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DUFFY'S HIBERNIAN SIXPENNY MAGAZINE.

No. 7.

JULY.

1862.

THE OUT-QUARTERS OF ST. ANDREW'S PRIORY.

BY MRS. STANLEY CARY.

CHAPTER XX.

THE ENCOUNTER. The moor, alluded to in the last chapter, extended for several miles right and left. It was a wild, open place, without a tree or habitation to break its monotonous extent. Exposed to every wind that blew, its vegetation was scanty, presenting to the eye a bleak and barren picture. Here on this dreary heath, long before the morning light had broken upon the scene, a horseman, well-armed and muffled, was stationed. The expectation of secing a certain traveller pass that way had drawn him to the spot, whilst the darkness of the hour, and the loneliness of the place, but too clearly indicated the reason of his being there. The chilling blast swept across the plain, but it seemed to make no impression upon him, bis fevered brain was heated with excitement, and buoyed up with a feeling of determination to perish, sooner than fail in his attempt. He had already waited long, and a faint streak of morning light began to edge the horizon ; be grew iinpatient, and hearkened to the slightest sound that portended an approaching step; but all was silent-silent as death. He dismounted, and paced backwards and forwards on the sandy turf that bordered the narrow road. “Where is he?" he at length exclaimed, with an oath. “Has be changed his intention, or delayed his journey, or taken some other route ?” A mumentary thought, a-kin to hope, fashed across his guil y breast that sone such mischance might foil his desperate purpose, not from any apprehension as to its success, but from an ill-concealed consciousness of the euormity of the act he was about to engage in. The assistance, however, of a fiery draught, with wbich he had provided himself to keep out the cold, soon settled all other feelings than those of impatience for the arrival of his destined victim.

He listened again and again with an increased anxiety. His eyes ran down the dingy road, wbich was just perceptible through the sombre twilight, but nothing could be there discern: all was wrapped in gloom

VOL. II. NEW SEPIES.

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and stillness. At length, on the sudden lull of the whistling blast, the distant tramp of a horse's hoof broke on his ear. “That is he, by Jove !" cried the excited listener, hastily resuming his seat and adjusting his weapons. A dark object was now faintly perceived in the distance, and as it neared the spot, disclosed a horseman, well mounted, advancing at an easy pace. He that had been in wait for him now halted, and with his eyes rivetted on the approaching form, tried to see if he could recognise his ontline, but this he was totally unable to do, owing to the obsurity that still prevailed; he, therefore, wheeled round and proceeded slowly onwards.

According to his pre-arranged plan, he allowed the unsuspecting traveller to pass him by, but no sooner bad be done so than, rushing forward, he again overtook him, and, placing a pistol at the horse's head, shot it dead on the spot. The astounded rider fell with the animal heavily to the ground : and, before he could recover from the shock, a second pistol was placed at his breast, whilst the words, “Out with thy gold,” fell on liis startled ear.

“ Villain,” retorted the prostrate man,"move off your murderous hand, you sball not have my life so cheaply," upon saying which, he grasped the muzzle of the pistol, and, though he could not wrench it from him, succeeded in turning it aside, so that its contents, which went off in the struggle, only ploughed up the earth without doing further mischief.

The assaulted traveller having now, by dint of great exertion gained his feet; and being a man of muscular frame, and plenty of nerve, he soon had the advantage over the slight person of his assailant, whom he resolutely seized, and endeavoured to bear down. Any hopes of succour, at that early hour and lonely spot, were in vain.. Strength of limb must alone decide the deadly conflict : neither would yield; each man’s life was at stake. At length, the highwayman, conscious of his inferiority in point of force, and knowing he must soon succumb, bad recourse to an expedient which served his purpose but too well. By a last and desperate effort, lie succeeded in forcing himself from the gripe of his opponent: and profiting by the critical moment, he laiä hold of the discharged pistol which haul fallen at his feet, and, with its but-end, dealt such a crashing blow on the temple of his adversary as to prostrate him without further resistance, senseless to the ground !

Out of breath, and nearly suffocated with rage and exertion, the guilty man found himself incapable of following up his suvage deed, till he had paused a few seconds to compose his agitation. Then, giving a rapid glance right and left, to ascertain that the coast was clear, he commenced liis search for booty. This he found in a less quantity than he expected, but, having secured what there was, he hastily mounted his horse, ani, without one thought of commisseration for his victim, he took a side path acruss the moor and disappeared.

CHAPTER XXI.

