Charles James Lever.

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nautical skill and care approximate the goal.

Already landed in imagination, the cautious manoeuvres
of the crew are an actual martyrdom ; he has no bowels
for anything save his own enfranchisement, and he cannot
comprehend the tiresome detail of preparations, which,
after all, perhaps, are scarcely five minutes in endurance.
At last, the gangway launched, see him, how he elbows
forward, fighting his way, carpet-beg in hand, regardless
of passport-people, police, and porters; he'll scarce take
time to mutter a " Good-bye, captain, "in the haste to leave
a scene all whose interest is over, and whose adventure
is past.

Such is the end of a voyage, and such, or very nearly
such, the end of a novel ! You, most amiable reader, are
the passenger we, the skipper. A few weeks ago you
deemed us tolerable company, faut de mieux, perhaps.
We'll not ask why, at all events. We had you out on the
"wide, wild waters of uncertainty, free to sail where'er our
fancy listed. In our very waywardness there was a mock
semblance of power, for the creatures we presented to you
were our own, their lives and fortunes in our hands. Now
all that is over we have neared the shore and all our
hold on you is bygone.

How can we hope to excite interest in events already
accomplished ? Why linger over details which you have
already tilled up? Of course, say you, all ends happily
now. Virtue is rewarded as novelists understand re-
warding by matrimony ; and vice punished in single
blessedness. The hero marries the heroine, and if they
don't live happy &c.

But what became of Bagenal Daly ? says some one, who
would compliment us by expressing so much of interest.
Bagenal, then, only waited to see the Knight restored to
his own, to retire with his sister to the " Corvy," where,
attended by Sandy, he passed the remainder of his days
in peace and quietude ; his greatest enjoyment being to
seize on a chance tourist to the Causeway, and make
him listen to narratives of his early life, but which age had
now so far commingled that the merely strange became
actually marvellous.



412 THE KNIGHT OF GWYNNE.

Paul Dempsey grieved for a week, but consoled himself
on hearing that his rival had been a " lord ;" and subse-
quently, in a " moment of enthusiasm," he married Mrs.
Fumbally. The Hickmans left Ireland for the Continent,
where they are still to be found, rambling about from city
to city, and expressing the utmost sympathy with their
country's misfortunes, but, to avoid any admixture of
meaner feeling, suffering no taint of lucre to mingle with
their compassion.

As for Lionel Darcy, his name is to be found in the
despatches from the East, and with a mention that shows
that he has derogated in nothing from the proud charac-
ter of his race.

Of all those who figured before our reader, but one
remains on the stage where they all performed ; and he,
perhaps, has no claim to be especially remembered. There
is always, however, somewhat of respectability attached to
the oldest inhabitant, that chronicler of cold winters and
warm summers, of rainy springs and stormy Octobers.
Con Heffernan, then, lives, and still wields no inconsider-
able share of his ancient influence. Each party has dis-
covered his treachery, but neither can dispense with his
services. He is the last link remaining between the men
of Ireland's " great day " and the very different race who
now usurp the direction of her destiny.

Of the period of which we have endeavoured to picture
some meagre resemblance, unhappily the few traces re-
maining are those most to be deplored. The poverty, the
misery, and the anarchy survive ; the genial hospitality,
the warm attachment to country, the cordial generosity of
Irish feeling, have sadly declined. Let us hope that from
the depth of our present sufferings better days are about
to dawn, and a period approaching when Ireland shall be
"great" in the happiness of her people, "glorious" in
the development of her inexhaustible resources, and
" free" by that best of freedom, free from the trammels
of an unmeaning party warfare, which has ever subjected
the welfare of the country to the miserable intrigues of a
few adventurers.



YToodfall &, Kinder, Printers, Milford Lane, Strand, London, W.C.



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Online LibraryCharles James Lever[Charles Lever's novels (Volume 13) → online text (page 35 of 35)