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moral effect on the people's mind. He sat in deep thought in the admiral's old chair, gazing into the red wood fire, while we were discussing " who the assassin could have been," or “where he could have hid himself from our search.” M'Clintock expressed his conviction that it was young Ahern, or “Dermid Ruadh," as the people called him from his hair being of a bright red colour ; but, said he, “I cannot make out how you, Mr. Walter, missed him in the wood; you were right upon his track. Depend upon it he ran across the road, for the fellow is a sailor and as active as a greyhound ; and leaping down into the eight-acre meadow escaped by his swiftness of foot.”
“That could not be,” said my uncle ; “because that field was fuil of my own labourers at the time, and not a man of them saw him, or even heard the report of the gun."
“ Hah," answered M'Clintock ; “that, indeed, is bad ; that is the worst feature in the whole job; depend on it these men hid him, or abetted his escape."
“Impossible," said the general; “I could not believe that of the people-what! the very men I am supporting, and giving high wages to, to secrete a man who attempted to murder my guest and my friend on my own lawn, and in my own presence."
“My dear general," said M'Clintock, “it is dreadful, indeed, indubitably dreadful, but still quite true. The Irish peasant, individually, is generally affectionate and grateful; often faithful and thoroughly honest; always keen and intelligent. But let him connect himself with a secret society, and his personal qualities become absorbed during the time he is officially doing their work. His fidelity to them is more imperative than his fidelity to you. He may love you the better, your person and your pay ; but he is under a tremendous oath and obligation to do their bidding; and sooner than risk his soul hereafter, and the safety of his person and house here, he will sacrifice you to them. It is a hard condition, and I am sure many of the decenter peasantry groan under it, poor fellows! They know no better; but so it most indubitably is. As for Dermid Rhuadh, you may depend on
it he was lying in the cart which Mr. Walter saw, under the jock coats, gun in hand. Who ever heard of men taking off their coats to cool themselves on a cold March evening? Oh, no, it was to cover up Mr. Dermid and his villainy. I wish I had been with you, and I would have put you up to the rascal's tricks; but the general has always been too unsuspicious, and you, Mr. Walter, follow his example. However, if Dermid is in the country, our warrants must reach him ; and Darcy, the policesergeant, is now after him, and knows his haunts; and if ever a man could bring the stag to bay by cunning,
activity, and bravery, that man is - sergeant Darcy." . “It is most strange," said my uncle, musingly. “It is barely credible, said he, rising from his chair. “There is nothing like it I do believe in the whole compass of human history, except the German Vehmengericht. Strange that a people so light-hearted, and so removed by locality and by poverty from any of the great and deep political or national causes which generally produce associations similar to this, should possess such an underground system, so arranged, and apparently so sovereign in its dictation."
“These people," answered M'Clintock, "are mere subordinates ; but I or no man yet could ever discover who the directors of the movement are ; but that it does exist, and to an alarming extent, is a fact which cannot be gaiusayed.”
We rose to leave the dining-room. Montfort walked away to the stables, whistling as was his custom, to see a sick mare, and to smoke a cigar. Our two guests staid to sleep. Gilbert professed not to care about riding home; but M'Clintock said bluftly, “he had no ambition to be shot, and that he should take good care not to be absent from his house after dusk, for two or three months to come.” There was no deceit about M'Clintock. Our tea-table was rather gloomy, but I know not how to account for the strange anomalies of Irish temperament; let physiologists or psychologists pronounce; but after we had some music our gaiety seemed to revive, and our anxiety to be all but forgotten. What is it in our physical or intellectual organization-so un
like our neighbours the Englishthat enables us in a moment to change from mood to mood, and pass “ from grave to gay, from lively to severe"? Perhaps it was a kindly intention of Providence, knowing that so much Sorrow was to be our lot, that this elasticity of spirit was to be ours to enable us to meet it, and to stand under it cheerfully and successfully.
