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OR,

SELF-DEPENDENCE.

CHAPTER I.

soon ceased to soothe and conciliate her bus.

band, and tried to play off her indifference and It was on a wild and stormy night of a bitter contempt against his fits of passion and neglect. December, that I was born. My birthplace was This was very sad, for in their hearts they still an Irish town in Galway; and for many weeks, loved each other; and, although both took a I was hushed to sleep by the roaring of the lake strange way of showing it, there was, even at over which my nursery hung. My father was this time, enough of their first affection left to a young Irish officer; my mother an English constitute, if rightly managed, a fund to draw woman, who, captivated by his handsome face upon through life. "But Pride, their great archand chivalrous bearing, waltzed off with him one enemy, whispered to them always, and was chernight from her godfather's house in London: and ished as a faithful counselor by both : so that while it was supposed they were admiring the when Love and Memory pleaded in their hearts towers in the conservatory, the happy pair were for gentleness and forbearance toward each as far on the north road as the speed of four other, he would say to Alice, “Don't relent ! horses could hurry them.

don't smile, or play his favorite music! He will Fortunately for the runaways, my mother was behave as ill to-morrow, and then how you will the youngest and favorite child of her parents, have lowered your dignity. No! show a proper who tried to forget, in their love for her, that spirit, and teach him that you are as indifferent her husband was a spendthrift, and, if report as he is." Then this same traitor would urge spoke truly, a gambler also. Not many weeks upon the husband his right to be late or early, after the hasty and ill-considered marriage, Alice furious or gentle, at home or abroad, just as he Vere, now Mrs. Sackville, found that she had pleased, without reference to any one but him. placed hersell at the mercy of a man whose self; and would insinuate, that his wife's pale violent and jealous temper, wholly beyond his cheeks and wasted figure were caused, not by wwn control, rendered her miserable. The slight- anxiety and care, but by her own willfulness and est provocation, and often no provocation at all, temper. was sufficient to transport him beyond the bounds In this way passed the first year of their anion ; of reason; and, at such times, she would sit and when, at its close, I was born-a cross and trembling before him until the paroxysm was troublesome infant-my parents had thwarted past, or till he left her in a frenzy. Still she and vexed each other until little of the wild love lored him; for, when the storm was over, there which had led them to marry remained. Still, was a charm in his manner, and an eloquence in an occurrence which took place a few weeks behis voice, that were irresistible. Her feminine fore my appearance in this weary world, will Fanity, too, was enlisted on his side; for certain show that, although their affection was diminly, when at the head of his men, or doing the ished, it was not totally destroyed, and that Alice honors of the ball-room to the guests of the-th, Sackville was not as indifferent toward her hus. there was no man she had ever seen who could band as she would fain have had him believe. compare with him. He was a gallant soldier, The part of Ireland in which my father's regi. 100, and idolized by the peasantry, for whom he ment was then stationed being in a very unsettled was always ready to do a service; as he loved state, the troops had been sent there mainly to popularity, and liked people to see the influence preserve the peace. But one duty which fell to he held over the wild denizens of mountain and their lot, was most odious; and of such a nature bog.

as to make almost every officer anxious to avoid For a time all this helped to reconcile my it. This was searching for and seizing whisky mother to her lot; but scarcely six months stills : and called in derision "still-hunting.” elapsed, after her marriage, ere she found her To men who had distinguished themselves both society deserted for the billiard-table, and her in India and the Peninsula—who bore Seringaconversation rudely avoided or silenced, when- patam and Vittoria upon their colors—it was a ever, as was now daily the case, her husband service which most felt to be a degradation; and could spend his time more agreeably in discussing nothing but high military discipline, the officers' and betting upon the next steeple-chase or Cur- sense of duty, and the men's habits of subordiragh races.

nation, prevented loud remonstrance. Of all the There was in Alice Sackville's nature a great regiment only one officer (a man who had not learen of obstinacy and pride; therefore, she long joined it, and was known to be of low birth

and quarrelsome disposition), found pleasure in woman as thoroughly convinced that he was trythese midnight marches and inglorious detections ing to mislead her, as if she had read his secret of contraband stills. Between this man and my purpose. How often it happens that the very father there was a kind of civil hatred : the one people whom we think we have most craftily despised, the other envied his companion; and, deceived, are the most alive to our falsehood: although they were not at open war, their mutual we imagine that we have blinded them, and all aversion was apparent to every one.

