She soon saw that all she had was gone, and concluded that Cunningham, as he was absent from breakfast contrary to his wont, must be the thief. The police got immediate notice; advertisements were issued, and rewards offered, and in a day or two after Cunningham was arrested; but as none of the money was found on his person, and as there was no direct evidence of his guilt, the magistrate discharged him. The articles of dress in her well-supplied wardrobe were detained, in payment of her board bill, by the hotel keeper where she lodged in New York; and with the few shillings that remained in her purse, she, with her children, took passage on one of the Hudson River boats, hoping to make out certain acquaintances of her husband, whom she heard were settled in the vicinity of T——. The rest has been already told—namely, how she took sick and died after great sufferings; how her children were left destitute, and next to naked; how they were now reduced to the rank of paupers, and secured within the precincts of the county house.
“Of all the things which we brought from home with us, we have nothing of value now left, Bridget,” said Paul, “but this silver crucifix, which belonged to my grandfather. Glory be to God. Let us be glad that this has been left,” said he, kissing it with religious affection. “This is all we have now left. Let us defend it.”
Father O’Shane was now several days weather bound and laid up sick in Vermont, where, with great anxiety, he waited the first opportunity to return home to his mission; and the orphans were safely lodged in the poorhouse, where our friend Paul, to calm the anxiety and dispel the grief of his younger companions, began to contrast, with an air of satisfaction, the aspect of things here with what he had heard of the horrors of the Irish poorhouse.
“What nice men we have in America over the poorhouse,” said he; “they are very kind to us.”
“Yes; but I don’t like that man with the great beard,” said Bridget; “he frightens me when I meet him. O, such a feesage; a robin redbreast could make her nest in it,” said she, smiling.
“He might be a nice man for all that, Bid. Most people here don’t shave at all, you know, as we saw in New York. And did you notice that sailor that saved the boy who fell overboard, what a long beard he had? And he must be a brave, good man, to risk his own life to save another’s.”
“Yes, Paul; but he was a Catholic, and from Ireland, too; for he made the sign of the cross on himself in Irish before he leaped out, for I was near him; and besides, I saw him going to confession to the same priest we went to the day after we landed.”
“And are not they all Catholics here, Paul?” said Patsy. “I seen crosses on three churches, the time I went with Mrs. Doherty for the priest for mother, God be good to her.”