« PreviousContinue »
A RECOLLECTION OF KILLARNEY.
BY AN IRISH LADY.
in an old mansion on that part of the beautiful peninzula of Mucruss, where the land rises gently from the lales to the horizon of distant mountains, an old gentleman resided with his orphan niece; he had passed the greater part of his life in the army, and had seen much foreign service. Many years separation from his country had not weakened his attachments to the land of his birth ; he found that land poor, and beautiful as when he left it, and its lukes as fresh, and fields as green ; but the loved companions of those carly haunts, he found them not. The spoiler death had claimed them in his absence, and left him on his return a mourning stranger in his own country. Sorrow and gloom hun over his spirits, until his attention was directed by the clergyman of the parish to his orphan niece, the only child of his favourite gister. This young lady had been placed, on the death of her parents, in a neighbouring convent, where she remained until her uncle took her to his lonely home and heart, where her presence soon shed such lizhts on both, as made the old man young again.
To the admirers of the grand and picturesque in Nature, the Lahes of Killarney present a combination of all that is sublime and beautiful. Magnificent mountains encircle them, some of which are bare and ro ky, while others are clothed in wood; numerous islands float on the w.ters--islands lovely in eternal verdure, where the sweet-scented arbutus, and shining holly cluster round hallowed ruins of antiquity, shading their fallen greatness, and embalming their relics in fragrant perfume. The tourist, the poet, and the painter, become enthusiasts amidst those magic scenes. It is not therefore strange that those who have been familiar with them from childhood, should love them with a proud attachment. Such was the case with Captain Fitzallan and his fair niece Rose O'Brien. Rose was one of those bright being, who seem formed for so pure and lofty a region, where Nature presides in all her loveliness amidst her own bold and beauteon, work.
The Captain enjoyed many amusements in his rural retirement, as the lakes possess a variety of excellent fish, and the mountains and woods abound with game. He was a good sportsman, and with his rod or gun, he never knew a weary moment; Rose bestowed social refinernents on his domestic hours. She was as happy as beautiful, and lived unfettered by care or sorrow. Her young heart was as free as the mountain breeze, which floated round her from infancy. She shared her uncle's enthusiasın for the grand and sublime scenery which surrounded them, and was his con. stant companion on the lakes and mountains. Every returning month of June, her birthday was celebrated by a rural site on the beautiful mountain of Glenaà, a favourite spot with both, for it was covered with the richest moss, shadowed by woods of oak, and ash, and planted by Nature's own cunning hand, with the loveliest shrubs, forming in truth a Paradise of tranqui beauty and repose. The old man loved to call his child the Rose of Glenaà, and she was so designated by his friends and hourchold. Au.ongat the many travellers who yuited the lakes in the autumn of 18, were Edmund Beaumont and his tutor; the former was the youngest son of an aristocratic and wealthy English family, and the best beloved child of a doting mother. His tutor, though many years his senior, (for Edmund had only completed his twentieth year,) appeared more in the character of a companion, than of one in authority; he certainly interfered but little with the amusements or wishes of his young charge, who not a little romantic and enthusiastic, often left his friend absorbed in his books, and stole away to enjoy the lovely scenery with which he was so enchanted, that he left no spot, however difficult of access, unexplored.
On one of those sweet mellow days in September, when the varied tints of autumn lend additional beauty to the wooded mountains, Edmund was early on the lakes fishing. After much successful sport, he steered for O'Sullivan's cascade, in order to see it to greater advantage after the heavy rains of the two preceding days. The fall was magnificent; but not satisfied with viewing it in the ordinary way, he determined to ascend the rocks and look down on it from above. This fall is situated in a romantic glen between the mountains of Glenaà and Toomish. Edmund had just reached the top, when two more visitors approached, one of them an old gentleman, with a lovely girl leaning on his, arm. They both stood enraptured, gazing on the cataract, as it fell with deafening sound down the precipice, dashing its white foam from rock to rock, until it reached the basin below, where it seemed boiling in angry contact with the large granite stones which vainly opposed its passage. The view was one of a grand and sublime character. As additional figures to this landscape, two or three wild looking peasant girls, barefooted, dark-haired, of sunburnt hue, were gathering nuts from the surrounding wood. Our fair heroine Rose,—"the Rose of Glenaà” (for the new visitors were her uncle, and herself)—formed not the least beautiful object in the wild scenery. As she stood enraptured, an object caught her attention on one of the rocks above the cataract; it soon became evident to her, that a man was in the act of descending, holding by branches of trees and low growing shrubs; it was a perilous undertaking, and she scarcely breathed, watching bis movements; he came, after overcoming many difficulties, within ten feet of the ground; the descent here was still more precarious, owing to the rocks and stones, rendered slippery from the spray of the waters ; on one of those his feet gave way, and, the branches by which he held yielding to his weight, he fell with a heavy splash into the roaring torrents. The young man with the instinct of self-preservation,
grasped a shelving rock to which he clung, but the force of the water was so great, that it was evident he could not long remain thus suspended. Rose, who had been observing him with deep interest sprang forward in a moment, and taking an arm of one of the nut-girls, made her hold by some shrubs, while she took her other hand, then lightly stepping on one of the large stones which projected into the water, she threw her scarf towards the young man, who quickly caught it, and in this way supported him until the boatmen who were loitering among the trees caine to his assistance. It was soon found that he had received but little injury, with the exception of a few bruises, and a wet jacket. This ascertained, Rose drew back, and prepared to accompany her uncle to their boats. She deemed the service she had rendered the stranger a very simple one, but he viewed it far differently, and in the romantic enthusiasm of his disposition, he thanked her in the most fervent manner. Perhaps her beauty might have somewhat enhanced his gratitude. He begged to know the name of his fair guardian, and presented his card to her uncle, requesting permission to call on both the following day.
