All for a Woman’s Eyes by Edmund Leamy


CHAPTER I.

It was a little after midnight, in the last week of February, in the year 1797.

Three or four tallow candles, lighted fairly well that part of a large-sized room, in which stood a huge, old-fashioned four-poster bed, on which old William Grierson lay dying.

He looked a man of seventy-five at least. The scant hair of his head was like silver. His long, hatchet-like face was almost waxen in appearance, and remarkably free from wrinkles, and in the grey eyes shone some of the old fire. But it was evident as he lay there that not only his hours but his minutes were numbered. Between the midnight and the dawn seems to be the time chosen by the Messenger of Death to bring the last imperative, unavoidable summons, especially to the old whose footsteps have lingered in the ways of life. It is, perhaps, kindly meant, for it is the time when the rational forces are weakest, and when the chief desire—faint at best—is for repose.

By the bedside of the dying man were seated two persons. One was a youth with one foot across the threshold of manhood. He was well-built, active, good-looking, but his weak mouth suggested want of resolution, and the edges of his eyelashes, which concealed his dreamy eyes, were suspiciously bright, as if tears had just visited them. He was the only son—the only child—of the dying man, and was here now, he knew, to receive his father’s last advice—his last blessing. The other was a man of fifty or thereabouts. He had a rugged, serious face, and by his dress and appearance would at once be taken for what he was—a Dissenting minister. He was seated towards the end of the bed. The young man sat beside the pillow.

“I feel my last moments are come, Robby,” he said faintly, “and I would like to give you my blessing before I go.”

Suppressing a sob, for the lad dearly loved his father, and was even more dearly loved by him, because ‘he was the child of his old age,’ Robby knelt down beside the bed, and the dying father extended his thin, wasted hand, that was almost transparent, and laid it fondly on the head of the boy. The clergyman had also knelt down, and with his hands raised in supplication to heaven, he prayed silently in sympathy with the old man who was so soon to pass away from this fleeting world.

It was a scene and a moment to move less responsive hearts than that of young Robbie Grierson. He felt himself like one under some sacred spell, and at the touch of his father’s hand his innermost and deepest feelings were stirred.

“I am going home, Robbie,” he said. “I am going home where I hope to meet the mother that bore ye and that ye never saw, and who gave her life for ye, and before I go I want ye to promise me something, laddie. I want ye to promise me something—will ye do it, Robbie? Will ye promise it?”

Robbie bent his forehead until it touched the coverlet of the bed.

“I will promise, father.”

“Blessed are those who honour their father and their mother, for their days will be long in the land,” murmured the clergyman, as if to himself.

“Well, Robbie, the times are strange, and men are talking of revolution, and overthrowing governments, and of war that will be needed to bring all that about. I am a dying man, Robbie, and what do all their present charges and revolutions seem to me. Ah, nothing more, lad, than the crimples on the lake when the wind blows, or than the billows when the storm rages—a boat or ship may go down with its load of souls, but when the wind is at rest again, all is as before.”

The tone of the speaker was so solemn, and the surroundings so dramatic, that Robbie felt in no mood to question anything that was said, but listened with pious and filial resignation.

“And now, Robbie, lad, I want ye to promise me, afore I go, that you will not any longer meddle or make with politics, and that you will have nothing to do with any of these societies that, I hear, are being formed in this country, bound by oaths, they tell me. Will ye promise, Robbie, will ye promise, lad. I am getting weak, Robbie, I want ye to promise me before I go, for your mother’s sake and mine, laddie, and there’s Mr. M’Clane there who will be your witness, Robbie.”

But Robbie was silent and did not reply. The request had taken him by a surprise so great that he knew not what to answer.

Robert Grierson, with, as he believed, the tacit approval of his father, had joined the Society of United Irishmen, and as he was well-educated, enthusiastic, and in a good position, for his father was known to be very well off, and, besides his extensive farm, had a good round sum in the bank, he easily acquired a rather prominent position, and was at the head of one of the committees of councils into which his county was divided. The society had become oath-bound, and Robbie, in view of his obligation as a member of it, knew not what to reply to his father’s unexpected request.

“Honour your father and mother if your days will be long in the land.”

It was the voice of the minister raised scarcely higher than a whisper.

