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little money.

Billy was a knowledgalle man, and was known to have put by a

He sold, moreover, the best tobacco and whisky in Claddagh, wherever he got them. However little his customers knew upon that question, Billy took good care that the coast-guard and the gaugers should know less. And so it turned out that, one fine day, he was elected Mayor of Claddagh.

“Norah Connolly was a snug freize-weaver's daughter. Her father, Darby Connolly, was an honest, industrious man that wove the only raal ould Irish cloth that was worth wearing; and as he had the woollen trade of Claddagh nearly all to himself, Darby, as well as his neighbour and friend Billy Bathagh, could lay his hand on a good bit of money, to marry his only child, or do anything else in reason he liked with it.

“Norah was as fine a girl as ever stepped in shoe leather, or the sun shone down upon, and a great belle in her way. Indeed, she was the belle of Claddagh, and you might say that when Johnny Connor won her heart, and bore off the belle, which he did like a man, that there was something to ring the bells about for a month of Sundays.

“ There's no use in me telling you how many of the girls of Claddagh set their best looks at Johnny, and how many of its boys showed off before Norah at all sorts of manly games and diversions, such as leaping, and vaulting, and pitching the bar, and pushing the stone, and wrestling, and football, and dancing; but Johnny beat them all; and with all that he was no more proud of his success than he was of his good looks, which never made him conceited.

“Norah's father Darby was the proudest man in Claddagh. He lost his poor wife when their only child was little more than a babby. The more she grow, the stronger was the grasp she held of his heart; and

every guinea he put by, he thought of Norah. She was the apple of his eye, and the light of his home. He thought her far above marrying any young man in the parish. Indeed, he thought her fit to step into a carriage, and marry a lord. He intended that when the happy day arrived, when she was to change her condition, she would do so with her only parent's consent; but it's little the boys and girls care for parents' or guardians' consent down in Claddagh, where they'll only ask for their own, although they won't marry

from among each other. “ And so it came round, one fine morning in May, the month for billing and cooing among the birds, and for kissing and coorting among the boys and girls, that Johnny and Norah ran off with each other without saying a word about it at home to either of their fathers, and made a match of it. But they didn't run far-only into Galway, which was like stepping next door, where they were married by Father Dan O'Hara, a mighty great preacher in his day, as well as divine, and a great encourager of early marriages. A cousin of


Norah's, a brave lump of a girl, who was in the secret, was her only bridesmaid ; and a cousin of Johnny's, a young man about his own age, was bridegroom's best man on the occasion. When the ceremony was over and they got their breakfast at one of the inns in Galway, they all four drove off on a jaunting-car to a house of entertainment standing about ten miles the other side of Claddagh, and kept by a decent widow woman who was first cousin to Norah's own mother. All was right and regular and on the square.

“Well to be sure, what a dinner the wedding-party had prepared for them by the widow, one of the good old stock, who went by the name of Ready-money Peg, because she managed to keep her accounts straight, by keeping no accounts whatsoever. Some two or three couple of young friends of Johnny's and Norah's, boys and girls who 'got the office, as the sporting newspapers say, came down from Claddagh to join in the fun, without letting the old people know a word as to where they were going.

“And so, my jewels, they all began dancing to the pleasant music of a couple of fiddlers and a piper, with only a pair of eyes between the three; and as the innocent, hearty boys and girls were tearing away and welting the boards, and Norah above all of them doing full justice to the tune and her own reputation, for she was the best dancer in the County Galway,--just as all this pleasant divarsion was going on, what should be seen coming across the bay but a couple of long boats, one of them fifty to a hundred yards before the other, with about a dozen men in each, pulling away together like one man. That beautiful long sweep you can never mistake, flashing the silver lightning from every stroke over the blue water; you know at once it's no fishermen or merchantmen but a man-of-war’s-men that you see before you. And sure enough there was a fifty-gun frigate lying a good way out in the bay for about a week or two before, under pretence of looking after the fisheries, and keeping the French chaps from encroaching on our rights and titles. On they came and everybody thought that they were only making for shore to have a screech and a drink at the widow's, and to go back again to their ship in peace and comfort. But, wirasthrew! it's little we know when we get up in tlte morning what's to happen to us before we lie down at night!

