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immersed in the darkness of sin and ignorance.
What can such men as these I have seen, I asked myself, have of religion or of Christianity but the name ? What can any portion of mankind be, who surrender the right the very office of thinking, to another portion of their fellow creatures,—but their slaves in the worst and most degraded sense of the word ?
I did not forget my promise of returning to witness the Will, which was also witnessed by two respectable gentlemen from the metropolis, both Roman Catholics. One half of the property was left to a person named Donovan, and the other to a Mr. Wilson ; both struggling men with large families. They were the nearest relations to Mr. Butler, and considered to have almost equal claims. Wilson was a Protestant.
I expected this day to have met the wily Father A. but Father Butler informed me that they had written to him, declining very mildly, but firmly and finally, any further communication with him, either personally or by leiter. “I am sure," he said, “that he will not come here; because from the nature of the communication made to him, he must see that his object in abusing the influence which his character and office gave bim in our family, is too well known-and I cannot but condemn, most unequivocally, the advantage which the church has taken by the ordinance of confession, over the conscience, and property, and opinions of individuals—to it may be attributed much of the bloodshed, crime, and misery which have disgraced religion, and shaken the frame of civil society-not omitting that horrible tribunal the inquisition."
On reading over the Will that day I perceived that little Ellen, whom, along with her mother, I overtook on my way home, the day but one before, had not been forgotten. Two hundred pounds had been left her as a marriage portion, the interest of which was to be applied to defray the expenses of her clothing and education. “ The affliction of her mother,” said Mr. Butler, « affected me very much—her life is little short of an unceasing martyrdom on account of her religion, but her gentle spirit was unable to bear the domestic persecution which she suffered from her husband, who is a Roman Catholic: I have, therefore, induced my father to consider the child, because I think she will soon be deprived of her dear mother*- the father, too, is far gone in a declinepoor Ellen, was god-daughter to Miss Upton, after whom she received her Christian name.
Every day henceforth showed me more closely the admirable character of Father Butler ; I saw it, and found it in innumerable instances. I was now beginning from my rank and situation in the country, where until very lately I had been a stranger, to get a better knowledge of the opinions, prejudices, and general character of the peasantry about me; and I had, therefore, an opportunity of tracing the effects of his secret benevolence, where I could scarcely have expected it. He was all charity, all kind
* I forbear touching on her history now, because it is probable I may give it in a subsequent number of the Magazine.
ness, all feeling: There was not a child within a considerable circle about him that had not learned to repeat his name with gratitude. To hate him, was scarcely in the most illiberal and devilishly bigoted disposition ; for there was something in his mild and affectionate manner which stamped all his actions with a cha. racter of rectitude and propriety ; and as his fine form, wasted away by premature decay, presented the idea of his sudden removal to another life it was impossible to impute to him any motives for embracing the doctrines of the Established Church, but such as arose from an awful conviction of conscientious duty. On leaving him that day, I observed that he was unusually exhausted, and I concluded that a very few days would put a close to his short and unhappy, but not useless life. He himself felt this : “I am near the haven," said he,“ near all that a Christian can hope for : but what saith the prophet, • the righteous perisheth, and no man layeth it to heart; and merciful men are taken away, none considering that the righteous is taken away from the evil to come : he shall enter into peace.' “ Is there not consolation in these words ? Yes, my friend, I feel it, I feel it ;-Oh! never did the glory of heaven—the rich light of an evening sun fall with greater beauty on the dark and toitering ruin, than the consolations of religious hope do upon my broken heart." My dear Mr. Butler," said I, I feel the most unmingled delight in knowing this; for surely life bas not on this side of the grave any thing more touching or beautiful than the death of the righteous--what is there to be derived from human example that can purify and exalt
the heart of man, more than the calm and triumphant death of a Christian brother ?” " True indeed,” he replied; "but oh! how I rejoice that I appear before my judge with a just and proper view of bis mercy and holiness! and of my own proneness to enmity against Him! How I rejoice that I know Him--the Merciful One-whose blood cleanseth from the taint of fallen and ungodly nature, instead of trusting in the dead ceremony, the soul-blinding unction, or the dark mut. tering of an unknown prayer! Alas, my friend, where now is my righteousness ? And on what a fatal delusion would that Christian rest, who should abandon the mercy of the Son of God, and turn to the intercession of a sinner like me, who, instead of have ing a surplus of merit, owes every thing to that mercy ? Oh! how thankful ought I to be, that I did not go before the judgment seat with the pride of an evil nature, the contempt of my Redeemer's blood, and the confidence of rival intercession written upon my forehead. I now left him aster having promised to pay him, if possible, a daily visit.
