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prosperity, in subsequent misfortunes, and in his late and present excess of wretchedness, he had never swerved in practice from the spirit of his own exhortations to honesty before men, and love for, and dependence upon God, which, as he has truly said, he had constantly addressed to his son, since his earliest childhood. And hitherto that son had, indeed, walked by his precepts, further assisted by a regular observance of the duties of his religion. Was he now about to turn into another path? to bring shame on his father in his old age? to put a stain on their family and their name, "the name that a rogue or a bould woman never bore?,'continued oldCarroll, indulging in some of the pride and egotism for which an Irish peasant is, under his circumstances, remarkable. And then came the thought of the personal peril incurred by Michaul; and his agitation, incurred by the feebleness of age, nearly overpowered him.
He was sitting on the floor, shivering like one in a ague-fit, when he heard steps outside the house. He listened, and they ceased: but the familiar noise of an old barn door creaking on its crazy hinges, came on his ear. It was now day-dawn. He dressed himself; stole out, cautiously; peeped into the barn, through a chink of the door, and all he had feared met full confirmation. There, indeed, sat Michaul, busily and earnestly engaged, with a frowning brow and a haggard face, in quartering the animal he had stolen from Mr Evans's field.
The sight sickened the father,—the blood on his son's hands, and all. He was barely able to keep himself from falling. A fear, if not a dislike, of the unhappy culprit also came upon him. His unconscious impulse was to re-enter their cabin unperceived, without speaking a word; he succeeded in doing so; and then he fastened the door again, and undressed, and resumed his place beside his innocent grandson.
About an hour afterwards, Michaul came in cautiously through the still open window, and also undressed and reclined on his straw, after glancing towards his father's bed, who pretended to be asleep. At the usual time for arising, old Carroll saw him suddenly jump up, and prepare to go abroad. He spoke to him, leaning on his elbow. .,
"And what hollg" is on you now, ma-bauchalT" "Going for the good break'ast I promised you, father dear." "An' who's the good christhin 'ill give id to us, Michaul?" "Oh, you'll know that, soon, father: now, a good bye:''—he hurried to the door. "A good bye, then, Michaul; bud, tell me, what's that on your hand?" "No— nothin'," stammered Michaul, changing colour, as he hastily exam-
* What are you about.
Ined the hand himself; "nothin' is on id: what could there be?" (nor was there, for he had very carefully removed all evidence of guilt from his person; and the father's question was asked upon grounds distinct from any thing he then saw.) "Well, avich, an' sure I didn't say any thing was on it wrong; or any thing to make you look so square, an' spake so sthrange to your father, this mornin';—only I'11 ax you, Michaul, over agin, who has took such a si nil !'ii likin' to us, to send us the good break'ast?—an' answer me sthraight, Michaul—what is id to be, that you call it so good?" "The good mate, father:"'—he was again passing the threshold. "Stop!" cried his father; "stop, an' turn foment me. Mate?— the good mate?—What 'ud bring mate into our poor house, Michaul? Tell me, I bid you again an' again, who is to give id to you?" "Why, as I said afore, father, a body that""A body that thieved id, Michaul Carroll!" added the old man, as his son hesitated, walking close up to the culprit; "a body that thieved id, an' no other body. Don't think to blind me, Michaul. I am ould, to be sure; but sense enough is left in me to look round among the neighbours, in my own mind, an' know that none of 'em that has the will, has the power to send us the mate for our break'ast, in an honest way. An' I don't say, outright, that you had the same thought wid me, when you consented to take it from a thief—I don't mean to say that you'd go to turn a thief's recaiver, at this hour o' your life, an' afther growin' up from a boy to