[From Shadowland in Ellan Vannin, 1880]
Father Kelly and his little charge The priest's wondrous vision The chapel of Keeihl Vaayle Paul and Ayla The war arrow Battle in Ramsey Bay Paul rescues Dugal Discovery of Ayla by her parents The priest's strange adventure in the chapel Ayla's and Paul's marriage at Keeihl Vaayle Murder of the good Father Death of the murderer Conclusion.
AT the southern extremity of the Isle of Man is a place called Langness, a sort of peninsula, to which is attached the diminutive island of St. Michael's, in the present day known as Fort Island.
At the time of which we write, somewhere about the middle of the eleventh century, during the reign of Godred II. in Man, and when the insular Church was governed by good Bishop Gamaliel, a strange group were gathered on this isle. Old men leaning heavily on their staves, or supported by their strong, stalwart-looking sons or grandsons, women, too, of all ages, swelled the number, while little children either played at hide-and-seek with each other-much the same as the young people of the present day-or sat here and there gathering the flowers of both land and sea growth, that so plentifully besprinkled the short green sward, while those of more tender years were carried in their mothers' arms. All bent their eyes anxiously on the remarkable figure approaching them-an aged priest, whose cowl now covered his head. He led by the hand a little child of perhaps six or seven years old, and as he drew nearer, the people, one and all, bowed in reverence, and then bent their eyes inquiringly on their pastor. Before addressing them he ascended a sort of cairn, or heap of stones, that were piled together near, thus raising himself a little above the crowd, and throwing back his hood, displayed a face on which relentless time had traced many a wrinkle ; but years had not dimmed the fire of the deep-set black eyes, shaded by thick gray brows. The nose was aquiline, the forehead broad, the head surrounded by a fringe of snow-white hair, and now, as his gaze travelled from one to another of those about him, a smile of infinite gentleness lighted up the whole face, softening a countenance that in repose looked harsh and stern.
The little girl had dropped his hand at a whisper from him, and joined a group of children near, to whom she showed in strong contrast, not only by the beauty and delicacy of her complexion, and the finer cast of features and of limbs, but in her dress, which was of rich materials, not worn or manufactured in the island, both women and children being clad in the warm rough sort of flannel, or cloth, spun from the wool of the Loaghtyn sheep.
The priest, amidst a profound silence, broken only by the soft lap of the sea against the cliffs, lifted his hands, as though invoking a blessing, and then raising his eyes to heaven, his voice in solemn tones fell upon the ear of those around, as he said in Manx: ' Ayns Ennym yn Ayr, as y Vac, as y Spyrryd Noo ' ('In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost').
After a moment's pause he said : ' I have asked you all to meet me here, when the sun is not long risen, whilst his rays still kindle into light, the early dew on grass and flower, before you go this bright April morning to your daily labour. The first and the last of the day ought always to be dedicated in worship and in prayer to the God who has given it, and whose holy angels guard us, not only in the silent watches of the night, but in the busy hours of toil.'
The priest again paused before saying : ' I have matter of great import to tell you. Yesterday, about mid-day, a sudden strange sleep, or unconsciousness, fell upon me ; and methought God's holy angel, St. Michael, stood beside me. His raiment shone like the glitter of the sea where the moonbeams fall. Round his head a halo of light gleamed as a crown of glory; the beauty of his face was such as no painting of even our Blessed Lady could picture.
I would have fallen on my knees before him, but he stayed me, saying
"'Do not bend the knee to me, but follow where I am bid to lead thee."
'I, trembling, rose, for such awe did fill my senses at this wondrous vision that my limbs would scarce obey my willing mind.
' " Good and faithful servant of the Most High," said he, "fear not;" and, taking my hand, methought that he and I rose softly from the earth, and floated in the air, hand in hand, till we stood where we are all assembled, on this little isle.'
Here excited murmurs from the listeners broke in upon the priest's address. Some fell on their knees, and many of the women prostrated themselves in prayer; exclamations of wonder, and even dread, rose on every side, while glances of fear and expectation were cast around. Children stopped their play, and the little ones clung to their mothers' knees.
The speaker, seeing the effect of his words, changed his tone
'Are ye not proud, instead of fearful?' he cried, while his eyes shot fire from beneath their shaggy brows, 'that a message from heaven should be sent to you, and that the archangel himself should be the messenger? And that message was-what think ye? Tfiat here, on this very spot where we are all assembled -here, I say, you and 1, working together, are to build a church for the service of God; and now I ask Are ye all ready to do what ye can in this pious work? Money you have not, but most of you have strong hands. Have you willing hearts ?'
Cries of 'The ! the!' ('Yes ! yes '.') arose on every side. Women wept and crossed themselves, while men clasped hands, and all vowed to do their utmost in this great work. The priest, after a few more words of exhortation and prayer, dismissed them ; and as they made their way back to their respective houses, they talked, in awe-struck tones, of the wonderful vision of the good father.
I bless God and His saints,' said one old graybeard, 'that I have been spared to see the day when an angel from heaven should be sent to us. I mind the time when good Father Kelly came from Ireland. We were little better than heathen, though we had heard of Christ and His Gospel ; but he has worked among us early and late. Where sickness or sorrow comes, there he is always found, helping and comforting; and many a day and many a night has he passed in fast and vigil, praying for our souls. How good must he be, and saintly, and beloved, when the holy angel St. Michael has been sent to him ! Isn't it wonderful-wonderful? These hands are old and feeble, but methinks I can carry a few stones to the work ; but help I must, and help I will?
His words were taken up by all within hearing, and 'Help we must, and help we will !' was echoed in the Manx tongue on all sides by the excited crowd.
And now ten years have passed, and the little chapel of Keeihll Vaayl (St. Michael's) stands as complete, and has done for some six years, as rough hands could
make it. The people had never flagged in their energy, even after the excitement of the good priest's address had to a certain extent worn off; they had devoted every hour to the work that they could spare from toiling on their farms, or out at the fishing, to provide for the wants of their families and themselves.
Cummings, in his 'Isle of Man,' thus describes the ruins of this chapel still to be seen on St. Michael's or Fort Island
'The little Isle of St. Michael (commonly called Fort Island), on which stands the fort and ruined church, is connected with Langness at its northern point by a narrow causeway. . . .
'There can be no doubt of the great antiquity of the little chapel, or oratory, at the west end of it. Two centuries ago, as figured in Chaloner's " Description,"
it was a ruin. It reminds us strongly in its architectureand general details of the interesting church of Peransabuloe in Cornwall. It differs, however, in the number of windows. The church of Peransabuloe was lighted by but one, this has four, an east and a west window, and a north and south placed very near the east end. The west, north, and south windows are square-headed, the two latter being only twelve inches wide outside, but with a wide splay to two feet ten inches inside. The east window is one long single light, with a semicircular head and only ten inches in breadth outside, but largely splayed.