the while they are reading us as if the heart were Once or twice Captain Sackville had spoken a book. contemptuously of the readiness with which the It required very little ingenuity on the part of new man accepted “active service, and sug- Marcy to discover that no still-hunting expedigested whether a still would not now be a fit ad. tion was in preparation, and that Major Martin dition to the trophies and honors blazoned on the and her master were closeted together at the colors of the regiment. One of those busy bodies major's quarters, for some very different pur. who are always ready to make mischief, repeat- pose. Lieutenant Tregear and Mr. Nash had ed my father's sarcasm to the object of it, and been seen to go into the subalterns' rooms, and before many hours had elapsed from the time of from the whole aspect of affairs, it was evident its utterance, a challenge was given and accept- that something unusual was about to happen. ed; the meeting being arranged to take place Nothing certain, however, could the girl discovthe next morning, upon a wild moor five miles er, until late in the evening; when, partly by from the barracks. During the afternoon which threats, and partly by coaxing, she succeeded in followed this arrangement, the suspicions of my extorting from the fascinated George a confesmother's English maid were aroused by the hints sion of all he knew. and mysterious looks of her lover; who, being It had so happened that, soon after my mothCaptain Sackville's servant, had his master's er's first arrival in Ireland, her maid had been pistols in charge. These surmises she conveyed ill, and that during her absence a young girl, to her mistress, whose fears, thus excited, were the daughter of the only decent inn-keeper in the but too painfully confirmed by my father's man- village, had been engaged to attend upon the ner when he came to her room to take leave of bride. Mrs. Sackville and Honor had been muher, before starting, as he said, upon a “still-tually pleased with each other; and, after her hunting” expedition, which would detain him short service was over, many were the chickens until the next morning.

of her own rearing and pats of butter of her own My mother fixed her eyes upon her husband churning, brought by The warm-hearted Irish as he spoke, and holding the band which he had maid to the "English lady." And now, in her extended in farewell, said,

grief and fear, with no one at hand to aid in car. “Are you really going up the mountains, rying out the wild scheme she had formed, my Gerald ? Are you sure?"

mother thought of Honor, whom she sent for at "Of course, of course," he replied, with a once, and took into her confidence. The assista short, nervous laugh: "what makes you ask such ance and secrecy required of Honor were proma question? Don't I often go upon these glo- ised with that heartiness, with which—be their rious errands ?"

faults what they may—the children of Erin al"Yes, but I have a strange fancy that you ways respond to the need of a friend. Honor are not going on such service to-night." undertook to find out where the duel was to be

“Why, what Banshee has been wailing at the fought, and to bring a car, driven by her own window to frighten you, Alice? You look as if " bachelor," to a certain spot on the road, where you saw one, now : but, don't you know, they Mrs. Sackville was to meet it, and be taken as never appear until night; so don't be silly, but nearly as possible to the ground, in order that say good-by and wish me success, And as he she might be at hand in case the meeting ter. spoke he snatched

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minated fatally; and the miserable wife was as My mother's heart stood still, as the thought firmly assured that the girl's promise would be that she might never again see him alive rushed performed as if it were already done. across her mind. The ardor of their first passionate love seemed all at once to return; and with an impulsive cry of griet, she sprang from her seat, and threw herself into her husband's

CHAPTER II. ** Why, Alice! what is the matter? Are you Often have I heard my mother describe the ill ?” said he, as she clung hysterically to him. wretchedness of that night. It was in the mid

“No no: but you, Gerald I you! where are dle of October, which month had, contrary to cusyou going !" she sobbed out.

tom, come in cold, gusty, and wet. The rain " Where I told you, silly one. Where else do fell in torrents, and the clouds were driven across you think I am going ? Come, lie down, and the face of the heavens as is angry spirits were at I'll send Marcy to you, and she shall read you war, and they fled in terror before them. Every to sleep."

