“Una, avourneen,” said the worthy man, “let John make tay for us—for, God help you, you can’t do it. Don’t fret, achora machree, don’t, don’t, Una; as God is over me, I’d give all I’m worth to save him, for your sake.”
She looked at her father and smiled again; but that smile cut him to the heart.
“I will make the tea myself, father,” she replied, “and I won’t commit any more mistakes;” and as she spoke she unconsciously poured the tea into the slop—bowl.
“Avourneen,” said her mother, “let John do it; acushla machree, let him do it.”
She then rose, and without uttering a word, passively and silently placed herself on her brother’s chair—he having, at the same time, taken that on which she sat.
“Una,” said her father, taking her hand, “you must be a good girl, and you must have courage; and whatever happens, my darling, you’ll pluck up strength, I hope, and bear it.”
“I hope so, father,” said she, “I hope so.”
“But, avourneen machree,” said her mother, “I would rather see you cryin’ fifty times over, than smilin’ the way you do.”
“Mother,” said she, “my heart is sore—my heart is sore.”
“It is, ahagur machree; and your hand is tremblin’ so much that you can’t bring the tay—cup to your mouth; but, then, don’t smile so sorrowfully, anein machree.”
“Why should I cry, mother?” she replied; “I know that Connor is innocent. If I knew him to be guilty, I would weep, and I ought to weep.”
“At all events, Una,” said her father, “you know it’s the government, and not us, that’s prosecuting him.”
To this Una made no reply, but, thrusting away her cup, she looked with the same mournful smile from one to the other of the little circle about her. At length she spoke.
“Father, I have a request to ask of you.”
“If it’s within my power, Una darling, I’ll grant it; and if it’s not, it’ll go hard with me but I’ll bring it within my power. What is it, asthore machree?”
“In case he’s found guilty, to let John put off his journey to Maynooth, and stay with me for some time—it won’t be long I’ll keep him.”
“If it pleases you, darling, he’ll never put his foot into Maynooth again.”
“No,” said the mother, “dhamnho to the step, if you don’t wish him.”
“Oh, no, no,” said Una, “it’s only for a while.”
“Unless she desires it, I will never go,” replied the loving brother; “nor will I ever leave you in your sorrow, my beloved and only sister—never—never—so long as a word from my lips can give you consolation.”
The warm tears coursed each other down his cheeks as he spoke, and both his parents, on looking at the almost blighted flower before them, wept as if the hand of death had already been upon her.
“Father, and John are going to his trial,” she observed; “for me I like to be alone;—alone; but when you return to-night, let John break it to me. I’ll go now to the garden. I’ll walk about to-day—only before you go, John, I want to speak to you.”