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men go; they'll quarrel no more-before me at any rate, I hope."
The men drew back. Joyce held his head down, and a more despairing figure or a sadder one I never saw. He turned slowly away, and, leaning against the wall, put his face between his hands and sobbed. Murdock scowled, and the scowl gave place to an evil smile as, looking all around, he said:
"Well, now that me work is done, I must be gettin' home."
"An' get some one to iron that mark out iv yer face," said Dan. Murdock turned again, and glared around him savagely as he hissed out:
"There'll be iron for some one before I'm done-mark me well! I've never gone back or wakened yit whin I promised to have me own turn. There's thim here what'll rue this day yit! If I am the Shnake on the Hill -thin beware the Shnake. An' for him what shtruck me, he'll be in bitther sorra for it yit-him an' his!" He turned his back and went to the door.
"Stop," ," said the priest. "Murtagh Murdock, I have a word to say to you-a solemn word of warning. Ye have to-day acted the part of Ahab towards Naboth the Jezreelite; beware of his fate! You have coveted your neighbor's goods; you have used your power without mercy; you have made the law an engine of oppression. Mark me! It was said of old that what measure men meted should be meted out to them again. God is very just. 'Be not deceived, God is not mocked. For what things a man shall sow, those also shall he reap.' Ye have sowed the wind this day; beware lest you reap the whirlwind! Even as God visited his sin upon Ahab the Samarian, and as he has visited similar sins on others in his own way, so shall he visit yours on you. You are worse than the land-grabber-worse than the man who only covets. Saintough is a virtue compared with your act. Remember the story of Naboth's vineyard, and the dreadful end of it. Don't answer me! Go and repent if you can, and leave sorrow and misery to be comforted by others, unless you wish to undo your wrong yourself. If you don't, then remember the curse that may come upon you yet!
Without a word Murdock opened the door and went out,
and a little later we heard the clattering of his horse's feet on the rocky road to Shleenanaher.
When it was apparent to all that he was really gone, a torrent of commiseration, sympathy, and pity broke over Joyce. The Irish nature is essentially emotional, and a more genuine and stronger feeling I never saw. Not a few had tears in their eyes, and one and all were manifestly deeply touched. The least moved was, to all appearance, poor Joyce himself. He seemed to have pulled himself together, and his sterling manhood and courage and pride stood by him. He seemed, however, to yield to the kindly wishes of his friends, and when we suggested that his hurt should be looked to he acquiesced:
"Yes, if you will. Betther not go home to poor Norah and distress her with it. Poor child! she 'll have enough to bear without that."
His coat was taken off, and between us we managed to bandage the wound. The priest, who had some surgical knowledge, came to the conclusion that there was only a simple fracture. He splinted and bandaged the arm, and we all agreed that it would be better for Joyce to wait until the storm was over before starting for home. Andy said he could take him on the car, as he knew the road well, and that as it was partly on the road to Carnacliff, we should only have to make a short detour and would pass the house of the doctor, by whom the arm could be properly attended to.
So we sat around the fire again, while without the storm howled, and the fierce gusts which swept the valley seemed at times as if they would break in the door, lift off the roof, or in some way annihilate the time-worn cabin which gave us shelter.
There could, of course, be only one subject of conversation now, and old Dan simply interpreted the public wish when he said:
"Tell us, Phelim-sure, we're all friends here-how Black Murdock got ye in his clutches? Sure, any wan of us would get you out of thim if he could."
There was a general acquiescence. Joyce yielded himself, and said:
"Let me thank ye, neighbors all, for yer kindness to me and mine this sorraful night. Well, I'll say no more
about that; but I'll tell ye how it was that Murdock got
"Well, ye know, too, that he got on so well whin I sint him to school that Dr. Walsh recommended me to make an ingineer of him. He said he had such promise that it was a pity not to see him get the right start in life, and he gave me, himself, a letther to Sir George Henshaw, the great ingineer. I wint and seen him, and he said he would take the boy. He tould me that there was a big fee to be paid, but I was not to throuble about that; at any rate, that he himself didn't want any fee, and he would ask his partner But the latther was if he would give up his share too. hard up for money. He said he couldn't give up all the fee, but that he would take half the fee, provided it was paid down in dhry money. Well, the regular fee to the firm was five hundhred pounds, and as Sir George had giv up half, an' only half, th' other half was to be paid, if that was possible. I hadn't got more 'n a few pounds by me; for what wid dhrainin' and plantin' and fencin', and the payin' the boy's schoolin' and the girl's at the Nuns' in Galway, it had put me to the pin iv me collar to find the money up to now. But I didn't like to let the boy lose his chance in life for want of an effort, an' I put me pride in me pocket an' kem an' asked Murdock for the money. He was very smooth an' nice wid me-I know why now-an' promised he would give it at wanst if I would give him security on me land. Sure, he joked an' laughed wid me, an' was that cheerful that I didn't misthrust him. He tould me it was only forrums I was signin' that 'd never be used." Here Dan Moriarty interrupted him:
"What did ye sign, Phelim?
