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    Act II

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    Chapter 3
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    SCENE I.

    An Irish Cabin.--The Kitchen.

    Widow LARKEN. On one side of her, MABEL at needle-work; on the other side, OWEN her son enters, bringing in a spinning-wheel, which he places before his mother.

    Owen. There, mother, is your wheel mended for you.

    Mabel. Oh, as good as new, Owen has made it for you.

    Widow. Well, whatever troubles come upon me in this world, have not I a right to be thankful, that has such good childer left me?--Still it grieves me, and goes to the quick of my heart, Mabel, dear, that your brother here should be slaving for me, a boy that is qualified for better.

    Owen. And what better can I be than working for my mother--man or boy?

    Mabel. And if he thinks it no slavery, what slavery is it, mother?

    Owen. Mother, to-day is the day to propose for the new inn--I saw several with the schoolmaster, who was as busy as a bee, penning proposals for them, according as they dictated, and framing letters and petitions for Sir William Hamden and Miss O'Hara. Will you go up to the castle and speak, mother?

    Widow. No, no--I can't speak, Owen.

    Owen. Here's the pen and ink-horn, and I'll sit me down, if you'd sooner write than speak.

    Widow. See, Owen, to settle your mind, I would not wish to get that inn.

    Owen. Not wish to get it! The new inn, mother--but if you had gone over it, as I have. 'Tis the very thing for you. Neat and compact as a nutshell; not one of them grand inns, too great or the place, that never answers no more than the hat that's too big for the head, and that always blows off.

    Widow. No, dear, not the thing for me, now a widow, and your sister Mabel--tho' 'tis not for me to say--such a likely, fine girl. I'd not be happy to have her in a public-house--so many of all sorts that would be in it, and drinking, may be, at fairs and funerals, and no man of the house, nor master, nor father for her.

    Owen. Sure, mother, I'm next to a father for her. Amn't I a brother? and no brother ever loved a sister better, or was more jealous of respect for her; and if you'd be pleasing, I could be man and master enough.

    Widow. (laughing) You, ye dear slip of a boy!

    Owen. (proudly, and raising his head high) Slip of a boy as I am, then, and little as you think of me--

    Widow. Oh! I think a great deal of you! only I can't think you big nor old, Owen, can I?

    Owen. No--nor any need to be big or old, to keep people of all sorts in respect, mother.

    Widow. Then he looked like his father--did not he, Mabel?

    Mabel. He did--God bless him!

    Owen. Now hear me, mother, for I'm going to speak sense. You need not listen, Mabel.

    Mabel. But it's what I like to listen to sense, especially yours, Owen.

    Owen. Then I can't help it.--You must hear, even if you blush for it.

    Mabel. Why would I blush?

    Owen. Because you won't be able to help it, when I say Mr. Gilbert.--See!

    Mabel. Oh, dear Owen! that's not fair. (She falls back a little.)

    Owen. Well, mother, it's with you I'm reasoning. If he was your son-in-law--

    Widow. Hush! that he'll never be. Now, Owen, I'll grow angry if you put nonsense in the girl's head.

    Owen. But if it's in the man's head, it's not a bit nonsense.

    Mabel. Owen, you might well say I shouldn't listen to you.

    [Exit MABEL.

    Widow. There now, you've drove your sister off.

    Owen. Well, Gilbert will bring her on again, may be.

    Widow. May be--but that may be of yours might lead us all wrong.

    [She lays her hand on OWEN'S arm, and speaks in a serious tone.

    Widow. Now, dear, don't be saying one word more to her, lest it should end in a disappointment.

    Owen. Still it is my notion, 'tis Mabel he loves.

    Widow. Oh! what should you know, dear, o' the matter?

    Owen. Only having eyes and ears like another.

    Widow. Then what hinders him to speak?

    Owen. It's bashfulness only, mother. Don't you know what that is?

    Widow. I do, dear. It's a woman should know that best. And it is not Mabel, nor a daughter of mine, nor a sister of yours, Owen, should be more forward to understand than the man is to speak--was the man a prince.

    Owen. Mother, you are right; but I'm not wrong neither. And since I'm to say no more, I'm gone, mother.

    [Exit OWEN.