'This little chapel is of but one compartment,
whose length is thirty-one feet, and breadth fourteen. The thickness of the walls is three feet. At the west end is a bell-turret. The chapel was entered by one door on the south side, nine feet from the west end, the height of which is six feet, and the width two feet four inches. This door, like the east window, has a semicircular heading, formed of small pieces of the schist of this neighbourhood, set edgeways round the arch, whilst the door-jambs are of rough blocks of limestone. There is no appearance of a tool on any part of it, if we except the coping stones on the west gable. We may mark the foundation of a stone altar under the east window, and at the same end, on the north corner, three stone steps which may have served as an ambo or pulpit. The height of the side-walls of the building is only ten feet. The length of its graveyard is one hundred and ninety-two feet, and the breadth ninety-eight, and as yet it is untouched by the plough.'
But to return to our story. On this particular day-a warm, bright one for the season, February-two figures might be seen resting beneath the shelter of the chapel porch. The one, a young girl of rare beauty, whose golden hair fell in silky waves below her waist; her complexion vied in colouring with the tinting of the pink-lined shell she held within the taper fingers of her small white hand; her features were exquisitely formed, while the large dark-blue eyes she now and then raised to her companion's face were lovely, not only from shape and colour, but by their earnest,
trustful expression. She was clothed in' the rough woollen dress worn by the natives of the Isle of Man; but nothing could conceal the grace of her figure, or take from a certain air of gentle birth that had earned for her the title amongst the people round of 'the priest's little lady.'
Leaning against the entrance-door of the chapel, at her side, stood her companion, a young man of about twenty years of age. He was quite six feet high, with a strong and well-knit frame. His eyes, hair, and eyebrows were very dark, and the first appearance of a beard showed black upon his upper lip and cheeks. His head, which he had uncovered, was well formed, the forehead broad and high, the nose straight, and the shapely mouth and chin beneath seemed to indicate firmness and stability of character. Though he, too, is dressed in the rough costume of a Manx peasant, it is evident that he is of much higher degree, his whole air and appearance being that of one used rather to handle the sword than till the ground, to tread in courts instead of the humble abode of an island agriculturist or fisherman.
He addresses his companion in English: ' Then thou dost not remember any time before thou camest to the good father ?'
'Methinks I have some dim recollections, so faint as almost to seem like dreams, of a time when I used to see armed men go forth, as if to battle, when the sound of music and of clanking spears did break
in upon my infant slumbers, and that, when I cried at the sound, someone beautiful as one of God's angels did bend over me and soothe me into rest, and then more vividly I remember being in a ship with rough, fierce men about me: I can still picture them, and the great waves that seemed each moment going to bury us beneath their black waters. I recollect next waking from sleep or unconsciousness, and instead of the cruel-looking people who had surrounded and terrified me, and the sea, and the rocking of the ship, I was being gently carried in the priest's arms. I have only confused memories. This is all-and it seems hardly real.'
'And what has the good father told you? Where did he find you, dear one ?'
Wrapped in warm furs in the shelter of the cliffs near. At first he thought me dead; but as he bent o'er me, mine eyes unclosed, and gazed,' he said, 'in such fear and wonder in his face as made him sad to see. He took me in his arms, and brought me to his home, where he and his good sister cared for and tended me ever since with such gentleness and affection I can ne'er repay, save by the devoted love I bear them. Mistress Kelly, his sister, told me they asked whence I came, and all I could reply was " big ship," " black water," and " bad men," and that my name was Ayla, and at times, at first, I cried, and could scarce be comforted, to be taken to my mother and Olave, and sometimes from my
indistinct speech they thought they could gather names like Angus and Dugall. Slipped between the clothes on me, they found this.'
And Ayla drew from her bosom a massive gold chain, to which was attached a cross of the same metal ; on the back of this were rudely traced some letters and the representation of a battle-axe of the period. The young man looked carefully at this for some time, and while he was examining it, the girl continued
'Within the furs in which I was enveloped were some articles of rich clothing, and the good father and Mistress Kelly wished to lay these things by; but when they went to dress me in this woollen stuff that I wear now, I cried and fretted so they let me have my will, and I wore the things they found with me till I grew too big for them ; and they have kept them torn and worn as they are, thinking that by them, and this piece of ornament you hold. those to whom I belonged, if they sought me, might know me for their child.'
Ayla paused, and looked dreamily out to where the sea lay calm and blue beyond
' I have had dreams and fancies that the beautiful lady I -seem to remember might some day come across those waters, and, landing, find me here. Ofttimes I have fallen asleep thinking how happy I should be to feel her arms fold round me, and that I should call her "mother "-idle dreams ! And I have been left naught
I ought to desire. Kindness and even lavish affection
have been bestowed upon me by both Mistress Kelly and the good father, and all the people round love me, and I them.'
'And now thou hast my devoted love, my Ayla, and yet, alas ! I scarce know how to tell thee, but I must bid thee farewell !'
' What, dost thou leave thine Ayla ?' she cried, in startled accents.
"Tis even so, beloved! the war-arrow summons me, like many others, to the fight.'
To fight !' echoed Ayla, in frightened tones ; 'oh, Paul, my beloved-my dearest, I cannot let thee go! I cannot part from thee !' In an agony of grief she threw her arms around her lover and held him, as though by this means she could keep him by her side.
' Go I must, my loved one, and my heart is torn with anguish that I must part with thee. But two moons have come and gone since, idly wandering here after visiting the good monks at Rushen, I saw thee in that bay gathering shells. How beautiful thou wert ! I loved thee then, and ever shall. Alas that I should have to leave thee, my sweet Ayla !' he murmured tenderly, as he held her in his arms. ' Thou hast perchance heard that a conspiracy= is set on foot by Torfinn, son of Ottar, against the good King Godred to depose him from this, his kingdom of Man. In this Torfinn is helped by Somerled, Moarmor of Argyle; and to warn Godred, my father, Paul
Balkason, Lord of Skye, came hither, bringing me with him ; and so, as I told thee, dear one, the wararrow hath been despatched ordering the preparation of ships, and to-morrow, ere the sun shows above yon waters, we shall have sailed from hence to meet the enemy. I fear me that I cared not much for listening to my father and your king, or those that advised with them, discussing all the preparations for this war, though my blood warms and my heart beats high at the thought of the coming battle.'
