The Path of Duty, and Other Stories eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 310 pages of information about The Path of Duty, and Other Stories.

He came in one evening fatigued with a hard day’s work, and retired early to bed.  His sleeping apartment adjoined the sitting-room.  I had several letters to write which occupied me till a late hour; the family had all retired.  I finished writing just as the clock struck twelve.  At that moment, I was almost startled by Terry’s voice singing in a very high key.  My first thought was that he had gone suddenly crazy.  With a light in my hand I stepped softly into the room, to find Terry sitting up in bed and singing at the top of his voice, a song in the “Native Irish Tongue.”  By this time he had roused every one in the house; and others of the family entered the room.  By the pauses which he made, we knew when he reached the end of each verse.  He sang several verses; at the time I knew how many, but am unable now to recall the exact number.  He must surely have been a sound sleeper or the loud laughter which filled the room would have waked him, for the scene was ludicrous in the extreme:  Terry sitting up in bed, sound asleep, at the hour of midnight, and singing with a loud voice and very earnest manner, to an audience who were unable to understand one word of the song.  At the close of the last verse he lay quietly down, all unconscious of the Musical Entertainment he had given.  The next morning some of the family began teasing him about the song he had sung in his sleep.  He was loth to believe them, and as usual enquired of me if they were telling him the truth.  “I’ll believe whatever you say,” said he, “for its you that niver toult me a lie yet.”  “You may believe them this time,” said I, “for you certainly did sing a song.  The air was very fine, and I have no doubt the words were equally so, if we could only have understood them.”

“Well thin,” replied he, “but I niver heard more than that; and if I raaly did sing, I may as well tell yee’s how it happint.  I dramed, ye see, that I was at a ball in Ireland, an’ I thought that about twelve o’clock we got tired wid dancin and sated ourselves on the binches which were ranged round the walls uv the room, and ache one was to sing a song in their turn, an’ its I that thought my turn had come for sure.”  “Well Terry,” said I, “you hit upon the time exact at any rate, for it was just twelve o’clock when you favoured us with the song.”  Soon after this time I left the neighbourhood, and removed to some distance.  Terry remained for a considerable time with the same family; after a time I learned that he had obtained employment in a distant village.  The next tidings I heard of him was that he had been implicated in a petty robbery, and had run away.  His impulsive disposition rendered him very easy of persuasion, for either good or evil; and he seldom paused to consider the consequences of any act.  From what I could learn of the matter, it seemed he had been enticed into the affair by some designing fellows, who judged that, owing to his simplicity, he would be well adapted to carry out their wicked plans; and, when suspicion was excited, they managed in some way to throw all the blame upon Terry, who fearing an arrest, fled no one knew whither.  Many years have passed since I saw or heard of Terry Dolan; but often, as memory recalls past scenes and those who participated in them, I think of him, and wonder if he is yet among the living, and, if so, in what quarter of the world he has fixed his abode.

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The Path of Duty, and Other Stories from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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