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life to you,
tion, added, “ And disaffection secretly expressed by some; and more loudly declared since the insidious offers of Hamilton were circulated in the town."
Before Ross could commence the indignant reply which was rising on his lips, Magrath came in, asking, “ D'ye know, gentlemen, what's to the fore this morning ?”
“ Ay,” answered Ross," and to the fore it may still be ; for I'll never believe that it can be present while there's breath in one true Derry boy.” Long
Mr. Ross, avourneen ; and its you that will get into Miss Ellen's chair-didn't she bid us hold out like a rock ?-and we'll take you to the Diamond, where there's a. party. assembled that mean to have two words to the bargain. It's no time to be hesitating about the trifle of life that's in ye yet; make the most of it, and die like a man, sir."
“ Magrath, my noble fellow, my true Irisbman," cried Ross, “ I would crawl there on my hands and knees rather than be absent. No need for the chair, Larry; give me your arm, and your's M‘Alister'tis true you have not yet declared your purpose, as to this new trial of our constancy, but you will not, you cannot”-he fixed a look of anxious earnestness on Bryan; and Magrath, with a broad grin, responded, “Declared himself, hasn't he? Sure and 'twas not Mr. Bryan who sent me to collect the boys that first wore the white badge, and to tell 'em all that the seventh of December was come round again. Be asy, Mr. Ross,” he added, as the other put the little wheeled carriage aside, “ into it you shall go, if 'twas only to honour her that spent her last breath in putting courage into our hearts. There, that's right; and now, your honours, for the Diamond, and no surrender !”
The lady of M‘Alister watched them from the doorway of her dwelling, in which, for the first time, she was left perfectly alone. With uplifted hands, and overflowing eyes, she besought a blessing on the receding group ; and then retired, to wrestle in more importunate fervency with him to whom alone she dared to look in this extremity of peril.
When Ross, having left his humble carriage at the entrance, was led into the room, supported by Morrison and Bryan, a movement of mingled gratulation and concern took place among the assembled party. His crippled statè rendered his appearance yet more pitiable than theirs, who bore upon their visages the impress of famine, and on their persons the worn out, uncleanly garments that contrasted most miserably with the gentlemanly deportment of the wearers. Few among them of late paid any regard to outward purification ; it was, indeed, next to impossible so to do; for water was too precious to be employed externally, and men who were thankful to feast on a dead dog, or a handful of meal fried in tallow, were little tempted to bring to their disgusting fare the decorations of the toilet. But there was many a sunken eye now flashing brightly beneath the rude mass of uncombed hair ; and the hectic colour speckled many a ghastly cheek, eager to encounter a far greater extremity of suffering, in the cause for which they were pledged to live and to die.
“ You are welcome, Ross,” said one with a smile. “ A good spectre added to this most sepulchral assemblage."
“ 'Tis in contemplation,” added another, to treat yonder rascals with a display of our plump condition ; we are to march out, a funeral exhibition of uncoffined skeletons, to show what sore penance we have undergone, for refusing to deliver up our town seven months since."
“ I'll blow up the magazine first ! ejaculated a third.
Softly, young gentlemen,” said Morrison, who was by some years the elder of the party ; we must deliberate, not inveigh-time is very precious."
The commissioners being named, the second day from that—the thirteenth of July—was appointed for the final adjustment of those terms on which Derry should be given up to the combined French and Irish armies.
A letter was received on that very day from the fleet, announcing that a formidable encampment had been effected by Kirke on the island of Inch, with a view to some speedy movement towards the relief of Derry; and the promptitude of Walker in circulating these glad tidings through the town, sufficiently indicated his real sentiments on the question of capitulation. It became a matter of the greatest moment to protract the parley, in expectation of the promised succour ; and therefore the commissioners on one side were urgent in demanding for the besieged some days' space to consider of the proposed terms—an indulgence most strenuously resisted on the other side. One day, or rather one night alone, was given for the final settlement of this momentous point, within the walls, and the terms demanded by the garrison being such as the enemy would by no means accede to, the negociation abruptly concluded: a furious cannonading from their disappointed foes, conveying to the defenders a speedy token of the wrath excited by their enduring pertinacity. This was followed up by new and menacing demonstrations, large bodies of the hostile army being marched upon the different points towards the city ; but these were met and repulsed by the intrepidity of the besieged, who sallied forth to meet them, apparently as much refreshed by the assurance of enduring yet longer their dreadful privations, as though they had received that supply for the lack of which they were perishing with hunger.
One day the half-opened door of M‘Alister was pushed farther back, and a most pitiable object presented herself. A woman, whose husband and
two sons had already fallen victims to disease and famine reeled forward : clinging to her soiled and tattered garments, were three children, whose cries appeared to have overcome her reason; for she stared around with looks of wild distraction, repeatedly endeavouring to release herself from their grasp
Naughty mother ! naughty mother !” screamed one of the children, striking at her with his little fist, in furious passion.
“ Mother's not naughty,” cried another, beating down the uplifted hand,“ poor mother couldn't help it.”
This interference was vehemently resented by the first speaker, who seemed scarcely four years old ; he dealt a blow at his sister, and amid their redoubled cries of rage and pain, the battle continued, each maintaining its tenacious hold on the agonized parent.
The infant combatants were presently separated by Bryan and his friends, who vainly strove to pacify them. Their little bosoms seemed bursting with resentment and despair, and it was long before an answer could be obtained to the mild enquiries of their captors : at last the girl, who had been placed by Morrison on his knee, said, “ Mother had a loaf, a beautiful loaf, that a kind gentleman gave : she dropped it; and a big boy snatched it up, and ran away.”