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they were struck by the appearance of a group surrounding an object of squalid aspect, whose stubborn taciturnity incurred the evident wrath of his impatient querists. Demanding the nature of their enquiry, Bryan was informed, that the captive had been discovered lurking under the walls in a very suspicious way; and refused either to state the nature of his business, or to give an explicit answer on the score of his religion.
Why don't you take him to the governor?' asked Bryan.
“Arrah, shure, and the governor's self is the very person to dale with a traitor,” exclaimed one of the guard, with a grimace that sufficiently shewed the scope of his remark; while an involuntary movement of the prisoner's muscles seemed to bespeak a recognition of its justice.
This play of feature yet more provoked the bystanders, one of whom roughly seizing the stranger's collar, his tattered vest gave way, and displayed a small crucifix of coarse materials, suspended from his neck. The object seemed a satisfactory confirmation of the worst possible surmises; and while some shouted, “ bayonet the popish traitor !” others proposed to throw him over the walls. Among the latter was Ross; but Bryan interposed, saying, “ Really, boys, it is a bad example that our enemies set us, of putting men to death without a trial-give him fatis play.”
The public opinion, however, was against this ; but on Ross enforcing the demand, and some other object diverting the attention of the people, it was agreed, that if MʻAlister would be surety for his safe-keeping, he should be allowed the disposal of the prisoner for the night; and their guard being now relieved, the friends consulted as to the best way.
of securing their prize.
“I shall take him home,” said Bryan, after a moment's consideration, “no prison so safe as our little abode; and I dare say the poor
ellow is hungry by this time. Probably, too, he is wholly Irish; and we can make out a little of the Celtic amongst us.”
“ You need'nt to put yourself out of the way," grumbled the prisoner. “ Sure enough its myself that has the Irish drop, clane and entire ; but I'm 'cute at the languages."
Ross and M‘Alister looked on each other, not a little amused at the careless effrontery of a man in such critical circumstances. The former, assuming as rich a brogue as his new acquaintance, said, “ Come now, my gay fellow, I'll engage that you'll be after taking charge of some nate little billet for governor Lundy."
“ You may get out of that," answered the other ; “ for my trial does not come on till to-morrow.” “ Hold your tongue, Ross,” whispered Bryan,
we must not encourage his familiarity : consider the poor females at home.”
Arrived at their abode, Bryan briefly prepared his family for the entrance of such a guest ; and then ushered him into the apartment, from which the young ladies had withdrawn. Old Shane, of late indulged with a seat in the chimney corner, was dozing, and scarcely marked their entrance; but the lady of M‘Alister bent her scrutinizing eye upon the stranger, as, with mild dignity, she pointed to a seat.
He was evidently quite young; and in the absence of filth, and if properly clothed, would have borne rather a prepossessing aspect. His figure was good, but drooping under evident weakness and fatigue : a naturally fair complexion, though embrowned by exposure, and lively blue eyes, bore witness to his Milesian descent; while the thick chestnut hair, elustered, or rather matted about his face, imparted a characteristic wildness, and concealed much of its expression. His manner at once changed to respectful conrtesy, when he beheld the ladies ; till the luxury of a warm seat appeared to banish every other feeling but that of present enjoyment. Bryan immediately supplied him with substantial slice of bread and cheese, over which he devoutly crossed himself.
Just at this moment Shane recovered the use of all his faculties; and sitting upright, with staring
eyes, exclaimed, “In the name of madness, Master Bryan, what have you brought here?”
A comic expression of countenance shewed that the new comer enjoyed his consternation; while Ross answered, “ A prisoner;” and Bryan followed it up by a brief statement of the circumstances attending his capture.
Mrs. M‘Alister expressed her anxious hope that he would not prove so guilty as they supposed ; but Shane's indignation searcely knew any bounds.
“ Sure and you haven't the heart to see the poor ladies kilt with fright, while you garrison the house with murthering papist rebels !" ** Compose yourself, Shane,” said the lady calm
we are perfectly satisfied to shelter him for the night.”
“ Long life to your ladyship's hospitality !” said the man; “ you'll be Irish, I'm thinking, by that same."
Aye, won't she then »»' exclaimed Shane, in a Fet more angry tone ;
6 who'll be Irish if the right, real, rich blood of the O'Neill's is'nt that? Nothing but a black-mouthed Papist could deny her ladyship.”
* I'm proud to hear it," replied the other ; while Bryan reprimanded Shane's asperity, and Ross highly enjoyed the scene.
The old man, however, seemed to have been awakened from some alarming dream, to behold the
vision verified; for he continued to bewail the event, adding, “ Man and boy, these seventy years, has poor Shane O'Connogher been larning the mischief of them ; barrin, that when I was a brainless gossoon, I went to mass with my kin.
But never since I saw the outside of sweet Ballinahagan, to follow my noble master, have I darkened the door of one of their mass-houses. Och, and it's old Shane that must sit and be bearded to his face by a rebelly popish traitor, crossing himself to the blessed work of selling our lives to the bloody Tyrconnel.”
“And is it yourself, Shane, dear," said the other, in the most provoking tone of affectionate remonstrance : “ is it yourself that'll sit cracking your precious windpipe to the disparagement of your own nathral flesh and blood, avourneen ?"
“ My flesh and blood, you imp?"
“ Plase your honour,” said the man, turning to Bryan and his laughing companion, “as sure as I sit here, I'm his brother's daughter's son.
Hadn't he a brother named Dennis, five years older than himself, and that same married to Judy M'Lanaghan, who died, rest her soul ! at the birth of her first child. Well, and was’nt young Judy married to Larry Magrath, the miller's son at Kilcronan, and he my own father ? Fait and it's a good name that my uncle is after taking out of me, though I hadn't the merit of turning my religion, agra!"
Fixed in amazement, old Shane gazed on his soi