' Ah, how different art thou then to me,' sighed Ayla ; 'my blood runs cold, and my heart sinks low in dread at what may befall thee in the fight ! If thou art slain, I can but lay me down and die, for live without thee now I cannot.'
' My loved one, my Ayla !' cried Paul, as he kissed the tear-stained face, 'thou shouldest be brave, and think only of the time when I shall return and in this very church make thee my wife, to love thee ever, and cherish thee, and keep thee by my side.'
'And here,' said Ayla, 'will I repair each day to pray for thee ! May God, and our Lady, and the good St. Michael guard thee, and bring thee safe back to thine Ayla;' and the girl devoutly crossed herself, her lover following her example.
And now in VOWS of love, passionate kisses, and sighs, with many tears the lovers try to part, and once and again, and yet again, they take what is to be the last embrace, and yet Paul cannot tear himself away,
until the lengthening shadows warn Ayla that she has been long from home, that Mistress Kellywill be uneasy, and perhaps angered ; and besides this, threatening clouds are rising above the horizon far out to sea, and she remembers Paul has many miles to walk before he can get to Duglas, where he stays that night, and joins his father and the king, and next morning all take ship to meet Prince Somerled, who is advancing, it is said, with a fleet of eighty galleys to meet the opposing forces of the King of Man.
When Ayla got home, she found Mistress Kelly as she feared, uneasy at her lengthened absence, and not a little put about that her brother, who had gone to shrive a dying man in a hamlet some miles distant, had not yet returned, as she, too, had marked the signs of a coming storm, and feared his being wet and roughly handled by the rising wind.
She had piled turf and large logs of wood on the wide hearth, and as Ayla warmed herself she, for the first time, noticed how pale and sad, and what a tear-stained face the firelight revealed.
' My little lady,' she cried, ceasing from the lecture she had been administering on the impropriety of wandering for hours by the sea instead of being employed in some useful way, or studying some of the many things the priest had given her to learn' why, little lady, what ails thee ? art thou ill? or has aught happened to distress thee?'
And for all answer Ayla threw her arms round the
good woman's neck, and wept and sobbed. and at last in broken phrases told her all her sorrow : how Paulto whom Mistress Kelly was well affected-would sail with the ships to-morrow, and perhaps be killed, and never return to gladden her with his presence again. ' Then, indeed,' she moaned, 'would the sky look ever black, and even the summer breeze seem to echo sighs, whilst flowers would lose their beauty and their scent; the murmur of the sea and the song of the birds would have for me but one sad sound-death, death !'
'Why, Ayla, Ayla, this is very wrong ! such worship should be given to none on earth. God gives us friends to love, and to be loved by, and duties to fulfil for them, and all about us ; these things are to lighten what would, perchance, otherwise be an overtoilsome road to heaven ; we are to help each other on the way; but God should be first of all in our thoughts and heart, and all His gifts we should be ready to resign at His most sacred will.'
' I could never be ready to resign my love, or say " God's will be done " to that ; perchance, if I live to be so old as thou art, I may feel like thee.'
' Hoot, tut ! prithee rouse thee ; thy Paul will come back safe enough, never fear thee,' cried Mistress Kelly testily, not too well pleased at this allusion to her years ; ' and thou wilt be his wife, thou'lt see, and have enough of him, and he of thee, maybe; there's naught that cools the frenzy of love like years of
wedded life and constant intercourse, I am told by those who've put it to the test. Holy Father!' she exclaimed in a changed voice, as a gust of wind swept past the house, seeming to shake it to the very foundation, 'list to the storm, how it rises, and see the heavens, how black they have become ! I fear me thy Paul and Brian will have a wet skin ere they get to shelter ; Paul, being young and strong, will suffer no more than the discomfort, but for my brother, who hath numbered eighty years, I fear it may go hard! I trust he will remain the night Nv11ere he hath gone, and not attempt to brave the coming storm.'
Her uneasiness communicated itself to Ayla, who looked forth ; and certainly the scene was enough to cause both women great anxiety. The sea that had had almost a summer aspect a few hours before, reflected now the blackness of the threatening clouds overhead, the rumble of distant thunder broke upon the ear, and presently a blinding flash of lightning gleamed across the bay, followed by a roar of thunder so terrific that both the frightened women involuntarily clasped hands in sympathetic terror, whilst the servingwoman rushed in from the kitchen exclaiming in frightened accents and the Manx tongue
'God be good to us! but is not this terribleterrible ! I'm trembling, not for the storm, though I've ne'er seen nor heard the like before ; but the good father, where will he be now? God and His holy angels have him in their keeping !'
Meanwhile, the priest had long before started on his homeward way; he, nor those whom he had left, had not observed-they in their grief, and he in his perfect sympathy-the lowering sky nor rising wind. Armed with a stout staff, he trudged along with a strength and activity wonderful for his years.
' Ah me!' he murmured, ' how oft have I trod these paths to shrive the dying, to minister to the sick, to comfort those in sorrow, to help the poor in so far as I could compass, and, what seemeth to me whereof more to rejoice, to lead the thoughts and desires of all from earth to heaven ! And I have hereof much wherein to glory, in that God hath blessed mine efforts, and many have been led to the faithful worship of Him. Should not this content me? Alas, it doth
not ! May IIe forgive me, for methinks I cannot die content till I see the Chapel of St. Michael with an altar, such as has gladdened mine eyes in many a church in mine own land-ay, or such an one as at the abbey at Russin. It did not seem an idle dream to trust, as so ofttimes I have done, that when St. Michael himself did vouchsafe to appear to me and bid me raise this chapel to his honour, that so wonderful a vision might be followed by miraculous guidance and assistance to furnish the interior with all it now lacks. Yet all these years have passed, and I fear me that to others will be left the task to finish that which I began ;' and the good old man sighed heavily ; the patience and resignation he preached to others he found it hard
to exercise in this the great desire of his simple earnest life.
I will e'en now hie me to the church, and pass the few hours of the remaining day in prayer " for help, for guidance, for submission."'
He had still some little way to go, and had barely gained the entrance to the chapel when the threatened storm burst forth in all its fury. He made haste to get within the shelter of the church, and groped his way where some flickering lights shed the feeble rays that helped to guide him to the altar, where he devoutly knelt.
This altar was a simple slab of stone supported on pillars and Lnarked with five crosses cut on the top, signifying the five wounds of our Lord. By the decree of the Council of Epone in France, A.D. 509, ' no altars were to be consecrated with the chrism of holy oil, but such as were made of stone only.'