The following morning after breakfast, I was just stepping into my gig to fulfil my promise, when Nolan, wbom I have already alluded to, approached me with large clots of blood upon his face, hands, and clothes. “ Nolan," said I, alarmed, " what's the matter? what has happened you ?” “ Nothing, at all, at all, to myself" he replied, “ bud the poor sheep, your honour, has suffered, and two iv the year-ould's is houghed”—“ Houghed !" I exclaimed in amazement—" you can't be serious, Nolan, I have surely injured
none in the partsh, that they could thus attack my property in so barbarous and inhuman å manner-and the sheep you say? what has been done to them ?” Why, Sir, there's three iv them lyin' stiff, with their throat's cut across, and two wud the tails taken off them-poor things !” “Well,” said I, “ is this the return I am getting for the substantial acts of kindness that I have taken every opportunity of rendering to the poor of the neighbourhood ?-I thought I was an indulgent landlord, and every way a friend to my poorer tenantry.” * Read this, Sir," said Nolan, handing me a bit of dirty paper, tied about with a thread~" may be that would throw some light upon the bizness, I got id tied roun' the neck iv wan iv the dead crathurs.” I opened the paper and read the following :
• This is to let Mr. know, that af he wishes to avide “ another visit from them that nickt the sheep an' the sturks, “ he'll give up makin' convarts, an' corruptin' the people to lave " the thrue church-let Father Butler be his last, or it'll be worser “ for im'-an' let 'im be afther havin' no band in defraadin' the “ church iv her 'onest du, if not
This document had no signature. “ Lanty," said I, “do you know a tall monster of a fellow, called Slevin, or Delvin-or Devlin, or some such name? he's a pilgrim-I suppose you understand what that is—and carries half a dozen of bags about him ?” “ Know 'im, Sir, I do well, he's a great croonheen iv Paddy Dim. nick’s for prayin'—an' has a son, a young sogarth, in MaynewthOwneen, that used to go about wudim when a gorsoon; and I'll warrant when he gets the robes upon 'im, he'll be hardher to spake to, an' more overbearin' nor his betthers, for that's always the case, Sir.” “The very same," I observed. “Do you know, Lanty, that I have a strong suspicion of that rascal ?" "Why then, Sir, between you an' me, he's nothin' else ; although there's not three in the parish that does'nt take 'im for a sint, an' thinks the very ground he walks on as good as consecrated ; an' yet for all that, I would'nt put the same thrick past ’im; and may be id wont warm Paddy Dimnick's heart to hear iv id, any how, for he hates every bone in yer skin, yer honour, ever since it's reported that you turned Father Butler to your Church.”
“ Lanty, you must find out that fellow for me, he's probably about Dimnick's, and to tell you the truth, I suspect both ; but trace Devlin for me if you can, and I'll have him examined.” “I declare, yer honour, I woud rather you wud'nt put id an me, to have any hand in idyou know, Sir, I'm a poor strugglin' man, wud a family iv small childher to get bread for, an' if I got a dog's knock, Sir, or any thing happen'd me, that-a-way, what ’ud poor Ailey do wud the
-I'm not very well liked, Sir, as id is, ever since I tuck the the Bible, an' didn't give id back, as I was ordhered, so that this wuld be a good excuse for them to get a hole in my skirt.” you think they would direct their revenge against you, also, Nolan, why you are right in having nothing to do with that fellowis it he you fear? I enquired.” “Jist him, for wan, Sir, for whin he'd be in another part iv the kingdom, he would make me suffer for id.” "Well, in that case," said I, “ you had better say nothing more
about it; but have Magrath the constable here at two o'clock, I'll be back from Mr. Butler's by that time; at any rate, I'll offer a handsome reward for the discovery of the perpetrators.” “I think Devlin will be at Larry Linahan's to-day, Sir, if he's in the coun. thry, as there's a station there.” “ Very well,” said I,
we shall try as soon as I return."