“Will ye promise me, laddie, I’m flittin’? Will ye promise me, Robbie, before I go?”

Robert felt the hand on his relaxing. He lifted his own to catch it, and found it cold. He looked on his father’s face, and though he had not seen many die he felt the end was at hand.

“Will ye promise, Robbie?” the voice was growing fainter.

“I promise.”

“Kiss me, Robbie.”

The son lifted himself up, bent over and kissed the wan lips of the father.

“I die happy now, Robbie.”

The tears blinded the youth’s eyes. Brushing them away he looked his last look on his dying father, who held one of his hands. The clergyman had crept up and slipped his hand into the other.

A little gasp, a little flicker of the eyes, and all was over. Old William Grierson was no more.

At the funeral, a few days after, the whole countryside was present, for the deceased had been held in high esteem, and there was much talk as to the future of Robbie Grierson, who found himself so early in life master of a fine position, and even during the funeral procession of the father those who were friends of the deceased were speculating as to the marriage prospects of his son, for this is the way of the world.

But when the burial was over and done, Robbie Grierson set himself to work earnestly at the farm, and kept himself aloof from his former associates. He seemed to have become a wholly different being. He had been a bright, light-hearted youth, ready for all innocent fun and frolic. Now he courted solitude and became almost morose. He declined all invitations to the meetings of the United Irish Society, giving now one excuse and now another, until at last it became evident to the members that he did not wish any longer to attend them. He was looked upon as a very serious loss to their ranks, for he possessed considerable influence over a wide extent of country, and had been the means of attracting many recruits to the ranks of the brotherhood. What made his loss still more serious in the eyes of the heads of the society was that it appeared to be a defection, and, if such, it was likely to prove a tempting example to others who had looked up to Robert Grierson as one of the props of the society.

His conduct seemed inexplicable, for though not looked upon by his superiors as very resolute or masterful, he was believed to be sincere. At length the explanation got about, which young Grierson himself, for some reason or another, was reluctant to offer, and when the story of the death came to be told, the utmost sympathy was felt with Grierson, and it was admitted by most that, under the circumstances, he could hardly be blamed for making the solemn promise which detached him from the United Irishmen. But among them there were not wanting some who scoffed at Robert’s respect for the promise which he had given to the dead, but the majority, it must be said, respected him for it, although they considered it was unreasonable to exact it, and not binding on Robert.

Avoiding, as far as possible, doing any violence to his feelings, the chief men of the district endeavoured to withdraw him from his solitary course, but in vain. They represented to him that a promise exacted under such circumstances was not binding, for if it were, then the living generations might always be bound by the dead, and that all progress in human affairs would be arrested.

But Robert Grierson heeded them not, and he became apparently more disconsolate, and what time he could spare from his business he spent wandering by the banks of the stream, broad and brown, and tossing up its tawny locks as it passed fretfully over the stones that here and there interrupted its passage, and which formed the “mearing” between his property and Mr. George Jephson, who was one of the chiefs of the United Irish Society in his district.

A little story got abroad that there was another, or at least an additional, reason for Robert Grierson keeping so much to himself. It was said that he had been the suitor of a young lady in a position a little higher than his own, and that in the eyes of her parents his Republican principles had proved an insuperable barrier to their union, and that with the object of bringing their romantic attachment to an end, the young lady had been sent away to England and was lost on the voyage there, the vessel in which she sailed having been wrecked just outside Holyhead and all on board drowned.

The story was, in the main, true, and it was a cause of the most poignant grief to Robert Grierson that, having allowed his first love to go away from him rather than surrender his political principles, he now felt himself coerced by his promise to his dead father to abandon them, and, at least, to find it necessary for him to sever himself from those who continued to be the exponents of those principles.

But love-stricken as Robert Grierson was, his heart had not been fatally wounded, and although the homely life he was now leading seemed to hand him over a prey to melancholy, and although he persuaded himself that he was utterly love-lorn and that his heart was secure from any new assaults of Cupid, he knew nothing of the power and the wiles of the mischievous son of Aphrodite, and never dreamt that the little archer had the shaft fitted to the bow that would leave the whirring string only to find a sure passage into his, Robert Grierson’s heart.


CHAPTER II.