"There wor two papers. Wan was a writin' iv some kind, that in considheration iv the money lent an' his own land-which I was to take over if the money wasn't paid at the time appointed-he was to get me lease from me; an' the other was a power of attorney to Enther Judgment for the amount if the money wasn't paid at the right time. I thought I was all safe, as I could repay him in the time named, an' if the worst kem to the worst I might borry the money from some wan else-for the lease is worth the
sum tin times over-an' repay him. Well, what's the use of lookin' back, anyhow? I signed the papers-that was a year ago an' one week. An' a week ago the time was up!" He gulped down a sob, and went on:
"Well, ye all know the year gone has been a terrible bad wan, an' as for me it was all I could do to hould on-to make up the money was impossible. Thrue, the lad cost me next to nothin', for he arned his keep be exthra work, an' the girl, Norah, kem home from school and labored wid me, an' we saved every penny we could. But it was all no use; we couldn't get the money together anyhow. Thin we had the misfortin wid the cattle that ye all know of; an' three horses that I sould in Dublin up an' died before the time I guaranteed them free from sickness." Here Andy struck in:
"Thrue for ye! Sure, there was some dhreadful disordher in Dublin among the horse cattle, intirely; an' even Misther Docther Perfesshinal Ferguson himself couldn't git undher it!" Joyce went on:
"An' as the time grew nigh I began to fear, but Murdock came down to see me whin I was alone, an' tould me not to throuble about the money, an' not to mind about the sheriff, for he had to give him notice. An',' says he, 'I wouldn't, if I was you, tell Norah anythin' about it, for it might frighten the girl; for weemin is apt to take to heart things like that that's only small things to min like us.' An' so, God forgive me, I believed him; an' I niver tould me child anything about it—even whin I got the notice from the sheriff. An' whin the notice tellin' iv the sale was posted up on me land, I tuk it down meself, so that the poor girl wouldn't be frightened-God help me!" He broke down for a bit, but then went on:
"But somehow I wasn't asy in me mind, an' whin the time iv the sale dhrew nigh I couldn't keep it to meself any longer, an' I tould Norah. That was only yisterday, and took at me to-day! Norah agreed wid me that we shouldn't trust the Gombeen, an' she sent me off to the Galway Bank to borry the money. She said I was an honest man an' farmed me own land, and that the bank might lind the money on it. An', sure enough, whin I wint there this mornin' be appointment, wid the Coadjuthor himself to inthroduce me, though he didn't know
why I wanted the money-that was Norah's idea, and the Mother Superior settled it for her-the manager, who is a nice gintleman, tould me at wanst that I might have the money on me own note iv hand. I only gave him a formal writin', and I took away the money. Here it is in me pocket in good notes; they're wet wid the lake, but, I'm thankful to say, all safe. But it 's too late, God help me! Here he broke down for a minute, but recovered himself with an effort:
"Anyhow, the bank that thrusted me mustn't be wronged. Back the money goes to Galway as soon as iver I can get it there. If I am a ruined man, I needn't be a dishonest wan! But poor Norah! God help her! it will break her poor heart."
There was a spell of silence, only broken by sympathetic moans. The first to speak was the priest:
"Phelim Joyce, I told you a while ago, in the midst of your passion, that God knows what he is doin', and works. in his own way. You're an honest man, Phelim, and God knows it, and, mark me, he won't let you nor yours suffer. 'I have been young,' said the Psalmist, and now am old; and I have not seen the just forsaken, nor his seed seeking bread.' Think of that, Phelim; may it comfort you and poor Norah. God bless her, but she 's the good girl! You have much to be thankful for, with a daughter like her to comfort you at home and take the place of her poor mother, who was the best of women; and with such a boy as Eugene, winnin' name and credit, and perhaps fame to come, even in England itself. Thank God for his many mercies, Phelim, and trust him!"
There was a dead silence in the room. The stern man rose, and coming over took the priest's hand.
"God bless ye, Father!" he said, "it's the true comforter ye are."
The scene was a most touching one; I shall never forget it. The worst of the poor man's trouble seemed now past. He had faced the darkest hour; he had told his trouble, and was now prepared to make the best of everythingfor the time at least-for I could not reconcile to my mind. the idea that that proud, stern man, would not take the blow to heart for many a long day, that it might even embitter his life.