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´╗┐Title: The Absentee
Author: Edgeworth, Maria, 1767-1849
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Absentee" ***

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THE ABSENTEE

by Maria Edgeworth



     [Footnotes have been inserted in the text in square ("[]")
     brackets, close to the point where they were originally.

     Characters printed in italics in the original text have been
     written in capital letters in this etext.

     The British Pound Sterling symbol has been written 'L'.]



NOTES ON 'THE ABSENTEE'

In August 1811, we are told, she wrote a little play about landlords
and tenants for the children of her sister, Mrs. Beddoes. Mr. Edgeworth
tried to get the play produced on the London boards. Writing to her
aunt, Mrs. Ruxton, Maria says, 'Sheridan has answered as I foresaw he
must, that in the present state of this country the Lord Chamberlain
would not license THE ABSENTEE; besides there would be a difficulty in
finding actors for so many Irish characters.' The little drama was then
turned into a story, by Mr. Edgeworth's advice. Patronage was laid aside
for the moment, and THE ABSENTEE appeared in its place in the second
part of TALES OF FASHIONABLE LIFE. We all know Lord Macaulay's verdict
upon this favourite story of his, the last scene of which he specially
admired and compared to the ODYSSEY. [Lord Macaulay was not the only
notable admirer of THE ABSENTEE. The present writer remembers hearing
Professor Ruskin on one occasion break out in praise and admiration of
the book. 'You can learn more by reading it of Irish politics,' he said,
'than from a thousand columns out of blue-books.'] Mrs. Edgeworth tells
us that much of it was written while Maria was suffering a misery of
toothache.

Miss Edgeworth's own letters all about this time are much more concerned
with sociabilities than with literature. We read of a pleasant dance at
Mrs. Burke's; of philosophers at sport in Connemara; of cribbage, and
company, and country houses, and Lord Longford's merry anecdotes during
her visit to him. Miss Edgeworth, who scarcely mentions her own works,
seems much interested at this time in a book called MARY AND HER CAT,
which she is reading with some of the children.

Little scraps of news (I cannot resist quoting one or two of them) come
in oddly mixed with these personal records of work and family talk.
'There is news of the Empress (Marie Louise), who is liked not at all
by the Parisians; she is too haughty, and sits back in her carriage when
she goes through the streets. 'Of Josephine, who is living very happily,
amusing herself with her gardens and her shrubberies.' This ci-devant
Empress and Kennedy and Co., the seedsmen, are in partnership, says Miss
Edgeworth. And then among the lists of all the grand people Maria meets
in London in 1813 (Madame de Stael is mentioned as expected), she gives
an interesting account of an actual visitor, Peggy Langan, who was
grand-daughter to Thady in CASTLE RACKRENT. Peggy went to England with
Mrs. Beddoes, and was for thirty years in the service of Mrs. Haldimand
we are told, and was own sister to Simple Susan.

The story of THE ABSENTEE is a very simple one, and concerns Irish
landlords living in England, who ignore their natural duties and station
in life, and whose chief ambition is to take their place in the
English fashionable world. The grand English ladies are talking of Lady
Clonbrony.

'"If you knew all she endures to look, speak, move, breathe like an
Englishwoman, you would pity her,"' said Lady Langdale.

'"Yes, and you CAWNT conceive the PEENS she TEEKES to talk of the
TEEBLES and CHEERS, and to thank Q, and, with so much TEESTE, to speak
pure English,"' said Mrs. Dareville.

'"Pure cockney, you mean," said Lady Langdale.'

Lord Colambre, the son of the lady in question, here walks across the
room, not wishing to listen to any more strictures upon his mother.
He is the very most charming of walking gentlemen, and when stung by
conscience he goes off to Ireland, disguised in a big cloak, to visit
his father's tenantry and to judge for himself of the state of affairs,
all our sympathies go with him. On his way he stops at Tusculum,
scarcely less well known than its classical namesake. He is entertained
by Mrs. Raffarty, that esthetical lady who is determined to have a
little 'taste' of everything at Tusculum. She leads the way into a
little conservatory, and a little pinery, and a little grapery, and a
little aviary, and a little pheasantry, and a little dairy for show, and
a little cottage for ditto, with a grotto full of shells, and a little
hermitage full of earwigs, and a little ruin full of looking-glass, to
enlarge and multiply the effect of the Gothic.... But you could only
put your head in, because it was just fresh painted, and though there
had been a fire ordered in the ruin all night, it had only smoked.

'As they proceeded and walked through the grounds, from which Mrs.
Raffarty, though she had done her best, could not take that which nature
had given, she pointed out to my lord "a happy moving termination,"
consisting of a Chinese bridge, with a fisherman leaning over the rails.
On a sudden, the fisherman was seen to tumble over the bridge into the
water. The gentlemen ran to extricate the poor fellow, while they heard
Mrs. Raffarty bawling to his lordship to beg he would never mind, and
not trouble himself.

'When they arrived at the bridge, they saw the man hanging from part
of the bridge, and apparently struggling in the water; but when they
attempted to pull him up, they found it was only a stuffed figure which
had been pulled into the stream by a real fish, which had seized hold of
the bait.'

The dinner-party is too long to quote, but it is written in Miss
Edgeworth's most racy and delightful vein of fun.

One more little fact should not be omitted in any mention of THE
ABSENTEE. One of the heroines is Miss Broadhurst, the heiress. The
Edgeworth family were much interested, soon after the book appeared, to
hear that a real living Miss Broadhurst, an heiress, had appeared upon
the scenes, and was, moreover, engaged to be married to Sneyd Edgeworth,
one of the eldest sons of the family. In the story, says Mrs. Edgeworth,
Miss Broadhurst selects from her lovers one who 'unites worth and wit,'
and then she goes on to quote an old epigram of Mr. Edgeworth's on
himself, which concluded with,'There's an Edge to his wit and there's
worth in his heart.'

Mr. Edgeworth, who was as usual busy building church spires for himself
and other people, abandoned his engineering for a time to criticise his
daughter's story, and he advised that the conclusion of THE ABSENTEE
should be a letter from Larry the postilion. 'He wrote one, she wrote
another,' says Mrs. Edgeworth. 'He much preferred hers, which is the
admirable finale of THE ABSENTEE.' And just about this time Lord Ross is
applied to, to frank the Edgeworth manuscripts.

'I cannot by any form of words express how delighted I am that you are
none of you angry with me,' writes modest Maria to her cousin, Miss
Ruxton, 'and that my uncle and aunt are pleased with what they have read
of THE ABSENTEE. I long to hear whether their favour continues to the
end, and extends to the catastrophe, that dangerous rock upon which poor
authors are wrecked.'



THE ABSENTEE



CHAPTER I

'Are you to be at Lady Clonbrony's gala next week?' said Lady Langdale
to Mrs. Dareville, whilst they were waiting for their carriages in the
crush-room of the opera house.

'Oh yes! everybody's to be there, I hear,' replied Mrs. Dareville. 'Your
ladyship, of course?'

'Why, I don't know--if I possibly can. Lady Clonbrony makes it such a
point with me, that I believe I must look in upon her for a few minutes.
They are going to a prodigious expense on this occasion. Soho tells
me the reception rooms are all to be new furnished, and in the most
magnificent style.'

'At what a famous rate those Clonbronies are dashing on,' said Colonel
Heathcock. 'Up to anything.'

'Who are they?--these Clonbronies, that one hears of so much of late'
said her Grace of Torcaster. 'Irish absentees I know. But how do they
support all this enormous expense?'

'The son WILL have a prodigiously fine estate when some Mr. Quin dies,'
said Mrs. Dareville.

'Yes, everybody who comes from Ireland WILL have a fine estate when
somebody dies,' said her grace. 'But what have they at present?'

'Twenty thousand a year, they say,' replied Mrs. Dareville.

'Ten thousand, I believe,' cried Lady Langdale. 'Make it a rule, you
know, to believe only half the world says.'

'Ten thousand, have they?--possibly,' said her grace. 'I know nothing
about them--have no acquaintance among the Irish. Torcaster knows
something of Lady Clonbrony; she has fastened herself, by some means,
upon him: but I charge him not to COMMIT me. Positively, I could not for
anybody--and much less for that sort of person--extend the circle of my
acquaintance.'

'Now that is so cruel of your grace,' said Mrs. Dareville, laughing,
'when poor Lady Clonbrony works so hard, and pays so high, to get into
certain circles.'

'If you knew all she endures, to look, speak, move, breathe like an
Englishwoman, you would pity her,' said Lady Langdale.

'Yes, and you CAWNT conceive the PEENS she TEEKES to talk of the TEEBLES
and CHEERS, and to thank Q, and, with so much TEESTE, to speak pure
English,' said Mrs. Dareville.

'Pure cockney, you mean,' said Lady Langdale.

'But why does Lady Clonbrony want to pass for English?' said the
duchess.

'Oh! because she is not quite Irish. BRED AND BORN--only bred, not
born,' said Mrs. Dareville. 'And she could not be five minutes in your
grace's company before she would tell you, that she was HENGLISH, born
in HOXFORDSHIRE.'

'She must be a vastly amusing personage. I should like to meet her,
if one could see and hear her incog.,' said the duchess. 'And Lord
Clonbrony, what is he?'

'Nothing, nobody,' said Mrs. Dareville; 'one never even hears of him.'

'A tribe of daughters, too, I suppose?'

'No, no,' said Lady Langdale, 'daughters would be past all endurance.'

'There's a cousin, though, a Grace Nugent,' said Mrs. Dareville, 'that
Lady Clonbrony has with her.'

'Best part of her, too,' said Colonel Heathcock; 'd-d fine girl!--never
saw her look better than at the opera to-night!'

'Fine COMPLEXION! as Lady Clonbrony says, when she means a high colour,'
said Lady Langdale.

'Grace Nugent is not a lady's beauty,' said Mrs. Dareville. 'Has she any
fortune, colonel?'

''Pon honour, don't know,' said the colonel.

'There's a son, somewhere, is not there?' said Lady Langdale.

'Don't know, 'pon honour,' replied the colonel.

'Yes--at Cambridge--not of age yet,' said Mrs. Dareville. 'Bless me!
here is Lady Clonbrony come back. I thought she was gone half an hour
ago!'

'Mamma,' whispered one of Lady Langdale's daughters, leaning between her
mother and Mrs. Dareville, 'who is that gentleman that passed us just
now?'

'Which way?'

'Towards the door. There now, mamma, you can see him. He is speaking to
Lady Clonbrony--to Miss Nugent. Now Lady Clonbrony is introducing him to
Miss Broadhurst.'

'I see him now,' said Lady Langdale, examining him through her glass; 'a
very gentlemanlike-looking young man, indeed.'

'Not an Irishman, I am sure, by his manner,' said her grace.

'Heathcock!' said Lady Langdale, 'who is Miss Broadhurst talking to?'

'Eh! now really--'pon honour--don't know,' replied Heathcock.

'And yet he certainly looks like somebody one certainly should know,'
pursued Lady Langdale, 'though I don't recollect seeing him anywhere
before.'

'Really now!' was all the satisfaction she could gain from the
insensible, immovable colonel. However, her ladyship, after sending a
whisper along the line, gained the desired information, that the
young gentleman was Lord Colambre, son, only son, of Lord and Lady
Clonbrony--that he was just come from Cambridge--that he was not yet of
age--that he would be of age within a year--that he would then, after
the death of somebody, come into possession of a fine estate, by the
mother's side 'and therefore, Cat'rine, my dear,' said she, turning
round to the daughter, who had first pointed him out, 'you understand,
we should never talk about other people's affairs.'

'No, mamma, never. I hope to goodness, mamma, Lord Colambre did not hear
what you and Mrs. Dareville were saying!'

'How could he, child? He was quite at the other end of the world.'

'I beg your pardon, ma'am, he was at my elbow, close behind us; but I
never thought about him till I heard somebody say, "My lord--"'

'Good heavens! I hope he didn't hear.'

'But, for my part, I said nothing,' cried Lady Langdale.

'And for my part, I said nothing but what everybody knows!' cried Mrs.
Dareville.

'And for my part, I am guilty only of hearing,' said the duchess. 'Do,
pray, Colonel Heathcock, have the goodness to see what my people are
about, and what chance we have of getting away to-night.'

'The Duchess of Torcaster's carriage stops the way!'--a joyful sound
to Colonel Heathcock and to her grace, and not less agreeable, at this
instant, to Lady Langdale, who, the moment she was disembarrassed of the
duchess, pressed through the crowd to Lady Clonbrony, and, addressing
her with smiles and complacency, was 'charmed to have a little moment to
speak to her--could NOT sooner get through the crowd--would certainly
do herself the honour to be at her ladyship's gala on Wednesday.' While
Lady Langdale spoke, she never seemed to see or think of anybody but
Lady Clonbrony, though, all the time, she was intent upon every motion
of Lord Colambre, and, whilst she was obliged to listen with a face of
sympathy to a long complaint of Lady Clonbrony's, about Mr. Soho's want
of taste in ottomans, she was vexed to perceive that his lordship showed
no desire to be introduced to her, or to her daughters; but, on the
contrary, was standing talking to Miss Nugent. His mother, at the end
of her speech, looked round for Colambre called him twice before he
heard--introduced him to Lady Langdale, and to Lady Cat'rine, and Lady
Anne--, and to Mrs. Dareville; to all of whom he bowed with an air of
proud coldness, which gave them reason to regret that their remarks upon
his mother and his family had not been made SOTTO VOCE.

'Lady Langdale's carriage stops the way!' Lord Colambre made no offer of
his services, notwithstanding a look from his mother. Incapable of the
meanness of voluntarily listening to a conversation not intended for him
to hear, he had, however, been compelled, by the pressure of the crowd,
to remain a few minutes stationary, where he could not avoid hearing the
remarks of the fashionable friends. Disdaining dissimulation, he made no
attempt to conceal his displeasure. Perhaps his vexation was increased
by his consciousness that there was some mixture of truth in their
sarcasms. He was sensible that his mother, in some points--her manners,
for instance--was obvious to ridicule and satire. In Lady Clonbrony's
address there was a mixture of constraint, affectation, and indecision,
unusual in a person of her birth, rank, and knowledge of the world. A
natural and unnatural manner seemed struggling in all her gestures,
and in every syllable that she articulated--a naturally free, familiar,
good-natured, precipitate, Irish manner, had been schooled, and schooled
late in life, into a sober, cold, still, stiff deportment, which she
mistook for English. A strong, Hibernian accent, she had, with infinite
difficulty, changed into an English tone. Mistaking reverse of wrong for
right, she caricatured the English pronunciation; and the extraordinary
precision of her London phraseology betrayed her not to be a Londoner,
as the man, who strove to pass for an Athenian, was detected by his
Attic dialect. Not aware of her real danger, Lady Clonbrony was, on
the opposite side, in continual apprehension, every time she opened
her lips, lest some treacherous A or E, some strong R, some puzzling
aspirate, or non-aspirate, some unguarded note, interrogative or
expostulatory, should betray her to be an Irishwoman. Mrs. Dareville
had, in her mimickry, perhaps a little exaggerated as to the TEEBLES
and CHEERS, but still the general likeness of the representation of Lady
Clonbrony was strong enough to strike and vex her son. He had now, for
the first time, an opportunity of judging of the estimation in which his
mother and his family were held by certain leaders of the ton, of whom,
in her letters, she had spoken so much, and into whose society, or
rather into whose parties, she had been admitted. He saw that the
renegade cowardice, with which she denied, abjured, and reviled her own
country, gained nothing but ridicule and contempt. He loved his mother;
and, whilst he endeavoured to conceal her faults and foibles as much as
possible from his own heart, he could not endure those who dragged them
to light and ridicule. The next morning the first thing that occurred
to Lord Colambre's remembrance when he awoke was the sound of the
contemptuous emphasis which had been laid on the words IRISH ABSENTEES!
This led to recollections of his native country, to comparisons of past
and present scenes, to future plans of life. Young and careless as he
seemed, Lord Colambre was capable of serious reflection. Of naturally
quick and strong capacity, ardent affections, impetuous temper, the
early years of his childhood passed at his father's castle in Ireland,
where, from the lowest servant to the well-dressed dependant of the
family, everybody had conspired to wait upon, to fondle, to flatter,
to worship, this darling of their lord. Yet he was not spoiled--not
rendered selfish. For, in the midst of this flattery and servility, some
strokes of genuine generous affection had gone home to his little heart;
and, though unqualified submission had increased the natural impetuosity
of his temper, and though visions of his future grandeur had touched his
infant thought, yet, fortunately, before he acquired any fixed habits of
insolence or tyranny, he was carried far away from all that were
bound or willing to submit to his commands, far away from all signs of
hereditary grandeur--plunged into one of our great public schools--into
a new world. Forced to struggle, mind and body, with his equals, his
rivals, the little lord became a spirited schoolboy, and, in time, a
man. Fortunately for him, science and literature happened to be the
fashion among a set of clever young men with whom he was at Cambridge.
His ambition for intellectual superiority was raised, his views were
enlarged, his tastes and his manners formed. The sobriety of English
good sense mixed most advantageously with Irish vivacity; English
prudence governed, but did not extinguish his Irish enthusiasm. But, in
fact, English and Irish had not been invidiously contrasted in his mind:
he had been so long resident in England, and so intimately connected
with Englishmen, that he was not obvious to any of the commonplace
ridicule thrown upon Hibernians; and he had lived with men who were too
well informed and liberal to misjudge or depreciate a sister country. He
had found, from experience, that, however reserved the English may be
in manner, they are warm at heart; that, however averse they may be from
forming new acquaintance, their esteem and confidence once gained, they
make the most solid friends. He had formed friendships in England;
he was fully sensible of the superior comforts, refinement, and
information, of English society; but his own country was endeared to him
by early association, and a sense of duty and patriotism attached him to
Ireland. And shall I too be an absentee? was a question which resulted
from these reflections--a question which he was not yet prepared to
answer decidedly. In the meantime, the first business of the morning was
to execute a commission for a Cambridge friend. Mr. Berryl had bought
from Mr. Mordicai, a famous London coachmaker, a curricle, WARRANTED
SOUND, for which he had paid a sound price, upon express condition that
Mr. Mordicai, BARRING ACCIDENTS, should be answerable for all repairs of
the curricle for six months. In three, both the carriage and body were
found to be good for nothing--the curricle had been returned to Mr.
Mordicai--nothing had since been heard of it, or from him--and Lord
Colambre had undertaken to pay him and it a visit, and to make all
proper inquiries. Accordingly, he went to the coachmaker's, and,
obtaining no satisfaction from the underlings, desired to see the head
of the house. He was answered, that Mr. Mordicai was not at home. His
lordship had never seen Mr. Mordicai; but, just then, he saw, walking
across the yard, a man, who looked something like a Bond Street coxcomb,
but not the least like a gentleman, who called, in the tone of a master,
for 'Mr. Mordicai's barouche!' It appeared; and he was stepping into it
when Lord Colambre took the liberty of stopping him; and, pointing to
the wreck of Mr. Berryl's curricle, now standing in the yard, began a
statement of his friend's grievances, and an appeal to common justice
and conscience, which he, unknowing the nature of the man with whom he
had to deal, imagined must be irresistible. Mr. Mordicai stood without
moving a muscle of his dark wooden face. Indeed, in his face there
appeared to be no muscles, or none which could move; so that, though
he had what are generally called handsome features, there was, all
together, something unnatural and shocking in his countenance. When, at
last, his eyes turned, and his lips opened, this seemed to be done by
machinery, and not by the will of a living creature, or from the impulse
of a rational soul. Lord Colambre was so much struck with this strange
physiognomy, that he actually forgot much he had to say of springs and
wheels. But it was no matter. Whatever he had said, it would have come
to the same thing; and Mordicai would have answered as he now did--

'Sir, it was my partner made that bargain, not myself; and I don't
hold myself bound by it, for he is the sleeping-partner only, and not
empowered to act in the way of business. Had Mr. Berryl bargained with
me, I should have told him that he should have looked to these things
before his carriage went out of our yard.'

The indignation of Lord Colambre kindled at these words--but in vain.
To all that indignation could by word or look urge against Mordicai, he
replied--

'Maybe so, sir; the law is open to your friend--the law is open to all
men who can pay for it.'

Lord Colambre turned in despair from the callous coach-maker, and
listened to one of his more compassionate-looking workmen, who was
reviewing the disabled curricle; and, whilst he was waiting to know the
sum of his friend's misfortune, a fat, jolly, Falstaff looking personage
came into the yard, accosted Mordicai with a degree of familiarity,
which, from a gentleman, appeared to Lord Colambre to be almost
impossible.

'How are you, Mordicai, my good fellow?' cried he, speaking with a
strong Irish accent.

'Who is this?' whispered Lord Colambre to the foreman, who was examining
the curricle.

'Sir Terence O'Fay, sir. There must be entire new wheels.'

'Now tell me, my tight fellow,' continued Sir Terence, holding Mordicai
fast, 'when, in the name of all the saints, good or bad, in the
calendar, do you reckon to let us sport the SUICIDE?'

Mordicai forcibly drew his mouth into what he meant for a smile, and
answered, 'As soon as possible, Sir Terence.'

Sir Terence, in a tone of jocose, wheedling expostulation, entreated him
to have the carriage finished OUT OF HAND. 'Ah, now! Mordy, my precious!
let us have it by the birthday, and come and dine with us o' Monday, at
the Hibernian Hotel--there's a rare one--will you?'

Mordicai accepted the invitation, and promised faithfully that the
SUICIDE should be finished by the birthday. Sir Terence shook hands upon
this promise, and, after telling a good story, which made one of
the workmen in the yard--an Irishman--grin with delight, walked off.
Mordicai, first waiting till the knight was out of hearing, called
aloud--

'You grinning rascal! mind, at your peril, and don't let that there
carriage be touched, d'ye see, till further orders.'

One of Mr. Mordicai's clerks, with a huge long-feathered pen behind his
ear, observed that Mr. Mordicai was right in that caution, for that, to
the best of his comprehension, Sir Terence O'Fay and his principal, too,
were over head and ears in debt.

Mordicai coolly answered that he was well aware of that; but that the
estate could afford to dip further; that, for his part, he was under no
apprehension; he knew how to look sharp, and to bite before he was bit.
That he knew Sir Terence and his principal were leagued together to
give the creditors THE GO BY, but that, clever as they both were at that
work, he trusted he was their match.

'Will you be so good, sir, to finish making out this estimate for me?'
interrupted Lord Colambre.

'Immediately, sir. Sixty-nine pound four, and the perch. Let us see--Mr.
Mordicai, ask him, ask Paddy, about Sir Terence,' said the foreman,
pointing back over his shoulder to the Irish workman, who was at
this moment pretending to be wondrous hard at work. However, when Mr.
Mordicai defied him to tell him anything he did not know, Paddy, parting
with an untasted bit of tobacco, began, and recounted some of Sir
Terence O'Fay's exploits in evading duns, replevying cattle, fighting
sheriffs, bribing SUBS, managing cants, tricking CUSTODEES, in language
so strange, and with a countenance and gestures so full of enjoyment
of the jest, that, whilst Mordicai stood for a moment aghast with
astonishment, Lord Colambre could not help laughing, partly at, and
partly with, his countryman. All the yard were in a roar of laughter,
though they did not understand half of what they heard; but their
risible muscles were acted upon mechanically, or maliciously, merely by
the sound of the Irish brogue.

Mordicai, waiting till the laugh was over, dryly observed that 'the law
is executed in another guess sort of way in England from what it is in
Ireland'; therefore, for his part, he desired nothing better than to set
his wits fairly against such SHARKS. That there was a pleasure in doing
up a debtor which none but a creditor could know.

'In a moment, sir; if you'll have a moment's patience, sir, if you
please,' said the slow foreman to Lord Colambre; 'I must go down the
pounds once more, and then I'll let you have it.'

'I'll tell you what, Smithfield,' continued Mr. Mordicai, coming close
beside his foreman, and speaking very low, but with a voice trembling
with anger, for he was piqued by his foreman's doubts of his capacity
to cope with Sir Terence O'Fay; 'I'll tell you what, Smithfield, I'll be
cursed, if I don't get every inch of them into my power. You know how?'

'You are the best judge, sir,' replied the foreman; 'but I would not
undertake Sir Terence; and the question is, whether the estate will
answer the LOT of the debts, and whether you know them all for certain?'

'I do, sir, I tell you. There's Green there's Blancham--there's
Gray--there's Soho--naming several more--and, to my knowledge, Lord
Clonbrony--'

'Stop, sir,' cried Lord Colambre in a voice which made Mordicai, and
everybody present, start--'I am his son--'

'The devil!' said Mordicai.

'God bless every bone in his body, then! he's an Irishman,' cried Paddy;
'and there was the RASON my heart warmed to him from the first minute he
come into the yard, though I did not know it till now.'

'What, sir! are you my Lord Colambre?' said Mr. Mordicai, recovering,
but not clearly recovering, his intellects. 'I beg pardon, but I did not
know you WAS Lord Colambre. I thought you told me you was the friend of
Mr. Berryl.'

'I do not see the incompatibility of the assertion, sir,' replied Lord
Colambre, taking from the bewildered foreman's unresisting hand the
account, which he had been so long FURNISHING.

'Give me leave, my lord,' said Mordicai. 'I beg your pardon, my lord,
perhaps we can compromise that business for your friend Mr. Berryl;
since he is your lordship's friend, perhaps we can contrive to
COMPROMISE and SPLIT THE DIFFERENCE.'

TO COMPROMISE and SPLIT THE DIFFERENCE, Mordicai thought were favourite
phrases, and approved Hibernian modes of doing business, which would
conciliate this young Irish nobleman, and dissipate the proud tempest
which had gathered and now swelled in his breast.

'No, sir, no!' cried Lord Colambre, holding firm the paper. 'I want no
favour from you. I will accept of none for my friend or for myself.'

'Favour! No, my lord, I should not presume to offer--But I should wish,
if you'll allow me, to do your friend justice.'

Lord Colambre recollecting that he had no right, in his pride, to ding
away his friend's money, let Mr. Mordicai look at the account; and, his
impetuous temper in a few moments recovered by good sense, he considered
that, as his person was utterly unknown to Mr. Mordicai, no offence
could have been intended to him, and that, perhaps, in what had been
said of his father's debts and distress, there might be more truth than
he was aware of. Prudently, therefore, controlling his feelings, and
commanding himself, he suffered Mr. Mordicai to show him into a parlour,
to SETTLE his friend's business. In a few minutes the account was
reduced to a reasonable form, and, in consideration of the partner's
having made the bargain, by which Mr. Mordicai felt himself influenced
in honour, though not bound in law, he undertook to have the curricle
made better than new again, for Mr. Berryl, for twenty guineas. Then
came awkward apologies to Lord Colambre, which he ill endured. 'Between
ourselves, my lord,' continued Mordicai--

But the familiarity of the phrase, 'Between ourselves'--this implication
of equality--Lord Colambre could not admit; he moved hastily towards the
door and departed.



CHAPTER II

Full of what he had heard, and impatient to obtain further information
respecting the state of his father's affairs, Lord Colambre hastened
home; but his father was out, and his mother was engaged with Mr. Soho,
directing, or rather being directed, how her apartments should be fitted
up for her gala. As Lord Colambre entered the room, he saw his mother,
Miss Nugent, and Mr. Soho, standing at a large table, which was covered
with rolls of paper, patterns, and drawings of furniture: Mr. Soho was
speaking in a conceited dictatorial tone, asserting that there was no
'colour in nature for that room equal to THE BELLY-O'-THE FAWN;' which
BELLY-O'-THE FAWN he so pronounced that Lady Clonbrony understood it to
be LA BELLE UNIFORME, and, under this mistake, repeated and assented to
the assertion till it was set to rights, with condescending superiority,
by the upholsterer. This first architectural upholsterer of the age, as
he styled himself, and was universally admitted to be by all the world
of fashion, then, with full powers given to him, spoke EN MAITRE. The
whole face of things must be changed--there must be new hangings, new
draperies, new cornices, new candelabras, new everything!

The upholsterer's eye, in a fine frenzy rolling, Glances from ceiling to
floor, from floor to ceiling; And, as imagination bodies forth The form
of things unknown, th' upholsterer's pencil Turns to shape and gives to
airy nothing A local habitation and a NAME.

Of the value of a NAME no one could be more sensible than Mr. Soho.

'Your la'ship sees--this is merely a scratch of my pencil--your
la'ship's sensible--just to give you an idea of the shape, the form
of the thing. You fill up your angles here with ECOINIERES--round your
walls with the TURKISH TENT DRAPERY--a fancy of my own--in apricot
cloth, or crimson velvet, suppose, or EN FLUTE, in crimson satin
draperies, fanned and riched with gold fringes, EN SUITE--intermediate
spaces, Apollo's heads with gold rays--and here, ma'am, you place four
CHANCELIERES, with chimeras at the corners, covered with blue silk and
silver fringe, elegantly fanciful--with my STATIRA CANOPY here--light
blue silk draperies--aerial tint, with silver balls--and for
seats here, the SERAGLIO OTTOMANS, superfine scarlet--your
paws--griffin--golden--and golden tripods, here, with antique
cranes--and oriental alabaster tables here and there--quite appropriate,
your la'ship feels.

'And--let me reflect. For the next apartment, it strikes me--as your
la'ship don't value expense--THE ALHAMBRA HANGINGS--my own thought
entirely. Now, before I unroll them, Lady Clonbrony, I must beg you'll
not mention I've shown them. I give you my sacred honour, not a soul has
set eye upon the Alhambra hangings, except Mrs. Dareville, who stole
a peep; I refused, absolutely refused, the Duchess of Torcaster--but I
can't refuse your la'ship. So see, ma'am--(unrolling them)--scagliola
porphyry columns supporting the grand dome--entablature, silvered and
decorated with imitative bronze ornaments; under the entablature, A
VALANCE IN PELMETS, of puffed scarlet silk, would have an unparalleled
grand effect, seen through the arches--with the TREBISOND TRELLICE
PAPER, would make a TOUT ENSEMBLE, novel beyond example. On that
Trebisond trellice paper, I confess, ladies, I do pique myself.

'Then, for the little room, I recommend turning it temporarily into
a Chinese pagoda, with this CHINESE PAGODA PAPER, with the PORCELAIN
border, and josses, and jars, and beakers to match; and I can venture
to promise one vase of pre-eminent size and beauty. Oh, indubitably! if
your la'ship prefers it, you can have the EGYPTIAN HIEROGLYPHIC PAPER,
with the IBIS BORDER to match! The only objection is, one sees it
everywhere--quite antediluvian--gone to the hotels even; but, to be
sure, if your la'ship has a fancy--At all events, I humbly recommend,
what her Grace of Torcaster longs to patronise, my MOON CURTAINS,
with candlelight draperies. A demisaison elegance this--I hit off
yesterday--and--true, your la'ship's quite correct--out of the common,
completely. And, of course, you'd have the SPHYNX CANDELABRAS, and the
Phoenix argands. Oh! nothing else lights now, ma'am! Expense! Expense of
the whole! Impossible to calculate here on the spot!--but nothing at all
worth your ladyship's consideration!'

At another moment, Lord Colambre might have been amused with all this
rhodomontade, and with the airs and voluble conceit of the orator; but,
after what he had heard at Mr. Mordicai's, this whole scene struck him
more with melancholy than with mirth. He was alarmed by the prospect of
new and unbounded expense; provoked, almost past enduring, by the jargon
and impertinence of this upholsterer; mortified and vexed to the heart
to see his mother the dupe, the sport of such a coxcomb.

'Prince of puppies!--insufferable!--My own mother!' Lord Colambre
repeated to himself, as he walked hastily up and down the room.

'Colambre, won't you let us have your judgment--your TEESTE' said his
mother.

'Excuse me, ma'am. I have no taste, no judgment, in these things.'

He sometimes paused, and looked at Mr. Soho with a strong inclination
to--But knowing that he should say too much, if he said anything, he
was silent never dared to approach the council table--but continued
walking up and down the room, till he heard a voice, which at once
arrested his attention, and soothed his ire. He approached the table
instantly, and listened, whilst Grace Nugent said everything he wished
to have said, and with all the propriety and delicacy with which he
thought he could not have spoken. He leaned on the table, and fixed his
eyes upon her--years ago, he had seen his cousin--last night, he had
thought her handsome, pleasing, graceful--but now, he saw a new person,
or he saw her in a new light. He marked the superior intelligence,
the animation, the eloquence of her countenance, its variety, whilst
alternately, with arch raillery or grave humour, she played off Mr.
Soho, and made him magnify the ridicule, till it was apparent even to
Lady Clonbrony. He observed the anxiety, lest his mother should expose
her own foibles--he was touched by the respectful, earnest kindness--the
soft tones of persuasion, with which she addressed his mother--the care
not to presume upon her own influence--the good sense, the taste she
showed, yet not displaying her superiority--the address, temper, and
patience, with which she at last accomplished her purpose, and
prevented Lady Clonbrony from doing anything preposterously absurd, or
exorbitantly extravagant.

Lord Colambre was actually sorry when the business was ended--when Mr.
Soho departed--for Grace Nugent was then silent; and it was necessary to
remove his eyes from that countenance, on which he had gazed unobserved.
Beautiful and graceful, yet so unconscious was she of her charms, that
the eye of admiration could rest upon her without her perceiving it--she
seemed so intent upon others as totally to forget herself The whole
train of Lord Colambre's thoughts was so completely deranged that,
although he was sensible there was something of importance he had to say
to his mother, yet, when Mr. Soho's departure left him opportunity to
speak, he stood silent, unable to recollect anything but--Grace Nugent.

When Grace Nugent left the room, after some minutes' silence, and some
effort, Lord Colambre said to his mother, 'Pray, madam, do you know
anything of Sir Terence O'Fay?'

'I!' Said Lady Clonbrony, drawing up her head proudly; 'I know he is a
person I cannot endure. He is no friend of mine, I can assure you--nor
any such sort of person.'

'I thought it was impossible!' cried Colambre, with exultation.

'I only wish your father, Colambre, could say as much,' added Lady
Clonbrony.

Lord Colambre's countenance fell again; and again he was silent for some
time.

'Does my father dine at home, ma'am?'

'I suppose not; he seldom dines at home.'

'Perhaps, ma'am, my father may have some cause to be uneasy about--'

'About?' said Lady Clonbrony, in a tone, and with a look of curiosity
which convinced her son that she knew nothing of his debts or
distresses, if he had any. 'About what?' repeated her ladyship.

Here was no receding, and Lord Colambre never had recourse to artifice.

'About his affairs, I was going to say, madam. But, since you know
nothing of any difficulties or embarrassments, I am persuaded that none
exist.'

Nay, I CAWNT tell you that, Colambre. There are difficulties for ready
money, I confess, when I ask for it, which surprise me often. I know
nothing of affairs--ladies of a certain rank seldom do, you know. But,
considering your father's estate, and the fortune I brought him,'
added her ladyship, proudly, 'I CAWNT conceive it at all. Grace Nugent,
indeed, often talks to me of embarrassments and economy; but that, poor
thing, is very natural for her, because her fortune is not particularly
large, and she has left it all, or almost all, in her uncle and
guardian's hands. I know she's often distressed for odd money to lend
me, and that makes her anxious.'

'Is not Miss Nugent very much admired, ma'am, in London?'

'Of course--in the company she is in, you know, she has every advantage.
And she has a natural family air of fashion--not but what she would have
got on much better, if, when she first appeared in Lon'on, she had taken
my advice, and wrote herself on her cards Miss de Nogent, which would
have taken off the prejudice against the IRICISM of Nugent, you know;
and there is a Count de Nogent.'

'I did not know there was any such prejudice, ma'am. There may be among
a certain set; but, I should think, not among well-informed, well-bred
people.'

'I BIG your PAWDON, Colambre; surely I, that was born in England, an
Henglish-woman BAWN! must be well INFAWMED on this PINT, anyway.'

Lord Colambre was respectfully silent.

'Mother,' resumed he, 'I wonder that Miss Nugent is not married!'

'That is her own fau't, entirely; she has refused very good
offers--establishments that, I own, I think, as Lady Langdale says, I
was to blame to allow her to let pass; but young LEDIES till they are
twenty, always think they can do better. Mr. Martingale, of Martingale,
proposed for her, but she objected to him on account of he's being on
the turf; and Mr. St. Albans' L7000 a year--because--I REELLY forget
what--I believe only because she did not like him--and something about
principles. Now there is Colonel Heathcock, one of the most fashionable
young men you see, always with the Duchess of Torcaster and that
set--Heathcock takes a vast deal of notice of her, for him; and yet, I'm
persuaded, she would not have him to-morrow, if he came to the PINT, and
for no reason, REELLY now, that she can give me, but because she says
he's a coxcomb. Grace has a tincture of Irish pride. But, for my part,
I rejoice that she is so difficult, for I don't know what I should do
without her.'

'Miss Nugent is indeed--very much attached to you, mother, I am
convinced,' said Lord Colambre, beginning his sentence with great
enthusiasm, and ending it with great sobriety.

'Indeed then, she's a sweet girl, and I am very partial to her, there's
the truth,' cried Lady Clonbrony, in an undisguised Irish accent, and
with her natural warm manner. But a moment afterwards her features and
whole form resumed their constrained stillness and stiffness, and, in
her English accent, she continued--

'Before you put my IDEES out of my head, Colambre, I had something
to say to you--Oh! I know what it was--we were talking of
embarrassments--and I wished to do your father the justice to mention
to you that he has been UNCOMMON LIBERAL to me about this gala, and has
REELLY given me carte-blanche; and I've a notion--indeed I know--that it
is you, Colambre, I am to thank for this.'

'Me!--ma'am!'

'Yes! Did not your father give you any hint?'

'No, ma'am; I have seen my father but for half an hour since I came to
town, and in that time he said nothing to me--of his affairs.'

'But what I allude to is more your affair.'

'He did not speak to me of any affairs, ma'am--he spoke only of my
horses.'

'Then I suppose my lord leaves it to me to open the matter to you. I
have the pleasure to tell you, that we have in view for you--and I
think I may say with more than the approbation of all her family--an
alliance--'

'Oh! my dear mother! you cannot be serious,' cried Lord Colambre; 'you
know I am not of years of discretion yet--I shall not think of marrying
these ten years, at least.'

'Why not? Nay, my dear Colambre, don't go, I beg--I am serious, I assure
you--and, to convince you of it, I shall tell you candidly, at once, all
your father told me: that now you've done with Cambridge, and are come
to Lon'on, he agrees with me in wishing that you should make the figure
you ought to make, Colambre, as sole heir-apparent to the Clonbrony
estate, and all that sort of thing. But, on the other hand, living in
Lon'on, and making you the handsome allowance you ought to have, are,
both together, more than your father can afford, without inconvenience,
he tells me.'

'I assure you, mother, I shall be content--'

'No, no; you must not be content, child, and you must hear me. You must
live in a becoming style, and make a proper appearance. I could not
present you to my friends here, nor be happy, if you did not, Colambre.
Now the way is clear before you: you have birth and title, here is
fortune ready made; you will have a noble estate of your own when old
Quin dies, and you will not be any encumbrance or inconvenience to your
father or anybody. Marrying an heiress accomplishes all this at once;
and the young lady is everything we could wish, besides--you will meet
again at the gala. Indeed, between ourselves, she is the grand object of
the gala; all her friends will come EN MASSE, and one should wish that
they should see things in proper style. You have seen the young lady in
question, Colambre--Miss Broadhurst. Don't you recollect the young lady
I introduced you to last night after the opera?'

'The little, plain girl, covered with diamonds, who was standing beside
Miss Nugent?'

'In di'monds, yes. But you won't think her plain when you see more of
her--that wears off; I thought her plain, at first--I hope--'

'I hope,' said Lord Colambre, 'that you will not take it unkindly of
me, my dear mother, if I tell you, at once, that I have no thoughts of
marrying at present--and that I never will marry for money. Marrying an
heiress is not even a new way of paying old debts--at all events, it is
one to which no distress could persuade me to have recourse; and as I
must, if I outlive old Mr. Quin, have an independent fortune, THERE IS
NO occasion to purchase one by marriage.'

'There is no distress, that I know of, in the case,' cried Lady
Clonbrony. 'Where is your imagination running, Colambre? But merely for
your establishment, your independence.'

'Establishment, I want none--independence I do desire, and will
preserve. Assure my father, my DEAR MOTHER, that I will not be
an expense to him. I will live within the allowance he made me at
Cambridge--I will give up half of it--I will do anything for his
convenience--but marry for money, that I cannot do.'

'Then, Colambre, you are very disobliging,' said Lady Clonbrony, with an
expression of disappointment and displeasure; 'for your father says,
if you don't marry Miss Broadhurst, we can't live in Lon'on another
winter.'

This said--which, had she been at the moment mistress of herself, she
would not have let out--Lady Clonbrony abruptly quitted the room. Her
son stood motionless, saying to himself--

'Is this my mother?--How altered!'

The next morning he seized an opportunity of speaking to his father,
whom he caught, with difficulty, just when he was going out, as usual,
for the day. Lord Colambre, with all the respect due to his father, and
with that affectionate manner by which he always knew how to soften the
strength of his expressions, made nearly the same declarations of his
resolution, by which his mother had been so much surprised and offended.
Lord Clonbrony seemed more embarrassed, but not so much displeased. When
Lord Colambre adverted, as delicately as he could, to the selfishness of
desiring from him the sacrifice of liberty for life, to say nothing of
his affections, merely to enable his family to make a splendid figure
in London, Lord Clonbrony exclaimed, 'That's all nonsense!--cursed
nonsense! That's the way we are obliged to state the thing to your
mother, my dear boy, because I might talk her deaf before she would
understand or listen to anything else. But, for my own share, I don't
care a rush if London was sunk in the salt sea. Little Dublin for my
money, as Sir Terence O'Fay says.'

'Who is Sir Terence O'Fay, may I ask, sir?'

'Why, don't you know Terry? Ay, you've been so long at Cambridge, I
forgot. And did you never see Terry?'

'I have seen him, sir--I met him yesterday at Mr. Mordicai's, the
coachmaker's.'

'Mordicai's!' exclaimed Lord Clonbrony, with a sudden blush, which
he endeavoured to hide by taking snuff. 'He is a damned rascal, that
Mordicai! I hope you didn't believe a word he said--nobody does that
knows him.'

'I am glad, sir, that you seem to know him so well, and to be upon your
guard against him,' replied Lord Colambre; 'for, from what I heard of
his conversation, when he was not aware who I was, I am convinced he
would do you any injury in his power.'

'He shall never have me in his power, I promise him. We shall take care
of that. But what did he say?'

Lord Colambre repeated the substance of what Mordicai had said, and Lord
Clonbrony reiterated--'Damned rascal!--damned rascal! I'll get out
of his hands; I'll have no more to do with him.' But, as he spoke,
he exhibited evident symptoms of uneasiness, moving continually, and
shifting from leg to leg like a foundered horse.

He could not bring himself positively to deny that he had debts and
difficulties; but he would by no means open the state of his affairs
to his son--'No father is called upon to do that,' said he to himself;
'none but a fool would do it.'

Lord Colambre, perceiving his father's embarrassment, withdrew his eyes,
respectfully refrained from all further inquiries, and simply repeated
the assurance he had made to his mother, that he would put his family to
no additional expense; and that, if it was necessary, he would willingly
give up half his allowance.

'Not at all--not at all, my dear boy,' said his father; 'I would rather
cramp myself than that you should be cramped, a thousand times over.
But it is all my Lady Clonbrony's nonsense. If people would but, as they
ought, stay in their own country, live on their own estates, and kill
their own mutton, money need never be wanting.'

For killing their own mutton, Lord Colambre did not see the
indispensable necessity; but he rejoiced to hear his father assert that
people should reside in their own country.

'Ay,' cried Lord Clonbrony, to strengthen his assertion, as he always
thought it necessary to do, by quoting some other person's opinion. 'So
Sir Terence O'Fay always says, and that's the reason your mother can't
endure poor Terry. You don't know Terry? No, you have only seen him;
but, indeed, to see him is to know him; for he is the most off-hand,
good fellow in Europe.'

'I don't pretend to know him yet,' said Lord Colambre. 'I am not so
presumptuous as to form my opinion at first sight.'

'Oh, curse your modesty!' interrupted Lord Clonbrony; 'you mean, you
don't pretend to like him yet; but Terry will make you like him. I
defy you not. I'll introduce you to him--him to you, I mean--most
warn-hearted, generous dog upon earth--convivial--jovial--with wit and
humour enough, in his own way, to split you--split me if he has not. You
need not cast down your eyes, Colambre. What's your objection?'

'I have made none, sir; but, if you urge me, I can only say that, if
he has all these good qualities, it is to be regretted that he does not
look and speak a little more like a gentleman.'

'A gentleman! he is as much a gentleman as any of your formal prigs--not
the exact Cambridge cut, maybe. Curse your English education! 'Twas none
of my advice. I suppose you mean to take after your mother in the notion
that nothing can be good, or genteel, but what's English.'

'Far from it, sir; I assure you, I am as warm a friend to Ireland as
your heart could wish. You will have no reason, in that respect at
least, nor, I hope, in any other, to curse my English education; and,
if my gratitude and affection can avail, you shall never regret the
kindness and liberality with which you have, I fear, distressed yourself
to afford me the means of becoming all that a British nobleman ought to
be.'

'Gad! you distress me now!' said Lord Clonbrony, 'and I didn't expect
it, or I wouldn't make a fool of myself this way,' added he, ashamed of
his emotion, and whiffling it off. 'You have an Irish heart, that I see,
which no education can spoil. But you must like Terry. I'll give you
time, as he said to me, when first he taught me to like usquebaugh. Good
morning to you!'

Whilst Lady Clonbrony, in consequence of her residence in London, had
become more of a fine lady, Lord Clonbrony, since he left Ireland,
had become less of a gentleman. Lady Clonbrony, born an Englishwoman,
disclaiming and disencumbering herself of all the Irish in town, had,
by giving splendid entertainments, at an enormous expense, made her way
into a certain set of fashionable company. But Lord Clonbrony, who was
somebody in Ireland, who was a great person in Dublin, found himself
nobody in England, a mere cipher in London, Looked down upon by the fine
people with whom his lady associated, and heartily weary of them,
he retreated from them altogether, and sought entertainment and
self-complacency in society beneath him--indeed, both in rank and
education, but in which he had the satisfaction of feeling himself the
first person in company. Of these associates, the first in talents, and
in jovial profligacy, was Sir Terence O'Fay--a man of low extraction,
who had been knighted by an Irish lord-lieutenant in some convivial
frolic. No one could tell a good story, or sing a good song better
than Sir Terence; he exaggerated his native brogue, and his natural
propensity to blunder, caring little whether the company laughed at him
or with him, provided they laughed. 'Live and laugh--laugh and live,'
was his motto; and certainly he lived on laughing, as well as many
better men can contrive to live on a thousand a year.

Lord Clonbrony brought Sir Terence home with him next day to introduce
him to Lord Colambre; and it happened that on this occasion Terence
appeared to peculiar disadvantage, because, like many other people, 'Il
gatoit l'esprit qu'il avoit en voulant avoir celui qu'il n'avoit pas.'

Having been apprised that Lord Colambre was a fine scholar, fresh from
Cambridge, and being conscious of his own deficiencies of literature,
instead of trusting to his natural talents, he summoned to his aid, with
no small effort, all the scraps of learning he had acquired in early
days, and even brought before the company all the gods and goddesses
with whom he had formed an acquaintance at school. Though embarrassed
by this unusual encumbrance of learning, he endeavoured to make all
subservient to his immediate design, of paying his court to Lady
Clonbrony, by forwarding the object she had most anxiously in view--the
match between her son and Miss Broadhurst.

'And so, Miss Nugent,' said he, not daring, with all his assurance, to
address himself directly to Lady Clonbrony--'and so, Miss Nugent, you
are going to have great doings, I'm told, and a wonderful grand gala.
There's nothing in the wide world equal to being in a good, handsome
crowd. No later now than the last ball at the Castle that was before I
left Dublin, Miss Nugent--the apartments, owing to the popularity of my
lady-lieutenant, was so throng--so throng--that I remember very well,
in the doorway, a lady--and a very genteel woman she was too, though a
stranger to me--saying to me, "Sir, your finger's in my ear." "I know
it, madam," says I, "but I can't take it out till the crowd give me
elbow room."

