Orange and Green_ A Tale of the Boyne and Limerick
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Title: Orange and Green
A Tale of the Boyne and Limerick
Author: G. A. Henty
Release Date: May 8, 2006 [eBook #18356]
Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1
***START OF THE PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK ORANGE AND GREEN***
E-text prepared by Martin Robb
Orange and Green:
A Tale of the Boyne and Limerick
By G. A. Henty.
|Chapter 1:||A Shipwreck.|
|Chapter 2:||For James Or William.|
|Chapter 3:||The King In Ireland.|
|Chapter 4:||The Siege Of Derry.|
|Chapter 5:||The Relief Of Derry.|
|Chapter 7:||The Coming Battle.|
|Chapter 8:||Boyne Water.|
|Chapter 9:||Pleasant Quarters.|
|Chapter 10:||A Cavalry Raid.|
|Chapter 11:||The First Siege Of Limerick.|
|Chapter 12:||Winter Quarters.|
|Chapter 13:||A Dangerous Mission.|
|Chapter 15:||A Fortunate Recognition.|
The subject of Ireland is one which has, for some years, been avery prominent one, and is likely, I fear, for some time yet tooccupy a large share of public attention. The discontent,manifested in the troubles of recent years, has had its root in anold sense of grievance, for which there was, unhappily, only tooabundant reason. The great proportion of the soil of Ireland wastaken from the original owners, and handed over to Cromwell'sfollowers, and for years the land that still remained in the handsof Irishmen was subject to the covetousness of a party of greedyintriguers, who had sufficient influence to sway the proceedings ofgovernment. The result was the rising of Ireland, nominally indefence of the rights of King James, but really as an effort ofdespair on the part of those who deemed their religion, theirproperty, and even their lives threatened, by the absoluteascendency of the Protestant party in the government of thecountry. I have taken my information from a variety of sources;but, as I wished you to see the matter from the Irish point ofview, I have drawn most largely from the history of those events byMr. O'Driscol, published sixty years ago. There is, however, butlittle difference of opinion between Irish and English authors, asto the general course of the war, or as to the atrocious conduct ofWilliam's army of foreign mercenaries towards the people ofIreland.
G. A. Henty.
Chapter 1: A Shipwreck.
A few miles to the south of Bray Head, on the crest of a hillfalling sharply down to the sea, stood Castle Davenant, aconspicuous landmark to mariners skirting the coast on their wayfrom Cork or Waterford to Dublin Bay. Castle Davenant it wascalled, although it had long since ceased to be defensible; butwhen it was built by Sir Godfrey Davenant, who came over withStrongbow, it was a place of strength. Strongbow's followers didwell for themselves. They had reckoned on hard fighting, but theIrish were too much divided among themselves to oppose any seriousresistance to the invaders. Strongbow had married the daughter ofDermid, Prince of Leinster, and at the death of that princesucceeded him, and the greater portion of Leinster was soon dividedamong the knights and men-at-arms who had followed his standard.Godfrey Davenant, who was a favourite of the earl, had no reason tobe dissatisfied with his share, which consisted of a domainincluding many square miles of fertile land, stretching back fromthe seacoast.
Here for many generations his descendants lived, for the mostpart taking an active share in the wars and disturbances which,with scarcely an interval of rest, agitated the country.
The castle had continued to deserve its name until forty yearsbefore the time this story commences, when Cromwell's gunners hadbattered a breach in it, and left it a heap of smoking ruins.Walter Davenant had died, fighting to the last, in his own hall. Atthat time, the greater part of his estate was bestowed uponofficers and soldiers in Cromwell's army, among whom no less thanfour million acres of Irish land were divided.
Had it not been that Walter Davenant's widow was anEnglishwoman, and a relation of General Ireton, the whole of theestate would have gone; but his influence was sufficient to securefor her the possession of the ruins of her home, and a few hundredacres surrounding it. Fortunately, the dowry which Mrs. Davenanthad brought her husband was untouched, and a new house was rearedwithin the ruins of the castle, the new work being dovetailed withthe old.
The family now consisted of Mrs. Davenant, a lady sixty-eightyears old; her son Fergus, who was, when Cromwell devastated theland, a child of five years; his wife Katherine, daughter ofLawrence McCarthy, a large landowner near Cork; and their two sons,Walter, a lad of sixteen, and Godfrey, twelve years old.
Two miles west of the castle stood a square-built stone house,surrounded by solidly-constructed barns and outbuildings. This wasthe abode of old Zephaniah Whitefoot, the man upon whom had beenbestowed the broad lands of Walter Davenant. Zephaniah had foughtstoutly, as lieutenant in one of Cromwell's regiments of horse, andhad always considered himself an ill-treated man, because, althoughhe had obtained all the most fertile portion of the Davenantestate, the old family were permitted to retain the castle, and afew hundred acres by the sea.