On an evening in May, 1797, Robert Grierson was strolling down by the banks of the stream that bound his lands. The weather for weeks had been mild, and the country was dressed in the tender green that had not yet drunk too deeply of the sunlight, unlike the leaves of mid-June, that hang so heavily and so listless in the still air. The stream was not yet as clear as it would be some weeks later, but it glared brightly enough as it flashed and swirled when the stones or boulders strove to stop its way, and even when it ran smooth and deep the rays of the sun, descending in an almost cloudless sky, coloured its brown surface to a golden hue.

Like most romantic youths, Robert Grierson loved to converse with rivers. Their bickerings, their whispers, their mysterious murmurings and sobbings, their chafing at obstructions, and the soft fretting on the banks when the way was clear had all become familiar to him, and all these seemed to glide into his darker musings, “and steal away their sharpness ere he was aware.”

Had anyone interrupted him as he strolled along and asked him what he was thinking of, he would have found it difficult, if not impossible to give a satisfactory reply. The thoughts of youth, as the poet tells us, “are long, long thoughts,” which is another way of saying it is given them to indulge in indefinable longings. But whatever were the musings of Robert Grierson on this evening he was suddenly brought back to his surroundings by a scream and a splash.

At the opposite side of the stream and knee-deep up to his fore-legs in it, was a pony, on which sat a lady, looking scared but gloriously beautiful in the light of the setting sun.

“Oh, I’ll be drowned! I’ll be drowned!”

There was no danger whatever. The pony had come down a boreen leading to the river—to a watering place and knew what he was about. Not so the lady, whom Grierson saw was a stranger, and who was evidently afraid the pony would carry her up mid-stream.

Grierson without hesitation plunged in, and waded up to his neck for a short distance until he swam by the pony’s head. Assuring the lady that there was no danger, he waited until the pony had slaked his thirst, and then turning his head round led him back to the boreen.

The lady was profuse in her thanks, which Grierson protested were not at all deserved, but they were, nevertheless, very grateful to him, for they were uttered in a voice the most musical he had ever heard. It was soft, almost caressing, and there was, moreover, a flavour of a foreign accent which seems to claim a special tender consideration for the speaker when she is a lady, young and beautiful, and a stranger.

With a final graceful wave of her hand, and shooting a Parthian glance from her dark eyes that went with unerring aim to Grierson’s heart, she urged her pony forward, and rounding a bend of the boreen was quickly lost to view.

Grierson stood gazing after her, like one whose gaze was fixed on a vision. It may be that the sun had sunk down behind the hills when she vanished, as it were, from his sight, but the very air seemed dark, the river ran in shadows, and his clinging wet clothes helped to free him from the spell of enchantment under which he had been drawn.

He ought to have hastened home to change his clothing, but he went there slowly, rehearsing in his mind the little scene in which he had taken part. Never was face so fair, he whispered to himself; never was voice so sweet, never were eyes so bewitching. As he thought of them his very soul seemed striving to escape from him to follow them.

Alas, “for the love that lasts alway!”

Had anyone dared on that morning to whisper to Robert Grierson that before the sun went down he would have completely forgotten his first love, and become the bondslave of a woman’s eyes, whose name he did not know, and whom he had never seen, he would have regarded the prophecy as little better than an insult, or, at least, as a foolish, idle utterance. And now, as he was turning into his house, he felt that in meeting so unexpectedly the fair unknown this evening he had met his fate.

He spent many hours that night thinking of her, and wondering who she was. He surmised that she was a guest of his neighbour, Mr. ——, who, as we know, was a prominent member of the United Society, and Grierson wondered he had heard nothing of her before, but then he remembered that he had kept himself so much aloof that very little gossip of any kind reached his ears.

When he thought of the way in which she and he had met he could not help regretting that he had not the opportunity of rendering her a more signal service, and he began spinning out romantic scenes in his mind—a horse tearing madly along straight for a precipice, a shrieking maiden clinging to his mane, and at the last moment he, Robert Grierson, managing to seize the reins, stopping the horse, but falling as he did so, and becoming unconscious, and then when he woke up, feeling sore all over, not knowing where he was, for he found himself in a dimly lighted room, and while he was still wondering a fair face bent softly over him, etc., etc. Other scenes in which the incidents were varied, succeeded, until he fell asleep.