'But it's gala I'm thinking of now. I hear you are to have the golden
Venus, my Lady Clonbrony, won't you?'

'Sir!'

This freezing monosyllable notwithstanding, Sir Terence pursued his
course fluently. 'The golden Venus!--Sure, Miss Nugent, you, that are so
quick, can't but know I would apostrophise Miss Broadhurst that is, but
that won't be long so, I hope. My Lord Colambre, have you seen much yet
of that young lady?'

'No, sir.'

'Then I hope you won't be long so. I hear great talk now of the Venus
of Medicis, and the Venus of this and that, with the Florence Venus, and
the sable Venus, and that other Venus, that's washing of her hair, and a
hundred other Venuses, some good, some bad. But, be that as it will, my
lord, trust a fool--ye may, when he tells you truth--the golden Venus
is the only one on earth that can stand, or that will stand, through all
ages and temperatures; for gold rules the court, gold rules the camp,
and men below, and heaven above.'

'Heaven above! Take care, Terry! Do you know what you're saying?'
interrupted Lord Clonbrony.

'Do I? Don't I?' replied Terry. 'Deny, if you please, my lord, that
it was for a golden pippin that the three goddesses FIT--and that the
HIPPOMENES was about golden apples--and did not Hercules rob a garden
for golden apples?--and did not the pious Eneas himself take a golden
branch with him, to make himself welcome to his father in hell?' said
Sir Terence, winking at Lord Colambre.

'Why, Terry, you know more about books than I should have suspected,'
said Lord Clonbrony.

'Nor you would not have suspected me to have such a great acquaintance
among the goddesses neither, would you, my lord? But, apropos, before we
quit, of what material, think ye, was that same Venus's famous girdle,
now, that made roses and lilies so quickly appear? Why, what was it, but
a girdle of sterling gold, I'll engage?--for gold is the only true thing
for a young man to look after in a wife.'

Sir Terence paused, but no applause ensued.

'Let them talk of Cupids and darts, and the mother of the Loves and
Graces. Minerva may sing odes and DYTHAMBRICS, or whatsoever her
wisdomship pleases. Let her sing, or let her say she'll never get a
husband in this world or the other, without she had a good thumping
FORTIN, and then she'd go off like wildfire.'

'No, no, Terry, there you're out; Minerva has too bad a character for
learning to be a favourite with gentlemen,' said Lord Clonbrony.

'Tut--Don't tell me!--I'd get her off before you could say Jack
Robinson, and thank you too, if she had fifty thousand down, or a
thousand a year in land. Would you have a man so d-d nice as to balk
when house and land is a-going--a-going--a-going!--because of the
encumbrance of a little learning? I never heard that Miss Broadhurst was
anything of a learned lady.'

'Miss Broadhurst!' said Grace Nugent; 'how did you get round to Miss
Broadhurst?'

'Oh! by the way of Tipperary,' said Lord Colambre.

'I beg your pardon, my lord, it was apropos to a good fortune, which,
I hope, will not be out of your way, even if you went by Tipperary. She
has, besides L100,000 in the funds, a clear landed property of L10,000
per annum. WELL! SOME PEOPLE TALK OF MORALITY, AND SOME OF RELIGION, BUT
GIVE ME A LITTLE SNUG PROPERTY. But, my lord, I've a little business
to transact this morning, and must not be idling and indulging myself
here.' So, bowing to the ladies, he departed.

'Really, I am glad that man is gone,' said Lady Clonbrony. 'What a
relief to one's ears! I am sure I wonder, my lord, how you can bear to
carry that strange creature always about with you--so vulgar as he is.'

'He diverts me,' said Lord Clonbrony, 'while many of your
correct-mannered fine ladies or gentlemen put me to sleep. What
signifies what accent people speak in that have nothing to say--hey,
Colambre?'

Lord Colambre, from respect to his father, did not express his opinion,
but his aversion to Sir Terence O'Fay was stronger even than his
mother's; though Lady Clonbrony's detestation of him was much increased
by perceiving that his coarse hints about Miss Broadhurst had operated
against her favourite scheme.

The next morning, at breakfast, Lord Clonbrony talked of bringing Sir
Terence with him that night to her gala. She absolutely grew pale with
horror.

'Good heavens! Lady Langdale, Mrs. Dareville, Lady Pococke, Lady
Chatterton, Lady D--, Lady G--, his Grace of V--; what would they
think of him? And Miss Broadhurst to see him going about with my Lord
Clonbrony!'--It could not be. No; her ladyship made the most solemn
and desperate protestation, that she would sooner give up her gala
altogether--tie up the knocker--say she was sick--rather be sick, or be
dead, than be obliged to have such a creature as Sir Terence O'Fay at
her gala.

'Have it your own way, my dear, as you have everything else!' cried
Lord Clonbrony, taking up his hat, and preparing to decamp; 'but, take
notice, if you won't receive him you need not expect me. So a good
morning to you, my Lady Clonbrony. You may find a worse friend in need,
yet, than that same Sir Terence O'Fay.'

'I trust I shall never be in need, my lord,' replied her ladyship. 'It
would be strange, indeed, if I were, with the fortune I brought.'

'Oh! that fortune of hers!' cried Lord Clonbrony, stopping both his ears
as he ran out of the room; 'shall I never hear the end of that fortune,
when I've seen the end of it long ago?'

During this matrimonial dialogue, Grace Nugent and Lord Colambre never
once looked at each other. Grace was very diligently trying the changes
that could be made in the positions of a china-mouse, a cat, a dog,
a cup, and a Brahmin, on the mantelpiece; Lord Colambre as diligently
reading the newspaper.

'Now, my dear Colambre,' said Lady Clonbrony, 'put down the paper,
and listen to me. Let me entreat you not to neglect Miss Broadhurst
to-night, as I know that the family come here chiefly on your account.'

'My dear mother, I never can neglect any deserving young lady, and
particularly one of your guests; but I shall be careful not to do more
than not to neglect, for I never will pretend what I do not feel.'

'But, my dear Colambre, Miss Broadhurst is everything you could wish,
except being a beauty.'

'Perhaps, madam,' said Lord Colambre, fixing his eyes on Grace Nugent,
'you think that I can see no farther than a handsome face?'

The unconscious Grace Nugent now made a warm eulogium of Miss
Broadhurst's sense, and wit, and independence of character.

'I did not know that Miss Broadhurst was a friend of yours, Miss
Nugent?'

'She is, I assure you, a friend of mine; and, as a proof, I will not
praise her at this moment. I will go farther still--I will promise that
I never will praise her to you till you begin to praise her to me.'

Lord Colambre smiled, and now listened, as if he wished that Grace
should go on speaking, even of Miss Broadhurst.

'That's my sweet Grace!' cried Lady Clonbrony. 'Oh! she knows how to
manage these men--not one of them can resist her!'

Lord Colambre, for his part, did not deny the truth of this assertion.

'Grace,' added Lady Clonbrony, 'make him promise to do as we would have
him.'

'No; promises are dangerous things to ask or to give,' said Grace. 'Men
and naughty children never make promises, especially promises to be
good, without longing to break them the next minute.'

'Well, at least, child, persuade him, I charge you, to make my gala
go off well. That's the first thing we ought to think of now. Ring the
bell! And all heads and hands I put in requisition for the gala.'



CHAPTER III

The opening of her gala, the display of her splendid reception-rooms,
the Turkish tent, the Alhambra, the pagoda, formed a proud moment
to Lady Clonbrony. Much did she enjoy, and much too naturally,
notwithstanding all her efforts to be stiff and stately, much too
naturally did she show her enjoyment of the surprise excited in some and
affected by others on their first entrance.

One young, very young lady expressed her astonishment so audibly as to
attract the notice of all the bystanders. Lady Clonbrony, delighted,
seized both her hands, shook them, and laughed heartily; then, as the
young lady with her party passed on, her ladyship recovered herself,
drew up her head, and said to the company near her--

'Poor thing! I hope I covered her little NAIVETE properly? How NEW she
must be!'

Then, with well-practised dignity, and half-subdued self-complacency
of aspect, her ladyship went gliding about--most importantly busy,
introducing my lady THIS to the sphynx candelabra, and my lady THAT to
the Trebisond trellice; placing some delightfully for the perspective of
the Alhambra; establishing others quite to her satisfaction on seraglio
ottomans; and honouring others with a seat under the statira, canopy.
Receiving and answering compliments from successive crowds of select
friends, imagining herself the mirror of fashion, and the admiration of
the whole world, Lady Clonbrony was, for her hour, as happy certainly as
ever woman was in similar circumstances.

Her son looked at her, and wished that this happiness could last.
Naturally inclined to sympathy, Lord Colambre reproached himself for not
feeling as gay at this instant as the occasion required. But the festive
scene, the blazing lights, the 'universal hubbub,' failed to raise his
spirits. As a dead weight upon them hung the remembrance of Mordicai's
denunciations; and, through the midst of this Eastern magnificence, this
unbounded profusion, he thought he saw future domestic misery and ruin
to those he loved best in the world.

The only object present on which his eye rested with pleasure was Grace
Nugent. Beautiful--in elegant and dignified simplicity--thoughtless
of herself--yet with a look of thought, and with an air of melancholy,
which accorded exactly with his own feelings, and which he believed to
arise from the same reflections that had passed in his own mind.

'Miss Broadhurst, Colambre! all the Broadhursts!' said his mother,
wakening him, as she passed by, to receive them as they entered.
Miss Broadhurst appeared, plainly dressed--plainly, even to
singularity--without any diamonds or ornament.

'Brought Philippa to you, my dear Lady Clonbrony, this figure, rather
than not bring her at all,' said puffing Mrs. Broadhurst; 'and had all
the difficulty in the world to get her out at all, and now I've promised
she shall stay but half an hour. Sore throat--terrible cold she took
in the morning. I'll swear for her, she'd not have come for any one but
you.'

The young lady did not seem inclined to swear, or even to say this
for herself; she stood wonderfully unconcerned and passive, with an
expression of humour lurking in her eyes, and about the corners of
her mouth; whilst Lady Clonbrony was 'shocked,' and 'gratified,'
and 'concerned' and 'flattered' and whilst everybody was hoping, and
fearing, and busying themselves about her--'Miss Broadhurst, you'd
better sit here!'--'Oh, for Heaven's sake! Miss Broadhurst, not there!'
'Miss Broadhurst, if you'll take my opinion;' and 'Miss Broadhurst, if I
may advise--'

'Grace Nugent!' cried Lady Clonbrony--'Miss Broadhurst always listens to
you. Do, my dear, persuade Miss Broadhurst to take care of herself, and
let us take her to the inner little pagoda, where she can be so warm and
so retired--the very thing for an invalid. Colambre! pioneer the way for
us, for the crowd's immense.'

Lady Anne and Lady Catharine H--, Lady Langdale's daughters, were at
this time leaning on Miss Nugent's arm, and moved along with this
party to the inner pagoda. There was to be cards in one room, music in
another, dancing in a third, and, in this little room, there were prints
and chess-boards, etc.

'Here you will be quite to yourselves,' said Lady Clonbrony; 'let
me establish you comfortably in this, which I call my sanctuary--my
SNUGGERY--Colambre, that little table!--Miss Broadhurst, you play chess?
Colambre, you'll play with Miss Broadhurst--'

'I thank your ladyship,' said Miss Broadhurst, 'but I know nothing of
chess, but the moves. Lady Catharine, you will play, and I will look
on.'

Miss Broadhurst drew her seat to the fire; Lady Catharine sat down to
play with Lord Colambre; Lady Clonbrony withdrew, again recommending
Miss Broadhurst to Grace Nugent's care. After some commonplace
conversation, Lady Anne H---, looking at the company in the adjoining
apartment, asked her sister how old Miss Somebody was, who passed by.
This led to reflections upon the comparative age and youthful appearance
of several of their acquaintance, and upon the care with which mothers
concealed the age of their daughters. Glances passed between Lady
Catharine and Lady Anne.

'For my part,' said Miss Broadhurst, 'my mother would 'labour that point
of secrecy in vain for me; for I am willing to tell my age, even if
my face did not tell it for me, to all whom it may concern. I am past
three-and-twenty--shall be four-and-twenty the 5th of next July.'

'Three-and-twenty! Bless me! I thought you were not twenty!' cried Lady
Anne.

'Four-and-twenty next July!--impossible!' cried Lady Catharine.

'Very possible,' said Miss Broadhurst, quite unconcerned.

'Now, Lord Colambre, would you believe it? Can you believe it?' asked
Lady Catharine.

'Yes, he can,' said Miss Broadhurst. 'Don't you see that he believes it
as firmly as you and I do? Why should you force his lordship to pay a
compliment contrary to his better judgment, or to extort a smile from
him under false pretences? I am sure he sees that you, ladies, and I
trust he perceives that I, do not think the worse of him for this.'

Lord Colambre smiled now without any false pretence; and, relieved at
once from all apprehension of her joining in his mother's views, or of
her expecting particular attention from him, he became at ease with Miss
Broadhurst, shelved a desire to converse with her, and listened eagerly
to what she said. He recollected that Grace Nugent had told him that
this young lady had no common character; and, neglecting his move at
chess, he looked up at Grace as much as to say, 'DRAW HER OUT, pray.'

But Grace was too good a friend to comply with that request; she left
Miss Broadhurst to unfold her own character.

'It is your move, my lord,' said Lady Catharine.

'I beg your ladyship's pardon--'

'Are not these rooms beautiful, Miss Broadhurst?' said Lady Catharine,
determined, if possible, to turn the conversation into a commonplace,
safe channel; for she had just felt, what most of Miss Broadhurst's
acquaintance had in their turn felt, that she had an odd way of
startling people, by setting their own secret little motives suddenly
before them, 'Are not these rooms beautiful?'

'Beautiful!--Certainly.'

The beauty of the rooms would have answered Lady Catharine's purpose for
some time, had not Lady Anne imprudently brought the conversation back
again to Miss Broadhurst.

'Do you know, Miss Broadhurst,' said she, 'that if I had fifty sore
throats, I could not have refrained from my diamonds on this GALA night;
and such diamonds as you have! Now, really, I could not believe you to
be the same person we saw blazing at the opera the other night!'

'Really! could not you, Lady Anne? That is the very thing that
entertains me. I only wish that I could lay aside my fortune sometimes,
as well as my diamonds, and see how few people would know me then. Might
not I, Grace, by the golden rule, which, next to practice, is the best
rule in the world, calculate and answer that question?'

'I am persuaded,' said Lord Colambre, 'that Miss Broadhurst has friends
on whom the experiment would make no difference.'

'I am convinced of it,' said Miss Broadhurst; 'and that is what makes me
tolerably happy, though I have the misfortune to be an heiress.'

'That is the oddest speech,' said Lady Anne. 'Now I should so like to be
a great heiress, and to have, like you, such thousands and thousands at
command.'

'And what can the thousands upon thousands do for me? Hearts, you
know, Lady Anne, are to be won only by radiant eyes. Bought hearts your
ladyship certainly would not recommend. They're such poor things--no
wear at all. Turn them which way you will, you can make nothing of
them.'

'You've tried then, have you?' said Lady Catharine.

'To my cost. Very nearly taken in by them half a dozen times; for they
are brought to me by dozens; and they are so made up for sale, and the
people do so swear to you that it's real, real love, and it looks so
like it; and, if you stoop to examine it, you hear it pressed upon
you by such elegant oaths--By all that's lovely!--By all my hopes of
happiness!--By your own charming self! Why, what can one do but look
like a fool, and believe; for these men, at the time, all look so like
gentlemen, that one cannot bring oneself flatly to tell them that they
are cheats and swindlers, that they are perjuring their precious souls.
Besides, to call a lover a perjured creature is to encourage him. He
would have a right to complain if you went back after that.'

'Oh dear! what a move was there!' cried Lady Catharine. 'Miss Broadhurst
is so entertaining to-night, notwithstanding her sore throat, that one
can positively attend to nothing else. And she talks of love and lovers
too with such CONNAISSANCE DE FAIT--counts her lovers by dozens, tied up
in true-lovers' knots!'

'Lovers!--no, no! Did I say lovers?--suitors I should have said. There's
nothing less like a lover, a true lover, than a suitor, as all the world
knows, ever since the days of Penelope. Dozens!--never had a lover in my
life! And fear, with much reason, I never shall have one to my mind.'

'My lord, you've given up the game,' cried Lady Catharine; 'but you make
no battle.'

'It would be so vain to combat against your ladyship,' said Lord
Colambre, rising, and bowing politely to Lady Catharine, but turning the
next instant to converse with Miss Broadhurst.

But when I talked of liking to be an heiress,' said Lady Anne, 'I was
not thinking of lovers.'

'Certainly. One is not always thinking of lovers, you know,' added Lady
Catharine.

'Not always,' replied Miss Broadhurst. 'Well, lovers out of the question
on all sides, what would your ladyship buy with the thousands upon
thousands?'

'Oh, everything, if I were you,' said Lady Anne.

'Rank, to begin with,' said Lady Catharine.

'Still my old objection--bought rank is but a shabby thing.'

'But there is so little difference made between bought and hereditary
rank in these days,' said Lady Catharine.

'I see a great deal still,' said Miss Broadhurst; 'so much, that I would
never buy a title.'

'A title without birth, to be sure,' said Lady Anne, 'would not be so
well worth buying; and as birth certainly is not to be bought--'

'And even birth, were it to be bought, I would not buy,' said Miss
Broadhurst, 'unless I could be sure to have with it all the politeness,
all the noble sentiments, all the magnanimity--in short, all that should
grace and dignify high birth.'

'Admirable!' said Lord Colambre. Grace Nugent smiled.

'Lord Colambre, will you have the goodness to put my mother in mind I
must go away?'

'I am bound to obey, but I am very sorry for it,' said his lordship.

'Are we to have any dancing to-night, I wonder?' said Lady Catharine.
'Miss Nugent, I am afraid we have made Miss Broadhurst talk so much, in
spite of her hoarseness, that Lady Clonbrony will be quite angry with
us. And here she comes!'

My Lady Clonbrony came to hope, to beg, that Miss Broadhurst would not
think of running away; but Miss Broadhurst could not be prevailed upon
to stay. Lady Clonbrony was delighted to see that her son assisted
Grace Nugent most carefully in SHAWLING Miss Broadhurst; his lordship
conducted her to her carriage, and his mother drew many happy auguries
from the gallantry of his manner, and from the young lady's having
stayed three-quarters, instead of half an hour--a circumstance which
Lady Catharine did not fail to remark.

The dancing, which, under various pretences, Lady Clonbrony had
delayed till Lord Colambre was at liberty, began immediately after Miss
Broadhurst's departure; and the chalked mosaic pavement of the Alhambra
was, in a few minutes, effaced by the dancers' feet. How transient are
all human joys, especially those of vanity! Even on this long meditated,
this long desired, this gala night, Lady Clonbrony found her triumph
incomplete--inadequate to her expectations. For the first hour all had
been compliment, success, and smiles; presently came the BUTS, and the
hesitated objections, and the 'damning with faint praise.' All THAT
could be borne. Everybody has his taste--and one person's taste is as
good as another's; and while she had Mr. Soho to cite, Lady Clonbrony
thought she might be well satisfied. But she could not be satisfied with
Colonel Heathcock, who, dressed in black, had stretched his 'fashionable
length of limb' under the statira canopy upon the snow-white swan-down
couch. When, after having monopolised attention, and been the subject
of much bad wit, about black swans and rare birds, and swans being geese
and geese being swans, the colonel condescended to rise, and, as Mrs.
Dareville said, to vacate his couch, that couch was no longer white--the
black impression of the colonel remained on the sullied snow.

'Eh, now! really didn't recollect I was in black,' was all the apology
he made. Lady Clonbrony was particularly vexed that the appearance of
the statira, canopy should be spoiled before the effect had been seen by
Lady Pococke, and Lady Chatterton, and Lady G--, Lady P--, and the Duke
of V--, and a party of superlative fashionables, who had promised TO LOOK
IN UPON HER, but who, late as it was, had not yet arrived. They came in
at last. But Lady Clonbrony had no reason to regret for their sake the
statira couch. It would have been lost upon them, as was everything
else which she had prepared with so much pains and cost to excite their
admiration, They came resolute not to admire. Skilled in the art of
making others unhappy, they just looked round with an air of apathy.
'Ah! you've had Soho!--Soho has done wonders for you here! Vastly
well!--Vastly well!--Soho's very clever in his way!'

Others of great importance came in, full of some slight accident that
had happened to themselves, or their horses, or their carriages; and,
with privileged selfishness, engrossed the attention of all within their
sphere of conversation. Well, Lady Clonbrony got over all this, and got
over the history of a letter about a chimney that was on fire, a week
ago, at the Duke of V's old house, in Brecknockshire. In gratitude
for the smiling patience with which she listened to him, his Grace of
V--fixed his glass to look at the Alhambra, and had just pronounced
it to be 'Well!--very well!' when the Dowager Lady Chatterton made
a terrible discovery--a discovery that filled Lady Clonbrony with
astonishment and indignation--Mr. Soho had played her false! What was
her mortification when the dowager assured her that these identical
Alhambra hangings had not only been shown by Mr. Soho to the Duchess
of Torcaster, but that her grace had had the refusal of them, and had
actually rejected them, in consequence of Sir Horace Grant the great
traveller's objecting to some of the proportions of the pillars.
Soho had engaged to make a new set, vastly improved, by Sir Horace's
suggestions, for her Grace of Torcaster.

Now Lady Chatterton was the greatest talker extant; and she went shout
the rooms telling everybody of her acquaintance--and she was acquainted
with everybody--how shamefully Soho had imposed upon poor Lady
Clonbrony, protesting she could not forgive the man. 'For,' said
she,'though the Duchess of Torcaster has been his constant customer for
ages, and his patroness, and all that, yet this does not excuse him and
Lady Clonbrony's being a stranger, and from Ireland, makes the thing
worse.' From Ireland!--that was the unkindest cut of all but there was
no remedy.

In vain poor Lady Clonbrony followed the dowager about the rooms, to
correct this mistake, and to represent, in justice to Mr. Soho, though
he had used her so ill, that he knew she was an Englishwoman, The
dowager was deaf, and no whisper could reach her ear. And when Lady
Clonbrony was obliged to bawl an explanation in her car, the dowager
only repeated--

'In justice to Mr. Soho!--No, no; he has not done you justice, my dear
Lady Clonbrony! and I'll expose him to everybody. Englishwoman--no, no,
no!--Soho could not take you for an Englishwoman!'

All who secretly envied or ridiculed Lady Clonbrony enjoyed this scene.
The Alhambra hangings, which had been, In one short hour before, the
admiration of the world, were now regarded by every eye with contempt,
as CAST hangings, and every tongue was busy declaiming against Mr. Soho;
everybody declared that, from the first, the want of proportion had
'struck them, but that they would not mention it till others found it
out.'

People usually revenge themselves for having admired too much, by
afterwards despising and depreciating without mercy--in all great
assemblies the perception of ridicule is quickly caught, and quickly
too revealed. Lady Clonbrony, even in her own house, on her gala
night, became an object of ridicule--decently masked, indeed, under the
appearance of condolence with her ladyship, and of indignation against
'that abominable Mr. Soho!'

Lady Langdale, who was now, for reasons of her own, upon her good
behaviour, did penance, as she said, for her former imprudence, by
abstaining even from whispered sarcasms. She looked on with penitential
gravity, said nothing herself, and endeavoured to keep Mrs. Dareville in
order; but that was no easy task. Mrs. Dareville had no daughters,
had nothing to gain from the acquaintance of my Lady Clonbrony; and,
conscious that her ladyship would bear a vast deal from her presence,
rather than forego the honour of her sanction, Mrs. Dareville, without
any motives of interest, or good-nature of sufficient power to restrain
her talent and habit of ridicule, free from hope or fear, gave full
scope to all the malice of mockery, and all the insolence of fashion.
Her slings and arrows, numerous as they were and outrageous, were
directed against such petty objects, and the mischief was so quick,
in its aim and its operation, that, felt but not seen, it is scarcely
possible to register the hits, or to describe the nature of the wounds.

Some hits sufficiently palpable, however, were recorded for the
advantage of posterity. When Lady Clonbrony led her to look at the
Chinese pagoda, the lady paused, with her foot on the threshold, as
if afraid to enter this porcelain Elysium, as she called it--Fool's
Paradise, she would have said; and, by her hesitation, and by the
half-pronounced word, suggested the idea--'None but belles without
petticoats can enter here,' said she, drawing her clothes tight round
her; 'fortunately, I have but two, and Lady Langdale has but one.'
Prevailed upon to venture in, she walked on with prodigious care and
trepidation, affecting to be alarmed at the crowd of strange forms and
monsters by which she was surrounded.

'Not a creature here that I ever saw before in nature! Well, now I may
boast I've been in a real Chinese pagoda!'

'Why yes, everything is appropriate here, I flatter myself,' said Lady
Clonbrony.

'And how good of you, my dear Lady Clonbrony, in defiance of bulls and
blunders, to allow us a comfortable English fireplace and plenty
of Newcastle coal, in China!--And a white marble--no! white velvet
hearthrug, painted with beautiful flowers--oh, the delicate, the USEFUL
thing!'

Vexed by the emphasis on the word USEFUL, Lady Clonbrony endeavoured to
turn off the attention of the company. 'Lady Langdale, your ladyship's a
judge of china--this vase is an unique, I am told.'

'I am told,' interrupted Mrs. Dareville, 'this is the very vase in which
B--, the nabob's father, who was, you know, a China captain,
smuggled his dear little Chinese wife and all her fortune out of
Canton--positively, actually put the lid on, packed her up, and sent
her off on shipboard!--True! true! upon my veracity! I'll tell you my
authority!'

With this story Mrs. Dareville drew all attention from the jar, to Lady
Clonbrony's infinite mortification.

Lady Langdale at length turned to look at a vast range of china jars.

'Ali Baba and the forty thieves!' exclaimed Mrs. Dareville; 'I hope you
have boiling oil ready!'

Lady Clonbrony was obliged to laugh, and to vow that Mrs. Dareville was
uncommon pleasant to-night. 'But now,' said her ladyship, 'let me take
you on to the Turkish tent.'

Having with great difficulty got the malicious wit out of the pagoda and
into the Turkish tent, Lady Clonbrony began to breathe more freely;
for here she thought she was upon safe ground: 'Everything, I flatter
myself' said she, 'is correct and appropriate, and quite picturesque.'
The company, dispersed in happy groups, or reposing on seraglio
ottomans, drinking lemonade and sherbet beautiful Fatimas admiring,
or being admired--'Everything here quite correct, appropriate, and
picturesque,' repeated Mrs. Dareville.

This lady's powers as a mimic were extraordinary, and she found them
irresistible. Hitherto she had imitated Lady Clonbrony's air and accent
only behind her back; but, bolder grown, she now ventured, in spite of
Lady Langdale's warning pinches, to mimic her kind hostess before her
face, and to her face. Now, whenever Lady Clonbrony saw anything that
struck her fancy in the dress of her fashionable friends, she had a
way of hanging her head aside, and saying, with a peculiar sentimental
drawl--

'How pretty!--how elegant! Now that quite suits my TEESTE! This phrase,
precisely in the same accent, and with the head set to the same angle
of affectation, Mrs. Dareville had the assurance to address to her
ladyship, apropos to something which she pretended to admire in Lady
Clonbrony's COSTUME--a costume which, excessively fashionable in each of
its parts, was, all together, so extraordinarily unbecoming as to be fit
for a print-shop. The perception of this, added to the effect of Mrs.
Dareville's mimicry, was almost too much for Lady Langdale; she could
not possibly have stood it, but for the appearance of Miss Nugent at
this instant behind Lady Clonbrony. Grace gave one glance of indignation
which seemed suddenly to strike Mrs. Dareville. Silence for a moment
ensued, and afterwards the tone of the conversation was changed.

'Salisbury!--explain this to me,' said a lady, drawing Mr. Salisbury
aside. 'If you are in the secret, do explain this to me; for unless I
had seen it, I could not have believed it. Nay, though I have seen it, I
do not believe it. How was that daring spirit laid? By what spell?'

'By the spell which superior minds always cast on inferior spirits.'

'Very fine,' said the lady, laughing, 'but as old as the days of Leonora
de Galigai, quoted a million times. Now tell me something new and to the
purpose, and better suited to modern days.'

'Well, then, since you will not allow me to talk of superior minds in
the present days, let me ask you if you have never observed that a wit,
once conquered in company by a wit of a higher order, is thenceforward
in complete subjection to the conqueror, whenever and wherever they
meet.'

'You would not persuade me that yonder gentle-looking could ever be a
match for the veteran Mrs. Dareville? She may have the wit, but has she
the courage?'

'Yes; no one has more courage, more civil courage, where her own
dignity, or the interests of her friends are concerned. I will tell you
an instance or two to-morrow.'

'To-morrow!--To-night!--tell it me now.'

'Not a safe place.'

'The safest in the world, in such a crowd as this. Follow my example.
Take a glass of orgeat--sip from time to time, thus--speak low, looking
innocent all the while straight forward, or now and then up at
the lamps--keep on in an even tone--use no names--and you may tell
anything.'

'Well, then, when Miss Nugent first came to London, Lady Langdale--'

'Two names already--did not I warn ye?'

'But how can I make myself intelligible?'

'Initials--can't you use--or genealogy? What stops you?

'It is only Lord Colambre, a very safe person, I have a notion, when the
eulogium is of Grace Nugent.'

Lord Colambre, who had now performed his arduous duties as a dancer, and
had disembarrassed himself of all his partners, came into the Turkish
tent just at this moment to refresh himself, and just in time to hear
Mr. Salisbury's anecdotes.

'Now go on.'

'Lady Langdale, you know, sets an inordinate value upon her curtsies in
public, and she used to treat Miss Nugent, as her ladyship treats many
other people, sometimes noticing, and sometimes pretending not to know
her, according to the company she happened to be with. One day they
met in some fine company--Lady Langdale looked as if she was afraid
of committing herself by a curtsy. Miss Nugent waited for a good
opportunity; and, when all the world was silent, leant forward, and
called to Lady Langdale, as if she had something to communicate of the
greatest consequence, skreening her whisper with her hand, as in an
aside on the stage,--'Lady Langdale, you may curtsy to me now--nobody is
looking.'

'The retort courteous!' said Lord Colambre--'the only retort for a
woman.'

'And her ladyship deserved it so well. But Mrs. Dareville, what happened
about her?'

'Mrs. Dareville, you remember, some years ago, went to Ireland with some
lady-lieutenant to whom she was related. There she was most hospitably
received by Lord and Lady Clonbrony--went to their country house--was as
intimate with Lady Clonbrony and with Miss Nugent as possible--stayed
at Clonbrony Castle for a month; and yet, when Lady Clonbrony came to
London, never took the least notice of her. At last, meeting at the
house of a common friend, Mrs. Dareville could not avoid recognising
her ladyship; but, even then, did it in the least civil manner and most
cursory style possible. 'Ho! Lady Clonbrony!--didn't know you were in
England!--When did you come?--How long shall you stay in town!--Hope,
before you leave England, your Ladyship and Miss Nugent will give us
a day?' A DAY!--Lady Clonbrony was so astonished by this impudence of
ingratitude, that she hesitated how to TAKE IT; but Miss Nugent, quite
coolly, and with a smile, answered, 'A DAY!--certainly--to you, who gave
us a month!'

'Admirable! Now comprehend perfectly why Mrs. Dareville declines
insulting Miss Nugent's friends in her presence.'

Lord Colambre said nothing, but thought much. 'How I wish my mother,'
thought he, 'had some of Grace Nugent's proper pride! She would not then
waste her fortune, spirits, health, and life, in courting such people as
these.'

He had not seen--he could not have borne to have beheld--the manner in
which his mother had been treated by some of her guests; but he
observed that she now looked harassed and vexed; and he was provoked
and mortified by hearing her begging and beseeching some of these saucy
leaders of the ton to oblige her, to do her the favour, to do her the
honour, to stay to supper. It was just ready--actually announced. 'No,
they would not--they could not; they were obliged to run away--engaged
to the Duchess of Torcaster.'

'Lord Colambre, what is the matter?' said Miss Nugent, going up to him,
as he stood aloof and indignant: 'Don't look so like a chafed lion;
others may perhaps read your countenance as well as I do.'

'None can read my mind so well,' replied he. 'Oh, my dear Grace!'

'Supper!--supper!' cried she; 'your duty to your neighbour, your hand to
your partner.'

Lady Catharine, as they went downstairs to supper, observed that Miss
Nugent had not been dancing, that she had kept quite in the background
all night-quite in the shade.

'Those,' said Lord Colambre, 'who are contented in the 'shade are
the best able to bear the light; and I am not surprised that one so
interesting in the background should not desire to be the foremost
figure in a piece.'

The supper room, fitted up at great expense, with scenery to imitate
Vauxhall, opened into a superb greenhouse, lighted with coloured lamps,
a band of music at a distance--every delicacy, every luxury that
could gratify the senses, appeared in profusion. The company ate and
drank--enjoyed themselves--went away--and laughed at their hostess.
Some, indeed, who thought they had been neglected, were in too bad
humour to laugh, but abused her in sober earnest; for Lady Clonbrony had
offended half, nay, three-quarters of her guests, by what they termed
her exclusive attention to those very leaders of the ton, from whom
she had suffered so much, and who had made it obvious to all that they
thought they did her too much honour in appearing at her gala. So
ended the gala for which she had lavished such sums; for which she had
laboured so indefatigably; and from which she had expected such triumph.

'Colambre, bid the musicians stop; they are playing to empty benches,'
said Lady Clonbrony. 'Grace, my dear, will you see that these lamps are
safely put out? I am so tired, so WORN OUT, I must go to bed; and I am
sure I have caught cold too! What a NERVOUS BUSINESS it is to manage
these things! I wonder how one gets through it, or WHY one does it!'



CHAPTER IV

Lady Clonbrony was taken ill the day after her gala; she had caught cold
by standing, when much overheated, in a violent draught of wind, paying
her parting compliments to the Duke of V--, who thought her a bore, and
wished her in heaven all the time for keeping his horses standing. Her
ladyship's illness was severe and long; she was confined to her room for
some weeks by a rheumatic fever, and an inflammation in her eyes. Every
day, when Lord Colambre went to see his mother, he found Miss Nugent
in her apartment, and every hour he found fresh reason to admire this
charming girl. The affectionate tenderness, the indefatigable patience,
the strong attachment she showed for her aunt, actually raised Lady
Clonbrony in her son's opinion. He was persuaded she must surely have
some good or great qualities, or she could not have excited such strong
affection. A few foibles out of the question, such as her love of fine
people, her affectation of being English, and other affectations too
tedious to mention, Lady Clonbrony was really a good woman, had good
principles, moral and religious, and, selfishness not immediately
interfering, she was good-natured; and though her soul and attention
were so completely absorbed in the duties of acquaintanceship that she
did not know it, she really had affections--they were concentrated upon
a few near relations. She was extremely fond and extremely proud of
her son. Next to her son, she was fonder of her niece than of any other
creature. She had received Grace Nugent into her family when she was
left an orphan, and deserted by some of her other relations. She had
bred her up, and had treated her with constant kindness. This kindness
and these obligations had raised the warmest gratitude in Miss Nugent's
heart; and it was the strong principle of gratitude which rendered her
capable of endurance and exertions seemingly far above her strength.
This young lady was not of a robust appearance, though she now underwent
extraordinary fatigue. Her aunt could scarcely bear that she should
leave her for a moment: she could not close her eyes unless Grace sat
up with her many hours every night. Night after night she bore this
fatigue; and yet, with little sleep or rest, she preserved her health,
at least supported her spirits; and every morning, when Lord Colambre
came into his mother's room, he saw Miss Nugent look as blooming as
if she had enjoyed the most refreshing sleep. The bloom was, as he
observed, not permanent; it came and went, with every emotion of her
feeling heart; and he soon learned to fancy her almost as handsome when
she was pale as when she had a colour. He had thought her beautiful when
he beheld her in all the radiance of light, and with all the advantages
of dress at the gala, but he found her infinitely more lovely and
interesting now, when he saw her in a sick-room--a half-darkened
chamber--where often he could but just discern her form, or distinguish
her, except by her graceful motion as she passed, or when, but for a
moment, a window-curtain drawn aside let the sun shine upon her face, or
on the unadorned ringlets of her hair.

Much must be allowed for an inflammation in the eyes, and something for
a rheumatic fever; yet it may seem strange that Lady Clonbrony should be
so blind and deaf as neither to see nor hear all this time; that, having
lived so long in the world, it should never occur to her that it was
rather imprudent to have a young lady, not eighteen, nursing her--and
such a young lady!--when her son, not one-and-twenty--and such a
son!--came to visit her daily. But, so it was. Lady Clonbrony knew
nothing of love--she had read of it, indeed, in novels, which sometimes
for fashion's sake she had looked at, and over which she had been
obliged to doze; but this was only love in books--love in real life she
had never met with--in the life she led, how should she? She had heard
of its making young people, and old people even, do foolish things; but
those were foolish people; and if they were worse than foolish, why it
was shocking, and nobody visited them. But Lady Clonbrony had not, for
her own part, the slightest, notion how people could be brought to this
pass, nor how anybody out of Bedlam could prefer to a good house, a
decent equipage, and a proper establishment, what is called love in
a cottage. As to Colambre, she had too good an opinion of his
understanding--to say nothing of his duty to his family, his pride, his
rank, and his being her son--to let such an idea cross her imagination.
As to her niece; in the first place, she was her niece, and first
cousins should never marry, because they form no new connexions to
strengthen the family interest, or raise its consequence. This doctrine
her ladyship had repeated for years so often and so dogmatically, that
she conceived it to be incontrovertible, and of as full force as any law
of the land, or as any moral or religious obligation. She would as
soon have suspected her niece of an intention of stealing her diamond
necklace as of purloining Colambre's heart, or marrying this heir of the
house of Clonbrony.

Miss Nugent was so well apprised, and so thoroughly convinced of all
this, that she never for one moment allowed herself to think of Lord
Colambre as a lover. Duty, honour, and gratitude--gratitude, the strong
feeling and principle of her mind--forbade it; she had so prepared and
habituated herself to consider him as a person with whom she could not
possibly be united that, with perfect ease and simplicity, she behaved
towards him exactly as if he was her brother--not in the equivocating
sentimental romance style in which ladies talk of treating men as
their brothers, whom they are all the time secretly thinking of and
endeavouring to please as lovers--not using this phrase as a convenient
pretence, a safe mode of securing herself from suspicion or scandal, and
of enjoying the advantages of confidence and the intimacy of friendship,
till the propitious moment, when it should be time to declare or
avow THE SECRET OF THE HEART. No; this young lady was quite above
all double-dealing; she had no mental reservation--no metaphysical
subtleties--but, with plain, unsophisticated morality, in good faith
and simple truth, acted as she professed, thought what she said, and was
that which she seemed to be.

As soon as Lady Clonbrony was able to see anybody, her niece sent to
Mrs. Broadhurst, who was very intimate with the family; she used to
come frequently, almost every evening, to sit with the invalid. Miss
Broadhurst accompanied her mother, for she did not like to go out with
any other chaperon--it was disagreeable to spend her time alone at home,
and most agreeable to spend it with her friend Miss Nugent. In this
she had no design, no coquetry; Miss Broadhurst had too lofty and
independent a spirit to stoop to coquetry: she thought that, in their
interview at the gala, she understood Lord Colambre, and that
he understood her--that he was not inclined to court her for her
fortune--that she would not be content with any suitor who was not a
lover. She was two or three years older than Lord Colambre, perfectly
aware of her want of beauty, yet with a just sense of her own merit,
and of what was becoming and due to the dignity of her sex. This, she
trusted, was visible in her manners, and established in Lord Colambre's
mind; so that she ran no risk of being misunderstood by him; and as to
what the rest of the world thought, she was so well used to hear weekly
and daily reports of her going to be married to fifty different people,
that she cared little for what was said on this subject. Indeed,
conscious of rectitude, and with an utter contempt for mean and
commonplace gossiping, she was, for a woman, and a young woman, rather
too disdainful of the opinion of the world. Mrs. Broadhurst, though her
daughter had fully explained herself respecting Lord Colambre, before
she began this course of visiting, yet rejoiced that, even on this
footing, there should be constant intercourse between them. It was Mrs.
Broadhurst's warmest wish that her daughter should obtain rank, and
connect herself with an ancient family: she was sensible that the young
lady's being older than the gentleman might be an obstacle; and
very sorry she was to find that her daughter had so imprudently, so
unnecessarily, declared her age; but still this little obstacle might
be overcome; much greater difficulties in the marriage of inferior
heiresses were every day got over, and thought nothing of. Then, as to
the young lady's own sentiments, her mother knew them better than she
did herself; she understood her daughter's pride, that she dreaded to be
made an object of bargain and sale; but Mrs. Broadhurst, who, with all
her coarseness of mind, had rather a better notion of love matters
than Lady Clonbrony, perceived, through her daughter's horror of being
offered to Lord Colambre, through her anxiety that nothing approaching
to an advance on the part of her family should be made, that if Lord
Colambre should himself advance, he would stand a better chance of being
accepted than any other of the numerous persons who had yet aspired to
the favour of this heiress. The very circumstance of his having paid no
court to her at first, operated in his favour; for it proved that he was
not mercenary, and that, whatever attention he might afterwards show,
she must be sure would be sincere and disinterested.

'And now, let them but see one another in this easy, intimate kind of
way, and you will find, my dear Lady Clonbrony, things will go on of
their own accord, all the better for our--minding our cards--and never
minding anything else. I remember, when I was young--but let that
pass--let the young people see one another, and manage their own affairs
their own way--let them be together--that's all I say. Ask half the
men you are acquainted with why they married, and their answer, if they
speak truth, will be: "Because I met Miss such-a-one at such a place,
and we were continually together." Propinquity! propinquity!--as
my father used to say--and he was married five times, and twice to
heiresses.'

In consequence of this plan of leaving things to themselves, every
evening Lady Clonbrony made out her own little card-table with Mrs.
Broadhurst, and a Mr. and Miss Pratt, a brother and sister, who were the
most obliging, convenient neighbours imaginable. From time to time,
as Lady Clonbrony gathered up her cards, she would direct an inquiring
glance to the group of young people at the other table; whilst the more
prudent Mrs. Broadhurst sat plump with her back to them, pursing up her
lips, and contracting her brows in token of deep calculation, looking
down impenetrable at her cards, never even noticing Lady Clonbrony's
glances, but inquiring from her partner, 'How many they were by
honours?'

The young party generally consisted of Miss Broadhurst, Lord Colambre,
Miss Nugent, and her admirer, Mr. Salisbury. Mr. Salisbury was a
middle-aged gentleman, very agreeable, and well informed; he had
travelled; had seen a great deal of the world; had lived in the best
company; had acquired what is called good TACT; was full of anecdote,
not mere gossiping anecdotes that lead to nothing, but anecdotes
characteristic of national manners, of human nature in general, or of
those illustrious individuals who excite public curiosity and interest.
Miss Nugent had seen him always in large companies, where he was admired
for his SCAVOIR-VIVRE, and for his entertaining anecdotes, but where
he had no opportunity of producing any of the higher powers of his
understanding, or showing character. She found that Mr. Salisbury
appeared to her quite a different person when conversing with Lord
Colambre. Lord Colambre, with that ardent thirst for knowledge which it
is always agreeable to gratify, had an air of openness and generosity,
a frankness, a warmth of manner, which, with good breeding, but with
something beyond it and superior to its established forms, irresistibly
won the confidence and attracted the affection of those with whom he
conversed. His manners were peculiarly agreeable to a person like Mr.
Salisbury, tired of the sameness and egotism of men of the world.

Miss Nugent had seldom till now had the advantage of hearing much
conversation on literary subjects. In the life she had been compelled to
lead she had acquired accomplishments, had exercised her understanding
upon everything that passed before her, and from circumstances had
formed her judgment and her taste by observations on real life; but the
ample page of knowledge had never been unrolled to her eyes. She had
never had opportunities of acquiring literature herself, but she
admired it in others, particularly in her friend Miss Broadhurst. Miss
Broadhurst had received all the advantages of education which money
could procure, and had profited by them in a manner uncommon among those
for whom they are purchased in such abundance; she not only had had many
masters, and read many books, but had thought of what she read, and had
supplied, by the strength and energy of her own mind, what cannot be
acquired by the assistance of masters. Miss Nugent, perhaps overvaluing
the information that she did not possess, and free from all idea of
envy, looked up to her friend as to a superior being, with a sort of
enthusiastic admiration; and now, with 'charmed attention,' listened,
by turns, to her, to Mr. Salisbury, and to Lord Colambre, whilst they
conversed on literary subjects--listened, with a countenance so full
of intelligence, of animation so expressive of every good and kind
affection, that the gentlemen did not always know what they were saying.

'Pray go on,' said she, once, to Mr. Salisbury; 'you stop, perhaps,
from politeness to me--from compassion to my ignorance; but, though I am
ignorant, you do not tire me, I assure you. Did you ever condescend to
read the Arabian tales? Like him whose eyes were touched by the magical
application from the dervise, I am enabled at once to see the riches
of a new world--Oh! how unlike, how superior to that in which I have
lived!--the GREAT world, as it is called.'

Lord Colambre brought down a beautiful edition of the Arabian tales,
looked for the story to which Miss Nugent had alluded, and showed it to
Miss Broadhurst, who was also searching for it in another volume.

Lady Clonbrony, from her card-table, saw the young people thus engaged.

'I profess not to understand these things so well as you say you do, my
dear Mrs. Broadhurst,' whispered she; 'but look there now; they are
at their books! What do you expect can come of that sort of thing? So
ill-bred, and downright rude of Colambre, I must give him a hint.'

'No, no, for mercy's sake! my dear Lady Clonbrony, no hints, no hints,
no remarks! What would you have!--she reading, and my lord at the back
of her chair, leaning over--and allowed, mind, to lean over to read the
same thing. Can't be better! Never saw any man yet allowed to come so
near her! Now, Lady Clonbrony, not a word, not a look, I beseech.'

'Well, well!--but if they had a little music.'

'My daughter's tired of music. How much do I owe your ladyship
now?--three rubbers, I think. Now, though you would not believe it of a
young girl,' continued Mrs. Broadhurst, 'I can assure your ladyship, my
daughter would often rather go to a book than a ball.'

'Well, now, that's very extraordinary, in the style in which she has
been brought up; yet books and all that are so fashionable now, that
it's very natural,' said Lady Clonbrony.

About this time, Mr. Berryl, Lord Colambre's Cambridge friend, for whom
his lordship had fought the battle of the curricle with Mordicai, came
to town. Lord Colambre introduced him to his mother, by whom he was
graciously received; for Mr. Berryl was a young gentleman of good
figure, good address, good family, heir to a good fortune, and in every
respect a fit match for Miss Nugent. Lady Clonbrony thought that it
would be wise to secure him for her niece before he should make his
appearance in the London world, where mothers and daughters would
soon make him feel his own consequence. Mr. Berryl, as Lord Colambre's
intimate friend, was admitted to the private evening parties at Lady
Clonbrony's, and he contributed to render them still more agreeable.
His information, his habits of thinking, and his views, were all totally
different from Mr. Salisbury's; and their collision continually struck
out that sparkling novelty which pleases peculiarly in conversation. Mr.
Berryl's education, disposition, and tastes, fitted him exactly for
the station which he was destined to fill in society--that of a COUNTRY
GENTLEMAN; not meaning by that expression a mere eating, drinking,
hunting, shooting, ignorant country squire of the old race, which is
now nearly extinct; but a cultivated, enlightened, independent English
country gentleman--the happiest, perhaps, of human beings. On the
comparative felicity of the town and country life; on the dignity,
utility, elegance, and interesting nature of their different
occupations, and general scheme of passing their time, Mr. Berryl and
Mr. Salisbury had one evening a playful, entertaining, and, perhaps,
instructive conversation; each party, at the end, remaining, as
frequently happens, of their own opinion. It was observed that Miss
Broadhurst ably and warmly defended Mr. Berryl's side of the question;
and in their views, plans, and estimates of life, there appeared a
remarkable, and as Lord Colambre thought, a happy coincidence. When she
was at last called upon to give her decisive judgment between a town and
a country life, she declared that 'if she were condemned to the extremes
of either, she should prefer a country life, as much as she should
prefer Robinson Crusoe's diary to the journal of the idle man in the
SPECTATOR.'

