Charles James Lever.

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devoutly. " Ay, just so ; and he spoilt it for me entirely." At the
earnest entreaty, however, of the crowd, Father Eush, with renewed
caution to his unhappy prompter, again returned to the charge :

" Thus love compelled the god to yield,
And seek for purer joys;
He laid aside his helm and shield,
And took



Took — took-



"And took to corduroys,"



cried Father Nolan.

This time, however, the good priest's patience could endure no
more, and he levelled a blow at his luckless colleague, which miss-
ing his aim, lost him his own balance, and brought him down from
his eminence upon the heads of the mob.

Scarcely had I recovered the perfect convulsion of laughter into
which the scene had thrown me, when the broad brim of Father
Nolan's hat appeared at the window of the carriage. Before I had
time to address him, he took it reverently from his head, disclosing
in the act the ever-memorable features of Master Frank Webber !

" What ! Eh !— can it be?" said I.

" It is surely not " said Lucy, hesitating at the name.

" Your aunt, Miss Judy Macan, no more, than the Rev. Peter No,



CONCL USION. 757

Ian, I assure you ; though, I confess, it has cost me much more to
personate the latter character than the former, and the reward by-
no means so tempting."

Here poor Lucy blushed deeply at the remembrance of the scene
alluded to ; and, anxious to turn the conversation, I asked by what
stratagem he had succeeded to the functions of the worthy Peter.

"At the cost of twelve tumblers of the strongest punch ever
brewed at the O'Malley Arms. The good father gave in only ten
minutes before the oration began, and I had barely time to change
my dress and mount the barrel, without a moment's preparation."

The procession once more resumed its march, and hurried along
through the town, we soon reached the avenue. Here fresh prepar-
ations for welcoming us had also been made ; but, regardless of
blazing tar barrels and burning logs, the reckless crowd pressed
madly on, their wild cheers waking the echoes as they went. We
soon reached the house, and with a courtesy which even the hum-
blest and poorest native of this country is never devoid of, the pre-
parations of noise and festivity had not extended to the precincts of
the dwelling. With a tact which those of higher birth and older
blood might be proud of, they limited the excesses of their reckless
and careless merriment to their own village, so that, as we ap-
proached the terrace, all was peaceful, still, and quiet.

I lifted Lucy from the carriage, and, passing my arm around her,
was assisting her to mount the steps, when a bright gleam of moon-
light burst forth, and lit up the whole scene. It was, indeed, an
impressive one. Among the assembled hundreds there who stood
bare-headed, beneath the cold moonlight, not a word was now spo-
ken — not a whisper heard. I turned from the lawn, where the tall
beech-trees were throwing their gigantic shadows, to where the river,
peering at intervals through the foliage, was flowing on its silvery
track, plashing amid the tall flaggers that lined its banks — all were
familiar, all were dear to me from childhood. How doubly were
they so now ! I lifted up my eyes towards the door, and what was
my surprise at the object before them ! Seated in a large chair was
an old man, whose white hair, flowing in straggling masses upon his
neck and shoulders, stirred with the night air; his hands rested
upon his knees, and his eyes, turned slightly upward, seemed to
seek for some one he found it difficult to recognize. Changed as he
was by time, heavily as years had done their work upon him, the
stern features were not to be mistaken. As I looked, he called out,
in a voice whose unshaken firmness seemed to defy the touch of time :

" Charley O'Malley ! come here, my boy. Bring her to me, till I
bless you both. Come here, Lucy : I may call you so. Come here,
my children. I have tried to live on to see this day, when the head



758 CHARLES O'M ALLEY.

of an old house comes back with honor, with fame, and with for-
tune, to dwell amidst his own people in the old home of his fathers."

The old man bent above us, his white hair falling upon the fair
locks of her who knelt beside him, and pressed his cold and quiver-
ing hand within her own.

"Yes, Lucy," said I, as I led her within the house, "this is
home."

Here now ends my story. The patient reader who has followed
me so far, deserves at my hands that I should not trespass upon his
kindness one moment beyond the necessity ; if, however, any lurking
interest may remain for some of those who have accompanied me
through this my history, it may be as well that I should say a few
words further, ere they disappear forever.

Power went to India immediately after his marriage, distinguished
himself repeatedly in the Burmese war, and finally rose to a high
command, that he at this moment holds, with honor to himself and
advantage to his country.

O'Shaughnessy, on half-pay, wanders about the Continent; pass-
ing his summers on the Rhine, his winters at Florence or Geneva.
Known to and by everybody, his interest in the service keeps him
au courant to every change and regulation, rendering him an invalu-
able companion to all to whom an army list is inaccessible. He is
the same good fellow he ever was, and adds to his many excellent
qualities the additional one of being the only man who can make a
bull in French !

Monsoon, the Major, when last I saw him, was standing on the
pier at Calais, endeavoring, with a cheap telescope, to make out the
Dover cliffs, from a nearer prospect of which certain little family
circumstances might possibly debar him. He recognized me in a
moment, and held out his hand, while his eye twinkled with its
ancient drollery.

" Charley, my son, how goes it ? Delighted to see you. What a
pity I did not meet you yesterday ! Had a little dinner at Crillon's.
Harding, Vivian, and a few others. They all wished for you; 'pon
my life they did."

" Civil, certainly," thought I, " as I have not the honor of being
known to them."

" You are at Maurice's," resumed he ; " a very good house, but
give you bad wine, if they don't know you. They know me," added
he, in a whisper : " never try any tricks upon me. I'll just drop in
upon you at six."

" It is most unfortunate, Major ; I can't have the pleasure you
speak of; we start in half an hour."



CONCL USION. 759

" Never mind, Charley, never mind ; another time. By the bye,
now I think of it, don't you remember something of a ten-pound
note you owe me?"

" As well as I remember, Major, the circumstance was reversed :
you are the debtor."

" Upon my life you are right ; how droll. No matter, let me have
the ten, and I'll give you a check for the whole."

The Major thrust his tongue into his cheek as he spoke, gave an-
other leer, pocketed the note, and sauntered down the pier muttering
something to himself about King David and greenhorns ; but how
they were connected I could not precisely overhear.

Baby Blake, or Mrs. Sparks, to call her by her more fitting appel-
lation, is as handsome as ever, and not less good-natured and light-
hearted, her severest trials being her ineffectual efforts to convert
Sparks into something like a man for Galway.

Last of all, Mickey Free. Mike remains attached to our fortune
firmly, as at first he opened his career ; the same gay, rollicksome
Irishman, making songs, making love, and occasionally making
punch, he spends his days and his nights pretty much as he was
wont to do some thirty years ago. He obtains an occasional leave
of absence for a week or so, but for what precise purpose, or with
what exact object, I have never been completely able to ascertain. I
have heard it as true, that a very fascinating companion and a most
agreeable gentleman frequents a certain oyster-house in Dublin,
called Burton Bindon's. I have also been told of a distinguished
foreigner, whose black moustache and broken English were the ad-
miration of Cheltenham for the last two winters. I greatly fear,
from the high tone of the conversation in the former, and for the
taste in continental characters in the latter resort, that I could fix
upon the individual whose convivial and social gifts have won so
much of their esteem and admiration ; but were I to run on thus, I
should recur to every character of my story, with each and all of
whom you have doubtless grown well wearied. So here, for the
last time, and with every kind wish, I say — adieu I




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Online LibraryCharles James LeverCharles O'Malley, the Irish dragon → online text (page 79 of 80)