These are the last words we have left to descant upon: they are such as should be the last; and, like Joseph Surface, “moral to the end.” The glowing passions the fervent hopes, the anticipated future, of the loving pair, all, all are frustrated! The great lesson of life imbues the elaborate production; the thinking reader, led by its sublimity to a train of deep reflection, sees at once the uncertainty of earthly projects, and sighing owns the wholesome, though still painful truth, that the brightest sun is ever the first cause of the darkest shadow; and from childhood upwards, the blissful visions of our gayest fancy—forced by the cry of stern reality—call back the mental wanderer from imaginary bliss, to be again the worldly drudge; and, thus awakened to his real state, confess, like our sad heroine, Molly Brown, he too, has dreamt a dream.
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FATHER O’FLYNN AND HIS CONGREGATION.
Father Francis O’Flynn, or, as he was generally called by his parishioners, “Father Frank,” was the choicest specimen you could desire of a jolly, quiet-going, ease-loving, Irish country priest of the old school. His parish lay near a small town in the eastern part of the county Cork, and for forty-five years he lived amongst his flock, performing all the duties of his office, and taking his dues (when he got them) with never-tiring good-humour. But age, that spares not priest nor layman, had stolen upon Father Frank, and he gradually relinquished to his younger curates the task of preaching, till at length his sermons dwindled down to two in the year—one at Christmas, and the other at Easter, at which times his clerical dues were about coming in. It was on one of these memorable occasions that I first chanced to hear Father Frank address his congregation. I have him now before my mind’s eye, as he then appeared; a stout, middle-sized man, with ample shoulders, enveloped in a coat of superfine black, and substantial legs encased in long straight boots, reaching to the knee. His forehead, and the upper part of his head, were bald; but the use of hair-powder gave a fine effect to his massive, but good-humoured features, that glowed with the rich tint of a hale old age. A bunch of large gold seals, depending from a massive jack-chain of the same metal, oscillated with becoming dignity from the lower verge of his waistcoat, over the goodly prominence of his “fair round belly.” Glancing his half-closed, but piercing eye around his auditory, as if calculating the contents of every pocket present, he commenced his address as follows:—“Well, my good people, I suppose ye know that to-morrow will be the pattern of Saint Fineen, and no doubt ye’ll all be for going to the blessed well to say your padhereens; but I’ll go bail there’s few of you ever heard the rason why the water of that well won’t raise a lather,