'Lord bless me! Mrs. Broadhurst, do you hear what your daughter is
saying?' cried Lady Clonbrony, who, from the card-table, lent an
attentive ear to all that was going forward. 'Is it possible that Miss
Broadhurst, with her fortune, and pretensions, and sense, can really be
serious in saying she would be content to live in the country?'

'What's that you say, child, about living in the country?' said Mrs.
Broadhurst.

Miss Broadhurst repeated what she had said.

'Girls always think so who have lived in town,' said Mrs. Broadhurst.
'They are always dreaming of sheep and sheephooks; but the first winter
the country cures them; a shepherdess, in winter, is a sad and sorry
sort of personage, except at a masquerade.'

'Colambre,' said Lady Clonbrony, 'I am sure Miss Broadhurst's sentiments
about town life, and all that, must delight you; for do you know, ma'am,
he is always trying to persuade me to give up living in town? Colambre
and Miss Broadhurst perfectly agree.'

'Mind your cards, my dear Lady Clonbrony,' interrupted Mrs. Broadhurst,
'in pity to your partner. Mr. Pratt has certainly the patience of
Job--your ladyship has revoked twice this hand.'

Lady Clonbrony begged a thousand pardons, fixed her eyes and endeavoured
to fix her mind on the cards; but there was something said at the
other end of the room, about an estate in Cambridgeshire, which soon
distracted her attention again. Mr. Pratt certainly had the patience of
Job. She revoked, and lost the game, though they had four by honours.

As soon as she rose from the card-table, and could speak to Mrs.
Broadhurst apart, she communicated her apprehensions.

'Seriously, my dear madam,' said she, 'I believe I have done very wrong
to admit Mr. Berryl just now, though it was on Grace's account I did
it. But, ma'am, I did not know Miss Broadhurst had an estate in
Cambridgeshire; their two estates just close to one another, I heard
them say. Lord bless me, ma'am! there's the danger of propinquity
indeed!'

'No danger, no danger,' persisted Mrs. Broadhurst. 'I know my girl
better than you do, begging your ladyship's pardon. No one thinks less
of estates than she does.'

'Well, I only know I heard her talking of them, and earnestly too.'

'Yes, very likely; but don't you know that girls never think of what
they are talking about, or rather never talk of what they are thinking
about? And they have always ten times more to say to the man they don't
care for, than to him they do.'

'Very extraordinary!' said Lady Clonbrony. 'I only hope you are right.'

'I am sure of it,' said Mrs. Broadhurst. 'Only let things go on, and
mind your cards, I beseech you, to-morrow night better than you
did to-night; and you will see that things will turn out just as I
prophesied. Lord Colambre will come to a point-blank proposal before the
end of the week, and will be accepted, or my name's not Broadhurst.
Why, in plain English, I am clear my girl likes him; and when that's the
case, you know, can you doubt how the thing will end?'

Mrs. Broadhurst was perfectly right in every point of her reasoning but
one. From long habit of seeing and considering that such an heiress as
her daughter might marry whom she pleased--from constantly seeing
that she was the person to decide and to reject--Mrs. Broadhurst had
literally taken it for granted that everything was to depend upon her
daughter's inclinations: she was not mistaken, in the present case, in
opining that the young lady would not be averse to Lord Colambre, if he
came to what she called a point-blank proposal. It really never occurred
to Mrs. Broadhurst that any man, whom her daughter was the least
inclined to favour, could think of anybody else. Quick-sighted in these
affairs as the matron thought herself, she saw but one side of the
question: blind and dull of comprehension as she thought Lady Clonbrony
on this subject, she was herself so completely blinded by her own
prejudices, as to be incapable of discerning the plain thing that was
before her eyes; VIDELICET, that Lord Colambre preferred Grace Nugent.
Lord Colambre made no proposal before the end of the week, but this
Mrs. Broadhurst attributed to an unexpected occurrence, which prevented
things from going on in the train in which they had been proceeding so
smoothly. Sir John Berryl, Mr. Berryl's father, was suddenly seized
with a dangerous illness. The news was brought to Mr. Berryl one
evening whilst he was at Lady Clonbrony's. The circumstances of domestic
distress, which afterwards occurred in the family of his friend,
entirely occupied Lord Colambre's time and attention. All thoughts
of love were suspended, and his whole mind was given up to the active
services of friendship. The sudden illness of Sir John Berryl spread an
alarm among his creditors which brought to light at once the disorder of
his affairs, of which his son had no knowledge or suspicion. Lady Berryl
had been a very expensive woman, especially in equipages; and Mordicai,
the coachmaker, appeared at this time the foremost and the most
inexorable of their creditors. Conscious that the charges in his account
were exorbitant, and that they would not be allowed if examined by
a court of justice; that it was a debt which only ignorance and
extravagance could have in the first instance incurred, swelled
afterwards to an amazing amount by interest, and interest upon interest;
Mordicai was impatient to obtain payment whilst Sir John yet lived, or
at least to obtain legal security for the whole sum from the heir. Mr.
Berryl offered his bond for the amount of the reasonable charges in his
account; but this Mordicai absolutely refused, declaring that now he had
the power in his own hands, he would use it to obtain the utmost penny
of his debt; that he would not let the thing slip through his fingers;
that a debtor never yet escaped him, and never should; that a man's
lying upon his deathbed was no excuse to a creditor; that he was not
a whiffler, to stand upon ceremony about disturbing a gentleman in
his last moments; that he was not to be cheated out of his due by such
niceties; that he was prepared to go all lengths the law would allow;
for that, as to what people said of him, he did not care a doit--'Cover
your face with your hands, if you like it, Mr. Berryl; you may be
ashamed for me, but I feel no shame for myself--I am not so weak.'
Mordicai's countenance said more than his words; livid with malice, and
with atrocious determination in his eyes, he stood. 'Yes, sir,' said
he, 'you may look at me as you please--it is possible I am in earnest.
Consult what you'll do now, behind my back or before my face, it comes
to the same thing; for nothing will do but my money or your bond, Mr.
Berryl. The arrest is made on the person of your father, luckily made
while the breath is still in the body. Yes--start forward to strike
me, if you dare--your father, Sir John Berryl, sick or well, is my
prisoner.'

Lady Berryl and Mr. Berryl's sisters, in an agony of grief, rushed into
the room.

'It's all useless,' cried Mordicai, turning his back upon the ladies;
'these tricks upon creditors won't do with me; I'm used to these scenes;
I'm not made of such stuff as you think. Leave a gentleman in peace in
his last moments. No! he ought not, nor shan't die in peace, if he don't
pay his debts; and if you are all so mighty sorry, ladies, there's the
gentleman you may kneel to; if tenderness is the order of the day, it's
for the son to show it, not me. Ay, now, Mr. Berryl,' cried he, as Mr.
Berryl took up the bond to sign it, 'you're beginning to know I'm not a
fool to be trifled with. Stop your hand, if you choose it, sir--it's all
the same to me; the person, or the money, I'll carry with me out of this
house.'

Mr. Beryl signed the bond, and threw it to him.

'There, monster!--quit the house!'

'Monster is not actionable--I wish you had called me rascal,'
said Mordicai, grinning a horrible smile; and taking up the bond
deliberately, returned it to Mr. Berryl. 'This paper is worth nothing to
me, sir--it is not witnessed.'

Mr. Berryl hastily left the room, and returned with Lord Colambre.
Mordicai changed countenance and grew pale, for a moment, at sight of
Lord Colambre.

'Well, my lord, since it so happens, I am not sorry that you should be
witness to this paper,' said, he; 'and indeed not sorry that you should
witness the whole proceeding; for I trust I shall be able to explain to
you my conduct.'

'I do not come here, sir,' interrupted Lord Colambre, 'to listen to any
explanations of your conduct, which I perfectly understand;--I come to
witness a bond for my friend Mr. Berryl, if you think proper to extort
from him such a bond.'

'I extort nothing, my lord. Mr. Berryl, it is quite a voluntary act,
take notice, on your part; sign or not, witness or not, as you please,
gentlemen,' said Mordicai, sticking his hands in his pockets, and
recovering his look of black and fixed determination.

'Witness it, witness it, my dear lord,' said Mr. Berryl, looking at his
mother and weeping sisters; 'witness it, quick!'

'Mr. Berryl must just run over his name again in your presence, my lord,
with a dry pen,' said Mordicai, putting the pen into Mr. Berryl's hand.

'No, sir,' said Lord Colambre, 'my friend shall never sign it.'

'As you please, my lord--the bond or the body, before I quit this
house,' said Mordicai.

'Neither, sir, shall you have; and you quit this house directly.'

'How! how!--my lord, how's this?'

'Sir, the arrest you have made is as illegal as it is inhuman.'

'Illegal, my lord!' said Mordicai, startled.

'Illegal, sir. I came into this house at the moment when your bailiff
asked and was refused admittance. Afterwards, in the confusion of the
family above stairs, he forced open the house door with an iron bar--I
saw him--I am ready to give evidence of the fact. Now proceed at your
peril.'

Mordicai, without reply snatched up his hat, and walked towards the
door; but Lord Colambre held the door open--the door was immediately
at the head of the stairs--and Mordicai, seeing his indignant look and
proud form, hesitated to pass; for he had always heard that Irishmen are
'quick in the executive part of justice.'

'Pass on, sir,' repeated Lord Colambre, with an air of ineffable
contempt; 'I am a gentleman--you have nothing to fear.'

Mordicai ran downstairs; Lord Colambre, before he went back into the
room, waited to see Mordicai and his bailiff out of the house. When
Mordicai was fairly at the bottom of the stairs, he turned, and, white
with rage, looked up at Lord Colambre.

'Charity begins at home, my lord,' said he. 'Look at home--you shall pay
for this,' added he, standing half-shielded by the house door, for Lord
Colambre moved forward as he spoke the last words; 'and I give you this
warning, because I know it will be of no use to you--Your most obedient,
my lord.'

The house door closed after Mordicai.

'Thank Heaven!' thought Lord Colambre, 'that I did not horsewhip that
mean wretch! This warning shall be of use to me. But it is not time to
think of that yet.'

Lord Colambre turned from his own affairs to those of his friend, to
offer all the assistance and consolation in his power. Sir John Berryl
died that night. His daughters, who had lived in the highest style in
London, were left totally unprovided for. His widow had mortgaged her
jointure. Mr. Berryl had an estate now left to him, but without any
income. He could not be so dishonest as to refuse to pay his father's
just debts; he could not let his mother and sisters starve. The scene of
distress to which Lord Colambre was witness in this family made a still
greater impression upon him than had been made by the warning or the
threats of Mordicai. The similarity between the circumstances of his
friend's family and of his own struck him forcibly.

All this evil had arisen from Lady Berryl's passion for living in
London and at watering-places. She had made her husband an ABSENTEE--an
absentee from his home, his affairs, his duties, and his estate. The
sea, the Irish Channel, did not, indeed, flow between him and his
estate; but it was of little importance whether the separation was
effected by land or water--the consequences, the negligence, the
extravagance, were the same.

Of the few people of his age who are capable of profiting by the
experience of others, Lord Colambre was one. 'Experience,' as an elegant
writer has observed, 'is an article that may be borrowed with safety,
and is often dearly bought.'



CHAPTER V

In the meantime, Lady Clonbrony had been occupied with thoughts very
different from those which passed in the mind of her son. Though she
had never completely recovered from her rheumatic pains, she had become
inordinately impatient of confinement to her own house, and weary of
those dull evenings at home, which had, in her son's absence, become
insupportable. She told over her visiting tickets regularly twice a
day, and gave to every card of invitation a heartfelt sigh. Miss Pratt
alarmed her ladyship, by bringing intelligence of some parties given by
persons of consequence, to which she was not invited. She feared that
she should be forgotten in the world, well knowing how soon the world
forgets those they do not see every day and everywhere. How miserable
is the fine lady's lot who cannot forget the world, and who is forgot by
the world in a moment! How much more miserable still is the condition
of a would-be fine lady, working her way up in the world with care and
pains! By her, every the slightest failure of attention, from persons
of rank and fashion, is marked and felt with jealous anxiety, and with a
sense of mortification the most acute--an invitation omitted is a matter
of the most serious consequence, not only as it regards the present, but
the future; for if she be not invited by Lady A, it will lower her in
the eyes of Lady B, and of all the ladies of the alphabet. It will form
a precedent of the most dangerous and inevitable application. If she has
nine invitations, and the tenth be wanting, the nine have no power to
make her happy. This was precisely Lady Clonbrony's case--there was to
be a party at Lady St. James's, for which Lady Clonbrony had no card.

'So ungrateful, so monstrous, of Lady St. James!--What! was the gala so
soon forgotten, and all the marked attentions paid that night to Lady
St. James!--attentions, you know, Pratt, which were looked upon with a
jealous eye, and made me enemies enough, I am told, in another quarter!
Of all people, I did not expect to be slighted by Lady St. James!'

Miss Pratt, who was ever ready to undertake the defence of any person
who had a title, pleaded, in mitigation of censure, that perhaps Lady
St. James might not be aware that her ladyship was yet well enough to
venture out.

'Oh, my dear Miss Pratt, that cannot be the thing; for, in spite of my
rheumatism, which really was bad enough last Sunday, I went on purpose
to the Royal Chapel, to show myself in the closet, and knelt close to
her ladyship. And, my dear, we curtsied, and she congratulated me, after
church, upon my being abroad again, and was so happy to see me look
so well, and all that--Oh! it is something very extraordinary and
unaccountable!'

'But, I daresay, a card will come yet,' said Miss Pratt.

Upon this hint, Lady Clonbrony's hope revived; and, staying her anger,
she began to consider how she could manage to get herself invited.
Refreshing tickets were left next morning at Lady St. James's with their
corners properly turned up; to do the thing better, separate tickets for
herself and for Miss Nugent were left for each member of the family;
and her civil messages, left with the footman, extended to the utmost
possibility of remainder. It had occurred to her lady-ship that for
Miss Somebody, THE COMPANION, of whom she had never in her life thought
before, she had omitted to leave a card last time, and she now left a
note of explanation; she further, with her rheumatic head and arm out of
the coach-window, sat, the wind blowing keen upon her, explaining to the
porter and the footman, to discover whether her former tickets had
gone safely up to Lady St. James; and on the present occasion, to make
assurance doubly sure, she slid handsome expedition money into the
servant's hand--'Sir, you will be sure to remember.'--'Oh certainly,
your ladyship!'

She well knew what dire offence has frequently been taken, what sad
disasters have occurred, in the fashionable world, from the neglect of
a porter in delivering, or of a footman in carrying up one of those
talismanic cards. But, in spite of all her manoeuvres, no invitation to
the party arrived next day. Pratt was next set to work. Miss Pratt was
a most convenient go-between, who, in consequence of doing a thousand
little services, to which few others of her rank in life would stoop,
had obtained the ENTREE to a number of great houses, and was behind the
scenes in many fashionable families. Pratt could find out, and Pratt
could hint, and Pratt could manage to get things done cleverly--and
hints were given, in all directions, to WORK ROUND to Lady St. James.
But still they did not take effect. At last Pratt suggested that,
perhaps, though everything else had failed, dried salmon might be tried
with success. Lord Clonbrony had just had some uncommonly good from
Ireland, which Pratt knew Lady St. James would like to have at her
supper, because a certain personage, whom she would not name, was
particularly fond of it.--Wheel within wheel in the fine world, as well
as in the political world!--Bribes for all occasions, and for all ranks!
The timely present was sent, accepted with many thanks, and understood
as it was meant. Per favour of this propitiatory offering, and of a
promise of half a dozen pair of real Limerick gloves to Miss
Pratt--a promise which Pratt clearly comprehended to be a conditional
promise--the grand object was at length accomplished. The very day
before the party was to take place came cards of invitation to Lady
Clonbrony and to Miss Nugent, with Lady St. James's apologies; her
ladyship was concerned to find that, by some negligence of her servants,
these cards were not sent in proper time. 'How slight an apology will do
from some people!' thought Miss Nugent; 'how eager to forgive, when
it is for our interest or our pleasure; how well people act the being
deceived, even when all parties know that they see the whole truth; and
how low pride will stoop to gain its object!'

Ashamed of the whole transaction, Miss Nugent earnestly wished that a
refusal should be sent, and reminded her aunt of her rheumatism; but
rheumatism and all other objections were overruled--Lady Clonbrony would
go. It was just when this affair was thus, in her opinion, successfully
settled, that Lord Colambre came in, with a countenance of unusual
seriousness, his mind full of the melancholy scenes he had witnessed in
his friend's family.

'What is the matter; Colambre?'

He related what had passed; he described the brutal conduct of Mordicai;
the anguish of the mother and sisters; the distress of Mr. Berryl. Tears
rolled down Miss Nugent's cheeks. Lady Clonbrony declared it was very
shocking; listened with attention to all the particulars; but never
failed to correct her son, whenever he said Mr. Berryl.

'Sir ARTHUR Berryl, you mean.'

She was, however, really touched with compassion when he spoke of Lady
Berryl's destitute condition; and her son was going on to repeat what
Mordicai had said to him, but Lady Clonbrony interrupted--

'Oh, my dear Colambre! don't repeat that detestable man's impertinent
speeches to me. If there is anything really about business, speak
to your father. At any rate, don't tell us of it now, because I've a
hundred things to do,' said her ladyship, hurrying out of the room,
'Grace--Grace Nugent! I want you!'

Lord Colambre sighed deeply.

'Don't despair,' said Miss Nugent, as she followed to obey her aunt's
summons. 'Don't despair; don't attempt to speak to her again till
to-morrow morning. Her head is now full of Lady St. James's party. When
it is emptied of that, you will have a better chance. Never despair.'

'Never, while you encourage me to hope--that any good can be done.'

Lady Clonbrony was particularly glad that she had carried her point
about this party at Lady St. James's; because, from the first private
intimation that the Duchess of Torcaster was to be there, her ladyship
flattered herself that the long-desired introduction might then be
accomplished. But of this hope Lady St. James had likewise received
intimation from the double-dealing Miss Pratt; and a warning note was
despatched to the duchess to let her grace know that circumstances had
occurred which had rendered it impossible not to ask THE CLONBRONIES.
An excuse, of course, for not going to this party was sent by the
duchess--her grace did not like large parties--she would have the
pleasure of accepting Lady St. James's invitation for her select party
on Wednesday the 10th. Into these select parties Lady Clonbrony had
never been admitted. In return for her great entertainments she was
invited to great entertainments, to large parties; but farther she could
never penetrate.

At Lady St, James's, and with her set, Lady Clonbrony suffered a
different kind of mortification from that which Lady Langdale and Mrs.
Dareville made her endure. She was safe from the witty raillery, the sly
innuendo, the insolent mimicry; but she was kept at a cold, impassable
distance, by ceremony--'So far shalt thou go, and no farther' was
expressed in every look, in every word, and in a thousand different
ways.

By the most punctilious respect and nice regard to precedency, even by
words of courtesy--'Your ladyship does me honour,' etc.--Lady St. James
contrived to mortify and to mark the difference between those with whom
she was, and with whom she was not, upon terms of intimacy and equality.
Thus the ancient grandees of Spain drew a line of demarcation between
themselves and the newly-created nobility. Whenever or wherever
they met, they treated the new nobles with the utmost respect, never
addressed them but with all their titles, with low bows, and with all
the appearance of being, with the most perfect consideration, anything
but their equals; whilst towards one another the grandees
laid aside their state, and omitting their titles, it was,
'Alcala-Medina-Sidonia-Infantado,' and a freedom and familiarity which
marked equality. Entrenched in etiquette in this manner, and mocked with
marks of respect, it was impossible either to intrude or to complain of
being excluded.

At supper at Lady St. James's, Lady Clonbrony's present was pronounced
by some gentleman to be remarkably high flavoured. This observation
turned the conversation to Irish commodities and Ireland. Lady
Clonbrony, possessed by the idea that it was disadvantageous to appear
as an Irishwoman, or as a favourer of Ireland, began to be embarrassed
by Lady St. James's repeated thanks. Had it been in her power to offer
anything else with propriety, she would not have thought of sending her
ladyship anything from Ireland. Vexed by the questions that were asked
her about HER COUNTRY, Lady Clonbrony, as usual, denied it to be her
country, and went on to depreciate and abuse everything Irish; to
declare that there was no possibility of living in Ireland; and that,
for her own part, she was resolved never to return thither. Lady St.
James, preserving perfect silence, let her go on. Lady Clonbrony,
imagining that this silence arose from coincidence of opinion, proceeded
with all the eloquence she possessed, which was very little,
repeating the same exclamations, and reiterating her vow of perpetual
expatriation; till at last an elderly lady, who was a stranger to her,
and whom she had till this moment scarcely noticed, took up the defence
of Ireland with much warmth and energy: the eloquence with which
she spoke, and the respect with which she was heard, astonished Lady
Clonbrony.

'Who is she?' whispered her ladyship.

'Does not your ladyship know Lady Oranmore--the Irish Lady Oranmore?'

'Lord bless me!--what have I said!--what have I done! Oh! why did not
you give me a hint, Lady St. James?'

'I was not aware that your ladyship was not acquainted with Lady
Oranmore,' replied Lady St. James, unmoved by her distress.

Everybody sympathised with Lady Oranmore, and admired the honest zeal
with which she abided by her country, and defended it against unjust
aspersions and affected execrations. Every one present enjoyed Lady
Clonbrony's confusion, except Miss Nugent, who sat with her eyes bowed
down by penetrative shame during the whole of this scene; she was glad
that Lord Colambre was not witness to it; and comforted herself with the
hope that, upon the whole, Lady Clonbrony would be benefited by the pain
she had felt. This instance might convince her that it was not necessary
to deny her country to be received in any company in England; and that
those who have the courage and steadiness to be themselves, and to
support what they feel and believe to be the truth, must command
respect. Miss Nugent hoped that in consequence of this conviction Lady
Clonbrony would lay aside the little affectations by which her manners
were painfully constrained and ridiculous; and, above all, she hoped
that what Lady Oranmore had said of Ireland might dispose her aunt
to listen with patience to all Lord Colambre might urge in favour of
returning to her home. But Miss Nugent hoped in vain. Lady Clonbrony
never in her life generalised any observations, or drew any but a
partial conclusion from the most striking facts.

'Lord! my dear Grace!' said she, as soon as they were seated in their
carriage, 'what a scrape I got into to-night at supper, and what
disgrace I came to!--and all this because I did not know Lady
Oranmore. Now you see the inconceivable disadvantage of not knowing
everybody--everybody of a certain rank, of course, I mean.'

Miss Nugent endeavoured to slide in her own moral on the occasion, but
it would not do.

'Yes, my dear, Lady Oranmore may talk in that kind of style of Ireland,
because, on the other hand, she is so highly connected in England; and,
besides, she is an old lady, and may take liberties; in short, she is
Lady Oranmore, and that's enough.'

The next morning, when they all met at breakfast, Lady Clonbrony
complained bitterly of her increased rheumatism, of the disagreeable,
stupid party they had had the preceding night, and of the necessity of
going to another formal party that night, the next, and the next,
and, in the true fine lady style, deplored her situation, and the
impossibility of avoiding those things,

     Which felt they curse, yet covet still to feel.

Miss Nugent determined to retire as soon as she could from the
breakfast-room, to leave Lord Colambre an opportunity of talking over
his family affairs at full liberty. She knew by the seriousness of his
countenance that his mind was intent upon doing so, and she hoped that
his influence with his father and mother would not be exerted in vain.
But just as she was rising from the breakfast-table, in came Sir
Terence O'Fay, and, seating himself quite at his ease, in spite of Lady
Clonbrony's repulsive looks, his awe of Lord Colambre having now worn
off--

'I'm tired,' said he, 'and have a right to be tired; for it's no small
walk I've taken for the good of this noble family this morning. And,
Miss Nugent, before I say more, I'll take a cup of TA from you, if you
please.'

Lady Clonbrony rose, with great stateliness, and walked to the farthest
end of the room, where she established herself at her writing-table, and
began to write notes.

Sir Terence wiped his forehead deliberately.

'Then I've had a fine run--Miss Nugent, I believe you never saw me run;
but I can run, I promise you, when it's to serve a friend. And, my
lord (turning to Lord Clonbrony), what do you think I run for this
morning--to buy a bargain--and of what!--a bargain of a bad debt--a debt
of yours, which I bargained for, and up just in time--and Mordicai's
ready to hang himself this minute. For what do you think but that rascal
was bringing upon you--but an execution?--he was.'

'An execution!' repeated everybody present, except Lord Colambre.

'And how has this been prevented, sir?' said Lord Colambre.

'Oh! let me alone for that,' said Sir Terence. 'I got a hint from my
little friend, Paddy Brady, who would not be paid for it either, though
he's as poor as a rat. Well! as soon as I got the hint, I dropped the
thing I had in my hand, which was the DUBLIN EVENING, and ran for the
bare life--for there wasn't a coach--in my slippers, as I was, to get
into the prior creditor's shoes, who is the little solicitor that lives
in Crutched Friars, which Mordicai never dreamt of, luckily; so he was
very genteel, though he was taken on a sudden, and from his breakfast,
which an Englishman don't like particularly--I popped him a douceur of
a draught, at thirty-one days, on Garraghty, the agent; of which he must
get notice; but I won't descant on the law before the ladies--he handed
me over his debt and execution, and he made me prior creditor in a
trice. Then I took coach in state, the first I met, and away with me
to Long Acre--saw Mordicai. "Sir," says I, "I hear you're meditating an
execution on a friend of mine." "Am I?" said the rascal; "who told you
so?" "No matter," said I; "but I just called in to let you know there's
no use in life of your execution; for there's a prior creditor with his
execution to be satisfied first." So he made a great many black faces,
and said a great deal, which I never listened to, but came off here
clean to tell you all the story.'

'Not one word of which do I understand,' said Lady Clonbrony.

'Then, my dear, you are very ungrateful,' said Lord Clonbrony.

Lord Colambre said nothing, for he wished to learn more of Sir Terence
O'Fay's character, of the state of his father's affairs, and of the
family methods of proceeding in matters of business.

'Faith! Terry, I know I'm very thankful to you--but an execution's an
ugly thing--and I hope there's no danger--'

'Never fear!' said Sir Terence: 'Haven't I been at my wits' ends for
myself or my friends ever since I come to man's estate--to years of
discretion, I should say, for the deuce a foot of estate have I! But
use has sharpened my wits pretty well for your service; so never be in
dread, my good lord for look ye!' cried the reckless knight, sticking
his arms akimbo 'look ye here! in Sir Terence O'Fay stands a host that
desires no better than to encounter, single witted, all the duns in the
united kingdoms, Mordicai the Jew inclusive.'

'Ah! that's the devil, that Mordicai,' said Lord Clonbrony; 'that's the
only man an earth I dread.'

'Why, he is only a coachmaker, is not he!' said Lady Clonbrony: 'I can't
think how you can talk, my lord, of dreading such a low man. Tell him,
if he's troublesome, we won't bespeak any more carriages; and, I'm sure,
I wish you would not be so silly, my lord, to employ him any more, when
you know he disappointed me the last birthday about the landau, which I
have not got yet.'

'Nonsense, my dear,'said Lord Clonbrony; 'you don't know what you are
talking of. Terry, I say, even a friendly execution is an ugly thing.'

'Phoo! phoo!--an ugly thing! So is a fit of the gout--but one's all the
better for it after. 'Tis just a renewal of life, my lord, for which
one must pay a bit of a fine, you know. Take patience, and leave me
to manage all properly--you know I'm used to these things, Only you
recollect, if you please, how I managed my friend Lord --; it's bad to
be mentioning names--but Lord EVERYBODY-KNOWS-WHO--didn't I bring him
through cleverly, when there was that rascally attempt to seize
the family plate? I had notice, and what did I do, but broke open a
partition between that lord's house and my lodgings, which I had taken
next door; and so, when the sheriff's officers were searching below on
the ground floor, I just shoved the plate easy through to my bedchamber
at a moment's warning, and then bid the gentlemen walk in, for they
couldn't set a foot in my paradise, the devils! So they stood looking
at it through the wall, and cursing me and I holding both my sides with
laughter at their fallen faces.'

Sir Terence and Lord Clonbrony laughed in concert.

'This is a good story,' said Miss Nugent, smiling; 'but surely, Sir
Terence, such things are never done in real life?'

'Done! ay, are they; and I could tell you a hundred better strokes, my
dear Miss Nugent.'

'Grace!' cried Lady Clonbrony, 'do pray have the goodness to seal and
send these notes; for really,' whispered she, as her niece came to the
table,'I CAWNT STEA, I cawnt bear that man's VICE, his accent grows
horrider and horrider!'

Her ladyship rose, and left the room.

'Why, then,' continued Sir Terence, following up Miss Nugent to the
table, where she was sealing letters, 'I must tell you how I sarved that
same man on another occasion, and got the victory too.'

No general officer could talk of his victories, or fight his battles
o'er again, with more complacency than Sir Terence O'Fay recounted his
CIVIL exploits.

'Now I'll tell Miss Nugent. There was a footman in the family, not an
Irishman, but one of your powdered English scoundrels that ladies are so
fond of having hanging to the backs of their carriages; one Fleming he
was, that turned spy, and traitor, and informer, went privately and gave
notice to the creditors where the plate was hid in the thickness of the
chimney; but if he did, what happened! Why, I had my counter-spy, an
honest little Irish boy, in the creditor's shop, that I had secured with
a little douceur of usquebaugh; and he outwitted, as was natural, the
English lying valet, and gave us notice just in the nick, and I got
ready for their reception; and, Miss Nugent, I only wish you'd seen the
excellent sport we had, letting them follow the scent they got; and when
they were sure of their game, what did they find?--Ha! ha! ha!--dragged
out, after a world of labour, a heavy box of--a load of brickbats; not
an item of my friend's plate--that was all snug in the coal-hole, where
them dunces never thought of looking for it. Ha! ha! ha!'

'But come, Terry,' cried Lord Clonbrony, 'I'll pull down your pride.
How finely, another time, your job of the false ceiling answered in the
hall. I've heard that story, and have been told how the sheriffs fellow
thrust his bayonet up through your false plaster, and down came
tumbling the family plate hey, Terry? That hit cost your friend, Lord
everybody-knows-who, more than your head's worth, Terry.'

'I ask your pardon, my lord, it never cost him a farthing.'

'When he paid L7000 for the plate, to redeem it?'

'Well! and did not I make up for that at the races of --? The creditors
learned that my lord's horse, Naboclish, was to run at--races; and, as
the sheriff's officer knew he dare not touch him on the race-ground,
what does he do, but he comes down early in the morning on the
mail-coach, and walks straight down to the livery stables. He had
an exact description of the stables, and the stall, and the horse's
body-clothes.

'I was there, seeing the horse taken care of; and, knowing the cut
of the fellow's jib, what does I do, but whips the body-clothes off
Naboclish, and claps them upon a garrone that the priest would not ride.

'In comes the bailiff--"Good morrow to you, sir," says I, leading out of
the stable my lord's horse, with an OULD saddle and bridle on.

'"Tim Neal," says I to the groom, who was rubbing down the garrone's
heels, "mind your hits to-day, and WEE'L wet the plate to-night."

'"Not so fast, neither," says the bailiff--"here's my writ for seizing
the horse."

'"Och," says I, "you wouldn't be so cruel."'

"That's all my eye," says he, seizing the garrone, while I mounted
Naboclish, and rode him off deliberately to --'

'Ha! ha! ha!--That was neat, I grant you, Terry,' said Lord Clonbrony.
'But what a dolt of a born ignoramus must that sheriffs fellow have
been, not to know Naboclish when he saw him!'

'But stay, my lord--stay, Miss Nugent--I have more for you,' following
her wherever she moved. 'I did not let him off so, even. At the cant, I
bid and bid against them for the pretended Naboclish, till I, left him
on their hands for 500 guineas. Ha! ha! ha!--was not that famous?'

'But,' said Miss Nugent, 'I cannot believe you are in earnest, Sir
Terence. Surely this would be--'

'What?--out with it, my dear Miss Nugent.'

'I am afraid of offending you.'

'You can't, my dear, I defy you--say the word that came to the tongue's
end; it's always the best.'

'I was going to say, swindling,' said the young lady, colouring deeply.

'Oh! you was going to say wrong, then! It's not called swindling amongst
gentlemen who know the world--it's only jockeying--fine sport--and very
honourable to help a friend at a dead lift. Anything to get a friend out
of a present pressing difficulty.'

'And when the present difficulty is over, do your friends never think of
the future?'

The future! leave the future to posterity,' said Sir Terence; 'I'm
counsel only for the present; and when the evil comes, it's time enough
to think of it. I can't bring the guns of my wits to bear till the
enemy's alongside of me, or within sight of me at the least. And
besides, there never was a good commander yet, by sea or land, that
would tell his little expedients beforehand, or before the very day of
battle.'

'It must be a sad thing,' said Miss Nugent, sighing deeply, 'to be
reduced to live by little expedients--daily expedients.'

Lord Colambre struck his forehead, but said nothing.

'But if you are beating your brains about your own affairs, my Lord
Colambre, my dear,' said Sir Terence, 'there's an easy way of settling
your family affairs at once; and, since you don't like little daily
expedients, Miss Nugent, there's one great expedient, and an expedient
for life, that will settle it all to your satisfaction--and ours. I
hinted it delicately to you before, but, between friends, delicacy is
impertinent; so I tell you, in plain English, you've nothing to do but
go and propose yourself, just as you stand, to the heiress Miss B--,
that desires no better--'

'Sir!' cried Lord Colambre, stepping forward, red with sudden anger.
Miss Nugent laid her hand upon his arm--

'Oh, my lord!'

'Sir Terence O'Fay,' continued Lord Colambre, in a moderated tone, 'you
are wrong to mention that young lady's name in such a manner.'

'Why, then, I said only Miss B--, and there are a whole hive of BEES.
But I'll engage she'd thank me for what I suggested, and think herself
the queen bee if my expedient was adopted by you.'

'Sir Terence,' said his lordship, smiling, 'if my father thinks proper
that you should manage his affairs, and devise expedients for him, I
have nothing to say on that point; but I must beg you will not trouble
yourself to suggest expedients for me, and that you will have the
goodness to leave me to settle my own affairs.'

Sir Terence made a low bow, and was silent for five seconds; then
turning to Lord Clonbrony, who looked much more abashed than he did--

'By the wise one, my good lord, I believe there are some men--noblemen,
too--that don't know their friends from their enemies. It's my firm
persuasion, now, that if I had served you as I served my friend I was
talking of, your son there would, ten to one, think I had done him an
injury by saving the family plate.'

'I certainly should, sir. The family plate, sir, is not the first object
in my mind,' replied Lord Colambre; 'family honour--Nay, Miss Nugent,
I must speak,' continued his lordship, perceiving; by her countenance,
that she was alarmed.

'Never fear, Miss Nugent dear,' said Sir Terence; 'I'm as cool as a
cucumber. Faith! then, my Lord Colambre, I agree with you, that family
honour's a mighty fine thing, only troublesome to one's self and one's
friends, and expensive to keep up with all the other expenses and debts
a gentleman has nowadays. So I, that am under no natural obligations
to it by birth or otherwise, have just stood by through life, and asked
myself, before I would volunteer being bound to it, what could this same
family honour do for a man in this world? And, first and foremost, I
never remember to see family honour stand a man in much stead in a
court of law--never saw family honour stand against an execution, or a
custodiam, or an injunction even. 'Tis a rare thing, this same family
honour, and a very fine thing; but I never knew it yet, at a pinch, pay
for a pair of boots even,' added Sir Terence, drawing up his own with
much complacency.

At this moment Sir Terence was called out of the room by one who wanted
to speak to him on particular business.

'My dear father,' cried Lord Colambre, 'do not follow him; stay for one
moment, and hear your son--your true friend.'

Miss Nugent went out of the room, that she might leave the father and
son at liberty.

'Hear your natural friend for one moment,' cried Lord Colambre. 'Let
me beseech you, father, not to have recourse to any of these paltry
expedients, but trust your son with the state of your affairs, and we
shall find some honourable means--'

'Yes, yes, yes, very true; when you're of age, Colambre, we'll talk of
it; but nothing can be done till then. We shall get on, we shall get
through, very well, till then, with Terry's assistance. And I must beg
you will not say a word more against Terry--I can't bear it--I can't
hear it--I can't do without him. Pray don't detain me--I can say no
more--except,' added he, returning to his usual concluding sentence,
'that there need, at all events, be none of this, if people would but
live upon their own estates, and kill their own mutton.' He stole out of
the room, glad to escape, however shabbily, from present explanation
and present pain. There are persons without resource who in difficulties
return always to the same point, and usually to the same words.

While Lord Colambre was walking up and down the room, much vexed and
disappointed at finding that he could make no impression on his
father's mind, nor obtain his confidence as to his family affairs, Lady
Clonbrony's woman, Mrs. Petito, knocked at the door, with a message from
her lady, to beg, if Lord Colambre was BY HIMSELF; he would go to her
dressing-room, as she wished to have a conference with him. He obeyed
her summons.

'Sit down, my dear Colambre--' And she began precisely with her old
sentence--

'With the fortune I brought your father, and with my lord's estate, I
CAWNT understand the meaning of all these pecuniary difficulties; and
all that strange creature Sir Terence says is algebra to me, who speak
English. And I am particularly sorry he was let in this morning--but
he's such a brute that he does not think anything of forcing one's door,
and he tells my footman he does not mind NOT AT HOME a pinch of snuff.
Now what can you do with a man who could say that sort of thing, you
know--the world's at an end.'

'I wish my father had nothing to do with him, ma'am, as much as you can
wish it,' said Lord Colambre; 'but I have said all that a son can with
propriety say, and without effect.'

'What particularly provokes me against him,' continued Lady Clonbrony,
'is what I have just heard from Grace, who was really hurt by it, too,
for she is the warmest friend in the world: I allude to the creature's
indelicate way of touching upon a tender PINT, and mentioning an amiable
young heiress's name. My dear Colambre, I trust you have given me credit
for my inviolable silence all this time upon the PINT nearest my
heart. I am rejoiced to hear you was so warm when she was mentioned
inadvertently by that brute, and I trust you now see the advantages of
the projected union in as strong and agreeable a PINT of view as I do,
my own Colambre; and I should leave things to themselves, and let you
prolong the DEES of courtship as you please, only for what I now hear
incidentally from my lord and the brute, about pecuniary embarrassments,
and the necessity of something being done before next winter. And indeed
I think now, in propriety, the proposal cannot be delayed much longer;
for the world begins to talk of the thing as done; and even Mrs.
Broadhurst, I know, had no doubt that, if this CONTRETEMPS about the
poor Berryls had not occurred, your proposal would have been made before
the end of last week.'

Our hero was not a man to make a proposal because Mrs. Broadhurst
expected it, or to marry because the world said he was going to be
married. He steadily said that, from the first moment the subject had
been mentioned, he had explained himself distinctly; that the young
lady's friends could not, therefore, be under any doubt as to his
intentions; that, if they had voluntarily deceived themselves, or
exposed the lady in situations from which the world was led to make
false conclusions, he was not answerable: he felt his conscience at
ease--entirely so, as he was convinced that the young lady herself,
for whose merit, talents, independence, and generosity of character he
professed high respect, esteem, and admiration, had no doubts either of
the extent or the nature of his regard.

'Regard, respect, esteem, admiration!--Why, my dearest Colambre! this
is saying all I want; satisfies me, and I am sure would satisfy Mrs
Broadhurst and Miss Broadhurst too.'

'No doubt it will, ma'am; but not if I aspired to the honour of Miss
Broadhurst's hand, or professed myself her lover.'

'My dear, you are mistaken; Miss Broadhurst is too sensible a girl, a
vast deal, to look for love, and a dying lover, and all that sort
of stuff; I am persuaded--indeed I have it from good, from the best
authority--that the young lady--you know one must be delicate in these
cases, where a young lady of such fortune, and no despicable family too
is concerned; therefore I cannot speak quite plainly--but I say I have
it from the best authority, that you would be preferred to any other
suitor, and, in short, that--'

'I beg your pardon, madam, for interrupting you,' cried Lord Colambre,
colouring a good deal; 'but you must excuse me if I say, that the only
authority on which I could believe this is one from which I am morally
certain I shall never hear it from Miss Broadhurst herself.'

'Lord, child! if you would only ask her the question, she would tell you
it is truth, I daresay.'

'But as I have no curiosity on the subject, ma'am--'

'Lord bless me! I thought everybody had curiosity. But still, without
curiosity, I am sure it would gratify you when you did hear it; and
can't you just put the simple question?'

'Impossible!'

'Impossible!--now that is so very provoking when the thing is all but
done. Well, take your own time; all I will ask of you then is, to let
things go on as they are going--smoothly and pleasantly; and I'll not
press you farther on the subject at present, Let things go on smoothly,
that's all I ask, and say nothing.'

'I wish I could oblige you, mother; but I cannot do this. Since you
tell me that the world and Miss Broadhurst's friends have already
misunderstood my intentions, it becomes necessary, in justice to
the young lady and to myself, that I should make all further doubt
impossible. I shall, therefore, put an end to it at once, by leaving
town to-morrow.'

Lady Clonbrony, breathless for a moment with surprise, exclaimed,
'Bless me! leave town to-morrow! Just at the beginning of the season!
Impossible!--I never saw such a precipitate, rash young man. But
stay only a few weeks, Colambre; the physicians advise Buxton for my
rheumatism, and you shall take us to Buxton early in the season--you
cannot refuse me that. Why, if Miss Broadhurst was a dragon, you could
not be in a greater hurry to run away from her. What are you afraid of?'

'Of doing what is wrong--the only thing, I trust, of which I shall ever
be afraid.'

Lady Clonbrony tried persuasion and argument--such argument as she could
use--but all in vain--Lord Colambre was firm in his resolution; at last,
she came to tears; and her son, in much agitation, said--

'I cannot bear this, mother! I would do anything you ask, that I could
do with honour; but this is impossible.'

'Why impossible? I will take all blame upon myself; and you are sure
that Miss Broadhurst does not misunderstand you, and you esteem her,
and admire her, and all that; and all I ask is, that you'll go on as you
are, and see more of her; and how do you know but you may fall in love
with her, as you call it, to-morrow?'

'Because, madam, since you press me so far, my affections are engaged
to another person. Do not look so dreadfully shocked, my dear mother--I
have told you truly, that I think myself too young, much too young,
yet to marry. In the circumstances in which I know my family are, it is
probable that I shall not for some years be able to marry as I wish.
You may depend upon it that I shall not take any step, I shall not
even declare my attachment to the object of my affection, without
your knowledge; and, far from being inclined to follow headlong my own
passions--strong as they are--be assured that the honour of my family,
your happiness, my mother, my father's, are my first objects: I shall
never think of my own till these are secured.'

Of the conclusion of this speech, Lady Clonbrony heard only the sound
of the words; from the moment her son had pronounced that his affections
were engaged, she had been running over in her head every probable and
improbable person she could think of; at last, suddenly starting up, she
opened one of the folding-doors into the next apartment, and called--

'Grace!--Grace Nugent!--put down your pencil, Grace, this minute, and
come here!'

Miss Nugent obeyed with her usual alacrity; and the moment she entered
the room, Lady Clonbrony, fixing her eyes full upon her, said--

'There's your cousin Colambre tells me his affections are engaged.'

'Yes, to Miss Broadhurst, no doubt,' said Miss Nugent, smiling, with a
simplicity and openness of countenance which assured Lady Clonbrony that
all was safe in that quarter: a suspicion which had darted into her mind
was dispelled.

'No doubt. Ay, do you hear that NO DOUBT, Colambre?--Grace, you see, has
no doubt; nobody has any doubt but yourself, Colambre.'

'And are your affections engaged, and not to Miss Broadhurst?' said Miss
Nugent, approaching Lord Colambre.

'There now! you see how you surprise and disappoint everybody,
Colambre.'

'I am sorry that Miss Nugent should be disappointed,' said Lord
Colambre.

'But because I am disappointed, pray do not call me Miss Nugent, or turn
away from me, as if you were displeased.'

'It must, then, be some Cambridgeshire lady,' said Lady Clonbrony. 'I am
sure I am very sorry he ever went to Cambridge,--Oxford I advised: one
of the Miss Berryls, I presume, who have nothing. I'll have nothing
more to do with those Berryls--there was the reason of the son's vast
intimacy. Grace, you may give up all thoughts of Sir Arthur.'

'I have no thoughts to give up, ma'am,' said Miss Nugent, smiling. 'Miss
Broadhurst,' continued she, going on eagerly with what she was saying
to Lord Colambre--'Miss Broadhurst is my friend, a friend I love and
admire; but you will allow that I strictly kept my promise, never
to praise her to you, till you should begin to praise her to me. Now
recollect, last night, you did praise her to me, so justly, that I
thought you liked her, I confess; so that it is natural I should feel
a little disappointed. Now you know the whole of my mind; I have
no intention to encroach on your confidence; therefore, there is no
occasion to look so embarrassed. I give you my word, I will never speak
to you again upon the subject,' said she, holding out her hand to him,
'provided you will never again call me Miss Nugent. Am I not your own
cousin Grace--Do not be displeased with her.'

'You are my own dear cousin Grace; and nothing can be farther from my
mind than any thought of being displeased with her; especially just at
this moment, when I am going away, probably for a considerable time.'

'Away!--when?--where?'

'To-morrow morning, for Ireland.'

'Ireland! of all places,' cried Lady Clonbrony. 'What upon earth puts it
into your head to go to Ireland? You do very well to go out of the way
of falling in love ridiculously, since that is the reason of your going;
but what put Ireland into your head, child?'

'I will not presume to ask my mother what put Ireland out of her head,'
said Lord Colambre, smiling; 'but she will recollect that it is my
native country.'

'That was your father's fault, not mine,' said Lady Clonbrony; 'for I
wished to have been confined in England; but he would have it to say
that his son and heir was born at Clonbrony Castle--and there was a
great argument between him and my uncle, and something about the Prince
of Wales and Caernarvon Castle was thrown in, and that turned the
scale, much against my will; for it was my wish that my son should be
an Englishman born--like myself. But, after all, I don't see that having
the misfortune to be born in a country should tie one to it in any sort
of way; and I should have hoped your English EDICATION, Colambre, would
have given you too liberal IDEARS for that--so I REELLY don't see why
you should go to Ireland merely because it's your native country.'

'Not merely because it is my native country; but I wish to go thither--I
desire to become acquainted with it--because it is the country in which
my father's property lies, and from which we draw our subsistence.'

'Subsistence! Lord bless me, what a word! fitter for a pauper than a
nobleman-subsistence! Then, if you are going to look after your father's
property, I hope you will make the agents do their duty, and send us
remittances. And pray how long do you mean to stay?'

'Till I am of age, madam, if you have no objection. I will spend the
ensuing months in travelling in Ireland; and I will return here by the
time I am of age, unless you and my father should, before that time, be
in Ireland.'

'Not the least chance of that, if I can prevent it, I promise you,' said
Lady Clonbrony.

Lord Colambre and Miss Nugent sighed.

'And I am sure I shall take it very unkindly of you, Colambre, if you go
and turn out a partisan for Ireland, after all, like Grace Nugent.'

'A partisan! no;--I hope not a partisan, but a friend,' said Miss
Nugent.

'Nonsense, child!--I hate to hear people, women especially, and young
ladies particularly, talk of being friends to this country or that
country. What can they know about countries? Better think of being
friends to themselves, and friends to their friends.'

'I was wrong,' said Miss Nugent, 'to call myself a friend to Ireland; I
meant to say, that Ireland had been a friend to me; that I found Irish
friends, when I had no other; an Irish home, when I had no other; that
my earliest and happiest years, under your kind care, had been spent
there; and that I can never forget THAT my dear aunt--I hope you do not
wish that I should.'

'Heaven forbid, my sweet Grace!' said Lady Clonbrony, touched by her
voice and manner--'Heaven forbid! I don't wish you to do or be anything
but what you are; for I am convinced there's nothing I could ask you
would not do for me; and, I can tell you, there's few things you could
ask, love, I would not do for you.'

