The Cock and Anchor Part 62

Shortly after this she sank into a soft and gentle sleep, and while she lay thus calmly, there came over her pale face a smile of such a pure and heavenly light, that angelic hope, and peace, and glory, shone in its beauty. The smile changed not; but she was dead! The sorrowful struggle was over--the weary bosom was at rest--the true and gentle heart was cold for ever--the brief but sorrowful trial was over--the desolate mourner was gone to the land where the pangs of grief, the tumults of pa.s.sion, regrets, and cold neglect are felt no more.

Her favourite bird, with gay wings, flutters to the cas.e.m.e.nt; the flowers she planted are sweet upon the evening air; and by their hearths the poor still talk of her and bless her; but the silvery voice that spoke, and the gentle hand that tended, and the beautiful smile that gave an angelic grace to the offices of charity, where are they?

The tapers are lighted in the silent chamber, and Flora Guy has laid early spring flowers on the still cold form that sleeps there in its serene sad beauty tranquilly and for ever; when in the court-yard are heard the tramp and clatter of a horse's hoofs--it is he--O'Connor,--he comes for her--the long lost--the dearly loved--the true-hearted--the found again.

'Twere vain to tell of frantic grief--words cannot tell, nor imagination conceive, the depth--the wildness--the desolation of that woe.

CONCLUSION.

Some fifteen years ago there was still to be seen in the little ruined church which occupies a corner in what yet remains of the once magnificent domain of Ardgillagh, side by side among the tangled weeds, two gravestones; one recording the death of Mary Ashwoode, at the early age of twenty-two, in the year of grace 1710; the other, that of Edmond O'Connor, who fell at Denain, in the year of our Lord 1712. Thus they were, who in life were separated, laid side by side in death. It is a still and sequestered spot, and the little ruin clothed in rich ivy, and sheltered by the great old trees with its solemn and holy quiet, in such a resting-place as most mortals would fain repose in when their race is done.

For the rest our task is quickly done. Mr. Audley and Oliver French had so much gotten into one another's way of going on, that the former gentleman from week to week, and from month to month, continued to prolong his visit, until after a residence of eight years, he died at length in the mansion of Ardgillagh, at a very advanced age, and without more than two days' illness, having never experienced before, in all his life, one hour's sickness of any kind. Honest Oliver French outlived his boon companion by the s.p.a.ce of two years, having just eaten an omelette and actually called for some woodc.o.c.k-pie; he departed suddenly while the servant was raising the crust. Old Audley left Flora Guy well provided for at his death, but somehow or other considerably before that event Larry Toole succeeded in prevailing on the honest handmaiden to marry him, and although, questionless, there was some disparity in point of years, yet tradition says, and we believe it, that there never lived a fonder or a happier couple, and it is a genealogical fact, that half the Tooles who are now to be found in that quarter of the country, derive their descent from the very alliance in question.

Of Major O'Leary we have only to say that the rumour which hinted at his having united his fortunes with those of the house of Rumble, were but too well founded. He retired with his buxom bride to a small property, remote from the dissipation of the capital, and except in the matter of an occasional c.o.c.k-fight, whenever it happened to be within reach, or a tough encounter with the squire, when a new pipe of claret was to be tasted, one or two occasional indiscretions, he became, as he himself declared, in all respects an ornament to society.

Lady Stukely, within a few months after the explosion with young Ashwoode, vented her indignation by actually marrying young Pigwiggynne. It was said, indeed, that they were not happy; of this, however, we cannot be sure; but it is undoubtedly certain that they used to beat, scratch, and pinch each other in private--whether in play merely, or with the serious intention of correcting one another's infirmities of temper, we know not. Several weeks before Lady Stukely's marriage, Emily Copland succeeded in her long-cherished schemes against the celibacy of poor Lord Aspenly. His lordship, however, lived on with a perseverance perfectly spiteful, and his lady, alas and alack-a-day, tired out, at length committed a _faux pas_--the trial is on record, and eventuated, it is sufficient to say, in a verdict for the plaintiff.

Of Chancey, we have only to say that his fate was as miserable as his life had been abject and guilty. When he arose after the tremendous fall which he had received at the hands of his employer, Nicholas Blarden, upon the memorable night which defeated all their schemes, for he _did_ arise with life--intellect and remembrance were alike quenched--he was thenceforward a drivelling idiot. Though none cared to inquire into the cause and circ.u.mstances of his miserable privation, long was he well known and pointed out in the streets of Dublin, where he subsisted upon the scanty alms of superst.i.tious charity, until at length, during the great frost in the year 1739, he was found dead one morning, in a corner under St. Audoen's Arch, stark and cold, cowering in his accustomed att.i.tude.

Nicholas Blarden died upon his feather bed, and if every luxury which imagination can devise, or prodigal wealth procure, can avail to soothe the racking torments of the body, and the terrors of the appalled spirit, he died happy.

Of the other actors in this drama--with the exception of M'Quirk, who was publicly whipped for stealing four pounds of sausages from an eating house in Bride Street, and the Italian, who, we believe, was seen as groom-porter in Mr. Blarden's h.e.l.l, for many years after--tradition is silent.

[Ill.u.s.tration: The End.]

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