THE COMMISSION. WEARIED and disheartened, Alice Marsdale was seen to return for the fourth time from the sea-shore without having met as she had hitherto done, her much-loved Trcella evillers. This unusual absence from her favorite haunt filled her with surprise and some little anxiety. Was it illness kept her away or some other cause? How much she wished she could go to the Priory, and there ascertain the true reason of this disappearance, but she would not disobey her father's orders ; they had been peremptory, and to her that was more than sufficient. Another circumstance contributed to increase her disappointment; and this was her inability to fulfil a promise she had made to Gerald, on his leaving Tregona, to remit a small packet into the hands of Sir Algernon's daughter at their next meeting on the sands. This commission she now saw little chance of executing, and full of chagrin at the contre temps, she resolved to go to the old woman Trenchard, who, she remembered, was well known at the Priory, and inquire what had become of her missing friend. She accordingly, without further delay, directed her steps towards the poor woman's

duelling.

"Good morning, worthy dame," said Alice, throwing herself wearily on a seat. “ I have been walking far, and would gladly take a little repose. How fares it with yourself and granddaughter ?"

“Right well, sweet lady," was the grateful reply.

Having seated herself in one of the good woman's comfortless, highback chairs, Alice began making inquiries about Sir Algernon's daughter, saying that she no longer ever met ber in her favorite rambles on the shore, that she feared she was ill.”

“ Mistress Urcella is not ill,” said Dame Trenchard, gravely.

“ Then what can keep her away? I feel confident that nothing but indisposition would withdraw her from the society of one whom she knows well loves her with all ber heart."

Mrs. Trenchard was silent.

“ Speak my good woman,” continued Alice, “ you know more than you are willing to impart, keep me not in suspense.'

“ If you insist upon my speaking you must pardon me if I say aught that might give you offence. You are, no doubt, acquainted with the measures which your respected father has thought proper to adopt towards Sir Algernon Trevillers, and which have called down the severity of the law upon his bouse. You cannot, therefore, be surprised that his daughter should hold back from further intimacy with any member of a family who was seeking the ruin of her beloved parent.”

Oh! Urcella knows me too well," exclaimed Alice, with much warmth, "to imagine for a moment that I had aught to do with that unhappy busineza. Tell her I lament it as much as she can do herself, and that if a heart knows how to feel sympathy for another's sorrow it is mine."

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“But, dear lady,” resumed Mrs. Trenchard, "Mistress Urcella has got a father, one who knows thee not, but knows full well the weight of the restrictions laid upon his movements, through the means of thy kipsmen.”

“Ah, true,” said Alice thoughtfully. “How could I expect her to have acted otherwise ? I ought to have foreseen this," and the remembrance of her brother's request passed discouragingly across her mind, she dared not allude to it after what had passed, and began preparing to take her leave, when the good old woman perceiving a look of disappointment diffused over ber gentle countenance, immediately informed her that it was her intention to go to the Priory on the morrow, and that she would have much pleasure in conveying 10 Mistress Urcella her many expressions of sympathy.

Alice could not resist so favourable an opportunity of obliging her dear Gerald, and drawing forth the little packet, earnestly requested it might be delivered.

Mrs. Trenchard looked surprised when she learnt from what quarter it came, and Alice feared she was goirg to decline being the bearer, but after a moment's reflection ber countenance brightened, and she promised to pxecute her commission, adding that she had so frequently witnessed Mr. Gerald's kind attentions towards the injured gentleman under her care, that she should be glad to have this means of doing him a service.

“Then fail not, my good woman to remember bim,” said Alice. “With respect to the poor injured man, to whom yon just now alluded, we are most anxious to learn what has become of him. My father constantly speaks of liim, and seems to fear that he has not sufficiently marked bis obligations to him ; but he left liis abode so unexpectedly, and so much sooner than we had reason to imagine it were possible from bis weak state, that my father lost the pleasure he had anticipated of obtaining a second interview; and since that time we have been unable to gain any tidings of bim.”

“ He appeared a man of retired habits,” said Mrs. Trenchard, " and unwilling to obtain notoriety.”

“My father was much struck with the benign expression of his coun. tenance, and though he had seen him but once, he felt assured that he could never fail to recognise him, when or wherésoever he might chance to meet him.”

On leaving the cottage Alice turned her steps homewards. In the long avenue she was joined by Mr. Trever byn, who was returning from inspect. ing the building of some alms-houses to replace those that had fallen in ruins. Alice was glad to see the young minister, the warm regard he had ever evinced for ber favorite brother had long won her approbation, whilst hiis never-tiring zeal and cbarity for the surrounding poor, commanded her respect and esteem.

The conversation soon turned upon the absent Gerald. 6 What makes bim leave us so frequently ?” said Mr. Treverbyn, " he has no sooner accomplished one expedition than he is off again upon another."

- My brother is gone to see a friend at soine little distance," replied Alice.

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