A wish was instantly expressed in the eyes of her niece.

Lady Clonbrony, though not usually quick at interpreting the wishes of
others, understood and answered, before she ventured to make her request
in words.

'Ask anything but THAT, Grace. Return to Clonbrony, while I am able to
live in London? That I never can or will do for you or anybody!' looking
at her son in all the pride of obstinacy; 'so there is an end of the
matter. Go you where you please, Colambre; and I shall stay where I
please:--I suppose, as your mother, I have a right to say this much?'

Her son, with the utmost respect, assured her that he had no design to
infringe upon her undoubted liberty of judging for herself; that he
had never interfered, except so far as to tell her circumstances of her
affairs, with which she seemed to be totally unacquainted, and of which
it might be dangerous to her to continue in ignorance.

'Don't talk to me about affairs,' cried she, drawing her hand away from
her son. 'Talk to my lord, or my lord's agents, since you are going to
Ireland, about business--I know nothing about business; but this I know,
I shall stay in England, and be in London, every season, as long as I
can afford it; and when I cannot afford to live here, I hope I shall not
live anywhere. That's my notion of life; and that's my determination,
once for all; for, if none of the rest of the Clonbrony family have any,
I thank Heaven I have some spirit.' Saying this, with her most stately
manner she walked out of the room. Lord Colambre instantly followed her;
for, after the resolution and the promise he had made, he did not dare
to trust himself at this moment with Miss Nugent.

There was to be a concert this night at Lady Clonbrony's, at which Mrs.
and Miss Broadhurst were, of course, expected. That they might not
be quite unprepared for the event of her son's going to Ireland, Lady
Clonbrony wrote a note to Mrs. Broadhurst, begging her to come half an
hour earlier than the time mentioned in the cards, 'that she might talk
over something PARTICULAR that had just occurred.'

What passed at this cabinet council, as it seems to have had no
immediate influence on affairs, we need not record. Suffice it to
observe, that a great deal was said, and nothing done. Miss Broadhurst,
however, was not a young lady who could be easily deceived, even where
her passions were concerned. The moment her mother told her of Lord
Colambre's intended departure, she saw the whole truth. She had a
strong mind--was capable of drawing aside, at once, the curtain of
self-delusion, and looking steadily at the skeleton of truth--she had
a generous, perhaps because a strong mind; for, surrounded, as she had
been from her childhood, by every means of self-indulgence which wealth
and flattery could bestow, she had discovered early, what few persons
in her situation discover till late in life, that selfish gratifications
may render us incapable of other happiness, but can never, of
themselves, make us happy. Despising flatterers, she had determined to
make herself friends to make them in the only possible way--by deserving
them. Her father made his immense fortune by the power and habit of
constant, bold, and just calculation. The power and habit which she had
learned from him she applied on a far larger scale; with him, it was
confined to speculations for the acquisition of money; with her,
it extended to the attainment of happiness. He was calculating and
mercenary: she was estimative and generous.

Miss Nugent was dressing for the concert, or, rather, was sitting
half-dressed before her glass, reflecting, when Miss Broadhurst came
into her room. Miss Nugent immediately sent her maid out of the room.

'Grace,' said Miss Broadhurst, looking at Grace with an air of open,
deliberate composure, 'you and I are thinking of the same thing--of the
same person.'

'Yes, of Lord Colambre,' said Miss Nugent, ingenuously and sorrowfully.

'Then I can put your mind at ease, at once, my dear friend, by assuring
you that I shall think of him no more. That I have thought of him, I do
not deny--I have thought, that if, notwithstanding the difference in
our ages, and other differences, he had preferred me, I should have
preferred him to any person who has ever yet addressed me. On our first
acquaintance, I clearly saw that he was not disposed to pay court to my
fortune; and I had also then coolness of judgment sufficient to perceive
that it was not probable he should fall in love with my person. But I
was too proud in my humility, too strong in my honesty, too brave, too
ignorant; in short, I knew nothing of the matter. We are all of us, more
or less, subject to the delusions of vanity, or hope, or love--I--even
I!--who thought myself so clear-sighted, did not know how, with one
flutter of his wings, Cupid can set the whole atmosphere in motion;
change the proportions, size, colour, value, of every object; lead us
into a mirage, and leave us in a dismal desert.'

'My dearest friend!' said Miss Nugent, in a tone of true sympathy.

'But none but a coward, or a fool would sit down in the desert and
weep, instead of trying to make his way back before the storm rises,
obliterates the track, and overwhelms everything. Poetry apart, my dear
Grace, you may be assured that I shall think no more of Lord Colambre.'

'I believe you are right. But I am sorry, very sorry, it must be so.'

'Oh, spare me your sorrow!'

'My sorrow is for Lord Colambre,' said Miss Nugent. 'Where will he find
such a wife?--Not in Miss Berryl, I am sure--pretty as she is; a mere
fine lady! Is it possible that Lord Colambre! Lord Colambre! should
prefer such a girl--Lord Colambre!'

Miss Broadhurst looked at her friend as she spoke, and saw truth in
her eyes; saw that she had no suspicion that she was herself the person
beloved.

'Tell me, Grace, are you sorry that Lord Colambre is going away?'

'No, I am glad. I was sorry when I first heard it; but now I am glad,
very glad; it may save him from a marriage unworthy of him, restore him
to himself, and reserve him for--the only woman I ever saw who is
suited to him, who is equal to him, who would value and love him, as he
deserves to be valued and loved.'

'Stop, my dear; if you mean me, I am not, and I never can be, that
woman. Therefore, as you are my friend, and wish my happiness, as I
sincerely believe you do, never, I conjure you, present such an idea
before my mind again--it is out of my mind, I hope, for ever. It is
important to me that you should know and believe this. At least I will
preserve my friends. Now let this subject never be mentioned or alluded
to again between us, my dear. We have subjects enough of conversation;
we need not have recourse to pernicious sentimental gossipings. There is
a great difference between wanting a CONFIDANTE, and treating a friend
with confidence. My confidence you possess; all that ought, all that is
to be known of my mind, you know, and--Now I will leave you in peace to
dress for the concert.'

'Oh, don't go! you don't interrupt me. I shall be dressed in a few
minutes; stay with me, and you may be assured, that neither now, nor at
any other time, shall I ever speak to you on the subject you desire me
to avoid. I entirely agree with you about CONFIDANTES and sentimental
gossipings. I love you for not loving them.'

A thundering knock at the door announced the arrival of company.

'Think no more of love, but as much as you please of friendship--dress
yourself as fast as you can,' said Miss Broadhurst. 'Dress, dress is the
order of the day.'

Order of the day and order of the night, and all for people I don't care
for in the least,' said Grace. 'So life passes!'

'Dear me, Miss Nugent,' cried Petito, Lady Clonbrony's woman, coming in
with a face of alarm, 'not dressed yet! My lady is gone down, and
Mrs. Broadhurst and my Lady Pococke's come, and the Honourable Mrs.
Trembleham; and signor, the Italian singing gentleman, has been
walking up and down the apartments there by himself, disconsolate, this
half-hour, and I wondering all the time nobody rang for me--but my lady
dressed, Lord knows how! without anybody. Oh, merciful! Miss Nugent,
if you could stand still for one single particle of a second. So then I
thought of stepping in to Miss Nugent; for the young ladies are talking
so fast, says I to myself, at the door, they will never know how time
goes, unless I give 'em a hint. But now my lady is below, there's no
need, to be sure, to be nervous, so we may take the thing quietly,
without being in a flustrum. Dear ladies, is not this now a very sudden
motion of our young lord's for Ireland?--Lud a mercy! Miss Nugent, I'm
sure your motions is sudden enough; and your dress behind is all,
I'm sure, I can't tell how.'--'Oh, never mind,' said the young lady,
escaping from her; 'it will do very well, thank you, Petito.'

'It will do very well, never mind,' repeated Petito muttering to
herself, as she looked after the ladies, whilst they ran downstairs. 'I
can't abide to dress any young lady who says never mind, and it will
do very well. That, and her never talking to one confiDANtially, or
trusting one with the least bit of her secrets, is the thing I can't put
up with from Miss Nugent; and Miss Broadhurst holding the pins to me, as
much as to say, Do your business, Petito, and don't talk.--Now, that's
so impertinent, as if one wasn't the same flesh and blood, and had
not as good a right to talk of everything, and hear of everything, as
themselves. And Mrs. Broadhurst, too, cabinet-councilling with my
lady, and pursing up her city mouth when I come in, and turning off the
discourse to snuff, forsooth; as if I was an ignoramus, to think they
closeted themselves to talk of snuff. Now, I think a lady of quality's
woman has as good a right to be trusted with her lady's secrets as with
her jewels; and if my Lady Clonbrony was a real lady of quality, she'd
know that, and consider the one as much my paraphernalia as the other.
So I shall tell my lady to-night, as I always do when she vexes me,
that I never lived in an Irish family before, and don't know the ways of
it--then she'll tell me she was born in Hoxfordshire--then I shall say,
with my saucy look, "Oh, was you, my lady?--I always forget that you was
an Englishwoman:" then maybe she'll say, "Forget!--you forget yourself
strangely, Petito." Then I shall say, with a great deal of dignity,
"If your ladyship thinks so, my lady, I'd better go." And I'd desire no
better than that she would take me at my word; for my Lady Dashfort's is
a much better place, I'm told, and she's dying to have me, I know.'

And having formed this resolution, Petito concluded her apparently
interminable soliloquy, and went with my lord's gentleman into the
antechamber, to hear the concert, and give her judgment on everything;
as she peeped in through the vista of heads into the Apollo saloon--for
to-night the Alhambra was transformed into the Apollo saloon--she saw
that whilst the company, rank behind rank, in close semicircles, had
crowded round the performers to hear a favourite singer, Miss Broadhurst
and Lord Colambre were standing in the outer semicircle, talking to
one another earnestly. Now would Petito have given up her reversionary
chance of the three nearly new gowns she expected from Lady Clonbrony,
in case she stayed; or, in case she went, the reversionary chance of any
dress of Lady Dashfort's except her scarlet velvet, merely to hear what
Miss Broadhurst and Lord Colambre were saying. Alas! she could only
see their lips move; and of what they were talking, whether of music
or love, and whether the match was to be on or off; she could
only conjecture. But the diplomatic style having now descended to
waiting-maids, Mrs. Petito talked to her friends in the antechamber with
as mysterious and consequential an air and tone, as a CHARGE D'AFFAIRES,
or as the lady of a CHARGE D'AFFAIRES, could have assumed. She spoke
of HER PRIVATE BELIEF; of THE IMPRESSION LEFT UPON HER MIND; and her
CONFIDANTIAL reasons for thinking as she did; of her 'having had it
from the FOUNTAIN'S head;' and of 'her fear of any COMMITTAL of her
authorities.'

Notwithstanding all these authorities, Lord Colambre left London next
day, and pursued his way to Ireland, determined that he would see and
judge of that country for himself, and decide whether his mother's
dislike to residing there was founded on caprice or reasonable causes.

In the meantime, it was reported in London that his lordship was gone to
Ireland to make out the title to some estate, which would be necessary
for his marriage settlement with the great heiress, Miss Broadhurst.
Whether Mrs. Petito or Sir Terence O'Fay had the greater share in
raising and spreading this report, it would be difficult to determine;
but it is certain, however or by whomsoever raised, it was most useful
to Lord Clonbrony, by keeping his creditors quiet.



CHAPTER VI

The tide did not permit the packet to reach the Pigeon-house, and the
impatient Lord Colambre stepped into a boat, and was rowed across the
bay of Dublin. It was a fine summer morning. The sun shone bright on the
Wicklow mountains. He admired, he exulted in the beauty of the prospect;
and all the early associations of his childhood, and the patriotic hopes
of his riper years, swelled his heart as he approached the shores of
his native land. But scarcely had he touched his mother earth, when
the whole course of his ideas was changed; and if his heart swelled,
it swelled no more with pleasurable sensations, for instantly he found
himself surrounded and attacked by a swarm of beggars and harpies,
with strange figures and stranger tones: some craving his charity, some
snatching away his luggage, and at the same time bidding him 'never
trouble himself,' and 'never fear.' A scramble in the boat and on shore
for bags and parcels began, and an amphibious fight betwixt men, who had
one foot on sea and one on land, was seen; and long and loud the battle
of trunks and portmanteaus raged! The vanquished departed, clinching
their empty hands at their opponents, and swearing inextinguishable
hatred; while the smiling victors stood at ease, each grasping his
booty--bag, basket, parcel, or portmanteau: 'And, your honour, where
WILL these go?--Where WILL We carry 'em all to, for your honour?' was
now the question. Without waiting for an answer, most of the goods were
carried at the discretion of the porters to the custom-house, where,
to his lordship's astonishment, after this scene of confusion, he found
that he had lost nothing but his patience; all his goods were safe,
and a few TINPENNIES made his officious porters happy men and boys;
blessings were showered upon his honour, and he was left in peace at
an excellent hotel in --Street, Dublin. He rested, refreshed himself,
recovered his good-humour, and walked into the coffee-house, where he
found several officers--English, Irish, and Scotch. One English officer,
a very gentleman-like, sensible-looking man, of middle age, was sitting
reading a little pamphlet, when Lord Colambre entered; he looked up from
time to time, and in a few minutes rose and joined the conversation; it
turned upon the beauties and defects of the city of Dublin. Sir James
Brooke, for that was the name of the gentleman, showed one of his
brother officers the book which he had been reading, observing that, in
his opinion, it contained one of the best views of Dublin which he had
ever seen, evidently drawn by the hand of a master, though in a slight,
playful, and ironical style: it was 'AN INTERCEPTED LETTER FROM CHINA.'
The conversation extended from Dublin to various parts of Ireland, with
all which Sir James Brooke showed that he was well acquainted. Observing
that this conversation was particularly interesting to Lord Colambre,
and quickly perceiving that he was speaking to one not ignorant
of books, Sir James spoke of different representations and
misrepresentations of Ireland. In answer to Lord Colambre's inquiries,
he named the works which had afforded him most satisfaction; and with
discriminative, not superficial celerity, touched on all ancient and
modern authors, from Spenser and Davies to Young and Beaufort. Lord
Colambre became anxious to cultivate the acquaintance of a gentleman
who appeared so able and willing to afford him information. Sir James
Brooke, on his part, was flattered by this eagerness of attention, and
pleased by our hero's manners and conversation; so that, to their mutual
satisfaction, they spent much of their time together whilst they were
at this hotel; and, meeting frequently in society in Dublin, their
acquaintance every day increased and grew into intimacy--an intimacy
which was highly advantageous to Lord Colambre's views of obtaining a
just idea of the state of manners in Ireland. Sir James Brooke had at
different periods been quartered in various parts of the country--had
resided long enough in each to become familiar with the people, and had
varied his residence sufficiently to form comparisons between different
counties, their habits, and characteristics. Hence he had it in his
power to direct the attention of our young observer at once to the
points most worthy of his examination, and to save him from the common
error of travellers--the deducing general conclusions from a few
particular cases, or arguing from exceptions as if they were rules.
Lord Colambre, from his family connexions, had of course immediate
introduction into the best society in Dublin, or rather into all the
good society of Dublin. In Dublin there is positively good company, and
positively bad; but not, as in London, many degrees of comparison: not
innumerable luminaries of the polite world, moving in different orbits
of fashion, but all the bright planets of note and name move and revolve
in the same narrow limits. Lord Colambre did not find that either his
father's or his mother's representations of society in Dublin resembled
the reality, which he now beheld. Lady Clonbrony had, in terms of
detestation, described Dublin such as it appeared to her soon after the
Union; Lord Clonbrony had painted it with convivial enthusiasm, such as
he saw it long and long before the Union, when FIRST he drank claret
at the fashionable clubs. This picture, unchanged in his memory, and
unchangeable by his imagination, had remained, and ever would remain,
the same. The hospitality of which the father boasted, the son found in
all its warmth, but meliorated and refined; less convivial, more social;
the fashion of hospitality had improved. To make the stranger eat or
drink to excess, to set before him old wine and old plate, was no
longer the sum of good breeding. The guest now escaped the pomp of grand
entertainments; was allowed to enjoy ease and conversation, and to taste
some of that feast of reason and that flow of soul so often talked of,
and so seldom enjoyed. Lord Colambre found a spirit of improvement, a
desire for knowledge, and a taste for science and literature, in most
companies, particularly among gentlemen belonging to the Irish bar;
nor did he in Dublin society see any of that confusion of ranks or
predominance of vulgarity of which his mother had complained. Lady
Clonbrony had assured him that, the last time she had been at the
drawing-room at the Castle, a lady, whom she afterwards found to be a
grocer's wife, had turned angrily when her ladyship had accidentally
trodden on her train, and had exclaimed with a strong brogue, 'I'll
thank you, ma'am, for the rest of my tail.'

Sir James Brooke, to whom Lord Colambre, without GIVING UP HIS
AUTHORITY, mentioned the fact, declared that he had no doubt the thing
had happened precisely as it was stated; but that this was one of the
extraordinary cases which ought not to pass into a general rule--that it
was a slight instance of that influence of temporary causes, from which
no conclusions, as to national manners, should be drawn.

'I happened,' continued Sir James, 'to be quartered in Dublin soon after
the Union took place; and I remember the great but transient change that
appeared. From the removal of both Houses of Parliament, most of the
nobility, and many of the principal families among the Irish commoners,
either hurried in high hopes to London, or retired disgusted and in
despair to their houses in the country. Immediately, in Dublin, commerce
rose into the vacated seats of rank; wealth rose into the place of
birth. New faces and new equipages appeared; people, who had never been
heard of before, started into notice, pushed themselves forward, not
scrupling to elbow their way even at the Castle; and they were presented
to my lord-lieutenant and to my lady-lieutenant; for their excellencies,
for the time being, might have played their vice-regal parts to empty
benches, had they not admitted such persons for the moment to fill their
court. Those of former times, of hereditary pretensions and high-bred
minds and manners, were scandalised at all this; and they complained,
with justice, that the whole TONE of society was altered; that the
decorum, elegance, polish, and charm of society was gone; and I among
the rest (said Sir James) felt and deplored their change. But, now it is
all over, we may acknowledge that, perhaps, even those things which we
felt most disagreeable at the time were productive of eventual benefit.

'Formerly, a few families had set the fashion. From time immemorial
everything had, in Dublin, been submitted to their hereditary authority;
and conversation, though it had been rendered polite by their example,
was, at the same time, limited within narrow bounds. Young people,
educated upon a more enlarged plan, in time grew up; and, no authority
or fashion forbidding it, necessarily rose to their just place, and
enjoyed their due influence in society. The want of manners, joined to
the want of knowledge in the new set, created universal disgust: they
were compelled, some by ridicule, some by bankruptcies, to fall back
into their former places, from which they could never more emerge. In
the meantime, some of the Irish nobility and gentry who had been living
at an unusual expense in London--an expense beyond their incomes--were
glad to return home to refit; and they brought with them a new stock of
ideas, and some taste for science and literature, which, within these
latter years, have become fashionable, indeed indispensable, in London.
That part of the Irish aristocracy, who, immediately upon the first
incursions of the vulgarians, had fled in despair to their fastnesses in
the country, hearing of the improvements which had gradually taken
place in society, and assured of the final expulsion of the barbarians,
ventured from their retreats, and returned to their posts in town. So
that now,' concluded Sir James, 'you find a society in Dublin composed
of a most agreeable and salutary mixture of birth and education,
gentility and knowledge, manner and matter; and you see pervading the
whole new life and energy, new talent, new ambition, a desire and a
determination to improve and be improved--a perception that higher
distinction can now be obtained in almost all company, by genius and
merit, than by airs and dress.... So much for the higher order. Now,
among the class of tradesmen and shopkeepers, you may amuse yourself, my
lord, with marking the difference between them and persons of the same
rank in London.'

Lord Colambre had several commissions to execute for his English
friends, and he made it his amusement in every shop to observe the
manners and habits of the people. He remarked that there are in Dublin
two classes of tradespeople: one, who go into business with intent
to make it their occupation for life, and as a slow but sure means of
providing for themselves and their families; another class, who take up
trade merely as a temporary resource, to which they condescend for a few
years, trusting that they shall, in that time, make a fortune, retire,
and commence or recommence gentlemen. The Irish regular men of business
are like all other men of business--punctual, frugal, careful, and so
forth; with the addition of more intelligence, invention, and enterprise
than are usually found in Englishmen of the same rank. But the Dublin
tradesmen PRO TEMPORE are a class by themselves; they begin without
capital, buy stock upon credit in hopes of making large profits, and, in
the same hopes, sell upon credit. Now, if the credit they can obtain is
longer than that which they are forced to give, they go on and prosper;
if not, they break, turn bankrupts, and sometimes, as bankrupts, thrive.
By such men, of course, every SHORT CUT to fortune is followed; whilst
every habit, which requires time to prove its advantage, is disregarded;
nor with such views can a character for PUNCTUALITY have its just
value. In the head of a man who intends to be a tradesman to-day, and
a gentleman to-morrow, the ideas of the honesty and the duties of a
tradesman, and of the honour and the accomplishments of a gentleman, are
oddly jumbled together, and the characteristics of both are lost in the
compound.

He will OBLIGE you, but he will not obey you; he will do you a favour,
but he will not do you JUSTICE; he will do ANYTHING TO SERVE YOU, but
the particular thing you order he neglects; he asks your pardon, for he
would not, for all the goods in his warehouse, DISOBLIGE you; not for
the sake of your custom, but he has a particular regard for your family.
Economy, in the eyes of such a tradesman, is, if not a mean vice, at
least a shabby virtue, which he is too polite to suspect his customers
of, and particularly proud to prove himself superior to. Many London
tradesmen, after making their thousands and their tens of thousands,
feel pride in still continuing to live like plain men of business;
but from the moment a Dublin tradesman of this style has made a few
hundreds, he sets up his gig, and then his head is in his carriage, and
not in his business; and when he has made a few thousands, he buys or
builds a country-house--and then, and thenceforward, his head, heart,
and soul are in his country-house, and only his body in the shop with
his customers.

Whilst he is making money, his wife, or rather his lady, is spending
twice as much out of town as he makes in it. At the word country-house,
let no one figure to himself a snug little box, like that in which a
WARM London citizen, after long years of toil, indulges himself, one day
out of seven, in repose--enjoying from his gazabo the smell of the dust,
and the view of passing coaches on the London road. No: these Hibernian
villas are on a much more magnificent scale; some of them formerly
belonged to Irish members of Parliament, who are at a distance from
their country-seats. After the Union these were bought by citizens and
tradesmen, who spoiled, by the mixture of their own fancies, what had
originally been designed by men of good taste.

Some time after Lord Colambre's arrival in Dublin, he had an opportunity
of seeing one of these villas, which belonged to Mrs. Raffarty, a
grocer's lady, and sister to one of Lord Clonbrony's agents, Mr.
Nicholas Garraghty. Lord Colambre was surprised to find that his
father's agent resided in Dublin: he had been used to see agents,
or stewards, as they are called in England, live in the country, and
usually on the estate of which they have the management. Mr. Nicholas
Garraghty, however, had a handsome house in a fashionable part of
Dublin. Lord Colambre called several times to see him, but he was out of
town, receiving rents for some other gentlemen, as he was agent for more
than one property.

Though our hero had not the honour of seeing Mr. Garraghty, he had the
pleasure of finding Mrs. Raffarty one day at her brother's house. Just
as his lordship came to the door, she was going, on her jaunting-car,
to her villa, called Tusculum, situate near Bray. She spoke much of the
beauties of the vicinity of Dublin; found his lordship was going with
Sir James Brooke and a party of gentlemen to see the county of Wicklow;
and his lordship and party were entreated to do her the honour of taking
in his way a little collation at Tusculum.

Our hero was glad to have an opportunity of seeing more of a species of
fine lady with which he was unacquainted.

The invitation was verbally made, and verbally accepted; but the lady
afterwards thought it necessary to send a written invitation in due
form, and the note she sent directed to the MOST RIGHT HONOURABLE the
Lord Viscount Colambre. On opening it he perceived that it could not
have been intended for him. It ran as follows:

MY DEAR JULIANA O'LEARY, I have got a promise from Colambre, that he
will be with us at Tusculum on Friday the 20th, in his way from the
county of Wicklow, for the collation I mentioned; and expect a large
party of officers; so pray come early, with your house, or as many as
the jaunting-car can bring. And pray, my dear, be ELEGANT. You need not
let it transpire to Mrs. O'G--; but make my apologies to Miss O'G--, if
she says anything, and tell her I'm quite concerned I can't ask her for
that day; because, tell her, I'm so crowded, and am to have none
that day but REAL QUALITY.--Yours ever and ever, ANASTASIA RAFFARTY.
P.S.--And I hope to make the gentlemen stop the night with me; so will
not have beds. Excuse haste, and compliments, etc. TUSCULUM, Sunday 15.

After a charming tour in the county of Wicklow, where the beauty of the
natural scenery, and the taste with which those natural beauties had
been cultivated, far surpassed the sanguine expectations Lord Colambre
had formed, his lordship and his companions arrived at Tusculum, where
he found Mrs. Raffarty, and Miss Juliana O'Leary, very elegant, with
a large party of the ladies and gentlemen of Bray, assembled in a
drawing-room, fine with bad pictures and gaudy gilding; the windows were
all shut, and the company were playing cards with all their might. This
was the fashion of the neighbourhood. In compliment to Lord Colambre
and the officers, the ladies left the card-tables; and Mrs. Raffarty,
observing that his lordship seemed PARTIAL to walking, took him out, as
she said, 'to do the honours of nature and art.'

His lordship was much amused by the mixture, which was now exhibited
to him, of taste and incongruity, ingenuity and absurdity, genius
and blunder; by the contrast between the finery and vulgarity, the
affectation and ignorance of the lady of the villa. We should be obliged
to STOP too long at Tusculum were we to attempt to detail all the odd
circumstances of this visit; but we may record an example or two which
may give a sufficient idea of the whole.

In the first place, before they left the drawing-room, Miss Juliana
O'Leary pointed out to his lordship's attention a picture over the
drawing-room chimney-piece. 'Is not it a fine piece, my lord?' said
she, naming the price Mrs. Raffarty had lately paid for it at an
auction.--'It has a right to be a fine piece, indeed; for it cost a fine
price!' Nevertheless this FINE piece was a vile daub; and our hero could
only avoid the sin of flattery, or the danger of offending the lady, by
protesting that he had no judgment in pictures.

'Indeed, I don't pretend to be a connoisseur or conoscenti myself; but
I'm told the style is undeniably modern. And was not I lucky, Juliana,
not to let that MEDONA be knocked down to me? I was just going to bid,
when I heard such smart bidding; but fortunately the auctioneer let out
that it was done by a very old master--a hundred years old. Oh! your
most obedient, thinks I!--if that's the case, it's not for my money; so
I bought this, in lieu of the smoke-dried thing, and had it a bargain.'

In architecture, Mrs. Rafferty had as good a taste and as much skill as
in painting. There had been a handsome portico in front of the house;
but this interfering with the lady's desire to have a veranda, which she
said could not be dispensed with, she had raised the whole portico to
the second story, where it stood, or seemed to stand, upon a tarpaulin
roof. But Mrs. Raffarty explained that the pillars, though they looked
so properly substantial, were really hollow and as light as feathers,
and were supported with cramps, without DISOBLIGING the front wall of
the house at all to signify.

'Before she showed the company any farther,' she said, 'she must premise
to his lordship, that she had been originally stinted in room for her
improvements, so that she could not follow her genius liberally; she had
been reduced to have some things on a confined scale, and occasionally
to consult her pocket-compass; but she prided herself upon having put
as much into a light pattern as could well be; that had been her whole
ambition, study, and problem, for she was determined to have at least
the honour of having a little TASTE of everything at Tusculum.'

So she led the way to a little conservatory, and a little pinery, and
a little grapery, and a little aviary, and a little pheasantry, and a
little dairy for show, and a little cottage for ditto, with a grotto
full of shells, and a little hermitage full of earwigs, and a little
ruin full of looking-glass, 'to enlarge and multiply the effect of the
Gothic.' 'But you could only put your head in, because it was just fresh
painted, and though there had been a fire ordered in the ruin all night,
it had only smoked.'

In all Mrs. Raffarty's buildings, whether ancient or modern, there was a
studied crookedness.

'Yes,' she said, 'she hated everything straight, it was so formal and
UNPICTURESQUE. Uniformity and conformity, she observed, had their day;
but now, thank the stars of the present day, irregularity and difformity
bear the bell, and have the majority.'

As they proceeded and walked through the grounds, from which Mrs.
Raffarty, though she had done her best, could not take that which nature
had given, she pointed out to my lord 'a happy moving termination,'
consisting of a Chinese bridge, with a fisherman leaning over the rails.
On a sudden, the fisherman was seen to tumble over the bridge into the
water.

The gentlemen ran to extricate the poor fellow, while they heard Mrs.
Raffarty bawling to his lordship, to beg he would never mind, and not
trouble himself.

When they arrived at the bridge, they saw the man hanging from part
of the bridge, and apparently struggling in the water; but when they
attempted to pull him up, they found it was only a stuffed figure which
had been pulled into the stream by a real fish, which had seized hold of
the bait.

Mrs. Raffarty, vexed by the fisherman's fall, and by the laughter
it occasioned, did not recover herself sufficiently to be happily
ridiculous during the remainder of the walk, nor till dinner was
announced, when she apologised for 'having changed the collation, at
first intended, into a dinner, which she hoped would be found no bad
substitute, and which she flattered herself might prevail on my lord and
the gentlemen to sleep, as there was no moon.'

The dinner had two great faults--profusion and pretension. There was,
in fact, ten times more on the table than was necessary; and the
entertainment was far above the circumstances of the person by whom it
was given; for instance, the dish of fish at the head of the table had
been brought across the island from Sligo, and had cost five guineas; as
the lady of the house failed not to make known. But, after all, things
were not of a piece; there was a disparity between the entertainment and
the attendants; there was no proportion or fitness of things--a painful
endeavour at what could not be attained, and a toiling in vain to
conceal and repair deficiencies and blunders. Had the mistress of the
house been quiet; had she, as Mrs. Broadhurst would say, but let things
alone, let things take their course, all would have passed off with
well-bred people; but she was incessantly apologising, and fussing,
and fretting inwardly and outwardly, and directing and calling to
her servants--striving to make a butler who was deaf, a boy who was
hare-brained, do the business of five accomplished footmen of PARTS and
FIGURE. The mistress of the house called for 'plates, clean plates!-hot
plates!'

'But none did come, when she did call for them.'

Mrs. Raffarty called 'Larry! Larry! My lord's plate, there!--James!
bread to Captain Bowles!--James! port wine to the major!--James! James
Kenny! James!'

'And panting James toiled after her in vain.'

At length one course was fairly got through, and after a torturing
half-hour, the second course appeared, and James Kenny was intent upon
one thing, and Larry upon another, so that the wine-sauce for the hare
was spilt by their collision; but, what was worse, there seemed little
chance that the whole of this second course should ever be placed
altogether rightly upon the table. Mrs. Raffarty cleared her throat, and
nodded, and pointed, and sighed, and set Larry after Kenny, and Kenny
after Larry; for what one did, the other undid; and at last the lady's
anger kindled, and she spoke:

'Kenny! James Kenny! set the sea-cale at this corner, and put down the
grass cross-corners; and match your macaroni yonder with THEM puddens,
set--Ogh! James! the pyramid in the middle, can't ye?'

The pyramid, in changing places, was overturned. Then it was that the
mistress of the feast, falling back in her seat, and lifting up her
hands and eyes in despair, ejaculated, 'Oh, James! James!'

The pyramid was raised by the assistance of the military engineers, and
stood trembling again on its base; but the lady's temper could not be so
easily restored to its equilibrium.

The comedy of errors, which this day's visit exhibited, amused all
the spectators. But Lord Colambre, after he had smiled, sometimes
sighed.--Similar foibles and follies in persons of different rank,
fortune, and manner, appear to common observers so unlike, that they
laugh without scruples of conscience in one case, at what in another
ought to touch themselves most nearly. It was the same desire to appear
what they were not, the same vain ambition to vie with superior rank and
fortune, or fashion, which actuated Lady Clonbrony and Mrs. Raffarty;
and whilst this ridiculous grocer's wife made herself the sport of some
of her guests, Lord Colambre sighed, from the reflection that what she
was to them, his mother was to persons in a higher rank of fashion.--He
sighed still more deeply, when he considered, that, in whatever station
or with whatever fortune, extravagance, that is the living beyond our
income, must lead to distress and meanness, and end in shame and ruin.
In the morning, as they were riding away from Tusculum and talking over
their visit, the officers laughed heartily, and rallying Lord Colambre
upon his seriousness, accused him of having fallen in love with Mrs.
Raffarty, or with the ELEGANT Miss Juliana. Our hero, who wished never
to be nice overmuch, or serious out of season, laughed with those that
laughed, and endeavoured to catch the spirit of the jest. But Sir James
Brooke, who now was well acquainted with his countenance, and who knew
something of the history of his family, understood his real feelings,
and, sympathising in them, endeavoured to give the conversation a new
turn.

'Look there, Bowles,' said he, as they were just riding into the town
of Bray; 'look at the barouche, standing at that green door, at the
farthest end of the town. Is not that Lady Dashfort's barouche?'

'It looks like what she sported in Dublin last year,' said Bowles; 'but
you don't think she'd give us the same two seasons? Besides, she is not
in Ireland, is she? I did not hear of her intending to come over again.'

'I beg your pardon,' said another officer; 'she will come again to so
good a market, to marry her other daughter. I hear she said, or swore,
that she will marry the young widow, Lady Isabel, to an Irish nobleman.'

'Whatever she says, she swears, and whatever she swears, she'll do,'
replied Bowles. 'Have a care, my Lord Colambre; if she sets her heart
upon you for Lady Isabel, she has you. Nothing can save you. Heart she
has none, so there you're safe, my lord,' said the other officer; 'but
if Lady Isabel sets her eye upon you, no basilisk's is surer.'

'But if Lady Dashfort had landed I am sure we should have heard of it,
for she makes noise enough wherever she goes; especially in Dublin,
where all she said and did was echoed and magnified, till one could hear
of nothing else. I don't think she has landed.'

'I hope to Heaven they may never land again in Ireland!' cried Sir James
Brooke; 'one worthless woman, especially one worthless Englishwoman of
rank, does incalculable mischief in a country like this, which looks up
to the sister country for fashion. For my own part, as a warm friend
to Ireland, I would rather see all the toads and serpents, and venomous
reptiles, that St. Patrick carried off in his bag, come back to this
island, than these two DASHERS. Why, they would bite half the women
and girls in the kingdom with the rage for mischief, before half the
husbands and fathers could turn their heads about. And, once bit,
there's no cure in nature or art.'

'No horses to this barouche!' cried Captain Bowles.--'Pray, sir, whose
carriage is this?' said the captain to a servant who was standing beside
it.

'My Lady Dashfort, sir, it belongs to,' answered the servant, in rather
a surly English tone; and turning to a boy who was lounging at the
door--'Pat, bid them bring out the horses, for my ladies is in a hurry
to get home.'

Captain Bowles stopped to make his servant alter the girths of his
horse, and to satisfy his curiosity; and the whole party halted. Captain
Bowles beckoned to the landlord of the inn, who was standing at his
door.

'So, Lady Dashfort is here again?--This is her barouche, is not it?'

'Yes, sir, she is--it is.'

'And has she sold her fine horses?'

'Oh no, sir--this is not her carriage at all--she is not here. That is,
she is here, in Ireland; but down in the county of Wicklow, on a visit.
And this is not her own carriage at all;--that is to say, not that which
she has with herself, driving; but only just the cast barouche like, as
she keeps for the lady's maids.'

'For the lady's maids! that is good! that is new, faith! Sir James, do
you hear that?'

'Indeed, then, and it's true, and not a word of a lie!' said the honest
landlord. 'And this minute, we've got a directory of five of them
abigails, sitting within in our house; as fine ladies, as great dashers,
too, every bit as their principals; and kicking up as much dust on the
road, every grain!--Think of them, now! The likes of them, that must
have four horses, and would not stir a foot with one less!--As the
gentleman's gentleman there was telling and boasting to me about now,
when the barouche was ordered for them, there at the lady's house, where
Lady Dashfort is on a visit--they said they would not get in till they'd
get four horses; and their ladies backed them; and so the four horses
was got; and they just drove out here, to see the points of view for
fashion's sake, like their betters; and up with their glasses, like
their ladies; and then out with their watches, and "Isn't it time to
lunch?" So there they have been lunching within on what they brought
with them; for nothing in our house could they touch, of course! They
brought themselves a PICKNICK lunch, with Madeira and Champagne to wash
it down. Why, gentlemen, what do you think, but a set of them, as they
were bragging to me, turned out of a boarding-house at Cheltenham, last
year, because they had not peach-pies to their lunch!--But here they
come! shawls, and veils, and all!--streamers flying! But mum is my
cue!--Captain, are these girths to your fancy now?' said the landlord,
aloud; then, as he stooped to alter a buckle, he said, in a voice
meant to be heard only by Captain Bowles, 'If there's a tongue, male
or female, in the three kingdoms, it's in that foremost woman, Mrs.
Petito.'

'Mrs. Petito!' repeated Lord Colambre, as the name caught his ear; and,
approaching the barouche in which the five abigails were now seated, he
saw the identical Mrs. Petito, who, when he left London, had been in his
mother's service.

She recognised his lordship with very gracious intimacy; and, before
he had time to ask any questions, she answered all she conceived he
was going to ask, and with a volubility which justified the landlord's
eulogium of her tongue.

'Yes, my lord! I left my Lady Clonbrony some time back--the day after
you left town; and both her ladyship and Miss Nugent was charmingly, and
would have sent their loves to your lordship, I'm sure, if they'd any
notion I should have met you, my lord, so soon. And I was very sorry to
part with them; but the fact was, my lord,' said Mrs. Petito, laying
a detaining hand upon Lord Colambre's whip, one end of which he
unwittingly trusted within her reach,--'I and my lady had a little
difference, which the best friends, you know, sometimes have; so my Lady
Clonbrony was so condescending to give me up to my Lady Dashfort--and
I knew no more than the child unborn that her ladyship had it in
contemplation to cross the seas. But, to oblige my lady, and as Colonel
Heathcock, with his regiment of militia, was coming for purtection in
the packet at the same time, and we to have the government-yacht, I
waived my objections to Ireland. And, indeed, though I was greatly
frighted at first, having heard all we've heard, you know, my lord, from
Lady Clonbrony, of there being no living in Ireland, and expecting to
see no trees nor accommodation, nor anything but bogs all along; yet
I declare, I was very agreeably surprised; for, as far as I've seen at
Dublin and in the vicinity, the accommodations, and everything of that
nature, now is vastly put-up-able with!'--'My lord,' said Sir James
Brooke, 'we shall be late.' Lord Colambre, shortly withdrawing his whip
from Mrs. Petito, turned his horse away. She, stretching over the back
of the barouche as he rode off, bawled to him--

'My lord, we're at Stephen's Green, when we're at Dublin.' But as he did
not choose to hear, she raised her voice to its highest pitch, adding--

'And where are you, my lord, to be found!--as I have a parcel of Miss
Nugent's for you.'

Lord Colambre instantly turned back, and gave his direction.

'Cleverly done, faith!' said the major. 'I did not hear her say when
Lady Dashfort is to be in town,' said Captain Bowles.

'What, Bowles! have you a mind to lose more of your guineas to Lady
Dashfort, and to be jockied out of another horse by Lady Isabel?'

'Oh! confound it--no! I'll keep out of the way of that--I have had
enough,' said Captain Bowles; 'it is my Lord Colambre's turn now; you
hear that Lady Dashfort would be very PROUD to see him. His lordship is
in for it, and with such an auxiliary as Mrs. Petito, Lady Dashfort has
him for Lady Isabel, as sure as he has a heart or hand.'

'My compliments to the ladies, but my heart is engaged,' said Lord
Colambre; 'and my hand shall go with my heart, or not at all.'

'Engaged! engaged to a very amiable, charming woman, no doubt,' said Sir
James Brooke. 'I have an excellent opinion of your taste; and if you
can return the compliment to my judgment, take my advice: don't trust
to your heart's being engaged, much less plead that engagement; for it
would be Lady Dashfort's sport, and Lady Isabel's joy, to make you break
your engagement, and break your mistress's heart; the fairer, the more
amiable, the more beloved, the greater the triumph, the greater the
delight in giving pain. All the time love would be out of the question;
neither mother nor daughter would care if you were hanged, or, as Lady
Dashfort would herself have expressed it, if you were d-d.'

'With such women, I should think a man's heart could be in no great
danger,' said Lord Colambre.

'There you might be mistaken, my lord; there's a way to every man's
heart, which no man in his own case is aware of, but which every woman
knows right well, and none better than these ladies--by his vanity.'

'True,' said Captain Bowles.

'I am not so vain as to think myself without vanity,' said Lord
Colambre; 'but love, I should imagine, is a stronger passion than
vanity.'

'You should imagine! Stay till you are tried, my lord. Excuse me,' said
Captain Bowles, laughing.

Lord Colambre felt the good sense of this, and determined to have
nothing to do with these dangerous ladies; indeed, though he had talked,
he had scarcely yet thought of them; for his imagination was intent upon
that packet from Miss Nugent, which Mrs. Petito said she had for him. He
heard nothing of it, or of her, for some days. He sent his servant every
day to Stephen's Green to inquire if Lady Dashfort had returned to town.
Her ladyship at last returned; but Mrs. Petito could not deliver the
parcel to any hand but Lord Colambre's own, and she would not stir
out, because her lady was indisposed. No longer able to restrain his
impatience, Lord Colambre went himself--knocked at Lady Dashfort's
door--inquired for Mrs. Petito--was shown into her parlour. The parcel
was delivered to him; but to his utter disappointment, it was a parcel
FOR, not FROM Miss Nugent. It contained merely an odd volume of some
book of Miss Nugent's which Mrs. Petito said she had put up along with
her things IN A MISTAKE, and she thought it her duty to return it by the
next opportunity of a safe conveyance.

Whilst Lord Colambre, to comfort himself for his disappointment, was
fixing his eyes upon Miss Nugent's name, written by her own hand, in
the first leaf of the book, the door opened, and the figure of an
interesting-looking woman, in deep mourning, appeared--appeared for one
moment, and retired.

'Only my Lord Colambre, about a parcel I was bringing for him from
England, my lady--my Lady Isabel, my lord,' said Mrs. Petito. Whilst
Mrs. Petito was saying this, the entrance and retreat had been made,
and made with such dignity, grace, and modesty; with such innocence,
dove-like eyes had been raised upon him, fixed and withdrawn; with such
a gracious bend the Lady Isabel had bowed to him as she retired; with
such a smile, and with so soft a voice, had repeated 'Lord Colambre!'
that his lordship, though well aware that all this was mere acting,
could not help saying to himself as he left the house:

'It is a pity it is only acting. There is certainly something very
engaging in this woman. It is a pity she is an actress. And so young! A
much younger woman than I expected. A widow before most women are wives.
So young, surely she cannot be such a fiend as they described her
to be!' A few nights afterwards Lord Colambre was with some of his
acquaintance at the theatre, when Lady Isabel and her mother came
into the box, where seats had been reserved for them, and where their
appearance instantly made that sensation which is usually created by
the entrance of persons of the first notoriety in the fashionable world.
Lord Colambre was not a man to be dazzled by fashion, or to mistake
notoriety for deference paid to merit, and for the admiration commanded
by beauty or talents. Lady Dashfort's coarse person, loud voice, daring
manners, and indelicate wit, disgusted him almost past endurance, He saw
Sir James Brooke in the box opposite to him; and twice determined to go
round to him. His lordship had crossed the benches, and once his hand
was upon the lock of the door; but attracted as much by the daughter as
repelled by the mother, he could move no farther. The mother's masculine
boldness heightened, by contrast, the charms of the daughter's soft
sentimentality. The Lady Isabel seemed to shrink from the indelicacy of
her mother's manners, and seemed peculiarly distressed by the strange
efforts Lady Dashfort made, from time to time, to drag her forward, and
to fix upon her the attention of gentlemen. Colonel Heathcock, who, as
Mrs. Petito had informed Lord Colambre, had come over with his regiment
to Ireland, was beckoned into their box by Lady Dashfort, by her
squeezed into a seat next to Lady Isabel; but Lady Isabel seemed to feel
sovereign contempt, properly repressed by politeness, for what, in a low
whisper to a female friend on the other side of her, she called, 'the
self-sufficient inanity of this sad coxcomb.' Other coxcombs, of a more
vivacious style, who stationed themselves round her mother, or to whom
her mother stretched from box to box to talk, seemed to engage no more
of Lady Isabel's attention than just what she was compelled to give by
Lady Dashfort's repeated calls of--

'Isabel! Isabel! Colonel G-- Isabel! Lord D-- bowing to you, Belie!
Belie! Sir Harry B-- Isabel, child, with your eyes on the stage? Did you
never see a play before? Novice! Major P--waiting to catch your eye this
quarter of an hour; and now her eyes gone down to her play-bill! Sir
Harry, do take it from her.

'Were eyes so radiant only made to read?'

Lady Isabel appeared to suffer so exquisitely and so naturally from this
persecution, that Lord Colambre said to himself--

'If this be acting, it is the best acting I ever saw. If this be art, it
deserves to be nature.'

And with this sentiment he did himself the honour of handing Lady
Isabel to her carriage this night, and with this sentiment he awoke next
morning; and by the time he had dressed and breakfasted he determined
that it was impossible all that he had seen could be acting. 'No
woman, no young woman, could have such art. Sir James Brooke had been
unwarrantably severe; he would go and tell him so.'

But Sir James Brooke this day received orders for his regiment to march
to quarters in a distant part of Ireland. His head was full of arms,
and ammunition, and knapsacks, and billets, and routes; and there was no
possibility, even in the present chivalrous disposition of our hero, to
enter upon the defence of the Lady Isabel. Indeed, in the regret he
felt for the approaching and unexpected departure of his friend, Lord
Colambre forgot the fair lady. But just when Sir James had his foot in
the stirrup, he stopped.

'By the bye, my dear lord, I saw you at the play last night. You seemed
to be much interested. Don't think me impertinent, if I remind you of
our conversation when we were riding home from Tusculum; and if I warn
you,' said he, mounting his horse, 'to beware of counterfeits--for such
are abroad.' Reining in his impatient steed, Sir James turned again and
added, 'DEEDS NOT WORDS, is my motto. Remember, we can judge better
by the conduct of people towards others than by their manner towards
ourselves.'



CHAPTER VII

Our hero was quite convinced of the good sense of his friend's last
remark, that it is safer to judge of people by their conduct to others
than by their manners towards ourselves; but as yet, he felt scarcely
any interest on the subject of Lady Dashfort or Lady Isabel's
characters; however, he inquired and listened to all the evidence he
could obtain respecting this mother and daughter.

He heard terrible reports of the mischief they had done in families;
the extravagance into which they had led men; the imprudence, to say
no worse, into which they had betrayed women. Matches broken off,
reputations ruined, husbands alienated from their wives, and wives made
jealous of their husbands. But in some of these stories he discovered
exaggeration so flagrant as to make him doubt the whole; in others, it
could not be positively determined whether the mother or daughter had
been the person most to blame.

