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and an alertness that would have done credit
to his earlier years.

There was a moment's silence after his
exit. The lady turned to her husband, and
clasping his arm with her hands, and looking
into his darkened countenance with a look of
tenderest anxiety, said:—

"Dearest Oswald, let me, as I have so often
done, once more entreat that these dreadful
evictions may cease. Surely there must be
some way to avert them, and to set your property
right, without such violent measures."

The stern, proud man said—" Then, why,
in the name of Heaven, do you not reveal
some other remedy? why do you not enlighten
all Ireland? why don't you instruct
Government? The unhappy wretches who
have been swept away by force are no people,
no tenants of mine. They squatted themselves
down, as a swarm of locusts fix themselves
while a green blade is left. They obstruct all
improvement; they will not till the ground
themselves; nor will they quit it to allow me
to provide more industrious and provident
husbandmen to cultivate it. Land that teems
with fertility, and is shut out from bearing
and bringing forth food for man, is accursed.
Those who have been evicted, not only rob
me; but their more industrious fellows.

"They will murder us!" said the wife,
"some day for these things. They will—"

Her words were cut short suddenly by her
husband starting, and standing in a listening
attitude. " Wait a moment," he said, with a
peculiar calmness, as if he had just got a fresh
thought; and his lady, who did not comprehend
what was the cause, but hoped that
some better influence was touching him, unloosed
her hands from his arm. " Wait just
a moment," he repeated, and stepped from
the room, opened the front door, and without
his hat, went out.

"He is intending to cool down his anger,"
thought his wife: " he feels a longing for the
freshness of the air." But she had not caught
the sound which had startled his quicker,
because more excited ear: she had been too
much engrossed by her own intercession with
him: it was a peculiar whine from the mastiff,
which was chained near the lodge-gate, that
had arrested his attention. He stepped out.
The black clouds which overhung the moor
had broken, and the moon's light struggled
between them.

The tall and haughty man stood erect in
the breeze and listened. Another moment,—
there was a shot, and he fell headlong upon
the broad steps on which he stood. His wife
sprang with a piercing shriek from the door,
and fell on his corpse. A crowd of servants
gathered about them, making wild lamentations,
and breathing vows of vengeance. The
murdered master and the wife were borne
into the house.

The heron soared from its lofty perch, and
wheeled with terrified wings through the
night air. The servants armed themselves;
and, rushing furiously from the house, traversed
the surrounding masses of trees,
Fierce dogs were let loose, and dashed frantically
through the thickets. All was, however,
too late. The soaring heron saw grey
figures, with blackened faces, stealing away
often on their hands and kneesdown the
hollows of the moorlands towards the village;
where the two Irish horsemen had, in the
first dusk of that evening, tied their lean
steeds to the old elder bush.

Near the mansion no lurking assassin was
to be found. Meanwhile, two servants, pistol
in hand, on a couple of their master's horses,
scoured hill and dale. The heron, sailing
solemnly on the wind above, saw them halt in
a little town. They thundered with the but-ends
of their pistols on a door in the principal
street. Over it there was a coffin-shaped
board, displaying a painted crown, and the
big-lettered words, " POLICE STATION." The
mounted servants shouted with might and
main. A nightcapped head issued from a
chamber casement with—" What is the

"Out with you, Police! out with all your
strength, and lose not a moment: Mr. FitzGibbon,
of Sporeen, is shot at his own door."

The casement was hastily clapped to, and
the two horsemen galloped forward up the
long, broad street; now flooded with the
moon's light. Heads full of terror were
thrust from upper windows to inquire the
cause of that rapid galloping; but ever too
late. The two men held their course up a
steep hill outside of the town, where stood
a vast building overlooking the whole place.
It was the barracks. Here the alarm was
also given.

In less than an hour, a mounted troop of
police in olive-green costume, with pistols at
holster, sword by side, and carbine on the arm,
were trotting briskly out of town, accompanied
by the two messengers; whom they
plied with eager questions. These answered,
and sundry imprecations vented, the whole
party increased their speed, and went on, mile
after mile, by hedgerow and open moorland,
talking as they went.

Before they reached the house of Sporeen,
and near the village where the two Irish
horsemen had stopped the evening before,
they halted, and formed themselves into
more orderly array. A narrow gully was
before them on the road, hemmed in on
each side by rocky steeps, here and there
overhung with bushes. The commandant
bade them be on their guard, for there
might be danger there. He was right; for
the moment they began to trot through
the pass, the flash and rattle of fire-arms
from the thickets above saluted them, followed
by a wild yell. In a second, several
of their number lay dead or dying in the road.
The fire was returned promptly by the police;
but it was at random, for although another
discharge, and another howl, announced