When he woke the following morning, the fair vision of the previous evening came before his eyes, and he decided that he would endeavour to find out who the lady was.

The news came to him unexpectedly. Mr. —— came over to thank him for himself and also on behalf of his guest. Grierson very naturally made light of the business as a thing, so far as he was concerned, not worth talking about; but Mr. —— assured him that the young lady was very grateful, and it would, he said, give him great pleasure if Grierson would come over to his house that evening to supper. Grierson, after a little reluctance, which he felt bound to pretend owing to his having refused so many former invitations from the same quarter, agreed to go, and that evening found him in the society of Rosette Neilan, who had lately come back from France, and who was an ardent admirer of that gallant people, and was full of enthusiasm for the cause of liberty.


CHAPTER III.

LOVE’S TRIUMPH.

The only persons present at the supper were Mr. ——, his wife, Rosette, and Grierson, and it must be confessed that the young lady did all the talking. Most of it was about her school days, and there were bright little sketches of French life and much, but not very much, of the army that was sweeping over Europe, overthrowing old landmarks and breaking up dynasties. It was hardly to be wondered at that the others were listeners. The lovely face of the speaker seemed to beam as she spoke. Her beautiful eyes were at times as still as a waveless sea, and as deep, under the blue sky of a cloudless summer day. At times they flashed and sparkled as she became more interested in the subject of her conversation; her speech seemed to flow, as flows the song of the lark singing and winging his way up until he is lost in the height, and there was that soupçon of a foreign accent to which we have already referred, and to which we are half tempted to give the name of “brogue,” knowing how sweet what we call the “brogue” can be in a winsome Irish girl’s lips. Then there were the wonderful gestures that seemed, as it were, to add colour and motion to her descriptions. It was simply a delight to watch the play of her features, and as for Robert Grierson, he seemed to himself as if he were under a spell, and in truth he was. If Love had wounded him the previous evening, this night it succeeded in binding him hand and foot; and, as he returned home, walking in the moonlight by the stream, he seemed to hear, as it murmured by, the music of her voice.

It is hardly necessary to say that he made frequent opportunities of meeting her. Mr. and Mrs. —— gave him every facility. Mrs. ——, because she was, like most women, a bit of a matchmaker, and could sympathise still with a little love romance. That this was one she did not doubt. Anyone with her opportunity would have found no difficulty in making this discovery, and she regarded the match in every way a suitable one. Rosette was, indeed, almost penniless, while Robert Grierson had enough and to spare for both, with no relatives depending on him, and she thought he ought to be proud to win for his wife so beautiful and charming a girl as Rosette.

As for Mr. ——, he was glad of the intimacy which he saw springing up between the young couple, for other, though hardly as romantic, reasons. As for Rosette herself, she had been so much accustomed to admiration that at first she accepted Robert Grierson’s attentions as a matter of course, but it was not very long until she felt that her interest in him was becoming deeper, and her longing to meet him stronger.

During their earlier meetings their talk was just such as might be expected to take place between a handsome, brilliant, light-hearted, young lady, who assumed the airs of a queen, and a somewhat bashful young gentleman, who had felt his heart was under her feet, and who, dazed by her beauty and her will, could do barely more than listen and admire. But when they had become more intimate her talk was of another character. She began to speak much of France—of the Revolution—of the cause of Liberty.

She seemed to know by heart the wonderful story of the young Republic that had started up half armed and caught hoary dynasties by the throat, and humbled them to the dust.

As she spoke the battlefields seemed to rise before her vision, and she described the conflicts as if she had taken part in them, and on one occasion, after telling how a crowd of beardless boys, without shoes, and almost in tatters, had rushed the heights and sabred the Austrian gunners, she suddenly turned towards Grierson, and, with passionate gesture, exclaimed:

“Ah, if I were a man, I should be a soldier. But if I ever marry, I’ll marry only a soldier of liberty.”

She and Grierson were standing on a knoll that rose over the river that flashed back the hues of the sunset.

They fell also on the face and figure of Rosette, and as Grierson listened to her impassioned tones and watched her lovely face glowing with transcendent beauty he felt she had only to lift her finger to beckon him to destruction, and that he would have leaped in response like a hound loosened from the leash.