Lord Colambre always followed the charitable rule of believing only half
what the world says, and here he thought it fair to believe which half
he pleased. He further observed, that, though all joined in abusing
these ladies in their absence, when present they seemed universally
admired. Though everybody cried 'Shame!' and 'shocking!' yet everybody
visited them. No parties so crowded as Lady Dashfort's; no party deemed
pleasant or fashionable where Lady Dashfort or Lady Isabel was not. The
bon-mots of the mother were everywhere repeated; the dress and air of
the daughter everywhere imitated. Yet Lord Colambre could not help being
surprised at their popularity in Dublin, because, independently of all
moral objections, there were causes of a different sort, sufficient, he
thought, to prevent Lady Dashfort from being liked by the Irish; indeed
by any society. She in general affected to be ill-bred, and inattentive
to the feelings and opinions of others; careless whom she offended by
her wit or by her decided tone. There are some persons in so high a
region of fashion, that they imagine themselves above the thunder of
vulgar censure. Lady Dashfort felt herself in this exalted situation,
and fancied she might 'hear the innocuous thunder roll below.' Her rank
was so high that none could dare to call her vulgar; what would
have been gross in any one of meaner note, in her was freedom, or
originality, or Lady Dashfort's way. It was Lady Dashfort's pleasure and
pride to show her power in perverting the public taste. She often said
to those English companions with whom she was intimate, 'Now see what
follies I can lead these fools into. Hear the nonsense I can make them
repeat as wit.' Upon some occasion, one of her friends VENTURED to fear
that something she had said was TOO STRONG. 'Too strong, was it? Well, I
like to be strong--woe be to the weak.' On another occasion she was told
that certain visitors had seen her ladyship yawning. 'Yawn, did I?--glad
of it--the yawn sent them away, or I should have snored;--rude, was I?
they won't complain. To say I was rude to them would be to say, that I
did not think it worth my while to be otherwise. Barbarians! are not we
the civilised English, come to teach them manners and fashions? Whoever
does not conform, and swear allegiance too, we shall keep out of the
English pale.'

Lady Dashfort forced her way, and she set the fashion: fashion, which
converts the ugliest dress into what is beautiful and charming, governs
the public mode in morals and in manners; and thus, when great talents
and high rank combine, they can debase or elevate the public taste.

With Lord Colambre she played more artfully; she drew him out in defence
of his beloved country, and gave him opportunities of appearing to
advantage; this he could not help feeling, especially when the Lady
Isabel was present. Lady Dashfort had dealt long enough with human
nature to know, that to make any man pleased with her, she should begin
by making him pleased with himself.

Insensibly the antipathy that Lord Colambre had originally felt to
Lady Dashfort wore off; her faults, he began to think, were assumed; he
pardoned her defiance of good breeding, when he observed that she could,
when she chose it, be most engagingly polite. It was not that she did
not know what was right, but that she did not think it always for her
interest to practise it.

The party opposed to Lady Dashfort affirmed that her wit depended
merely on unexpectedness; a characteristic which may be applied to any
impropriety of speech, manner, or conduct. In some of her ladyship's
repartees, however, Lord Colambre now acknowledged there was more than
unexpectedness; there was real wit; but it was of a sort utterly unfit
for a woman, and he was sorry that Lady Isabel should hear it. In short,
exceptionable as it was altogether, Lady Dashfort's conversation had
become entertaining to him; and though he could never esteem or feel
in the least interested about her, he began to allow that she could be
agreeable.

'Ay, I knew how it would be,' said she, when some of her friends told
her this. 'He began by detesting me, and did I not tell you that, if I
thought it worth my while to make him like me, he must, sooner or later.
I delight in seeing people begin with me as they do with olives, making
all manner of horrid faces and silly protestations that they will never
touch an olive again as long as they live; but, after a little time,
these very folk grow so desperately fond of olives, that there is no
dessert without them. Isabel, child, you are in the sweet line--but
sweets cloy. You never heard of anybody living on marmalade, did
ye?'--Lady Isabel answered by a sweet smile.--'To do you justice, you
play Lydia Languish vastly well,' pursued the mother; 'but Lydia, by
herself, would soon tire; somebody must keep up the spirit and bustle,
and carry on the plot of the piece; and I am that somebody--as you shall
see. Is not that our hero's voice, which I hear on the stairs?'

It was Lord Colambre. His lordship had by this time become a constant
visitor at Lady Dashfort's. Not that he had forgotten, or that he meant
to disregard his friend Sir James Brooke's parting words. He promised
himself faithfully, that if anything should occur to give him reason to
suspect designs, such as those to which the warning pointed, he would be
on his guard, and would prove his generalship by an able retreat. But to
imagine attacks where none were attempted, to suspect ambuscades in the
open country, would be ridiculous and cowardly.

'No,' thought our hero; 'Heaven forfend I should be such a coxcomb as to
fancy every woman who speaks to me has designs upon my precious heart,
or on my more precious estate!' As he walked from his hotel to Lady
Dashfort's house, ingeniously wrong, he came to this conclusion, just as
he ascended the stairs, and just as her ladyship had settled her future
plan of operations.

After talking over the nothings of the day, and after having given two
or three CUTS at the society of Dublin, with two or three compliments
to individuals, who, she knew, were favourites with his lordship, she
suddenly turned to him--

'My lord, I think you told me, or my own sagacity discovered, that you
want to see something of Ireland, and that you don't intend, like most
travellers, to turn round, see nothing, and go home content.'

Lord Colambre assured her ladyship that she had judged him rightly, for,
that nothing would content him but seeing all that was possible to be
seen of his native country. It was for this special purpose he came to
Ireland.

'Ah!--well--very good purpose--can't be better; but now, how to
accomplish it. You know the Portuguese proverb says, "You go to hell for
the good things you intend to do, and to heaven for those you do." Now
let us see what you will do. Dublin, I suppose, you've seen enough of
by this time; through and through--round and round this makes me first
giddy and then sick. Let me show you the country--not the face of it,
but the body of it--the people. Not Castle this, or Newtown that, but
their inhabitants. I know them; I have the key, or the picklock to their
minds. An Irishman is as different an animal on his guard, and off his
guard, as a miss in school from a miss out of school. A fine country
for game, I'll show you; and, if you are a good marksman, you may have
plenty of shots "at folly as it flies."'

Lord Colambre smiled. 'As to Isabel,' pursued her lady-ship, 'I shall
put her in charge of Heathcock, who is going with us. She won't thank me
for that, but you will. Nay, no fibs, man; you know, I know, as who
does not that has seen the world, that though a pretty woman is a mighty
pretty thing, yet she is confoundedly in one's way, when anything else
is to be seen, heard--or understood.'

Every objection anticipated and removed, and so far a prospect held
out of attaining all the information he desired, with more than all the
amusement he could have expected, Lord Colambre seemed much tempted
to accept the invitation; but he hesitated, because, as he said, her
ladyship might be going to pay visits where he was not acquainted.

'Bless you! don't let that be a stumbling-block in the way of your
tender conscience. I am going to Killpatrickstown, where you'll be as
welcome as light. You know them, they know you; at least you shall have
a proper letter of invitation from my Lord and my Lady Killpatrick, and
all that. And as to the rest, you know a young man is always welcome
every-where, a young nobleman kindly welcome,--I won't say such a young
man, and such a young nobleman, for that might put you to pour bows
or your blushes--but NOBILITAS by itself, nobility is enough in all
parties, in all families, where there are girls, and of course balls, as
there are always at Killpatrickstown. Don't be alarmed; you shall not be
forced to dance, or asked to marry. I'll be your security. You shall be
at full liberty; and it is a house where you can do just what you will.
Indeed, I go to no others. These Killpatricks are the best creatures in
the world; they think nothing good or grand enough for me. If I'd let
them, they would lay down cloth of gold over their bogs for me to
walk upon.--Good-hearted beings!' added Lady Dashfort, marking a cloud
gathering on Lord Colambre's countenance. 'I laugh at them, because I
love them. I could not love anything I might not laugh at--your lordship
excepted. So you'll come--that's settled.'

And so it was settled. Our hero went to Killpatrickstown.

'Everything here sumptuous and unfinished, you see,' said Lady Dashfort
to Lord Colambre, the day after their arrival. 'All begun as if the
projectors thought they had the command of the mines of Peru, and ended
as if the possessors had not sixpence; DES ARRANGEMENS PROVISATOIRES,
temporary expedients; in plain English, MAKE-SHIFTS. Luxuries, enough
for an English prince of the blood; comforts, not enough for an English
woman. And you may be sure that great repairs and alterations have gone
on to fit this house for our reception, and for our English eyes!--Poor
people!--English visitors, in this point of view, are horribly expensive
to the Irish. Did you ever hear that, in the last century, or in the
century before the last, to put my story far enough back, so that it
shall not touch anybody living; when a certain English nobleman, Lord
Blank A--, sent to let his Irish friend, Lord Blank B--, know that
he and all his train were coming over to pay him a visit; the Irish
nobleman, Blank B--, knowing the deplorable condition of his castle,
sat down fairly to calculate whether it would cost him most to put the
building in good and sufficient repair, fit to receive these English
visitors, or to burn it to the ground. He found the balance to be in
favour of burning, which was wisely accomplished next day. Perhaps
Killpatrick would have done well to follow this example. Resolve me
which is worst, to be burnt out of house and home, or to be eaten out of
house and home. In this house, above and below stairs, including first
and second table, housekeeper's room, lady's maids' room, butler's room,
and gentleman's, one hundred and four people sit down to dinner every
day, as Petito informs me, beside kitchen boys, and what they call
CHAR-women who never sit down, but who do not eat or waste the less
for that; and retainers and friends, friends to the fifth and sixth
generation, who "must get their bit and their sup;" for, "sure, it's
only Biddy," they say,' continued Lady Dashfort, imitating their Irish
brogue, 'find, "sure, 'tis nothing at all, out of all his honour, my
lord, has. How could he FEEL it! [Feel it: become sensible of it, know
it.] Long life to him! He's not that way: not a couple in all Ireland,
and that's saying a great dale, looks less after their own, nor is more
off-handeder, or open-hearteder, or greater open-house-keepers, NOR
[than] my Lord and my Lady Killpatrick." Now there's encouragement for a
lord and a lady to ruin themselves.'

Lady Dashfort imitated the Irish brogue in perfection; boasted that
'she was mistress of fourteen different brogues, and had brogues for
all occasions.' By her mixture of mimickry, sarcasm, exaggeration,
and truth, she succeeded continually in making Lord Colambre laugh at
everything at which she wished to make him laugh; at every THING, but
not every BODY whenever she became personal, he became serious, or
at least endeavoured to become serious; and if he could not instantly
resume the command of his risible muscles, he reproached himself.

'It is shameful to laugh at these people, indeed, Lady Dashfort, in
their own house--these hospitable people, who are entertaining us.'

'Entertaining us! true, and if we are ENTERTAINED, how can we help
laughing?'

All expostulation was thus turned off by a jest, as it was her pride to
make Lord Colambre laugh in spite of his better feelings and principles.
This he saw, and this seemed to him to be her sole object; but there he
was mistaken. OFF-HANDED as she pretended to be, none dealt more in the
IMPROMPTU FAIT A LOISIR; and mentally short-sighted as she affected to
be, none had more LONGANIMITY for their own interest.

It was her settled purpose to make the Irish and Ireland ridiculous and
contemptible to Lord Colambre; to disgust him with his native country;
to make him abandon the wish of residing on his own estate. To confirm
him an absentee was her object previously to her ultimate plan of
marrying him to her daughter. Her daughter was poor, she would therefore
be glad to GET an Irish peer for her; but would be very sorry, she said,
to see Isabel banished to Ireland; and the young widow declared she
could never bring herself to be buried alive in Clonbrony Castle.

In addition to these considerations, Lady Dashfort received certain
hints from Mrs. Petito, which worked all to the same point.

'Why, yes, my lady; I heard a great deal about all that when I was at
Lady Clonbrony's,' said Petito, one day, as she was attending at her
lady's toilette, and encouraged to begin chattering. 'And I own I was
originally under the universal error, that my Lord Colambre was to be
married to the great heiress, Miss Broadhurst; but I have been converted
and reformed on that score, and am at present quite in another way and
style of thinking.'

Petito paused, in hopes that her lady would ask, what was her present
way of thinking? But Lady Dashfort, certain that she would tell her
without being asked, did not take the trouble to speak, particularly as
she did not choose to appear violently interested on the subject.--'My
present way of thinking,' resumed Petito, 'is in consequence of
my having, with my own eyes and ears, witnessed and overheard his
lordship's behaviour and words, the morning he was coming away from
LUNNUN for Ireland; when he was morally certain nobody was up, nor
overhearing, nor overseeing him, there did I notice him, my lady,
stopping in the antechamber, ejaculating over one of Miss Nugent's
gloves, which he had picked up. "Limerick!" said he, quite loud to
himself; for it was a Limerick glove, my lady,--"Limerick!--dear
Ireland! she loves you as well as I do!"--or words to that effect; and
then a sigh, and downstairs and off: So, thinks I, now the cat's out of
the bag. And I wouldn't give much myself for Miss Broadhurst's chance of
that young lord, with all her bank stock, scrip, and OMNUM. Now, I see
how the land lies, and I'm sorry for it; for she's no FORTIN; and
she's so proud, she never said a hint to me of the matter; but my Lord
Colambre is a sweet gentleman; and--'

'Petito! don't run on so; you must not meddle with what you don't
understand: the Miss Killpatricks, to be sure, are sweet girls,
particularly the youngest.'--Her ladyship's toilette was finished; and
she left Petito to go down to my Lady Killpatrick's woman, to tell, as
a very great secret, the schemes that were in contemplation among the
higher powers, in favour of the youngest of the Miss Killpatricks.

'So Ireland is at the bottom of his heart, is it?' repeated Lady
Dashfort to herself; 'it shall not be long so.' From this time forward,
not a day, scarcely an hour passed, but her ladyship did or said
something to depreciate the country, or its inhabitants, in our hero's
estimation. With treacherous ability, she knew and followed all the arts
of misrepresentation; all those injurious arts which his friend, Sir
James Brooke, had, with such honest indignation, reprobated. She
knew how, not only to seize the ridiculous points, to make the most
respectable people ridiculous, but she knew how to select the worst
instances, the worst exceptions; and to produce them as examples, as
precedents, from which to condemn whole classes, and establish general
false conclusions respecting a nation.

In the neighbourhood of Killpatrickstown, Lady Dashfort said, there were
several SQUIREENS, or little squires; a race of men who have succeeded
to the BUCKEENS, described by Young and Crumpe. SQUIREENS are persons
who, with good long leases, or valuable farms, possess incomes from
three to eight hundred a year; who keep a pack of hounds; TAKE OUT
a commission of the peace, sometimes before they can spell (as her
ladyship said), and almost always before they know anything of law
or justice! Busy and loud about small matters; JOBBERS AT ASSIZES,
combining with one another, and trying upon every occasion, public
or private, to push themselves forward, to the annoyance of their
superiors, and the terror of those below them.

In the usual course of things, these men are not often to be found
in the society of gentry; except, perhaps, among those gentlemen or
noblemen who like to see hangers-on at their tables; or who find it
for their convenience to have underling magistrates, to protect their
favourites, or to propose and CARRY jobs for them on grand juries. At
election times, however, these persons rise into sudden importance
with all who have views upon the county. Lady Dashfort hinted to
Lord Killpatrick, that her private letters from England spoke of an
approaching dissolution of Parliament; she knew that, upon this hint, a
round of invitations would be sent to the squireens; and she was morally
certain that they would be more disagreeable to Lord Colambre, and give
him a worse idea of the country, than any other people who could be
produced. Day after day some of these personages made their appearance;
and Lady Dashfort took care to draw them out upon the subjects on which
she knew that they would show the most self-sufficient ignorance, and
the most illiberal spirit. This succeeded beyond her most sanguine
expectations. 'Lord Colambre! how I pity you, for being compelled to
these permanent sittings after dinner!' said Lady Isabel to him one
night, when he came late to the ladies from the dining-room. 'Lord
Killpatrick insisted upon my staying to help him to push about that
never-ending, still-beginning electioneering bottle,' said Lord
Colambre. 'Oh! if that were all; if these gentlemen would only
drink;--but their conversation! I don't wonder my mother dreads
returning to Clonbrony Castle, if my father must have such company as
this. But, surely, it cannot be necessary.

'Oh, indispensable! Positively indispensable!' cried Lady Dashfort; 'no
living in Ireland without it. You know, in every country in the world,
you must live with the people of the country, or be torn to pieces; for
my part, I should prefer being torn to pieces.'

Lady Dashfort and Lady Isabel knew how to take advantage of the contrast
between their own conversation, and that of the persons by whom Lord
Colambre was so justly disgusted; they happily relieved his fatigue with
wit, satire, poetry, and sentiment; so that he every day became more
exclusively fond of their company; for Lady Killpatrick and the Miss
Killpatricks were mere commonplace people. In the mornings, he rode
or walked with Lady Dashfort and Lady Isabel: Lady Dashfort, by way of
fulfilling her promise of showing him the people, used frequently to
take him into the cabins, and talk to their inhabitants. Lord and Lady
Killpatrick, who had lived always for the fashionable world, had taken
little pains to improve the condition of their tenants; the few attempts
they had made were injudicious. They had built ornamented, picturesque
cottages, within view of their demesne; and favourite followers of the
family, people with half a century's habit of indolence and dirt, were
PROMOTED to these fine dwellings. The consequences were such as Lady
Dashfort delighted to point out; everything let to go to ruin for the
want of a moment's care, or pulled to pieces for the sake of the most
trifling surreptitious profit; the people most assisted always appearing
proportionally wretched and discontented. No one could, with more ease
and more knowledge of her ground, than Lady Dashfort, do the DISHONOUR
of a country. In every cabin that she entered, by the first glance of
her eye at the head, kerchiefed in no comely guise, or by the drawn-down
corners of the mouth, or by the bit of a broken pipe, which in Ireland
never characterises STOUT LABOUR, or by the first sound of the
voice, the drawling accent on 'your honour,' or, 'my lady,' she could
distinguish the proper objects of her charitable designs, that is to
say, those of the old uneducated race, whom no one can help, because
they will never help themselves. To these she constantly addressed
herself, making them give, in all their despairing tones, a history
of their complaints and grievances; then asking them questions, aptly
contrived to expose their habits of self-contradiction, their servility
and flattery one moment, and their litigious and encroaching spirit
the next: thus giving Lord Colambre the most unfavourable idea of the
disposition and character of the lower class of the Irish people.

Lady Isabel the while standing by, with the most amiable air of pity,
with expressions of the finest moral sensibility, softening all her
mother said, finding ever some excuse for the poor creatures, and
following with angelic sweetness to heal the wounds her mother
inflicted.

When Lady Dashfort thought she had sufficiently worked upon Lord
Colambre's mind to weaken his enthusiasm for his native country, and
when Lady Isabel had, by the appearance of every virtue, added to
a delicate preference, if not partiality, for our hero, ingratiated
herself into his good opinion and obtained an interest in his mind,
the wily mother ventured an attack of a more decisive nature; and so
contrived it was, that, if it failed, it should appear to have been made
without design to injure, and in total ignorance.

One day, Lady Dashfort, who in fact was not proud of her family, though
she pretended to be so, had herself prevailed on, though with much
difficulty, by Lady Killpatrick, to do the very thing she wanted to do,
to show her genealogy, which had been beautifully blazoned, and which
was to be produced as evidence in the lawsuit that brought her to
Ireland. Lord Colambre stood politely looking on and listening, while
her ladyship explained the splendid inter-marriages of her family,
pointing to each medallion that was filled gloriously with noble, and
even with royal names, till at last she stopped short, and covering one
medallion with her finger, she said--

'Pass over that, dear Lady Killpatrick. You are not to see that, Lord
Colambre--that's a little blot in our scutcheon. You know, Isabel, we
never talk of that prudent match of great-uncle John's; what could he
expect by marrying into THAT family, where you know all the men were not
SANS PEUR, and none of the women SANS REPROCHE.'

'Oh mamma!' cried Lady Isabel, 'not one exception?'

'Not one, Isabel,' persisted Lady Dashfort; 'there was Lady --, and the
other sister, that married the man with the long nose; and the daughter
again, of whom they contrived to make an honest woman, by getting her
married in time to a BLUE-RIBBAND, and who contrived to get herself into
Doctors' Commons the very next year.'

'Well, dear mamma, that is enough, and too much. Oh! pray don't go on,'
cried Lady Isabel, who had appeared very much distressed during her
mother's speech. 'You don't know what you are saying; indeed, ma'am, you
don't.'

'Very likely, child; but that compliment I can return to you on the
spot, and with interest; for you seem to me, at this instant, not to
know either what you are saying or what you are doing. Come, come,
explain.'

'Oh no, ma'am--Pray say so no more; I will explain myself another time.'

'Nay, there you are wrong, Isabel; in point of good-breeding, anything
is better than hints and mystery. Since I have been so unlucky as to
touch upon the subject, better go through with it, and, with all the
boldness of innocence ask the question, Are you, my Lord Colambre, or
are you not, related or connected with any of the St. Omars?'

'Not that I know of,' said Lord Colambre; 'but I really am so bad a
genealogist, that I cannot answer positively.'

'Then I must put the substance of my question into a new form. Have you,
or have you not, a cousin of the name of Nugent?'

'Miss Nugent!--Grace Nugent!--Yes,' said Lord Colambre, with as much
firmness of voice as he could command, and with as little change
of countenance as possible; but, as the question came upon him so
unexpectedly, it was not in his power to answer with an air of absolute
indifference and composure.

'And her mother was--' said Lady Dashfort.

'My aunt, by marriage; her maiden name was Reynolds, I think. But she
died when I was quite a child. I know very little about her. I never saw
her in my life; but I am certain she was a Reynolds.'

'Oh, my dear lord,' continued Lady Dashfort; 'I am perfectly aware that
she did take and bear the name of Reynolds; but that was not her maiden
name--her maiden name was; but perhaps it is a family secret that
has been kept, for some good reason from you, and from the poor girl
herself; the maiden name was St. Omar, depend upon it. Nay, I would not
have told this to you, my lord, if I could have conceived that it would
affect you so violently,' pursued Lady Dashfort, in a tone of raillery;
'you see you are no worse off than we are. We have an intermarriage
with the St. Omars. I did not think you would be so much shocked at
a discovery, which proves that our family and yours have some little
connexion.'

Lord Colambre endeavoured to answer, and mechanically said something
about, 'happy to have the honour.' Lady Dashfort, truly happy to see
that her blow had hit the mark so well, turned from his lordship without
seeming to observe how seriously he was affected; and Lady Isabel
sighed, and looked with compassion on Lord Colambre, and then
reproachfully at her mother. But Lord Colambre heeded not her looks, and
heard not of her sighs; he heard nothing, saw nothing, though his eyes
were intently fixed on the genealogy, on which Lady Dashfort was still
descanting to Lady Killpatrick. He took the first opportunity he could
of quitting the room, and went out to take a solitary walk.

'There he is, departed, but not in peace, to reflect upon what has been
said,' whispered Lady Dashfort to her daughter. 'I hope it will do him a
vast deal of good.'

'None of the women SANS REPROCHE! None!--without one exception,' said
Lord Colambre to himself; 'and Grace Nugent's mother a St. Omar!--Is it
possible? Lady Dashfort seems certain. She could not assert a positive
falsehood--no motive. She does not know that Miss Nugent is the person
to whom I am attached she spoke at random. And I have heard it first
from a stranger--not from my mother. Why was it kept secret from me?
Now I understand the reason why my mother evidently never wished that I
should think of Miss Nugent--why she always spoke so vehemently against
the marriages of relations, of cousins. Why not tell me the truth? It
would have had the strongest effect, had she known my mind.'

Lord Colambre had the greatest dread of marrying any woman whose mother
had conducted herself ill. His reason, his prejudices, his pride, his
delicacy, and even his limited experience, were all against it. All
his hopes, his plans of future happiness, were shaken to their very
foundation; he felt as if he had received a blow that stunned his mind,
and from which he could not recover his faculties. The whole of that
day he was like one in a dream. At night the painful idea continually
recurred to him; and whenever he was falling asleep, the sound of Lady
Dashfort's voice returned upon his ear, saying the words, 'What could
he expect when he married one of the St. Omars? None of the women SANS
REPROCHE.'

In the morning he rose early; and the first thing he did was to write a
letter to his mother, requesting (unless there was some important reason
for her declining to answer the question) that she would immediately
relieve his mind from a great UNEASINESS (he altered the word four
times, but at last left it UNEASINESS). He stated what he had heard, and
besought his mother to tell him the whole truth, without reserve.



CHAPTER VIII

One morning Lady Dashfort had formed an ingenious scheme for leaving
Lady Isabel and Lord Colambre TETE-A-TETE; but the sudden entrance of
Heathcock disconcerted her intentions. He came to beg Lady Dashfort's
interest with Count O'Halloran, for permission to hunt and shoot on his
grounds.--'Not for myself, 'pon honour, but for two officers who are
quartered at the next town here, who will indubitably hang or drown
themselves if they are debarred from sporting.'

'Who is this Count O'Halloran?' said Lord Colambre. Miss White, Lady
Killpatrick's companion, said 'he was a great oddity;' Lady Dashfort,
'that he was singular;' and the clergyman of the parish, who was at
breakfast, declared 'that he was a man of uncommon knowledge, merit, and
politeness.'

'All I know of him,' said Heathcock, 'is, that he is a great sportsman,
with a long queue, a gold-laced hat, and long skirts to a laced
waistcoat.' Lord Colambre expressed a wish to see this extraordinary
personage; and Lady Dashfort, to cover her former design, and, perhaps,
thinking absence might be as effectual as too much propinquity,
immediately offered to call upon the officers in their way, and carry
them with Heathcock and Lord Colambre to Halloran Castle.

Lady Isabel retired with much mortification, but with becoming grace;
and Captain Benson and Captain Williamson were taken to the count's.
Captain Benson, who was a famous WHIP, took his seat on the box of the
barouche, and the rest of the party had the pleasure of her
ladyship's conversation for three or four miles: of her ladyship's
conversation--for Lord Colambre's thoughts were far distant; Captain
Williamson had not anything to say; and Heathcock nothing but, 'Eh!
re'lly now!--'pon honour!'

They arrived at Halloran Castle--a fine old building, part of it
in ruins, and part repaired with great judgment and taste. When the
carriage stopped, a respectable-looking man-servant appeared on the
steps, at the open hall-door.

Count O'Halloran was out a-hunting; but his servant said 'that he would
be at home immediately, if Lady Dashfort and the gentlemen would be
pleased to walk in.'

On one side of the lofty and spacious hall stood the skeleton of an elk;
on the other side, the perfect skeleton of a moose-deer, which, as
the servant said, his master had made out, with great care, from the
different bones of many of this curious species of deer, found in the
lakes in the neighbourhood. The brace of officers witnessed their wonder
with sundry strange oaths and exclamations.--'Eh! 'pon honour--re'lly
now!' said Heathcock; and, too genteel to wonder at or admire anything
in the creation, dragged out his watch with some difficulty, saying, 'I
wonder now whether they are likely to think of giving us anything to eat
in this place?' And, turning his back upon the moose-deer, he straight
walked out again upon the steps, called to his groom, and began to make
some inquiry about his led horse. Lord Colambre surveyed the prodigious
skeletons with rational curiosity, and with that sense of awe and
admiration, by which a superior mind is always struck on beholding any
of the great works of Providence.

'Come, my dear lord!' said Lady Dashfort; 'with our sublime sensations,
we are keeping my old friend, Mr. Alick Brady, this venerable person,
waiting, to show us into the reception-room.'

The servant bowed respectfully--more respectfully than servants of
modern date.

'My lady, the reception-room has been lately painted--the smell of paint
may be disagreeable; with your leave, I will take the liberty of showing
you into my master's study.'

He opened the door, went in before her, and stood holding up his finger,
as if making a signal of silence to some one within. Her ladyship
entered, and found herself in the midst of an odd assembly: an eagle,
a goat, a dog, an otter, several gold and silver fish in a glass globe,
and a white mouse in a cage. The eagle, quick of eye but quiet of
demeanour, was perched upon his stand; the otter lay under the table,
perfectly harmless; the Angora goat, a beautiful and remarkably little
creature of its kind, with long, curling, silky hair, was walking about
the room with the air of a beauty and a favourite; the dog, a tall
Irish greyhound--one of the few of that fine race which is now almost
extinct--had been given to Count O'Halloran by an Irish nobleman,
a relation of Lady Dashfort's. This dog, who had formerly known her
ladyship, looked at her with ears erect, recognised her, and went to
meet her the moment she entered. The servant answered for the peaceable
behaviour of all the rest of the company of animals, and retired. Lady
Dashfort began to feed the eagle from a silver plate on his stand; Lord
Colambre examined the inscription on his collar; the other men stood in
amaze. Heathcock, who came in last, astonished out of his constant
'Eh! re'lly now!' the moment he put himself in at the door, exclaimed,
'Zounds! what's all this live lumber?' and he stumbled over the goat,
who was at that moment crossing the way. The colonel's spur caught in
the goat's curly beard; the colonel shook his foot, and entangled the
spur worse and worse; the goat struggled and butted; the colonel skated
forward on the polished oak floor, balancing himself with outstretched
arms.

The indignant eagle screamed, and, passing by, perched on Heathcock's
shoulders. Too well-bred to have recourse to the terrors of his beak,
he scrupled not to scream, and flap his wings about the colonel's ears.
Lady Dashfort, the while, threw herself back in her chair, laughing, and
begging Heathcock's pardon. 'Oh, take care of the dog, my dear colonel!'
cried she; 'for this kind of dog seizes his enemy by the back, and
shakes him to death.' The officers, holding their sides, laughed, and
begged--no pardon; while Lord Colambre, the only person who was not
absolutely incapacitated, tried to disentangle the spur, and to liberate
the colonel from the goat, and the goat from the colonel; an attempt in
which he at last succeeded, at the expense of a considerable portion
of the goat's beard. The eagle, however, still kept his place; and, yet
mindful of the wrongs of his insulted friend the goat, had stretched his
wings to give another buffet. Count O'Halloran entered; and the bird,
quitting his prey, flew down to greet his master. The count was a
fine old military-looking gentleman, fresh from the chace: his hunting
accoutrements hanging carelessly about him, he advanced, unembarrassed,
to the lady; and received his other guests with a mixture of military
ease and gentleman-like dignity.

Without adverting to the awkward and ridiculous situation in which he
had found poor Heathcock, he apologised in general for his troublesome
favourites. 'For one of them,' said he, patting the head of the dog,
which lay quiet at Lady Dashfort's feet, 'I see I have no need to
apologise; he is where he ought to be. Poor fellow! he has never lost
his taste for the good company to which he was early accustomed. As to
the rest,' said he, turning to Lady Dashfort, 'a mouse, a bird, and
a fish, are, you know, tribute from earth, air, and water, for my
conqueror--'

'But from no barbarous Scythian!' said Lord Colambre, smiling. The count
looked at Lord Colambre, as at a person worthy his attention; but his
first care was to keep the peace between his loving subjects and his
foreign visitors. It was difficult to dislodge the old settlers, to
make room for the newcomers; but he adjusted these things with admirable
facility; and, with a master's hand and master's eye, compelled each
favourite to retreat into the back settlements. With becoming attention,
he stroked and kept quiet old Victory, his eagle, who eyed Colonel
Heathcock still, as if he did not like him; and whom the colonel eyed,
as if he wished his neck fairly wrung off. The little goat had nestled
himself close up to his liberator, Lord Colambre, and lay perfectly
quiet, with his eyes closed, going very wisely to sleep, and submitting
philosophically to the loss of one half of his beard. Conversation now
commenced, and was carried on by Count O'Halloran with much ability and
spirit, and with such quickness of discrimination and delicacy of taste,
as quite surprised and delighted our hero. To the lady, the count's
attention was first directed: he listened to her as she spoke, bending
with an air of deference and devotion. She made her request for
permission for Major Benson and Captain Williamson to hunt and shoot in
his grounds; this was instantly granted.

'Her ladyship's requests were to him commands,' the count said. 'His
gamekeeper should be instructed to give the gentlemen, her friends,
every liberty, and all possible assistance.'

Then turning to the officers, he said he had just heard that several
regiments of English militia had lately landed in Ireland; that one
regiment was arrived at Killpatrickstown. He rejoiced in the advantages
Ireland, and he hoped he might be permitted to add, England, would
probably derive from the exchange of the militia of both countries;
habits would be improved, ideas enlarged. The two countries have the
same interest; and, from the inhabitants discovering more of each
other's good qualities, and interchanging little good offices in common
life, their esteem and affection for each other would increase, and rest
upon the firm basis of mutual utility.'

To all this Major Benson and Captain Williamson made no reply.

'The major looks so like a stuffed man of straw,' whispered Lady
Dashfort to Lord Colambre; 'and the captain so like the knave of clubs,
putting forth one manly leg.'

Count O'Halloran now turned the conversation to field sports, and then
the captain and major opened at once.

'Pray now, sir?' said the major, 'you fox-hunt in this country, I
suppose; and now do you manage the thing here as we do? Over night, you
know, before the hunt, when the fox is out, stopping up the earths of
the cover we mean to draw, and all the rest for four miles round. Next
morning we assemble at the cover's side, and the huntsman throws in the
hounds. The gossip here is no small part of the entertainment; but as
soon as we hear the hounds give tongue--'

'The favourite hounds,' interposed Williamson.

'The favourite hounds, to be sure,' continued Benson; 'there is a dead
silence, till pug is well out of cover, and the whole pack well in; then
cheer the hounds with tally-ho! till your lungs crack. Away he goes in
gallant style, and the whole field is hard up, till pug takes a stiff
country; then they who haven't pluck lag, see no more of him, and, with
a fine blazing scent, there are but few of us in at the death.'

'Well, we are fairly in at the death, I hope,' said Lady Dashfort; 'I
was thrown out sadly at one time in the chace.'

Lord Colambre, with the count's permission, took up a book in which the
count's pencil lay, PASLEY ON THE MILITARY POLICY OF GREAT BRITAIN; it
was marked with many notes of admiration, and with hands pointing to
remarkable passages.

'That is a book that leaves a strong impression on the mind,' said the
count.

Lord Colambre read one of the marked passages, beginning with, 'All
that distinguishes a soldier in outward appearance from a citizen is so
trifling--' but at this instant our hero's attention was distracted by
seeing in a black-letter book this title of a chapter:

'Burial-place of the Nugents.' 'Pray now, sir,' said Captain Williamson,
'if I don't interrupt you, as you are such a famous fox-hunter, maybe,
you may be a fisherman too; and now in Ireland do you, MR.--'

A smart pinch on his elbow from his major, who stood behind him, stopped
the captain short, as he pronounced the word MR. Like all awkward
people, he turned directly to ask, by his looks, what was the matter?

The major took advantage of his discomfiture, and, stepping before him,
determined to have the fishing to himself, and went on with--

'Count O'Halloran, I presume you understand fishing too, as well as
hunting?'

The count bowed: 'I do not presume to say that, sir.'

'But pray, count, in this country, do you arm your hook this ways? Give
me leave;' taking the whip from Williamson's reluctant hand, 'this ways,
laying the outermost part of your feather this fashion next to your
hook, and the point next to your shank, this wise, and that wise; and
then, sir,--count, you take the hackle of a cock's neck----'

'A plover's topping's better,' said Williamson.

'And work your gold and silver thread,' pursued Benson, 'up to your
wings, and when your head's made, you fasten all.'

'But you never showed how your head's made,' interrupted Williamson.

'The gentleman knows how a head's made; any man can make a head, I
suppose; so, sir, you fasten all.'

'You'll never get your head fast on that way, while the world stands,'
cried Williamson.

'Fast enough for all purposes; I'll bet you a rump and dozen, captain;
and then, sir,--count, you divide your wings with a needle.'

'A pin's point will do,' said Williamson.

The count, to reconcile matters, produced from an Indian cabinet, which
he had opened for the lady's inspection, a little basket containing a
variety of artificial flies of curious construction, which, as he spread
them on the table, made Williamson and Benson's eyes almost sparkle
with delight. There was the DUN-FLY, for the month of March; and the
STONE-FLY, much in vogue for April; and the RUDDY-FLY, of red wool,
black silk, and red capon's feathers.

Lord Colambre, whose head was in the burial-place of the Nugents, wished
them all at the bottom of the sea.

'And the GREEN-FLY, and the MOORISH-FLY!' cried Benson, snatching them
up with transport; 'and, chief, the SAD-YELLOW-FLY, in which the fish
delight in June; the SAD-YELLOW-FLY, made with the buzzard's wings,
bound with black braked hemp, and the SHELL-FLY for the middle of July,
made of greenish wool, wrapped about with the herle of a peacock's tail,
famous for creating excellent sport.' All these and more were spread
upon the table before the sportsmen's wondering eyes.

'Capital flies! capital, faith!' cried Williamson.

'Treasures, faith, real treasures, by G--!' cried Benson.

'Eh! 'pon honour! re'lly now,' were the first words which Heathcock had
uttered since his battle with the goat.

'My dear Heathcock, are you alive still?' said Lady Dashfort; 'I had
really forgotten your existence.'

So had Count O'Halloran, but he did not say so.

'Your ladyship has the advantage of me there,' said Heathcock,
stretching himself; 'I wish I could forget my existence, for, in my
mind, existence is a horrible BORE.'

'I thought you WAS a sportsman,' said Williamson.

'Well, sir?'

'And a fisherman?'

'Well, sir?'

'Why, look you there, sir,' pointing to the flies, 'and tell a body
life's a bore.'

'One can't ALWAYS fish, or shoot, I apprehend, sir,' said Heathcock.

'Not always--but sometimes,' said Williamson, laughing; 'for I suspect
shrewdly you've forgot some of your sporting in Bond Street.'

'Eh! 'pon honour! re'lly now!' said the colonel, retreating again to
his safe entrenchment of affectation, from which he never could venture
without imminent danger.

''Pon honour,' cried Lady Dashfort, 'I can swear for Heathcock, that
I have eaten excellent hares and ducks of his shooting, which, to my
knowledge,' added she, in a loud whisper, 'he bought in the market.'

EMPTUM APRUM!' said Lord Colambre to the count, without danger of being
understood by those whom it concerned.

The count smiled a second time; but politely turning the attention of
the company from the unfortunate colonel by addressing himself to the
laughing sportsmen, 'Gentlemen, you seem to value these,' said he,
sweeping the artificial flies from the table into the little basket
from which they had been taken; 'would you do me the honour to accept
of them? They are all of my own making, and consequently of Irish
manufacture.' Then, ringing the bell, he asked Lady Dashfort's
permission to have the basket put into her carriage.

Benson and Williamson followed the servant, to prevent them from being
tossed into the boot. Heathcock stood still in the middle of the room
taking snuff.

Count O'Halloran turned from him to Lord Colambre, who had just got
happily to THE BURIAL-PLACE OF THE NUGENTS, when Lady Dashfort, coming
between them, and spying the title of the chapter, exclaimed--

'What have you there?--Antiquities! my delight!--but I never look at
engravings when I can see realities.'

Lord Colambre was then compelled to follow, as she led the way into
the hall, where the count took down golden ornaments, and brass-headed
spears, and jointed horns of curious workmanship, that had been found on
his estate; and he told of spermaceti wrapped in carpets, and he showed
small urns, enclosing ashes; and from among these urns he selected one,
which he put into the hands of Lord Colambre, telling him that it had
been lately found in an old abbey-ground in his neighbourhood, which had
been the burial-place of some of the Nugent family.

'I was just looking at the account of it, in the book which you saw open
on my table.--And as you seem to take an interest in that family, my
lord, perhaps,' said the count, 'you may think this urn worth your
acceptance.'

Lord Colambre said, 'It would be highly valuable to him--as the Nugents
were his near relations.'

Lady Dashfort little expected this blow; she, however, carried him
off to the moose-deer, and from moose-deer to round-towers, to various
architectural antiquities, and to the real and fabulous history of
Ireland, on all which the count spoke with learning and enthusiasm. But
now, to Colonel Heathcock's great joy and relief, a handsome collation
appeared in the dining-room, of which Ulick opened the folding-doors.

'Count, you have made an excellent house of your castle,' said Lady
Dashfort.

'It will be, when it is finished,' said the count. 'I am afraid,' added
he, smiling, 'I live like many other Irish gentlemen, who never are, but
always to be, blest with a good house. I began on too large a scale, and
can never hope to live to finish it.'

''Pon honour! here's a good thing, which I hope we shall live to
finish,' said Heathcock, sitting down before the collation; and heartily
did he eat of grouse pie, and of Irish ortolans, which, as Lady Dashfort
observed, 'afforded him indemnity for the past, and security for the
future.'

'Eh! re'lly now! your Irish ortolans are famous good eating,' said
Heathcock.

'Worth being quartered in Ireland, faith! to taste 'em,' said Benson.

The count recommended to Lady Dashfort some of 'that delicate sweetmeat,
the Irish plum.'

'Bless me, sir--count!' cried Williamson, 'it's by far the best thing of
the kind I ever tasted in all my life: where could you get this?'

'In Dublin, at my dear Mrs. Godey's; where ONLY, in his Majesty's
dominions, it is to be had,' said the count. The whole dish vanished in
a few seconds. ''Pon honour! I do believe this is the thing the queen's
so fond of,' said Heathcock.

Then heartily did he drink of the count's excellent Hungarian wines;
and, by the common bond of sympathy between those who have no other
tastes but eating and drinking, the colonel, the major, and the captain
were now all the best companions possible for one another.

Whilst 'they prolonged the rich repast,' Lady Dashfort and Lord Colambre
went to the window to admire the prospect; Lady Dashfort asked the count
the name of some distant hill.

'Ah!' said the count, 'that hill was once covered with fine wood; but it
was all cut down two years ago.'

'Who could have been so cruel?' said her ladyship.

'I forget the present proprietor's name,' said the count; 'but he is one
of those who, according to THE CLAUSE OF DISTRESS in their leases, LEAD,
DRIVE, AND CARRY AWAY, but never ENTER their lands; one of those enemies
to Ireland--these cruel absentees!' Lady Dashfort looked through her
glass at the mountain; Lord Colambre sighed, and, endeavouring to pass
it off with a smile, said frankly to the count--

'You are not aware, I am sure, count, that you are speaking to the son
of an Irish absentee family.--Nay, do not be shocked, my dear sir; I
tell you only, because I thought it fair to do so; but let me
assure you, that nothing you could say on that subject could hurt me
personally, because I feel that I am not, that I never can be, an enemy
to Ireland. An absentee, voluntarily, I never yet have been; and as to
the future, I declare--'

'I declare you know nothing of the future,' interrupted Lady Dashfort,
in a half-peremptory, half-playful tone--'you know nothing; make no rash
vows, and you will break none.'

The undaunted assurance of Lady Dashfort's genius for intrigue gave
her an air of frank imprudence, which prevented Lord Colambre from
suspecting that more was meant than met the ear. The count and he took
leave of one another with mutual regard; and Lady Dashfort rejoiced to
have got our hero out of Halloran Castle.



CHAPTER IX

Lord Colambre had waited with great impatience for an answer to the
letter of inquiry which he had written about Miss Nugent's mother.
A letter from Lady Clonbrony arrived; he opened it with the greatest
eagerness--passed over 'Rheumatism warm weather--warm bath--Buxton
balls--Miss Broadhurst--your FRIEND, Sir Arthur Berryl, very assiduous!'
The name of Grace Nugent he found at last, and read as follows:

Her mother's maiden name was ST. OMAR; and there was a FAUX PAS,
certainly. She was, I am told (for it was before my time), educated at a
convent abroad; and there was an affair with a Captain Reynolds, a
young officer, which her friends were obliged to hush up. She brought an
infant to England with her, and took the name of Reynolds--but none of
that family would acknowledge her; and she lived in great obscurity,
till your uncle Nugent saw, fell in love with her, and (knowing her
whole history) married her. He adopted the child, gave her his name,
and, after some years, the whole story was forgotten. Nothing could
be more disadvantageous to Grace than to have it revived: this is the
reason we kept it secret.

Lord Colambre tore the letter to bits.

From the perturbation which Lady Dashfort saw in his countenance, she
guessed the nature of the letter which he had been reading, and for the
arrival of which he had been so impatient.

'It has worked!' said she to herself. 'POUR LE COUP PHILIPPE JE TE
TIENS!'

Lord Colambre appeared this day more sensible, than he had ever yet
seemed, to the charms of the fair Isabel.

'Many a tennis-ball, and many a heart is caught at the rebound,' said
Lady Dashfort. 'Isabel! now is your time!'

And so it was--or so, perhaps, it would have been, but for a
circumstance which her ladyship, with all her genius for intrigue, had
never taken into her consideration. Count O'Halloran came to return the
visit which had been paid to him; and, in the course of conversation,
he spoke of the officers who had been introduced to him, and told Lady
Dashfort that he had heard a report which shocked him much--he hoped
it could not be true--that one of these officers had introduced his
mistress as his wife to Lady Oranmore, who lived in the neighbourhood.
This officer, it was said, had let Lady Oranmore send her carriage for
this woman; and that she had dined at Oranmore with her ladyship and her
daughters. [Fact.] 'But I cannot believe it! I cannot believe it to be
possible, that any gentleman, that any officer, could do such a thing!'
said the count.

'And is this all?' exclaimed Lady Dashfort. 'Is this all the terrible
affair, my good count, which has brought your face to this prodigious
length?'

The count looked at Lady Dashfort with astonishment.

'Such a look of virtuous indignation,' continued she, 'did I never
behold, on or off the stage. Forgive me for laughing, count; but,
believe me, comedy goes through the world better than tragedy, and, take
it all in all, does rather less mischief. As to the thing in question, I
know nothing about it: I dare say, it is not true; but, now, suppose it
was--it is only a silly QUIZ, of a raw young officer, upon a prudish
old dowager. I know nothing about it, for my part; but, after all, what
irreparable mischief has been done? Laugh at the thing, and then it is
a jest--a bad one, perhaps, but still only a jest--and there's an end
of it; but take it seriously, and there is no knowing where it might
end--in half a dozen duels, maybe.'

'Of that, madam,' said the count, 'Lady Oranmore's prudence and presence
of mind have prevented all danger. Her ladyship WOULD not understand the
insult. She said, or she acted as if she said, "JE NE VEUX RIEN
VOIR, RIEN ECOUTER, RIEN SAVOIR." Lady Oranmore is one of the most
respectable--'

'Count, I beg your pardon!' interrupted Lady Dashfort; 'but I must tell
you that your favourite, Lady Oranmore, has behaved very ill to me;
purposely omitted to invite Isabel to her ball; offended and insulted
me:--her praises, therefore, cannot be the most agreeable subject of
conversation you can choose for my amusement; and as to the rest, you,
who have such variety and so much politeness, will, I am sure, have the
goodness to indulge my caprice in this instance.'

I shall obey your ladyship, and be silent, whatever pleasure it might
give me to speak on that subject,' said the count; 'and I trust Lady
Dashfort will reward me by the assurance that, however playfully she may
have just now spoken, she seriously disapproves and is shocked.'

'Oh, shocked! shocked to death! if that will satisfy you, my dear
count.'

The count, obviously, was not satisfied; he had civil, as well as
military courage, and his sense of right and wrong could stand against
the raillery and ridicule of a fine lady.

The conversation ended: Lady Dashfort thought it would have no further
consequences; and she did not regret the loss of a man like Count
O'Halloran, who lived retired in his castle, and who could not have
any influence upon the opinion of the fashionable world. However,
upon turning from the count to Lord Colambre, who she thought had been
occupied with Lady Isabel, and to whom she imagined all this dispute was
uninteresting, she perceived, by his countenance, that she had made a
great mistake. Still she trusted that her power over Lord Colambre
was sufficient easily to efface whatever unfavourable impression this
conversation had made upon his mind. He had no personal interest in the
affair; and she had generally found that people are easily satisfied
about any wrong or insult, public or private, in which they have no
immediate concern. But all the charms of her conversation were now tried
in vain to reclaim him from the reverie into which he had fallen.

His friend Sir James Brooke's parting advice occurred to our hero; his
eyes began to open to Lady Dashfort's character; and he was, from this
moment, freed from her power. Lady Isabel, however, had taken no part
in all this--she was blameless; and, independently of her mother, and
in pretended opposition of sentiment, she might have continued to retain
the influence she had gained over Lord Colambre, but that a slight
accident revealed to him her real disposition.

It happened, on the evening of this day, that Lady Isabel came into the
library with one of the young ladies of the house, talking very eagerly,
without perceiving Lord Colambre, who was sitting in one of the recesses
reading.

'My dear creature, you are quite mistaken,' said Lady Isabel, 'he was
never a favourite of mine; I always detested him; I only flirted with
him to plague his wife. Oh that wife, my dear Elizabeth, I do hate!'
cried she, clasping her hands, and expressing hatred with all her soul
and with all her strength. 'I detest that Lady de Cresey to such a
degree, that, to purchase the pleasure of making her feel the pangs of
jealousy for one hour, look, I would this moment lay down this finger
and let it be cut off.'