“When the boats drew up on the beach, which they did opposite the widow's door, Johnny Connor, who was king of the company, and looked upon the house as his own for the night, went out and invited the blue jackets to come in and drink the bride's health and dance at her wedding. With this invitation the new-comers most politely complied, and began to drink and dance away their English dances with the Claddagh girls who knew the Sailor's Hornpipe and Pop goes the Weasel as well as the best of them.



“As the clock struck twelve and Norah had stolen off to bed upstairs in the bridal chamber which her relation the landlady prepared for her, a long shrill whistle, which no doubt was the boatswain's, was heard coming from the front of the house outside; and at that, my jewels, up jumped the four-and-twenty sailors all in a row, and laid hold of the poor half-dozen Claddagh boys, drawing their cutlasses and cocking their pistols, and crying, “Damn you, come along with me, says the saucy Arethusa!' What could the poor fellows do but knock under. In less than three minutes they were marched out of the house, with the gags in their mouths and the darbies on their wrists, and bundled in two batches on board the boats. The Claddagh girls were at first dumb-foundered at what they saw going on, the rush was so sudden and the capture so quiet and handy, just as if a lot of poachers had snared so many hares or pheasants and bagged and made off with them. The widow was pinned up with her back to the wall behind the counter in the bar, by a couple of the ruffians with their pistols to her breast, swearing they'd blow her into Davy's locker or the middle of next week, if she didn't keep her breath to cool her own porridge with, and her clacking all to herself.

“The boats pulled off, and then it was, of course, the row began, and it would split the heart of a stone to hear the bawling and roaring of the girls. Norah was down among them, half-dressed, with her long raven hair streaming in the wind, the tears falling down her white cheeks like the rain, and her beautiful arms stretched as high as her head towards the bay, as if they would reach over it; and she kept crying out as the boats got farther and farther away, and the sound of the oars grew fainter and fainter every stroke. "Oh, wirasthrew ! oh, wirasthrew! oh, sure they haven't taken my boucheleen bawn* from me! And 'Give me, oh give me back my Johnny! The rest of

' the girls kept crying out in the same way, every one for herself, of coorse, calling on her sweetheart to come back to her; but the poor boys couldn't, for there they sat in the boats gagged and handcuffed—-not able to wag a tongue, or shake a limb, although you were to pay them for it.

“Poor Norah at last fell down exhausted, and was carried upstairs by the widow and the girls to bed. From that bed she didn't rise for a month at least; for the next morning she awoke with a brain fever, which nearly took her off to join her mother in glory; and so it would, if her youth and fine constitution hadn't stood her friends, and that she lived for the hopes of seeing Johnny again.

“The frigate had just got all that were in the boats on board, when a fair wind sprung up blowing southward by Dingle and Bantry, round by Cape Clear and Kinsale, and up to Cork.

* Fair-haired young boy.

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“It's myself sure enough that forgets the war that they all sailed away for, and the foreigners they went to fight against. May be it was the French, or the Spanish, or the Dutch, or all three of them together. And I'm equally astray in the regard of the Admirals that our poor boys sailed and fought under—Duncan, or Howe, or Jarvis, or Ould Shiver-the-wind Paddy Packenham himself; but this I can tell you that Johnny Connor fought and fell whoever it was—as the 'Univarsal Songster' says—in the arms of victory.