    Widow. (alone) Now who could blame that boy, whatever he does or says? It's all heart he is, and wouldn't hurt a fly, except from want of thought. But, stay now, I'm thinking of them soldiers that is in town. (Sighs) Then I didn't sleep since ever they come; but whenever I'd be sinking to rest, starting, and fancying I heard the drum for Owen to go. (A deep groaning sigh.) Och! and then the apparition of Owen in regimentals was afore me!

    Enter OWEN, dancing and singing,

    "Success to my brains, and success to my tongue! Success to myself, that never was wrong!"

    Widow. What is it? What ails the boy? Are ye mad, Owen?

    Owen. (capering, and snapping his fingers) Ay, mad! mad with joy I am. And it's joy I give you, and joy you'll give me, mother darling. The new inn's yours, and no other's, and Gilbert is your own too, and no other's--but Mabel's for life. And is not there joy enough for you, mother?

    Widow. Joy!--Oh, too much! (She sinks on a seat.)

    Owen. I've been too sudden for her!

    Widow. No, dear--not a bit, only just give me time--to feel it. And is it true? And am I in no dream now? And where's Mabel, dear?

    Owen. Gone to the well, and Gilbert with her. We met her, and he turned off with her, and I come on to tell you, mother dear.

    Widow. Make me clear and certain; for I'm slow and weak, dear. Who told you all this good? and is it true?--And my child Mabel mavourneen!--Oh, tell me again it's true.

    Owen. True as life. But your lips is pale still, and you all in a tremble. So lean on me, mother dear, and come out into God's open air, till I see your spirit come back--and here's your bonnet, and we'll meet Mabel and Gilbert, and we'll all go up to the castle to give thanks to the lady.

    Widow. (looking up to heaven) Thanks! Oh, hav'n't I great reason to be thankful, if ever widow had!

    [Exeunt, WIDOW leaning on OWEN.

    SCENE II.

    An Apartment in Bannote Castle.

    Footmen bringing in Baskets of Flowers.

    Miss O'HARA and Sir WILLIAM HAMDEN.

    Clara. Now, my dear uncle, I want to consult you.

    Sir W. And welcome, my child. But if it is about flowers, you could not consult a worse person, for I scarcely know a rose from a ----. What is this you have here--a thistle?

    Clara. Yes, sir; and that is the very thing I want your opinion about.

    Sir W. Well, my dear, all I know about thistles, I think, is, that asses love thistles--will that do?

    Clara. Oh, no, sir--pray be serious, for I am in the greatest hurry to settle how it is all to be. You know it is St. Patrick's day.

    Sir W. Yes, and here is plenty of shamrock, I see.

    Clara. Yes, here is the shamrock--the rose, the ever blowing rose--and the thistle. And as we are to have Scotch, English, and Irish at our little fête champêtre this evening, don't you think it would be pretty to have the tents hung with the rose, thistle, and shamrock joined?

    Sir W. Very pretty, my dear: and I am glad there are to be tents, otherwise a fête champêtre in the month of March would give me the rheumatism even to think of.

    Clara. Oh, my dear sir, not at all. You will be snug and warm in the green-house.

    Sir W. Well, Clara, dispose of me as you please--I am entirely at your service for the rest of my days.

    Clara. Thank you, sir--you are the best of uncles, guardians, and friends.

    [Miss O'HARA goes back and appears to be giving directions to the servants.

    Sir W. Uncle, nature made me--guardian, your father made me--friend, you made me yourself, Clara. (Sir WILLIAM comes forward, and speaks as if in a reverie.) And ever more my friendship for her shall continue, though my guardianship is over. I am glad I conquered my indolence, and came to Ireland with her; for a cool English head will be wanting to guide that warm Irish heart.--And here I stand counsel for prudence against generosity!

    Clara. (advancing to him playfully) A silver penny for your thoughts, uncle.

    Sir W. Shall I never teach you economy?--such extravagance! to give a penny, and a silver penny, for what you may have for nothing.

    Clara. Nothing can come of nothing--speak again.

    Sir W. I was thinking of you, my--ward no longer.

    Clara. Ward always, pray, sir. Whatever I may be in the eye of the law, I am not arrived at years of discretion yet, in my own opinion, nor in yours, I suspect. So I pray you, uncle, let me still have the advantage of your counsel and guidance.

