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- Tell me, when the Santiago sailed on that luckless voyage from St. Domingo, did she not go down at sea three days after she left the harbour ?”
Goggles bowed his head in assent, but was silent_Kennedy continued
"Did not the ship's register, that was picked up weeks afterwards, tell that amongst the passengers were a poor woman and her child, huddled away somewhere in the fore-cabin, bound for her native land? Was it not her name that I read, till I thought my eyes would burst from their sockets, as I looked at the characters? She and her babe perished !- went down, down into that wild desolate oceanno hand to succour her; no voice to comfort her; with the thought of me and my heartlessness coming, it may be, between her and her prayers to God, and troubling her last moments. Tell me, I say, would she have been in that ship but for me? Would she have found that dreadful grave but for me? No, no; she would not. I am her murderer, indeed !”
Little Goggles' philosophy was nei. ther very deep nor very extensive; he scarce knew what to say in answer to this unwonted burst of passionate remorse. He mounted up into his brain, and searched for some fine casuistical reasoning that might stand to him in the emergency, but in vainthere was nothing of the sort there; then he dived down into the bottom of his heart, and found something there, which the instinct of love told him was true, though his reason did not come to test it ; and so he brought it up and laid it before Kennedy, in his own sim. pie manner.
“I'm not scholar enough, sir, to contradict your arguments; but I know in my heart you are no murderer. The great and merciful God that brought all these things to pass with out your knowledge or design, will not hold you accountable either for the leak in the ship, or the storm on the sea ; he will judge you by the intentions of your heart, which are within your own control, and not by the events that are in his own hands to shape. Do you think, sir, that the priest or the Levite would have been guilty of the death of the poor traveller, if he had perished of his wounds before the good Samaritan came up to relieve him?"
The words of the clerk were words of comfort to his master. They put the matter to him in a light that he was
not in the habit of viewing it in. A quick andexcitable temperament acting upon a morbid conscience, bad induced him, as he brooded from day to day, and from year to year, over this most hasty and intemperate act of his life, to deepen its hue to his own mind, till at length, when tidings of the loss of the Santiago reached him some years previously, the shock was so great that his judgment, on this point, became quite warped ; and the conviction that he was the murderer of one whom he had, indeed, treated harshly, settled down into the confirmed monomania of his life. Still, this ray of comfort sbone in upon him, and calmed him for a moment. A gust of wind was then heard without, and the muffled sound of the heavy snow-shower falling upon the windows, diverted the thoughts of the two men from the subject which had absorbed them.
" What a wild night it is to close the year with," said Kennedy,
"God help the houseless and the homeless in such a night," said Goggles.
“ Amen, Goggles. And now, I'll leave you for a while and go up stairs; 'twill do me good. Meantime, go over to the fire, old fellow, and make yourself comfortable. I'll send you down something warm to help you to find out that error in the tot, and when you have found it let me know, and then we'll balance our books for the old year.”
So saying, the merchant rose from his seat and passed from the apartment. Goggles listened to each heavy tread of his master, as he ascended the staircase; then he heard him closing the door of the room overhead, and stepping across the floor that sounded hollowly beneath his feet. When all was still, the little fellow hopped off his stool, and going over to the fireplace, he gave the coals a modest, timid poke, as though he were taking an unwonted liberty with them : they were of a hot and hasty nature, like their master (and were nothing the worse of that, let me tell you, being coals and not Christians), and so they resisted the assault, gentle as it was, and forthwith broke out into a blaze, and flung their heat at the assailant. Goggles took this retaliation with great complacency, and spread out his cold fingers to receive the first advances ; then he rubbed his hands together, and after a little he drew one of the oldfashioned chairs to the fireplace, and
taking the account-book from the desk, he sat down cosily before the grate, and with his little feet on the fender
and the folio on his knees, fell once more to work to find out the error in the tot.
CHAPTER II. THE MISSING FIGURE.
A WILD and dreary night was that 31st of December, 179–. It seemed as if the dying year struggled hard for life to the last. All day long, like poor old Lear, it blustered and raged over its lost empire. All day long, a strong nor'west wind blewkeen and bitingly, and the leaden snow-clouds rose thick from the horizon, till they overspread the whole face of heaven, and dimmed the light of the sun that had risen, red and dull, upon the frosty morning. And then, ere noon, the thick, large snowflakes came down, drifting, with the wind, blindingly into the faces of those who traversed the streets, and lying upon window-panes till they well nigh shut out the dimmed light of day from those within. All day long the snow fell and drifted till, towards night-fall, the streets were covered with a deep, white carpet, over which, now and then, a carriage rolled, with a dull, muffled sound; and on the leeward footways the snow lay piled so deeply that they who passed along were forced to wade half-knee deep through the mass. But when the night fell, the poor old year had well nigh worn out all his strength; the wind blew but in fitful gusts — the snow-showers were inter mittent - the clouds broke up, and through them, as they scudded over the face of heaven, beamed, with her face of placid, heavenly beauty, the moon nearly at her full. Down she looked, sweetly and soothingly, upon that out stretched dying old year, even as sweet Cordelia looked upon the poor old king, “when the great rage was cured in him.” And now it is night, wild and dreary, in this our city of Dublin.