Days and weeks passed on, and though the search for Ahern was prosecuted vigorously, he was no where to be found. The peasantry preserved a strict reserve about him; and so people were beginning to forget the affair of the horse-pond, and my uncle once more ventured to indulge bright hopes that the darkest hour of the night was over, and that from henceforth we might expect the dawning of a happier day. One day, when I was riding out at some distance from home, I suddenly lighted on a strange vision, and all the stranger for its taking place in such an obscure corner of the world as ours. In a recess off the road, backed by rocks and trees, sat a man of peculiar physiognomy; he was evidently of foreign extraction, Spanish or Jewish, and was about forty years of age ; he was broken-backed ; in fact painfully deformed, yet inimitably handsome, with grand black eyes, und acquiline features of great regularity. He was writing, a small chest strapped with brass binders serving to support his paper and ink horn, and I was struck with the whiteness of his hand, and the length and beauty of his fingers. Opposite to him stood a very young girl, apparently his daughter. I should not think she was more than sixteen years of age, rather short and stoutlyformed, but quite straight, and inheriting all the paternal beauty. She was a rich clear brunette, having magnificent eyes, shining like jewels out of their dark sockets, and a mouth of much beauty and expression. Her dress was simple, being of a dark crimson colour, and she had an immense pair of golden earings which hung down almost to her shoulders from her head. As I passed, the man removed his cap, and asked in that singular musical voice so common to deformed people, and with a decided foreign accent, “which was the way to the village ?" I told him, and having
received his thanks, I rode home, much musing on this singular couple; but had scarce arrived at the gate when I overtook sergeant Darey, who informed me that James Cowan, Mr. Montfort's caretaker on the Holme-farm, had been shot dead v his own hearthstone the previous night! It appeared that the murderer had mounted on the thatched roof, apl removing the straw, had deliberately fired down into the house; the dead man's gun, but undischarged, lay by the side of his motionless body.
The indifference and comparative sangfroid which Mr. Montfort bed exhibited on the occasion of the attempt on his own life, utterly abaldoned him on hearing of the ass... sination of his retainer. He showed a great deal of good feeling, and bitterly accused himself as being in some measure accessory to his deail, in putting him into so lonely a tenement, and into a locality formerly tenented by the evicted Aheris. Montfort's activity and energy now knew no bounds. He went up to Dublin, and saw the Viceroy, and by his representations, backed by letters from my uncle, he procured from the government the appointment of a * water-guard station," on the very site of the house where Cowan bad been slain ;-with three men, all tco young, too determined, and too well armed to fear any molestation from the Aherns, their scattered smuggling adherents, or their champion "Dermid Ruadh."
One strange fact came to light all the inquest; a large lugger had be seen at anchor on the Trasna on the eve of the murder, and was gone next morning; but a peasant belatusi, and coming home from a distant fair, had passed up the bank of the river at midnight, and had distinctly heard the noise made by heaving up in anchor, and afterwards the rushing sound of a large craft passing through the water towards the sea; on hearing which circumstance Mr. M'Clintock observed, that “indubitably" (he uscd this word ludicrously, often, and a! ways with amazing om pressment), “it was Dermid's Isle of Man lugger, called the 'Dusky Lass,' in which he carried on a smuggling trade, and in which he now had fled from justice, though God's retribution will surely overtake so bila man ; a all events he has made his last trip to Ballynatrasna, and a bloody one it has proved." True it was that all the coast smuggling about us was now over; it was put an end to by Montfort's resolute and sustained energy. Alas! he little guessed what dreadful vengeance the unhappy people whose homes he had seized, whose trade le had ruined, and whose persons he had outlawed, were now hiving up against him ; biding their time, and couching for their spring when that time should come ; in the distant lair whither their own wickedness had exiled them.
