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VILLAGE ANNALS.

Chap. II.

NOTE TO THE EDITOR.

.(I cannot permit the continuation of this narrative to go to press without requesting your kind permission to trespass on your space by a few prefatory observations. Whatever may be the interest with which it will be perused, it will not, perhaps, be diminished by the assurance that the tragic incident upon which it is founded is strictly an historical, or at least a traditionary fact. And I am sure that the circumstances will be recognised by many, who will identify them with what they have heard as oceurrences, since which but a few generations have passed away. A hint has been thrown out from a quarter, any suggestion coming from which I am bound to respect, that I did wrong in giving the real name of the hero of my tale. If so, I can only deeply regret my indiscretion, which is now irremediable; but the antiquity of the tale the notoriety which the transaction has obtained, and the distinction of the family to which he belonged-whose names are familiar to every one acquainted with the legends of Ulster, induced me to think that any additional publicity my humble efforts could bestow was of very little consequenee.]

Reader! have you altogether for- and powerful excitement,

erokee gotten the details, which, in a former them from their hiding-place, to join in chapter, I laid before you, or has your the wild and fiendish revel of cursed interest been sufficiently excited, to and unrestrained excess.

Say not, make you desire a continuance of as one of old, “ Am I a dog that I them. Have you read the narrative, should do this thing ? In the bosom as an amusing tale that might while of every fallen child of mortality are ba away a tedious hour, and then thought the elements of passion wilder than no more upon it? or have you felt, what imagination ever yet pourtrayed. to that in all its dark and dismal scenes, — Check then each rising throb of your a: there was a something in which you heart that beats with an unholy pulsemight feel a deeper concern than the Remember what the wisest of men hath false and imaginative excitement pro- said, “He that ruleth his spirit is better in duced by the mere fictions of romance. than he that taketh a city." It has been but a history of passion I now must return to the task I have bepassion such as still is doing its work gun, and complete the melancholy narra- tai of misery and death throughout the tive that tradition has handed down, world.

through the generations that have gone is Look at the scenes I have presented by since the period of its events. Many to you, and at those which are acted years have elapsed since first, in my childin the theatre of life-look abroad ish days, I listened to this tale, and still it among your fellow-men, and see if vice is fresh upon my memory, as if I had does not still array herself in all the but heard it yesterday, and its details borrowed lustre wherewith she would are vividly present to my mind, as conceal her foul and hideous form-- though I had been an eye-witness to look if the shrine of passion be not them all, and my heart mourns as I still wet with the tears of the deserted take up my pen to write them down— and the injured, and the unholy flame chequered as they are by sin and sorupon her altar bedewed with human Oh! I can never write upon the blood, and the walls of her temple co- guilt and misery of my fellow-men

, vered with the black catalogue of human without a tear blotting my paper, as I suffering.–Look then into your own think of the evil and wretchedness that heart, and see if in its dark” recesses, spreads throughout God's fair world, that there lurk not all those feelings, which world which once its Creator pronecd but the magic call of some new nounced to be “very good.” Once was

row.

It was

it all lovely and fair, and purity and pression of the most tender solicitude. happiness claimed it as their abode, M.Naghten's brow darkened as he enbut now all is changed ; the roses and tered, and Margaret trembled with exthe lilies are withered in that which cess of agitation. The veteran was once was the garden of the Lord ; the moved. He held out his hand, and enemy has been there, and desolation with a voice almost choked by emotion, marks his traces; and it is now but a he said, “ M.Naghten, can you forhowling wilderness. The cries of the give ?" The young officer grasped the fatherless and orphan are borne upon proffered hand, and a “soldier's tear” every breeze, and the groans of those dropped upon it, as he warmly shook who are racked by sickness, or torn by it. “Yet, even at this melting moment, remorse, and the sighs of the slave in there was in Edmund's breast a contest his prison-house, and the captive in his between his feelings and his sense of dungeon, all attest the bitter conse- what was right, and to Colonel K-'s quences of the rebellion of man against invitation to his mansion, fidelity to Juhis Maker.

lia at first made him answer in the neMonths had rolled on from the even- gative, but when Margaret seconded ing on which M‘Naghten parted with her father's request by looks more eloJulia, under the promise of returning quent than angel's words, he could no in a few hours, and never had they met longer resist the tide of passion that since.

