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occupied his usual place a little in the rear of Shane's seat by the chimney corner.
An occasional cannonade, interrupting the repose of their little apartment, furnished a striking commentary on the pious and appropriate remarks of the lady and Malcolm. The latter seemed to be still in a state of much excitement; and frequently paced the room, or stood within the attentive circle, who hung upon his words.
“ All's well!" uttered the night-guard, as they passed the door : the explosion of a bomb followed.
The word of promise was then laid open; and amid the din of discord, the prayer and the hymn
Malcolm gave out a Psalm from the paraphrase of his church, the 23rd, dearly prized by the persecuted covenanters; and with deep intonation he dwelt upon the lines,
Yea, though I walk in death's dark vale,
Yet will I fear none ill;
And staff me comfort still.
When Letitia retired with her mother to their little sleeping apartment, she stooped to look through the window, which nearly touched the ground, “ How beautiful, mamma, is this night! The moon shines sweetly, and Lough Foyle dances like quicksilver below. Is it not strange that under such a sky, men should prepare to dye those peaceful waters with blood? With the words that we have heard to-night, warm on my memory, methinks I could go forth to yonder camp, and proclaim to the foes who seek our lives, Peace on earth; good-will towards men.'
“ My child, it is the love of God, shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost, that disarms all bitter and resentful feelings. Come, Letitia ; let us pray for them; for they know not what they do."
They kneeled in prayer; and peacefully composed themselves to rest, conversing for a while on the glorious privilege of God's children, so exquisitely set forth in the Psalm, which Letitia again recited.
The grey tint had not visited the darkened east, when a bomb broke through the garret roof, and falling on the bed, rolled thence to the window, which it forced from its frame, and exploded loudly in the street.
But those two quiet sleepers awoke not: without a pang they had passed into eternity.
In the crowded state of the city, it was needful to commit with all speed to their last earthly restingplace the bodies of the slain : and scarcely had the agonized survivors of M‘Alister's race a competent time allotted to enshroud the forms so tenderly beloved, ere they were pent up in the narrow receptacle that sufficed for both—one coffin was prepared one grave was dug-and ere yet the shell received its lid, a crowd of weeping friends hemmed in the individuals, who, stationed close around the shattered bed, gazed upon those lineaments, as uninjured and as calmly soft as when slumber first stole over them. The lady's heart was rent beyond the power of her strong mind, and stronger faith, to sustain without a struggle that convulsed her frame; while the tearless stupefaction of poor Ellen, as she hung upon her brother's shoulder, appeared more pitiable still. But Bryan's trial was perhaps the hardest, for nature strove in his bosom against the subduing grace of God, and raised a cry of wrath and vengeance. Sbane's grief was frantic; and his passionate lamentions woke a responsive chord in many a breast; for there were childless mothers by, and widowed brides, and orphaned children. The fugitives who had sought shelter in Derry, had each some tale to tell that would have claimed an eminence in grief; and the stream of selfish sorrow now flowed afresh, in the contemplation of another's woes.
Up to this period, Malcolm had not been apprized of the event; but he now appeared, led by vague rumour, and hastily passing the deserted apartments, ascended to the spot. His presence occasioned a movement throughout the party, whose sobs and moans redoubled as they opened a passage for him to the coffin.
“ See there,” said Bryan, moving his clenched fist towards it.
“ And see there !” responded Malcolm, as he pointed to the broken roof, through which was visible a portion of the deep blue sky, and a little fleecy cloud that glided like a distant wing athwart it.
But while other eyes were raised to mark, his own fell again on the lifeless forms, and he burst into tears.
The firing at this time became more rapid ; and whizzing balls passed through the streets, and another bomb exploded at a short distance. When the noise subsided, Malcolm spoke, “ All is well ; aye, better than well with them : for what hosannas, what music of heavenly harpings now surround those rejoicing spirits before the throne of the Lamb! Oh blessed confession,” he added, as he bent over the shell : “ said she not, last night, that the Lord himself had taught her, whose teaching is the pledge of never-ending life?”
Then, in a strain of triumphant praise, he rendered thanks for the victory achieved over death and
The exercise was blessed : for Ellen wept, and Bryan found deliverance from the revengeful cravings of a lacerated spirit, while enabled to contrast the triumphs of heavenly joy, with the poor mangled remains of the earthly tabernacles, which once imprisoned the now liberated souls. On rising, he inquired for Magrath.
Summoned from a corner, the poor fellow approached ; and covering his face with both hands,
exclaimed in broken accents, “ Oh, don't, sir, don't put blame on me—they are not my beads," “ Blame you, Magrath ? never.
I blame only the sin which has brought death into the world. I called you to take a farewell look at those whom you loved, and served, and would have died to defend. See, how peaceful-oh, Magrath, they are happy : for they died trusting in Christ, and in him alone. He is all-all sufficient.”
Magrath gazed for a moment, then casting up bis eyes, he wrung his hands; and with a passionate exclamation in Irish, left the room.
Through the broken window the coffin was lowered, and, amid the tears of many, borne to its grave.
Ross had quitted Derry three or four days previously, on a mission to Enniskillen; and returning into the town, he met his friend slowly retracing the homeward path.
“M’Alister, my dear fellow, are you going to give me the cut at last ?” said he gaily : but the eye
that was raised to his own made him start away.
To speak, Bryan found impossible: he took his arm, and strongly compressing it, led him back to the grave. Magrath had taken the shovel, and was carefully filling the last earth.
Bryan, for mercy's sake, what is all this ?”
My mother-and Letitia—are there.”