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racter and descent, a combination of the Saxon and Celt, which, if ever thoroughly effected by the fusion of the two races in Ireland, will possibly produce one destined to be its fittest and happiest possessors. But the leader's eye was his most remarkable feature : it flamed with the beam of the eagle's on a sunset mountain crag! His voice was deep-toned, mellow, and gently loud as the flow of a mighty stream, while on occasion it could rise over the din of battle, or of popular uproar, with the thunder of those same waters hurled headlong from lofty steeps amid the jagged and shaking rocks.
so looked and so demeaned himself of his person, Sarsfield, Lord Lucan, as he rode that fifteenth day of August, 1691, under a continued course of popular ovation to the Thomond Gate of Limerick. And a dulled echo of the shouting city followed him and his escort far on their way, as they passed, with a hollow rattle of the horses' hoofs, over & drawbridge, under the massive portcullis which admitted upon the solid arches of masonry over the Shannon, uniting Limerick with the County of Clare.
"Well, Henry, what say you now ! Are they so utterly worn out, hopeless, heartless, craven-ready to give in at the first squeak of old Ginkell's penny Dutch trumpet ?"
Sarsfield thus addressed an individual of his retinue, apparently an officer of rank, whose dissatisfied, debauched, and cynical expression formed a marked contrast to the flushed and noble elation of his own, as he looked back and their glances encountered.
“By G-d, my lord, you must have the lost art of reanimating the dead, to see how you have roused the poor, aghast, miserable devils out of their dejection!" the person addressed replied, in what was then considered the proper profane military style. " 'Ouns, I believe if you were on Kilcommodon Hill, you would make the stinking corpses there, which even the wild dogs wo'not gnaw at any longer, start up all alive, and snatch their rusty pikes and muskets from the red bog they lie wallowing in, to shoulder arms in your honour! How the fiend do you manage it, General ? By wearing your own hair like an Irish savage instead of a horse's, in a civilized French periwig ?” And the speaker fantastically wreathed his forefinger in the curls of an immense bush of hair that hung in thick corkscrew twists in a prodigious frizzle all over his shoulders and corslet down to his soiled white silk scarf.
“I trust I have obtained, and still keep my influence with our poor people by better means than subserviency to their outlandish customs and prejudices, Colonel Luttrell!” replied the General in somewhat hasty and offended tone.
“Ay, indeed, my lord! By achievements which, if performed on any of the great stages of warfare, such as the Rhine or Italy, would confer on you the reputation of one of the greatest commanders of the age!" said the smooth subordinate, while a treacherous smile played in the corners of his thin, purply lips.
" It might be so, Luttrell, but my destiny is cast in with that of this remote and obscure land, which I hope yet to restore to all its ancient glories and freedom !” the General replied, in a familiar and softened tone ; for this brave soldier was also a very vain one, and habitually
under the influence of the oily adulation Henry Luttrell employed in working him to his own ends.
“Ah, if you would but listen to reason, General !” muttered the latter.
Remember! You know I have forbidden you, Henry, ever again to presume to speak to me of the possibility of coming to terms with this clement' Prince of Orange of yours! As to entering into his service-accepting the high command which you imagine he would be so ready to confer on me-only that I know you are jesting altogether in thematter-schoolfellow and friend of mine as you have been so long, if I thought you had any other prompting than your own desperation of our chances, and mistaken zeal to do me service, I would hand you over to the Provost-Marshal, Colonel Luttrell, as indifferently as I would the meanest kerne in my garrison caught doing the enemy's errand in it!"
“And your lordship would be quite right, à la Brutus, understood !" replied Luttrell, with affected heartiness. “ But where are we going
The party had reached the mounds of a strong earthwork erected to defend the approach to the bridge, whence they were now challenged by a sentinel. Without at the moment replying to this question, Sarsfield gave the word, and led the way through the fortified enclosure into the open fields beyond.
“ I intend to visit the camp, and announce in person my accession to the supreme command," he then observed.
“ Supreme! with that gibbering Frenchman meddling at every turn !"
“Let him take care,” said Sarsfield, warmly, “or I will send him home to his operas and fine ladies in Paris, that he is always whimpering about, much sooner than even he can desire !"
"If it were this instant, he has fair leave from me, and all who really wish well to the cause! He lost us Athlone and Galway while he was studying the folds of a cravat,” Luttrell replied, with eager acquiescence. “ But as to visiting the camp to-night, my lord, I think you ought to allow some time for your friends to prepare you a fitting reception, for I have told you in what cursed dull dumps our horse continue, that it's enough to take the courage out of a lion to see them snivelling and lamenting over their fate in being put out of the walls, as they think, in the way of worse danger.”
