence Sbrove. be stayed, nor was it till after forty Tuesday has always been a much fre- years that the end came, and found him quented wedding-day. But sometimes still unchanged in his affection and circumstances are hostile and the last devotion to the labors of his love. It day glides by; hesitation, procrastina is not to be expected that such lifetion even, are not unknown in the long service can find a parallel; but the
Skelligs have many devotees. In par. ing able to go to Skellig in person. As ticular I should like to mention the it was I went to Kerry with the rooted daughters of a recent rector of Valen- determination of finding myself upon tia, from whom some of the hitherto the rock. Previous experience had unpublished facts in this paper have taught me that the Atlantic was often come. They seem to think no day troublesome; I knew that landing on sufficiently long for the enjoyment of these isolated western stations was the rocks. They speak as though they seldom easy, but I believed that a little never could visit them sufficiently of determination was all that was necesten. But though the Skelligs have sary to ensure success. their devotees, they are chary as to Our station was Derrynane, Derrythose whom they enrol; they do not nane the home of "the Liberator," Der. readily admit new admirers. In the rynane where his grandson, another summer of 1905 a steamer was em- Daniel O'Connell, courteously admits ployed by a well-known authority, to the visitor to inspect the mansion, with whom all the isles and shores of the its personal relics and the many troWest are as familiar almost as his phies which a grateful people laid at name; with her help be brought a large their leader's feet, Derrynane where I party of eager friends to visit the was assured that the very bed I slept Great Skellig. As they approached in had been the Liberator's own, Der. the experts broke the news that land. rynane, which, even apart from its his. ing would be difficult,-perhaps impos- torical associations, has such charms of sible. Naturally there was marked un- sea and rock and wood and mountain, willingness to accept a repulse so un- that there are those who, for natural welcome. It was decided to make the beauty, place it first in the British Isles. attempt, and a sailor offered to lead It was no hardship to wait in such a the way. What happened was dis- spot, and after about a week a day couraging; a sudden wave covered him came which the local experts considto the neck; there were no further vol- ered promising. We started, a party unteers.
of four, in a nobby. If the reader is as As might be expected legends are not unfamiliar with the term as I had prewanting in connection with the difficul. viously been, he will not object to my ties of finding a friendly footing. The explaining that our nobby, the St. CroGreat Skellig is dedicated to St. Mi- hane, was a boat of twelve and a half chael, and it is said that, on his own tons, fitted with two standing lugs day, the saint guards his home jeal and a foresail, and manned by an Irishously against Intruders. Once an unbe- speaking crew of four. We began with lieving tourist persuaded a boat's crew the lightest of breezes, and drew slowly to take him on St. Michael's day. They through the rocks, sunken and otherdid succeed in effecting a landing, but wise, which make the harbor almost the triumph was short-lived. The in- impossible unless you have grown up dignant breakers shattered the boat to to it. "Surely this must have been splinters. This meant a vigil on the ideal for smugglers," I said, and was rock, anxious friends, a relief party told how in former days a revenue cutnext day, a new boat,--and a long bill. ter, greatly daring, had followed so Thus the saint was avenged.
close upon her prey, that by using her Had difficulties such as these been quarry's course she came safely inside. foreseen, while they might have in But the seizure which should have recreased the longing, they would cer- warded her enterprise was farther oft tainly have diminished my hope of be- than ever. The smuggler doubled