Chapter XV.[DD and the stranger leave Dublin, return to Ballytrain]
There was nothing further now to detain the stranger in town. He accordingly posted it at a rapid rate to Ballytrain, accompanied by Dandy and his dulcimer, who, except during the evenings among the servants in the hotel, had very little opportunity of creating a sensation, as he thought he would have done as an amateur musician in the metropolis.
Chapter XXXVI. Contains a Variety of Matters
—Some to Laugh and some to Weep at.
She was sitting on a lounger as she spoke, and the poor affectionate girl, who loved her as she did her life, threw herself over, and leaning her head upon her mistress's knees wept bitterly.
"Sit beside me, Alice," said she; "whatever distance social distinctions may have placed between us, I feel that the truth and sincerity of those tears justify me in placing you near my heart. Sit beside me, but compose yourself; and then you must assist me to bed."
"They are killing you," said Alley, still weeping. "What devil can tempt them to act as they do? As for me, miss, it's breaking my heart, that I see what you are suffering, and can't assist you."
"But I have your love and sympathy, your fidelity, too, my dear Alice; and that now is all I believe the world has left me."
"No, miss," replied her maid, wiping her eyes, and striving to compose herself, "no, indeed; there is another—another gentleman, I mean—as well as myself, that feels deeply for your situation."
Had Lucy's spirit been such as they were wont to be, she could have enjoyed this little blunder of Alice's; but now her heart, like some precious jewel that lies too deep in the bosom of the ocean for the sun's strongest beams to reach, had sunk beneath the influence of either cheerfulness or mirth.
"There is indeed, miss," continued Alice,
"And pray, Alice," asked her mistress, "how do you know that?"
"Why, miss," replied the girl, "I am told that of late he is looking very ill, too. They say he has lost his spirits all to pieces, and seldom laughs—the Lord save us!"
"They say!—who say, Alice?"
"Why," replied Alice, with a perceptible heightening of her color, "ahem! ahem! why, Dandy Dulcimer, miss."
"And where have you seen him? Dulcimer, I mean. He, I suppose, who used occasionally to play upon the instrument of that name in the Hall?" "Yes, ma'am, the same. Don't you remember how beautiful he played it the night we came in the coach to town?"
"I remember there was something very-unpleasant between him and a farmer, I believe; but I did not pay much attention to it at the time."
"I am sorry for that, miss, for I declare to goodness, Dandy's dulcimer isn't such an unpleasant instrument as you think; and, besides, he has got a new one the other day that plays lovely."
Lucy felt a good deal anxious to hear some further information from Alley upon the subject she had introduced, but saw that Dandy and his dulcimer were likely to be substituted for it, all unconscious as the poor girl was of the preference of the man to the master. "He looks ill, you say, Alice?"
"Never seen him look so rosy in my life, miss, nor in such spirits."
Lucy looked into her face, and for a moment's space one slight and feeble gleam, which no suffering could prevent, passed over it, at this intimation of the object which Alley's fancy then dwelt upon.
"He danced a hornpipe, miss, to the tune of the Swaggerin' Jig, upon the kitchen table," she proceeded; "and, sorra be off me, but it would do your heart good to see the springs he would give—every one o' them a yard high—and to hear how he'd crack his fingers as loud as the shot of a pistol."
A slight gloom overclouded Lucy's face; but, on looking at the artless transition from the honest sympathy which Alley had just felt for her to a sense of happiness which it was almost a crime to disturb, it almost instantly disappeared.
Ch. XLI. DENEOUMENT
Dandy Dulcimer and Alley followed the example of their master and mistress, and were amply provided for by their friends, with whom they lived in confidential intimacy for the greater portion of their lives.