“ Danger on this side the river, where, I trust, if our cavalry does but half its duty in the guard of the fords, so much as an orange coloured butterfly shall not presume to flutter for months!" said the General angrily.
“By the Lord, I think, if it did it would set them all a-scampering! They can't away with the mangling they got from those d-d blue troopers of the Dutchman at Aughrim, do what we will to comfort them!" returned Luttrell.
“I am sure, Colonel, you have not taken the right way of late with them, going among them with the hangdog, desponding look I have observed you wear very often when you are riding your rounds !” said Sarsfield.
“I can't help my looks, General ; I never was a man to feign other than I felt,” replied Luttrell, doggedly ; " and I have not concealed either from yourself or the rest of them that I consider our game as bad as lost, and that our only chance is to throw over the tables, and have a scramble at the stakes."
“ As you would avoid worse consequences, then, Colonel, I advise you to keep your opinion to yourself where we are going !" returned his commander, with a very stern and menacing expression.
Luttrell bit his lip and kept a sullen silence for several minutes. He turned, however, his horse's head implicitly with Sarsfield's towards the encampment alluded to in their conversation, which now appeared in view, covering a considerable space in the champaign country before them. It was almost exclusively of cavalry, three or four thousand in number, by whose means the Irish commanders hoped to sustain their communications with the County of Clare, and to defend the passage of the Shannon at the few points near Limerick, where it could be crossed without great difficulties in the width and force of the stream.
This camp, which was certainly rather an extensive one, from the large tract of country to be covered, was defended by some inartificially constructed entrenchments and palisades, planted with a few pieces of cannon. It occupied the foreground of a chain of hills which rose like a heavy sigh of the earth in the dun distance. The lines of outposts, and pickets along the banks of the river, were marked by the smoke and glow of peat-fires under the evening sky. Very few tents were visible, materials of civilised warfare being very scarce in the Irish army. But multitudes of huts, that eniulated in variety of wretchedness the hovels inhabited by the peasantry, gave the whole the aspect of a Hottentot kraal rather than of a regular military encampment.
Sarsfield and his escort had scarcely turned towards this point of military interest when both he and they were startled by the sudden apparition of a tall, gaunt figure that seemed to rise from ihe depths of a swamp' which bordered both sides of the grassy causeway they had now entered upon.
There was still a broad belt of orange-tinted crimson glow in the western horizon. But it was growing dark and shadowy in every other direction ; and the figure was certainly one which, in the broad daylight, would have been calculated to awaken dismay. It was that of a man who resembled nothing so much as one of the athletic cannibals of the then unknown islands of the Southern Ocean, in the sinewy proportions of his half-naked, tanned, and leathery-fleshed framework of mortality; and as little less savage was the class this man might be fairly said to represent considered by the English, and even by their own countrymen and co-factionists of the towns, and other more orderly and disciplined levies on the side of James the Second. They were principally clansmen of the Irish chieftains—men almost in a state of primeval nature, untaught in any of the arts or comforts of civilised existence—whose only principle of military efficiency was implicit obedience to the orders of their hereditary masters. That is to say, on all occasions but where it was most necessary--for they hardly ever displayed any courage or conduct in the field ; and though they made up a show of strength which gratified the arrogance and supported the pretensions of their
leaders, their only real use was to ravage, and officiate as a wild kind of commissariat in the supply of the army by plunder and devastation. In making excursions into an enemy's country, cattle-stealing, fire-raising, throat-cutting, these semi-savages had acquired a reputation, under the designation of Rapparees—which in their own acceptance meant only volunteers—that has not died out in the interval of a hundred and seventy years, and keeps all subsequent exploits of Rockites, Ribbonmen, Whiteboys and Croppyboys under some shadow of eclipse.
Our specimen was attired only in some tatters of mud-coloured frieze fastened with a straw band round his waist, in which was stuck a long bare knife, called a skene. He carried a pointed stake, blackened in the process of hardening by fire, which might have served Ulysses to put out the one enormous eye of the Cyclops. Cover for head or foot the Rapparee had none, save the shocks of red hair, coarse as cocoa-nut fibre on the former, and natural mocassins of his own hardened skin on the latter. But the first glance at this formidable phantom gave the worst impression ; a second, and its haggard, abject visage and crouching attitude, dissipated somewhat of the alarm such an uncouth and sudden apparition, in times so disturbed, might well arouse. Yet Sarsfield kept his hand on a pistol in his holster as he perceived the fellow come and place himself in his way, so as to compel him either to rein up his horse or ride over him. He adopted the former alternative, though not without some hesitation, which was heightened into anger when he found the grim figure made no attempt to remove the obstruction it occasioned, but began muttering and gibbering in some strange, unintelligible tones, with a great variety of gesticulations, probably intended to eke out the purport of its attempts at articulate speech.
