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new adventures appear in ready preparation for other Sir Calidores and Sir Tristrams, than those of his creation.”
“ Had we not better,” said the Commodore, who for the moment was stunned by the event, which, though not of superhuman agency, appeared in his mind scarcely less comprehensible;“ had we not better go to the porter's lodge, and make some inquiries there ?"
“ Oh! certainly. But you must not be surprised if the lodge, the portress, and the idiot, are all vanished, together with Mrs. Magillicuddy, Mr. Owny, and the chaise and horses."
The lodge, the portress, and the idiot, remained, however, as they left them. The old woman was seated upright in her wretched bed, with a red petticoat over her shoulders, and employed in knitting. To the repeated questions of the travellers, she replied “ Nil gaeliga,” I have no English.*
* Literally, the language of the stranger.
Nor could either of them obtain the least information from her. Either she did not, or would not understand them. The idiot, when they approached her, laughed and fled.
Hopeless of information, they walked back to the spot where the horse and their light luggage had been left. They re-examined the exterior of the house; they went round to the postern door by which the driver had entered, and which with some difficulty they discovered: it was padlocked on the outside; and to their repeated knocks the echoes of the sound alone were returned. There was something peculiarly singular, and almost laughably pantomimic in this adventure, which amused, though almost provoked the Commodore ; while it defied conjecture to detect the cause of its occurrence. He had reason to believe that his name, person, and very existence, were unknown in Ireland; yet the league of the old woman and driver
could not be without object, nor the whole event without motive: it was evidently unconnected with any sordid or dishonest view. The housekeeper had not been remunerated for her trouble, nor the driver for his horses or attendance. Rapid in his silent cogitations, and quick in his decisions, he at once determined that the object of this farcical embrogleo was the fanciful and accomplished ideologist, with whom he was accidentally connected ; and giving further conjecture to the winds, after a few minutes reverie, he proposed that they should hail the fisherman at the weir, engage him to convey the younger traveller down the river, as near as he could to Doneraile or Butte vant: for himself, as the day advanced, and time pressed, he determined to mount his Kerry steed, and proceed by the mountain route, he had obtained from Owny, to Dunore.
To all these arrangements De Vere
passively assented; and while the Com. modore, with the activity of boyhood, bounded down the precipitous rocks to beckon the fisherman towards the shore, his companion, with folded arms, and eyes fixed upon vacuity, stood the image of one, in whom
66 Function is smothered in surprise, And nothing is but what is not.” The events of his journey had combined themselves in his mind under the influence of the most morbid imagination, and the most inordinate amourpropre. His vanity and his fancy had worked out a series of associations and conjectures most favourable to the character of both. Every event, every object, however unimportant in itself, was by him wrought into a miracle, or meditated into a mystery, through the medium of his singularly organized mind: “from trifles, light as air," he had the unhappy power of constructing fabrications of ideal pain and pleasure, of flattering or
mortifying importance; which rendered him the victim of delusion, and covered the
prosperous realities of his life with shadows, alike illusory and unsubstantial. The perverseness of his journey from Dublin, the counteraction of his intentions with respect to his route, the impish laugh in the ruins of Holy-cross, his unintentional visit to Court Fitzadelm, the invisible musician of the Evidence Chamber, his reiterated contact with the formidable Mrs. Magillicuddy, the youthful figure of the female associated with her at Lis-na-sleugh, the masquerading mystery of the driver, and, above all, the league evidently subsisting between the old woman and Owny, and their sudden disappearance from Court Fitzadelm, unremunerated for their respective services, all these incidents, so strange, so unexpected, combined themselves in his meditations, till he believed himself caught in a thraldom, like that, “Dove in dolce