“Ah, glorious France!” she exclaimed, “she had only to stamp her foot and out her children came swarming round her, begging her to let them go fight, conquer or die for her.”

“But poor Ireland,” and a wistful look came into her eyes, “I come back to you only to find a race of slaves!”

And her voice, exultant a second before, sank as if burdened with great sorrow.

Then, after a slight pause, she resumed.

“But I fear I should not have spoken this way, Mr. Grierson, and the evening is waning, and I had better return home.”

“Not have spoken this way!” Grierson exclaimed, “as if I have any desire to find fault with your words or your thoughts; as if every word of yours does not find a home in my heart!”

And he caught her little hand and lifted it to his lips.

She permitted the caress, then gently withdrawing her hand she repeated: “I had better return home.”

“But why should you not speak to me and tell me everything?” he cried passionately.

“Because—because,” she stammered, “you know you were once one—one of us, but you are so no longer.”

“One of us!” and he emphasised the last word.

“Oh, I mean,” she replied with a slight toss of her head, rather suggestive of disdain, “you were once a soldier of liberty—but you are so no longer.”

For a second he was puzzled, then his heart caught her meaning.

“You said you would marry only a soldier of liberty.”

“It is true,” she replied.

“And if I were one?”

“But you are not! Look, the sun is sinking behind the hills already—the shadows are in the valley. I must return.”

“But if I were a soldier of liberty once more. If I take the oath of the United Men?”

“You took it, Robert Grierson.”

“But you do not understand. You have not heard all.”

“I understand. I have heard everything. You took the oath, and while men are arming everywhere, and the revolution that will make Ireland a Republic like France and like America is setting into motion you are playing the part of a truant and a dreamer.”

“But my promise was given to the dying—I might almost say, dead.”

“Then go amongst the graves and keep it.”

“But this is too cruel, Rosette—Rosey—little Rose. Tell me, if I were to—to join the United ranks again, would you count me a soldier of liberty?”

“Of course,” she replied. “Every Irish soldier of liberty is one now.”

“And if I did would there be hope for me? You know what I mean, Rosette.”

“Green is the colour of the United Men,” she answered, “and you have heard, I’m sure, how, when Camille Desmoulines, in the gardens of the Palais Royal in the beginning of the Revolution, plucked a leaf from one of the trees, he decked himself with it, crying out: ‘Green is the colour of hope.’”

Her eyelids drooped a little as he looked at her with an ardent gaze.

“And may I hope?” he asked.

“If you wear the green.” And she held towards him a leaf which she had plucked.

He took it and kissed it, and then? Well, it is enough to say that Robert Grierson once more wore the green, as the affianced lover of Rosette.


CHAPTER IV.

La Donna e Mobile.

The announcement of her engagement to Robert Grierson was received with great pleasure both by Mr. and Mrs. ——, the latter from reasons already mentioned, and by the former because it was accompanied with the assurance that the young man had been once more brought within the ranks of the United Society. But although this was so, and that he attended their meetings, he hardly displayed his former zeal, and there were some who thought that his broken promise to his dead father weighed on his mind. Perhaps it did. But it is not unlikely that love was also responsible. And it happened that Rosette, who had been so fervent in the cause of liberty, and so eager to talk of it, since she had acknowledged her love for Robert and promised to be his bride, began to find other and more tender subjects for conversation, and as these two young lovers, all in all to each other, strolled down the green laneways or by the banks of the winding stream under the blue skies of April, he as well as she were fain to forget that already the conflict had begun which was to decide whether the United Irish Society or the English Government were to be masters in Ireland. But at last the time arrived which brought them face to face with the fact that a rising was soon to take place in Ulster, and that Robert Grierson would have to take his part in it.

And now the lovers were in the sweet month of May, when, under other circumstances, their hearts would rejoice with the joyous month of flowers. When they had plighted their troth only such a short time before they knew that the effort to throw off the British yoke was soon to be made, and they had seriously desired that the marriage was not to take place until it was over. The issue then did not seem doubtful, for were not the French coming to render assistance? and in a few weeks Ireland would be free from the centre to the sea.

