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“ Which we shall not do,” whispered his companion, “and yet, perhaps shall be necessitated to take up our night's abode in this mountain-house he talks of."
They had in the course of a quarter of an hour reached the long promised turn to Cloghnaigh-Cluain; but the road, though it was a rapid descent, far from improving, became every moment more impracticable, and the twilight more obscure. The driver, at last, after a violent jolt, which threatened dislocation to the joints of the crazy vehicle, suddenly stopped his horses, and coming up to the chaise window, asked, “Yez would not have such a thing as a crooked nail about ye, plaze your honors?"
The Commodore replied in the negative, half laughingly, though with feelings of annoyance, arising partly from suspicion of the man's intentions, and partly from impatience of delay in in such a place, and at such a time.
Why then, murther alive, what's this for?” exclaimed the driver, scratching his head : “the fore wheel off, and not a bit of a nail for a linch pin; and the spring broke too, and not a taste of rope to tie it up
with.” “ This is a pleasant adventure," said the younger traveller, throwing himself back in the chaise; while the elder, jumping out, examined into the acci. dent: the spring was broken, the wheel
“ This is no accident,” he said, turning abruptly to the driver : “the linch pin of this wheel has been drawn out purposely."
“ It has, Sir?” he reiterated with simplicity. “See that now! why then, I wonder who would be after doing that same;
if it wouldn't be your honors, out of sport, Sir. But sorrow much matter, any I'd as soon drive your honors with three wheels as four, and did from Cork to Kilworth:--that's father Mur
phy, Sir; and the wheel will just slip in the front of the chay, fair and aisy, I'll be bound.
“But that's not the worst of it,” he continued coolly, endeavouring to force the wheel into the chaise on one side, while Mr. De Vere jumped out at the other: “ we've taken the wrong turn, it seems, entirely; for that Cloghnaigh bates the world, in respect of contrariness; and when I thought we were in on it, isn't it here the wolf's track, we've slipped into? Dioul!”
You are to remember," said the Commodore, while his companion wasenjoying a rapid combination of every real, fancied, or possibledanger,“ you told us youwere well acquainted with the road.”
“ And if I wasn't, your honor, how would I know that this is the wolf's track. Och! musha! the likes of this never happened me before. Ochone! Here's your purse, Sir, dear, dropped in the hay;" and he carelessly threw the
purse, weighty from containing some golden Spanish coin, into the traveller's hand: he then continued his lamentation over his mistake, at the same time endeavouring to thrust the fore wheel of the chaise through one of its doors, From his tone of voice, peculiarity of manner, and the carelessness with which he restored a purse, that in all probability would not have been missed, every suspicion of sinister intention was hushed in the mind of the Commodore. The younger traveller, however, saw only in the latter circumstance some ruse beyond the ordinary stratagem of a common robber; and whether he was to be enrolled among a band of Shanavests, or stripped and plundered for the benefit of the Caravats, were circumstances debated in his mind, under the influence of many romantic associations appropriate to the scene and hour. Meantime, as the driver assured them, that though they had not taken the best or the
shortest road, they were still making their way out of the mountains, they continued to walk in advance of the chaise, without further reproach; while the driver, leading his horses, recommenced his song, which he only interrupted to point out a stone cross under the cliff, that he called the “Hag's bed;" and some other features in the scene, characteristic of its wildness; thus evincing that his boasted acquaintance with the mountains was not an unfounded vaunt.
With that sudden change of temperature incidental to mountain regions, the air had become intensely cold; and through the increasing darkness of the evening, they hailed with pleasure a long level
of light, which assured them of their approximation to some human abode; perhaps a forge, where they might have their chaise wheel reinstated; and they suggested this possiblity to the driver. “ A forge,” he replied, " then that's