now and then the moon gleamed out with her “Oh, Gerald ! do tell me the truth."

white, round, passionless face, and cast a sickly “But you will not believe me, you little in- glare upon the pools of water in the street, and fidel! You are nervous and tired, and have got the glass of the opposite windows. The measthe blue-devils, I'm afraid, from sitting alone. ured tread of the sentry, and the challenge of the George shall go across and ask Mrs. Martin to officer of the guard, were the only sounds, excome and talk scandal to you—so good-by, and cept the plashing rain, that broke the stillness; mind you are better to-morrow.'

and these appeared to add to, rather than dimino “And thus they parted: the man thinking ish the sense of loneliness. Honor had sent Mrs. that he had succeeded in his deception, and the Sackville word that at three o'clock she would

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be waiting with a car under the plantation, to the She had so placed herself that she was oppoleft of the chapel.

site to her husband, and as she gazed upon his L'p and down her room my mother paced all face, and marked its perfect calmness, the utter night, only stopping to look at her watch by the absence of uneasiness or dread, the quiet, manly din fire-light-for she dared not have candles, courage with which he stood, waiting, as it lest their appearance at so unusual an hour seemed, for death, she could hardly refrain from should arouse suspicion in the minds of any one rushing forward; and she felt as if she could die who might be passing.

with him. All her old love came back, and filled At length the clock in the Barrack-square her heart with such a tumult of alarm and fondstruck the last quarter past two, and, wrapped ness, that its wild beating was well-nigh stilled in a large gray cloak, and trembling from head forever. to foot, my mother stole out into the street, and At this time my mother was far from being a walked hurriedly toward the plantation. Very religious character: she had been too fashionafew words were spoken when she reached it, for bly educated, too much idolized and flattered, to Honor saw that Mrs. Sackville was in no mood have learned many of the deep truths of Chrisfor talking; so, having for the last time whis- tianity; it is not, therefore, to be wondered at, pered directions to her lover, she obeyed my that the only seelings now present to her mind mother's gesture, and running quickly down the were a woman's admiration of bravery, and a bill, soon disappeared. After a dark and jolting wife's dread of her possible loss. To her fancy ride of more than an hour, Mike took up his posi- there was something heroic in her husband's tion under shelter of a rock, close to the spot position and attitude; something sublime in his fued upon by the combatants. There the agi-dauntless and soldierlike serenity. Nothing was taled wile awaited in painful suspense the issue; exaggerated or done for display; all was the nathaving nothing where with to beguile the tedious ural effect of a brave heart-and high health : hours which must elapse before daybreak, but for more than heroes would like to think, does. her hopes and fears, and the prayers which she their unflinching courage depend upon their temfrom time to time offered up for her husband's perance. No fear of an eternal future, no thought safety.

of the outraged law of an Almighty Creator visAt last the morning dawned, and as it broke ited my father's conscience to make him craven. drearily over the wild and lonely landscape, a He was only doirg what his father, and his fachaise driven at full gallop appeared upon the ther's father, had done before him; and what, moor. It had scarcely stopped when another for not doing, a young man in his own regiment arrived, and the trembling wife was near enough had been sent to Coventry by his brother oflicers, to hear her husband speaking in cheerful tones to and, finally, hunted out of the army. It was then Major Martin. There was a long low range of a matter of course, almost of duty, in a soldier. rocks, which lay about three hundred yards to God's laws, the God of peace and love, are the the right of the spot where Captain Sackville very last thought of by the duelist. My father was placed, and under cover of their shadow my was no worse, and, in many things, much better mother crept along in the misty light, and stood than his fellows; but until men learn to know that as near ber husband as she dared.

