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mane feeling which started up towards him in the man's heart, and, with a choking in his throat, poor Michaul saw the arbiter of his fate pass on. ,
He walked homeward, without having broken his fast that day. "Bud, musha, what's the harm o' that," he said to himself; "only here's the ould father, an' her pet boy, the weenock, without a pyatee either. Well, asthore, if they can't have the pyatees, they must have betther food—that's all;—ay—" he muttered, clenching his hands at his sides, and imprecating fearfully in Irish—" an' so they must."
He left his house again, and walked a good way to beg a few potatoes. He did not come back quite empty-handed. His father and his child had a meal. He ate but a few himself; and when he was about to lie down in his corner for the night, he said to the old man, across the room—" Don't be a-crying to-night, father, you and the child, there; bud sleep well, and ye'll have the good break'ast afore ye in the mornin'." "The good break'ast, ma-bavchalI* a-then, an'where 'ill id come from?" "A body promised it to me, father. "Avich > Michaul, an' sure its fun your making of us, now, at any rate. Bud, the good night, a chorraj an' myblessin' on your head, Michaul; an' if we keep trust in the good God, an' ax his blessin', too, mornin' an' evenin', gettin' up an' lyin' down, He'll be a friend to us at last: that was always an' ever my word to you, poor boy, since you was at the years o' your own weenock, now fast asleep at my side; an' its my word to you now, ma-bauchal; an' you won't forget id; and there's one sayin' the same to you, out o' heaven, this night— herself, an' her little angel-in-glory by the hand,Michaul a-vourneen.'' Having thus spoken in the fervent and rather exaggerated, though every-day, words of pious allusion of the Irish poor man, old Carroll soon dropt asleep, with his arms round his little grandson, both overcome by an unusually abundant meal. In the middle of the night he was awakened by a stealthy noise. Without moving, he cast his eyes round the cabin. A small window, through which the moon broke brilliantly, was open. He called to his son, but received no answer. He called again and again: all remained silent. He arose, and crept to the corner where Michaul had lain down. It was empty. He looked out through the window into the moonlight. The figure of a man appeared at a distance, just about to enter a pasture-field belonging to Mr Evans.
The old man leaned his back against the wall of the cabin, trembling with sudden and terrible misgivings. Withhim, thelanguage of virtue, which we have heard him utter, was not cant. In early
* My boy. f Term of endearment.
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 oldCarroU, 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 hottg* ison you now, ma-bauchalr" "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 sudd'n 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 widoutlookin'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, J 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 vmnfiheatl; yes, to be sure, avich, beg. an 111 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 9 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,
cui'cA,an'so——" " C«r;Mm-d«o«/ /" 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 andtlja vard 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 /»'/«, a voumeen." "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