Imágenes de páginas

I am watched ; and if it's discovered that I gave you any assistance, we will be both destroyed.'' "Oh murther Sheery!" says Jack,. "fly back, avourneen machree,—for rather than any thing should happen you I'd lose fifty lives." "No," sa\s she, "I think I'll be able to get you over this, as well as the rest; so have a good heart and be faithful." "That's it," replied Jack, "that's it, a cushla—my own character to a shavin.'' She then pulled a small white wand out of her pocket, struck the lake, and there was the prettiest green ridge across it to the foot of the tree that ever eye beheld. "Now," says she, turning her back to Jack, and stooping down to do something that he couldn't see, "take these, put them against the tree, and you will have steps to carry you to the top, but be sure not, for your life and mine, to forget any of them; if you do, my life will be taken to morrow morning, for your master puts on my slippers with his own hands." Jack was now going to swear that he would give up the whole thing, and surrender his head at once, but when he looked at her feet, and saw no appearance of blood, he went over without more to do, and robbed the nest, taking down the eggs, one by one, that he mightn't brake them. There was no end to his joy as he secured the last egg; he instantly took down the toes, one after another, save and except the little one of the left foot, which, in his joy and hurry, he forgot entirely. He then returned by the green ridge to the shore, and according as he went along, it melted away into the water behind him. "Jack," says the charmer, "I hope you forgot none of my toes." "Is it me!" says Jack, quite sure that he had them all—" arrah catch any one from my country making a blunder of that kind.'' "Well," says she, "let us see;" so, taking the toes, she placed them on again, just as if they had never been off. But, lo and behold! on coming to the last of the left foot, it wasn't forthcoming. "Oh! Jack, Jack," says she, "you have destroyed me; to-morrow morning your master will notice the want of this toe, and that instant I '11 be put to death." "Lave that to me," says Jack; "by the powers yon won't lose a drop of your darling blood for it. Have you got a penknife about you? and I'll soon show you how you won't." "What do you want with the knife," she inquired. "What do I want with it?—why to give you the best toe on both my feet, for the one I lost on you; do you think I'd suffer you to want a toe, and I having ten thumping ones at yoor sarvice ?—Faith, I'm not the man for such a shabby trick as that comes to." "But you forget," says the lady, who was a little cooler than Jack, "that none of yours would fit me." "And must you die to-morrow, a cushla?"' asked Jack in desperation. "Assure as the sun rises," answered the lady; "for your master would know at once that it was by my toes the nest was robbed." "By the powers," observed Jack, "he's one of the greatest ould vag—I mane, isn't he a terrible man, out and out, for a father?" "Father!" says the darling—"he's not ray lather, Jack; he only wishes to marry me, and if I'm not able to outdo him before three days more, it's decreed that he must have me." When Jack heard this, surely the Irishman must come out; there he stood, and began to wipe his eyes with the skirt of his coat, making as if he was crying, the thief of the world; "What's the matter with you?" she ax'd. "Ah!" says Jack, "You darling, I couldn't find it in my heart to desave you; for I have noway at home to keep a lady like you, in proper style, at all at all; I would only bring you into poverty, and since you wish to know what ails me—I'm vexed that I'm not rich for your sake; and next, that that thieving ould villain's to have you; and by the powers I'm crying for both these misfortunes together." The lady couldn't help being touched and plasedwith Jack's tindcraess and generosity: so, says she "don't be cast down, Jack, come or go what will. I won't marry him—I'd die first. Do you go home, as usual; but take care and don't sleep at all this night. Saddle the wild filly, and meet me under the white thorn bush at the end of the lawn, and we'll both leave him for ever. If you're willing to marry me, don't let poverty distress you, for I have more money than we'll know what to do with." Jack's voice now began to tremble in earnest, with downright love and tinderness, as good right it had; so he promised to do every thing just as she bid him, and then he went home to his supper.