    Sir W. You ask for my advice, Clara. Now let me see whether you will take it.

    Clara. I am all attention.

    Sir W. You know you must allow me a little prosing. You are an heiress, Clara--a rich heiress--an Irish heiress. You desire to do good, don't you?

    Clara. (with eagerness) With all my heart!--With all my soul!

    Sir W. That is not enough, Clara. You must not only desire to do good, you must know how to do it.

    Clara. Since you, uncle, know that so well, you will teach it to me.

    Sir W. Dear, flattering girl--but you shall not flatter me out of the piece of advice I have ready for you. Promise me two things.

    Clara. And first, for your first.

    Sir W. Finish whatever you begin.--Good beginnings, it is said, make good endings, but great beginnings often make little endings, or, in this country, no endings at all. Finis coronat opta--and that crown is wanting wherever I turn my eyes. Of the hundred magnificent things your munificent father began--

    Clara. (interrupting) Oh, sir, spare my father!--I promise you that I will finish whatever I begin. What's your next command?

    Sir W. Promise me that you will never make a promise to a tenant, nor any agreement about business, but in writing--and empower me to say that you will never keep any verbal promise about business--then, none such will ever be claimed.

    Clara. I promise you--Stay!--this is a promise about business: I must give it to you in writing.

    [Miss O'HARA sits down to a writing-table, and writes.

    Sir W. (looking out of the window) I hope I have been early enough in giving this my second piece of advice, worth a hundred sequins--for I see the yard is crowded with gray-coated suitors, and the table here is already covered with letters and petitions.

    Clara. Yes, uncle, but I have not read half of them yet.

    [Presents the written promise to Sir WILLIAM.

    Sir W. Thank you, my dear; and you will be thankful to me for this when I am dead and gone.

    Clara. And whilst you are alive and here, if you please, uncle. Now, sir, since you are so kind to say that your time is at my disposal, will you have the goodness to come with me to these gray-coated suitors, and let us give answers to these poor petitioners, who, "as in duty bound, will ever pray."

    [Takes up a bundle of papers.

    Sir W. (taking a letter from his pocket) First, my dear niece, I must add to the number. I have a little business. A petition to present from a protégé of mine.

    Clara. A protégé of yours!--Then it is granted, whatever it be.

    Sir W. (smiling) Recollect your promise, Clara.

    Clara. Oh, true--it must be in writing.

    [She goes hastily to the writing-table, and takes up a pen.

    Sir W. Read before you write, my dear--I insist upon it.

    Clara. Oh, sir, when it is a request of yours, how can I grant it soon enough? But it shall be done in the way you like best--slowly--deliberately--(opening the letter)--in minuet time. And I will look before I leap--and I'll read before I write. (She reads the signature.) Gilbert! Honest Gilbert, how glad I shall be to do any thing for you, independently of your master! (Reads on, suddenly lets the letter drop, and clasps her hands.) Sir--Uncle, my dear uncle, how unfortunate I am! Why did, not you ask me an hour ago?--Within this hour I have promised the new inn to another person.

    Sir W. Indeed!--that is unfortunate. My poor Gilbert will be sadly disappointed.

    Clara. How vexed I am! But I never should have thought of Gilbert for the inn: I fancied he disliked Ireland so much that he would never have settled here.

    Sir W. So thought I till this morning. But love, my dear--love is lord of all. Poor Gilbert!

    Clara. Poor Gilbert!--I am so sorry I did not know this sooner. Of all people, I should for my own part have preferred Gilbert for the inn, he would have kept it so well.

    Sir W. He would so. (Sighs.)

    Clara. I do so blame myself--I have been so precipitate, so foolish, so wrong--without consulting you even.

    Sir W. Nay, my dear, I have been as wrong, as foolish, as precipitate as you; for before I consulted you, I told Gilbert that I could almost promise that he should have the inn in consequence of my recommendation. And upon the strength of that almost he is gone a courting. My dear, we are both a couple of fools; but I am an old--you are a young one. There is a wide difference--let that comfort you.

    Clara. Oh, sir, nothing comforts me, I am so provoked with myself; and you will be so provoked with me, when I tell you how silly I have been.