There is no more striking feature of desolation than a city at night, after a heavy fall of snow. No stir, no sound, no life within her. She lies, like a fair, wan corpse in her shroud of snow ; her only death-watchers, the silent hea. vens-her only wake-lights, the moon or stars. Marts, where the din and bustle of commerce resounded through the day; homesteads that rang with a thousand sweet domestic sounds; doors that poured out their living inmates upon
the haunts of life; windows that gleamed with light, as the living eye with “ speculation" -all now closed, silent, dark, and dead-so that one looks upwards for relief to heaven from this oppressive sense of death. Oh! glorious and wonderful works of God! Oh,“ beauty and mystery" of stars! Ye never sleep or slumber; ever wakeful like the eye of God; ever, like him, present though unseen; like him, near us, indeed, though hidden in the daytime of brightness and prosperity, but revealing yourselves to light and cheer us in the hour of darkness and trial!
“Bedad, Tim Regan, 'tis the bitterest night that ever I seen, God bless it. I'm as cowld as a frog in a springwell.”
“You may say that, Casey,” said Regan, poking his head out of his box, as a badger might out of a hole, and then drawing it back again. "I never got such a starving in my born days."
The interlocutors stood at the corner of Trinity-street and College-green. He who first spoke was wrapped up in an ample coat of grey frieze; round his neck was a red worsted comforter, which covered his chin and mouth, while his head was comfortably enveloped in a white cotton nightcap surmounted by a round hat, the former drawn down in front, almost to his eyes, and leaving only these organs and a red nose exposed to the weather. The cuffs of his coat were brought together, so as to protect, as with a muff, bis hands from the cold; his right arm clasped close to his breast a long pole, with a pike and a hook at the end of it, contrived equally to arrest those who fled from the nocturnal authority, as to assail those who resisted it, and a rattle was stuck in the belt that surrounded his waist. Close to where he stood was a box, or, as it was familiarly termed in the slang of the day, a "bulk," secured against the wall of the house, and so formed, that the sides and roof, which closed by day, opened out and afforded a shelter from the weather by night. Within this the other speaker was ensconced, in a similar attire to his companion, while his pike lay against the side of the watch-box. These two worthies constituted part of the civic guard of Dublin, to whom the fortunes of the town were nightly committed. They were, for the most part, superannuated servants or followers of the Lords Mayor, and other great functionaries of Dublin, who thus provided for them at the public expense; and as they were able to do little, they did it accordingly with all their hearts. As peaceful med, they felt it their duty to set a good example to their fellow-citizens ; and, therefore, made it a point to sleep through the night, the only interrup. tion to which excellent practice arose from the necessity, somewhat unrensonably imposed upon them, of crymy the hours." This annoyance was, how Ever, greatly diminished by an arrangement amongst themselves, whereby one of their number kept the watch each hour, while the rest betook them selves to repose with such earnestness, that to "sleep as sound as a watchman" became a proverb to express a state of the most profound somnolency. It was now Casey's hour of watching; and as his period of vigil was near. ly ended, he had waked up the sleep. ing Regan a short time before the mo. ment when we first made their acquaintance. In a moment Regan turned out of his den, and the two old men, with slow and drowsy step, proceeded on their beat towards the College, chatting as they went along. If a Pythagorean bad just then seen them, in their gray attire and white polls, as they gossipped with one another, he might have fancied that the souls of the geese that saved the Capitol had migrated into the bodies of these old fellows; and that, true to the instinct of their nature, they still cackled and waddled over the sleeping city. And now upon the ear of night the clock of the old Post Office pealed forth the hour of eleven. More distinctly, and in deeper tones, the record of Time's flight was taken up by the bells of Christ Church; then the neigh bouring Church of St. Nicholas Within the Walls gave its notes of warning; next the chiming tongues of St. Patrick's bells spoke the message; and, ere these had ceased, the far - away voice of the bell-clock of Madame Stevens' Hospital took up the challenge; and so from one to the other these chroniclers of old Time passed
the fleeting hour upon his way, till they had fairly sent him out of the city, through the silent parks, and along the sweet valley of the Liffey. And onward, onward went that flying hour, staying but a moment with each, on his westward journey, ever irrevocable to those he had passed.
