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be aisy ontil I look into every corner, to see there's no robbers in the place; for I tell you again, there was three o' them undher the bed.”
The search was made, and the widow and Oonah at length satisfied that there were no midnight assassins there with long knives to cut their throats; and then they began to thank God that their lives were safe.
“But, oh! look at my chaynee!” said the widow, clapping her hands, and casting a look of despair at the shattered delf that lay around her; “look at my chaynee !”
“And what was it brought you here ?” said Oonah, facing round on Andy with a dangerous look, rather, in her bright eye. “ Will you tell us that ?—what was it ?".
“ I came to save my life, I tell you,” said Andy.
“ To put us in dhread of ours, you mane," said Oonah. “ Just look at the omadhawn there,” said she to her aunt, “ standin' with his mouth open, just as if nothin' happened, and he afther frightenin' the lives of us.”
“ Thrue for you, alanna,” said her aunt.
“ And would no place sarve you, indeed, but undher our bed, you vagabone ?” said his mother, roused to a sense of his delinquency; " to come in like a morodin’ villian, as you are, and hide under the bed, and frighten the lives out of us, and rack and ruin my place !"
66'Twas Misther Dick, I tell you,” said Andy.
“ Bad scran to you, you unlooky hangin' bone thief!” cried the widow, seizing him by the hair, and giving him a hearty cuff on the ear, which would have knocked him down, only that Oonah kept him up by an equally well applied box on the other.
“ Would you murdher me ?” shouted Andy, as he saw his mother lay hold of the broom.
“Ar'n't you afther frightenin' the lives out of us, you dirty, good-fornothing, mischief-making!—"
On poured the torrent of abuse, rendered more impressive by a whack at every word. Andy roared, and the more he roared the more did Oonah and his mother thrash him. So great, indeed, was their zeal in the cause, that the widow's blanket and Oonah's petticoat fell off in the mêlée, which compels us to put our hands to our eyes, and close the chapter.
“ Lore rules the camp, the court, the grove,
And men on earth and saints above;
So sang Scott. Quite agreeing with the antithesis of the last line, perhaps in the second, where he talks of men and saints, another view of the subject, or turn of the phrase, might have introduced sinners quite as successfully. This is said without the smallest intention of using the word sinners in a questionable manner. Love, in its purest shape, may lead to sinning on the part of persons least interested in the question ; for is it not a sin, when the folly, or caprice, or selfishness of a third party or fourth, makes a trio or quartette of that which nature undoubtedly intended for a duet, and so spoils it?
Fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers, uncles, aunts,-ay, and even cousins,—sometimes put in their oar to disturb that stream which is troubled enough without their interference, and, as the bard of Avon says,
"never did run smooth.” And so it was in the case of Fanny Dawson and Edward O'Connor. A piece of innocent fun on the part of her brother, and blind pertinacity -indeed, downright absurdity-on her father's side, interrupted the intercourse of affection, which had subsisted silently for many a long day between the lovers, but was acknowledged at last, with delight to the two whom it most concerned, and satisfaction to all who knew or held them dear. Yet the harmony of this sweet concordance of spirits was marred by youthful frolic and doting absurdity. This welding together of hearts in the purest fire of nature's own contriving, was broken at a blow by a weak old man. Is it too much to call this a sin ? Less mischievous things are branded with the name in the commonplace parlance of the world. The cold and phlegmatic may not understand this; but they who can love know how bitterly every after-hour of life may be poisoned with the taint which hapless love has infused into the current of future years, and can believe how many a heart, equal to the highest enterprise, has been palsied by the touch of despair. Sweet and holy is the duty of child to parent; but sacred also is the obligation of those who govern in so hallowed a position. Their rule should be guided by justice ; they should pray for judgment in their mastery.
Fanny Dawson's father was an odd sort of person. His ancestors were settlers in Ireland of the time of William the Third, and having won their lands by the sword, it is quite natural the love of arms should have been hereditary in the family. Mr. Dawson, therefore, had
served many years as a soldier, and was a bit of a martinet, not only in military but all other affairs. His mind was of so tenacious a character, that an impression once received there, became indelible; and if the Major once made up bis mind, or indulged the belief, that such and such things were so and so, the waters of truth could never wash out the mistake : stubbornness had written them there with her own indelible marking ink.
Now, one of the old gentleman's weak points was a museum of the most heterogeneous nature, consisting of odds and ends from all parts of the world, and appertaining to all subjects. Nothing was too high or too low :-a bronze helmet from the plain of Marathon, which, to the classic eye of an artist, conveyed the idea of a Minerva's head beneath it, would not have been more prized by the Major than a cavalry cap with some hullet mark of which he could tell an anecdote. A certain skin of a tiger he prized much, because the animal had dined on his dearest friend in one of the jungles of Bengal; also a pistol, which he vouched for as being the one with which Hatfield fired at George the Third; the hammer with which Crawley (of Hessian-boot memory) murdered his landlady; the string which was on Viotti's violin, when he played before Queen Charlotte ; the horn which was supposed to be in the lantern of Guy Fawkes; a small piece of the coat worn by the Prince of Orange on his landing in England, and other such relics. But far above these the Major prized the skeleton of a horse's head, which occupied the principal place in his museum. This he declared to be part of the identical horse which bore Duke Shonberg when he crossed the Boyne in the celebrated battle so called ; and with whimsical ingenuity he had contrived to string some wires upon the bony fabric, which yielded a sort of hurdygurdy vibration to the strings when touched; and the Major's most favourite feat was to play the tune of the Boyne Water on the head of Duke Shonberg's horse. In short, his collection was composed of trifles from north, south, east, and west. Some leaf from the prodigal verdure of India, or gorgeous shell from the Pacific, or paw of bear, or tooth of walruss ; but beyond all teeth, one pre-eminently was valued,
it was one of his own, which he had lost the use of by a wound in the jaw, received in action; and no one ever entered his house and escaped without hearing all about it, from the first shot fired in the affair by the skirmishers, to the last charge of the victorious cavalry. The tooth was always produced along with the story, together with the declaration, that every dentist who ever saw it protested it was the largest human tooth ever seen. Now some little sparring was not unfrequent between old Mr. Dawson and Edward, on the subject of their respective museums; the old gentleman “ poo-pooing" Edward's “ rotten, rusty rubbish," as he called it, and Edward defending, as gently as he could, his patriotic partiality for national antiquities. This little war never led to any evil results; for Edward not only loved Fanny too well, but respected age too much, to lean hard on the old gentleman's weakness, or seek to reduce his fancied superiority as a collector ; but the tooth, the ill-omened tooth, at last gnawed asunder the bond of friendship and affection which had subsisted between two families for so many years.