    Sir W. Pray tell me.

    Clara. Would you believe that I have literally given it for a song? A man sent me this morning a copy of verses to the heiress of Bannow. The verses struck my fancy--I suppose because they flattered me; and with the verses came a petition setting forth claims, and a tenant's right, and fair promises, and a proposal for the new inn; and at the bottom of the paper I rashly wrote these words--"The poet's petition is granted."

    Sir W. A promise in writing, too!--My dear Clara, I cannot flatter you--this certainly is not a wise transaction. So, to reward a poet, you made him an innkeeper. Well, I have known wiser heads, to reward a poet, make him an exciseman.

    Clara. But, sir, I am not quite so silly as they were, for I did not make the poet an innkeeper--he is one already.

    Sir W. An innkeeper already!--Whom do you mean?

    Clara. A man with a strange name--or a name that will sound strange to your English ears--Christy Gallagher.

    Sir W. A rogue and a drunken dog, I understand: but he is a poet, and knows how to flatter the heiress of Bannow.

    Clara. (striking her forehead) Silly, silly Clara!

    Sir W. (changing his tone from irony to kindness) Come, my dear Clara, I will not torment you any more. You deserve to have done a great deal of mischief by your precipitation; but I believe this time you have done little or none, at least none that is irremediable; and you have made Gilbert happy, I hope and believe, though without intending it.

    Clara. My dear uncle--you set my heart at ease--but explain.

    Sir W. Then, my dear, I shrewdly suspect that the daughter of this Christy What-do-you-call-him is the lady of Gilbert's thoughts.

    Clara. I see it all in an instant. That's delightful! We can pension off the drunken old father, and Gilbert and the daughter will keep the inn. Gilbert is in the green-house, preparing the coloured lamps--let us go and speak to him this minute, and settle it all.

    Sir W. Speak to him of his loves? Oh, my dear, you'd kill him on the spot! He is so bashful, he'd blush to death.

    Clara. Well, sir, do you go alone, and I will keep far, far aloof.

    [Exeunt at opposite sides.

    SCENE III.

    Parlour of the Inn.

    CHRISTY and Miss GALLAGHER.

    Christy. (to Miss GALLAGHER, slapping her on her back) Hould up your head, child; there's money bid for you.

    Miss G. Lord, father, what a thump on the back to salute one with. Well, sir, and if money is bid for me, no wonder: I suppose, it's because I have money.

    Christy. That's all the rason--you've hit it, Florry. It's money that love always looks for now. So you may be proud to larn the news I have for you, which will fix Mr. Gilbert, your bachelor, for life, I'll engage--and make him speak out, you'll see, afore night-fall. We have the new inn, dear!--I've got the promise here under her own hand-writing.

    Miss G. Indeed!--Well, I'm sure I shall be glad to get out of this hole, which is not fit for a rat or a Christian to live in--and I'll have my music and my piano in the back parlour, genteel.

    Christy. Oh! Ferrinafad, are you there? It's your husband must go to that expinse, my precious, if he chooses, twingling and tweedling, instead of the puddings and apple pies--that you'll settle betwix yees; and in the honeymoon, no doubt, you've cunning enough to compass that, and more.

    Miss G. To be sure, sir, and before I come to the honeymoon, I promise you; for I won't become part or parcel of any man that ever wore a head, except he's music in his soul enough to allow me my piano in the back parlour.

    Christy. Asy! asy! Ferrinafad--don't be talking about the piano-forte, till you are married. Don't be showing the halter too soon to the shy horse--it's with the sieve of oats you'll catch him; and his head once in the sieve, you have the halter on him clane. Pray, after all, tell me, Florry, the truth--did Mr. Gilbert ever ax you?

    Miss G. La, sir, what a coarse question. His eyes have said as much a million of times.

    Christy. That's good--but not in law, dear. For, see, you could not shue a man in the four courts for a breach of promise made only with the eyes, jewel. It must be with the tongue afore witness, mind, or under the hand, sale, or mark--look to that.

    Miss G. But, dear sir, Mr. Gilbert is so tongue-tied with that English bashfulness.

    Christy. Then Irish impudence must cut the string of that tongue, Florry. Lave that to me, unless you'd rather yourself.