Unmindful of the fearful uproar, the lightning that every now and then illumined the place, the thunder, or the tempest that beat upon the sacred edifice, and seemed each moment to threaten its destruction, the good old man prayed on, calm and undisquieted. Erelong the wind abated, and at last died down, sobbing itself into quietness like a tired child; the peals of thunder and flashes of lightning came at greater intervals ; and for the first time it dawned upon Father Kelly's mind that his sister and Ayla would probably be in great anxiety as to his safety. He rose from his knees, intending to make
his way to where he could look out upon the night, and so judge as to when it might be possible to get to his home, but was arrested by the sound of hasty stumbling footsteps and men's voices speaking low and hurriedly.
Presently the steps carne round the chapel, paused by the entrance ; the door was tried, and after a little delay opened. The priest made haste to ascend the few steps that led to the ambo or pulpit, where in the semi-darkness he hoped to find a place of secure con cealment. The men, with uncertain tread, as though carrying some heavy weight, came in, and with many oaths dropped their burden on the floor.
'Beshrew thee for a careless fool, Niel !' cried one. 'Where in the name of the can this be hidden, and in a chapel too, by all that is holy? I like it not.'
'And Beshrew thee for a doited fool!' cried the one called Niel in angry tones ; ''tis thyself alone thou hast to thank that we are in this sorry plight ; but hidden this must be. Go get thee one of those pale lights over there ; 'twill not be a very heavy task, methinks, to raise one of these rough stones and safely hide what thou, as well as I, know must be hidden. Go, craven ! What are ye lingering for ?'
' Dost thou hear no sound?' asked the other trembling tones.
' Naught but the dying wind and the beating of your coward heart! Go, fetch the light, and with
what speed ye, may! we must haste back, and bear us away from present pursuit.'
As the man was feeling his way slowly and carefully to do Niel's bidding, a dreadful sickening suggestion as to what they were so anxious to conceal made poor Father Kelly tremble with horror; beads of cold perspiration gathered on his brow; a sudden faintness seized him, and ere the altar had been reached by the 'murderer'-as in his fear he named hin'---the priest became unconscious. How long he bad remained in this state he could not tell, for when he revived the men had gone ; the first chill light of an early morn in February was here and there making its way into the chapel. All was still. Could he have had some dreadful dream? and the men, their work, their talk-could this be merely a creation of his own excited brain ? He raised his stiffened limbs with difficulty from their cramped position, and prepared to walk as quickly home as they could bear him. He was feeble from cold, the previous day's fatigue, and long fast, and had neither strength nor courage to explore the chapel or see if there was aught to prove whether all had been only fancy, orand he devoutly crossed himself-a dread reality. He reached the door in safety, and had made his way a few steps forward, feeling a good deal revived by the fresh morning breeze, when something glittering on the greensward arrested his attention, and, stooping, to his horror he beheld a dagger stained with blood!
He hurled the thing far from him towards the rocks beyond.
He no longer doubted that some foul deed had been done; the faintness that had before attacked him seemed to threaten him again. With steps still trembling and feeble, he hurried on, and as he neared the little thatched cottage that he called his home, he saw that he was anxiously watched for by his sister, Ayla and the serving woman. Presently, like sounds at a distance, he knew the women were plying him with questions, to none of which he had either the strength or the desire to reply, whilst they at the <.a:ne time ministered to his wants, and piled the turf on the fire in the wide hearth.
' He hath not broken bread, it's like, since yesterday at noon,' he heard the servant say ; ''tis just his way to forget when he hath last fed.'
' Thou art right, good Chrissie ; not since then till now have I broke my fast; but leave me to rest and in quiet for a little-my brain seems all distraught.'
Day wore away, and the evening shadows began to lengthen ere 1, ather Kelly could rouse himself from the sort of half stupor in which he had lain for hours, taking obediently, however, from time to time the nourishment the anxious women brought to his bedside. At last a natural quiet sleep fell upon him, and in the morning he awaked refreshed, and feeling hut little the effects of the fatigue, fasting, and exposure of
the previous day and night. The remembrance, strange to say, of the scene in the chapel did not at first, or for many minutes, come into his mind; and when it did he knelt, as in all times of difficulty or trial good Christians ought to do, and in many prayers asked guidance from above. He could now think it all out more calmly, but before he had quite decided what his first movement ought to be, his attention was called off by hearing his sister angrily and imperatively refusing admittance to some man who was evidently equally determined to see him.
' I tell thee, Evan, 'tis not to be thought of. «'e feared last night he would ne'er see the morn; but, praised be the saints ! a healthful sleep hath come to him, and if he be not disturbed we look to see him as well as he hath for some while been.'
The man was still pleading when, to Mistress Kelly's dismay, her brother appeared, and at once silenced her by assuming a stern, authoritative tone that no one could withstand when he saw fit to use it. When he learned that Evan bore a message from one at the point of death, and 'who prayed his ghostly help,' he at once took his staff, and, with the aid of the messenger's arm, started on his errand of mercy, leaving his poor sister muttering tearful remonstrances -she feared to speak aloud.
"Tis but a short way, after all, and his step is wondrous strong and firm,' she said to Ayla, who had joined her at the door, and both watched the receding figures of the priest and his conductor as they made their way towards the cottage where lay the dying man.
'What aileth him?' asked Ayla; 'and who is he?' 'None that we know. He hath lain all night at the foot of some rocks, where Evan Collett and his father found him and bore him home. He hath suffered so badly from the fall-besides, I bethink me, the young man said also front a wound--that recover he cannot, and now he lies in great pain of body; and what, alas ! is worse, of soul. His name he gives as
Niel. I know naught else.'
An hour or more had passed ere Father Kelly returned, and the women, who had been anxiously watching for him, were almost startled at the extraordinary change in his appearance. He left them a feeble, bent old man, requiring the aid not only of his trusty staff, but the support of the arm of the peasant who accompanied him. With tired eyes and wearied looks he went his way, and now he stood before them no longer bent and worn, but firm and erect; the eyelids were raised, showing eyes no longer weary, but bright with a light that had not shone in them for years-his whole aspect showing an energy and purpose, a look of revived hope, of an awakened interest in life, that amazed and, at the same time, perplexed his sister and Ayla, who wonderingly regarded him.
He walked restlessly up and down, seeming scarce conscious of their presence.
' Hath aught happened ?' at last timidly inquired
Mistress Kelly. 'The injured man-how is he? Hath he passed away?'
'Ay,' replied the priest, 'tis even so-and in earnest contrition and true penitence for past sins. But I pray thee, good sister, question me not, but prepare what may be needful-I have a lengthy journey to take without delay.'
'Where, brother ?'
'"To Duglas, an' thou must know,' he rather testily replied.