a man widout bringin' a spot o' shame on yourself, or on your weenock, or on one of us. No; I won't say that. Your heart was scalded, Michaul, an' your mind was darkened, for a start; an' the thought o' getting comfort for the ould father, an' for the little son, made you "•onsent ii. " hurry, widout lookin' well afore you, or widout lookin'up to your good God." " Father, father, let me alone! don't spake them words to me,' interrupted Michaul, sitting on a stool, and spreading his large and hard handsover hisface. "Well, thin, an' I won't, avich; I won't;—nothin' to throuble you, sure: I didn't mean id;—only this, a-vourneen, don't bring a mouthful o' the bad, unlucky victuals into this cabin; the pyaties, the wild berries o' the bush, the wild roots o' the arth, will be sweeter to us, Michaul; the hunger itself will be sweeter; an' when we give God thanks afther our poor meal, or afther no meal at all, our hearts will be lighter, and our hopes for to-morrow sthronger, avich-ma-chree, than if we faisted on the fat o' the land, but couldn't ax a blessin' on our feist." "Well,thin,/won't, either, father; I won't:—an'sure you have your way now. I'll only go out a little while from you—to beg; or else, as you say, to root down in the ground, with my nails, like a baste-brute, for our break'ast." "My vourneen you are, Michaul, an' my blessin' on your head; yes, to be sure, avich, beg,
an I1I beg wid you—sorrow a shame is in that:—-No; but a good deed, Michaul, when it's done to keep us honest. So come; we'll go among the christhins together. Only, before we go, Michaul, my own dear son, tell me—tell one thing." " What, father?" Michaul began to suspect. "Never be afraid to tell me, Michaul Carroll, ma~ bauchal? I won't—I can't be angry wid you now. You are sorry; an' your Father in heaven forgives you, and so do I. But you know, avich, there would be danger in quitting the place widout hiding every scrap of any thing that could tell on us." " Tell on us! What can tell on us?" demanded Michaul; "what's in the place to
tell on us?" "Nothin' in the cabin, I know, Michaul; but"
"But what, father?" "Have you left nothing in the way, out there?" whispered the old man, pointing towards the barn. "Out there? Where? What? What do you mean at all, now father? Sure you know it's your ownsef has kep me from as much as laying a hand on it." "Ay, to-day-mornin'; bud you laid a hand on it last night,
ooic/i,an'so "" Curp-an-duoul !" imprecated Michaul—" this is too bad, at any rate; no I didn't—last night—let me alone I bid you, father." "Comeback again,'Michaul," commanded old Carroll, as the son once more hurried to the door: and his words were instantly obeyed. Michaul, after a glance abroad, and a start, which the old man did not notice, paced to the middle of the floor, hanging his head and saying in a low voice—" Hushth, now, father—it's time""No Michaul, I will not hushth; an it's not time; comeoutwithme to the barn." "Hushth!" repeated Michaul, whispering sharply: he had glanced sideways to the square patch of strong morning sunlight on the ground of the cabin, defined there by the shape of the open door, and saw it intruded upon by the shadow of a man's bust leaning forward in an earnest posture. "Is it in your mind to go back into your sin, Michaul, an' tell me you were not in the barn, at day-break, the mornin'?" asked his father, still unconscious of a reason for silence. "Arrah, hushth, ould man!" Michaul made a hasty sign towards the door, but was disregarded. "I saw you in id," pursued old Carroll, sternly: "ay, and at your work in id, too." "What's that you're sayin', ould Peery Carroll!" demanded awellknown voice. "Enough to hang his son," whispered Michaul to his father, as Mr Evan's land-steward, followed by his herdsman and two policemen, entered the cabin. In a few minutes afterwards, the policemen had in charge the dismembered carcase of the sheep, dug up out of the floor of the barn, and were escorting Michaul, handcuffed, to the county gaol, in the vicinity of the next town. They could find no trace of the animal's skin, though they sought attentively for it; and this seemed to disappoint them and the steward a good deal.