swelled within his soul. He hesitated Colonel K-was violent, but for a moment, and thought of her whom changeable. His anger was easily ex. he had left alone and ruined,—and he cited, but was seldom of long duration. wavered still—but just while his resoEnraged at his daughter's opposition to lution was undecided, he perceived on his desire, that she should unite herself Margaret's finger the brilliant token to Lord Sthe nobleman already that reminded him of his vow. alluded to, he had taken his daughter enough—he yielded to her father's reaway from those scenes with which peated invitations, and that very night, were associated her recollections of af- he accompanied them home. fection for M.Naghten, in the vain Yet was it not in premeditated infihope, that when absent from these, she delity to Julia, that he thus acted-he might forget him. In obedience to her went to enjoy, as he imagined, the father's wishes, she returned to him all pleasing vision that soon must vanish those pledges of affection which he for ever—to enjoy the society of his had bestowed on her, but she could not beloved one for a few short days, and bring her heart to part with that ring then, bidding her an eternal farewell

, which was the token of his plighted resign himself to one whom he felt he faith. She kept it secretly, and many did not love, but to whom a destiny he a bitter tear did she shed over it. Her could not control, had bound him by father loved her ardently and sincerely indissoluble ties. Ah, how often do we --and when he saw that the damask charge on our fate those misfortunes, had fled from her cheek, and that sor- which are the result of our follies, and row was preying upon her soul, he excuse ourselves by believing, that we could no longer bear to thwart her acted under influences beyond ourselves wishes. He returned to Glenarm, his —while, in truth, the demon that draws beautiful residence near Derry, deter- us on in our reckless course, is but the mined to sacrifice his own ambitious power of our own ungovernable pasprojects to her peace of mind, and re- sions, solved, if his daughter should still re But did he keep the resolution he tain her affection for the object of her had formed ? did he tear himself from former love, to present no furtł er ob- the idol of his soul, and sacrifice his stacles to their union.

feelings on the shrine of honour, and It was almost immediately after his fidelity and truth? Need I answer, he return, that Edmund and Margaret un- did not ? A few short days, he had expectedly met in the ball-room, and it fixed as the limit to his enjoyment of was with no little surprise, that, on fol- Margaret's society, and then he was to lowing his daughter to a room where leave her never more to meet on this she had been carried in a faint, he side the grave, but in those few days found her pale and agitated, and his passion gathered strength, until it M‘Naghten gazing on her with an ex- became his master. As he sat beside

her, and gazed upon her pale cheek, monotony of the scene. But a short from which love for him had chased time after his departure, a summons the rosy hue, and as she poured, in came to Margaret, to attend her father the simplicity of confiding love, into in his study, and M.Naghten was left his ear the tale of her anxieties and her to solitude and his own reflections. A sorrows, while she pined in absence,– considerable time elapsed, and the and as she explained every thing that usual hour of dinner passed unnoticed. might have seemed strange in her con- M.Naghten paced the room, and wonduct, and dwelt upon the love that ne- dered what could be the cause of her ver once had cooled within her breast, long absence; the shades of night he felt his soul to burn as with fire. closed deeper in around, but just under And how could he bring himself to say the window, he perceived a groom farewell! They know not how potent leading his own horse, saddled and briis the spell of love, who vainly deem dled, and ready for the road. He that they can quaff the witching cup by threw up the window, and eagerly enmeasure, and dash, when they please quired the cause the man answered, the draught of enchantinent from their that it was by his master's directions. lips. The pleadings of passion, like Hewas confounded, but soon accounted the Siren's melody, must not be listened for it by the supposition, that some do to, or they will too surely and too fa- mestic calamity had occurred, of which tally be obeyed.

intelligence had been brought by the Autumn had deepened into winter- rider he had seen, and that his services and the days were nearly at their short- were required perhaps to go on some est. It was the dusk of a December errand as the friend of the family. evening the dark clouds Aed heavily With a beating heart he hurried to the along the sky, and the blast was door of Colonel K's study, and as whistling through the naked branches he knocked, he distinctly recognised of the old trees that surrounded Glen- inside, the well-known tones of Maryaarm. Edmund and Margaret were ret's voice in earnest expostulation; he standing together in the windowed knocked again and louder, without an niche of an apartment looking across answer, but on his third knock, the door the waters of the Foyle, as they sullenly was opened, and he met, just on the reflected in their bosom the blackness threshhold, Margaret, leaning on her of the heavens. Their marriage-day father's arm, her eyes streaming with was fixed, which M‘Naghten had long tears ; he attempted to grasp her hand, put off from some undefined dread that Colonel K-dashed his arm aside, rested on his mind--the gloom of a and, in a commanding tone, said, “Sir, guilty conscience ; but all was now set your business must now be with me, my tled, and in one short week, they were daughter can no longer meet you as she to enter on the tenderest relation of has done, until you satisfy my mind which humanity is capable, and Ed- upon some points which I shall menmund was now standing with his arm tion to you in private," and with these round the waist of his betrothed one words he passed rapidly on. Edmund looking out on the dreary gloominess attempted to stop him, but in vain

