Imagens das páginas
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of certainty, whether or not they have really gone upon the fool's errand I intended to send them. © From the lofty and umbrageous top of this immense pine, they perceived the party of villains sweeping round the other side of the lake, at one moment hid by the trees, and by the intervening hillocks and bushes, and at another, seen march ing in single file among the tall leafless stems of the firs. One or two were on foot;--but the greater number were mounted on ponies, and Alexander Macgillivray and the miller rode at their head. The night was now falling fast, and their figures were soon lost amid the gloom and intricacy of the forest.

Amherst came down from the tree highly satisfied with the success of his stratagem. He made OʻGollochar untie the horses, and lead them through the wood to a more open spot, where, though equally concealed, they could pick up a little grass. This being immediately above the place of meeting, and at no great distance from it, he had it in his power, by moving forward a few steps, to command a full view of the Fairy's Oak, ahi immense tree, growing singly from the smooth turf of a green point, directly opposite to the islet

occupied by the castle. There he determined to remain quiet until the appointed hour.

The night was cloudy, but the moon having risen, gave a steady though chastened light, sufficient, however, to enable the eye to distinguish any object that might show itself upon the short sward of the level ground below, dedicated, by popular superstition, to the tiny green-coated race of elves, who were supposed“ to daunce the maze” round the great oak. The surface of the water between the islet and the land was visible, and the dark form of the ruined castle was distinctly seen rising from it.

It was not long after Amherst had taken up this new position, that stepping from under the trees to reconnoitre, he observed a light thrown upon one of the further walls of the castle, as if from a torch or lamp, carried by some person concealed by the buildings nearest to him. Having understood that it was a ruin, and uninhabited, he was a good deal astonished with this circum

The light however was transient. It seemed either to have been suddenly extinguished, or moved into a situation where it was hid ;


and though he went frequently out to look for its return, he never saw it again.

After making frequent trips of observation from the shade, he at last called to O’Gollochar to come and look out. The Irishman did so, and much to the wonder of both, they beheld a small figure, sitting erect as it were, upon the water, and gliding with a slow steady motion towards the castle, as if from a part of the shore a little beyond the point immediately below them.

Amherst heard O'Gollochar's teeth chatter in his head as he stood beside him, and began to chide him for so soon giving way to his fears, at the same time earnestly reminding him of his promises. “ Faith, then, master," said the attached Irish

“ though I don't much like the looks of yon cratur sailing on the top of the water, for all the world like a salmon, I'll stand by your honour any way, now that I'm fairly in for it, though it should be against the divil himself-Och, I beg his pardon !—but be it against whom it may, by Saint Patrick, who I wish to be about us, may I never see old Ireland again, and more nor that, may I never see Mamsel Spindle any more,




I hope, I have at this moment, if I don't follow your honour till I drop."

That's bravely spoken,” said Amherst to him, very much amused to hear how naturally, like an ancient knight, he had recommended himself to his patron saint and his mistress in the same breath ; “ that's well said, Cornelius-let me see you act up to this manly resolution, and depend upon it, you

will have no arms but those of flesh to contend with.”

“ Flesh or fish," said Cornelius, with a determined voice, “ I'm ready for whatever may come!”

By this time, the object upon the lake had moved under the deep shadow thrown on the wa ter by the broad mass of wall, and was entirely lost. Amherst and his man however kept their eyes stedfastly fixed upon the place where it had disappeared ; and, after a little time, they again perceived it gliding from the obscurity under the walls, and making as it were towards that part of the shore where the Fairy Oak spread its wide arms abroad.-Amherst had now no doubt that the figure was that of the Carline. Renewing his caution to O'Gollochar, he desired him to follow,

and hastened to descend the slope towards the tree, beneath the shade of which they awaited her landing. As she drew near to the point of the shore, he perceived, and made O’Gollochar too observe, that although there was something very ingenious, there was nothing supernatural in "her mode of navigating the lake; for she sat lightly balanced on a broad thin plank, quite unequal to support the weight of any larger body, but easily bearing her small frame, which was adroitly poised on it, and oared without noise, by means of two thin pieces of lathwood.

Her frail bark had no sooner touched the shore, than she leaped to the bank, and tripped with inconceivable rapidity into the shadow formed by the great oak.

“You are here,” she said, in a low tone of voice. “ 'Tis well!--are your arms in order, and your horses at hand ?"

They are,” replied Amherst. “ Then hasten to them,” said she, “ and, with this plaid folded, and stuffed with the softest and driest moss you can gather from the stones, quickly form a pillion, and fasten it securely behind your saddle ;-I will be here again by the time

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