'To Duglas !' cried Mistress Kelly, with upraised hands; ' thou canst never compass it !'
'Of that I have no fear. I know mine errandGod and His saints be praised! In Him I trust. " Strength will be given me even as my day."'
When Paul Balkason parted from Ayla he walked with rapid strides towards the road he had to traverse, not trusting himself to take even one look more at the weeping girl he had just parted from. Quickly he sped on his way, and, like the good priest, so deep in thought, unconscious of the gathering clouds, the moaning of the rising wind, or the brooding darkness that hung over land and sea; but while Father Kelly was oblivious of the aspect of air, and sea, and sky, wrapt in foreboding fears lest he should not in his life see his beloved chapel adorned as he so devoutly desired-Paul's thoughts ran riot upon battle scenes -where he was ever foremost and bravest in the fight -intermingled with gentler feelings as Ayla's tear- stained face came before him ; and again in imagination he felt her clinging grins about his neck.
'My beloved!' he softly murmured, and turned for a second to gaze at the place in the distance where he had left her; and as he turned, something bright fell at his feet. He stooped to pick it up, and to his surprise found it was the amulet Ayla had shown him. He now remembered for the first time he had forgotten to restore it, and must have been carrying it all these miles close clasped in his hand.
'Alas ! how could I do this, and she doth prize it so ! I fear me she will fret and think it lost ! But I will wear it in the battle that is before me. 'Twill be a charm, my loved one, to guard thy Paul from all the arrows, let them be sped by ever such skilled hands.'
He kissed it as he might some sacred relic, and placed it round his neck, safely concealed from curious or covetous eyes.
'Tis needless to give in this short tale the history of his lengthy walk, or details of the battle fought in the Bay of Ramsey ; suffice it to say that, notwithstanding the violence of the tempest to which he was exposed, he arrived safely and unharmed in Duglas , and as to the engagement in which he took part, do not all who have written the island's history of that period give full description of that famous contest? What concerns us most in this story is, that Paul escaped unscathed ; but not so Dugal, son of Summerled, who, being wounded in the shoulder from an arrow, fell thus helpless into the water. Paul saw, even in the thick of the fight, his vain struggles, wounded as he was, to save himself from drowning. What was it in his face that brought Ayla so forcibly before him, and by an irresistible impulse made him plunge into the seething waters and bring his enemy in safety on board his own galley ? then see that he was tended, and his wound dressed and bound? Why? Ayla's eyes had looked up to him. Ayla's smile greeted him when in gracious terms the youth thanked his preserver.
Whom he had saved he knew not till he was told by them who were well informed
"Tis Dugal, son of Summerled, Moarmor of Argyle; and this Dugal, aided by Torfinn, son of Otter, Summerled would fain make King of the Isles.'
Then he had saved the enemy of the good King Godred. Well be it so ! Would he have it other wise? No, no ! he could not have left one so like his beloved to perish !
A strong friendship grew between the rescuer and the rescued ; but, alas ! poor Dugal gained not strength. Each day, indeed, he grew weaker; and when-as happened soon after the fight-a pacification between Godred and Summerled was arranged, there came to Mona Summerled's wife, a pale, sweet woman, who looked at and spoke kindly to all , and she tended her son, with Paul and one of the good monks from Russin, who was well skilled in medicine, but all without avail to save the life for earth-the soul was called hence!
One day as they watched, a strange look passed over the white face that lay upon the silken pillows; a faint voice murmured
'My little sister lives! I would fain see her before mine eyes close on all that now surrounds me. My sweet sister ! Go thou, my friend, and fetch her.' 'He hath gone in thought to the time when one (he must have been my Lord's greatest foe and cruel as the grave) stole this sister-a mere infant-whom Dugal, like us all, loved tenderly,' sighed the weeping mother.
'Nay, nay ! she lives !' again said the dying youth. ' Let me but once see her before I go hence.'
' He wandereth,' said the lady of Summerled.
' It hath been told me-or did my spirit, so soon to quit this body, see forms and scenes before hidden from my sight? I know not, but I pray thee believe me. Send, and speedily, for my sister. I would fain join Paul and Ayla's hands-they love each other.'
' Ayla !' almost shouted Paul in his extreme surprise. And he had nevernarned her to Dugal. How, then, could he know all this? And she was, then, Dugal's sister-Ayla !
"Tis the name of our lost one, and of her he now dreams.'
'Dreams !' again cried Paul in excited tones. ' Know you this ?' and he handed the amulet he had worn to Dugal's mother.
'Know it! know it! May God and our Lady help me! My sweet one wore it always round her neck. 'Twas once blessed, they say, by the good St. Patrick himself! Whence came it ?'
'From Ayla I had it. Forgive me, lady! Dugal speaketh true. Knowing not who she was, I loved her, and she hath promised to be mine. And comfort thee, dear lady, about her, for indeed she lives, and is and has been well cared for. But she and the good priest shall tell thee all else, for I must haste. Time flies ! and he who so prays to see her hath not long to tarry here.'
The lady of Summerled, forgetful of her dying son, rushed forward and held Paul by so close a grip he could not well shake off.
' She lives, you say ? Deceive me not !' she cried. But tell me where-where l'
'Mother, let hire go; 'tis all as he hath said. How was this borne in upon me ? 'Tis certain not by spoken words. And yet-and yet-before Paul's assurance and his proof I knew this all. Let Paul go, dear lady; delay him not, I pray thee.'
So Paul, unhindered, sped on his journey. We will not pause to describe the rapture of the lovers' meeting, or Ayla's delight that the mother she had so longed to see was even now impatiently waiting to embrace her.
Poor Mistress Kelly, whilst busying herself in the preparations for this hasty departure, with trembling fingers wiped away many a secret tear.
'What marvellous events have come to pass,' she said, 'in these few days! Ayla had ever the look and ways of one who came of gentle blood, and 'tis to me no wonder to hear she is the daughter of the great Jarl Summerled. And he and our king are now made friends. My brother in his old days gone a lengthy journey ! and still absent-alas ! I know not where. Ah me! what cometh next? My mind is full of strange perplexity. What will we-Brian and I-and, indeed, all here, do without the little maid we love so well?' These broken sentences, at intervals, she spoke aloud ; the old serving woman her only listener, for Paul and Ayla had gone together to Keeihl Vaayle to offer up prayers for the future, and many thanksgivings for their reunion when so lately they had parted full of fears lest they should never meet again.