the Eternal law, “thou shalt do no murder," is It was her determination, that if the lives of as binding upon a gentleman as upon a peasant, both combatants were spared she would return and that in the eyes of the Everlasting, there is bome, and never betray her knowledge of the no distinction between the murderer whose life meeting; but that if Gerald fell, or killed his an- is forfeited to the outraged laws of man, and the tagonist, she would instantly go forward, and duelist who goes out in cold blood to take the lite either succor her husband, or accompany him of one who has been, perhaps, his dearest friend, abroad. Brief were the greetings exchanged by offering for excuse the hazard of his own-Christhe party; the seconds made a formal, but of tianity, as our Lord lest it to us, can have no course ineffectual attempt, to bring about a rec- place in their hearts. We may have brave and anciliation between their principals; they then dauntless soldiers in our service, but Christian examined the pistols, placed their men, and went gentlemen we can not have. through all the rest of the hateful business neces. This same sad perversion of feelings—this consary for the proper perpetration of honorable fusion of right and wrong-was shared by my murder. Strange influence of custom! Of all poor mother ; else how could she have refrained the men who took part in the arrangements, not from springing forward and, by her presence, one bat would have turned away disgusted from putting an end to the scene upon which she witnessing the necessary proceedings of a slaugh- looked? Some may be tempted to say, that she ter-house; and yet they were met at an unsea was cold-hearted or unwomanly, thus to have sonable hour, under cover of twilight and se- stood, and yet not have interfered!I could crecy, to aid a project which had for its fulfill not have done so! I could not have seen my ment the temporal, perhaps eternal death of one, husband killed before my face, or taking another if not two fellow-men, whom each one, there man's life,' one may exclaim. Another may recalled friend.

mark, “I wonder why she went at all: she could My mother trembled and clung to the rock in not have loved him, and yet have borne to stand breathless alarm and anxiety, and long as she by and see him in danger of being murdered; that thought the time spent in these fearful prepara- is impossible." No, it is not impossible, for it is tions, yet she would not have shortened it by a true.

Mrs. Sackville was the sister of a man word: but when Major Martin, who had been who had been shot in a duel, and buried with occupied at a little distance from his friend, military honors; whose name was cherished as walked quietly over the ground toward him, the that of a hero, while his antagonist had been dishorror-struck wife could scarcely repress a missed the service. She was the wife of a solscream

dier, and well knew that, if urged by her fema

inine fears and wisely love, she rushed forward small vein in her head, and in a moment she lay and stayed the duel, her husband would be the bleeding at his feet. object of men's derision: that they would say This accident, alarming, as it seemed, was he had given her a hint of what was going on, in effect a most fortunate occurrence ; for the and anticipated her interference. She knew that, excitement of the past night had brought on with his hot and fiery temper, he would imagine lever, which was thus timely subdued by the such things, even if they were never said; and loss of blood. that this one meeting so interrupted, would thus lead to others. She had experienced his distaste for all displays of affection made by wives, and well knew that, so sensitive was his pride, he

CHAPTER III. would rather lose ten lives than be quizzed as the object of his wife's doting love. Knowing all Strange as it may appear, this incident an. this, therefore, my mother stood in silent tremor noyed my father greatly; and although he by the rocks, and when all was ready, clasped could not help being touched by his wife's devo. her hands so tightly, in the agony of apprehen- tion, still the idea that he had been watched, and sion, that her finger-nails turned livid with the was exposed to jesting remarks upon her romanpressure. Her eyes were riveted upon her hus. tic affection, irritated him continually. My band, as if her gaze could protect him; but, at mother's quick perception soon discovered this, The sudden flash and report of his pistol, her cour- and the reaction in her mind was terrible. She age failed her, and she fainted.

had suffered intensely; she felt that she had conWhen she recovered, she found herself at home, trolled her own feelings from tenderness to his; and the first sound which met her ear was her and, as proud people always do, she dwelt upon husband's gay laugh under her window. Honor his ingratitude, until her own faults were forand Marcy were beside her, chafing her hands gotten, and she fancied herself the most ill-used and weeping;

for her insensibility had lasted so and miserable wife in existence. Alas! how long that they began to be alarmed, and to think many people make their own sorrows by exagthat they were acting imprudently in concealing gerating their wrongs, and wholly overlookthe state of his wife from Captain Sackville ; but ing their own sins, both of omission and comjust as they had decided upon sending for him, mission. her eyes unclosed, and consciousness was re It was in the midst of all this bitterness that stored.

