« ElőzőTovább »
extinguished, the only light remaining was that shed from the red embers of the decaying fire, which cast so uncertain a glimmer within the cabin that its effect was almost worse than utter darkness to a timid person, for any object within its range assumed a form unlike its own, and presented some fantastic image to the eye; and as Oonah, contrary to her usual habit, could not fall asleep the moment she went to bed, she could not resist peering forth from under the bed-clothes through the uncertain gloom, in a painful state of watchfulness, which became gradually relaxed into an uneasy sleep.
The night was about half spent when Andy began to awake ; and as he stretched his arms, and rolled his whole body round, he struck the bottom of the bed above him, in the action, and woke his mother. “Dear me,” thought the widow, “ I can't sleep at all to-night.” Andy gave another turn soon after, which roused Oonah. She started, and shaking her aunt, asked her, in a low voice, if it was she who kicked her, though she scarcely hoped an answer in the affirmative, and yet dared not believe what her fears whispered.
“ No, a cushla,” whispered the aunt.
Andy gave another roll. “ There it is again!" gasped Oonah ; and in a whisper, scarcely above her breath, she added, “ Aunt,—there's some one under the bed !”.
The aunt did not answer; but the two women drew closer together, and held each other in their arms, as if their proximity afforded protection. Thus they lay in breathless fear for some minutes, while Andy began to be influenced by a vision, in which the duel, and the chase, and the thrashing, were all enacted over again, and soon an odd word begar to escape from the dreamer :-“Gi' me the pist’l, Dick—the pist'l !”
“There are two of them !" whispered Oonah. “God be merciful to us !—Do you hear him asking for the pistol ?"
“ Screech!” said her aunt. “I can't,” said Oonah. Andy was quiet for some time, while the women scarcely breathed. 6. Suppose we get up, and make for the door ? ” said the aunt.
“I wouldn't put my foot out of the bed for the world," said Oonah. “ I'm afeard one o' them would catch me by the leg."
“Howld him ! howld him!” grumbled Andy.
“ I'll die with the fright, aunt! I feel I'm dyin'! Let us say our prayers, aunt, for we're goin' to be murdhered !” The two women began to repeat with fervour their aves and paternosters, while at this immediate juncture Andy's dream having borne him to the dirty ditch where Dick Dawson had pommelled him, he began to vociferate, “Murder ! murder !” so fiercely, that the women screamed together in an agony of terror, and “Murder ! murder !” was shouted by the whole party; for once the widow and Oonah found their voices, they made good use of them. The noise awoke Andy, who had, be it remembered, a tolerably long sleep by this time ; and he having quite forgotten where he had lain down, and finding himself confined by the bed above him, and smothering for want of air, with the fierce shouts of murder ringing in his ears, woke in as great a fright as the women in the bed, and became a party in the terror he himself had produced ; every plunge he gave under the bed inflicted a poke or a kick on his mother and cousin, which was answered by the cry of “ Murder !"
“Let me out! Let me out, Misther Dick !" roared Andy. “ Where am I at all? Let me out !"
“ Help, help! murdher !" roared the women.
Andy scrambled from under the bed, half awake, and whole frightened by the darkness and the noise, which was now increased by the barking of the cur-dog.
“High! at him, Coaly !" roared Mrs. Rooney; “ howld him ! howld him!”
Now as this address was often made to the cur respecting the pig, when Mrs. Rooney sometimes wanted a quiet moment in the day, and the pig didn't like quitting the premises, the dog ran to the corner of the cabin where the pig habitually lodged, and laid hold of his ear with the strongest testimonials of affection, which polite attention the pig acknowledged by a prolonged squealing, that drowned the voices of the women and Andy together; and now the cocks and hens that were roosting on the rafters of the cabin, weré startled by the din, and the crowing and cackling, and the flapping of the frightened fowls as they flew about in the dark, added to the general uproar and confusion.
"A -h!” screamed Oonah, “ take your hands off me !" as Andy, getting from under the bed, laid his hand upon it to assist him, and caught a grip of his cousin.
" Who are you at all ?” cried Andy, making another claw, and catching hold of his mother's nose.
“Oonah, they're murdhering me !" shouted the widow.
The name of Oonah, and the voice of his mother, recalled his senses to Andy, who shouted, “ Mother, mother! what's the matter ?” A frightened hen flew in his face, and nearly knocked andy down. “ Bad cess to you,” cried Andy; “what do you hit me for ?"
“Who are you at all ?” cried the widow. “ Don't you know me ?” said Andy.
“ No, I don't know you ; by the vartue o' my oath, I don't ; and I'll never swear again' you, jintlemen, if you lave the place, and spare our lives!”
Here the hens flew against the dresser, and smash went the plates and dishes.
"Oh, jintlemen, dear, don't rack and ruin me that way; don't desthroy a lone woman !"
“ Mother, mother, what's this at all? Don't you know your own Andy ?"
“ Is it you that's there ?” cried the widow, catching hold of him. “ To be sure it's me," said Andy. . “ You won't let us be murdhered, will you ?'' “ Who'd murdher you?"
“ Them people that's with you." Smash went another plate. “ Do you hear that ? they're rackin' my place, the villians !"
“ Divil a one's wid me at all!” said Andy. “ I'll take my oath there was three or four under the bed,” said Oonah. “Not one but myself,” said Andy. “ Are you sure ?'' said his mother.
“ Cock sure !” said Andy; and a loud crowing gave evidence in favour of his assertion.
“ The fowls is going mad,” said the widow.
“Get up and light the rushlight, Oonah," said the widow ; “ you'll get a spark out o'the turf cendhers.”
“Some o' them will catch me, maybe !” said Oonah. “ Get up, I tell you," said the widow.
Oonah now arose, and groped her way to the fire-place, where by dint of blowing upon the embers, and poking the rushlight among the turf ashes, a light was at length obtained. She then returned to the bed, and threw her petticoat over her shoulders.
“What's this at all?" said the widow rising, and wrapping a blanket round her.
“Bad cess to the know I know !” said Andy.
Oonah obeyed, and screamed, and ran behind Andy. “There's another here yet !” said she.
Andy seized the poker, and standing on the defensive, desired the villian to come out: the demand was not complied with.
“ There's nobody there,” said Andy.
“I'll take my oath there is,” said Oonah ; "a dirty blackguard without any clothes on him.”
Come out, you robber !” said Andy, making a lunge under the truckle.
A grunt ensued, and out rushed the pig, who had escaped from the dog, the dog having discovered a greater attraction in some fat that was knocked from the dresser, which the widow intended for the dipping of rushes in; but the dog being enlightened to his own interest without rushlights, and preferring mutton fat to pig's ear, had suffered the grunter to go at large, while he was captivated by the fat. The clink of a three-legged stool the widow seized to the rescue, was a stronger argument against the dog than he was prepared to answer, and a remnant of fat was preserved from the rapacious Coaly.
“ Where's the rest o' the robbers ?'' said Oonah : “there's three o' them, I know.”
“You're dhramin',” said Andy. “Divil a robber is here but
“And what brought you here ?” said his mother. “I was afeard they'd murdher me,” said Andy.
“Murdher !” exclaimed the widow and Oonah together, still startled by the very sound of the word. “Who do you mane ?”
“Misther Dick,” said Andy.
" Aunt, I tell you," said Oonah, “this is some more of Andy's blundhers. Sure Misther Dawson wouldn't be goin' to murdher any one ; let us look round the cabin, and find out who's in it, for I won't