Meantime, the city watchmen were not idle. Though all other thieves might steal without challenge or interruption during the hours of night, they took good care that the great thief, Time, should not filch even one hour from the world without an outcry. “ Pa-a-st e-le-ven !" sung out Casey, with all the power of his lungs. " Pa-a-st e-le-ven!” repeated Regan, taking for a moment the short pipe from his mouth, with whose fumes he was comforting himself. “ Pa-a.st eleven !" was echoed along the snowy streets, throughout the city, from bulk to bulk, as nightcapped heads were thrust out. Many a lightly-sleeping maiden was waked from her pleasant dream. Many a sleepless sick man, tossing on his bed of fever, heard that vociferation, and gave his malediction to the senseless noise that came so suddenly upon him, making his heart beat and his brow throb with pain. Many a housebreaker and night-prowl. er laughed as he heard the clamour, for he knew that in five minutes more most of those conservators of the city would be snoring in their boxes, and that the few who were on their beats would be as unconscious as somnambulists.
Just then the voices of some drunken revellers, trolling a snatch of a drinking-song, broke upon the repose into which the city was again settling down, after the clamorous interruption of the watchmen. The sounds came from near the northern wing of the College, then some words of parley and altcrcation, mixed with laughter, followed, and the next moment the shrill cry of a woman's voice pierced the air. The cry was that of one seemingly in distress; and so piteous and appealing was its tone, that the two watchmen ran forward to the spot with the best speed they could command.
« Them's the College-boys at their devilment, I'll be bound,” said Regan, dashing the red tobacco from his pipe, and grasping his pike valiantly.
“ Like enough,” responded Casey; "there's neither peace or quiet night or day through the means of 'em. One
would think they might be tired for “Be quiet, be quiet, gentlemen," once, after the pelting of snowballs said Casey, who saw that he had to they gave the Ormond boys this even deal with men too drunk to make any ing. Lord save us! do you hear that effective resistance, “unless you want again?" as another shriek smote on the to spend the night in the watchhouse." air ; - hurry, man, or there'll be mur The two men rushed furiously at
Casey. The Buck came to the ground In an other moment they were at the before he reached his opponent, while place whence the sounds proceeded. the Mohawk pitched heavily, like a Close to the railings of the College were log, into the old watchman, well nigh three young men, dressed in the ex. bearing him down by his drunken treme fashion of the day, with hair in weight. Meantime, Lucas, releasing exquisite buckle and profusely pow. the woman, attacked Regan, who, vadered. They were evidently gentle liantly springing his rattle, received men, with which character it was not the enemy with his pike-handle grasped then deemed inconsistent to be in the in both his hands. From all quarters state of most unequivocal drunkenness watchmen came hobbling up, springing in which these youths were. Two of their rattles till the air was filled with them were linked together, with their the discordant creaking. The three backs to the railings, laughing heartily gentlemen were speedily reduced, and at the third who, with his arm round surrounded by twice as many watchthe waist of a woman, was addressing men. her with an air of maudlin gallantry, “I say, Charlie, my old fellow," and with as much gravity as his drunk said Lucas, who seemed to be less enness enabled him to command. He game than his companions, " 'twas all had just concluded some speech, in a mistake, you see. I thought the lady which the words “ Incomparable para- was a particular friend of mine, and I gon of loveliness - beautiful Venus was only going to take care of her divinely frigid Diana" - and a pro- home; so here's something for your fession of eternal devotion, were alone trouble ;” and he slipped a crown into intelligible. The woman struggled Regan's ready hand. hard for freedom.
«That's just what I was thinking, “Oh, sir, if you be a gentleman, as your honour, when I made bould to you look to be, for the love of God set you right. A real gentleman is suffer me to pass. You would not always ready to listen to reason;" and surely molest an unprotected woman?" he gave a significant look to his fellows,
"Molest! Madam, upon my honour, intimating that matters were adjusted and 'fore Gad, you may depend on in the way in which watchmen always me. I only want to protect you from found it their account to settle them these wild young fellows. This, you see, with all but poor rogues who had no madam, is Buck O'Reilly, and this is money in their pockets. Fagan, one of the Mohawks;' ” and “And a real gentleman is always with his disengaged hand he essayed ready to make up to a poor fellow for an introduction of his two compotators. breaking his ribs,” said Casey, groan“ Fagan, my dear madam, is one of ing with the affectation of internal the most desperate Mohawks in exist- suffering. ence," he continued in a confidential This appeal was responded to by the whisper.