You may be sure the ould fellow looked darker and grimmer than ever at Jack: but what could he do? Jack had done his duty; so he sat before the fire, sung "Love among the Roses," and the "Black Joke," with a stouter and lighter heart than ever, whilst the black chap could have seen him skivered. When midnight came, Jack, who kept a hawk's eye to the night, was at the hawthorn with the wild filly, saddled and all—more betoken, she wasn't a bit wild then, but as tame as a dog. OlFthey set, like Erin-go-bragh, Jack and the lady, and never pulled bridle till it was one o'clock next day, when they stopped at an inn and took some refreshment. They then took to the road again, full speed; however, they hadn't gone far, when they heard a great noise behind them, and the tramp of horses galloping like mad. "Jack," says the darling, on hearing the hubbub, "look behind you, and see what's this." "Och! by the elevens," says Jack, "we're done at last? it's the dark fellow, and half the country, after us." "Put your hand," says she, "in the filly's right ear, and tell me what you find in it." "Nothing at all at all," savs Jack, "but a weeshy bit of a dry stick" "Throwit over your left shoulder," 5ajs she, "and see what will happen."

Jack, my dear, did so at once, and there was a great grove of thick trees growing so close to one another, that a dandy could scarcely get his arm betwixt them. "Now," says she, " we are safe foranother day." "Well," says Jack, as he pushed on the filly, "you're the jewel of the world, sure enough; and maybe it's you that won't live happy when we get to Ireland."

As soon as dark-face saw what had happened, he was obliged to scour the country for hatchets and handsaws, and all kinds of sharp instruments, to hew himself and his men a passage through the grove. As the saying goes, many hands make light work, and, sure enough, it wasn't long till they had cleared a way for them •selves, thick as it was, and set off with double speed after Jack and the lady.

The next day about one o'clock, he and she were after taking another refreshment, and pushing on, as before, when they heard the same tramping behind them, only it was ten times louder. "Here they are again," says Jack; "I'm afeard they'll come up with us at last. " Iftheydo,"saysshe," they'll put us to death upon thespot; but we must try somehow to stop him another day, if we can; try the filly's right ear again, and let me know what you find in it." Jack pulled out a little three cornered pebble, telling her that it was all he got; "well," says she, "throw it over your left shoulder like the stick." No sooner said than done; and there was a great chain of high sharp rocks right in the way of divel-face and all his clan. "Now," says she, "we have gained another day." "Tunder and ouns!" says Jack, "what's this for, at all at all!—but wait till I get you in Ireland, for this, and if you don't enjoy happy days any how, why !'m not sitting before you on this horse, by the same token that it's not a horse at all, but a filly though; if you don't get the hoith of good aiting and drinking;—leshings of the best wine and whiskey that the land can afford, my name's not Jack. We'll build a castle, and you'll have up stairs and down stairs—a coach and six to ride in—lots of sarvants to attind you, and fulland plinty of every thing; not to mintion —hem!—not to mintion that you'll havea husband that the fairest lady in the land might be proud of," sa)s he, stretching himself up in the saddle, and giving the filly a jay of the spurs, to show off a bit; although the coaxing rogue knew that the money which was to do all this was her own. At any rate, they spent the remainder of this day pleasantly enough, still moving on, though, as fast as they could; and Jack, every now and then, would throw an eye behind him, as if to watch their pursuers, wherein, if the truth was known, it was to get a peep at the beautiful glowing face and warm lips that were breathing all kinds of fraagrancies about him. I'll warrant he didn't envy the king upon his throne, when he felt the honey-suckle of her

breath, like the smell of Father Ned's orchard there, ofaMay morning.