When I arrived at Mr. Butler's, I found him confined to his bed, for up to this day he had been able to move about. I know not whether it is always fancy that produces the impression ; but so it is, that whenever we know there is a fellow-creature, either dying or dead, we think there is a gloomy stillness, a dismal solemnity, brooding over the very mansion, that is strongly contrasted with the busy stir of life and health. In the words of the poet, here
Pale melancholy sits, and round her throws
And breathes a browner borror o'er the woods. When entering the gate which led into the small demesne belonging to the house, I met one of the servants, and on enquiring how Father James was—the poor fellow burst into tears, as he replied, “Ah! Sir, he fought it out long and patiently ; but he is down at last ; I think he'll scarcely over to-morrow.
The priest and the minister are both with him at present, and he expects you Sir: I believe we'll soon have Dr. Upton, too—I hear he came from England, for no other purpose but to see him.” I proceeded to the house immediately, and such was the hold which he had gained upon my affections, that I experienced a sinking of the heart, resembling that which a man would feel for a child or brother. The day, too, was still and gloomy, not a breeze was abroad, and the shadow of the beeches and poplars that were reflected from the dark waters of the fish-pond, as I passed it, were motionless as death ; not even a volume of smoke rose from the house-no servant appeared—the pigeons on the roof of the dovecote, sat as if they had been changed into stone; and a solitary sparrow was perched upon the house-top, with its little head resting upon its breast, as motionless as the pigeons. All that broke the solemnity of the silence around me, was the noise of a little water-fall, that fell under the thick shade of the trees, where they wreathed their aged arms into each other, across the narrow glen, and the distant murmur of the wood-quest, that came sorrowfully from the grove of firs behind the garden. When I entered the hall, I met one of the servants, who told me that he had whispered her several times, to know if she thought I would soon come. I went immediately to his bed-room, and found him even weaker than I had anticipated. When he saw me, a very faint smile of satisfaction passed over his countenance, and he said, " I am very glad you are come, for a heavy duty indeed devolves upon you, my kind, and beloved friend;" and as he spoke, he fixed his eyes significantly on his father.
Compose yourself, my dear
Mr. Butler," I replied, " I shall see every thing attended to; and especially as to what you are most anxious about; so let me beg that you will not permit yourself to suffer additional pain, or disturb the composure of your mind by an apprehension that a filial care shall not be taken in the instance to wbich you allude.” “I believe it,” said he-At this time the father was sitting in his arm chair, at the head of the bed ; and when I went in, the old man had his arms partially about him; but as he was too feeble to sustain his weight--the other had raised himself by pillows, so that he reclined partly in his father's arms, and partly against the head-board of the bed. He had on a night-gown-the Bible lay open beside him, on a small mahogany book-stand, which, from his boy hood, he bad used in his studies he held his pockethandkerchief between his hands, which were clasped ; and as he became tired from time to time by the nature of his position, he turned his head sometimes on the pillow, and sometimes on his father's bosom. In this manner they reclined like two children, their cheeks against each other-and as the tears fell from the old man's eyes, the son soothed him in a tone of calm tenderness, which, although designed to alleviate, only encreased bis sorrow. After remaining in this posture for some time, I fear, my dear father,” he said, with that consideration for which he was ever remarkable, “ that I am too weighty for you—permit me to recline on the pillow, for a little." “ No, my dear, no, replied the father, I can bear you a little longer ; and I will bear you, for where should you rest, for the short time you are to be with me, but next your father's heart..Alas! alas! from that heart my child will soon be torn-from that heart to which he never gave a pang"--and as the father uttered these words, a fresh gush of tears, and a pressure of affection accompanied them, and his eyes turned upon those who were present, with a look that seemed to implore assistance and consolation, in this his great affliction. But now a scene of greater agitation was before him--one indeed which, in his weak state, he was badly able to sustain-for in a few minutes after this, the father of his long, and much loved Ellen, entered the room. When Dr. Upton approached the bed, he stood still, and looked long and sorrowfully on Father Butler's face, without even making a reply to either him or us; at last he took his hand, and raising it to his lips even kissed it and burst into tears. “Dr. Upton,” said Mr. Simpson, (the Rector,)“ I would have expected more firmness from you who were proverbial for patience and resignation under your own trials.” The Doctor was deeply affected for some time, and at length exclaimed, “ Alas! my friend, how can I look upon that face with indifference which the daughter of my heart loved so well; is he not besides doubly dear to me, for the love he bore my child ?" “ Ah! my dear James,” he continued, “the hands are in dust that would have tenderly smoothed your pillow, and the lips that would have spoken comfort to your soul, are silent in death—and the eyes that would have poured indeed the tear of disconsolation over you, closed until judgment.” “ Doctor," said Father Butler, ** I can understand what you feel, but I en