    Miss G. Lord, sir--what a rout about one man, when, if I please, I might have a dozen lovers.

    Christy. Be the same more or less. But one rich bachelor's worth a dozen poor, that is, for the article of a husband.

    Miss G. And I dare say the drum-major is rich enough, sir--for all Scotchmen, they say, is fond of money and aconomie; and I'd rather after all be the lady of a military man. (Sings.)

    "I'll live no more at home, But I'll follow with the drum, And I'll be the captain's lady, oh!"

    Christy. Florry! Florry! mind you would not fall between two stools, and nobody to pity you.

    Enter BIDDY.

    Miss G. Well, what is it?

    Biddy. The bed. I was seeing was the room empty, that I might make it; for it's only turned up it is, when I was called off to send in dinner. So I believe I'd best make it now, for the room will be wanting for the tea-drinking, and what not.

    Miss G. Ay, make the bed do, sure it's asy, and no more about it;--you've talked enough about it to make twinty beds, one harder nor the other,--if talk would do. (BIDDY goes to make the bed.) And I'm sure there's not a girl in the parish does less in the day, for all the talk you keep. Now I'll just tell all you didn't do, that you ought this day, Biddy.

    [While Miss GALLAGHER is speaking to BIDDY, Mr. GALLAGHER opens a press, pours out, and swallows a dram.

    Christy. Oh, that would be too long telling, Florry, and that'll keep cool. Lave her now, and you may take your scould out another time. I want to spake to you. What's this I wanted to say? My memory's confusing itself. Oh, this was it--I didn't till you how I got this promise of the inn: I did it nately--I got it for a song.

    Miss G. You're joking,--and I believe, sir, you're not over and above sober. There's a terrible strong smell of the whiskey.

    Christy. No, the whiskey's not strong, dear, at-all-at-all!--You may keep smelling what way you plase, but I'm as sober as a judge, still,--and, drunk or sober, always knows and knewed on which side my bread was buttered:--got it for a song, I tell you--a bit of a complimentary, adulatory scroll, that the young lady fancied--and she, slap-dash, Lord love her, and keep her always so! writes at the bottom, granted the poet's petition.

    Miss G. And where on earth, then, did you get that song?

    Christy. Where but in my brains should I get it? I could do that much any way, I suppose, though it was not my luck to be edicated at Ferrinafad.

    [Miss GALLAGHER looks back, and sees BIDDY behind her.--Miss GALLAGHER gives her a box on the ear.

    Miss G. Manners! that's to teach ye.

    Biddy. Manners!--Where would I larn them--when I was only waiting the right time to ax you what I'd do for a clane pillow-case?

    Miss G. Why, turn that you have inside out, and no more about it.

    Christy. And turn yourself out of this, if you plase. (He turns BIDDY out by the shoulders.) Let me hear you singing Baltiorum in the kitchen, for security that you're not hearing my sacrets. There, she's singing it now, and we're snug;--tell me when she stops, and I'll stop myself.

    Miss G. Then there's the girl has ceased singing. There's somebody's come in, into the kitchen; may be it's the drum-major. I'll go and see.

    [Exit Miss GALLAGHER.

    CHRISTY, solus.

    There she's off now! And I must after her, else she'll spoil her market, and my own. But look ye, now--if I shouldn't find her agreeable to marry this Mr. Gilbert, the man I've laid out for her, why here's a good stick that will bring her to rason in the last resort; for there's no other way of rasoning with Ferrinafad.

    [Exit CHRISTY.

    SCENE IV.

    The Garden of the Widow LARKEN'S Cottage.

    OWEN and MABEL.

    Owen. How does my mother bear the disappointment, Mabel about the inn?

    Mabel. Then to outward appearance she did not take it so much to heart as I expected she would. But I'm sure she frets inwardly--because she had been in such hopes, and in such spirits, and so proud to think how well her children would all be settled.

    Owen. Oh, how sorry I am I told her in that hurry the good news I heard, and all to disappoint her afterwards, and break her heart with it!

    Mabel. No, she has too good a heart to break for the likes. She'll hold up again after the first disappointment--she'll struggle on for our sakes, Owen.