I was born; and certainly there was nothing in In reply to my mother's looks of inquiry, she my appearance or disposition to conciliate; for was told that Honor, fearing lest her strength I was an ugly child, with a furious temper, and should fail in the hour of need, had followed the even then showed a true feminine love of my car, and was actually present during the whole own way, of that agonizing night-watch. She had wit Poor old Cicely, my Irish nurse, was a faithnessed the duel, and had seen that Lieutenant ful believer in all fairy legends, and had taken Tregear's ball had shot away his antagonist's no little trouble to procure a properly-shaped epaulette, while Captain Sackville had fired in horse-shoe to fix upon my cradle the moment I the air; she had also heard the reconciliation was deposited in it, to preserve me from the that followed. On seeing Mrs. Sackville fall, she power of evil spirits. But this was not all; not waited until the gentlemen had re-entered their only was I to be protected from evil powers, it carriages and driven off, and then, with Mike's was also necessary to propitiate the good, and assistance, had carried my mother to the car, and accordingly, my mother having sunk to sleep at by taking a short road, had reached home a few the fortunate hour upon the right day, I was minutes before the late combatants had entered carried by Cicely to a place where four roads the town.

met, there to make my offering of green ribbon This explanation was scarcely over, when my to "the good people.” This was done very father rapped at the door; for, although it was successfully, and greatly to my nurse's satisfacstill very early, he fancied that he heard his tion ; especially as a slight breeze carried the wife's voice, and remembering her anxiety of the propitiatory offering exactly in the centre of a night before, was come to relieve it in person. fairy ring, which adorned the little green patch

My mother, attired in a long frilled white between the roads : and this, to a proficient in dressing gown, was lying on the bed, to which fairy lore, was known to signify that the gift was the girls had carried her when she was first accepted. brought in; while her rich fair ringlets, straight The unhappy and the unfortunate are proverbened by the dank night-air, and hanging loosely ially superstitious above their fellows, and, in about her pale face, mingled with the hali'unplait- my days of sorrow,

I have often caught myself ed tresses behind, and gave her a ghastly appear- wondering where my fairy, patrons were, who ance. Round her eyelids was a deep circle of had at my birth appeared so propitious; and black, and her eyes wandered as if she was not often, too, when some strange good chance, yet wholly conscious; but hearing her husband's equally unlooked for and welcome, has come voice, she sprang from the bed, and, answering suddenly to my relief, I have thought to myself, him quickly, advanced with a tottering, feeble with more earnestness than I should have liked to step to meet him. As he entered, she crossed confess, “Ah, my fairies have not forgotten the room, and, to his terror and amazement, me. I do not defend this solly, nor wish to excaught at a small table to steady her trembling cuse it; but I do say, that there are few hearts steps, and before he could inquire what was the among us in which, if they were honestly search. cause of her strange appearance and evident ed, some nook would not be found, where a halfsuffering, she reeled and fell; a scent-bottle acknowledged superstition, dearer to as than breaking in the fall, a portion of the glass cut a we think, nestles and thrives.

Partly because I was the child of a man they | rendered her incapable of acting upon her own liked, and partly because-having been born on opinion in any matter of importance: but she their own soil, and having, thanks to Cicely, was mercifully spared the trial, for she died a complied with a darling prejudice-I seemed to few months before her husband. belong to them, I was a cherished favorite The servants at Ingerdyne were all old deamong the people, who watched me in my walks pendents; many of them had lived in the family and rides as if I were a young princess; and by from childhood, being sons and daughters of the time I attained my sixth year I had become former domestics, and they all welcomed my dnly impressed with my own importance, having mother with delight. She had been a great been told hundreds of times a week, that I was favorite with them, and they were prepared to "a rale lady, one of the ould sort. God bless love her children now, as much as they had for. em !" which I thought a very sufficient reason merly done herself. But this was not so easy a for giving way to every impulse of passion and matter, for I was a difficult little person for pride.