Edmund came, and a short time saw him a welcome guest at the oldfashioned residence of Captain Fitzallan, whose boat was always in attendance, as he took a proud pleasure in shewing the varied beauties of the lakes (with which he was so familiar) to the young Englishman. Days flew by unheeded ; at least the young people marked not their flight, and the old man loved to see them happy.
Edmund believed the fairy tales of his childhood realized amidst those scenes of enchantment, and forgot his fond mother and distant home in the society of the lovely Irish girl, who in the artless confidence of youth trusted her happiness to his keeping, and never for a moment doubted his truth. They had exchanged mutual vows of love and constancy. No thought of future ill shaded the sweet sunshine of their happiness, which was unruffled as the bosom of the lake beneath the summer sky. 'Tis ever thus in the bright and beautiful morning of existence, when every leaf of life is green, when generous feelings swell the young heart, still true to nature--aye, ever thus, before the world with artificial colouring spoils life's freshness. Alas! that sorrow should cloud the brightness of that morning, chill those generous feelings, leaving the heart a cheerless desert. Edmund and Rise saw not the coming storm that threatened to separate them for ever.
But we must now transfer the reader to a more distant and more worldly scene.
There is an air of home-felt comfort and tranquil beauty, about most of the English villages : their neat and comfortable cottages where peace and plenty seem to dwell; the pretty churches o'ertopping the hills ; the well clad, well fed peasantry--all convey an idea of the benign influence, and fostering care of good landlords who feel a noble pride in the prosperity of their tinants, and wiscly deem the protection they extend to them the true bond of national union. It is this that reflects such high honour on the landed gentry of England, and justly entitles them to the high station they hold in their native land. Near to one of those villages in a rich domain rose in proud beauty the mansion of the Beaumonts. The family consisted of Mr. Beaumont, his wife, and two sons, the younger of whom was his mother's favourite, and our hero of the lakes.
Mrs. Beaumont was a proud haughty woman of strong feeling and prejudices, and had no idea of any one daring to oppose her will; she deemed very few worthy of aspiring to an alliance with her family, and had often declared that her daughters-in-law should boast birth, wealth, and English lineage. Edmund from his infancy had been the dearest object of her affections ; his personal beauty and strong likeness to herself-his sweet disposition and manly beuring, enhanced still more her fondness; as he grew up he importuned inis mother to allow him to enter the army, but from year to vear she tried to divert his thoughts from a military life, and at the period of this tule she agreed to his making a little tour, hoping to drive the idea from his mind by variety and change of scene. His tutor having consented to accompany him, Edmund selected Ireland as the country he wished most to visit, and though his mother had strong prejudices against the Irish, she did not like to oppose him in every thing. This tutor who had some abetrure work in hand which he intended publishing, did not much relish the Irish excursion, but feared refusing the request made to him of accompanying Edmund, by a family who had so much patronage to bestow, and to whom he already owed so much; be determined however, as the event proved, to be as little restraint on Falmund as possible. Mr. Laurier, the tutor, when some short
time at Killarney, found it necessary to go to Dublin, for a few days, in order to refer to some books relative to the work he was about publishing. On his return he found Edmund had made a useful acquaintance in the person of Captain Fitzallan. So matters rested, and weeks flew on in this way, when at length Mr. Laurier tirought it time to return to Englarid, and was quite astonished at the reluctance Edmund expressed, when the subject was mentioned. Strange suspicions began to disturb the tutor's mind, and he determined to observe his young friend closely; he laid aside his books, and took a boat the following morning to Captain Fitzallan's residence, where he was hospitably received, and invited to remain the day. It was his first introduction to Rose, and he saw at once clearly the cause of Edmund's refusal to return home. A pang shot through his heart at the recollection of his own noglect of the charge committed to his care. The only reparation he could make, was to write to Mrs. Beaumont immediately, stating his apprehensions, and requesting her to use her authority by recalling her son. Anger and jealousy, (yes, jealousy that any one should rival her in her son's affections) filled the mother's soul, and she was seized with a fit on reading the letter; her life was in imminent danger, and her medical attendants declared the least opposition to her will would prove fatal. Edmund soon after received a letter from his father, summoning him immediately home, as his mother was very ill and most anxious to see hiin. The communication, however, suppressed the receipt of Mr. Laurier's letter. Edmund who loved his mother fondly, determined to obey. But how was be to part Rose, the confiding, artless, lovely girl, and her warm-hearted uncle, who treated him with such ingenuous hospitality ? He could have passed his life with them on the shore of that beautiful lake. When should he meet Rose again? His mother's prejudices, his father's pride, would separate them for ever. Could he prevail on her to become his wife, he might by that endearing title, claim her hereafter; his parents would in time relent'; seventeen is not the age of prudence, particularly if the blessing of maternal guardianship be wanting; and Rose had never heard a mother's warning voice, or known her gentle care.