“ Is he begging, and has some Connaught farmer cut his tongue out for telling where his grain was hidden ?” said Sarsfield. “Do not harm him, Kilrush ! the poor wretch seems inoffensive enough.” 1: "He is trying to speak Saxon with only a Celtic tongue in his head. Speak in Irish, man, instead of twisting your jaws like an ape at a nut too hard to crack ! We can both understand you, if you don't come west of all rational sounds !” said Luttrell, in that language ; and the Rapparee, who had in reality been labouring hard to deliver himself in one with which he was by no means familiar, burst out in a torrent on finding he was likely to be understood in his native dialect.
“I am Fhad Redmond of the Cows, from the land of the dark rainbow of the O'Neil! I came on an errand of death, faster than the cloud on the wind, from the noble Roderick, my lord, to the hero of the battles of the land, within the walls yonder! But the sons of the scarlet breast refused me admittance, because in my haste I forgot to demand of my chief the word of power. Yet they told me the leader of the battle came forth ever once in the day and I have hungered and thirsted with the bittern and the frog, two sundowns, awaiting his approach, that I might do the bidding of my master, The O'Neil! And does not Fhad Redmond of the Cows look now on the devouring light of the cloud of battle, the launcher of the clattering whirlwind of the broad-bosomed steed ?"
"I am Patrick Sarsfield, Earl of Lucan, Governor of this town, and General of the Forces of his Majesty King James the Second, in the city of Limerick. And now pray tell me, in as few and as plain words as you can muster, my good Pat Redmond, what you want with me?" said the commander, impatiently, annoyed by Luttrell's undisguised merriment at this wildly-elevated manner of address.
“She can speak Sassenach too, herself, too, tevil fetch her!" returned poor Fhad, perceiving he had offended in some way, and imagining his Irish was not properly understood. And he then proceeded in such Eng. lish as he could command, much in the tone of a man translating from one language into another. “The masther is dying! The great O'Neil himself lies stretched on the bed of the White Sleep! Hy Nial is going to the place of the narrow darkness, drained by the red lips of his wounds, as the bloody jaws of the wolf drink up the life of the fiercest ram, on some dark hill side, far from the straining eyes of the shepherd and the dog! The sword of the foe at Aughrim loosened his veins till they flowed like streams from the hills after a night of storms! It is the last breath he is drawing, please your honor, and he sends me tiv ye with the word in my mouth-If ever ye have feasted the ravens of death together ; if ever ye have shared your dark mantles on the field of the frozen blast; if ever ye have been as brothers in your love! if he drew you back from the black mist of fire on the day of the bursting cannon at Kellunamona, come to him now, that he may utter his last words and wishes in his battle-brother's ear and heart !”
“ Is Sir Roderick so bad then ?—so very bad? Of course, if he desires to see me, I will come. Luttrell, what say you ?” Sarsfield responded, with the ready warmth of kindness which contributed as much as any of his greater qualities to endear him to a people so sympathetic and impulsive in all their sentiments as those he swayed.
"I am agreeable to anything in preference to a visit to that wo-begone camp of ours, though I suppose Sír Roderick O'Neil's death-thraw will not be at all a pretty spectacle to witness," said Luttrell, with a shocking levity that evidently disgusted the General.
“ I have no doubt he can dispense with your attendance upon it, sir, as I can with any further such unfeeling comments on the misfortunes of men who have fought and bled so valiantly for the cause whose livery we both profess to wear! Where is my poor friend lying, good fellow ?"
“In a chamber of the Holy Ruin, beyond the hills," was the reply of the wild messenger, pointing to the range of near elevations on which the last brightness of the sunset crowned the purple robes of the twilight with golden fire.
“Quin Abbey, does the flighty savage mean?” exclaimed Luttrell. “Well
, we could soon make a trip there, only we should not have time for the fords and camp afterwards, my lord ! But I suppose that would not matter for a night? Yet, stay,” he interrupted himself, with a visible start, “is not one Captain Mahony, my merry boy, lying out at the Abbey, with his rive-rag troopers of Galmoy's Horse ?" “Of course you know, Luttrell
, that Captain Mahony commands the
horse there. You were with me when we left him there to strive to check the enemy's flying parties, and rally the Aughrim runaways,” said Sarsfield, much surprised.
"Of course I do, my lord; and that is a reason why I must beg of