Mohawk, who, considering it compli. The two others broke out into an mentary to his personal prowess to uproarious fit of laughter.
have smashed the Charlie, was dis- Bravo, Lucas ! Go it, my Che. posed to be generous. And so the rokee! Pray don't mind us! We're three gentlemen staggered onwards, in no hurry, you know-quite at your heaven knows whither; and the watchservice."
men went off, no doubt to drink; and “ Hands off, hands off, sir!" said the half dozen homeless, miserable Regan, pushing in between the men. wretches who, on that bleak winter's “ Let go the woman ; don't you see night, were the spectators of the scene, she has no mind for your civilities ?" wandered away; but the woman,
“Down with the Charlie; pink the where was she? No one looked for cursed old bulkey,” cried the Buck her--no one thought of her- no one and the Mohawk, endeavouring to dis- had seen her since she was freed from engage their swords from the scab- the arm of the drunken “ Cherokee." bards.
The moon broke out from the rag
ged clouds that scudded across her orb, Upon the steps of the western coand shone with full splendour upon lonnade of the Parliament House sat the outspread city that lay beneath one in whose heart rose no thoughts her. There in that area, wherein were of the beauty and the glory around congregated all the memorials of the her. Full of sorrow, indeed, were genius, the eloquence, the patriotism, the meditations of her mind - home the learning of Ireland, the beams of memories, before which an angry the full moon shone down in her cold spirit stood, forbidding her heart's glory. Shining far away in the east. access, even as the cherubim stood ern heavens, she left the facade of Tri. with flaming sword between Paradise nity College in deep shadow-a sha. and our first parents - thoughts of dow that projected far into “ the those beloved in childhood, cherished Green," the outlines of the central in youth - estranged ere that youth pile and pavilions of the University. had well-nigh passed-where were they But the light struck clear and strong now?-would they receive her?--would upon the beautiful mass of buildings they love her as in the days of old ? that formed the northern side of Col. As she pondered over these things, lege-green. One by one, the graceful the woman groaned in her anguish, and shafts of those lonic pillars of pure cried aloudwhite marble rose from their bases, “Be thou not far from me, O Lord, casting their shadows into the cirm y strength, haste thee to help me." cular colonnade that ran round the With the prayer on her lips, she eastern side of the mass. To the raised her eyes to heaven. south, a deep recess formed a court. “ Mistress, you're a stranger in Dubyard, along three sides of which the lin, I'm thinking. If I can be of any colonnade was continued. A portion assistance to you, you're heartily welof this was left in darkness, but the come to my services." moonbeams flooded over the roof, and He who addressed her was the fell upon the façade that fronted the watchman that rescued her from the east, and lit it up in a grand and so. drunken « Cherokee." lemn lustre, while the partial rays “I am, indeed, a stranger," said the glinted upon the southern front, and woman, "and would gladly accept brought out, between the shadows of your kindness. Will you give me your the columns, the principal entrance to protection to Nicholas-street ?" the building. And the whole pile 6 'Tis beyond my beat a long way," rose upon the sight, massive, co said Regan, “ howsomever, I'll not lossal, vast and symmetrical-a build. leave you to walk the streets alone so ing, whose exterior may challenge far this hour of night. So come along, competition with the finest structures in the name of God.” of Greece and Italy - within whose The woman arose and moved forwalls were heard the voices of the ward. The watchman walked by most eloquent men of their age-Grat her side respectfully. There was tan and Flood, Plunket and Bushe- that about her that showed him men who have made for Irish oratory she was one who, poor though she and Irish genius a name throughout seemed, knew no degradation beyond the world. Such was the Irish House that of poverty. And so they passed of Parliament at the close of the last along the silent and snow-covered footcentury! The genius loci bas long way, down through Dame-street, and since fied from the spot, and the spirit up Cork-hill, by the Gate of the Castle, of commerce has fixed her empire in and along the Castle-street, passing by those halls which once resounded with the Rose Tavern, still a thriving estathe eloquence of the senator and echoed blishment, and, not many years prethe wit and brilliant sallies of the ora viously, the resort of many of the distintor. A mighty change, indeed ; but guished social and political clubs of the let him who mourns over the altered city. Then they entered the Skinnersdestinies of our land remember that row, a narrow street which has since Ireland's strength lies in a thorough been made wide and spacious, under and hearty union with her elder sis the name of Christchurch- place. ter, in a participation of all her great. Then it was not much over seventeen ness, and a generous and earnest emu feet in breadth ; but, though mean in lation of her in all the arts that ele. appearance, it was the residence of vate a nation, and raise a people in many of the wealthiest jewellers and the estimation of mankind.
goldsmiths of the city. "At its south