When Fardoroughah* found the great chain of rocks before him, you may set it down that he was likely to blow up with vexation; but, for all that, the first thing that he blew up was the rocks—and that he might lose little or no time in doing it, he collected all the gun-powder, and crow bars, spades, and pick-axes, that could be found for miles about him, and set to it, working as if it was with inch of candle. For half a day there was nothing but boring and splitting, and driving of iron wedges, and blowing up pieces of rock, as big as little houses, until, by hard labour, they made a passage for themselves sufficient to carry them over. They then set off again, full speed; and great advantage they had over the poor filly that Jack and the lady rode on, for their horses were well rested, and hadn't to carry double, like Jack's. The next day they spied Jack and his beautiful companion, just about a quarter of a mile before them. "Now," says dark-brow, " I'll make any man's fortune for ever that will bring me them two, either living or dead, but, if possible, alive; so, spur on, for whoever secures them is a made man—but, above all things, make no noise." It was now divel take the hindmost, among the bloody pack—every spur was red with blood, and every horse smoking. Jack and the lady were jogging on acrass a green field, not suspecting the rest was so near them, and talking over the pleasant days they would tpmd together in Ireland, when they hears the hueand-cry once more at their very heels. "Quick as lightning, Jack," says she, "or we're lost—the right ear and the left shoulder, like thought—they're not three lengths of the filly from us!" But Jack knew his business; for just as a long, grim-looking villain, with a great rusty rapier in his hand, was within asingle leap of them, and quite sure of either killing or making prisoners of them both, Jack flings a little drop of green water that he got in the filly's ear, over his left shoulder, and in an instant there was a deep, dark gulf filled with black, pitchy-looking water, between them. The lady now desired Jack to pull up the filly a bit, till they would see what would become of the dark fellow; but just as they turned round, he set spurs to his horse, and, in a fit of desperation, plunged himself, horse and all, into the gulf, and was never seen or heard of more. The rest that were with him went home, and began to quarrel about his wealth, and kept murdering and killing one another, until a single vagabond of them wasn't left alive to enjoy it.

When Jack saw what happened, and that the blood-thirsty ould neger got what he deserved so richly, he was as happy as a prince,

• The dark man.

and ten times happier than the most of them, and she was every bit as delighted. "We have nothing more to fear," said the darling that put them all down so cleverly, seeing she was but a woman;— but, bedad, it's she that was the right sort of a woman;—our dangers are now over, at least, all yours are; regarding myself," says she, "there is a trial before me yet, and that trial, Jack depends upon your faithfulness and constancy." "On me, is it?—Och, then murder! isn't it a poor case entirely, that I have no way of showing you that you may depind your life upon me, only by telling you so?" "I do depend upon you," says she;—" and now, as you love me, do not when the trial comes, forget her that saved you out of so many troubles, and made you such a great and wealthy man." The foregoing part of this Jack could well understand, but the last part of it making collusion to the wealth, was a little dark, he thought, bekase he hadn't fingered any of it at the time: still, he knew she was truth to the back bone, and wouldn't desace him. They hadn't travelled much farther, when Jack snaps his fingers, with a " whoo! by the powers there it is, my darling—there it is at last!" "There is what, Jack?" said she, surprised as well she might, at his mirth and happiness— "There is what!" says she. "Cheer up," says Jack, " there it is, my darling—the Shannon!—as soon as we get to the other side of it, we'll be in ould Ireland once more." There was now no end to Jack's good humour, when he crassed the Shannon; and she was not a bit displased to see him so happy. They had now no enemies to fear, were in a civilized country, and among green fields and well-bred people. In this way they travelled at theirase, till they came within a few miles of the town of Knockimdowny, near which Jack's mother lived. "Now Jack," says she, " I tould you that I would make you rich. You know the rock beside your mother's cabin; in the east side of that rock there is a loose stone, covered over with grey moss, just two feet below the cleft out of which the hanging rowan tree grows—pull that stone out, and you will find more goold than would make a duke. Neither speak toany person, nor let any living thing touch your lips till you come back to me, or you'll forget that you ever saw me, and I '11 be left poor and friendless in a strange country." "Why, then, mnni'n ast!iee !iu,"* says Jack, "but the best way to guard against that, is to touch your own sweet lips at the present time," says he, giving her a smack that you'd hear, of a calm evening, acrass a couple of fields. Jack set off to touch the money, with such speed, that when he fell he scarcely waited to rise again; he was soon at the rock any how, and without either doubt or disparagement, there was a cleft full of ra-al goolden guineas, as fresh as daisies. The first thing

• My soul's within you.

« AnteriorContinuar »