The face, the whole figure of Lady Isabel at this moment appeared to
Lord Colambre suddenly metamorphosed; instead of the soft, gentle,
amiable female, all sweet charity and tender sympathy, formed to love
and to be loved, he beheld one possessed and convulsed by an evil
spirit--her beauty, if beauty it could be called, the beauty of a fiend.
Some ejaculation, which he unconsciously uttered, made Lady Isabel
start. She saw him--saw the expression of his countenance, and knew that
all was over.

Lord Colambre, to the utter astonishment and disappointment of Lady
Dashfort, and to the still greater mortification of Lady Isabel,
announced this night that it was necessary he should immediately pursue
his tour in Ireland. We pass over all the castles in the air which the
young ladies of the family had built, and which now fell to the ground.
We pass all the civil speeches of Lord and Lady Killpatrick; all the
vehement remonstrances of Lady Dashfort; and the vain sighs of Lady
Isabel, To the last moment Lady Dashfort said--

'He will not go.'

But he went; and, when he was gone, Lady Dashfort exclaimed, 'That man
has escaped from me.' And after a pause, turning to her daughter, she,
in the most taunting and contemptuous terms, reproached her as the cause
of this failure, concluding by a declaration that she must in future
manage her own affairs, and had best settle her mind to marry Heathcock,
since every one else was too wise to think of her.

Lady Isabel of course retorted. But we leave this amiable mother and
daughter to recriminate in appropriate terms, and we follow our hero,
rejoiced that he has been disentangled from their snares. Those who
have never been in similar peril will wonder much that he did not escape
sooner; those who have ever been in like danger will wonder more that
he escaped at all. Those who are best acquainted with the heart or
imagination of man will be most ready to acknowledge that the combined
charms of wit, beauty, and flattery, may, for a time, suspend the action
of right reason in the mind of the greatest philosopher, or operate
against the resolutions of the greatest of heroes.

Lord Colambre pursued his way to Castle Halloran, desirous, before he
quitted this part of the country, to take leave of the count, who had
shown him much civility, and for whose honourable conduct, and generous
character, he had conceived a high esteem, which no little peculiarities
of antiquated dress or manner could diminish. Indeed, the old-fashioned
politeness of what was formerly called a well-bred gentleman pleased him
better than the indolent or insolent selfishness of modern men of the
ton. Perhaps, notwithstanding our hero's determination to turn his mind
from everything connected with the idea of Miss Nugent, some latent
curiosity about the burial-place of the Nugents might have operated to
make him call upon the count. In this hope he was disappointed; for a
cross miller to whom the abbey-ground was set, on which the burial-place
was found, had taken it into his head to refuse admittance, and none
could enter his ground.

Count O'Halloran was much pleased by Lord Colambre's visit. The very day
of Lord Colambre's arrival at Halloran Castle, the count was going to
Oranmore; he was dressed, and his carriage was waiting; therefore Lord
Colambre begged that he might not detain him, and the count requested
his lordship to accompany him.

'Let me have the honour of introducing you, my lord, to a family,
with whom, I am persuaded, you will be pleased; by whom you will be
appreciated; and at whose house you will have an opportunity of seeing
the best manner of living of the Irish nobility.' Lord Colambre accepted
the invitation, and was introduced at Oranmore. The dignified appearance
and respectable character of Lady Oranmore; the charming unaffected
manners of her daughters; the air of domestic happiness and comfort in
her family; the becoming magnificence, free from ostentation, in her
whole establishment; the respect and affection with which she was
treated by all who approached her, delighted and touched Lord Colambre;
the more, perhaps, because he had heard this family so unjustly abused;
and because he saw Lady Oranmore and her daughter, in immediate contrast
to Lady Dashfort and Lady Isabel.'

A little circumstance which occurred during this visit increased his
interest for the family, When Lady de Cresey's little boys came in after
dinner, one of them was playing with a seal, which had just been torn
from a letter. The child showed it to Lord Colambre, and asked him to
read the motto. The motto was,'Deeds, not words'--his friend Sir James
Brooke's motto, and his arms. Lord Colambre eagerly inquired if this
family was acquainted with Sir James, and he soon perceived that they
were not only acquainted with him, but that they were particularly
interested about him.

Lady Oranmore's second daughter, Lady Harriet, appeared particularly
pleased by the manner in which Lord Colambre spoke of Sir James. And the
child, who had now established himself on his lordship's knee, turned
round, and whispered in his ear, ''Twas Aunt Harriet gave me the seal;
Sir James is to be married to Aunt Harriet, and then he will be my
uncle.'

Some of the principal gentry of this part of the country happened
to dine at Oranmore one of the days Lord Colambre was there. He
was surprised at the discovery, that there were so many agreeable,
well-informed, and well-bred people, of whom, while he was at
Killpatrickstown, he had seen nothing. He now discerned how far he had
been deceived by Lady Dashfort.

Both the count, and Lord and Lady Oranmore, who were warmly attached to
their country, exhorted him to make himself amends for the time he
had lost, by seeing with his own eyes, and judging with his own
understanding, of the country and its own inhabitants, during the
remainder of the time he was to stay in Ireland. The higher classes, in
most countries, they observed were generally similar; but, in the lower
class, he would find many characteristic differences.

When he first came to Ireland, he had been very eager to go and see
his father's estate, and to judge of the conduct of his agents, and
the condition of his tenantry; but this eagerness had subsided, and the
design had almost faded from his mind, whilst under the influence
of Lady Dashfort's misrepresentations. A mistake, relative to some
remittance from his banker in Dublin, obliged him to delay his journey
a few days, and during that time Lord and Lady Oranmore showed him the
neat cottages, the well-attended schools, in their neighbourhood. They
showed him not only what could be done, but what had been done, by
the influence of great proprietors residing on their own estates, and
encouraging the people by judicious kindness.

He saw, he acknowledged the truth of this; but it did not come home to
his feelings now as it would have done a little while ago. His views
and plans were altered; he looked forward to the idea of marrying and
settling in Ireland, and then everything in the country was interesting
to him; but since he had forbidden himself to think of a union with
Miss Nugent, his mind had lost its object and its spring; he was
not sufficiently calm to think of the public good; his thoughts were
absorbed by his private concern. He knew, and repeated to himself,
that he ought to visit his own and his father's estates, and to see the
condition of his tenantry; he desired to fulfil his duties, but they
ceased to appear to him easy and pleasurable, for hope and love no
longer brightened his prospects.

That he might see and hear more than he could as heir-apparent to
the estate, he sent his servant to Dublin to wait for him there. He
travelled INCOGNITO, wrapped himself in a shabby greatcoat, and took the
name of Evans. He arrived at a village, or, as it was called, a town,
which bore the name of Colambre. He was agreeably surprised by the air
of neat--ness and finish in the houses and in the street, which had
a nicely-swept paved footway. He slept at a small but excellent
inn--excellent, perhaps, because it was small, and proportioned to
the situation and business of the place. Good supper, good bed, good
attendance; nothing out of repair; no things pressed into services
for what they were never intended by nature or art; none of what are
vulgarly called MAKE-SHIFTS. No chambermaid slipshod, or waiter smelling
of whisky; but all tight and right, and everybody doing their own
business, and doing it as if it was their everyday occupation, not as
if it was done by particular desire, for first or last time this season.
The landlord came in at supper to inquire whether anything was wanted.
Lord Colambre took this opportunity of entering into conversation
with him, and asked him to whom the town belonged, and who were the
proprietors of the neighbouring estates.

'The town belongs to an absentee lord--one Lord Clonbrony, who lives
always beyond the seas, in London; and never seen the town since it was
a town, to call a town.'

'And does the land in the neighbourhood belong to this Lord Clonbrony?'

'It does, sir; he's a great proprietor, but knows nothing of his
property, nor of us. Never set foot among us, to my knowledge, since I
was as high as the table. He might as well be a West India planter, and
we negroes, for anything he knows to the contrary--has no more care, nor
thought about us, than if he were in Jamaica, or the other world. Shame
for him!--But there's too many to keep him in countenance.'

Lord Colambre asked him what wine he could have; and then inquired who
managed the estate for this absentee.

'Mr. Burke, sir. And I don't know why God was so kind to give so good an
agent to an absentee like Lord Clonbrony, except it was for the sake of
us, who is under him, and knows the blessing, and is thankful for the
same.'

'Very good cutlets,' said Lord Colambre.

'I am happy to hear it, sir. They have a right to be good, for Mrs.
Burke sent her own cook to teach my wife to dress cutlets.'

'So the agent is a good agent, is he?'

'He is, thanks be to Heaven! And that's what few can boast, especially
when the landlord's living over the seas: we have the luck to have got a
good agent over us, in Mr. Burke, who is a right bred gentleman; a snug
little property of his own, honestly made; with the good will and good
wishes, and respect of all.'

'Does he live in the neighbourhood?'

'Just CONVANIENT [CONVENIENT: near.] At the end of the town; in the
house on the hill, as you passed, sir; to the left, with the trees about
it, all of his planting, finely grown too--for there's a blessing on all
he does, and he has done a deal.--There's salad, sir, if you are partial
to it. Very fine lettuce. Mrs. Burke sent us the plants herself.'

'Excellent salad! So this Mr. Burke has done a great deal, has he? In
what way!'

'In every way, sir--sure was not it he that had improved, and fostered,
and made the town of Colambre?--no thanks to the proprietor, nor to the
young man whose name it bears, neither!'

'Have you any porter, pray, sir?'

'We have, sir, as good, I hope, as you'd drink in London, for it's the
same you get there, I understand, from Cork. And I have some of my own
brewing, which, they say, you could not tell the difference between it
and Cork quality--if you'd be pleased to try. Harry, the corkscrew.'

The porter of his own brewing was pronounced to be extremely good; and
the landlord observed it was Mr. Burke encouraged him to learn to brew,
and lent him his own brewer for a time to teach him.

'Your Mr. Burke, I find, is APROPOS to porter, APROPOS to salad, APROPOS
to cutlets, APROPOS to everything,' said Lord Colambre, smiling;
'he seems to be a NON-PAREIL of an agent. I suppose you are a great
favourite of his, and you do what you please with him?'

'Oh no, sir, I could not say that; Mr. Burke does not have favourites
anyway; but according to my deserts, I trust, I stand well enough with
him, for, in truth, he is a right good agent.'

Lord Colambre still pressed for particulars; he was an Englishman, and a
stranger, he said, and did not exactly know what was meant in Ireland by
a good agent.

'Why, he is the man that will encourage the improving tenant; and show
no favour or affection, but justice, which comes even to all, and does
best for all at the long run; and, residing always in the country,
like Mr. Burke, and understanding country business, and going about
continually among the tenantry, he knows when to press for the rent, and
when to leave the money to lay out upon the land; and, according as they
would want it, can give a tenant a help or a check properly. Then no
duty-work called for, no presents, nor GLOVE-MONEY, nor SEALING-MONEY
even, taken or offered; no underhand hints about proposals, when land
would be out of lease, but a considerable preference, if desArved, to
the old tenant, and if not, a fair advertisement, and the best offer and
tenant accepted; no screwing of the land to the highest penny, just to
please the head landlord for the minute, and ruin him at the end, by the
tenant's racking the land, and running off with the year's rent; nor
no bargains to his own relations or friends did Mr. Burke ever give or
grant, but all fair between landlord and tenant; and that's the thing
that will last; and that's what I call the good agent.'

Lord Colambre poured out a glass of wine, and begged the innkeeper to
drink the good agent's health, in which he was heartily pledged. 'I
thank your honour;--Mr. Burke's health! and long may he live over and
amongst us; he saved me from drink and ruin, when I was once inclined to
it, and made a man of me and all my family.'

The particulars we cannot stay to detail: this grateful man, however,
took pleasure in sounding the praises of his benefactor, and in raising
him in the opinion of the traveller.

'As you've time, and are curious about such things, sir, perhaps you'd
walk up to the school that Mrs. Burke has for the poor children; and
look at the market-house, and see how clean he takes a pride to keep the
town; and any house in the town, from the priest to the parson's, that
you'd go into, will give you the same character as I do of Mr. Burke:
from the brogue to the boot, all speak the same of him, and can say no
other. God for ever bless and keep him over us!'

Upon making further inquiries, everything the innkeeper had said
was confirmed by different inhabitants of the village. Lord Colambre
conversed with the shopkeepers, with the cottagers; and, without making
any alarming inquiries, he obtained all the information he wanted. He
went to the village school--a pretty, cheerful house, with a neat
garden and a play-green; met Mrs. Burke; introduced himself to her as
a traveller. The school was shown to him: it was just what it ought
to be--neither too much nor too little had been attempted; there was
neither too much interference nor too little attention. Nothing for
exhibition; care to teach well, without any vain attempt to teach in a
wonderfully short time. All that experience proves to be useful, in
both Dr. Bell's and Mr. Lancaster's modes of teaching, Mrs. Burke had
adopted; leaving it to 'graceless zealots' to fight about the rest.
That no attempts at proselytism had been made, and that no illiberal
distinctions had been made in this school, Lord Colambre was convinced,
in the best manner possible, by seeing the children of Protestants and
Catholics sitting on the same benches, learning from the same books, and
speaking to one another with the same cordial familiarity. Mrs. Burke
was an unaffected, sensible woman, free from all party prejudices, and,
without ostentation, desirous and capable of doing good. Lord Colambre
was much pleased with her, and very glad that she invited him to dinner.

Mr. Burke did not come in till late; for he had been detained portioning
out some meadows, which were of great consequence to the inhabitants of
the town. He brought home to dine with him the clergyman and the priest
of the parish, both of whom he had taken successful pains to accommodate
with the land which suited their respective convenience. The good terms
on which they seemed to be with each other, and with him, appeared to
Lord Colambre to do honour to Mr. Burke. All the favourable accounts his
lordship had received of this gentleman were confirmed by what he saw
and heard. After the clergyman and priest had taken leave, upon Lord
Colambre's expressing some surprise, mixed with satisfaction, at seeing
the harmony which subsisted between them, Mr. Burke assured him that
this was the same in many parts of Ireland. He observed, that 'as the
suspicion of ill-will never fails to produce it,' so he had often
found, that taking it for granted that no ill-will exists has the most
conciliating effect. He said, to please opposite parties, he used no
arts; but he tried to make all his neighbours live comfortably together,
by making them acquainted with each other's good qualities; by giving
them opportunities of meeting sociably, and, from time to time, of doing
each other little services and good offices. 'Fortunately, he had so
much to do,' he said, 'that he had no time for controversy. He was a
plain man, made it a rule not to meddle with speculative points, and to
avoid all irritating discussions; he was not to rule the country, but to
live in it, and make others live as happily as he could.'

Having nothing to conceal in his character, opinions, or circumstances,
Mr. Burke was perfectly open and unreserved in his manner and
conversation; freely answered all the traveller's inquiries, and took
pains to show him everything he desired to see. Lord Colambre said he
had thoughts of settling in Ireland; and declared, with truth, that he
had not seen any part of the country he should like better to live in
than this neighbourhood. He went over most of the estate with Mr. Burke,
and had ample opportunities of convincing himself that this gentleman
was indeed, as the innkeeper had described him, 'a right good gentleman,
and a right good agent.'

He paid Mr. Burke some just compliments on the state of the tenantry,
and the neat and flourishing appearance of the town of Colambre.

'What pleasure it will give the proprietor when he sees all you have
done!' said Lord Colambre.

'Oh, sir, don't speak of it!--that breaks my heart, he never has shown
the least interest in anything I have done; he is quite dissatisfied
with me, because I have not ruined his tenantry, by forcing them to pay
more than the land is worth; because I have not squeezed money from them
by fining down rents; and--but all this, as an Englishman, sir, must be
unintelligible to you. The end of the matter is, that, attached as I am
to this place and the people about me, and, as I hope, the tenantry are
to me--I fear I shall be obliged to give up the agency.'

'Give up the agency! How so?--you must not,' cried Lord Colambre, and,
for the moment, he forgot himself; but Mr. Burke took this only for an
expression of good-will.

'I must, I am afraid,' continued he. 'My employer, Lord Clonbrony, is
displeased with me--continual calls for money come upon me from England,
and complaints of my slow remittances.'

'Perhaps Lord Clonbrony is in embarrassed circumstances said Lord
Colambre.

'I never speak of my employer's affairs, sir,' replied Mr. Burke; now
for the first time assuming an air of reserve.

'I beg pardon, sir--I seem to have asked an indiscreet question.' Mrs.
Burke was silent.

'Lest my reserve should give you a false impression, I will add, sir,'
resumed Mr. Burke, 'that I really am not acquainted with the state
of his lordship's affairs in general. I know only what belongs to the
estate under my own management. The principal part of his lordship's
property, the Clonbrony estate, is under another agent, Mr. Garraghty.'

'Garraghty!' repeated Lord Colambre; 'what sort of a person is he? But
I may take it for granted, that it cannot fall to the lot of one and the
same absentee to have two such agents as Mr. Burke.'

Mr. Burke bowed, and seemed pleased by the compliment, which he knew he
deserved--but not a word did he say of Mr. Garraghty; and Lord Colambre,
afraid of betraying himself by some other indiscreet question, changed
the conversation.

That very night the post brought a letter to Mr. Burke, from Lord
Clonbrony, which Mr. Burke gave to his wife as soon as he had read it,
saying--

'See the reward of all my services!'

Mrs. Burke glanced her eye over the letter, and, being extremely fond
of her husband, and sensible of his deserving far different treatment,
burst into indignant exclamations--

'See the reward of all your services, indeed!--What an unreasonable,
ungrateful man!--So, this is the thanks for all you have done for Lord
Clonbrony!'

'He does not know what I have done, my dear. He never has seen what I
have done.'

'More shame for him!'

'He never, I suppose, looks over his accounts, or understands them.'

'More shame for him!'

He listens to foolish reports, or misrepresentations, perhaps. He is at
a distance, and cannot find out the truth.'

'More shame for him!'

'Take it quietly, my dear; we have the comfort of a good conscience. The
agency may be taken from me by this lord; but the sense of having done
my duty, no lord or man upon earth can give or take away.'

'Such a letter!' said Mrs. Burke, taking it up again. 'Not even
the civility to write with his own hand!--only his signature to the
scrawl--looks as if it was written by a drunken man, does not it, Mr.
Evans?' said she, showing the letter to Lord Colambre, who immediately
recognised the writing of Sir Terence O'Fay.

'It does not look like the hand of a gentleman, indeed,' said Lord
Colambre.

'It has Lord Clonbrony's own signature, let it be what it will,' said
Mr. Burke, looking closely at it; 'Lord Clonbrony's own writing the
signature is, I am clear of that.'

Lord Clonbrony's son was clear of it also; but he took care not to give
any opinion on that point.

'Oh, pray, read it, sir, read it,' said Mrs. Burke, pleased by his tone
of indignation; 'read it, pray; a gentleman may write a bad hand, but no
GENTLEMAN could write such a letter as that to Mr. Burke--pray read it,
sir; you who have seen something of what Mr. Burke has done for the town
of Colambre, and what he has made of the tenantry and the estate of Lord
Clonbrony.'

Lord Colambre read, and was convinced that his father had never written
or read the letter, but had signed it, trusting to Sir Terence O'Fay's
having expressed his sentiments properly.

SIR, As I have no further occasion for your services, you will take
notice, that I hereby request you will forthwith hand over, on or before
the 1st of November next, your accounts, with the balance due of the
HANGING-GALE (which, I understand, is more than ought to be at this
season) to Nicholas O'Garraghty, Esq., College Green, Dublin, who in
future will act as agent, and shall get, by post, immediately, a power
of attorney for the same, entitling him to receive and manage the
Colambre as well as the Clonbrony estate, for, Sir, your obedient humble
servant, CLONBRONY.

'GROSVENOR SQUARE.'

Though misrepresentation, caprice, or interest, might have induced Lord
Clonbrony to desire to change his agent, yet Lord Colambre knew that his
father never could have announced his wishes in such a style; and, as he
returned the letter to Mrs. Burke, he repeated, he was convinced that it
was impossible that any nobleman could have written such a letter; that
it must have been written by some inferior person; and that his lordship
had signed it without reading it.

'My dear, I'm sorry you showed that letter to Mr. Evans,' said Mr.
Burke; 'I don't like to expose Lord Clonbrony; he is a well-meaning
gentleman, misled by ignorant or designing people; at all events, it is
not for us to expose him.'

'He has exposed himself,' said Mrs. Burke; 'and the world should know
it.'

'He was very kind to me when I was a young man,' said Mr. Burke; 'we
must not forget that now, because we are angry, my love.'

'Why, no, my love, to be sure we should not; but who could have
recollected it just at this minute but yourself?--And now, sir,' turning
to Lord Colambre, 'you see what kind of a man this is: now is it not
difficult for me to bear patiently to see him ill-treated?'

'Not only difficult, but impossible, I should think, madam,' said Lord
Colambre; 'I know, even I, who am a stranger, cannot help feeling for
both of you, as you must see I do.'

'And half the world, who don't know him,' continued Mrs. Burke, 'when
they hear that Lord Clonbrony's agency is taken from him, will think,
perhaps, that he is to blame.'

'No, madam,' said Lord Colambre; 'that you need not fear; Mr. Burke may
safely trust to his character; from what I have within these two days
seen and heard, I am convinced that such is the respect he has deserved
and acquired, that no blame can touch him.'

'Sir, I thank you,' said Mrs. Burke, the tears coming into her eyes;
'you can judge--you do him justice; but there are so many who don't know
him, and who will decide without knowing any of the facts.'

'That, my dear, happens about everything to everybody,' said Mr. Burke;
'but we must have patience; time sets all judgments right, sooner or
later.'

'But the sooner the better,' said Mrs. Burke. 'Mr. Evans, I hope you
will be so kind, if ever you hear this business talked of--'

'Mr. Evans lives in Wales, my dear.'

But he is travelling through Ireland, my dear, and he said he should
return to Dublin, and, you know, there he certainly will hear it talked
of; and I hope he will do me the favour to state what he has seen and
knows to be the truth.'

'Be assured that I will do Mr. Burke justice--as far as it is in my
power,' said Lord Colambre, restraining himself much, that he might not
say more than became his assumed character. He took leave of this worthy
family that night, and, early the next morning, departed.

'Ah!' thought he, as he drove away from this well-regulated and
flourishing place, 'how happy I might be, settled here with such a wife
as--her of whom I must think no more.'

He pursued his way to Clonbrony, his father's other estate, which was at
a considerable distance from Colambre; he was resolved to know what
kind of agent Mr. Nicholas Garraghty might be, who was to supersede Mr.
Burke, and by power of attorney to be immediately entitled to receive
and manage the Colambre as well as the Clonbrony estate.



CHAPTER X

Towards the evening of the second day's journey, the driver of Lord
Colambre's hackney chaise stopped, and jumping off the wooden bar, on
which he had been seated, exclaimed--

'We're come to the bad step, now. The bad road's beginning upon us,
please your honour.'

'Bad road! that is very uncommon in this country. I never saw such fine
roads as you have in Ireland.'

'That's true; and God bless your honour, that's sensible of that same,
for it's not what all the foreign quality I drive have the manners to
notice. God bless your honour! I heard you're a Welshman, but whether or
no, I am sure you are a gentleman, anyway, Welsh or other.'

Notwithstanding the shabby greatcoat, the shrewd postillion perceived,
by our hero's language, that he was a gentleman. After much dragging at
the horses' heads, and pushing and lifting, the carriage was got over
what the postillion said was the worst part of THE BAD STEP; but as
the road 'was not yet to say good,' he continued walking beside the
carriage.

'It's only bad just hereabouts, and that by accident,' said he, 'on
account of there being no jantleman resident in it, nor near; but only
a bit of an under-agent, a great little rogue, who gets his own turn out
of the roads, and of everything else in life. I, Larry Brady, that
am telling your honour, have a good right to know, for myself, and my
father, and my brother. Pat Brady, the wheelwright, had once a farm
under him; but was ruined, horse and foot, all along with him, and cast
out, and my brother forced to fly the country, and is now working in
some coachmaker's yard, in London; banished he is!--and here am I,
forced to be what I am--and now that I'm reduced to drive a hack, the
agent's a curse to me still, with these bad roads, killing my horses and
wheels and a shame to the country, which I think more of--Bad luck to
him!'

'I know your brother; he lives with Mr. Mordicai, in Long Acre, in
London.'

'Oh, God bless you for that!'

They came at this time within view of a range of about four-and-twenty
men and boys, sitting astride on four-and-twenty heaps of broken stones,
on each side of the road; they were all armed with hammers, with which
they began to pound with great diligence and noise as soon as they saw
the carriage. The chaise passed between these batteries, the stones
flying on all sides.

'How are you, Jem?--How are you, Phil?' said Larry. 'But hold your hand,
can't ye, while I stop and get the stones out of the horses' FEET. So
you're making up the rent, are you, for St. Dennis?'

'Whoosh!' said one of the pounders, coming close to the postillion, and
pointing his thumb back towards the chaise. 'Who have you in it?'

'Oh, you need not scruple, he's a very honest man; he's only a man from
North Wales, one Mr. Evans, an innocent jantleman, that's sent over to
travel up and down the country, to find is there any copper mines in
it.'

'How do you know, Larry?'

'Because I know very well, from one that was tould, and I SEEN him tax
the man of the King's Head, with a copper half-crown, at first sight,
which was only lead to look at, you'd think, to them that was not
skilful in copper. So lend me a knife, till I cut a linch-pin out of the
hedge, for this one won't go far.'

Whilst Larry was making the linch-pin, all scruple being removed, his
question about St. Dennis and the rent was answered.

'Ay, it's the rint, sure enough, we're pounding out for him; for he
sent the driver round last-night-was-eight days, to warn us old Nick
would be down a'-Monday, to take a sweep among us; and there's only six
clear days, Saturday night, before the assizes, sure; so we must see
and get it finished anyway, to clear the presentment again' the swearing
day, for he and Paddy Hart is the overseers themselves, and Paddy is to
swear to it.'

'St. Dennis, is it? Then you've one great comfort and security--that he
won't be PARTICULAR about the swearing; for since ever he had his head
on his shoulders, an oath never stuck in St. Dennis's throat, more than
in his own brother, old Nick's.'

'His head upon his shoulders!' repeated Lord Colambre. 'Pray, did you
ever hear that St. Dennis's head was off his shoulders?'

'It never was, plase your honour, to my knowledge.'

'Did you never, among your saints, hear of St. Dennis carrying his head
in his hand?' said Colambre.

'The RAEL saint!' said the postillion, suddenly changing his tone, and
looking shocked. 'Oh, don't be talking that way of the saints, plase
your honour.'

'Then of what St, Dennis were you talking just now?--Whom do you mean by
St. Dennis, and whom do you call old Nick?'

'Old Nick,' answered the postillion, coming close to the side of the
carriage, and whispering--'Old Nick, plase your honour, is our nickname
for one Nicholas Garraghty, Esq., of College Green, Dublin, and St.
Dennis is his brother Dennis, who is old Nick's brother in all things,
and would fain be a saint, only he is a sinner. He lives just by
here, in the country, under-agent to Lord Clonbrony, as old Nick is
upper-agent--it's only a joke among the people, that are not fond of
them at all. Lord Clonbrony himself is a very good jantleman, if he was
not an absentee, resident in London, leaving us and everything to the
likes of them.'

Lord Colambre listened with all possible composure and attention; but
the postillion having now made his linch-pin of wood, and FIXED HIMSELF;
he mounted his bar, and drove on, saying to Lord Colambre, as he looked
at the road-makers--

'Poor CRATURES! They couldn't keep their cattle out of pound, or
themselves out of jail, but by making this road.'

'Is road-making, then, a very profitable business?--Have road-makers
higher wages than other men in this part of the country?'

'It is, and it is not--they have, and they have not--plase your honour.'

'I don't understand you.'

'No, becaase you're an Englishman--that is, a Welshman--I beg your
honour's pardon. But I'll tell you how that is, and I'll go slow
over these broken stones for I can't go fast: it is where there's no
jantleman over these under-agents, as here, they do as they plase; and
when they have set the land they get rasonable from the head landlords,
to poor cratures at a rack-rent, that they can't live and pay the rent,
they say--'

'Who says?'

'Them under-agents, that have no conscience at all. Not all--but SOME,
like Dennis, says, says he, "I'll get you a road to make up the rent:"
that is, plase your honour, the agent gets them a presentment for so
many perches of road from the grand jury, at twice the price that would
make the road. And tenants are, by this means, as they take the road by
contract, at the price given by the county, able to pay all they get by
the job, over and above potatoes and salt, back again to the agent, for
the arrear on the land. Do I make your honour SENSIBLE?' [Do I make you
understand?]

'You make me much more sensible than I ever was before,' said Lord
Colambre; 'but is not this cheating the county?'

'Well, and suppose,' replied Larry, 'is not it all for my good, and
yours too, plase your honour?' said Larry, looking very shrewdly.

'My good!' said Lord Colambre, startled. 'What have I to do with it?'

'Haven't you to do with the roads as well as me, when you're travelling
upon them, plase your honour? And sure, they'd never be got made at all,
if they weren't made this ways; and it's the best way in the wide world,
and the finest roads we have. And when the RAEL jantlemen's resident in
the country, there's no jobbing can be, because they're then the leading
men on the grand jury; and these journeymen jantlemen are then kept in
order, and all's right.'

Lord Colambre was much surprised at Larry's knowledge of the manner in
which county business is managed, as well as by his shrewd good sense:
he did not know that this is not uncommon in his rank of life in
Ireland.

Whilst Larry was speaking, Lord Colambre was looking from side to side
at the desolation of the prospect.

'So this is Lord Clonbrony's estate, is it?'

'Ay, all you see, and as far and farther than you can see. My Lord
Clonbrony wrote, and ordered plantations here, time back; and enough was
paid to labourers for ditching and planting. And, what next?--Why,
what did the under-agent do, but let the goats in through gaps, left
o' purpose, to bark the trees, and then the trees was all banished. And
next, the cattle was let in trespassing, and winked at, till the land
was all poached; and then the land was waste, and cried down; and St.
Dennis wrote up to Dublin to old Nick, and he over to the landlord, how
none would take it, or bid anything at all for it; so then it fell to
him a cheap bargain. Oh, the tricks of them! who knows 'em, if I don't?'

Presently, Lord Colambre's attention was roused again, by seeing a man
running, as if for his life, across a bog, near the roadside; he leaped
over the ditch, and was upon the road in an instant. He seemed startled
at first, at the sight of the carriage; but, looking at the postillion,
Larry nodded, and he smiled and said--

'All's safe!'

'Pray, my good friend, may I ask what that is you have on your
shoulder?' said Lord Colambre.

PLASE your honour, it is only a private still, which I've just caught
out yonder in the bog; and I'm carrying it in with all speed to the
gauger, to make a discovery, that the JANTLEMAN may benefit by the
reward; I expect he'll make me a compliment.'

'Get up behind, and I'll give you a lift,' said the postillion.

'Thank you kindly--but better my legs!' said the man; and turning down a
lane, off he ran again as fast as possible.

'Expect he'll make me a compliment,' repeated Lord Colambre, 'to make a
discovery!'

Ay, plase your honour; for the law is,' said Larry, 'that, if an
unlawful still, that is, a still without license for whisky, is found,
half the benefit of the fine that's put upon the parish goes to him
that made the discovery; that's what that man is after, for he's an
informer.'

'I should not have thought, from what I see of you,' said Lord Colambre,
smiling, 'that you, Larry, would have offered an informer a lift.'

'Oh, plase your honour!' said Larry, smiling archly, 'would not I give
the laws a lift, when in my power?'

Scarcely had he uttered these words, and scarcely was the informer out
of sight, when across the same bog, and over the ditch, came another
man, a half kind of gentleman, with a red silk handkerchief about his
neck, and a silver-handled whip in his hand.

'Did you see any man pass the road, friend?' said he to the postillion.

'Oh! who would I see? or why would I tell?' replied Larry, in a sulky
tone.

'Came, come, be smart!' said the man with the silver whip, offering
to put half a crown into the postillion's hand; 'point me which way he
took.'

'I'll have none a' your silver! don't touch me with it!' said Larry.
'But, if you'll take my advice, you'll strike across back, and follow
the fields, out to Killogenesawee.'

The exciseman set out again immediately, in an opposite direction to
that which the man who carried the still had taken. Lord Colambre now
perceived that the pretended informer had been running off to conceal a
still of his own.

'The gauger, plase your honour,' said Larry, looking back at Lord
Colambre; 'the gauger is a STILL-HUNTING!'

'And you put him on a wrong scent!' said Lord Colambre.

'Sure, I told him no lie; I only said, "If you'll take my advice." And
why was he such a fool as to take my advice, when I wouldn't take his
fee?'

'So this is the way, Larry, you give a lift to the laws!'

'If the laws would give a lift to me, plase your honour, maybe I'd do as
much by them. But it's only these revenue laws I mean; for I never, to
my knowledge, broke another commandment; but it's what no honest poor
man among his neighbours would scruple to take--a glass of POTSHEEN.'

'A glass of what, in the name of Heaven?' said Lord Colambre.

POTSHEEN, plase your honour;--becaase it's the little whisky that's made
in the private still or pot; and SHEEN, becaase it's a fond word for
whatsoever we'd like, and for what we have little of, and would make
much of: after taking the glass of it, no man could go and inform to
ruin the CRATURES, for they all shelter on that estate under favour of
them that go shares, and make rent of 'em--but I'd never inform again'
'em. And, after all, if the truth was known, and my Lord Clonbrony
should be informed against, and presented, for it's his neglect is the
bottom of the nuisance--'

'I find all the blame is thrown upon this poor Lord Clonbrony,' said
Lord Colambre.

'Becaase he is absent,' said Larry. 'It would not be so was he PRISINT.
But your honour was talking to me about the laws. Your honour's a
stranger in this country, and astray about them things. Sure, why would
I mind the laws about whisky, more than the quality, or the judge on the
bench?'

'What do you mean?'

'Why! was not I PRISINT in the court-house myself, when the JIDGE on the
bench judging a still, and across the court came in one with a sly jug
of POTSHEEN for the JIDGE himself, who prefarred it, when the right
thing, to claret; and when I SEEN that, by the laws! a man might talk
himself dumb to me after again' potsheen, or in favour of the revenue,
or revenue-officers. And there they may go on, with their gaugers, and
their surveyors, and their supervisors, and their WATCHING-OFFICERS, and
their coursing-officers, setting 'em one after another, or one over the
head of another, or what way they will--we can baffle and laugh at 'em.
Didn't I know, next door to our inn, last year, ten WATCHING-OFFICERS
set upon one distiller, and he was too cunning for them; and it will
always be so, while ever the people think it no sin. No, till then, not
all their dockets and permits signify a rush, or a turf. And the gauging
rod even! who fears it? They may spare that rod, for it will never mend
the child.'

How much longer Larry's dissertation on the distillery laws would have
continued, had not his ideas been interrupted, we cannot guess; but he
saw he was coming to a town, and he gathered up the reins, and plied the
whip, ambitious to make a figure in the eyes of its inhabitants.

This TOWN consisted of one row of miserable huts, sunk beneath the side
of the road, the mud walls crooked in every direction; some of them
opening in wide cracks, or zigzag fissures, from top to bottom, as
if there had just been an earthquake--all the roofs sunk in various
places--thatch off, or overgrown with grass--no chimneys, the smoke
making its way through a hole in the roof, or rising in clouds from the
top of the open door--dunghills before the doors, and green standing
puddles--squalid children, with scarcely rags to cover them, gazing at
the carriage.

'Nugent's town,' said the postillion, 'once a snug place, when my Lady
Clonbrony was at home to whitewash it, and the like.'

As they drove by, some men and women put their heads through the smoke
out of the cabins; pale women with long, black, or yellow locks--men
with countenances and figures bereft of hope and energy.

'Wretched, wretched people!' said Lord Colambre.

'Then it's not their fault neither,' said Larry; 'for my own uncle's
one of them, and as thriving and hard a working man as could be in all
Ireland, he was, AFORE he was tramped under foot, and his heart broke. I
was at his funeral, this time last year; and for it, may the agent's own
heart, if he has any, burn--'

Lord Colambre interrupted this denunciation by touching Larry's
shoulder, and asking some question, which, as Larry did not distinctly
comprehend, he pulled up the reins, and the various noises of the
vehicle stopped suddenly.

I did not hear well, plase your honour.'

'What are those people?' pointing to a man and woman, curious figures,
who had come out of a cabin, the door of which the woman, who came out
last, locked, and carefully hiding the key in the thatch, turned her
back upon the man, and they walked away in different directions: the
woman bending under a huge bundle on her back, covered by a yellow
petticoat turned over her shoulders; from the top of this bundle the
head of an infant appeared; a little boy, almost naked, followed her
with a kettle, and two girls, one of whom could but just walk, held her
hand and clung to her ragged petticoat; forming, altogether, a complete
group of beggars. The woman stopped, and looked back after the man.

The man was a Spanish-looking figure, with gray hair; a wallet hung at
the end of a stick over one shoulder, a reaping-hook in the other hand;
he walked off stoutly, without ever casting a look behind him.

'A kind harvest to you, John Dolan,' cried the postillion, 'and success
to ye, Winny, with the quality. There's a luck-penny for the child to
begin with,' added he, throwing the child a penny. 'Your honour, they're
only poor CRATURES going up the country to beg, while the man goes over
to reap the harvest in England. Nor this would not be, neither, if
the lord was in it to give 'em EMPLOY. That man, now, was a good and
a willing SLAVE in his day: I mind him working with myself in the
shrubberies at Clonbrony Castle, when I was a boy--but I'll not be
detaining your honour, now the road's better.'

The postillion drove on at a good rate for some time, till he came to
a piece of the road freshly covered with broken stones, where he was
obliged again to go slowly.

They overtook a string of cars, on which were piled up high, beds,
tables, chairs, trunks, boxes, bandboxes.

'How are you, Finnucan? you've fine loading there--from Dublin, are
you?'

'From Bray.'

'And what news?'

'GREAT news and bad, for old Nick, or some belonging to him, thanks be
to Heaven! for myself hates him.'

'What's happened him?'

'His sister's husband that's failed, the great grocer that was, the man
that had the wife that OW'D [Owned] the fine house near Bray, that they
got that time the Parliament FLITTED, and that I seen in her carriage
flaming--well, it's all out; they're all DONE UP.

'Tut! is that all? then they'll thrive, and set up again grander than
ever, I'll engage; have not they old Nick for an attorney at their back?
a good warrant!'

'Oh, trust him for that! he won't go security nor pay a farthing for his
SHISTER, nor wouldn't was she his father; I heard him telling her so,
which I could not have done in his place at that time, and she crying as
if her heart would break, and I standing by in the parlour.'

'The NEGER! [NEGER, quasi negro; meo periculo, NIGGARD] And did he speak
that way, and you by?'

'Ay did he; and said, "Mrs. Raffarty," says he, "it's all your own fault;
you're an extravagant fool, and ever was, and I wash my hands of you;"
that was the word he spoke; and she answered, and said, "And mayn't I
send the beds and blankets," said she, "and what I can, by the cars,
out of the way of the creditors, to Clonbrony Castle; and won't you
let me hide there from the shame, till the bustle's over?"--"You may do
that," says he, "for what I care; but remember," says he, "that I've the
first claim to them goods;" and that's all he would grant. So they are
coming down all o' Monday--them are her bandboxes and all to settle it;
and faith it was a pity of her! to hear her sobbing, and to see her own
brother speak and look so hard! and she a lady.'

'Sure she's not a lady born, no more than himself,' said Larry; 'but
that's no excuse for him. His heart's as hard as that stone,' said
Larry; 'and my own people knew that long ago, and now his own know it;
and what right have we to complain, since he's as bad to his own flesh
and blood as to us?'

With this consolation, and with a 'God speed you,' given to the carman,
Larry was driving off; but the carman called to him, and pointed to a
house, at the corner of which, on a high pole, was swinging an iron sign
of three horse-shoes, set in a crooked frame, and at the window hung an
empty bottle, proclaiming whisky within.

'Well, I don't care if I do,' said Larry; 'for I've no other comfort
left me in life now. I beg your honour's pardon, sir, for a minute,'
added he, throwing the reins into the carriage to Lord Colambre, as he
leaped down. All remonstrance and power of lungs to reclaim him vain!
He darted into the whisky-house with the carman--reappeared before Lord
Colambre could accomplish getting out, remounted his seat, and, taking
the reins, 'I thank your honour,' said he; 'and I'll bring you into
Clonbrony before it's pitch-dark yet, though it's nightfall, and that's
four good miles, but "a spur in the head is worth two in the heel."'

Larry, to demonstrate the truth of his favourite axiom, drove off at
such a furious rate over great stones left in the middle of the road
by carmen, who had been driving in the gudgeons of their axle-trees to
hinder them from lacing, [Opening; perhaps from LACHER, to loosen.] that
Lord Colambre thought life and limb in imminent danger; and feeling
that at all events the jolting and bumping was past endurance, he had
recourse to Larry's shoulder, and shook and pulled, and called to him to
go slower, but in vain; at last the wheel struck full against a heap
of stones at a turn of the road, the wooden linch-pin came off, and
the chaise was overset: Lord Colambre was a little bruised, but glad to
escape without fractured bones.

'I beg your honour's pardon,' said Larry, completely sobered; 'I'm as
glad as the best pair of boots ever I see, to see your honour nothing
the worse for it. It was the linch-pin, and them barrows of loose
stones, that ought to be fined anyway, if there was any justice in the
country.'

'The pole is broke; how are we to get on?' said Lord Colambre.

'Murder! murder!--and no smith nearer than Clonbrony; nor rope even.
It's a folly to talk, we can't get to Clonbrony, nor stir a step
backward or forward the night.'

'What, then, do you mean to leave me all night in the middle of the
road?' cried Lord Colambre, quite exasperated.

'Is it me! please your honour? I would not use any jantleman so ill,
BARRING I could do no other,' replied the postillion, coolly; then,
leaping across the ditch, or, as he called it, the GRIPE of the ditch,
he scrambled up, and while he was scrambling, said, 'If your honour will
lend me your hand till I pull you up the back of the ditch, the horses
will stand while we go. I'll find you as pretty a lodging for the night,
with a widow of a brother of my shister's husband that was, as ever you
slept in your life; for old Nick or St. Dennis has not found 'em out
yet; and your honour will be, no compare, snugger than the inn at
Clonbrony, which has no roof, the devil a stick. But where will I get
your honour's hand; for it's coming on so dark, I can't see rightly.
There, you're up now safe. Yonder candle's the house.'

'Go and ask whether they can give us a night's lodging.'

'Is it ASK? when I see the light!--Sure they'd be proud to give the
traveller all the beds in the house, let alone one. Take care of the
potato furrows, that's all, and follow me straight. I'll go on to meet
the dog, who knows me and might be strange to your honour.'

'Kindly welcome,' were the first words Lord Colambre heard when he
approached the cottage; and 'kindly welcome' was in the sound of the
voice and in the countenance of the old woman who came out, shading her
rush-candle from the wind, and holding it so as to light the path. When
he entered the cottage, he saw a cheerful fire and a neat pretty young
woman making it blaze: she curtsied, put her spinning-wheel out of the
way, set a stool by the fire for the stranger, and repeating, in a very
low tone of voice, 'Kindly welcome, retired.

'Put down some eggs, dear, there's plenty in the bowl,' said the old
woman, calling to her; 'I'll do the bacon. Was not we lucky to be
up--The boy's gone to bed, but waken him,' said she, turning to the
postillion; 'and he'll help you with the chay, and put your horses in
the bier for the night.'

No; Larry chose to go on to Clonbrony with the horses, that he might
get the chaise mended betimes for his honour. The table was set; clean
trenchers, hot potatoes, milk, eggs, bacon, and 'kindly welcome to all.'

'Set the salt, dear; and the butter, love; where's your head, Grace,
dear!'

'Grace!' repeated Lord Colambre, looking up; and, to apologise for his
involuntary exclamation, he added, 'Is Grace a common name in Ireland?'

'I can't say, plase your honour, but it was give her by Lady Clonbrony,
from a niece of her own that was her foster-sister, God bless her! and
a very kind lady she was to us and to all when she was living in it; but
those times are gone past,' said the old woman, with a sigh. The young
woman sighed too; and, sitting down by the fire, began to count the
notches in a little bit of stick, which she held in her hand; and, after
she had counted them, sighed again.

'But don't be sighing, Grace, now,' said the old woman; 'sighs is bad
sauce for the traveller's supper; and we won't be troubling him with
more,' added she, turning to Lord Colambre with a smile.

'Is your egg done to your liking?'

'Perfectly, thank you.'

'Then I wish it was a chicken for your sake, which it should have been,
and roast too, had we time. I wish I could see you eat another egg.'

'No more, thank you, my good lady; I never ate a better supper, nor
received a more hospitable welcome.'

'Oh, the welcome is all we have to offer.'

'May I ask what that is?' said Lord Colambre, looking at the notched
stick, which the young woman held in her hand, and on which her eyes
were still fixed.

It's a TALLY, plase your honour. Oh, you're a foreigner;--it's the way
the labourers do keep the account of the day's work with the overseer,
the bailiff; a notch for every day the bailiff makes on his stick, and
the labourer the like on his stick, to tally; and when we come to make
up the account, it's by the notches we go. And there's been a mistake,
and is a dispute here between our boy and the overseer; and she was
counting the boy's tally, that's in bed, tired, for in troth he's
overworked.'

'Would you want anything more from me, mother?' said the girl, rising
and turning her head away.

'No, child; get away, for your heart's full.'

She went instantly.

'Is the boy her brother?' said Lord Colambre.

'No; he's her bachelor,' said the old woman, lowering her voice.

'Her bachelor?'

'That is, her sweetheart: for she is not my daughter, though you heard
her call me mother. The boy's my son; but I am afeard they must give it
up; for they're too poor, and the times is hard, and the agent's harder
than the times; there's two of them, the under and the upper; and they
grind the substance of one between them, and then blow one away like
chaff: but we'll not be talking of that to spoil your honour's night's
rest. The room's ready, and here's the rushlight.'

She showed him into a very small but neat room. 'What a
comfortable-looking bed!' said Lord Colambre.

'Ah, these red check curtains,' said she, letting them down; 'these have
lasted well; they were give me by a good friend, now far away, over the
seas--my Lady Clonbrony; and made by the prettiest hands ever you see,
her niece's, Miss Grace Nugent's, and she a little child that time;
sweet love! all gone!'

The old woman wiped a tear from her eye, and Lord Colambre did what he
could to appear indifferent. She set down the candle, and left the room;
Lord Colambre went to bed, but he lay awake, 'revolving sweet and bitter
thoughts.'



CHAPTER XI

The kettle was on the fire, tea-things set, everything prepared for her
guest by the hospitable hostess, who, thinking the gentleman would
take tea to his breakfast, had sent off a GOSSOON by the FIRST LIGHT to
Clonbrony, for an ounce of tea, a QUARTER OF SUGAR, and a loaf of white
bread; and there was on the little table good cream, milk, butter,
eggs--all the promise of an excellent breakfast. It was a FRESH morning,
and there was a pleasant fire on the hearth, neatly swept up. The old
woman was sitting in her chimney corner, behind a little skreen of
whitewashed wall, built out into the room, for the purpose of keeping
those who sat at the fire from the BLAST OF THE DOOR. There was a
loophole in this wall, to let the light in, just at the height of a
person's head, who was sitting near the chimney. The rays of the morning
sun now came through it, shining across the face of the old woman,
as she sat knitting; Lord Colambre thought he had seldom seen a more
agreeable countenance, intelligent eyes, benevolent smile, a natural
expression of cheerfulness, subdued by age and misfortune.

'A good-morrow to you kindly, sir, and I hope you got the night well?--A
fine day for us this Sunday morning; my Grace is gone to early prayers,
so your honour will be content with an old woman to make your breakfast.
Oh, let me put in plenty, or it will never be good; and if your honour
takes stir-about, an old hand will engage to make that to your liking,
anyway; for, by great happiness, we have what will just answer for you
of the nicest meal the miller made my Grace a compliment of, last time
she went to the mill.'

