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109 The calm beauty of the scene, working upon Murtough’s thoughts, had lulled him into a sort of dreaming reverie during which a confused series of mental dissolving views, as it were, passed in rapid and disorderly procession before him – Mary, his mother, marching pikemen and the town of Antrim being the chief objects in the foreground in these shadowy picturings of his mind. Evening had already deepened into the night – the clear bight light of a northern sky – when the sound of an approaching footstep roused him from his musings; he jumped up and in another moment Mary rushed round the angle of the rock and into his arms. The extreme paleness which overspread her upturned countenance attracted the quick eye of her lover whose already anxious mind instantly traced it to the same hurtful accident by which his fears had been accounting for her delay. “Darlin’ of my heart, what’s wrong? Were you hunted and who dared to touch my own Mary? Och! Jewel of my sowl, won’t you spake to your Murotugh” he rapidly ejaculated as she lay heavily in his embrace without speaking and almost without breathing. Laying her gently down on the knoll he had risen from, he threw back the rich auburn curls which clustered round her temples and bared her face and neck to the light breeze which was now blowing softly in from the sea. In a minute or two the faintness passed off and she slowly opened her large, tearful eyes. “Och, Murtough, Murtough, I saw her”, were her first words. “Ye seen what? Who? Collen machree, aise my heart an’ say what’s wrong. Shure it’s this hour I’ve been waiting for you and thinking how I’d tell you the news”. “What news?” she hurriedly asked, evading his question; “tell me what happened for I’m well now; but we had better walk about for the air’s getting chill here”. She took his arm and they turned down into their usual walk. Not being much of a tactician, nor skilled in gradually “breaking” disagreeable news, Murtough plunged at once into the worse he had to tell, trusting to the after-chance of softening away the effect. Mary had long known of his being a United man and he had, therefore, only to communicate the intelligence which had reached his father’s that morning.

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