At last, all being complete for the young girl's journey, she bade farewell lingeringly to the good woman who had been as a mother to her, and with many a clinging embrace and promises to return as quickly as might be to see the friends who had been such true ones to her, and whom she grieved to think she might be long ere she could again see. Mistress Kelly and Chrissie soon sat them down before the blazing turf and tried to collect their scattered wits, for such strange events coming into the quiet life they had hitherto led, and following so quickly one upon another, left them still almost in doubt as to their actual reality.
And now we have arrived at the last chapter of this old-world story, and must as briefly as may be relate what befell the various people whose fortunes we have so far followed.
The priest's prolonged absence had caused anxious watchings, night and day, to Mistress Kelly and the good Chrissie. He at length returned, and, to their surprise, seemed to give little heed to the tale they had to tell of all that had befallen Ayla. After some slight expressions of astonishment and interest, he apparently banished it from his mind.
'Why, Brian,' said his sister, 'thou dost not care, methinks, about aught that hath come to our little maid! How is this-for surely thou didst love the child ?'
'Love the child! ay, indeed, and truly! May God and His angels have her in their keeping; but I have now that in my mind and heart that leaveth no space for vain regrets or other thoughts. With Ayla all is as it should be. Now list, for I have that to tell that thou wilt scare credit. Thou well knowest how that chapel of Keeihl Vaayle was built-and yet how all these years I have waited and prayed for what is still lacked of completion; and now God and the holy archangel St. Michael be ever praised! all that hath now come to me-ay, all-all and more than one might think was needful to adorn the interior.... Nay, stay, interrupt me not, I pray thee'-for Mistress Kelly, in her amazement, had been about to break in with an overwhelming number of questions as to how anything so marvellous had come to pass. In as few words as possible the priest then gave the history of his night in the chapel, of the intrusion of the men, the burying of what he had feared was the body of someone slain by them-then of his prolonged swoon. 'And thou wilt remember,' he continued, 'how Evan Collett came for me to see one sick unto death. He who desired my presence was Niel, of whom I told thee. What he and the other (one Haco, from Norway) had buried for concealment was treasure of silver, gold, and precious stones.'
'Of silver, gold, and precious stones ! Why, brother-'
Father Kelly held up a warning finger, which effectually silenced his sister.
'This Niel-to whom of right belonged all the treasure-that I may say Masses for his soul, hath given it to me to do with it what seemeth me best. Part have I put in safe keeping, or that which it hath brought, to give to those-and they, alas ! are ofttimes many-who lack food and clothing ; for the rest, it hath got me all the chapel needs, the place I love so well-so well, indeed, that ofttimes in my dreams it comes over me like some glad assurance, that when I shall be called upon to yield my soul to Him who gave it, I shall be found kneeling before that altar; there would I fain lay me down to rest when death comes.'
'Nay, talk not thus,' tearfully pleaded his sister. And as the priest was some while silent, she asked 'But, brother, the other man of whom ye spake ; what of him?'
Father Kelly's face clouded over for a moment. 'He hath, I fear me, passed away unshriven. He would else, doubtless, have returned for the booty hidden by him and Niel. He, ere they had gone many steps upon their way, would fain have returned and taken the treasure from where he had so unwillingly helped Niel to hide it; and so grave a quarrel arose between the men, that Haco, in his wrath, drew his dagger and wounded his companion in the side. Niel fell, and Haco fled ; perchance he thought him dead. Niel after awhile essayed to rise, in hope his failing strength might carry him so far as to get to where aid might be given him, and in so doing fell o'er the rocks and got worse injury-the rest thou knowest.'
Three days after the priest's communication to his sister the chapel, which had been for some while closed, was reopened for the celebration of the Mass. Great was the amazement of the worshippers, who had gathered at the priest's bidding, at the change that met their eyes! The once rough, bare stone altar now covered with a cloth of richest workmanship, from which flashed many a precious stone. Gold and silver glittered in the sunlight that stole in here and there through the narrow windows and shone upon a beautifully executed figure of the Blessed Mother arrayed in gorgeous robes, round her neck a chain of pearls of untold value.
To all questions-and they were many-Father Kelly deigned no reply, save : 'Would he, think ye, who appeared to me, and bade me raise this chapel to his honour, leave aught wanting to complete the work ? Be content, therefore, with what thou seest, and ask me not whence or how all these things have been acquired.'
His sister he had bound to silence, and, much as she loved gossip, she well knew when her brother viust be obeyed.
When next we enter the chapel of Keeihl Vaayle, it is to witness a ceremony that was then, is now, and we think we may safely say ever will be, considered one of great interest. A marriage is to be celebrated between Paul Balkason, son of the Lord of Skye, and Ayla, only daughter of Summerled, Moarmor of Argyle. By the express desire of the intending bride and groom, they are to be given to each other in the Chapel of St. Michael, Father Kelly being the officiating priest.
Considering the rank and birth of those about to be united, the gathering at the wedding was but small The Lord of Skye (his lady had not come with him to Mona, and still abode at home), Ayla's parents, her three brothers, two maidens of high degree, of near kin to Fingala, wife of Godred-this same Fingala being daughter of MacLaughlin, King of Ireland. These, with some few of those who had manned the galleys by which the bridal cortëge had been conveyed from lluglas, formed the whole party.
All were gorgeously arrayed in the fashion of the period. If we describe the attire of the bride and groom, it will, perhaps, suffice. Ayla, whose long fair hair fell unconfined far below her waist, had over it a veil that reached to the border of her upper skirt or tunic. This tunic, which came to her knees, was of a material much resembling in texture what we now call silk-the colour, pale blue. It was gathered in at the neck to a band richly embroidered with gold and precious stones. A girdle, embroidered like the neck band, encircled the waist. The sleeves of this upper dress hung loose and open from the shoulder, displaying the under ones, which came to the wrists in many pleated folds, the material the same as the tunic, but white in colour; a long white skirt, which spread out far behind, was much like a modern train. Unlike present fashion, the shoes were of black leather, crossed with coloured bands of blue, and tied round the ankles like sandals.
Paul wore a cloak of cloth of gold, attached to the shoulder by a strap or ribbon sliding through a clasp -the clasp studded with precious stones ; the cloak embroidered in red, the groundwork being gold in colour. His tunic was of reddish brown, the shoes red, worked in with gold thread. Upon his head a ' cornette,' or one of the round caps of the time, the colour being red, the texture velvet.
In strong contrast to the gay clothing of the friends and attendants of the Jarls of Argyle and Skye, was the attire of the saintly Abbot of Russin, and his monks. All were clad alike, for he and the twelve monks who formed the community adhered strictly to the example of life laid down for them by Conanus, first Abbot of Russin-a life of mortification and selfdenial. Instead of linen, they had garments of rough cloth ; neither did they wear shoes or sandals, and by their own labour won their daily bread, and, except on lengthy journeys, never partook of meat.