In the meantime Mortfort and my sister had plighted their vows, and they were to be married early in the following year, when his brother returned from Madeira, whither he had gone to recruit his broken health. It was summer, and delicious weather; and Montfort and his fair fiancée were incessantly together. They seemed intensely happy, and their love grew and strengthened with their intercourse ; for the feeling is deeper, and more entirely engrossing, when it takes hold on hearts matured by time. They rode much out together, and Madeline's health which was always delicate seemed to revive under all the exercise, united as it was with so much of what was happy for the present and promising for the future. She was a thoroughly elegant and engaging creature, and full of high feeling and nice tastes; and Montfort, who wanted that beautiful union of gentleness and courage which my uncle so largely possessed, rapidly improved under the mild influence of her companionship. She could not change his mental organization, but she sweetened his temper, and softened down a good deal of the brusquerie and bauteur of his manner. If what makes the English character so truly noble, enduring, and chivalrous bé, as ethnogogists advance, the effect of the happy mixture of the two nations subsequent to the Conquest, when the fierce doggedness and bull-dog tenacity of the Saxon was amalgamated with the proud valour and romantic chivalry of the more courtly Norman, and thus produced a race whose descendants have everexhibited a striking combination of these peeniliar traits, whi, h have served thier
well on the battle-field, in the protracted siege, and in the sea fight, If this theory had anything in it, I should say that Montfort had more of the physique of the Saxon in him than that of their conquerors; though I am sure if old Sir Simon, his grandfather, who was the proudest man in England, could have heard me make such an assertion, he would have had me out, and done his best to shoot me--so haughty was he on the score of his unstained and lineal descent from the old and somewhat disreputable Norman, his namesake, who fought and figured temp. Henry the Third
To add to our happiness, the country now appeared tranquil; my dear uncle was giving employment to his tenants, and helping every man who was willing to help himself: he had improved the park much; opened vistas and a carriage road through the oakwood up to the waterfall which woke the echoes of Slieve-na-Kill ; and built a beautiful and substantial cottage ornée on the banks of the torrent, with a bridge which spanned its fury. His two nephews led very different lives. Originally intended for a cornetcy in my uncle's regiment, I had rather neglected my academical studies, but as the - Hussars were now in India, where my uncle disliked my going, and as he had strong professional prejudices against a young lad becoming a soldier in time of peace, it was determined that I should enter Trinity College, of which venerable Alma Mater I was now a Fellow Commoner and Junior Sophister; though indeed possessing so little of the qualities indicated by the latter name, that by moral right I should have been a “Freshman” still. Yet I really loved the greater part of my studies, and had obtained honors in classics several times ; which was partly owing to a taste I had which leaned in that direction, and a good deal to the able tutorage of our excellent little curate, Mr. Dalwood, who came to me three or four times a week. After my studies were finished in the morning, I generally sallied out by myself, being fond of solita y rambles, and not having any inclination to enact Monsieur de Trop to Montfort and his Madeline. So I would ride with the General, if he wished me; and if not, to the mountains I would then proceed, and explore their gorges; or, going down to the shore, where I had a small skiff with a pair of sculls and a square sail, I would pull round the grey sea-worn bases of the huge and lofty mural cliffs which on this iron coast breast and beat back the surgings of the Atlantic. Or, hoisting my tiny can. vass, with the sheet in one hand and the tiller in the other, I would scud out to sea, sinking and rising on the long hollows of the valleying waves;
listening with pleasure to the art of the gull-as like a white spirit she would wheel around me; or smiling at the apparition of some hideous seal, as he would lift his head just under my bows, and, looking at me as if he were angry-suddenly go down again with a splash and a bubble.
And my cousin Gilbert, what is he about all this time ! and what was he doing? Making money every way, I suppose, he honestly could -and as fast as ever he was able.
THE AGE OF THE EARTH.*
GEOLOGY is the natural history of the earth. It teaches us the present state and form of the earth, the distribution of land and water, the height and shape of the former, the depth and form of the bed of the latter; and describes to us the nature and the distribution of the animals and plants which inhabit both. It examines the structure of the solid crust of the earth, and investigates the history of the processes by which that structure has been produced; in doing this, it teaches us what have been the past states of the surface of our planet, shows us what differences there have been formerly in the shape and distribution of land and water, and what other races of animals and plants have formerly inhabited them.
The first step, then, is to examine the earth as it at present exists.
In this examination, we should at first, perhaps, be struck by the irregularity and afterwards by the symmetry of its parts ; first, by the evidences of the immobility and unchangeableness ; afterwards, by these of instability and change.
When we were first lost within the recesses of a great mountain range, all would seem confusion and disorder; when we had thoroughly explored and laid down upon the map the whole chain to which it belonged, we should be struck by the straightness of its direction, the parallelism and
the order of its parts. Wandering at first over the apparently illimitable expanses of a great plain, we should fail to perceive that it was but a succession of graduated slops, all 39 arranged and disposed as to pour their waters into one common central artery, emptying into the sea by one common mouth. When, however, we had found this symmetry of external form universal over the whole globe, we should be led to expect that it depended on some symmetrical internal structure, produced by some generally acting cause or combination of causes.
