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for the people amongst whom she was born; with their history, misfortunes and wrongs she had long been made acquainted, and had imbibed a natural aversion to the Saxon race, whom she. looked upon as the original enemies and usurpers of her unhappy country, that no reasoning or conviction could wholly erase.

Her fertile mind, and the influence she had acquired over the hearts and thoughts of the peasantry, stood her in great need, so far as enabling her to take the almost entire management of the remnant of land which now belonged to the O'Neile.

Her courage, added to her quickness of comprehension, relieved him of many a heartache and tedious hour. She would think nothing of riding all day, and often far into the night, collecting the rents and arrears due upon the estate. Many an encouraging word and pleasant smile she carried with her on her way, and many a welcome and blessing was showered upon her, as she passed along the road, and through the otherwise silent forest. When in her solitude, and the dark shades of night gathered around her before she could reach her destination, her heart never throbbed with fear, for she was conscious of the affection and esteem in which she was held by all; she knew that if she were to be molested, or an attempt made to rob her, all the peasantry, far and near, would rush to her protection, and that summary revenge would fall upon the offender.

Before proceeding any further, it may be satisfactory to give a short description of O'Neile Court. It was a long irregular stone building, with a high projecting tower in the centre; there were innumerable gothic windows, with only the frame-work remaining, the panes having long since been shattered by the wind, or appropriated to other purposes; a portico, raised upon pillars, whose base and cornices were partly destroyed, supported a semi-circular balcony midway, shut in by heavy stone work, from which protruded the dilapidated remains of what at one time must have represented some fabulous erections of animals and demons carved in rough stone. One wing of the castle was larger and more irregular than the other, and seemed to have been added to it at some earlier period. Long oriel windows, now partly nailed up, defaced or broken, were almost hidden by the luxuriant ivy that had entwined itself around their frame-work, and hung from them in wild fantastic beauty, sheltering in its time-hallowed foliage many a wandering bird from the inclemency of the weather. The rooms on the ground floor of this wing, consisted of a diningroom and library, both in a somewhat dilapidated and neglected condition, but still showing remains of former splendour; heavy gilt cornices, and windowframes, and mirrored panels, now broken and blackened, that at one time might have reflected youth and beauty. The furniture was time-worn and scanty, consisting of massive ebony, high-backed chairs and tables. The tapestry that hung from the windows, was in many places mildewed and torn. The hall, dividing this from the other wing of the castle, was oblong, at the end of which, upon one side, was a broad flight of stairs, leading to the upper apartments, that creaked and moaned with an ominous sound, at the pressure of each footfall; on the other side of this staircase was a door leading to the servants’-hall and back part of the building. Opposite the diningroom, already described, was the family sitting-room, a large square room, the ceiling supported with enormous beams of oak, and in which were four long narrow windows in deep recesses, showing the thickness of the masonry. The walls of this apartment were covered with family portraits, most of them full-lengthed and encased in heavy frames; the furniture, like that of the dining-room, was time-worn and dingy. In one corner stood an old spinnet, more in use as a piece of furniture than originally intended ; while various-sized old-fashioned settees, covered with

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faded damask, contributed to give to this room some air of comfort, entirely deficient in the others. There were a few ancient cabinets, containing beautiful specimens of old china. The only article of ornament was an old Irish harp; a stand of music was beside it, placed in one of the window recesses.

The O'Neile had partly undertaken the education of his daughters and niece, that is, when his indolence did not interfere to prevent his doing so; this, however, occurring but too frequently, he partly resigned that office to the family priest, who instructed his young pupils with the patience and perseverance to which the O'Neile was a stranger. All the light and elegant accomplishments followed by women, were obliged to be neglected, the O'Neile's remnant of an income not allowing him to provide a governess for his daughters. One accomplishment, however, was still exercised in the family, in which Geraldine, young as she was, excelled,-her performance on the harp, which in better days had been her mother's; in fact, the instrument was an heir-loom that had been restrung times out of mind. Upon this instrument they received instruction from an old harper, who, when on his rounds about the country, always came to give a lesson at the Court. Poor as the old man was, and obliged to wander from place to place for a subsistence, yet he could not be induced to accept anything further, in repayment for his time and tuition, than the shelter and board offered him at the O'Neile's hospitable table. Indeed he felt honoured at the privilege that was allotted to him, being welcomed as a guest, and teaching his art to an O'Neile.

Their poverty did not in any way take from their pride of birth and ancient descent; it is not improbable that on this account they were, if possible, more respected and honoured by the peasantry, who would have died and given the last of whatever they possessed in the world, to contribute to the comfort and support

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of the family. The name of O'Neile was echoed far and near with respect and love.

There is in the nature and the heart of the true-born Irish peasant a feeling of devotion, amounting to adoration, to the lord of the soil, whose ancestors have dwelled upon it centuries before, that no poverty, however abject, can change, or circumstances alter; and to no stranger, let him be ever so just and good a landlord, will they bow or give submission; he is looked upon as a traitor upon the land of the once rightful possessor, for whom they would beg, borrow, or steal, when perhaps their energies would fail them in either helping themselves or family. With all their national peculiarities, they possess great virtues of fidelity and selfsacrifice to those whom their forefathers have served and lived under, of which few other vassals in any other country can boast.

CHAPTER II.

“ She walks in beauty, like the night

Of cloudless climes and starry skies ;
And all that's best of dark and bright

Meet in her aspect and her eyes :
Thus mellow'd to that tender light
Which heaven to gaudy day denies."

BYRON. One evening, towards the end of August, the setting

was throwing its bright beams upon sky and earth, and lighting up, with its glowing magnificence, all things upon which it fell, not omitting two youthful figures, worthy indeed, as regards beauty and grace, to be encircled by its varying and brilliant tints.

The young man seemed to be in the first bloom of youth, though in reality he was some years older than his youthful appearance might have led one to imagine, no doubt owing to his very fair complexion and smooth face, which gave no indication of manhood beyond a slight moustache somewhat darker than the bright wavy hair upon which the sun was now playing, for he had removed his hat, and kept twirling it round in his hand in a careless light manner, as a sort of an accompaniment to the conversation now taking place between him and his companion. Though he was tall and slight, his steady firm pace and erect bearing gave evidence of no deficiency of bodily strength. This was Lionel Herbert, the English cousin, who had come over on a visit to an old college friend in Limerick, and who, before leaving Ireland, took the opportunity of visiting his relations the O'Neiles, with the intention of only remaining a day or two.

The truth was, that even at that distance, the report of his fair cousin's beauty had reached him, so that he could not rest till he had satisfied his curiosity. He expected to find a half civilised, wild Irish girl, whose beauty, no doubt, had been somewhat exaggerated; but he was in no wise prepared for the graceful, elegant apparition of loveliness that met his wondering gaze, and made no slight impression upon his youthful fancy.

It was only the fifth day of his visit, yet he felt as if he had known Geraldine for as many months, as the following tête-à-tête will show.

“No, Geraldine, much as I should wish to extend my visit amid this wild and picturesque scenery, and I may add”-his voice assuming a more tender tone-"in your society, affairs which cannot be postponed, require my presence in England for a few days, the beginning of next month; still I hope, at some future period, to be allowed to visit again the scenes which, I may say, in a few short hours have become so familiar and He hesitated, as if afraid of saying too much, when Geraldine broke the pause that ensued.

“Ah, flatterer ! I am sure you only say all this to please me, believing me to be like most of my countrywomen, very patriotic. But you mistake, for my feel.

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