But now not a day passed without rumours of arrests of popular leaders, and the daily court-martials in Belfast and elsewhere. These, it must be confessed, had little or no effect on Grierson, but they had a most unexpected effect on Rosette. A gloom seemed to settle on her spirits, for at night she had fearful visions of gallowses, and of strangled men, and in nearly every case the face of the victim bore a grotesque resemblance to that of her lover.

She endeavoured to conceal the apprehensions that preyed on her. But Robert coaxed her to tell him the cause of her unhappiness. It chanced that they were standing together on the spot where they had plighted their mutual vows, and which naturally had become dear to both of them. Again the sun was setting gloriously, and the stream shone and flashed, and from the green hedgerows there were some sweet, small voices singing a farewell to the setting sun. But there was no longer the radiant face of Rosette. The sunset light only served to expose its unutterable sadness.

Grierson had his arm round her waist.

“Tell me, darling, tell me, my own little Rosy, what is the trouble on you?”

“Oh, Robbie, Robbie!” the tears came to her eyes, “what brought me here? What brought me and you together?”

“Why, darling, what do you mean? What brought you here except to make me the happiest man in Ulster, or out of it.”

“No, no, Robbie, love, you were happy till I came. You might be happy now and always, but I—I have changed the current of your life. It might have run on calmly as the stream below, flowing in an accustomed course, but now——”

“But no, darling, whatever be its course, it will run brighter than the stream runs on there so long as I have you with me, my own dear, darling little Rosette.”

And he drew her towards him and kissed her.

“But Robbie, don’t you understand, dear. I have had such dreams, and of you—oh, they have frightened my very soul!”

“You silly darling. Do you not know that dreams go by contraries!”

“Oh, but they come again and again.”

“Then what were they, dearest? They will lose all their terror if you tell me,” and thus he coaxed her story from her, and he kissed her and laughed away her fears for the time, but it was only for the time. The dreams recurred—not always the same, however, for sometimes instead of the scaffold she appeared to see a battlefield heaped with dead, the faces of most of the corpses gashed, and amongst them, always recognisable by her, and she felt it was gashed almost out of recognition—was that of Robert Grierson.

The result of these dismal dreams was that Rosette became thoroughly convinced that her lover was destined to a fatal end unless, for she could see no other alternative, he were to quit the country, and day after day her spirits sank, and, do what he could, Robbie was unable to cheer her.

And now the news arrived that the rising was determined on, and a few days later it was followed by the news that Leinster was up.

Grierson had to confess to himself that Rosette’s forebodings had deeply affected him, and, moreover, as the moment for action approached, the scene at the deathbed of his father intruded itself frequently. His conscience seemed to goad him for having broken the promise so solemnly given, and at the next moment he felt that it never should have been exacted, and at all costs he knew he would have given it up a dozen times for Rosette’s sake.

But here was Rosette now sorry that she had made him break it. But without doing so could he have won her? And then his memory summoned her up as she stood next him on that fateful evening.

At last Grierson received orders to join the forces under Munroe, and he and Rosette were once more going down by the stream. “Would it be the last time?” his heart kept asking him, yet he strove to be cheerful, and he talked of returning in a few months at the outside, and making his Rosette his own bonny bride.

Rosette had, on her side, endeavoured to bear up bravely, but at last she completely broke down.

“Oh, darling, darling, I’ve led you to your ruin—to your death. Yes—yes, it is I who will have killed you. I would give my eyes out for you, dearest!”

“Keep them for me, darling! that will be better,” Robbie answered, with affected gaiety, and he kissed the tears away.

“But Robbie, if you love me, if you love me, dearest, there is yet time to save yourself. I was wrong, Robbie, it was sinful of me to get you to violate your solemn pledge to your dying father. I saw him in my dreams last night, and his face was full of anger. Oh, Robbie, I’ve done wrong, and you—you are the victim.”

He pressed her towards him, patted her cheek, remaining silent, thinking it better to let her speak without interruption.

At last, withdrawing herself from his arms, she returned a step or two and then fell on her knees. She stretched out her hands. “Oh, Robbie, if you love me fly—fly to-night while there is yet time, when you are safe beckon me to come to you, and I’ll follow you if need be around the world.”

Robbie bent down and tenderly lifted her up.

