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And so days and weeks and months passed on, and Tom Malloy got thinner and thinner, and his face hadn't the laste bit of color, and his eyes that wor once so bright sunk deep in his head, widout any light in 'em. Most people thought he wasn't far from his ind; and the talk ran thro' the country, that if he should die that way, it wasn't his body only, but his precious sowl that the spirit would fly away wid. Mary Delany heared this said, for there's always plinty of folks to tell cruel things widout mindin' one's feelings at all; and it hurt her more nor all the rest. She couldn't sleep nor take the laste rest for thinkin' of the strait the poor boy was in, all bekase of his love for her; and her grief wore her down the more, that she had to keep it all to herself; and so from thinkin' so tindherly of him, and accusing herself as the cause of his misfortin, she came to love him wid all her heart. Well, she was sittin' one morning all by herself, very sad like, just doin' nothing at all, and the big drops rowling down her cheeks like rain, whin the door opened and in come ould Molly Malone, the wise woman, and she tuk a good look at Mary as if she'd see right into her mind, and says she:
"It's thinkin' of Tom Malloy, you're now, Mary Delany; and whin its amost too late, its the best blood of your heart you'd give to make him asy agin.”
Mary guv a start at hearin' her very thoughts spoken, but she knew it was no use to try and hide the truth from the wise woman, so she owned it all to her, and axed, could she give her any charm that would free Tom Malloy from the spirit. It wasn't asy to refuse Mary anything when the tears stud in her blue eyes; and so ould Molly up and tould her that there was just the one chance for Tom Malloy, and that was to kill the spirit wid one stroke of a black-handled knife-only one, mind ye-druv right into the middle of its sinful heart, and left stickin' there, be sure, or the spirit would come back to life, stronger nor ivir. And she tould her beside, that 'twould be in some holy place that Tom would have to go, where he'd have power to fix the spirit right down forenenst him, and thin if he didn't put a strong heart and a steady hand till it, 'twould be no use in life to attempt it, for if he missed, he'd be in a worser condition nor he was before.
So that was all ould Molly would say, but there was nivir nobody so glad as Mary; she blessed her agin and agin, and pet her own bran new meriny shawl on her shoulders, besides making her a compliment of tay, enough to keep the ould crathur for months; and as soon as ivir the wise woman had turned her back, Mary was off to look for a black-handled knife. It was long or she found one exact to her mind; but she got it at last, and thin she nivir rested till she come to the place where Tom Malloy was all alone wid his
He was sittin' under an ould thorn tree, that grew by itself on the common, a good piece from the town, wid his eyes cast on the ground, and no sign of life in him, except just now and thin, whin he'd give a sigh from the very bottom of his heart, which tould more nor words could, of the throuble he was in; and he nivir seen Mary till she had come close up to him, and wished him a "kind good evening." At the sound of her sweet voice, he riz up his eyes to her face, and his own flushed up wid surprise and joy, whin he seen the look of pity and tinderness she cast upon him, but he didn't spake nothing, only looked mournfully at her to see what she would say. So thin she tould him all that the wise woman said, and she handed him the black-handled knife, and begged him for the love of his body and sowl to try to kill the spirit. But he shuk his head, and says he :
'Mary, it's no use, 'twill be well for me whin my body is quiet and still; and for my sowl I've no power to strive in any good now, Mary."
And thin he grew white as the wall agin, and his eyes opened wide, wid a sort of fright, for ye see the spirit was at him grinnin' and pointin', and striving to come between him and Mary. Tom Malloy seed it, but Mary didn't; she only see the way Tom Malloy was in, and she wouldn't be put back from what her heart was bent upon; so she sat down beside him, and tuk his hand in hers, and, says she:
"Tom Malloy, if you can't strive for your own sake, won't you for minemy heart will break if you don't get quit of that bad spirit."
And the tears come to her eyes and she couldn't say no more for a minit, only just looked up in his face beseeching-like. Well, Tom felt new life
come into him at her words, and the spirit disappeared whiles ivir he looked on Mary; for ye see her innocence and goodness druv it off the ground for the time-it was next to having the priest himself to the fore-and so Tom tould her, and, says he :
Only give me hope, Mary, that if ivir I get quit of the spirit, you'll look on me as you do now, and spake to me as you do now, and I'll dare anything to plase you.'
Mary didn't say nothing to that, for she wouldn't make him down-hearted by denyin' him the hope; so she only smiled very kind and gentle, and her smile soothed him more nor all she had said, and he tuk the black-handled knife and tould her he was ready that minit to do whatever she'd bid him, if 'twas to kill twinty spirits, let alone one. So thin Mary counselled him to go that very night to the ould Abbey, where the monks used to be long ago, for av coorse that would be holy ground; and she bid him get as nigh as he could to the stone crass, that was standin' there may be a thousand years or more, and to keep a strong heart agin the spirit, and nivir to heed its timptins or tormentins; and so she parted Tom Malloy, wishing him all manner of luck, and her heart's blessin' on his endeevior.
