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“He turned—but lo! like a startled bird the spirit
ied, and he only heard sweet music." ...
WA MONG the hills in one of the
western counties of Ireland lies
Glencullin, a wooded ravine of about a mile and a half in length, through which a wild mountain stream foams and tumbles over its rocky bed, running now and again into a deep pool such as a fisherman loves where the overhanging boughs
cast wavering lines of green on the smooth surface of the water, and the ferns hang luxuriantly down over the rocks, and dip their slender points in the brown water like thirsty creatures taking a draught ; and then on again over a fresh stretch of rocks and broken timber, till, with a rush, it sweeps under the bridge that spans the entrance of the glen, and emerging into the green fields that lie below, becomes a placid stream,
“Seeming still, yet still in motion,”
as it glides gently round its furze-covered banks on its way to the far-off ocean.
The glen is wild and picturesque from its utter loneliness. There are patches of brake and underwood, with here and there a space of open ground, fresh and damply green, with some giant tree standing in the midst, or fallen trunk that nature's cunning hand has quickly covered with moss, lichen, and dainty ferns.
A rough cart track winds round the glen, crossing a rustic bridge at the end, and amongst the tree stems the river flashes out here and there as the sunlight catches it, till it looks like a silver thread winding through the lonely valley. The air is always cool and sweet with the odour of moss that lies like a thick carpet beneath the feet, while the twitter of birds among the branches, and the low gurgle and ripple of the stream, fill the atmosphere with pleasant music.
It was here, one summer evening, that a picnic party assembled to a gipsy tea, and encamped on a dry strip of sand by the edge of the river, and lighting a fire of brushwood, had hung the kettle gipsy fashion on three sticks; the party seating themselves on rocks and fallen timber around the fire. It was a picturesque scene ; the open space with its dark circle of trees; the pale blue heavens above in which floated a ghostly moon; the fire crackling and blazing, its ruddy light gleaming on the water and turning the ripples blood colour, while here and there it touched a cloak or dress, and made a vivid patch of colour in the foreground. And as the fire burnt low and the shadows deepened the moon grew bright, and now the water caught a silver light, and shone far down the glen in bright flashes from between the sombre tree stems, while a faint breeze rose and stirred the leaves with a slumberous sound, which blended harmoniously with the soft wash of the moonlit stream.