Edmund had consented to accompany his tutor the following night in the mail which left for Dublin, so that a few hours more and he should part Rose perhaps for ever. Yet he, with all the eloquence of love, urged her to become his wife before the bitter hour of separation; he would arrange
with the clergyman to meet them at the little rustic chapel in the mountains, by sub-rise the following morning It was not very difficult to prevail on one so young, so confiding, and inexperienced, to take this imprudent step ; Edmund had a powerful, though silent advocate in the pleadings of his gentle mistress's heart; and she at length consented; but 10 sooner had she done so, than she became affrighted at the idea of stealing from her uncle's house at that early hour; and disposing of her heart and hand without either his knowledge or consent ;-—there was ingratitude in the very thought, and she zhrank tremblingly from it. But Edmund declared " it would ruin all their plans if her uncle even suspected them.” She knew not how to oppose his arguments, but yeilding, she was nut happy. And who is ever so when deaf to the silent monitor, the small still voice, within the bosom, whose dictates of unerring truth lead to present peace, and eternal happiness?
The young bride eleet rose next morning at break of day; Nora her faithful attendant assisted at her simple toilette, and wrapping a cloak round her, they both passed out of the house by a back door. The little chapel was about half a mile distant in the mountains; horses were prepared for them to riie, and Puddly, the Captain's servant walked beside them.
It was a
grey autumnal morning in the beginning of October. The air was chill, and a fresh breeze stirred the waters of the lake. Heavy vapours from the Atlantic rested on the summit of the distant mountains. Rose felt the influence of the atmosphere, and her heart beat with timid apprehension. When they reached the little chapel, Edmund (who was already there) assisted her to dismount, and, pressing her hand, whispered words of encouragement. In a few moments the party stood within the rural temple, and in the presence of the clergyman and their humble followers, Edmund and Rose pledged their faith to each other for life. It appeared to Nora a very lonesome dismal wedding, and she whispered to Paddy that she observed a solitary magpie perch on some heath near the chapel door—"a very unlucky sign,” but she would not mention it to the mistress. Edmund had promised to breakfast with Captain Fitzallan on that morning, the last of his visit to Killarney ; he therefore accompanied his fair bride on her return home. The uncle was accustomed to his niece's habit of taking early rides, and consequently she knew he would not be alarmed at her absence. The bridal party quitted the rustic chapel : as they did so, the sun shone brightly on the wild road before them; the heavy vapours which shrouded the mountains were floating fast away; Rose's spirits revived beneath the smile of Heaven. She thought the change auspicious, remembering the old adage" happy the bride the sun shines on."
Rose was received by her unsuspecting uncle with his usual affection. He noticed her silence, as she took her place at the breakfast table, but he attributed it to the charitable visit he supposed she had been making to some poor family that morning. Edmund tried to be gay, but it was an effort. The old man looked alternately at each from time to time, until a thought suggested itself that something unusual affected both, particularly Rose, who eat not a morsel. At length he exclaimed, “ My children what is the matter?" Rose, looking towards her uncle, found his eyes fixed on her; their tender expression touched the chord of affection in her bosom ; throwing herself into his arms she wept like a child : concealment was no longer possible ; and all was soon told! The old man was fully convinced of the great imprudence they were guilty of, but it was foreign to his kind nature to reproach those he loved, and how could he blame Edmund for preferring his little Rose to all the girls he had ever known ? no one was wrong but himself, and he declared he was an old fool not to have foreseen it. Not long after this denouement, Mr. Laurier arrived ; his anger and disappointment may be imagined when he heard the events of the morning. How should he break the news to Mr. and Mrs. Beaumont ? In his vexation he would scarcely speak to Edmund, whom he insisted should accompany him at once to Dublin, showing him a letter he had received that day from England, with very alarming accounts of his mother's health. Edmund took a sad and tender fare well of his youthful bride, vowing eternal fidelity, and promising to return the moment his mother was convalescent.
A few days brought him to his parent's side; and she welcomed him with the foudest affection. Her physicians had ordered change of climate and of scene for the restoration of her health, and she declared her intention of taking her son with her. This was a deathblow to Edmund's hopes; he avowed his marriage, and his determination to return to Ireland and claim liis wife. His mother's passions were roused at this intelligence, and she applied to her husband to use his authority in breaking the marriage. Her son was not of age ; and, according to the laws of England, it was illegal, the ceremony having only been performed by a Catholic clergyman. Every art