Well, the minit she left the place, back comes the spirit upon Tom wid more spite nor ivir, and he thought it would go near to kill him wid its ragins; thin it amost broke his heart wid its sneers and its scoffins, strivin' to set him agin Mary, and hissin' in his ear just like a snake, that 'twas makin' game of him she was, and putting all manner of doubts and misgivins into his mind; but he nivir answered a word, only struv to keep to the thoughts of Mary's sweet face and kind words until nightfall, and thin he wint off just as she had tould him to the ould Abbey. Och, thin, all that the spirit had ivir done agin Tom afore, was light compared wid the scourgins it guv him all the way there; but he kep up his courage by thinking of Mary, and he felt himself get stronger and stronger the more he resisted the spirit. So at last he kem to the Abbey, and walked right into it, nivir mind all that the spirit did to hinder him. And he kem up as close as ivir he could to the ould stone crass; the light of the moon kem thro' where
the roof used to be-for it was all fallin' to decay-and showed him the spot, just as plain as day-light itself; so whinivir he got there, he bid the spirit, with a strong voice, get down forenenst him. And sure enough, down wint the ugly thing right afore his face, lookin' up at him wid a look might have frightened a saint, not to mintion a poor sinful man. Troth, 'twould be past all invintion to describe the horrid sights the spirit put upon Tom, to distract his, mind and divart the stroke from the right spot; but Tom nivir tuk his eyes off him for a minit, and he lifted up the knife wid all his strength, and druv it right down into the middle of the black heart of the spirit, that was dartin' out flames and serpents and stings.
"Strike me agin, Tom Malloy !" said the spirit wid a screech might have riz the dead.
"Faith, ould divil, you don't come over me that way!" said Tom, for if he had struck him agin, ye know, the spirit would have had power to come back to life, and be a hauntin' of Tom for ivir.
"Och! bad manners to you, Tom Malloy, you've did for me now!" screeched out the spirit agin; and wid that there riz up a storm beyant anything Tom had ivir seen before-sure he dreaded that the ould Abbey would fall down wid the shakin' it got ;-and thin such horrid screechin' and groanin' begun, that Tom just stopped up his ears and shut his eyes tight, to wait till it would be over. Thin it wasn't long he had to wait-may be not more nor a minit had gone, whin he felt the soft wind of summer passin' acrass him, coolin' his burnin' head; and whin he opened his eyes, there was the bright moon shining down on him, lightin' up the ould ruins, wid the ivy creepin' about 'em, and makin' 'em look a dale purtier than the big new church down in the town, nate as it is.
Well, Tom Malloy was happy as a king. He was quit of the spirit, and he felt more light-hearted nor a bird, and so before he wint out of the Abbey, he looked all round to see was there any sign of the spirit in it; but nothin' at all could he see, only just one drop of black blood on the spot where the thing had stud. So Tom wint out of the Abbey wid a grateful heart-and whin he passed the door, what should he see just a step or two beyant, but a figure kneelin' wid her hands clasped; and
the moonbeams that wor shinin' full on her beautiful face, showed him 'twas none other than Mary Delany herself, and whinivir she seen Tom comin' out, she riz up to meet him, but her heart was too full to spake. Well, may be he didn't step forrard in no time to comfort her wid the good news, and a pleasant walk they had home together by the light of the bright moon. And more nor that kem of it, for tho' Mary wouldn't promise to be his wife thin for she wasn't the girl to give her father
a heart-scald by doin' what wouldn't be plasin' to him-such a change come over Tom, and he grew to be such a dacent, sober boy, that there wasn't the laste fault to find wid him; and not many months afther that time, ould Murtough Delany giv' his consint and his blissin', and Tom Malloy married Mary. And sure it aint many a one's luck to be happier nor he was all his life afther, for if it was a bad spirit he had killed afore, it was a good angel he had won to be his wife.
THE NEW WIFE AND THE OLD.
BY J. G. WHITTIER.
[Hampton, N. H., is one of the oldest settlements in New England. It has perhaps more than its share of marvellous anecdote, in which the celebrated Gen. M.-a Yankee Faust-is a celebrated character. The legend versified below was related to me when a child, by a venerable family visi tant.]
HAMPTON'S Woods are still to-night,
From the brief dream of a bride,
Lightly from the bridal bed
From the oaken mantle glowing
Listless lies the strong man there,
And that forehead's knitted thought
"Yet," she sighs, "he loves me well,
While she speaketh falls the light
Gratefully she marks the glow
Ha! that start of horror!-Why
God have mercy!-Icy cold
Ring and bracelet all are gone,
Ah!-the dead wife's voice she knows!
In his arms the strong man folds her,