Phil staggered out of the room in a very musical mood, slamming’ the door after him with a force that made the house shake. He had not gone a hundred yards from the hall door when Raymond appeared in the distance, beckoning him forward; a signal for which he was looking out with that kind of drunken eagerness which is incapable of forethought, or any calculation whatsoever that might aid in checking the gross and onward impulses of blind and savage appetite. Phil’s instinctive cowardice, however, did not abandon him. In the course of the day he primed and loaded his pistols, in order to be prepared against any of those contingencies which the fears of pusillanimous men never fail to create. On meeting with Raymond, who had been waiting for him outside, at a place previously agreed on between them, he pulled, out the fire-arms, and showed them to the fool, with a swaggering air, which, despite his intoxication, sorely belied what he felt. They then proceeded together by the mountain path, the moon occasionally showing herself by glimpses—for the night, although cloudy, was not dark, but on the contrary, when the clouds passed away, she almost might be said to flash out with singular brilliancy.
We now leave them on their way to the place of appointment, as it had been arranged by Raymond, and beg our readers to accompany us to the church-yard in the mountains, where all that were dear and so devotedly beloved by poor Mary O’Regan slept. This unhappy woman, though closely watched by her friends and neighbors, always contrived, with the ingenuity peculiar to maniacs and insane persons, to escape from time to time from under their surveillance, and make her way to the spot, which, despite the aberrations of reason and intellect, maintained all its sacred and most tender influences over her pure and noble heart. For some time past, moved probably by some unconscious impression of the pastoral attention and kindness of the amiable Father Roche, she had made his house her home; and indeed nothing could exceed the assiduity and care with which she was there watched and tended. Everything that could be done for her was done; but all sympathy and humanity on their part came too late. Week after week her strength wasted away, in a manner that was painfully perceptible to those who felt an interest in her. Her son Ned was still in the country, but had no fixed residence, and merely remained for the purpose of seeing her freed from all her miseries, and laid in her last unbroken sleep beside those whom she had loved so well. On the evening in question, she appeared to be so feeble and exhausted, that the good priest’s family did not for a moment imagine that any particular vigilance was necessary. Between six and seven o’clock, then, she had performed the last of those pilgrimages of the heart which time after time had been made by her to the solitary church-yard in the mountains—containing, as it did, the only humble shrine from which her bruised and broken spirit could draw that ideal happiness, of which God in His mercy had not bereft her.