“Well, it was in the month of May-and just three years after the Claddagh boys were run away with. During the time one or other of them used to write home to those they loved, but Johnny to his Norah more constantly than the rest, saying how bravely he was, and how well he was getting on. And he used always to tell her not to fret, and he'd soon be home again with her. It was just as the moon was up in the top of the blue sky that hadn't a cloud in it, and the waves as smooth and as quiet as a mill-pond. Just opposite them Norah was sitting looking in sadness from the window of the same room where she was to have passed the first night of her honeymoon. The house belonged, as you may all suppose, to her mother's first cousin, the Widow Hagerty. It was not far from twelve o'clock when the widow called upon the lonely and disconsolate girl on her way to her own bed-chamber to bid her good-night, and to tell her to be careful with her candle ; for the landlady used always to say that if ever by any accident the house was to be set on fire, there was whisky enough below stairs to blow every mother sowl in the place all the way into Galway, or to the Isles of Arran in the other direction. But she didn't find Norah with a candle lighting; for the moonlight made the room as clear as if it was noon-day, and she was sitting with the window wide open, looking out on the bright waves of the ocean. She used to come over from Claddagh now and then, and spend the day and night with her relation, sometimes two or three together that she might roam about by day, and gaze by night all mournfully upon the spot where they took him away from her.

“I've just dropped in upon you, dear Norah, to say good-night, and to caution you as I always do about the candle; but I see I've no occasion, for it's out, and you're sitting there in the cowld without a mantle or shawl about you. Acushla machree, take care of your health for your own and all our sakes, and for Johnny's in particular, if you ever hope to see him, and be the same hale and hardy girl he'll expect to find you, instead of having that cough that every now and then tears you to pieces, and makes one almost think that you're on the brink of a consumption.'

“Oh, I'll never see him again,' said the poor girl very sorrowfully, 'I know I won't; for I dreamt last night something woefully bad entirely ghout him. Last Holly Eve Night, too, the melted lead I

threw out of the grisset * into the great tub of water ran in an instant into the shape of a coffin. I know that the worst is coming. Oh, I know and feel it too well. This night three years it was that they took him away from me, and I am going to stay up another hour to think of him, and to pray for him; for it will never come round again for either of us.'

“The widow cautioned her against giving way to grief and sadness, and, with another word about the candle, if by chance she lit it again, went to her own room, and was soon in bed. Not

many minutes after, as Norah was sitting at the open window, with her eyes fixed on the spot far out at sea where the frigate once lay, and that was the fır, far away line where the sky was kissed by the ocean, she saw all on a sudden the heavens open in that direction; and such a flood of light appeared as if the Bog of Allan was on fire, and lit up everything for miles around. It got lighter and brighter as it came over the sea towards her till she could count all the colours of the rainbow in it; and as it came nearer it became round like the sun, and darted out from all sides the same sort of beautiful rays that you see in the glories about the heads of the saints in the chapel pickthers. Wonderful to tell, the first object she plainly obsarved in this great wheel of glory was a frigate about the size of the one that took Johnny away; but its masts and rigging were all shattered and broken, and a part of its decks were battered in and torn to pieces. It was blazing away too like mad from the port-holes, and the booming of the guns was as if they were firing only a hundred yards off. When the smoke cleared away, the ship cleared out of the fiery circle after it, and in the very centre of this a man appeared in a sailor's dress, as the great orb of glory came nearer and nearer to Norah. It was then, sure enough, that she knew what the vision meant; and she thought upon Johnny. And, as sure as she thought of him, there he was, great as the distance was, before her! She never could mistake his handsome manly face, his beautiful white neck, and his light curly locks; but his roguish blue eyes, that used once to smile on her so good-naturedly, had no longer the fire in them; and he looked so sad and sorrowful, as much as to say, ‘God be with you, darling Norah, for it's all over for both of us.' And worse still, and more horrible than all, his forehead and face were spotted and streaked with blood; and she could see a red, red stream of it trickling down on to his breast through his collar that was all wide open.

“Norah blessed herself three times over, and fell on her knees still looking out of the window on to the Bay, and began to say her prayers for the souls of the faithful departed' in general and for Johnny's in particular. Just as she finished his name he disappeared from the

* Grisset-the iron ladle in which lead for bullets, shot, slugs, or the magic purposes of Hallow E'en is melted.

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