these quiet, well-ordered English people to About this period my mother took my sister manage, and they were in a constant state of and myself to England on a visit to her parents, perplexity between their love for the mother, whom she had not seen since her marriage; and and their annoyance at the child. Yet my denever shall I forget my astonishment and disap- linquencies seldom went further than trampling probation when we reached Ingerdyne (which over the flower-beds, leaving the park gates was the name of my grandfather's place). I don't open, and thus setting free the horses that were know what I expected, nor with what ideas grazing within its boundaries, upsetting the Cicely had filled my head; but the quiet, stately flower-pots in the greenhouse, or frightening house, and somewhat grave and formal inhabit- whole families of little chickens by running at ants, filled me with anger and disappointment. full speed across the poultry-yard where their Later in life I learned to love the dear old place mothers were cooped up. I was not mischiev. well; but then, fresh from the flattering at- ous-unless mischief is a more innocent kind of tentions of the wild and enthusiastic Irish people, thing than it is usually described; for I had no and the gayety and bustle of a home enlivened love of wanton destruction for its own sake. I by uniforms, and not remarkable for the regu- was even vexed with myself when I saw the larity of its management, the quict manners and flowers crushed into the mould by the presure dignified visitors, the peaceful walks, and steady of my wayward little feet; and if I had stopped habits of tidiness and subordination, which pre- to listen, I should have been sorry to hear the vailed at Ingerdyne, could not fail to be dis- shrill chirping of the terrified chickens as they agreeable to me.

ran fluttering in dismay to the shelter of the My grandfather was one of the old school of hen-coops, in bodily fear of the heedless invader. English country gentlemen, and although small No! I certainly was not mischievous; I was in stature was stately in manner : nobody could simply thoughtless and uncontrolled. The only take a liberty with him; one would as soon one of my freaks which really afforded me debave thought of proposing a waltz with Sphinx light, was the escape of the wild young horses as to put a jest apon him. He was a man whose through some gate which I had left open, and simple affirmation, even to a stranger, would the alarm of the slow and astonished servants. have been sufficient guarantee of his good faith; I loved to see the beautiful animals, after a furi. for there was something in his open brow and ous gallop, stop altogether, standing with heads clear eye, and even in the tone of his voice, tha: erect and distended nostrils, until their captors bespoke the integrity of a gentleman. He with coaxing call approached within a few yards never made a bargain; gambling and wagers of and put out caressing and deceitful hands; when, every sort were utterly distasteful to him ; he as if moved by one general impulse, the horses dever could understand how it was possible for would all wheel about at once, and race round a gentleman to practice either. He was proud and round the fields till their frolic was over, as a Spaniard of his ancient family and honora- and they swept in through the gate to their ble birth, for he had an old-world scorn of traffic prison again. in all its ramifications; and, though he never In all my peregrinations I was accompanied boasted (he was far too high-bred for that), yet by an English nurse, chosen for me by my grandhe loved to think that no tradesman, wholesale mother before I arrived, for her careful and se. or retail, could trace the most distant cousinship date propriety; but, with all her anxiety and to him; but with all his reserve and dignity he real desire to do her duty, it was impossible for was generous, courteous, and kind; ready to her to restrain the eagerness and ardor of my listen to a tale of distress, and liberal to bestow disposition : I was as far beyond her comprehenrelief; open-bearted and chivalrous.

sion as she was beyond mine. I have often wonMy grandmother was a fit wile for her hus- dered how it was that my grandfather, with his band, gentle and gracious, simple and tender. love of order and regularity, brooked my way, Hier want of natural energy was never discover- ward recklessness and irregular habits; but I ed, because her habit of reliance and depend- suppose he consoled himself with the feeling, ence upon my grandfather was so great, that which he one day put into words, in reply to a no one suspected her retiring, manners arose lady who expressed

a fear that I should grow from any thing but her having deference to him up "vulgar. in all things. Not that he was a tyrant, or she “No, madam," he said, with his proud little a slave, but because she really believed that he smile, “ Florence has not one drop of plebeian exceeded all other human beings in wisdom and blood in her veins; and, wild as she may be, she goodness. What she would have done bad it can never be vulgar." pleased God she should become a widow, I can I believe he was right, for of all the bad qualities bot imagine, for long habit seemed to have attributed to me by different people at dillerent

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