. of the scene. The withered leaves, the · He then determined upon following relics of last Autumn's wreck were them, and not surrendering even to a whirled in wreaths by the eddies of the father, her whom he now regarded as wind, and here and there a solitary deer his own. With a heart throbbing with was seen bounding across the lawn, and the pulses of the most violent emotion, seeking in the nearest thicket a cover he walked quickly after them along the from the piercing blast. They ob- corridor, until they turned off by a door served a horseman riding at a rapid which led to a different wing of the pace along the avenue with a cloak house. Almost in phrenzy, be made buttoned across his throat, and his face a struggle to rush in by the same pasalmost entirely concealed. He dis- sage, but here too he was foiled; the mounted at the door, and handing a nervous arm of the veteran with ease small packet to the servant, he re- repelled his effort, and before he could mounted, and rode off as rapidly as he recover himself from the effects of the had come. His motions hardly excited impulse he received, the door through their attention further than as his ap- which they went had closed, and he pearance served to diversify the dull heard the shooting of a ponderous bolt

in the inside, which effectually barred his arm, he said, “ Colonel K this it against his attempts at ingress. is not language to be used to me, and, M Naghten stood outside the closed by heaven, no man thall use it with door, unable to account for the scene impunity.". The other turned calmly through which he had passed. The round, and, though his face was pale corridor was nearly dark, unless when a with anger, he gave no other indication small gleam of light was shed from a of the rage that was swelling in his glimmering lamp that burned at the breast. Young man," said he, with window at its extremity, and struggled dignity," this house is mine, and I

with the fading twilight that still cast its command you to leave it. If,” he added, z dosky gray through the arch. Grief, “ I have insulted you, you may seek

wonder, and fear, alternately shook his your satisfaction. My years on earth manly breast, as with hurried step he will be but few, and I will risk the rem

paced the corridor. He was not left nant of my days ten times over to save to long to his suspense. Colonel K my only child from a union with the

soon appeared at a different door from man who could lift his arm against her All that by which he had gone out: he was father's life.” M.Naghten's hand fell

ulone, and as the gleam from the small heavily upon the hilt of his half-drawn taper which he carried in his hand, fell sword. He turned away in agony, on his features, it revealed the traces The voice of conscience awoke within of deep excitement. “Mr. M.Naghten," his breast, and all his guilt and perfidy said he, coldly, “my conduct may ap- were pourtrayed in vivid colours on pear inexplicable, but if you will be so his mind. Stung to phrenzy by. the kind as to follow me to my study, per- maddening thoughts of all that he had haps I shall be able to account for it lost, he rushed from the house, and satisfactorily.” M.Naghten followed flinging himself upon his waiting steed, with breathless anxiety-Colonel Kế he galloped from the door. took up a packet which was lying open Next evening found him slowly ou the table, and handing it to him for pacing along the well-known walks in his perusal, sat down quietly in a chair, the demesne of Glenarm, where often and fixed his eye on Edmund to watch he had breathed his vows of love in the changes of his countenance as he Margaret's ear. He was alone, and Tead.

closely muffled in his cloak. . The snow A hasty glance at the first few lines Aakes were falling thick and fast, and the was sufficient to convince M.Naghten earth was already covered in a mantle of the damning truth. His falsehood of white. He stood beneath the shelter and his sin had recoiled upon himself; of an oak, and sighed as he beheld the was his double infidelity discovered ; purity of the driven snow-pure as the and his hopes of obtaining Margaret's soul that guilt has never yet contamihand were blasted. He quailed before nated. He was impatiently looking the glance of the indignant father, as towards the house, and frequently obwith a voice, whose tones anger had served the passing of the minutes as elevated beyond the natural pitch, he they were noted by his watch. The demanded," " Mr. M.Naghten, is this spot where he stood was

one with true?" He answered not. He dashed which many associations were the hated document, with violence, nected. It was a spot where, years upon the table. His breathing became before, Margaret and he had formed, quick and gasping, but for no words with their own hands, a wild garden ; could he tind utterance. The other and had reared a bed of violets that, on took up the letter, and cooly folding a sunny bank, used to put forth the it , he placed it in his desk. “ Mr. earliest blossom of the opening spring." M-Naghten," said he,“ your horse is The labour of their youthful days was at the door-the sooner you leave this now covered deep beneath the falling the better--my daughter never shall snow ; but Edmond knew the spot too be the wife of a profligate.” The old well to forget it. And here was the man trembled as he pronounced the place where, in a few hurried lines, words