    Owen. She will: but Mabel dearest, what do you think of Gilbert?

    Mabel. (turning away) I strive not to think of him at all.

    Owen. But sure I was not wrong there--he told me as much as that he loved you.

    Mabel. Then he never told me that much.

    Owen. No! What, not when he walked with you to the well?

    Mabel. No. What made you think he did?

    Owen. Why, the words he said about you when he met me, was--where's your sister Mabel? Gone to the well, Gilbert, says I. And do you think a man that has a question to ask her might make bold to step after her? says he. Such a man as you--why not? says I. Then he stood still, and twirled a rose he held in his hand, and he said nothing, and I no more, till he stooped down, and from the grass where we stood pulled a sprig of clover. Is not this what you call shamrock? says he. It is, says I. Then he puts the shamrock along with the rose--How would that do? says he.

    Mabel. Did he say that, Owen?

    Owen. Yes, or how would they look together? or, would they do together? or some words that way; I can't be particular to the word--you know, he speaks different from us; but that surely was the sense; and I minded too, he blushed up to the roots, and I pitied him, and answered--

    Mabel. Oh, what did you answer?

    Owen. I answered and said, I thought they'd do very well together; and that it was good when the Irish shamrock and the English rose was united.

    Mabel. (hiding her face with her hands) Oh, Owen, that was too plain.

    Owen. Plain! Not at all--it was not. It's only your tenderness makes you feel it too plain--for, listen to me, Mabel. (Taking her hand from her face.) Sure, if it had any meaning particular, it's as strong for Miss Gallagher as for any body else.

    Mabel. That's true:--and may be it was that way he took it,--and may be it was her he was thinking of--

    Owen. When he asked me for you? But I'll not mislead you--I'll say nothing; for it was a shame he did not speak out, after all the encouragement he got from me.

    Mabel. Then did he get encouragement from you?

    Owen. That is--(smiling)--taking it the other way, he might understand it so, if he had any conscience. Come now, Mabel, when he went to the well, what did he say to you? for I am sure he said something.

    Mabel. Then he said nothing--but just put the rose and shamrock into my hand.

    Owen. Oh! did he?--And what did you say?

    Mabel. I said nothing.--What could I say?

    Omen. I wish I'd been with you, Mabel.

    Mabel. I'm glad you were not, Owen.

    Owen. Well, what did he say next?

    Mabel. I tell you he said nothing, but cleared his throat and hemmed, as he does often.

    Owen. What, all the way to the well and back, nothing but hem, and clear his throat?

    Mabel. Nothing in life.

    Owen. Why, then, the man's a fool or a rogue.

    Mabel. Oh, don't say that, any way. But there's my mother coming in from the field. How weak she walks! I must go in to bear her company spinning.

    Owen. And I'll be in by the time I've settled all here.

    [Exit MABEL.

    OWEN, solus.

    Oh! I know how keenly Mabel feels all, tho' she speaks so mild. Then I'm cut to the heart by this behaviour of Gilbert's:--sure he could not be so cruel to be jesting with her!--he's an Englishman, and may be he thinks no harm to jilt an Irishwoman. But I'll show him--but then if he never asked her the question, how can we say any thing?--Oh! the thing is, he's a snug man, and money's at the bottom of all,--and since Christy's to have the new inn, and Miss Gallagher has the money!--Well, it's all over, and I don't know what will become of me.

    Enter Mr. ANDREW HOPE.

    Mr. H. My gude lad, may your name be Larken?

    Owen. It is, sir--Owen Larken, at your service--the son of the widow Larken.

    Mrs. H. Then I have to thank your family for their goodness to my puir brother, years ago. And for yourself, your friend, Mr. Christy Gallagher, has been telling me you can play the bugle?

    Owen. I can, sir.

    Mr. H. And we want a bugle, and the pay's fifteen guineas; and I'd sooner give it to you than three others that has applied, if you'll list.

    Owen. Fifteen guineas! Oh! if I could send that money home to my mother! but I must ask her consint. Sir, she lives convanient, just in this cabin here--would you be pleased to step in with me, and I'll ask her consint.

    Mr. H. That's right,--lead on, my douce lad--you ken the way.

    [Exeunt.

    SCENE V.