What few of the spectators could find room crowded into the church; the rest had to content them by standing in groups round the entrance-door, or else raising themselves as best they could to look through the windows ; but all were so quiet and silent, and the voice of Father Kelly sounded out so clear and strong, that those outside could follow the words of the beautiful marriage service nearly as well as the more fortunate who had been able to get within the chapel. Paul's voice, too, could be distinctly heard, and even the bride's low-spoken replies. Great was the excitement when, the ceremony over, the whole party filed out of the church ; and many were the murmurs of admiration that greeted the newly-
married pair when they came into view. And as they at once made their way to the shore to re-embark for Duglas, they were escorted by a motley gathering of all the people round, young and old alike. Many blessings were invoked, and prayers put up for Ayla, who had been beloved by all; and when, ere she stepped on board her husband's gaily-decked galley, she turned to bid her friends farewell, the enthusiasm of all found vent in a hearty cheer. As it died away, the Abbot of Russin came forward, all making way for him. As Ayla and Paul saw him approach, they advanced to meet him, and, kneeling hand-in-hand, craved his blessing.
Dy der Jee dou e vannagh !'
The abbot, placing a hand on each bowed head, replied, as they had addressed him, in 11Janx
Dy bishee jeeah shin!' (God bless and prosper you!). After this, some more last adieus, and then the time came when all must embark. Mistress Kelly and the priest, who were to accompany the party to Duglas, got on board with Summerled, his lady, and the Jarl of Skye.
Poor Mistress Kelly, who had scarce ever trusted herself on aught in travelling but solid earth, was sorely exercised in mind, and, regardless of the illconcealed mirth, instead of sympathy, her fears excited, deposited her fat person first on one of the soft cushioned seats, and then on another, as her ideas changed as to which might be the safest. At each movement of the boat as it rose or fell in the slight motion of the inflowing tide, she would give plaintive utterance to some fresh exclamations of terror
'Brian, Brian! had we not best return ? O holy Mother! Methinks we are over-venturesome to proceed thus to Duglas.'
'God send ye safe to dry land again !' cried the anxious Chrissie, from the beach. 'Tar neose veih shen' (Come down from there).
The men at last pushed out from shore, just as Mistress Kelly was again about to change her position, and the poor lady's rotund person was at once precipitated into the centre of the galley.
'The saints be good to me ! this is a pretty pass for a decent, proper woman like me, lying down from where I cannot lift me, and a parcel of grinning men around. Oh, brother !' she cried, as the priest came to her assistance, ' I would give my best gown and hood to be again by our own chiollagh [fireside].'
Many months have passed since the marriage of Paul and Ayla, and they are now in their home in the distant Isle of Skye.
Mistress Kelly, notwithstanding her misgivings, is alive and well after her-as she viewed it-daring exploit of going by sea to and from Duglas. She and Chrissie are seated at a table enjoying a supper of Braghtan barley-cake and home-made cheese.
'The jough [ale] is none so good as it might be,' observed Chrissie, as she took a lengthy draught of the condemned liquid.
Both women had become quite used to the priest's absenting himself each night at sundown, and as he returned, as a rule, very late, they rarely saw him till the first meal the next morning. This night they sat long over their supper, discussing what to them was a never-ending subject of interest : the recent events of Ayla's marriage; the grand feast in Duglas; -and all the gay doings there, of which Chrissie never tired of listening, nor Mistress Kelly of reciting.
Their solitary light, after spluttering for awhile in its stand, went out ; but the turf fire in the chiollagh spread a ruddy pleasant glow through the room; so drawing near to it, they continued their chat, and were deep in speculations as to what Ayla's home might be like, and had just come to the conclusion that no doubt she was even now longing to be back in Mannin, when a faint sound as though someone had quietly entered, then followed by a heavy sigh, caused both women to turn hastily round, and there, standing near the table, steadily and gravely regarding his sister, stood the priest. Something in his appearance kept both Mistress Kelly and Chrissie silent, and, as they afterwards agreed, 'a strange fear and awe did possess them.' How long a time passed they could never say, till Mistress Kelly, in quavering tones, said
Why, brother, either we are late, or else thou hast returned sooner than is thy wont.'
The figure simply raised a beckoning finger, as though requiring his sister to follow him, then moved towards the door, and though it was fast closed, and so, as they affirmed, remained, disappeared from their sight. Both women involuntarily clasped hands in sympathetic terror, and when just then the door was suddenly opened, Chrissie gave vent to her fear in a loud and prolonged scream. Great was the relief they experienced when Evan Collett stood before them.
'The priest, where is he?' he asked, gazing in astonishment at the excited women. 'My father would fain see him. He is that sick and ill there must be no delay.'
' Where is he? Ye may well ask! In purgatory or heaven belike,' sobbed Chrissie.
' Ye fool, woman ! Are ye mad? Tell me quick.
Is he within ?' And gathering from the confused answers he received that Father Kelly might be found at the chapel, he left them and hastened thither.
' I will follow him,' said Mistress Kelly, who seemed suddenly to have regained some composure. Not so the servant, who clung to her, beseeching her to remain where she was; but her mistress shook her off, saying almost angrily
I Thinkest thou I shall stay here when some evil may threaten my brother? He hath called me, and shall I refuse to go to him?'
And with wonderful firmness, considering her state of inward tremor, she hastily donned her long cloak and hood, and made haste to overtake Evan. Chrissie, after balancing in her mind which was most to be dreaded-remaining alone or adventuring herself with her mistress-decided on the latter course.
The moon, which had not long risen, gave an uncertain light, as it was every now and then obscured by heavy driving clouds ; but these soon parted, and the women could clearly see Collett not far in advance of them, but making such rapid strides there was small hope of their soon getting up to him. The sea now looked like a sheet of glittering silver, and the island of St. Michael, with its chapel of Keeihl Vaayle, for which all were making, stood out in dark and bold relief against the shimmering waters.