“Dearest, you will crush my heart if you talk in that way. But what you ask is impossible. Be my own brave girl and banish these silly fears. You would not have them brand me a coward or a traitor. I should be one, if not both, if I faltered or fled now when the summons has come. If I could do so, dear, I know that when you and I would meet again I should be ashamed to look into your eyes, counting myself, as I would be, a renegade. No, dearest, I’ll never bring that disgrace upon myself or on the woman who has given me her love.”

And so till the night came he strove to soothe her and to cheer her heart—his own sad enough—but after the final adieu he set out for home for the last time he was ever to visit it, with face set and conscious that he was taking the only course that was open to him, but his heart was dark with forebodings.

The next day he joined Munroe. Poor Rosette remained at home praying and weeping, anticipating always the worst, and unable to shake off the conviction that the day of her happiness had come to a close.

At last the terrible news arrived of the defeat of Munroe at Ballinahinch and the dispersal of his forces. There was at first no word of Robert Grierson, and, of course, Rosette concluded that he was left amongst the slain.

The following day, towards nightfall, a labourer who had been in Robert’s employment, brought her the news that Robert was concealed in his cabin a few miles away. Thither she sped that night to find Robert lying on a heap of clean straw rather badly wounded, but in fairly cheerful spirits.

There he remained for several days, and was rapidly gaining health, and Rosette’s hopes were reviving, and she again indulged the dream that she and Robert would be happy, for she had secured a promise from him which he was now free to give—that, as soon as he was well enough, he would endeavour to escape to France, whither she would follow him.

But alas, it was only a dream. The bloodhounds were on his track. One morning, just in the grey of dawn, Rosette was making her way close to the cabin in which Robbie lay, when suddenly she was confronted by a small party of yeos. She turned and fled, pursued by a volley of oaths and villainous jests. Worse still, she was followed by one or two of the party, and although she flew like a deer she was quickly overtaken, for her foot having caught in a briar she stumbled and fell.

The yeo picked her up, and then swore out: “By ——, it’s the Frenchwoman, and her lover cannot be far off.”

In the meantime the approach of the yeos to the house had been discovered, and the owner had taken out Grierson to the haggard, and concealed him effectually in a heap of turf which stood by the house. Within a few minutes the yeos came, bringing Rosette along, her face aflame with indignation.

“Search the house,” cried the leader of the band. They did so. There was no one in it. “Come, my man tell us at your peril where the traitor Grierson is?”

“That’s more than I know” replied the owner of the house, to whom the question had been addressed.

“Well this wench can tell us, and shall tell us,” cried one of the most ruffianly of the gang, and he seized Rosette in such a manner as to cause her to scream out.

Suddenly the clump of turf came tumbling about the yard, and with flashing eyes and white face Robert Grierson staggered out and made for the ruffian.

“Unhand her, you coward,” and he struck at his face. Weak as he was the blow was not without effect, and Rosette was free from the polluted grasp.

There was something in the passion of Grierson that seemed to win the sympathy of the yeoman captain, who had been acquainted with Grierson.

“Come,” he said, “submit quietly to be bound and I pledge myself the girl shall go away unmolested.”

“Oh, Robbie, Robbie!” was all poor Rosette could say, her whole frame shaking with sobs.

When the yeos were ready to march with Grierson they first had a look round for the man of the house. But he fled when Robbie discovered himself, and had run where he could not be found. The yeos, by way of revenge, set fire to the thatch. Rosette begged to be allowed to accompany the prisoner. Ordering the yeos to fall back from the latter, the captain brought Rosette up to him.

“I would grant your request,” he said kindly, “but if you take my advice you will go to your home. I might be able to protect you from insult, but we shall transfer our prisoner to other hands.”

Robbie urged her to act on this suggestion—and she, promising that she would visit him in prison, bringing Mr. —— with her, on the following day, took a heartbroken farewell, striving to appear strong so as not to give sport to the yeos.

She went to a little hill that commanded the road for nearly a mile, down which the yeos and their prisoner went. As she watched him further and further away, the life-blood seemed to ebb from her heart, and when at last they rounded a curve that shut them out from view, poor Rosette utterly broke down and fell fainting to the ground.

A week later the scaffold found a fresh victim in Robert Grierson. Poor Rosette’s love story was over. Her darkest dream had proved true.