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and the neighbours all come to look at it. Shure it's disappointed they'll be anyhow, and more's the pity.”

“Shure accushla, we all must die, and it's often content we are to do that same, when our time is come, and it is the will of Heaven,” said another; “but the comfort is to know that we look dacent, if only for the satisfaction of the friends we lave after us.”

A few hours later the child breathed its last. There was nothing more for Catherine to do, so she left the cabin accompanied by the father of the dead boy, whom she allowed to see her part of the way home.

As soon as they came to the park gate of O'Neile Court, she dismissed him.

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CHAPTER VII.

66

Deep into the darkness peering, long I stood there wondering,

fearing, Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream

before ; But the silence was unbroken, and the darkness gave no token.”

PoE.

“Solemnly answered the sea, and mingled its roar with the dirges, 'Twas the returning tide. that afar from the waste of the ocean, With the first dawn of the day, came heaving and hurrying landwards.”

LONGFELLOW.

As the man went away, she stopped short instead of entering the gate, and seemed to listen. Nothing disturbed the solemn stillness of the hour, except the occasional sighing of the trees as the soft wind stirred their branches, and now and then the distant barking of some watch-dog. “It was one of those bright, mysterious, yet moonless nights, when the stars are more

a

distinctly visible, and seem to twinkle and glitter in light. And now, as one darted from the sky and fell to earth, Catherine's eyes followed it; she sighed out a half-formed wish, which suggested itself too late, however, to take its flight with the falling star. After a few moments' longer contemplation of the heavens, she crossed the road to the opposite side of the park, and lightly jumped the ditch that separated it from a wide, unbroken moor. She went on till she arrived at a chain of hills, which she ascended, and descended on the other side, from which was discernible a long range of table-land, extending as far as her eyes could see in the uncertain light of night, and before which rose dark and rugged cliffs. Catherine took a path to the left, when, on nearing the rocks, a little white-washed chapel, dedicated to the Virgin, became perceptible, in which a little lamp was kept burning night and day before the shrine.

She entered, and prostrated herself before the image, the pale outline of which was barely discernible in the flickering light burning beneath it. For the first time in twenty-four hours, Catherine gave vent to her grief, and every now and then prayed aloud. At one moment it seemed to her as if she heard the suspended breathing of some one quite close to her. She looked nervously around, but could not see anything to confirm her doubts; therefore she imagined it must have been her own quick respiration that had deceived her. For the last time she beseechingly raised her eyes to the figure, over which was thrown a light drapery to preserve it from the damp, when it appeared to her as if it slightly moved on its pedestal. She looked wildly at it, as she imploringly asked what she should do in her fervour and affliction addressing it as a living saint, who had power to help and save her. A long silence followed the petition, when, to Catherine's terror, the lips of the statue appeared partly to open and give forth a sounda sort of whispered murmur, that floated around her; then she caught the sound of her own name. She gazed once more wildly with outstretched arms towards it, while in a voice whose tones were rendered appalling by entreaty, fear, and excitement, she whispered in broken sounds

Oh, have mercy upon me!" and fell back insensible upon the ground.

When she recovered her senses, she sat up, and looked round her, at first without recognising where she was ; then as her wandering gaze fell upon the statue, she remembered all with a shudder, and repeating the strange words she had heard, she tried to persuade herself they were but the offsprings of her own distracted brain. Still, she wondered how they had ever occurred to her, for if she accepted them as true, she denied not only the intercession of the saints, to whom her Church taught her to pray, but, what was more dreadful in her imagination, the Virgin, whose intercession before the Almighty she believed to be all-powerful. She rose trembling, almost benumbed with the cold air that entered from the open door; she approached it, and looked out into the night, that had become quite dark, and the stars had all disappeared, from which she concluded that break of day was not far distant. A strong wind had commenced, and was blowing round the little chapel, while the murmur of the ocean had now risen to

She listened long to the moaning wind, that awakened strange thoughts within her.

Of all the voices of nature, the wind is the most varied and mysterious ;—it brings a combination of strange sounds from the ocean's depths, sweeping and bearing in its rushing arms the strange thoughts which on earth are breaking forth in passionate notes of joy or sadness. It finds many sympathies in its wayward course. The solitary old trees of the forest bend their heads before its irresistible force, as it caressingly passes over them; the old ruin, around whose ivied walls it wantonly strays, sighs out to it the glory of departed days—the

a roar.

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only song that is left to it now; as it sweeps over the mighty deep, this lends it full many a voice of thrilling and powerful memories, as if a band of invisible spirits were flying through space. Then, as it passes over the graves of the departed, who can say that it does not find an echo in the mouldering dust, and that from beneath many voices do not soar with it to regions beyond earth?

Such thoughts as these might have affected Catherine, as she stood there alike unmindful of the hour and of the darkness that surrounded her.

She turned once more into the little chapel, and falling on her knees she tried to address a prayer to the pale, cold figure above her, but the words died on her lips as if in mockery, before they could form themselves into sound.

She shuddered as her eye in its nervous wandering at last fixed itself upon the opening made in the wall behind the statue, and facing the sea; for she well remembered that beneath the opening was the last resting-place of a young girl, who many years before had from remorse faded and drooped away, owing to having once forgotten to replenish the little lamp that was kept ever burning in the chapel, and that not only threw its halo of light upon the statue, but invited the wanderer upon the deep and stormy ocean to approach the haven to which its undying light, like a star of hope, pointed.

Once only in the memory of those living was its brightness missing; and upon that fatal night a number of little fishing boats, with the unhappy ones contained in them, were driven against the sharp, rugged cliffs that line the rough coast of the Atlantic.

The morning's dawn showed to the horror-stricken gaze of many a bereaved wife and mother, from whom they had parted the evening before with hope and spirits, their disfigured bodies washed in upon the sands by the advancing tide.

There was one above all others who was stricken by

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this calamity; not that she had upon that fatal night lost either husband or brother in the storm that had driven the inmates of the frail barks to their death, for want of the beacon light that had never till then failed them. This was a young girl whose week it was to keep the shrine lighted (a duty that was looked upon as a privilege and honour by women of both high and low degree), and of whose melancholy fate we shall here give a short sketch, the more clearly to account for Catherine's nervousness.

It was the last evening of the seven, and upon that day the girl, whom we shall call Kitty, had gone some miles from her home to meet her intended at the house of a mutual friend of both parties. It was rather late in the evening, and she was returning with her head full of all sorts of day dreams and hopes for the future, which with the vivid fancy of youth she already half in anticipation enjoyed, and which, unhappily for poor Kitty, drove everything else out of her mind. She reached home more in a dream-like state than in one of common-place reality; that night she lay in her bed unable to close her eyes, owing to the excitement of thought that possessed her.

The storm had increased with the darkness, and now raged with such fury round the cabin that it suddenly recalled to Kitty's mind the unfortunate ones out at sea. Terrified at her own remissness, every thought of her lover, and the bright future she had pictured in store for both of them, left her; she jumped out of bed, hurriedly threw on her clothes, and then providing herself with the precious oil, in spite of the wild and stormy weather, and the late and solitary hour, she carefully and noiselessly stole out of her home, so as not to disturb any of the family, who at that moment in unconscious sleep were ignorant of the girl's movements.

Once outside the door, she flew with a beating heart and a sickening fear, in the direction of the little chapel upon the cliffs. She was often blown out of her course,

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