From the moment that they entered the cabin, tilltheir departure, old Carroll did not speak a word. Without knowing it, as it seemed, he sat down on his straw bed, and remained staring stupidly around him, or at one or another of his visitors. When Michaul was about to leave the wretched abode, he paced quickly towards his father, and holding out his ironed hands, and turning his cheek for a kiss, said, smiling miserably—" God be wid you, father, dear." Still the old man was silent, and the prisoner and all his attendants passed out on the road. But it was then the agony of old Carroll assumed a distinctness. Uttering a fearful cry, he snatched up his still sleeping grandson, ran with the boy in his arms till he overtook Michaul; and, kneeling down before him in the dust, said—" I ax pardon o' you, avich—won't you tell me I have id afore you go? an' here, I've brought little Peery for you to kiss; you forgot Aim, a vourneen." " No, father I didn't," answered Michaul,as he^stooped to kiss the child; "an' get up father, get up; my hands are not my own, or I wouldn't let you do that afore your son. Get up, there's nothin' for you to throuble yourself about; that is, I mean, I have nothin' to forgive you: no, but every thing to be thankful for, an' to love you for; you were always an' ever the good father to me;
an' "The many strong and bitter feelings which till now he
had almost perfectly kept in, found full vent, and poor Michaul could not go on. The parting, from his father, however, so different from what it had promised to be, comforted him. The old man held him in his arms, and wept on his neck. They were separated with difficulty.
Peery Carroll, sitting on the road-side after he lost sight of the prisoner, and holding his screaming grandson on his knees, thought the cup of his trials was full. By his imprudence he had fixed the proof of guilt on his own child; that reflection was enough for him, and he could indulge it only generally. But he was yet to conceive distinctly in what dilemma he had involved himself as well as Michaul. The Policemen came back to compel his appearance before the magistrate; and when the little child had been disposed of in a neighbouring cabin, he understood, to his consternation and horror, that he was to be the chief witness against the sheep-stealer. Mr Evans's steward knew well the meaning of the words he had overheard him say in the cabin, and that if compelled to swear all he was aware of, no doubt would exist of the criminality of Michaul, in the eyes of a jury. "'Tis a sthrange thing to ax a father to do," muttered Peery, more than once, as he proceeded to the magistrates; "it's a very sthrange thing.''
The magistrate proved to be a humane man. Notwithstanding the zeal of the steward and the policemen, he committed Michaul
for trial, without continuing to press the hesitating and bewildered old Peery into any detailed evidence; his nature seemed to rise against the task, and he said to the steward—" I have enough of facts for making out a committal; if you think the father will be necessary on the trial, subpoena him."
The steward objected that Peery would abscond, and demanded to have him bound over to prosecute, on two sureties, solvent and respectable. The magistrate assented; Peery could name no bail; ind consequently he also was marched to prison, though prohibited from holding the least intercourse with Michaul.
The assizes soon came on. Michaul was arraigned; and, during his plea of " not guilty," his father appeared, unseen by him, in the gaoler's custody, at the back of the dock, or rather in an inner dock. The trial excited a keen and painful interest in the court, the bar, the jury-box, and the crowds of spectators. It was universally known that a son had stolena sheep, partly to feed a starving father; and that out of the mouth of that father it was now sought to condemn him. "What will the old man do?" was the general question which ran through the assembly: and while few of the lower orders could contemplate the possibility of his swearing to the truth, many of their betters scarcely hesitated to make out for him a case of natural necessity to swear falsely.
The trial began. The first witness, the herdsman, proved the loss of the sheep, and the finding the dismembered carcass in the old barn. The policemen and the steward followed to the same effect, and the latter added the allusions which he had heard the father make to the son, upon the morning of the arrest of the latter. The steward went down from the table. There was a pause, and complete silence, which the attorney for the prosecution broke by saying to the crier deliberately, "Call Peery Carroll." "Here, Sir," immediately answered Peery, as the gaoler led him by a side door, out of the back dock to the table. The prisoner started round; but the new witness against him, had passed for an instant into the crowd.
The next instant, old Peery was seen ascending the table, assisted by the gaoler and by many other commiserating hands, near him. Every glance fixed on his face. The barristers looked wistfully up from their seats round the table; the judge put a glass to his eye and seemed to study his features attentively. Among the audience there ran a low but expressive murmur of pity and interest.
Though much emaciated by confinement, anguish and suspense, Peery's cheeks had a flush, and his weak blue eyes glittered. The half-gaping expression of his parched and haggard lips was miserable to see. And yet he did not tremble much, nor appear so confounded as upon the day of his visit to the magistrate.