In most parts of the earth so little change takes place in the shape of the ground about us, during any of our lives, that we are naturally led to believe that no change at all occurs except such as is produced by the hand of man. Still, when we reflect that every shower of rain muddies the brooks and swells the rivers, we should perceive that whenever there is running water, there is a mechanical power ceaselessly at work, always carrying pebbles, sand and mud, as the case may be, from higher to lower levels, and at last delivering them into the sea. Every bank of sand or mud at the mouth of a river has been brought down from the interior of the country by the action of the running water, and far more than is now at the river's mouth must have been carried off by tides and currents, and
* Serinons in Stones or Scripture confirmed by Geology, Ly Dominick M'Causland. London : Bentley, 1856.
deposited on the bed of the ocean.
The delta of the Nile is the waste of the Abyssinian and Ethiopian mountains, that of the Ganges and the Mississippi the debris of the Himalayahs, and of the Rocky and Appalachian mountains. The turbid water of the Amazons has been recognised at a distance of three hundred miles from the land; the finer detritus of the Andes, therefore, is sinking slowly in the depths of the mid Atlantic. But what takes place along the line of every river takes place to a greater extent along the line of every coast. The breakers are but as the teeth of a great circular saw for ever gnawing and tearing at the land. In some countries, as along the north and east coasts of England, the destruction of land is so rapid as to be commonly marked. Whole fields, houses, churches, villages and towns are known to have been gradually destroyed within the last few centuries. Cliffs, fifty or sixty feet high, recede at a rate of three feet per annum along miles upon miles of coast. This vast bulk of earth is clean removed and spread somewhere in thin sheets on the bed of the English channel and the German Ocean, leaving no sign or indication of its former existence, beyond the broken form of the cliff, and the heap of ruin now at its foot awaiting removal in its turn. Guided by such facts, we soon learn to look upon all cliffs as caused by the eroding action of the sea, and as testifying to the destruction of land that once extended beyond them. They are, in fact, as plainly formed by the erosive action of the sea as the cliffs at the back or sides of a quarry are formed by the erosive action of the pickaxe and the spade.
However slight, therefore, may be the change in the form of any land during the life of any one generation, or even several generations of its human inhabitants, we must feel assured that during the last few thousand years vast accumulations of mineral matter must have been deposited here and there in the bed of our present seas and oceans; and that these accumulations represent the spoils and the waste of our present lands.
But in addition to mineral matter, merely transported as mud or sand,
vast quantities of mineral matter have been carried down into the sea as a transparent solution. All river and spring-waters contain limestone, salt, gypsum, or other minerals,dissolved in the water. It has been calculated that the Rhine alone carries down into the sea, every year, enough of dissolved lime for the formation of three hundred thousand millions of oyster shells. This dissolved lime is reproduced in a solid state on the bed of the sea in the shape of shells, and the bones and coverings of animals; and in tropical seas in that of vast masses of coral reef, hundreds of miles in extent, and hundreds of feet in thickness, making masses of solid limestone as large as Ireland or Great Britain, with thinner and softer sheets of calcareous mud spread far and wide over the bottom of the surrounding ocean.
However unconscious, then, man may be of the fact, there are agencies at work around him, everywhere and on all sides, acting unequally in different places, rapidly in one part, more slowly and stealthily in otherg agencies which, if left uncounteracted, would in time steal the very land from underneath his feet, cut down and abrade the solid earth on which he treads, and bury it all beneath the waters of the sea.
But these agencies are counteracted. Another agent is at work which, though in some places aiding in the lowering and degrading action which running water always exerts—in other places lifts again into the air that which once formed the bottom of the sea, or pours out on the surface of the earth that which was once buried deep within its womb. This agency is fire or heat. Great mountain masses, running along chains hundreds and thousands of miles in extent have been formed by the ejection either of molten stone or of ashes, cinders, and dust from the interior of the earth. The quantities of mineral matter thus raised, even during historic times, are far greater than would be imagined by people who confined their study of volcanoes to that of the little pimple Vesuvius, or even the larger boss of Ætna. Single eruptions have vomited forth floods of lava in such mass as would have spread a hundred feet in thickness from Lugnaquilla down to