Continuing Dread of Fear and Plunder

Not long after this the depredations seriously began at Ballitore. Those whose offences had debarred them from the privilege of protections were outcasts from society, and had no apparent means of subsistence save by repine. They sheltered themselves in the County of Wicklow mountains, and from thence made nightly excursions for food, money and clothes, levying their black mail on the timid and the peaceful, while the lengthening nights favoured their designs. Holt, who was their general, was said to be a brave and merciful man. Their first visit to Ballitore as avowed robbers was to Mary and Anne Doyle. My husband and I had spent the evening with Maria Johnson. We returned impressed with that tender feeling of compassion and sympathy, which the sense of her injuries created, while the silence of the night and the gloom of the trees mingled awe with our regret. It was early in the Tenth-month (October). The clock was about striking ten when we called at Mary and Anne's door, being accustomed never to pass without calling on these dear friends, particularly now that for the protection of my mother we lived at the Retreat. Four men were lurking near the door, and entered when it was opened for us. We saw that they were armed. My husband went to alarm the neighbours, and get assistance; for one unarmed man could do nothing. They would not let him return, for which I felt thankful, as single-handed he could only expect to be sacrificed, and he could get no assistance.

I remained with my friends, saw them robbed of their money and goods, and a pistol presented to Mary Doyle's breast, though I thought I saw the man uncock it first. He was of her own name, Doyle, a very handsome man, and affected to speak broken English. One fellow stood at the shop-door, repeatedly calling, as to some one without, 'All's well;' sometimes adding, 'All's devilish well.'

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