. He walked to the window to secretly conveyed to her, he had imconceal the emotion he could not sup- plored of Margaret to meet him on that press. M.Naghten felt the reeling of evening. The hour he had fixed was madness in his brain. He rushed past, and long had he been waiting in towards him, and convulsively grasping anxious expectancy, and yet she came

con

we

not. A thousand excuses for her delay pressed her to his heart. She sobbed he had framed, and rejected, and his aloud, and M.Naghten felt her warm and bosom alternately beat high with frequent tears to drop' upon his hand. hope, and was chilled by despair. Now No word from either broke the silence he was about to depart for ever, and for a few moments. At last she exagain he determined that he would claimed, in à voice that spoke how wait a little longer. From the place bitter were the feelings of her heartwhere he stood he commanded a full u Edmond, you have injured me you view of the house, and often did he have deceived me—but I am not come gaze earnestly on its walls and pillars to upbraid you—10I forgive you all as they stood out in dark relief upon the -I am come to bid you farewell." whiteness of every thing around. But “ No, Margaret," he answered, "you there was no sign of any person mov are mine—my betrothed-and ing, and the flickering light of a fire must never part. Oh no," he cried, sent its unsteady gleam through the “ the oath I swore has bound us both.” window of the apartment where he “ It has bound neither," she answerknew the family usually passed their ed—“it was to me it was sworn, and I evenings. He thought he could per- absolve you. · Go, and bestow your ceive figures moving in the room, but hand—” She could not finish the senthe distance at which he was, prevented tence, and had not Edmond supported his being certain, and now the shower her she would have fallen. He led her thickening caused every object to ap- to an arbour where there was a partial pear indistinct through the haziness of shelter from the storm. She sunk upon the snow mist. He leaned his head the seat, and gasped for breath. upon the trunk of the tree, and his soul " Oh, Margaret,” he exclaimed, “I sunk within him. He turned round to swore to my God, and no mortal can give a parting glance, when he thought absolve me, and I will keep my oath. he perceived, at no great distance, a Come,” he continued, come with me female form lightly moving towards now, and before morning the church him. His heart fluttered in his breast shall have joined us beyond the power -it came nearer-he moved from his of man to disunite." concealment and a deer bounded, No,” she exclaimed, “ No, my profrightened, away, which, covered over mise to my dying mother was, that I with the falling rime, and magnified by would never marry contrary to my fathe haziness of the medium through ther's wish. She asked it of me with which it was seen, had presented to his lips that were already cold with the eyes the appearance of a lady dressed chill of the grave, and I gave my proin white. M.Naghten envied the ani- mise to her spirit as it was leaving mal as it darted through the snow, and earth. I cannot break it. Tempt me turned to depart for ever from Glen- not, but go and give your hand where arm; but just then he perceived, in one honour demands it, and leave my heart of the windows of the house, the glim- to break.” mering of a taper, and, as well as he The groan that followed seemed as if could distinguish through the murkiness it had already rent her heart. M.Naghof the atmosphere, it was in Margaret's ten urged his suit, but it was in vain. chamber. Once more he stopped, and She continued firm.“ I cannot, she fixed his eye upon that faint ray; In a said, “ break my word to a dying pafew minutes it was gone, and every rent. I think,” she said, “ I think ! place was dark as before. Oh! with can see her lying on her death-bed, and what an intensity of expectation did he her ashy lips quivering as she scarce now move slowly along the path that could dictate the promise that binds led to the house ; and how earnestly me, and God give me strength to keep did he cast his straining gaze through it.”.

She clasped her hands, and the thickening darkness of the shower. looked up in prayer to him who hath Again he perceives an object moving said, “ honour thy father and thy motowards him. He stood for a moment ther;" and oh! if ever prayer for in the concealment of a thicket. The strength to help in time of need was form came nearer—it was a lady wrap considered by him who heareth prayer, ped in a cloak. He had not been mis- it surely was not in a woman's strength taken—it was Margaret's self. She that she overcome a woman's weakness, had come alone to meet him. He and resisted the temptation that assailed

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