    Kitchen of the Widow LAKKEN'S Cottage.

    A Door is seen open, into an inner Room.

    MABEL, alone, (Sitting near the door of the inner room, spinning and singing[1].)

    [Footnote 1: This song is set to music by Mr. Webbe.]

    Sleep, mother, sleep! in slumber blest, It joys my heart to see thee rest. Unfelt in sleep thy load of sorrow; Breathe free and thoughtless of to-morrow; And long, and light, thy slumbers last, In happy dreams forget the past. Sleep, mother, sleep! thy slumber's blest; It joys my heart to see thee rest.

    Many's the night she wak'd for me, To nurse my helpless infancy: While cradled on her patient arm, She hush'd me with a mother's charm. Sleep, mother, sleep! thy slumber's blest; It joys my heart to see thee rest.

    And be it mine to soothe thy age, With tender care thy grief assuage, This hope is left to poorest poor, And richest child can do no more. Sleep, mother, sleep! thy slumber's blest; It joys my heart to see thee rest.

    While MABEL is singing the second stanza, OWEN and ANDREW HOPE enter. Mr. HOPE stops short, and listens: he makes a sign to OWEN to stand still, and not to interrupt MABEL--while OWEN approaches her on tiptoe.

    Mr. H. (aside) She taks my fancy back to dear Scotland, to my ain hame, and my ain mither, and my ain Kate.

    Owen. So Mabel! I thought you never sung for strangers?

    [MABEL turns and sees Mr. HOPE--She rises and curtsies.

    Mr. H. (advancing softly) I fear to disturb the mother, whose slumbers are so blest, and I'd fain hear that lullaby again. If the voice stop, the mother may miss it, and wake.

    Mabel. (looking into the room in which her mother sleeps, then closing the door gently) No, sir,--she'll not miss my voice now, I thank you--she is quite sound asleep.

    Owen. This is Mr. Andrew Hope, Mabel--you might remember one of his name, a Serjeant Hope.

    Mabel. Ah! I mind--he that was sick with us, some time back.

    Mr. H. Ay, my brother that's dead, and that your gude mither was so tender of, when sick, charged me to thank you all, and so from my soul I do.

    Mabel. 'Twas little my poor mother could do, nor any of us for him, even then, though we could do more then than we could now, and I'm glad he chanced to be with us in our better days.

    Mr. H. And I'm sorry you ever fell upon worse days, for you deserve the best; and will have such again, I trust. All I can say is this--that gif your brother here gangs with me, he shall find a brother's care through life fra' me.

    Owen. I wouldn't doubt you; and that you know, Mabel, would be a great point, to have a friend secure in the regiment, if I thought of going.

    Mabel. If!--Oh! what are you thinking of, Owen? What is it you're talking of going? (Turning towards the door of her mother's room suddenly.) Take care, but she'd wake and hear you, and she'd never sleep easy again.

    Owen. And do you think so?

    Mabel. Do I think so? Am not I sure of it? and you too, Owen, if you'd take time to think and feel.

    Owen. Why there's no doubt but it's hard, when the mother has reared the son, for him to quit her as soon as he can go alone; but it is what I was thinking: it is only the militia, you know, and I'd not be going out of the three kingdoms ever at all; and I could be sending money home to my mother, like Johnny Reel did to his.

    Mabel. Money is it? Then there's no money you could send her--not the full of Lough Erne itself, in golden guineas, could make her amends for the loss of yourself, Owen, and you know that.

    Mr. H. And I am not the man that would entice you to list, or gang with me, in contradiction to your duty at home, or your interest abroad: so (turning to MABEL) do not look on me as the tempter to evil, nor with distrust, as you do, kind sister as you are, and like my own Kate; but hear me coolly, and without prejudice, for it is his gude I wish.

    Mabel. I am listening then, and I ask your pardon if I looked a doubt.

    Mr. H. The gude mother must wish, above all things here below, the weal and advancement and the honour of her bairns; and she would not let the son be tied to her apron-strings, for any use or profit to herself, but ever wish him to do the best in life for his sel'. Is not this truth, gude friends--plain truth?

    Mabel. It is then--I own that: truth and sense too.

    Owen. Now see there, Mabel.