Lord Colambre observed, that this miller had good taste; and his
lordship paid some compliment to Grace's beauty, which the old woman
received with a smile, but turned off the conversation. 'Then,' said
she, looking out of the window, 'is not that there a nice little garden
the boy dug for her and me, at his breakfast and dinner hours? Ah! he's
a good boy, and a good warrant to work; and the good son DESARVES the
good wife, and it's he that will make the good husband; and with my
goodwill he, and no other, shall get her, and with her goodwill the
same; and I bid 'em keep up their heart, and hope the best, for there's
no use in fearing the worst till it comes.'

Lord Colambre wished very much to know the worst.

'If you would not think a stranger impertinent for asking,' said he,
'and if it would not be painful to you to explain.'

'Oh, impertinent, your honour! it's very kind--and, sure, none's a
stranger to one's heart, that feels for one. And for myself, I can talk.
of my troubles without thinking of them. So, I'll tell you all--if the
worst comes to the worst--all that is, is, that we must quit, and
give up this little snug place, and house, and farm, and all, to the
agent--which would be hard on us, and me a widow, when my husband did
all that is done to the land; and if your honour was a judge, you could
see, if you stepped out, there has been a deal done, and built the
house, and all--but it plased Heaven to take him. Well, he was too good
for this world, and I'm satisfied--I'm not saying a word again' that--I
trust we shall meet in heaven, and be happy, surely. And, meantime,
here's my boy, that will make me as happy as ever widow was on earth--if
the agent will let him. And I can't think the agent, though they that
know him best call him old Nick, would be so wicked to take from us that
which he never gave us. The good lord himself granted us the LASE; the
life's dropped, and the years is out; but we had a promise of renewal in
writing from the landlord. God bless him! if he was not away, he'd be a
good gentleman, and we'd be happy and safe.'

'But if you have a promise in writing of a renewal, surely you are safe,
whether your landlord is absent or present?'

'Ah, no I that makes a great DIFFER, when there's no eye or hand over
the agent. I would not wish to speak or think ill of him or any man; but
was he an angel, he could not know to do the tenantry justice, the way
he is living always in Dublin, and coming down to the country only the
receiving days, to make a sweep among us, and gather up the rents in a
hurry, and he in such haste back to town--can just stay to count
over our money, and give the receipts. Happy for us, if we get that
same!--but can't expect he should have time to see or hear us, or mind
our improvements, any more than listen to our complaints! Oh, there's
great excuse for the gentleman, if that was any comfort for us,' added
she, smiling.

'But, if he does not live amongst you himself, has not he some
under-agent, who lives in the country?' said Lord Colambre.

'He has so.'

'And he should know your concerns: does he mind them?'

'He should know--he should know better; but as to minding our concerns,
your honour knows,' continued she, smiling again, 'every one in this
world must mind their own concerns; and it would be a good world, if it
was even so. There's a great deal in all things, that don't appear at
first sight. Mr. Dennis wanted Grace for a wife for his bailiff; but she
would not have him; and Mr. Dennis was very sweet to her himself--but
Grace is rather high with him as proper, and he has a grudge AGAIN' us
ever since. Yet, indeed, there,' added she, after another pause, 'as you
say, I think we are safe; for we have that memorandum in writing, with a
pencil, given under his own hand, on the back of the LASE, to me, by
the same token when my good lord had his foot on the step of the coach,
going away; and I'll never forget the smile of her that got that good
turn done for me, Miss Grace. And just when she was going to England and
London, and, young as she was, to have the thought to stop and turn to
the likes of me! Oh, then, if you could see her, and know her, as I did!
THAT was the comforting angel upon earth--look and voice, and heart
and all! Oh, that she was here present, this minute!--But did you scald
yourself?' said the widow to Lord Colambre. 'Sure you must have scalded
yourself; for you poured the kettle straight over your hand, and it
boiling!--O DEEAR! to think of so young a gentleman's hand shaking so
like my own.

Luckily, to prevent her pursuing her observations from the hand to
the face, which might have betrayed more than Lord Colambre wished she
should know, her own Grace came in at this instant.

'There it's for you, safe, mother dear--the LASE!' said Grace, throwing
a packet into her lap. The old woman lifted up her hands to heaven, with
the lease between them.--'Thanks be to Heaven!' Grace passed on, and
sunk down on the first seat she could reach. Her face flushed, and,
looking much fatigued, she loosened the strings of her bonnet and
cloak--'Then, I'm tired;' but, recollecting herself, she rose, and
curtsied to the gentleman.

'What tired ye, dear?'

'Why, after prayers, we had to go--for the agent was not at prayers,
nor at home for us, when we called--we had to go all the way up to
the castle; and there, by great good luck, we found Mr. Nick Garraghty
himself, come from Dublin, and the LASE in his hands; and he sealed
it up that way, and handed it to me very civil. I never saw him so
good--though he offered me a glass of spirits, which was not manners to
a decent young woman, in a morning--as Brian noticed after. Brian would
not take any either, nor never does. We met Mr. Dennis and the driver
coming home; and he says, the rent must be paid to-morrow, or, instead
of renewing, he'll seize and sell all. Mother dear, I would have dropped
with the walk, but for Brian's arm.'--'It's a wonder, dear, what makes
you so weak, that used to be so strong,'--'But if we can sell the cow
for anything at all to Mr. Dennis, since his eye is set upon her,
better let him have her, mother dear; and that and my yarn, which Mrs.
Garraghty says she'll allow me for, will make up the rent--and Brian
need not talk of America. But it must be in golden guineas, the agent
will take the rent no other way; and you won't get a guinea for less
than five shillings. Well, even so, it's easy selling my new gown to one
that covets it, and that will give me in exchange the price of the gold;
or, suppose that would not do, add this cloak,--it's handsome, and I
know a friend would be glad to take it, and I'd part it as ready as look
at it--Any-thing at all, sure, rather than that he should be forced to
talk of emigrating; or, oh, worse again, listing for the bounty--to save
us from the cant or the jail, by going to the hospital, or his grave,
maybe--Oh, mother!'

'Oh, child! This is what makes you weak, fretting. Don't be that way.
Sure here's the LASE, and that's good comfort; and the soldiers will be
gone out of Clonbrony to-morrow, and then that's off your mind. And as
to America, it's only talk--I won't let him, he's dutiful; and would
sooner sell my dresser and down to my bed, dear, than see you sell
anything of yours, love. Promise me you won't. Why didn't Brian come
home all the way with you, Grace?'

'He would have seen me home,' said Grace,' only that he went up a piece
of the mountain for some stones or ore for the gentleman--for he had the
manners to think of him this morning, though, shame for me, I had not,
when I come in, or I would not have told you all this, and he himself
by. See, there he is, mother.'

Brian came in very hot, out of breath, with his hat full of stones.
'Good morrow to your honour. I was in bed last night; and sorry they
did not call me up to be of SARVICE. Larry was telling us, this morning,
your honour's from Wales, and looking for mines in Ireland, and I heard
talk that there was one on our mountain--maybe, you'd be CUROUS to see,
and so I brought the best I could, but I'm no judge.'

'Nor I, neither,' thought Lord Colambre; but he thanked the young
man, and determined to avail himself of Larry's misconception or false
report; examined the stones very gravely, and said, 'This promises well.
Lapis caliminaris, schist, plum-pudding stone, rhomboidal, crystal,
blend, garrawachy,' and all the strange names he could think of,
jumbling them together at a venture.

'The LASE!--Is it?' cried the young man, with joy sparkling in his eyes,
as his mother held up the packet. 'Then all's safe! and he's an honest
man, and shame on me, that could suspect he meant us wrong. Lend me the
papers.'

He cracked the seals, and taking off the cover,--'It's the LASE, sure
enough. Shame on me!--But stay, where's the memorandum?'

'It's there, sure,' said his mother, 'where my lord's pencil writ it. I
don't read.--Grace, dear, look.'

The young man put it into her hands, and stood without power to utter a
syllable.

'It's not here! It's gone!--no sign of it.'

'Gracious Heaven! that can't be,' said the old woman, putting on her
spectacles; 'let me see--I remember the very spot.'

'It's taken away--it's rubbed clean out!--Oh, wasn't I fool? But who
could have thought he'd be the villain!' The young man seemed neither to
see nor hear; but to be absorbed in thought.

Grace, with her eyes fixed upon him, grew as pale as death--'He'll
go--he's gone.'

'She's gone!' cried Lord Colambre, and the mother just caught her in her
arms as she was falling.

'The chaise is ready, PLASE your honour,' said Larry, coming into the
room. 'Death! what's here?'

'Air!--she's coming to,' said the young man--'Take a drop of water, my
own Grace.'

'Young man, I, promise you,' cried Lord Colambre (speaking in the tone
of a master), striking the young man's shoulder, who was kneeling at
Grace's feet; but recollecting and restraining himself, he added, in a
quiet voice--'I promise you I shall never forget the hospitality I have
received in this house, and I am sorry to be obliged to leave you in
distress.'

These words uttered with difficulty, he hurried out of the house, and
into his carriage. 'Go back to them,' said he to the postillion; 'go
back and ask whether, if I should stay a day or two longer in this
country, they would let me return at night and lodge with them. And
here, man, stay, take this,' putting money into his hands, 'for the good
woman of the house.'

The postillion went in, and returned.

'She won't at all--I knew she would not.'

'Well, I am obliged to her for the night's lodging she did give me; I
have no right to expect more.'

'What is it?--Sure she bid me tell you--"and welcome to the lodging;
for," said she, "he is a kind-hearted gentleman;" but here's the money;
it's that I was telling you she would not have at all.'

'Thank you. Now, my good friend Larry, drive me to Clonbrony, and do not
say another word, for I'm not in a talking humour.'

Larry nodded, mounted, and drove to Clonbrony. Clonbrony was now a
melancholy scene. The houses, which had been built in a better style of
architecture than usual, were in a ruinous condition; the dashing was
off the walls, no glass in the windows, and many of the roofs without
slates. For the stillness of the place Lord Colambre in some measure
accounted by considering that it was Sunday; therefore, of course, all
the shops were shut up, and all the people at prayers. He alighted at
the inn, which completely answered Larry's representation of it. Nobody
to be seen but a drunken waiter, who, as well as he could articulate,
informed Lord Colambre that 'his mistress was in her bed since
Thursday-was-a-week; the hostler at the WASH-WOMAN'S, and the cook at
second prayers.'

Lord Colambre walked to the church, but the church gate was locked and
broken--a calf, two pigs, and an ass, in the churchyard; and several
boys (with more of skin apparent than clothes) were playing at hustlecap
upon a tombstone, which, upon nearer observation, he saw was the
monument of his own family. One of the boys came to the gate, and told
Lord Colambre 'there was no use in going into the church, becaase there
was no church there; nor had not been this twelvemonth; becaase there
was no curate; and the parson was away always, since the lord was at
home--that is, was not at home--he nor the family.'

Lord Colambre returned to the inn, where, after waiting a considerable
time, he gave up the point--he could not get any dinner--and in the
evening he walked out again into the town. He found several ale-houses,
however, open, which were full of people; all of them as busy and as
noisy as possible. He observed that the interest was created by an
advertisement of several farms on the Clonbrony estate, to be set by
Nicholas Garraghty, Esq. He could not help smiling at his being witness
incognito to various schemes for outwitting the agents and defrauding
the landlord; but, on a sudden, the scene was changed; a boy ran in,
crying out, that 'St. Dennis was riding down the hill into the town;
and, if you would not have the license,' said the boy, 'take care of
yourself.'

'IF YOU WOULDN'T HAVE THE LICENCE,' Lord Colambre perceived, by what
followed, meant, 'IF YOU HAVE NOT A LICENCE.' Brannagan immediately
snatched an untasted glass of whisky from a customer's lips (who cried,
Murder!) gave it and the bottle he held in his hand to his wife, who
swallowed the spirits, and ran away with the bottle and glass into some
back hole; whilst the bystanders laughed, saying, 'Well thought of,
Peggy!'

'Clear out all of you at the back door, for the love of heaven, if you
wouldn't be the ruin of me,' said the man of the house, setting a ladder
to a corner of the shop. 'Phil, hoist me up the keg to the loft,' added
he, running up the ladder; 'and one of YEES step up street, and give
Rose M'Givney notice, for she's selling too.'

The keg was hoisted up; the ladder removed; the shop cleared of all
the customers; the shutters shut; the door barred; the counter cleaned.
'Lift your stones, sir, if you plase,' said the wife, as she rubbed the
counter, 'and say nothing of what you SEEN at all; but that you're a
stranger and a traveller seeking a lodging, if you're questioned, or
waiting to see Mr. Dennis. There's no smell of whisky in it now, is
there, sir?'

Lord Colambre could not flatter her so far as to say this--he could only
hope no one would perceive it.

'Oh, and if he would, the smell of whisky was nothing,' as the wife
affirmed, 'for it was everywhere in nature, and no proof again' any one,
good or bad.'

'Now St. Dennis may come when he will, or old Nick himself!' So she tied
up a blue handkerchief over her head, and had the toothache, 'very bad.'

Lord Colambre turned to look for the man of the house.

'He's safe in bed,' said the wife.

'In bed! When?'

'Whilst you turned your head, while I was tying the handkerchief over my
face. Within the room, look, he is snug.'

And there he was in bed certainly, and his clothes on the chest.

A knock, a loud knock at the door.

'St. Dennis himself!--Stay, till I unbar the door,' said the woman; and,
making a great difficulty, she let him in, groaning, and saying--

'We was all done up for the night, PLASE your honour, and myself with
the toothache, very bad--And the lodger, that's going to take an egg
only, before he'd go into his bed. My man's in it, and asleep long ago.'

With a magisterial air, though with a look of blank disappointment, Mr.
Dennis Garraghty walked on, looked into THE ROOM, saw the good man
of the house asleep, heard him snore, and then, returning, asked Lord
Colambre 'who he was, and what brought him there?'

Our hero said he was from England, and a traveller; and now, bolder
grown as a geologist, he talked of his specimens, and his hopes of
finding a mine in the neighbouring mountains; then adopting, as well
as he could, the servile tone and abject manner in which he found Mr.
Dennis was to be addressed, 'he hoped he might get encouragement from
the gentleman at the head of the estate.'

'To bore, is it?--Well, don't BORE me about it. I can't give you any
answer now, my good friend; I'm engaged.'

Out he strutted. 'Stick to him up the town, if you have a mind to get
your answer,' whispered the woman. Lord Colambre followed, for he wished
to see the end of this scene.

'Well, sir, what are you following and sticking to me, like my shadow,
for?' said Mr. Dennis, turning suddenly upon Lord Colambre.

His lordship bowed low. 'Waiting for my answer, sir, when you are at
leisure.

Or, may I call upon you tomorrow?'

'You seem to be a civil kind of fellow; but, as to boring, I don't
know--if you undertake it at your own expense. I dare say there may be
minerals in the ground. Well, you may call at the castle to-morrow, and
when my brother has done with the tenantry, I'll speak to him FOR
you, and we'll consult together, and see what we think. It's too late
to-night. In Ireland, nobody speaks to a gentleman about business after
dinner--your servant, sir; anybody can show you the way to the castle
in the morning.' And, pushing by his lordship, he called to a man on
the other side of the street, who had obviously been waiting for him;
he went under a gateway with this man, and gave him a bag of guineas.
He then called for his horse, which was brought to him by a man whom
Colambre had heard declaring that he would bid for the land that
was advertised; whilst another, who had the same intentions, most
respectfully held St. Dennis's stirrup, whilst he mounted without
thanking either of these men. St. Dennis clapped spurs to his steed, and
rode away. No thanks, indeed, were deserved; for the moment he was out
of hearing, both cursed him after the manner of their country.

'Bad luck go with you, then!--And may you break your neck before you get
home, if it was not for the LASE I'm to get, and that's paid for.'

Lord Colambre followed the crowd into a public-house, where a new scene
presented itself to his view.

The man to whom St. Dennis gave the bag of gold was now selling this
very gold to the tenants, who were to pay their rent next day at the
castle.

The agent would take nothing but gold. The same guineas were bought and
sold several times over, to the great profit of the agent and loss of
the poor tenants; for, as the rents were paid, the guineas were
resold to another set, and the remittances made through bankers to the
landlord; who, as the poor man who explained the transaction to Lord
Colambre expressed it, 'gained nothing by the business, bad or good, but
the ill-will of the tenantry.'

The higgling for the price of the gold; the time lost in disputing about
the goodness of the notes, among some poor tenants, who could not read
or write, and who were at the mercy of the man with the bag in his hand;
the vexation, the useless harassing of all who were obliged to submit
ultimately--Lord Colambre saw; and all this time he endured the smell of
tobacco and whisky, and of the sound of various brogues, the din of men
wrangling, brawling, threatening, whining, drawling, cajoling, cursing,
and every variety of wretchedness.

'And is this my father's town of Clonbrony?' thought Lord Colambre. 'Is
this Ireland?--No, it is not Ireland. Let me not, like most of those
who forsake their native country, traduce it. Let me not, even to my own
mind, commit the injustice of taking a speck for the whole. What I have
just seen is the picture only of that to which an Irish estate and Irish
tenantry may be degraded in the absence of those whose duty and interest
it is to reside in Ireland to uphold justice by example and authority;
but who, neglecting this duty, commit power to bad hands and bad
hearts--abandon their tenantry to oppression, and their property to
ruin.'

It was now fine moonlight, and Lord Colambre met with a boy, who said
he could show him a short way across the fields to the widow O'Neill's
cottage.



CHAPTER XII

All were asleep at the cottage, when Lord Colambre arrived, except the
widow, who was sitting up, waiting for him; and who had brought her dog
into the house, that he might not fly at him, or bark at his return. She
had a roast chicken ready for her guest, and it was--but this she never
told him the only chicken she had left; all the others had been sent
with the DUTY-FOWL as a present to the under-agent's lady. While he was
eating his supper, which he ate with the better appetite, as he had had
no dinner, the good woman took down from the shelf a pocket-book, which
she gave him: 'Is not that your book?' said she. 'My boy Brian found it
after you in the potato furrow, where you dropped it.'

'Thank you,' said Lord Colambre; 'there are bank notes in it, which I
could not afford to lose.'

'Are there?' said she; 'he never opened it--nor I.'

Then, in answer to his inquiries about Grace and the young man, the
widow answered, 'They are all in heart now, I thank ye kindly, sir, for
asking; they'll sleep easy to-night anyway, and I'm in great spirits for
them and myself--for all's smooth now. After we parted you, Brian saw
Mr. Dennis himself about the LASE and memorandum, which he never denied,
but knew nothing about. "But, be that as it may," says he, "you're
improving tenants, and I'm confident my brother will consider ye; so
what you'll do is, you'll give up the possession to-morrow to myself,
that will call for it by cock-crow, just for form's sake; and then go up
to the castle with the new LASE ready drawn, in your hand, and if all's
paid off clear of the rent, and all that's due, you'll get the new LASE
signed; I'll promise you that upon the word and honour of a gentleman."
And there's no going beyond that, you know, sir. So my boy came home
as light as a feather, and as gay as a lark, to bring us the good news;
only he was afraid we might not make up the rent, guineas and all; and
because he could not get paid for the work he done, on account of
the mistake in the overseer's tally, I sold the cow to a
neighbour--dog-cheap; but needs must, as they say, when old Nick
DRIVES,' said the widow, smiling. 'Well, still it was but paper we got
for the cow; then that must be gold before the agent would take or touch
it so I was laying out to sell the dresser, and had taken the plates and
cups, and little things off it, and my boy was lifting it out with Andy
the carpenter, that was agreeing for it, when in comes Grace, all rosy,
and out of breath--it's a wonder I minded her run out, and not missed
her. "Mother," says she, "here's the gold for you! don't be stirring
your dresser."--"And where's your gown and cloak, Grace?" says I. But I
beg your pardon, sir; maybe I'm tiring you?'

Lord Colambre encouraged her to go on.

'"Where's your gown and cloak, Grace!" says I.--"Gone," says she. "The
cloak was too warm and heavy, and I don't doubt, mother, but it was that
helped to make me faint this morning. And as to the gown, sure I've a
very nice one here, that you spun for me yourself, mother; and that I
prize above all the gowns ever came out of a loom; and that Brian said
become me to his fancy above any gown ever he see me wear; and what
could I wish for more?" Now I'd a mind to scold her for going to sell
the gown unknown'st to me, but I don't know how it was, I couldn't scold
her just then, so kissed her, and Brian the same, and that was what no
man ever did before. And she had a mind to be angry with him, but could
not, nor ought not, says I; "for he's as good as your husband now,
Grace; and no man can part yees now," says I, putting their hands
together. Well, I never saw her look so pretty; nor there was not a
happier boy that minute on God's earth than my son, nor a happier mother
than myself; and I thanked God that had given them to me; and down they
both fell on their knees for my blessing, little worth as it was; and
my heart's blessing they had, and I laid my hands upon them. "It's the
priest you must get to do this for you to-morrow," says I. And Brian
just held up the ring, to show me all was ready on his part, but could
not speak. "Then there's no America any more!" said Grace low to me, and
her heart was on her lips; but the colour came and went, and I was a
FEARED she'd have swooned again, but not for sorrow so I carried her
off Well, if she was not my own--but she is not my own born so I may
say it--there never was a better girl, nor a more kind-hearted, nor
generous; never thinking anything she could do, or give, too much for
them she loved, and anything at all would do for herself; the sweetest
natured and tempered both, and always was, from this high; the bond that
held all together, and joy of the house.'

'Just like her namesake,' cried Lord Colambre.

'Plase your honour?'

'Is not it late?' said Lord Colambre, stretching himself and gaping;
'I've walked a great way to-day.'

The old woman lighted his rushlight, showed him to his red check bed,
and wished him a very good night; not without some slight sentiment of
displeasure at his gaping thus at the panegyric on her darling Grace.
Before she left the room, however, her short-lived resentment vanished,
upon his saying that he hoped, with her permission, to be present at the
wedding of the young couple.

Early in the morning Brian went to the priest, to ask his reverence when
it would be convenient to marry him; and, whilst he was gone, Mr. Dennis
Garraghty came to the cottage, to receive the rent and possession. The
rent was ready, in gold, and counted into his hand.

'No occasion for a receipt; for a new LASE is a receipt in full for
everything.'

'Very well, sir, said the widow; 'I know nothing of law. You know
best--whatever you direct--for you are acting as a friend to us now. My
son got the attorney to draw the pair of new LASES yesterday, and here
they are ready, all to signing.'

Mr. Dennis said his brother must settle that part of the business,
and that they must carry them up to the castle; 'but first give me the
possession.'

Then, as he instructed her, she gave up the key of the door to him, and
a bit of the thatch of the house; and he raked out the fire, and said
every living creature must go out. 'It's only form of law,' said he.

'And must my lodger get up and turn out, sir?' said she. 'He must turn
out, to be sure--not a living soul must be left in it, or it's no legal
possession properly. Who is your lodger?'

On Lord Colambre's appearing, Mr. Dennis showed some surprise, and said,
'I thought you were lodging at Brannagan's; are not you the man who
spoke to me at his house about the gold mines?'

'No, sir, he never lodged at Brannagan's,' said the widow.

'Yes, sir, I am the person who spoke to you about the gold mines at
Brannagan's; but I did not like to lodge--'

'Well, no matter where you liked to lodge; you must walk out of this
lodging now, if you please, my good friend.'

So Mr. Dennis pushed his lordship out by the shoulders, repeating, as
the widow turned back and looked with some surprise and alarm, 'Only for
form sake, only for form sake!' then locking the door, took the key, and
put it into his pocket. The widow held out her hand for it: 'The form's
gone through now, sir, is not it? Be plased to let us in again.'

'When the new lease is signed, I'll give you possession again; but not
till then--for that's the law. So make away with you to the castle; and
mind,' added he, winking slily, 'mind you take sealing-money with you,
and something to buy gloves.'

'Oh, where will I find all that?' said the widow.

'I have it, mother; don't fret,' said Grace. 'I have it--the price
of---what I can want. [What I can do without.] So let us go off to the
castle without delay. Brian will meet us on the road, you know.'

They set off for Clonbrony Castle, Lord Colambre accompanying them.
Brian met them on the road. 'Father Tom is ready, dear mother; bring her
in, and he'll marry us. I'm not my own man till she's mine. Who knows
what may happen?'

'Who knows? that's true,' said the widow.

'Better go to the castle first,' said Grace.

'And keep the priest waiting! You can't use his reverence so.' said
Brian.

So she let him lead her into the priest's house, and she did not make
any of the awkward draggings back, or ridiculous scenes of grimace
sometimes exhibited on these occasions; but blushing rosy red, yet
with more self-possession than could have been expected from her timid
nature, she gave her hand to the man she loved, and listened with
attentive devotion to the holy ceremony.

'Ah!' thought Lord Colambre, whilst he congratulated the bride, 'shall I
ever be as happy as these poor people are at this moment?' He longed to
make them some little present, but all he could venture at this moment
was to pay the priest's DUES.

The priest positively refused to take anything. 'They are the best
couple in my parish,' said he; 'and I'll take nothing, sir, from you, a
stranger and my guest.'

'Now, come what will, I'm a match for it. No trouble can touch me,' said
Brian.

'Oh, don't be bragging,' said the widow.

'Whatever trouble God sends, He has given one now will help to bear it,
and sure I may be thankful,' said Grace.

'Such good hearts must be happy--shall be happy!' said Lord Colambre.

'Oh, you're very kind,' said the widow, smiling; 'and I wouldn't
doubt you, if you had the power. I hope, then, the agent will give you
encouragement about them mines, that we may keep you among us.'

'I am determined to settle among you, warm-hearted, generous people!'
cried Lord Colambre, 'whether the agent gives me encouragement or not,'
added he.

It was a long walk to Clonbrony Castle; the old woman, as she said
herself, would not have been able for it, but for a LIFT given to her
by a friendly carman, whom they met on the road with an empty car. This
carman was Finnucan, who dissipated Lord Colambre's fears of meeting and
being recognised by Mrs. Raffarty; for he, in answer to the question
of, 'Who is at the castle?' replied, 'Mrs. Raffarty will be in it afore
night; but she's on the road still. There's none but old Nick in it yet;
and he's more of a NEGER than ever; for think, that he would not pay me
a farthing for the carriage of his SHISTER'S boxes and bandboxes down.
If you're going to have any dealings with him, God grant ye a safe
deliverance!'

'Amen!' said the widow, and her son and daughter.

Lord Colambre's attention was now engaged by the view of the castle and
park of Clonbrony. He had not seen it since he was six years old. Some
faint reminiscence from his childhood made him feel or fancy that he
knew the place. It was a fine castle, spacious park; but all about it,
from the broken piers at the great entrance, to the messy gravel and
loose steps at the hall-door, had an air of desertion and melancholy.
Walks overgrown, shrubberies wild, plantations run up into bare poles;
fine trees cut down, and lying on the gravel in lots to be sold. A hill
that had been covered with an oak wood, in which, in his childhood,
our hero used to play, and which he called the black forest, was gone;
nothing to be seen but the white stumps of the trees, for it had been
freshly cut down, to make up the last remittances.--'And how it went,
when sold!--but no matter,' said Finnucan; 'it's all alike.--It's the
back way into the yard, I'll take you, I suppose.'

And such a yard! 'But it's no matter,' repeated Lord Colambre to
himself; 'it's all alike.'

In the kitchen a great dinner was dressing for Mr. Garraghty's friends,
who were to make merry with him when the business of the day was over.

'Where's the keys of the cellar, till I get out the claret for after
dinner,' says one; 'and the wine for the cook--sure there's venison,'
cries another.--'Venison!--That's the way my lord's deer goes,' says a
third, laughing.--'ay, sure! and very proper, when he's not here to eat
'em.'--'Keep your nose out of the kitchen, young man, if you PLASE,'
said the agent's cook, shutting the door in Lord Colambre's face.
'There's the way to the office, if you've money to pay, up the back
stairs.'

'No; up the grand staircase they must--Mr. Garraghty ordered,' said the
footman; 'because the office is damp for him, and it's not there he'll
see anybody to-day; but in my lady's dressing-room.'

So up the grand staircase they went, and through the magnificent
apartments, hung with pictures of great value, spoiling with damp.
'Then, isn't it a pity to see them? There's my lady, and all spoiling,'
said the widow.

Lord Colambre stopped before a portrait of Miss Nugent.--'Shamefully
damaged!' cried he. 'Pass on, or let me pass, if you PLASE,' said one of
the tenants; 'and don't be stopping the doorway.' 'I have business more
nor you with the agent,' said the surveyor; 'where is he?'

'In the PRESENCE-CHAMBER,' replied another; 'where should the viceroy be
but in the PRESENCE-CHAMBER?'

There was a full levee, and fine smell of greatcoats. 'Oh! would you
put your hats on the silk cushions?' said the widow to some men in the
doorway, who were throwing off their greasy hats on a damask sofa.--'Why
not? where else?' 'If the lady was in it, you wouldn't,' said she,
sighing.--'No, to be sure, I wouldn't; great news! would I make no
DIFFER in the presence of old Nick and my lady?' said he, in Irish.
'Have I no sense or manners, good woman, think ye?' added he, as he
shook the ink out of his pen on the Wilton carpet, when he had finished
signing his name to a paper on his knee. 'You may wait long before you
get to the speech of the great man,' said another, who was working his
way through numbers. They continued pushing forward, till they came
within sight of Mr. Nicholas Garraghty, seated in state; and a worse
countenance, or a more perfect picture of an insolent, petty tyrant in
office, Lord Colambre had never beheld.

We forbear all further detail of this levee. 'It's all the same!' as
Lord Colambre repeated to himself, on every fresh instance of roguery or
oppression to which he was witness; and, having completely made up his
mind on the subject, he sat down quietly in the background, waiting
till it should come to the widow's turn to be dealt with, for he was
now interested only to see how she would be treated. The room gradually
thinned; Mr. Dennis Garraghty came in, and sat down at the table, to
help his brother to count the heaps of gold.

'Oh, Mr. Dennis, I'm glad to see you as kind as your promise, meeting me
here,' said the widow O'Neill, walking up to him; 'I'm sure you'll speak
a good word for me; here's the LASES--who will I offer this to?' said
she, holding the GLOVE-MONEY and SEALING-MONEY,--'for I'm strange and
ashamed.'

'Oh, don't be ashamed--there's no strangeness in bringing money or
taking it,' said Mr. Nicholas Garraghty, holding out his hand. 'Is this
the proper compliment?'

'I hope so, sir; your honour knows best.'

'Very well,' slipping it into his private purse. 'Now, what's your
business?'

'The LASES to sign--the rent's all paid up.'

'Leases! Why, woman, is the possession given up?'

'It was, PLASE your honour; and Mr. Dennis has the key of our little
place in his pocket.'

'Then I hope he'll keep it there. YOUR little place--it's no longer
yours; I've promised it to the surveyor. You don't think I'm such a fool
as to renew to you at this rent.'

'Mr. Dennis named the rent. But anything your honour PLASES--anything at
all that we can pay.'

'Oh, it's out of the question--put it out of your head. No rent you can
offer would do, for I've promised it to the surveyor.'

'Sir, Mr. Dennis knows my lord gave us his promise in writing of a
renewal, on the back of the OULD LASE.'

'Produce it.'

'Here's the LASE, but the promise is rubbed out.'

'Nonsense! coming to me with a promise that's rubbed out. Who'll listen
to that in a court of justice, do you think?'

'I don't know, plase your honour; but this I'm sure of, my lord and Miss
Nugent, though but a child at the time, God bless her! who was by when
my lord wrote it with his pencil, will remember it.'

'Miss Nugent! what can she know of business?--What has she to do with
the management of my Lord Clonbrony's estate, pray?'

'Management!--no, sir.'

'Do you wish to get Miss Nugent turned out of the house?'

'Oh, God forbid!--how could that be?'

'Very easily; if you set about to make her meddle and witness in what my
lord does not choose.'

'Well then, I'll never mention Miss Nugent's name in it at all, if it
was ever so with me. But be PLASED, sir, to write over to my lord, and
ask him; I'm sure he'll remember it.'

'Write to my lord about such a trifle--trouble him about such nonsense!'

'I'd be sorry to trouble him. Then take it on my word, and believe me,
sir; for I would not tell a lie, nor cheat rich or poor, if in my power,
for the whole estate, nor the whole world: for there's an eye above.'

'Cant! nonsense!--Take those leases off the table; I never will sign
them. Walk off; ye canting hag; it's an imposition--I will never sign
them.'

'You WILL then, sir,' cried Brian, growing red with indignation; 'for
the law shall make you, so it shall; and you'd as good have been civil
to my mother, whatever you did--for I'll stand by her while I've life;
and I know she has right, and shall have law. I saw the memorandum
written before ever it went into your hands, sir, whatever became of it
after; and will swear to it, too.'

'Swear away, my good friend; much your swearing will avail in your own
case in a court of justice,' continued old Nick.

'And against a gentleman of my brother's established character and
property,' said St. Dennis. 'What's your mother's character against a
gentleman's like his?'

'Character! take care how you go to that, anyway, sir,' cried Brian.

Grace put her hand before his mouth, to stop him. 'Grace, dear, I must
speak, if I die for it; sure it's for my mother,' said the young man,
struggling forward, while his mother held him back; 'I must speak.'

'Oh, he's ruin'd, I see it,' said Grace, putting her hand before her
eyes, 'and he won't mind me.'

'Go on, let him go on, pray, young woman,' said Mr. Garraghty, pale with
anger and fear, his lips quivering; 'I shall be happy to take down his
words.'

'Write them; and may all the world read it, and welcome!' His mother and
wife stopped his mouth by force.

'Write you, Dennis,' said Mr. Garraghty, giving the pen to his brother;
for his hand shook so he could not form a letter. 'Write the very words,
and at the top' (pointing) after warning, WITH MALICE PREPENSE.'

'Write, then--mother, Grace--let me,' cried Brian, speaking in a
smothered voice, as their hands were over his mouth. 'Write then, that,
if you'd either of you a character like my mother, you might defy the
world; and your word would be as good as your oath.'

'OATH! mind that, Dennis,' said Mr. Garraghty.

'Oh, sir! sir! won't you stop him?' cried Grace, turning suddenly to
Lord Colambre.

'Oh dear, dear, if you haven't lost your feeling for us,' cried the
widow.

'Let him speak,' said Lord Colambre, in a tone of authority; 'let the
voice of truth be heard.'

'TRUTH!' cried St. Dennis, and dropped the pen.

'And who the devil are you, sir?' said old Nick.

'Lord Colambre, I protest!' exclaimed a female voice; and Mrs. Raffarty
at this instant appeared at the open door.

'Lord Colambre!' repeated all present, in different tones.

'My lord, I beg pardon;' continued Mrs. Raffarty, advancing as if
her legs were tied; 'had I known you was down here, I would not have
presumed. I'd better retire; for I see you're busy.'

'You'd best; for you're mad, sister,' said St. Dennis, pushing her back;
'and we are busy; go to your room, and keep quiet, if you can.'

'First, madam,' said Lord Colambre, going between her and the door, 'let
me beg that you will consider yourself as at home in this house, whilst
any circumstances make it desirable to you. The hospitality you showed
me you cannot think that I now forget.'

'Oh, my lord, you're too good--how few--too kind--kinder than my own,'
and bursting into tears, she escaped out of the room.

Lord Colambre returned to the party round the table, who were in various
attitudes of astonishment, and with faces of fear, horror, hope, joy,
doubt.

'Distress,' continued his lordship, 'however incurred, if not by vice,
will always find a refuge in this house. I speak in my father's name,
for I know I speak his sentiments. But never more shall vice,' said
he, darting such a look at the brother agents as they felt to the
backbone--'never more shall vice, shall fraud enter here.'

He paused, and there was a momentary silence.

'There spoke the true thing! and the RAEL gentleman; my own heart's
satisfied,' said Brian, folding his arms, and standing erect.

'Then so is mine,' said Grace, taking breath, with a deep sigh.

The widow advancing, put on her spectacles, and, looking up close at
Lord Colambre's face--'Then it's a wonder I didn't know the family
likeness.'

Lord Colambre now recollecting that he still wore the old greatcoat,
threw it off.

'Oh, bless him! Then now I'd know him anywhere. I'm willing to die now,
for we'll all be happy.'

'My lord, since it is so--my lord, may I ask you,' said Mr. Garraghty,
now sufficiently recovered to be able to articulate, but scarcely to
express his ideas; 'if what your lordship hinted just now--'

'I hinted nothing, sir; I spoke plainly.'

'I beg pardon, my lord,' said old Nick;--'respecting vice, was levelled
at me; because, if it was, my lord,' trying to stand erect; 'let me tell
your lordship, if I could think it was--'

'If it did not hit you, sir, no matter at whom it was levelled.'

'And let me ask, my lord, if I may presume, whether, in what you
suggested by the word fraud, your lordship had any particular meaning?'
said St. Dennis.

'A very particular meaning, sir,--feel in your pocket for the key of
this widow's house, and deliver it to her.'

'Oh, if that's all the meaning, with all the pleasure in life. I never
meant to detain it longer than till the leases were signed,' said St.
Dennis.

'And I'm ready to sign the leases this minute,' said the brother.

'Do it, sir, this minute; I have read them; I will be answerable to my
father.'

'Oh, as to that, my lord, I have power to sign for your father.' He
signed the leases; they were duly witnessed by Lord Colambre.

'I deliver this as my act and deed,' said Mr. Garraghty;--'My lord,'
continued he, 'you see, at the first word from you; and had I known
sooner the interest you took in the family, there would have been no
difficulty; for I'd make it a principle to oblige you, my lord.'

'Oblige me!' said Lord Colambre, with disdain.

'But when gentlemen and noblemen travel INCOGNITO, and lodge in cabins,'
added St. Dennis, with a satanic smile, glancing his eye on Grace, 'they
have good reasons, no doubt.'

'Do not judge my heart by your own, sir,' said Lord Colambre, coolly;
'no two things in nature can, I trust, be more different. My purpose in
travelling INCOGNITO has been fully answered: I was determined to
see and judge how my father's estates were managed; and I have seen,
compared, and judged. I have seen the difference between the Clonbrony
and the Colambre property; and I shall represent what I have seen to my
father.'

'As to that, my lord, if we are to come to that but I trust your
lordship will suffer me to explain these matters.--Go about your
business, my good friends; you have all you want;--and, my lord, after
dinner, when you are cool, I hope I shall be able to make you sensible
that things have been represented to your lordship in a mistaken light;
and I flatter myself I shall convince you I have not only always acted
the part of a friend to the family, but am particularly willing to
conciliate your lordship's goodwill,' said he, sweeping the rouleaus of
gold into a bag; 'any accommodation in my power, at any time.'

'I want no accommodation, sir,--were I starving, I would accept of
none from you. Never can you conciliate my goodwill; for you can never
deserve it.'

'If that be the case, my lord, I must conduct myself accordingly; but
it's fair to warn you, before you make any representation to my Lord
Clonbrony, that if he should think of changing his agent, there are
accounts to be settled between us--that may be a consideration.'

'No, sir; no consideration--my father never shall be the slave of such a
paltry consideration.'

'Oh, very well, my lord; you know best. If you choose to make an
assumpsit, I'm sure I shall not object to the security. Your lordship
will be of age soon, I know--I'm sure I'm satisfied--but,' added he
with a malicious smile, 'I rather apprehend you don't know what you
undertake; I only premise that the balance of accounts between us is not
what can properly be called a paltry consideration.'

'On that point, perhaps, sir, you and I may differ.'

'Very well, my lord, you will follow your own principles, if it suits
your convenience.'

'Whether it does or not, sir, I shall abide by my principles.'

'Dennis! the letters to the post.--When do you go to England, my lord?'

'Immediately, sir,' said Lord Colambre; his lordship saw new leases from
his father to Mr. Dennis Garraghty, lying on the table, unsigned.

'Immediately!' repeated Messrs. Nicholas and Dennis, with an air
of dismay. Nicholas got up, looked out of the window, and whispered
something to his brother, who instantly left the room.

'Lord Colambre saw the post-chaise at the door, which had brought Mrs.
Raffarty to the castle, and Larry standing beside it; his lordship
instantly threw up the sash, and holding between his finger and thumb a
six-shilling piece, cried, 'Larry, my friend, let me have the horses!'

'You shall have 'em--your honour,' said Larry. Mr. Dennis Garraghty
appeared below, speaking in a magisterial tone. 'Larry, my brother must
have the horses.'

'He can't, PLASE your honour--they're engaged.'

Half a crown! a crown!--half a guinea!' said Mr. Dennis Garraghty,
raising his voice, as he increased his proffered bribe. To each offer
Larry replied, 'You can't, PLASE your honour, they're engaged;'--and,
looking up to the window at Lord Colambre, he said, 'as soon as they
have eaten their oats, you shall have 'em.'

No other horses were to be had. The agent was in consternation. Lord
Colambre ordered that Larry should have some dinner, and whilst the
postillion was eating, and the horses finishing their oats, his
lordship wrote the following letter to his father, which, to prevent all
possibility of accident, he determined to put, with his own hand, into
the post-office at Clonbrony, as he passed through the town.

MY DEAR FATHER, I hope to be with you in a few days. Lest anything
should detain me on the road, I write this, to make an earnest request
to you, that you will not sign any papers, or transact any farther
business with Messrs. Nicholas or Dennis Garraghty, before you see your
affectionate son, COLAMBRE.

The horses came out. Larry sent word he was ready, and Lord Colambre,
having first eaten a slice of his own venison, ran down to the carriage,
followed by the thanks and blessings of the widow, her son, and
daughter, who could hardly make their way after him to the chaise-door,
so great was the crowd which had gathered on the report of his
lordship's arrival. 'Long life to your honour! Long life to your
lordship!' echoed on all sides. 'Just come, and going, are you?'

'Good-bye to you all, good people!'

'Then GOOD-BYE is the only word we wouldn't wish to hear from your
honour.'

'For the sake both of landlord and tenant, I must leave you now, my good
friends; but I hope to return to you at some future time.'

'God bless you! and speed ye! and a safe journey to your honour!--and a
happy return to us, and soon!' cried a multitude of voices.

Lord Colambre stopped at the chaise-door and beckoned to the widow
O'Neill, before whom others had pressed. An opening was made for her
instantly.

There! that was the very way his father stood with his feet on the
steps. And Miss Nugent was IN IT.'

Lord Colambre forgot what he was going to say--with some difficulty
recollected.

'This pocket-book,' said he, 'which your son restored to me--I intend
it for your daughter--don't keep it, as your son kept it for me, without
opening it. Let what is within-side,' added he, as he got into the
carriage, 'replace the cloak and gown, and let all things necessary
for a bride be bought; "for the bride that has all things to borrow has
surely mickle to do."--Shut the door, and drive on.'

'Blessings be WID you,' cried the widow, 'and God give you grace!'



CHAPTER XIII

Larry drove off at full gallop, and kept on at a good rate, till he got
out of the great gate, and beyond the sight of the crowd; then, pulling
up, he turned to Lord Colambre--'PLASE your honour, I did not know nor
guess ye was my lord, when I let you have the horses; did not know who
you was from Adam, I'll take my affidavit.'

'There's no occasion,' said Lord Colambre; 'I hope you don't repent
letting me have the horses, now you do know who I am?'

'Oh! not at all, sure; I'm as glad as the best horse I ever crossed,
that your honour is my lord--but I was only telling your honour, that
you might not be looking upon me as a TIME-SERVER.'

'I do not look upon you as a TIME-SERVER, Larry; but keep on, that time
may serve me.'

In two words, he explained his cause of haste; and no sooner explained
than understood. Larry thundered away through the town of Clonbrony,
bending over his horses, plying the whip, and lending his very soul at
every lash. With much difficulty, Lord Colambre stopped him at the end
of the town, at the post-office. The post was gone out-gone a quarter of
an hour.

'Maybe we'll overtake the mail,' said Larry; and, as he spoke, he slid
down from his seat, and darted into the public-house, reappearing, in a
few moments, with a copper of ale and a horn in his hand; he and another
man held open the horses' mouths, and poured the ale through the horn
down their throats. 'Now, they'll go with spirit!'

And, with the hope of overtaking the mail, Larry made them go 'for
life or death,' as he said; but in vain! At the next stage, at his own
inn-door, Larry roared for fresh horses till he got them, harnessed them
with his own hands, holding the six-shilling piece, which Lord Colambre
had given him, in his mouth, all the while; for he could not take time
to put it into his pocket.

'Speed ye! I wish I was driving you all the way, then,' said he. The
other postillion was not yet ready. 'Then your honour sees,' said he,
putting his head into the carriage, 'CONSARNING of them Garraghties--old
Nick and St. Dennis--the best part, that is the worst part, of what
I told you, proved true; and I'm glad of it, that is, I'm sorry for
it--but glad your honour knows it in time. So Heaven prosper you! And
may all the saints (BARRING St. Dennis) have charge of you, and all
belonging to you, till we see you here again!--And when will it be?'

'I cannot say when I shall return to you myself, but I will do my best
to send your landlord to you soon. In the meantime, my good fellow, keep
away from the sign of the Horse-shoe--a man of your sense to drink and
make an idiot and a brute of yourself!'

'True!--And it was only when I had lost hope I took to it--but now!
Bring me the book, one of YEES, out of the landlady's parlour.--By the
virtue of this book, and by all the books that ever was shut and opened,
I won't touch a drop of spirits, good or bad, till I see your honour
again, or some of the family, this time twelvemonth--that long I'll live
on hope--but mind, if you disappoint me, I don't swear but I'll take to
the whisky, for comfort, all the rest of my days. But don't be staying
here, wasting your time, advising me. Bartley! take the reins, can't
ye?' cried he, giving them to the fresh postillion; 'and keep on, for
your life, for there's thousands of pounds depending on the race--so,
off, off, Bartley, with speed of light!'

Bartley did his best; and such was the excellence of the roads, that,
notwithstanding the rate at which our hero travelled, he arrived safely
in Dublin, and just in time to put his letter into the post-office, and
to sail in that night's packet. The wind was fair when Lord Colambre
went on board, but before they got out of the bay it changed; they
made no way all night; in the course of the next day, they had the
mortification to see another packet from Dublin sail past them, and when
they landed at Holyhead, were told the packet, which had left Ireland
twelve hours after them, had been in an hour before them. The passengers
had taken their places in the coach, and engaged what horses could be
had. Lord Colambre was afraid that Mr. Garraghty was one of them; a
person exactly answering his description had taken four horses, and
set out half an hour before in great haste for London. Luckily, just
as those who had taken their places in the mail were getting into the
coach, Lord Colambre saw among them a gentleman, with whom he had been
acquainted in Dublin, a barrister, who was come over during the long
vacation, to make a tour of pleasure in England. When Lord Colambre
explained the reason he had for being in haste to reach London, he had
the good-nature to give up to him his place in the coach. Lord Colambre
travelled all night, and delayed not one moment, till he reached his
father's house in London.

'My father at home?'

'Yes, my lord, in his own room--the agent from Ireland with him, on
particular business--desired not to be interrupted--but I'll go and tell
him, my lord, you are come.'

Lord Colambre ran past the servant, as he spoke--made his way into the
room--found his father, Sir Terence O'Fay, and Mr. Garraghty--leases
open on the table before them; a candle lighted; Sir Terence sealing;
Garraghty emptying a bag of guineas on the table, and Lord Clonbrony
actually with a pen in his hand, ready to sign.

As the door opened, Garraghty started back, so that half the contents of
his bag rolled upon the floor.

'Stop, my dear father, I conjure you,' cried Lord Colambre, springing
forward, and kneeling to his father; at the same moment snatching the
pen from his hand.

Colambre! God bless you, my dear boy! at all events. But how came you
here?--And what do you mean?' said his father.

'Burn it!' cried Sir Terence, pinching the sealing-wax; 'for I burnt
myself with the pleasure of the surprise.'

Garraghty, without saying a word, was picking up the guineas that were
scattered upon the floor.

'How fortunate I am,' cried Lord Colambre, 'to have arrived just in
time to tell you, my dear father, before you put your signature to these
papers, before you conclude this bargain, all I know, all I have seen,
of that man!'

'Nick Garraghty, honest old Nick; do you know him, my lord?' said Sir
Terence.

