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and feebleness being alone, at midnight, in this wild country, operated so forcibly that I resolved to follow, even at the risk of sacrificing the good opinion he had began to entertain of me.
Had we not better accompany his Reverence ?” I asked. It is late, and he may need our help.”
“And that's thrue,” replied Thady. “Are ye wake, Shamus ?” he continued, giving that individual a shake that might have made a dead man growl.
“ Awa-a-a-ke,” responded Shamus, partly with fear and partly with the violent motion occasioned by Thady's emphatic application -"Ye-e-es, I is awa-a-a-ke—but it's dead I'll be if you sha-a-ake me so unmercifully-S0-0-0 I will."
“Let us on, then," I cried, “or we shall not be able to overtake the holy father."
“ Away-away”—shouted Thady; and as we descended the hill, he burst out, at the top of his powerful voice,
“Follow, follow over mountain ;
Follow, follow over sea;
Follow, follow &c.'" As he sung this he strided on at a rapid rate, and was likely enough to leave me and Shamus behind him, had it not been for my anxiety on account of the old Priest, and the fears of poor Shamus, that induced us to exert ourselves to keep up with him. This, however, we found no easy task, for the stumpy legs of the dwarf seemed to glide over the ground with the greatest rapidity, his voice still sounding
“Follow, follow," until both Shamus and myself were fairly out of breath, and compelled to halt at some distance in the rear. The place where we stopped was singularly wild and romantic. A huge rock, of a strangely ragged appearance, stood isolated in the very midst of the path, and formed a barrier to a strong current of water which rolled foaming and furious from the opposite hill, and after parting with a slight stream which wound quietly down an open space of shelving rocks, thundered into a gloomy gorge, and was lost in some subterranean passage below. On either side of this rock the path divided into two; one of which ran towards the more open country, the other appeared to wind up a narrow glen, that seemed dark and gloomy with impending rocks.
“Which way shall we take?" I said, turning to Shamus; “here are two paths, and Thady can neither be seen nor heard.”
D D D
“That leads to the Priest's house,” said Shamus, pointing to the more open path.
“Then we must take the other," I replied, “for it is certain the Priest would not have hesitated so much had it been near home. Let us try this narrow path.”
“Whisht-whisht, yer honour,” whispered Shamus with strong emotion; "that is the Divil's Glyn.”
“And if it be," I replied, "we may surely pass safely when we are trying to do good.”
“Oh, thrue—thrue,” said Shamus, clinging closer to me, “ but it's myself ud be glad to be safe through it."
“What do you fear?" I asked, as we proceeded along the narrow gorge, that felt chilly with the dampness of the overhanging rocks.
“Fe-e-ar," replied Shamus, bis teeth chattering; “ fe-e-ar-sure it's haunted-and-and”—
“And what, Shamus ?" I said, taking hold of him.
“Och! murther, murther” he roared out, believing some fiend had grasped him; and before I could restore his confidence, by assurances of safety, we were both startled by a tremendous roar from a hollow cave just before us, and it was some moments before I could make out that it was Thady, singing
“ King Death was a rare old fellow,
He sate where no sun could shine,
And poured his coal-black wine.
Hurrah, hurrah, hurrah, for the coal-black wine." The situation he had chosen apparently pleased him highly, for he had no sooner finished the stanza than he burst out into a laugh that seemed literally to shake the rocks, and waked up many a wild echo, as if the glen was peopled by so many merry fiends.
“ Is this the way you guide your friends, Thady ?" I asked, wben his laughter ceased. “If you leave us in this way, his Reverence is likely to help himself, for all the good we can do him.”
“ All in good time," answered Thady, coming forward ; “it's not in the journey there that he'll need us, God bless him." “ Will he need us on his return p" I asked
asked--a sudden suspicion darting through my mind-but to this Thady made no direct reply, but stumped up the rocky path, singing,
"Had I a heart for falsehood framed,
I ne'er could injure you;
Your charms would make me true.'” Finding I could get no information from Thady, and that Shamus was too oppressed with his fears to notice anything I said, there appeared no alternative but to follow our eccentric guide; and certainly, if any one was ever qualified for that office, Thady displayed it in perfection. Each difficult pass was carefully avoided; every sudden turn seemed anticipated, and a tolerably easy road discovered, where a stranger would have found it impossible to proceed. At one time we traversed the side of a steep rock, where a fall would have been instant destruction—at another we passed, by a natural bridge which shook with our weight, over a foaming torrent that roared below, like a fiend ravenous for prey—then, again, we threaded a precipitous and ragged path, from whence we descended abruptly into a narrow defile, where the overhanging rocks shut out all view of the sky, and left us involved in the very blackness of darkness. The excessive dreariness of our position in this strange midnight journey, began to have its effect on my feelings; and recollecting the superstitious nature of the inhabitants, I was not surprised at the fears of Shamus as we passed through the Devil's Glen, for I began to entertain that uncomfortable sensation which arises from the dread of dangers that we can neither see nor avoid, and was heartily wishful to emerge from this type of the bottomless pit, when Thady, who seemed to have a most singular fund of apt associations, started loudly into the following strange ditty, which affected me more powerfully on account of the situation in which we were at the time :
“Ha! ha! ha! what a pleasant night is this !
The stars are all abed,
Is spread along the bog,
Ha! ha! ha! what jolly fun for
To sport on the black pool's brink,
What jolly fun for me,
In the slimy water sink.
Ha! ha! ha! what a merry, merry thing 'twill be,
To flash about his eyes,
To plague him till he dies.
Oh! this is the sport for me
Ha! ha! ha! what jovial sport I see:
His wife is at the door,
And looks across the moor,
His little boy up stairs
Is saying all his prayers,
At the door let her stay,
And the little boy pray,
Yet what are their prayers to me?
By the blasted tree
On the lonely heath,
Rolls dark beneath,
The gibbet is there,
Roars ha! ha! ha!
Ha! ha! ha! Ha! ha! ha!
While Thady was tearing away, at the very top of his lungs, and amusing himself with the wild and uncouth legend above, we had proceeded more than half through this dreary cavern, and on tuming a little to the left, I could see a faint gleam of pale moonlight at some distance before us, which was certainly the most welcome sight I had witnessed on this remarkable evening. As we approached within fifty or sixty yards of the open moonlight, and I was congratulating myself on the prospect, a figure shot suddenly from one side of the rock before us and darted rapidly from the mouth of the cave. I pointed it out to Thady, and asked,
“ Who can that be ?"
“Jist one of the boys warming himself wid exercise," said Thady; “and faith it's myself ud like to do that same.”
“Have we far to go," I inquired, “ before we find the Priest ?”
“It's hard to say,” answered Thady; “but if he's at mother Hoolaghan's, why it's jist convanient."
What Thady might intend by this latter expression it was not easy for me to guess, for I had heard the term used with such extreme latitude, that it might signify we were near the place or ten or twenty miles off; and as I could not shorten the way by the most accurate information, I pursued the inquiry no further, but kept Thady on at a pretty brisk pace, in the hope of seeing the individual whose hasty flight from the cave had somewhat alarmed me.
In this I was dis