He was one of those who contended that the Amalekites should beutterly destroyed by the sword, and he considered that theretention of the corner of their domains, by the Davenants, was adirect flying in the face of the providence who had given them intothe hands of the faithful. Not that, had he obtained possession ofthe ruined castle, Zephaniah Whitefoot would have repaired it orset up his abode there. The followers of Cromwell had no eyes forthe beautiful. They were too much in earnest to care aught for theamenities of life, and despised, as almost sinful, anythingapproximating to beauty, either in dress, person, or surroundings.The houses that they reared, in this land of which they had takenpossession, were bare to the point of ugliness, and their interiorwas as cold and hard as was the exterior. Everything was for use,nothing for ornament. Scarce a flower was to be seen in theirgardens, and laughter was a sign of levity, to be sternlyrepressed.
Their isolation, in the midst of a hostile population, causedthem no concern whatever. They cared for no society orcompanionship, save that of their own households, which they ruledwith a rod of iron; and an occasional gathering, for religiouspurposes, with the other settlers of their own faith. They regardedthe Irish as Papists, doomed to everlasting perdition, and indeedconsigned to that fate all outside their own narrow sect. Such apeople could no more mix with the surrounding population than oilwith water. As a rule, they tilled as much ground in the immediatevicinity of their houses as they and their families could manage,and the rest of the land which had fallen into their possessionthey let, either for a money payment, or, more often, for a portionof the crops raised upon it, to such natives as were willing tohold it on these terms.
The next generation had fallen away somewhat from their fathers'standards. It is not in human nature to stand such a strain astheir families had been subjected to. There is an innate yearningfor joy and happiness, and even the sternest discipline cannot keepman forever in the gloomy bonds of fanaticism. In most cases, theimmediate descendants of Cromwell's soldiers would gladly have madesome sort of compromise, would have surrendered much of theiroutlying land to obtain secure and peaceful possession of the rest,and would have emerged from the life of gloomy seclusion, in whichthey found themselves; but no whisper of any such feeling as thiswould be heard in the household of Zephaniah Whitefoot, so long ashe lived.
He was an old man now, but as hard, as gloomy, and as unlovableas he had been when in his prime. His wife had died very many yearsbefore, of no disease that Zephaniah or the doctor he called incould discover, but, in fact, of utter weariness at the dull lifeof repression and gloom which crushed her down. Of a naturally meekand docile disposition, she had submitted without murmuring to herhusband's commands, and had, during her whole married life, nevershocked him so much as she did the day before her death, when, forthe first time, she exhibited the possession of an opinion of herown, by saying earnestly:
"You may say what you like, Zephaniah, but I do think we weremeant to have some happiness and pleasure on earth. If we wereintended to go through life without laughing, why should we be ableto laugh? Oh, how I should like to hear one hearty, natural laughagain before I die, such as I used to hear when I was a girl!"
Jabez Whitefoot inherited his mother's docility of disposition,and, even when he grew to middle age, never dreamt of disputing hisfather's absolute rule, and remained strictly neutral when hiswife, the daughter of an old comrade of his father, settled a fewmiles away, fought stoutly at times against his tyranny.
"You are less than a man, Jabez," she would say to him,indignantly, "to put up, at your age, with being lectured as if youwere a child. Parental obedience is all very well, and I hope I wasalways obedient to my father; but when it comes to a body not beingpermitted to have a soul of his own, it is going too far. If youhad told me that, when I became your wife, I was to become theinmate of a dungeon for the rest of my existence, I wouldn't havehad you, not if you had been master of all the broad lands ofLeinster."
But, though unable to rouse her husband into making an effortfor some sort of freedom, Hannah Whitefoot had battled moresuccessfully in behalf of her son, John.
"You have had the management of your son, sir, and I will managemine," she said. "I will see that he does not grow up a reprobateor a Papist, but at least he shall grow up a man, and his lifeshall not be as hateful as mine is, if I can help it."
Many battles had already been fought on this point, but in theend Hannah Whitefoot triumphed. Although her husband never,himself, opposed his father's authority, he refused absolutely touse his own to compel his wife to submission.
"You know, sir," he said, "you had your own way with my motherand me, and I say nothing for or against it. Hannah has otherideas. No one can say that she is not a good woman, or that shefails in her duty to me. All people do not see life from the samepoint of view. She is just as conscientious, in her way, as you arein yours. She reads her Bible and draws her own conclusions fromit, just as you do; and as she is the mother of the child, and as Iknow she will do her best for it, I shall not interfere with herway of doing it."
And so Hannah won at last, and although, according to modernideas, the boy's training would have been considered strict in theextreme, it differed very widely from that which his father had hadbefore him. Sounds of laughter, such as never had been heard withinthe walls of the house, since Zephaniah laid stone upon stone,sometimes issued from the room where Hannah and the child weretogether alone, and Zephaniah was out with Jabez about the farm;and Hannah herself benefited, as much as did the child, by herrebellion against the authorities. Jabez, too, was conscious thathome was brighter and pleasanter than it had been, and whenZephaniah burst into a torrent of indignation, when he discoveredthat the child had absolutely heard some fairy stories from itsmother, Jabez said quietly:
"Father, I wish no dispute. I have been an obedient son to you,and will continue so to my life's end; but if you are not satisfiedwith the doings of my wife, I