Collett had disappeared into the chapel long before the women could reach it, and when they arrived at the door both paused, hoping they might see him come out accompanied by the priest; but some minutes passed, and, neither appearing, Mistress Kelly summoned all her resolution, and, followed by the trembling Chrissie, entered. By the light from the many candles burning before the shrines they could see Evan standing motionless and alone. Where, then, was the priest? A nameless fear came over them, and both stood still. Collett, turning, saw them, and, hastily advancing, cried in agitated tones
'Back, back! come not further, I pray thee.' Mistress Kelly, dreading the worst, did not heed him, but, pushing past, made her way, followed by Evan and Chrissie, to the end of the chapel. What a sight there met her view! Her brother lay on the steps before the altar, dead, his face composed, and with an expression of ineffable peace. In silence, motionless, she gazed upon him, and her mind travelled back to when, years ago-ah ! so many-his face in life had worn all the beauty that it did now; but, alas ! the spirit that had then animated those pale still features, and brightened the dark eyes beneath those closed white lids, has fled! Once more in thought she is a little girl running by the side of the tall handsome brother, of whom she was at once, so fond and so proud. Then their home rises before her mental vision. Yes, there stands the pretty cottage in the shadow of the trees that spread their green verdure over the roof. Beyond stretched the wood where in childhood she had played, and where Brian oft had carried her when she grew weary. She could even now hear the murmur of the little stream that ran between green banks, near the well-trodden footpath leading to the village near. Then came the day when she, with her father and mother, had gone to the chapel to hear Brian preach his first sermon.
'Come away ! come away ! dear misthress,' implored the weeping Chrissie.
She turned, with wonder in her gentle blue eyes, a dazed look over all her face, and, submissive as a little child, let them lead her away. The worst had been spared her: a wound in her brother's side from a dagger-thrust, and from which the blood was slowly trickling, she had not seen.
It is a bright sunshiny morning in May-the hour, five ; and as it is a holy day, the sacrist of the Abbey of Russin has caused his beadle to ring the bells for matins. In answer to its summons the monks come from their various employments and file into the chapel.
Approaching the abbey is a narrow bridge, being only about six feet and a few inches in breadth, but wide enough in those days, when pack-horses were almost the only mode of travelling or conveying goods from place to place. This bridge has two arches, through which flows the stream that turns the abbey millwheel. Leaning over the side of this bridge, and gazing into the water that dances and sparkles in the sunlight, a figure may be seen on this morning, strangely out of harmony with his surroundings. His hair hangs long and unkempt at each side of his hollow cheeks, mingling with the matted untrimmed beard. His forehead is seamed with many a wrinkle, and from beneath his shaggy brows his deep-set eyes gleam forth with the wild fire of insanity. His clothes hang in rags from his thin figure ; his feet are bare. In one bony hand he clutches, rather than holds, a stout staff; with the other he is nervously displacing stone after stone from the wall of the bridge on which he rests.
Unheeded by him, the bells from the abbey ring out on the air clear and musical. Birds are singing their matin song, and the lowing of cattle in the distant fields, the bleating of sheep, with now and then the loud chanticleer of some neighbouring rooster, all proclaim the waking up of a new day with its duties, its pleasures, or its pains. And still that weird figure stays there, never changing his position or monotonous employment of casting stones into the clear water below. Hours pass thus, till again the bell from the abbey that has long been silent sounds out, telling all within hearing that it has arrived at the hour of eight, when prayers for the souls of the faithful departed will be said. This seems to rouse him. He raises his head in the attitude of listening, and, muttering something, draws his close round cap low down over his brows, and seizing his staff more firmly, starts with rapid strides towards the abbey, where he arrives just as the abbot and his brethren are again betaking themselves to prayer. He then slackens his speed and follows slowly into the chapel, and kneels down quietly near the door.
Many a wondering glance is directed at the strange gaunt figure, but he neither turns nor heeds, or, indeed, seems conscious of the interest he is exciting, After the Mass is over he watches his opportunity, and catching hold of the abbot's sleeve as he passes, says in a voice that rises almost to a shriek in its intensity
I deliver myself up for doing to death the good priest, Father Kelly.'
He was at once surrounded by the excited worshippers, who were ready to tear him limb from limb, so beloved had his victim been, and so truly mourned by all both far and wide.
At a sign from the abbot two of the monks went forward and drew the wretched man away from those who could scarce be restrained from avenging the priest there and then. He was safely conveyed to the abbey, but when questioned, all that could be gathered from his rambling answers was that he had stabbed a man called Niel. When he saw him fall dead, as he thought, a panic seized him, and he fled, he knew not where ; that he fell and hurt his head. After that he lost all power of memory. One thought alone possessed his mind : that in some chapel great treasure of gold and silver was hidden, of which Niel had promised him a share; and now that he was dead, why should not all be his? 'But from place to place I wandered, and into every church that I came near, but my poor brain could not direct me right , but when I found myself at Keeihl Vaayle all came back to me.'
So far he had spoken with some coherence, but soon relapsed into his former disconnected mutterings 'Eh! eh! don't ye see him kneeling there? It's Niel who has cheated me. He is not dead. Look at that chain of pearls and the sacred vessels, all gold and silver, shining in the light ! Strike, faithless dagger ! strike to the traitor's heart !' he hissed through his clenched teeth, and then suddenly relapsed into silence. His hand, that had been raised in an attidude of menace, sunk to his side. His head drooped. The abbot made a signal to those around not to interrupt him by word or movement.
' Ah me! that I should have done this foul deedslain the good man kneeling there in prayer ! What,' said he-'what gentle eyes he raises to mine, as I stand trembling-conscience-stricken-before him !
'" Poor wretch ! what have I done to thee that thou shouldst lay this sin upon thy soul? Fly, ere it be too late, and spend thy remaining years in prayer and penance."
'Ha! quiet. He closes his eyes. He is deaddead! No, no. Again he speaks. He raises his hands. Will he curse me ? What will he say? " I have finished the work Thou gavest me to do." He sinks back again. He lies now where he first fell on
the steps of the altar. His pure soul hath gone where mine will never reach ; but-but-I must fly: said he not so? but where-where shall I hide such a load of guilt and misery ?' And the unfortunate creature made a sudden movement as though to rush away, and when he felt the detaining hands of the monks he made one violent effort to free himself, in which he succeeded, but only to fall helpless on the stone floor, where he was a piteous sight to see, as he lay writhing and foaming at the mouth in a fit. One after another these seizures came upon him, till at last, utterly exhausted, he was as one dead, and in this state was carried away and put upon a bed in one of the cells. Father Angus watched over and did the best he could for him. In a few moments of consciousness he answered, when asked his name: ' I am one Haco, from Norway. May God have mercy on my soul!' Ay, poor sin-stained soul ! Ere morning it had passed away.
Mistress Kelly erelong partially recovered from the shock of her brother's death, and gathered great comfort by remembering and repeating to her sympathizing listeners
' Did my sainted Brian not say to me that so well did he love the place, that it ofttimes in his dreams came o'er him as a joyful assurance that, when he should be called to give up his soul to God, he might be found, as he was kneeling, before the altar of Keeihl Vaayle?'