    Mr. H. And better for him to do something abroad than digging at home; and in the army he might get on,--and here's the bugle-boy's pay.

    Mabel. Is it a bugle-boy you are thinking of making him?

    Mr. H. That's the only thing I could make him. I wish I could offer better.

    Mabel. Then, I thank you, sir, and I wouldn't doubt ye--and it would be very well for a common boy that could only dig; but my brother's no common boy, sir.

    Owen. Oh, Mabel!

    Mabel. Hush, Owen! for it's the truth I'm telling, and if to your face I can't help it. You may hide the face, but I won't hide the truth.

    Mr. H. Then speak on, my warm-hearted lassy, speak on.

    Mabel. Then, sir, he got an edication while ever my poor father lived, and no better scholar, they said, for the teaching he got:--but all was given over when the father died, and the troubles came, and Owen, as he ought, give himself up intirely for my mother, to help her, a widow. But it's not digging and slaving he is to be always:--it's with the head, as my father used to say, he'll make more than the hands; and we hope to get a clerk's place for him sometime, or there will be a schoolmaster wanting in this town, and that will be what he would be fit for; and not--but it's not civil, before you, a soldier, sir, to say the rest.

    Mr. H. Fear not, you will not give offence.

    Mabel. And not to be spending his breath blowing through a horn all his days, for the sake of wearing a fine red coat. I beg your pardon again, sir, if I say too much--but it's to save my brother and my mother.

    Mr. H. I like you the better for all you've said for both.

    Owen. And I'm off entirely:--I'll not list, I thank you, sir.

    [MABEL clasps her hands joyfully, then embraces her brother.

    Mr. H. And I'll not ask you to list--and I would not have asked it at all, but that a friend of yours told me it would be the greatest service I could do you, and that it was the thing of all others you wished.

    Owen. That friend was Christy Gallagher: but he was mistaken--that's all.

    Mabel. I hope that's all. But I've no dependance on him for a friend, nor has my mother.

    Owen. Why, he was saying to me, and I could not say against it, that he had a right to propose for the inn if he could, though Gilbert and we wanted to get it.

    Mabel. Then I wonder why Christy should be preferred rather than my mother.

    Owen. Then that's a wonder--and I can't understand how that was.

    Mr. H. I have one more thing to say, or to do, which I should like better, if you'll give me leave. If there's a difficulty aboot the rent of this new inn that you are talking of, I have a little spare money, and you're welcome to it:--I consider it as a debt of my brother's, which I am bound to pay; so no obligation in life--tell me how much will do.

    [Takes out his purse.

    Owen and Mabel. You are very kind--you are very good.

    Mr. H. No, I am not--I am only just. Say only how much will do.

    Owen. Alas! money won't do now, sir. It's all settled, and Christy says he has a promise of it in writing from the lady.

    Mr. H. May be this Christy might sell his interest, and we will see--I will not say till I find I can do. Fare ye weel till we meet, as I hope we shall, at the dance that's to be at the castle. The band is to be there, and I with them, and I shall hope for this lassy's hand in the dance.

    Mabel. (aside) And Gilbert that never asked me! (Aloud) I thank you kindly, sir, I sha'n't go to the dance at-all-at-all, I believe--my mother had better take her rest, and I must stay with her--a good night to you kindly.

    [Exit MABEL into her mother's room.

    Mr. H. This sister of yours would leave me no heart to carry back to Scotland, I fear, but that I'm a married man already, and have my own luve--a Kate of my own, that's as fair as she, and as gude, and that's saying much.

    Owen. (aside) Much more than Florinda Gallagher will like to hear.

    Mr. H. I shall thank you if you will teach me, for my Kate, the words of that song your sister was singing when we came in.

    Owen. I believe it's to flatter me you say this, for that song is my writing.

    Mr. H. Yours?

    Owen. Mine, such as it is.

    Mr. H. Sic a ane as you are then, I'm glad you are not to be a bugle-boy: your sister is right.

    Owen. I'll teach you the words as we go along.

    Mr. H. Do so;--but mind now this song-writing do not lead you to idleness. We must see to turn your edication to good account. (Aside) Oh, I will never rest till I pay my brother's debt, some way or other, to this gude family.

    [Exeunt.
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