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by a sound. There was life in the desert
now. Two horsemen came galloping along
a highway not far distant, and the heron, continuing
his grave gyrations, surveyed them
as he went. Had they been travellers over a
plain of India, an Australian waste, or the
Pampas of South America, they could not have
been grimmer of aspect, or more thoroughly
children of the wild. They were Irish from
head to foot.

They were mounted on two spare but by
no means clumsy horses. The creatures had
marks of blood and breed that had been introduced
by the English to the country.
They could claim, if they knew it, lineage
of Arabia. The one was a pure bay, the other
and lesser, was black; but both were lean as
death, haggard as famine. They were wet with
the speed with which they had been hurried
along. The soil of the damp moorland, or of
the field in which, during the day, they had
probably been drawing the peasant's cart,
still smeared their bodies, and their manes
flew as wildly and untrimmed as the sedge or
the cotton-rush on the wastes through which
they careered. Their riders, wielding each a
heavy stick instead of riding- whip, which they
applied ever and anon to the shoulders or
flanks of their smoking animals, were mounted
on their bare backs, and guided them by
halter, instead of bridle. They were a couple
of the short frieze-coated, knee-breeches and
grey-stocking fellows who are as plentiful on
Irish soil as potatoes. From beneath their
narrow-brimmed, old, weather-beaten hats,
streamed hair as unkemped as their horses'
manes. The Celtic physiognomy was distinctly
markedthe small and somewhat upturned
nose; the black tint of skin; the eye
now looking grey, now black; the freckled
cheek, and sandy hair. Beard and whiskers
covered half the face, and the short square-shouldered
bodies were bent forward with
eager impatience, as they thumped and kicked
along their horses, muttering curses as they

The heron, sailing on broad and seemingly
slow vans, still kept them in view. Anon,
they reached a part of the moorland where
traces of human labour were visible. Black
piles of peat stood on the solitary ground,
ready, after a summer's cutting and drying.
Presently, patches of cultivation presented
themselves;—plots of ground raised on beds
each a few feet wide, with intervening trenches
to carry off the boggy water, where potatoes
had grown, and small fields where grew more
stalks of ragwort than grass, enclosed by banks
cast up and tipped here and there with a
briar or a stone. It was the husbandry of
misery and indigence. The ground had
already been freshly manured by sea-weeds,
but the villagewhere was it? Blotches of
burnt ground; scorched heaps of rubbish,
and fragments of blackened walls, alone were
visible. Garden-plots were trodden down,
and their few bushes rent up, or hung with
tatters of rags. The two horsemen, as they
hurried by with gloomy visages, uttered no
more than a single word:—" Eviction!"

Further on, the ground heaved itself into a
chaotic confusion. Stony heaps swelled up
here and there, naked, black, and barren:
the huge bones of the earth protruded themselves
through her skin. Shattered rocks
arose, sprinkled with bushes, and smoke
curled up from what looked like mere heaps
of rubbish; but which were in reality human
habitations. Long dry grass hissed and
rustled in the wind on their roofs (which
were sunk by-places, as if falling in); and
pits of reeking filth seemed placed exactly to
prevent access to some of the low doors; while,
to others, a few stepping-stones made that
access only possible. Here the two riders
stopped, and hurriedly tying their steeds to
an elder-bush, disappeared in one of the cabins.

The heron slowly sailed on to the place of
its regular roost. Let us follow it.

Far different was this scene to those the
bird had left. Lofty trees darkened the steep
slopes of a fine river. Rich meadows lay at
the feet of woods and stretched down to the
stream. Herds of cattle lay on them, chewing
their cuds after the plentiful grazing of the
day. The white walls of a noble house
peeped, in the dusk of night, through the
fertile timber which stood in proud guardianship
of the mansion; and broad winding
walks gave evidence of a place where nature
and art had combined to form a paradise.
There were ample pleasure-grounds. Alas!
the grounds around the cabins over which
the heron had so lately flown, might be truly
styled pain-grounds.

Within that home was assembled a happy
family. There was the father, a fine-looking
man of forty. Proud you would have deemed
him, as he sate for a moment abstracted in his
cushioned chair; but a moment afterwards,
as a troop of children came bursting into the
room, his manner was instantly changed into
one so pleasant, so playful, and so overflowing
with enjoyment, that you saw him only as
an amiable, glad, domestic man. The mother,
a handsome woman, was seated already
at the tea-table; and, in another minute,
sounds of merry voices and childish laughter
were mingled with the jocose tones of the
father, and the playful accents of the mother;
addressed, now to one and now to another, of
the youthful group.

In due time the merriment was hushed,
and the household assembled for evening
prayer. A numerous train of servants assumed
their accustomed places. The father
read. He had paused once or twice, and
glanced with a stern and surprised expression,
towards the group of domestics, for he heard
sounds that astonished him from one corner
of the room near the door. He went on
—" Remember the children of Eden, O
Lord, in the day of judgment, how they
said, Down with it, down with it, even to