'Too well, sir.'

'Mr. Garraghty, what have you done to offend my son? I did not expect
this,' said Lord Clonbrony.

'Upon my conscience, my lord, nothing to my knowledge,' said Mr.
Garraghty, picking up the guineas; 'but showed him every civility, even
so far as offering to accommodate him with cash without security; and
where will you find the other agent, in Ireland or anywhere else, will
do that? To my knowledge, I never did anything, by word or deed, to
offend my Lord Colambre; nor could not, for I never saw him, but for ten
minutes, in my days; and then he was in such a foaming passion--begging
his lordship's pardon--owing to the misrepresentations he met with
of me, I presume, from a parcel of blackguards that he went amongst,
INCOGNITO, he would not let me or my brother Dennis say a word to
set him right; but exposed me before all the tenantry, and then threw
himself into a hack, and drove off here, to stop the signing of these
leases, I perceive. But I trust,' concluded he, putting the replenished
money-bag down with a heavy sound on the table, opposite to Lord
Clonbrony,--'I trust, my Lord Clonbrony will do me justice; that's all I
have to say.'

'I comprehend the force of your last argument fully, sir,' said Lord
Colambre. 'May I ask how many guineas there are in the bag? I don't ask
whether they are my father's or not.'

'They are to be your lordship's father's, sir, if he thinks proper,'
replied Garraghty. 'How many, I don't know that I can justly, positively
say--five hundred, suppose.'

'And they would be my father's if he signed those leases--I understand
that perfectly, and understand that my father would lose three times
that sum by the bargain.--My dear father, you start--but it is true.
Is not this the rent, sir, at which you were going to let Mr. Garraghty
have the land?' placing a paper before Lord Clonbrony.

'It is--the very thing.'

'And here, sir, written with my own hand, are copies of the proposals I
saw, from responsible, respectable tenants, offered and refused.--Is it
so, or is it not, Mr. Garraghty?--deny it, if you can.'

Mr. Garraghty grew pale; his lips quivered; he stammered; and, after a
shocking convulsion of face, could at last articulate--only--

'That there was a great difference between tenant and tenant, his
lordship must be sensible, especially for so large a rent.'--'As great a
difference as between agent and agent, I am sensible--especially for so
large a property!' said Lord Colambre, with cool contempt. 'You find,
sir, I am well informed with regard to this transaction; you will find,
also, that I am equally well informed with respect to every part of your
conduct towards my father and his tenantry. If, in relating to him what
I have seen and heard, I should make any mistakes, you are here; and I
am glad you are, to set me right, and to do yourself justice.'

'Oh! as to that, I should not presume to contradict anything your
lordship asserts from your own authority: where would be the use? I
leave it all to your lordship. But, as it is not particularly agreeable
to stay to hear one's self abused--Sir Terence! I'll thank you to hand
me my hat!--And if you'll have the goodness, my Lord Clonbrony, to look
over finally the accounts before morning, I'll call at your leisure to
settle the balance, as you find convenient; as to the leases, I'm quite
indifferent.'

So saying, he took up his money-bag.

'Well, you'll call again in the morning, Mr. Garraghty!' said
Sir Terence; 'and, by that time, I hope we shall understand this
misunderstanding better.'

Sir Terence pulled Lord Clonbrony's sleeve: 'Don't let him go with the
money--it's much wanted!'

'Let him go,' said Lord Colambre; 'money can be had by honourable
means.'

'Wheugh!--He talks as if he had the Bank of England at his command, as
every young man does,' said Sir Terence.

Lord Colambre deigned no reply. Lord Clonbrony walked undecidedly
between his agent and his son--looked at Sir Terence, and said nothing.

Mr. Garraghty departed; Lord Clonbrony called after him from the head of
the stairs,

'I shall be at home and at leisure in the morning.' Sir Terence ran
downstairs after him; Lord Colambre waited quietly for their return.

'Fifteen hundred guineas, at a stroke of a goose-quill!--That was a neat
hit, narrowly missed, of honest Nick's!' said Lord Clonbrony. 'Too bad!
too bad, faith!--I am much, very much obliged to you, Colambre, for that
hint; by to-morrow morning we shall have him in another tune.'

'And he must double the bag, or quit,' said Sir Terence.

'Treble it, if you please, Terry. Sure, three times five's
fifteen;--fifteen hundred down, or he does not get my signature to
those leases for his brother, nor get the agency of the Colambre
estate.--Colambre, what more have you to tell of him? for, since he is
making out his accounts against me, it is no harm to have a PER CONTRA
against him that may ease my balance.'

'Very fair! very fair!' said Sir Terence. 'My lord, trust me for
remembering all the charges against him--every item; and when he can't
clear himself, if I don't make him buy a good character dear enough,
why, say I'm a fool, and don't know the value of character, good or
bad!'

'If you know the value of character, Sir Terence,' said Lord Colambre,
'you know that it is not to be bought or sold.' Then, turning from Sir
Terence to his father, he gave a full and true account of all he had
seen in his progress through his Irish estates; and drew a faithful
picture both of the bad and good agent. Lord Clonbrony, who had
benevolent feelings, and was fond of his tenantry, was touched; and,
when his son ceased speaking, repeated several times--

'Rascal! rascal! How dare he use my tenants so--the O'Neills in
particular!--Rascal! bad heart!-I'll have no more to do with him.' But,
suddenly recollecting himself, he turned to Sir Terence, and added,
'That's sooner said than done--I'll tell you honestly, Colambre, your
friend Mr. Burke may be the best man in the world--but he is the worst
man to apply to for a remittance, or a loan, in a HURRY! He always tells
me "he can't distress the tenants."'--'And he never, at coming into
the agency even,' said Sir Terence, 'ADVANCED a good round sum to the
landlord, by way of security for his good behaviour. Now honest Nick did
that much for us at coming in.'

'And at going out is he not to be repaid?' said Lord Colambre.

'That's the devil!' said Lord Clonbrony; that's the very reason I can't
conveniently turn him out.'

'I will make it convenient to you, sir, if you will permit me,' said
Lord Colambre. 'In a few days I shall be of age, and will join with you
in raising whatever sum you want, to free you from this man. Allow me to
look over his account; and whatever the honest balance may be, let him
have it.'

'My dear boy!' said Lord Clonbrony, 'you're a generous fellow. Fine
Irish heart!--glad you're my son! But there's more, much more, that you
don't know,' added he, looking at Sir Terence, who cleared his throat;
and Lord Clonbrony, who was on the point of opening all his affairs to
his son, stopped short.

'Colambre,' said he, 'we will not say anything more of this at present;
for nothing effectual can be done till you are of age, and then we shall
see all about it.'

Lord Colambre perfectly understood what his father meant, and what was
meant by the clearing of Sir Terence's throat. Lord Clonbrony wanted his
son to join him in opening the estate to pay his debts; and Sir Terence
feared that, if Lord Colambre were abruptly told the whole sum total of
the debts he would never be persuaded to join in selling or mortgaging
so much of his patrimony as would be necessary for their payment. Sir
Terence thought that the young man, ignorant probably of business, and
unsuspicious of the state of his father's affairs, might be brought, by
proper management, to any measures they desired. Lord Clonbrony wavered
between the temptation to throw himself upon the generosity of his
son, and the immediate convenience of borrowing a sum of money from his
agent, to relieve his present embarrassments.

'Nothing can be settled,' repeated he, 'till Colambre is of age; so it
does not signify talking of it.'

'Why so, sir?' said Lord Colambre. 'Though my act, in law, may not be
valid, till I am of age, my promise, as a man of honour, is binding now;
and, I trust, would be as satisfactory to my father as any legal deed
whatever.'

'Undoubtedly, my dear boy; but--'

'But what?' said Lord Colambre, following his father's eye, which turned
to Sir Terence O'Fay, as if asking his permission to explain.

'As my father's friend, sir, you ought, permit me to say, at this moment
to use your influence to prevail upon him to throw aside all reserve
with a son, whose warmest wish is to serve him, and to see him at ease
and happy.'

'Generous, dear boy,' cried Lord Clonbrony. 'Terence, I can't stand it;
but how shall I bring myself to name the amount of the debts?'

'At some time or other, I must know it,' said Lord Colambre; 'I cannot
be better prepared at any moment than the present; never more disposed
to give my assistance to relieve all difficulties. Blindfold, I cannot
be led to any purpose, sir,' said he, looking at Sir Terence; 'the
attempt would be degrading and futile. Blindfolded I will not be--but,
with my eyes open, I will see, and go straight and prompt as heart can
go, to my father's interest, without a look or thought to my own.'

'By St. Patrick! the spirit of a prince, and an Irish prince, spoke
there,' cried Sir Terence; 'and if I'd fifty hearts, you'd have all in
your hand this minute, at your service, and warm. Blindfold you! after
that, the man that would attempt it DESARVES to be shot; and I'd have no
sincerer pleasure in life than shooting him this moment, was he my best
friend. But it's not Clonbrony, or your father, my lord, would act that
way, no more than Sir Terence O'Fay--there's the schedule of the debts,'
drawing a paper from his bosom; 'and I'll swear to the lot, and not a
man on earth could do that but myself.'

Lord Colambre opened the paper. His father turned aside, covering his
face with both his hands.

'Tut, man,' said Sir Terence; 'I know him now better than you; he will
stand, you'll find, the shock of that regiment of figures--he is steel
to the backbone, and proof spirit.'

'I thank you, my dear father,' said Lord Colambre, 'for trusting me thus
at once with a view of the truth. At first sight it is, I acknowledge,
worse than I expected; but I make no doubt that, when you allow me to
examine Mr. Garraghty's accounts and Mr. Mordicai's claims, we shall
be able to reduce this alarming total considerably, my dear father. You
think we learn nothing but Latin and Greek at Cambridge; but you are
mistaken.'

'The devil a pound, nor a penny,' said Sir Terence; 'for you have to
deal with a Jew and old Nick; and I'm not a match for them. I don't know
who is; and I have no hope of getting any abatement. I've looked over
the accounts till I'm sick.'

'Nevertheless, you will observe that fifteen hundred guineas have been
saved to my father, at one stroke, by his not signing those leases.'

'Saved to you, my lord; not your father, if you plase,' said Sir
Terence. 'For now I'm upon the square with you, I must be straight as an
arrow, and deal with you as the son and friend of my friend; before,
I was considering you only as the son and heir, which is quite another
thing, you know; accordingly, acting for your father here, I was making
the best bargain against you I could; honestly, now, I tell you. I knew
the value of the lands well enough; we were as sharp as Garraghty, and
he knew it; we were to have had THE DIFFERENCE from him, partly in cash
and partly in balance of accounts--you comprehend--and you only would
have been the loser, and never would have known it, maybe, till after we
all were dead and buried; and then you might have set aside Garraghty's
lease easy, and no harm done to any but a rogue that DESARVED it; and,
in the meantime, an accommodation to my honest friend, my lord, your
father, here. But, as fate would have it, you upset all by your progress
INCOGNITO through them estates. Well, it's best as it is, and I am
better pleased to be as we are, trusting all to a generous son's own
heart. Now put the poor father out of pain, and tell us what you'll do,
my dear.'

'In one word, then,' said Lord Colambre, 'I will, upon two conditions,
either join my father in levying fines to enable him to sell or mortgage
whatever portion of his estate is necessary for the payment of these
debts; or I will, in whatever other mode he can point out, as more
agreeable or more advantageous to him, join in giving security to his
creditors.'

'Dear, noble fellow!' cried Sir Terence; 'none but an Irishman could do
it.'

Lord Clonbrony, melted to tears, could not articulate, but held his arms
open to embrace his son.

'But you have not heard my conditions yet,' said Lord Colambre.

'Oh, confound the conditions!' cried Sir Terence.

'What conditions could he ask that I could refuse at this minute?' said
Lord Clonbrony.

'Nor I--was it my heart's blood, and were I to be hanged for it,' cried
Sir Terence. 'And what are the conditions?'

'That Mr. Garraghty shall be dismissed from the agency.'

'And welcome, and glad to get rid of him--the rogue, the tyrant,' said
Lord Clonbrony; 'and, to be beforehand with you in your next wish, put
Mr. Burke into his place.'

'I'll write the letter for you to sign, my lord, this minute,' cried
Terry, 'with all the pleasure in life. No; it's my Lord Colambre should
do that in all justice.'

'But what's your next condition? I hope it's no worse,' said Lord
Clonbrony.

'That you and my mother should cease to be absentees.'

'Oh murder!' said Sir Terence; 'maybe that's not so easy; for there are
two words to that bargain.'

Lord Clonbrony declared that, for his own part, he was ready to return
to Ireland next morning, and to promise to reside on his estate all the
rest of his days; that there was nothing he desired more, provided Lady
Clonbrony would consent to it; but that he could not promise for her;
that she was as obstinate as a mule on that point; that he had often
tried, but that there was no moving her; and that, in short, he could
not promise on her part.

But it was on this condition, Lord Colambre said, he must insist.
Without this condition was granted, he would not engage to do anything.

'Well, we must only see how it will be when she comes to town; she will
come up from Buxton the day you're of age to sign some papers,' said
Lord Clonbrony; 'but,' added he, with a very dejected look and voice,
'if all's to depend on my Lady Clonbrony's consenting to return to
Ireland, I'm as far from all hope of being at ease as ever.'

'Upon my conscience, we're all at sea again,' said Sir Terence.

Lord Colambre was silent: but in his silence there was such an air
of firmness, that both Lord Clonbrony and Sir Terence were convinced
entreaties would on this point be fruitless--Lord Clonbrony sighed
deeply.

'But when it's ruin or safety, and her husband and all belonging to her
at stake, the woman can't persist in being a mule,' said Sir Terence.

'Of whom are you talking?' said Lord Colambre.

'Of whom? Oh, I beg your lordship's pardon--I thought I was talking
to my lord; but, in other words, as you are her son, I'm persuaded her
ladyship, your mother, will prove herself a reasonable woman--when she
sees she can't help it. So, my Lord Clonbrony, cheer up; a great deal
may be done by the fear of Mordicai, and an execution, especially now
the prior creditor. Since there's no reserve between you and I now,
my Lord Colambre,' said Sir Terence, 'I must tell you all, and how we
shambled on those months while you were in Ireland. First, Mordicai went
to law, to prove I was in a conspiracy with your father, pretending to
be prior creditor, to keep him off and out of his own; which, after a
world of swearing and law---law always takes time to do justice, that's
one comfort--the villain proved at last to be true enough, and so cast
us; and I was forced to be paid off last week. So there's no prior
creditor, or any shield of pretence that way. Then his execution was
coming down upon us, and nothing to stay it till I thought of a monthly
annuity to Mordicai, in the shape of a wager. So, the morning after he
cast us, I went to him: "Mr. Mordicai," says I, "you must be PLASED to
see a man you've beaten so handsomely; and though I'm sore, both for
myself and my friend, yet you see I can laugh still; though an execution
is no laughing matter, and I'm sinsible you've one in petto in your
sleeve for my friend Lord Clonbrony. But I'll lay you a wager of a
hundred guineas in paper that a marriage of his son with a certain
heiress, before next Lady-day, will set all to rights, and pay you with
a compliment too."'

'Good heavens, Sir Terence! surely you said no such thing?'

'I did--but what was it but a wager? which is nothing but a dream; and,
when lost, as I am as sinsible as you are that it must be, why, what
is it, after all, but a bonus, in a gentleman-like form, to Mordicai?
which, I grant you, is more than he deserves, for staying the execution
till you be of age; and even for my Lady Clonbrony's sake, though I
know she hates me like poison, rather than have her disturbed by an
execution, I'd pay the hundred guineas this minute out of my own pocket,
if I had'em in it.'

A thundering knock at the door was heard at this moment.

'Never heed it; let 'em thunder,' said Sir Terence; 'whoever it is,
they won't get in; for my lord bid them let none in for their life. It's
necessary for us to be very particular about the street-door now; and
I advise a double chain for it, and to have the footmen well tutored to
look before they run to a double rap; for a double rap might be a double
trap.'

'My lady and Miss Nugent, my lord,' said a footman, throwing open the
door.

'My mother! Miss Nugent!' cried Lord Colambre, springing eagerly
forward.

'Colambre! here!' said his mother; 'but it's all too late now, and no
matter where you are.'

Lady Clonbrony coldly suffered her son to embrace her; and he, without
considering the coldness of her manner, scarcely hearing, and not at
all understanding the words she said, fixed his eyes on his cousin, who,
with a countenance all radiant with affectionate joy, held out her hand
to him.

'Dear cousin Colambre, what an unexpected pleasure!'

He seized the hand; but, as he was going to kiss it, the recollection of
ST. OMAR crossed his mind; he checked himself, and said something
about joy and pleasure, but his countenance expressed neither; and Miss
Nugent, much surprised by the coldness of his manner, withdrew her hand,
and, turning away, left the room.

'Grace! darling!' called Lord Clonbrony, 'whither so fast, before you've
given me a word or a kiss?'

She came back, and hastily kissed her uncle, who folded her in his arms.
'Why must I let you go? And what makes you so pale, my dear child?'

'I am a little--a little tired. I will be with you again soon.' Her
uncle let her go.

'Your famous Buxton baths don't seem to have agreed with her, by all I
can see,' said Lord Clonbrony.

'My lord, the Buxton baths are no way to blame; but I know what is
to blame, and who is to blame,' said Lady Clonbrony, in a tone of
displeasure, fixing her eyes upon her son. 'Yes, you may well look
confounded, Colambre; but it is too late now--you should have known your
own mind in time. I see you have heard it, then--but I am sure I don't
know how; for it was only decided the day I left Buxton. The news could
hardly travel faster than I did. Pray, how did you hear it?'

'Hear what, ma'am?' said Lord Colambre.

'Why, that Miss Broadhurst is going to be married.'

'Oh, is that all, ma'am!' said our hero, much relieved.

'All! Now, Lord Colambre, you REELLY are too much for my patience. But
I flatter myself you will feel, when I tell you, that it is your friend,
Sir Arthur Berryl, as I always prophesied, who has carried off the prize
from you.'

'But for the fear of displeasing my dear mother, I should say, that I do
feel sincere pleasure in this marriage--I always wished it: my friend,
Sir Arthur, from the first moment, trusted me with the secret of his
attachment; he knew that he had my warm good wishes for his success;
he knew that I thought most highly of the young lady; but that I never
thought of her as a wife for myself.'

'And why did not you? that is the very thing I complain of,' said Lady
Clonbrony. 'But it is all over now. You may set your heart at ease, for
they are to be married on Thursday; and poor Mrs. Broadhurst is ready
to break her heart, for she was set upon a coronet for her daughter; and
you, ungrateful as you are, you don't know how she wished you to be the
happy man. But only conceive, after all that had passed, Miss Broadhurst
had the assurance to expect I would let my niece be her bridesmaid. Oh,
I flatly refused; that is, I told Grace it could not be; and, that
there might be no affront to Mrs. Broadhurst, who did not deserve it,
I pretended Grace had never mentioned it; but ordered my carriage,
and left Buxton directly. Grace was hurt, for she is very warm in her
friendships. I am sorry to hurt Grace. But REELLY I could not let her be
bridesmaid;--and that, if you must know, is what vexed her, and made the
tears come in her eyes, I suppose--and I'm sorry for it; but one must
keep up one's dignity a little. After all, Miss Broadhurst was only
a citizen--and REELLY now, a very odd girl; never did anything like
anybody else; settled her marriage at last in the oddest way. Grace, can
you tell the particulars? I own, I am tired of the subject, and tired of
my journey. My lord, I shall take leave to dine in my own room to-day,'
continued her ladyship, as she quitted the room.

'I hope her ladyship did not notice me,' said Sir Terence O'Fay, coming
from behind a window-curtain.

'Why, Terry, what did you hide for?' said Lord Clonbrony.

'Hide! I didn't hide, nor wouldn't from any man living, let alone any
woman. [Leaving any woman out of the question.] Hide! no; but I just
stood looking out of the window, behind this curtain, that my poor Lady
Clonbrony might not be discomfited and shocked by the sight of one
whom she can't abide, the very minute she come home. Oh, I've some
consideration--it would have put her out of humour worse with both of
you too; and for that there's no need, as far as I see. So I'll take
myself off to my coffee-house to dine, and maybe you may get her down
and into spirits again. But, for your lives, don't touch upon Ireland
the night, nor till she has fairly got the better of the marriage.
APROPOS--there's my wager to Mordicai gone at a slap. It's I that ought
to be scolding you, my Lord Colambre; but I trust you will do as well
yet, not in point of purse, maybe. But I'm not one of those that think
that money's everything--though, I grant you, in this world, there's
nothing to be had without it--love excepted--which most people don't
believe in--but not I--in particular cases. So I leave you, with my
blessing, and I've a notion, at this time, that is better than my
company--your most devoted--'

The good-natured Sir Terence would not be persuaded by Lord Clonbrony
to stay. Nodding at Lord Colambre as he went out of the room, he said,
'I've an eye, in going, to your heart's ease too. When I played myself,
I never liked standers-by.'

Sir Terence was not deficient in penetration, but he never could help
boasting of his discoveries.

Lord Colambre was grateful for his judicious departure; and followed his
equally judicious advice, not to touch upon Ireland this night.

Lady Clonbrony was full of Buxton, and he was glad to be relieved from
the necessity of talking; and he indulged himself in considering what
might be passing in Miss Nugent's mind. She now appeared in remarkably
good spirits; for her aunt had given her a hint that she thought her
out of humour because she had not been permitted to be Miss Broadhurst's
bridesmaid, and she was determined to exert herself to dispel this
notion. This it was now easy for her to do, because she had, by this
time, in her own imagination, found a plausible excuse for that coldness
in Lord Colambre's reception of her, by which she had at first been
hurt; she had settled it, that he had taken it for granted she was of
his mother's sentiments respecting Miss Broadhurst's marriage, and that
this idea, and perhaps the apprehension of her reproaches, had
caused his embarrassment--she knew that she could easily set this
misunderstanding right. Accordingly, when Lady Clonbrony had talked
herself to sleep about Buxton, and was taking her afternoon's nap, as it
was her custom to do when she had neither cards nor company to keep her
awake, Miss Nugent began to explain her own sentiments, and to give Lord
Colambre, as her aunt had desired, an account of the manner in which
Miss Broadhurst's marriage had been settled.

'In the first place,' said she, 'let me assure you that I rejoice in
this marriage; I think your friend, Sir Arthur Berryl, is every way
deserving of my friend, Miss Broadhurst; and this from me,' said she,
smiling, 'is no slight eulogium. I have marked the rise and progress
of their attachment; and it has been founded on the perception of
such excellent qualities on each side, that I have no fear for its
permanence. Sir Arthur Berryl's honourable conduct in paying his
father's debts, and his generosity to his mother and sisters, whose
fortunes were left entirely dependent upon him, first pleased my friend.
It was like what she would have done herself, and like--in short, it is
what few young men, as she said, of the present day would do. Then his
refraining from all personal expenses, his going without equipage and
without horses, that he might do what he felt to be right, whilst it
exposed him continually to the ridicule of fashionable young men, or
to the charge of avarice, made a very different impression on Miss
Broadhurst's mind; her esteem and admiration were excited by these
proofs of strength of character, and of just and good principles.'

'If you go on, you will make me envious and jealous of my friend,' said
Lord Colambre.

'You jealous!--Oh, it is too late now--besides, you cannot be jealous,
for you never loved.'

'I never loved Miss Broadhurst, I acknowledge.'

'There was the advantage Sir Arthur Berryl had over you--he loved, and
my friend saw it.'

'She was clear-sighted,' said Lord Colambre.

'She was clear-sighted,' repeated Miss Nugent; 'but if you mean that
she was vain, and apt to fancy people in love with her, I can assure you
that you are mistaken. Never was woman, young or old, more clear-sighted
to the views of those by whom she was addressed. No flattery, no
fashion, could blind her judgment.'

'She knew how to choose a friend well, I am sure,' said Lord Colambre.

'And a friend for life too, I am sure you will allow and she had such
numbers, such strange variety of admirers, as might have puzzled the
choice and turned the brain of any inferior person. Such a succession of
lovers as she has had this summer, ever since you went to Ireland--they
appeared and vanished like figures in a magic-lantern. She had three
noble admirers--rank in three different forms offered themselves. First
came in, hobbling, rank and gout; next, rank and gaming; then rank, Very
high rank, over head and ears in debt. All of these were rejected;
and, as they moved off; I thought Mrs. Broadhurst would have broken
her heart. Next came fashion, with his head, heart, and soul in his
cravat--he quickly made his bow, or rather his nod, and walked off,
taking a pinch of snuff. Then came a man of gallantry, but,' whispered
Miss Nugent, 'there was a mistress in the wood; and my friend could have
nothing to do with that gentleman.'

'Now, if she liked the man, interrupted Lord Clonbrony, 'and I suppose
she did, for all women, but yourself, Grace, like men of gallantry,
Miss Broadhurst was a goose for refusing him on account of the mistress;
because she might have been bought up, and settled with a few thousand
pounds.'

'Be that as it may,' said Miss Nugent; 'my friend did not like, and
would not accept, of the man of gallantry; so he retired and comforted
himself with a copy of verses. Then came a man of wit--but still it was
wit without worth; and presently came "worth without wit." She preferred
"wit and worth united," which she fortunately at last found, Lord
Colambre, in your friend, Sir Arthur Berryl.'

'Grace, my girl!' said her uncle, 'I'm glad to see you've got up your
spirits again, though you were not to be bridesmaid. Well, I hope
you'll be bride soon--I'm sure you ought to be--and you should think of
rewarding that poor Mr. Salisbury, who plagues me to death, whenever he
can catch hold of me, about you. He must have our definitive at last,
you know, Grace.'

A silence ensued, which neither Miss Nugent nor Lord Colambre seemed
willing, or able, to break.

Very good company, faith, you three!--One of ye asleep, and the other
two saying nothing, to keep one awake. Colambre, have you no Dublin
news? Grace, have you no Buxton scandal? What was it Lady Clonbrony told
us you'd tell us, about the oddness of Miss Broadhurst's settling her
marriage? Tell me that, for I love to hear odd things.'

'Perhaps you will not think it odd,' said she. 'One evening--but I
should begin by telling you that three of her admirers, beside Sir
Arthur Berryl, had followed her to Buxton, and had been paying their
court to her all the time we were there; and at last grew impatient for
her decision.'

'Ay, for her definitive!' said Lord Clonbrony. Miss Nugent was put out
again, but resumed--

'So one evening, just before the dancing began, the gentlemen were
all standing round Miss Broadhurst; one of them said, "I wish Miss
Broadhurst would decide--that whoever she dances with to-night should be
her partner for life; what a happy man he would be!"

'"But how can I decide?" said Miss Broadhurst.

'"I wish I had a friend to plead for me!" said one of the suitors,
looking at me.

'"Have you no friend of your own?" said Miss Broadhurst.

'"Plenty of friends," said the gentleman.

'"Plenty!--then you must be a very happy man," replied Miss Broadhurst.
"Come," said she, laughing, "I will dance with that man who can convince
me--that he has, near relations excepted, one true friend in the world!
That man who has made the best friend, I dare say, will make the best
husband!"

'At that moment,' continued Miss Nugent, 'I was certain who would be her
choice. The gentlemen all declared at first that they had abundance
of excellent friends the best friends in the world! but when Miss
Broadhurst cross-examined them, as to what their friends had done for
them, or what they were willing to do, modern friendship dwindled into
a ridiculously small compass. I cannot give you the particulars of the
cross-examination, though it was conducted with great spirit and humour
by Miss Broadhurst; but I can tell you the result--that Sir Arthur
Berryl, by incontrovertible facts, and eloquence warm from the heart,
convinced everybody present that he had the best friend in the world;
and Miss Broadhurst, as he finished speaking, gave him her hand, and he
led her off in triumph--So you see, Lord Colambre, you were at last the
cause of my friend's marriage!'

She turned to Lord Colambre as she spoke these words, with such an
affectionate smile, and such an expression of open, inmost tenderness in
her whole countenance, that our hero could hardly resist the impulse of
his passion--could hardly restrain himself from falling at her feet that
instant, and declaring his love. 'But St. Omar! St. Omar!--It must not
be!'

'I must be gone!' said Lord Clonbrony, pulling out his watch. 'It is
time to go to my club; and poor Terry will wonder what has become of
me.'

Lord Colambre instantly offered to accompany his father; much to Lord
Clonbrony's, and more to Miss Nugent's surprise.

'What!' said she to herself, 'after so long an absence, leave me!--Leave
his mother, with whom he always used to stay--on purpose to avoid me!
What can I have done to displease him? It is clear it was not about Miss
Broadhurst's marriage he was offended; for he looked pleased, and like
himself, whilst I was talking of that; but the moment afterwards, what
a constrained, unintelligible expression of countenance and leaves me to
go to a club which he detests!'

As the gentlemen shut the door on leaving the room, Lady Clonbrony
wakened, and, starting up, exclaimed--

'What's the matter? Are they gone? Is Colambre gone?'

'Yes, ma'am, with my uncle.'

'Very odd! very odd of him to go and leave me! he always used to stay
with me--what did he say about me?'

'Nothing, ma'am.'

'Well, then, I have nothing to say about him, or about anything, indeed,
for I'm excessively tired and stupid--alone in London's as bad as
anywhere else. Ring the bell, and we'll go to bed directly--if you have
no objection, Grace.'

Grace made no objection; Lady Clonbrony went to bed and to sleep in ten
minutes, Miss Nugent went to bed; but she lay awake, considering what
could be the cause of her cousin Colambre's hard unkindness, and of 'his
altered eye.' She was openness itself and she determined that, the
first moment she could speak to him alone, she would at once ask for
an explanation. With this resolution, she rose in the morning, and went
down to the breakfast-room, in hopes of meeting him, as it had formerly
been his custom to be early; and she expected to find him reading in his
usual place.



CHAPTER XIV

No--Lord Colambre was not in his accustomed place, reading in the
breakfast-room: nor did he make his appearance till both his father and
mother had been some time at breakfast.

'Good morning to you, my Lord Colambre,' said his mother, in a
reproachful tone, the moment he entered; 'I am much obliged to you for
your company last night.'

'Good morning to you, Colambre,' said his father, in a more jocose tone
of reproach; 'I am obliged to you for your good company last night.'

'Good morning to you, Lord Colambre,' said Miss Nugent; and though she
endeavoured to throw all reproach from her looks, and to let none be
heard in her voice, yet there was a slight tremulous motion in that
voice which struck our hero to the heart.

'I thank you, ma'am, for missing me,' said he, addressing himself to his
mother; 'I stayed away but half an hour; I accompanied my father to St.
James's Street, and when I returned I found that every one had retired
to rest.'

'Oh, was that the case?' said Lady Clonbrony; 'I own I thought it very
unlike you to leave me in that sort of way.'

'And, lest you should be jealous of that half-hour when he was
accompanying me,' said Lord Clonbrony, 'I must remark, that, though I
had his body with me, I had none of his mind; that he left at home with
you ladies, or with some fair one across the water, for the deuce of two
words did he bestow upon me, with all his pretence of accompanying me.'

'Lord Colambre seems to have a fair chance of a pleasant breakfast,'
said Miss Nugent, smiling; 'reproaches on all sides.'

'I have heard none on your side, Grace,' said Lord Clonbrony; 'and
that's the reason, I suppose, he wisely takes his seat beside you. But,
come, we will not badger you any more, my dear boy. We have given him as
fine a complexion amongst us as if he had been out hunting these three
hours; have not we, Grace?'

'When Colambre has been a season or two more in Lon'on, he'll not be
so easily put out of countenance,' said Lady Clonbrony; 'you don't see
young men of fashion here blushing about nothing.'

'No, nor about anything, my dear,' said Lord Clonbrony; 'but that's no
proof they do nothing they ought to blush for.'

'What they do, there's no occasion for ladies to inquire,' said Lady
Clonbrony; 'but this I know, that it's a great disadvantage to a young
man of a certain rank to blush; for no people, who live in a certain
set, ever do; and it is the most opposite thing possible to a certain
air, which, I own, I think Colambre wants; and now that he has done
travelling in Ireland, which is no use in PINT of giving a gentleman
a travelled air, or anything of that sort, I hope he will put himself
under my conduct for next winter's campaign in town.'

Lord Clonbrony looked as if he did not know how to look; and, after
drumming on the table for some seconds, said--

'Colambre, I told you how it would be. That's a fatal hard condition of
yours.'

'Not a hard condition, I hope, my dear father,' said Lord Colambre.

'Hard it must be, since it can't be fulfilled, or won't be fulfilled,
which comes to the same thing,' replied Lord Clonbrony, sighing.

'I am persuaded, sir, that it will be fulfilled,' said Lord Colambre;
'I am persuaded that, when my mother hears the truth, and the whole
truth--when she finds that your happiness, and the happiness of her
whole family, depend upon her yielding her taste on one subject--'

'Oh, I see now what you are about,' cried Lady Clonbrony; 'you are
coming round with your persuasions and prefaces to ask me to give
up Lon'on, and go back with you to Ireland, my lord. You may save
yourselves the trouble, all of you, for no earthly persuasions shall
make me do it. I will never give up my taste on that PINT. My happiness
has a right to be as much considered as your father's, Colambre, or
anybody's; and, in one word, I won't do it,' cried she, rising angrily
from the breakfast-table.

'There! did not I tell you how it would be?' cried Lord Clonbrony.

'My mother has not heard me, yet,' said Lord Colambre, laying his hand
upon his mother's arm, as she attempted to pass; 'hear me, madam, for
your own sake. You do not know what will happen, this very day--this
very hour, perhaps--if you do not listen to me.'

'And what will happen?' said Lady Clonbrony, stopping short.

'Ay, indeed; she little knows,' said Lord Clonbrony, 'what's hanging
over her head.'

'Hanging over my head?' said Lady Clonbrony, looking up; 'nonsense!
what?'

An execution, madam!' said Lord Colambre.

'Gracious me! an execution!' said Lady Clonbrony, sitting down again;
'but I heard you talk of an execution months ago, my lord, before my son
went to Ireland, and it blew over I heard no more of it.'

'If won't blow over now,' said Lord Clonbrony; 'you'll hear more of it
now. Sir Terence O'Fay it was, you may remember, that settled it then.'

'Well, and can't he settle it now? Send for him, since he understands
these cases; and I will ask him to dinner myself, for your sake, and be
very civil to him, my lord.'

'All your civility, either for my sake or your own, will not signify a
straw, my dear, in this case--anything that poor Terry could do, he'd
do, and welcome, without it; but he can do nothing.'

'Nothing!--that's very extraordinary. But I'm clear no one dare to
bring a real execution against us in earnest; and you are only trying to
frighten me to your purpose, like a child; but it shan't do.'

'Very well, my dear; you'll see--too late.'

A knock at the house door.

'Who is it?--What is it?' cried Lord Clonbrony, growing very pale.

Lord Colambre changed colour too, and ran downstairs. 'Don't let 'em
let anybody in, for your life, Colambre; under any pretence,' cried
Lord Clonbrony, calling from the head of the stairs; then running to the
window, 'By all that's good, it's Mordicai himself! and the people with
him.'

'Lean your head on me, my dear aunt,' said Miss Nugent. Lady Clonbrony
leant back, trembling, and ready to faint.

'But he's walking off now; the rascal could not get in--safe for the
present!' cried Lord Clonbrony, rubbing his hands, and repeating, 'safe
for the present!'

'Safe for the present!' repeated Lord Colambre, coming again into the
room. 'Safe for the present hour.'

'He could not get in, I suppose--oh, I warned all the servants well,'
said Lord Clonbrony,'and so did Terry. Ay, there's the rascal, Mordicai,
walking off, at the end of the street; I know his walk a mile off. Gad!
I can breathe again. I am glad he's gone. But he will come back and
always lie in wait, and some time or other, when we're off our guard
(unawares), he'll slide in.'

Slide in! Oh, horrid!' cried Lady Clonbrony, sitting up, and wiping away
the water which Miss Nugent had sprinkled on her face.

'Were you much alarmed?' said Lord Colambre, with a voice of tenderness,
looking at his mother first, but his eyes fixing on Miss Nugent.

'Shockingly!' said Lady Clonbrony; 'I never thought it would REELLY come
to this.'

'It will really come to much more, my dear,' said Lord Clonbrony, 'that
you may depend upon, unless you prevent it.'

'Lord! what can I do?--I know nothing of business; how should I, Lord
Clonbrony; but I know there's Colambre--I was always told that when he
was of age everything should be settled; and why can't he settle it when
he's upon the spot?'

'And upon one condition, I will,' cried Lord Colambre; 'at what loss to
myself, my dear mother, I need not mention.'

'Then I will mention it,' cried Lord Clonbrony; 'at the loss it will be
of nearly half the estate he would have had, if we had not spent it.'

'Loss! Oh, I am excessively sorry my son's to be at such a loss--it must
not be.'

'It cannot be otherwise,' said Lord Clonbrony; 'nor it can't be this
way either, my Lady Clonbrony, unless you comply with his condition, and
consent to return to Ireland.'

'I cannot--I will not,' replied Lady Clonbrony. 'Is this your condition,
Colambre?--I take it exceedingly ill of you. I think it very unkind,
and unhandsome, and ungenerous, and undutiful of you, Colambre; you, my
son!' She poured forth a torrent of reproaches; then came to entreaties
and tears. But our hero, prepared for this, had steeled his mind; and he
stood resolved not to indulge his own feelings, or to yield to caprice
or persuasion, but to do that which he knew was best for the happiness
of hundreds of tenants who depended upon them--best for both his father
and his mother's ultimate happiness and respectability.

'It's all in vain,' cried Lord Clonbrony; 'I have no resource but one,
and I must condescend now to go to him this minute, for Mordicai will be
back and seize all--I must sign and leave all to Garraghty.'

'Well, sign, sign, my lord, and settle with Garraghty.--Colambre, I've
heard all the complaints you brought over against that man. My lord
spent half the night telling them to me; but all agents are bad, I
suppose; at any rate I can't help it--sign, sign, my lord; he has
money--yes, do; go and settle with him, my lord.'

Lord Colambre and Miss Nugent, at one and the same moment, stopped
Lord Clonbrony as he was quitting the room, and then approached Lady
Clonbrony with supplicating looks; but she turned her head to the other
side, and, as if putting away their entreaties, made a repelling
motion with both her hands, and exclaimed, 'No, Grace Nugent!-no,
Colambre--no--no, Colambre! I'll never hear of leaving Lon'on--there's
no living out of Lon'on--I can't, I won't live out of Lon'on, I say.'

Her son saw that the LONDONOMANIA was now stronger than ever upon her,
but resolved to make one desperate appeal to her natural feelings,
which, though smothered, he could not believe were wholly extinguished;
he caught her repelling hands, and pressing them with respectful
tenderness to his lips--

'Oh, my dear mother, you once loved your son,' said he; 'loved him
better than anything in this world; if one spark of affection for him
remains, hear him now, and forgive him, if he pass the bounds--bounds
he never passed before of filial duty. Mother, in compliance with your
wishes my father left Ireland--left his home, his duties, his friends,
his natural connexions, and for many years he has lived in England, and
you have spent many seasons in London.'

'Yes, in the very best company--in the very first circles,' said Lady
Clonbrony; 'cold as the high-bred English are said to be in general to
strangers.'

'Yes,' replied Lord Colambre; 'the very best company (if you mean the
most fashionable) have accepted of our entertainments. We have forced
our way into their frozen circles; we have been permitted to breathe in
these elevated regions of fashion; we have it to say, that the duke of
this, and my lady that, are of our acquaintance. We may say more; we
may boast that we have vied with those whom we could never equal. And at
what expense have we done all this? For a single season, the last winter
(I will go no farther), at the expense of a great part of your timber,
the growth of a century--swallowed in the entertainments of one winter
in London! Our hills to be bare for another half century to come! But
let the trees go; I think more of your tenants--of those left under the
tyranny of a bad agent, at the expense of every comfort, every hope they
enjoyed!--tenants, who were thriving and prosperous; who used to smile
upon you, and to bless you both! In one cottage, I have seen--'

Here Lord Clonbrony, unable to restrain his emotion, hurried out of the
room.

'Then I am sure it is not my fault,' said Lady Clonbrony; 'for I brought
my lord a large fortune; and I am confident I have not, after all, spent
more any season, in the best company, than he has among a set of low
people, in his muddling, discreditable way.'

'And how has he been reduced to this?' said Lord Colambre. 'Did he
not formerly live with gentlemen, his equals, in his own country; his
contemporaries? Men of the first station and character, whom I met in
Dublin, spoke of him in a manner that gratified the heart of his son;
he was respectable and respected at his own home; but when he was forced
away from that home, deprived of his objects, his occupations induced
him to live in London, or at watering-places, where he could find no
employments that were suitable to him--set down, late in life, in the
midst of strangers, to him cold and reserved--himself too proud to bend
to those who disdained him as an Irishman--is he not more to be pitied
than blamed for--yes, I, his son, must say the word--the degradation
which has ensued? And do not the feelings, which have this moment forced
him to leave the room, show that he is capable?--Oh, mother!' cried Lord
Colambre, throwing himself at Lady Clonbrony's feet, 'restore my father
to himself! Should such feelings be wasted?--No; give them again to
expand in benevolent, in kind, useful actions; give him again to
his tenantry, his duties, his country, his home; return to that home
yourself, dear mother! leave all the nonsense of high life--scorn the
impertinence of these dictators of fashion, by whom, in return for all
the pains we take to imitate, to court them--in return for the sacrifice
of health, fortune, peace of mind, they bestow sarcasm, contempt,
ridicule, and mimickry!'

'Oh, Colambre! Colambre! mimickry--I'll never believe it.'

'Believe me--believe me, mother; for I speak of what I know. Scorn
them--quit them! Return to an unsophisticated people--to poor, but
grateful hearts, still warm with the remembrance of your kindness, still
blessing you for favours long since conferred, ever praying to see you
once more. Believe me, for I speak of what I know--your son has heard
these prayers, has felt these blessings. Here! at my heart felt, and
still feel them, when I was not known to be your son, in the cottage of
the widow O'Neill.'

'Oh, did you see the widow O'Neill? and does she remember me?' said Lady
Clonbrony.

'Remember you! and you, Miss Nugent! I have slept in the bed--I would
tell you more, but I cannot.'

'Well! I never should have thought they would have remembered me so
long!--poor people!' said Lady Clonbrony. 'I thought all in Ireland must
have forgotten me, it is now so long since I was at home.'

'You are not forgotten in Ireland by any rank, I can answer for that.
Return home, my dearest mother--let me see you once more among your
natural friends, beloved, respected, happy!'

'Oh, return! let us return home!' cried Miss Nugent, with a voice of
great emotion. 'Return, let us return home! My beloved aunt, speak to
us! say that you grant our request!'

She kneeled beside Lord Colambre, as she spoke.

'Is it possible to resist that voice--that look?' thought Lord Colambre.

'If anybody knew,' said Lady Clonbrony, 'if anybody could conceive, how
I detest the sight, the thoughts of that old yellow damask furniture, in
the drawing-room at Clonbrony Castle--'

'Good heavens!' cried Lord Colambre, starting up, and looking at his
mother in stupefied astonishment; 'is THAT what you are thinking of,
ma'am?'

'The yellow damask furniture!' said her niece, smiling. Oh, if that's
all, that shall never offend your eyes again. Aunt, my painted velvet
chairs are finished; and trust the furnishing that room to me. The
legacy lately left me cannot be better applied you shall see how
beautifully it will be furnished.'

'Oh, if I had money, I should like to do it myself; but it would take an
immensity to new furnish Clonbrony Castle properly.'

'The furniture in this house,' said Miss Nugent, looking round.

'Would do a great deal towards it, I declare,' cried Lady Clonbrony;
'that never struck me before, Grace, I protest--and what would not suit
one might sell or exchange here--and it would be a great amusement to
me--and I should like to set the fashion of something better in that
country. And I declare, now, I should like to see those poor people,
and that widow O'Neill. I do assure you, I think I was happier at home;
only, that one gets, I don't know how, a notion, one's nobody out of
Lon'on. But, after all, there's many drawbacks in Lon'on--and many
people are very impertinent, I'll allow--and if there's a woman in the
world I hate, it is Mrs. Dareville--and, if I was leaving Lon'on, I
should not regret Lady Langdale neither--and Lady St. James is as cold
as a stone. Colambre may well say FROZEN CIRCLES--these sort of people
are really very cold, and have, I do believe, no hearts. I don't verily
think there is one of them would regret me more--Hey! let me
see, Dublin--the winter Merrion Square--new furnished--and the
summer--Clonbrony Castle!'

Lord Colambre and Miss Nugent waited in silence till her mind should
have worked itself clear. One great obstacle had been removed; and now
that the yellow damask had been taken out of her imagination, they no
longer despaired. Lord Clonbrony put his head into the room.

'What hopes?--any? if not, let me go.'

He saw the doubting expression of Lady Clonbrony's countenance--hope in
the face of his son and niece.

'My dear, dear Lady Clonbrony, make us all happy by one word,' said he,
kissing her.

'You never kissed me so since we left Ireland before,' said Lady
Clonbrony. 'Well, since it must be so, let us go,' said she.

'Did I ever see such joy!' said Lord Clonbrony, clasping his hands; 'I
never expected such joy in my life!--I must go and tell poor Terry!' and
off he ran.

'And now, since we are to go,' said Lady Clonbrony, 'pray let us
go immediately, before the thing gets wind, else I shall have Mrs.
Dareville, and Lady Langdale, and Lady St. James, and all the world,
coming to condole with me, just to satisfy their own curiosity; and then
Miss Pratt, who hears everything that everybody says, and more than they
say, will come and tell me how it is reported everywhere that we are
ruined. 'Oh! I never could bear to stay and hear all this.
I'll tell you what I'll do--you are to be of age the day after
to-morrow, Colambre--very well, there are some papers for me to sign--I
must stay to put my name to them, and that done, that minute I'll leave
you and Lord Clonbrony to settle all the rest; and I'll get into my
carriage with Grace, and go down to Buxton again; where you can come for
me, and take me up, when you're all ready to go to Ireland--and we shall
be so far on our way. Colambre, what do you say to this?'

'That--if you like it, madam,' said he, giving one hasty glance at Miss
Nugent, and withdrawing his eyes, 'it is the best possible arrangement.'

'So,' thought Grace, 'that is the best possible arrangement which takes
us away.'

'If I like it!' said Lady Clonbrony; 'to be sure I do, or I should not
propose it. What is Colambre thinking of? I know, Grace, at all events,
what you and I must think of--of having the furniture packed up, and
settling what's to go, and what's to be exchanged, and all that. Now,
my dear, go and write a note directly to Mr. Soho, and bid him come
himself, immediately; and we'll go and make out a catalogue this instant
of what furniture I will have packed.'

So, with her head full of furniture, Lady Clonbrony retired. 'I go to my
business, Colambre; and I leave you to settle yours in peace.'

In peace!--Never was our hero's mind less at peace than at this moment.
The more his heart felt that it was painful, the more his reason told
him it was necessary that he should part from Grace Nugent. To his union
with her there was an obstacle, which his prudence told him ought to be
insurmountable; yet he felt that, during the few days he had been with
her, the few hours he had been near her, he had, with his utmost
power over himself, scarcely been master of his passion, or capable of
concealing it from its object. It could not have been done but for her
perfect simplicity and innocence. But how could this be supposed on his
part? How could he venture to live with this charming girl? How could he
settle at home? What resource?

His mind turned towards the army; he thought that abroad, and in active
life, he should lose all the painful recollections, and drive from
his heart all the resentments, which could now be only a source of
unavailing regret. But his mother--his mother, who had now yielded her
own taste to his entreaties, for the good of her family--she expected
him to return and live with her in Ireland. Though not actually promised
or specified, he knew that she took it for granted; that it was upon
this hope, this faith, she consented; he knew that she would be shocked
at the bare idea of his going into the army. There was one chance--our
hero tried, at this moment, to think it the best possible chance--that
Miss Nugent might marry Mr. Salisbury, and settle in England. On this
idea he relied as the only means of extricating him from difficulties.

It was necessary to turn his thoughts immediately to business, to
execute his promises to his father. Two great objects were now to be
accomplished--the payment of his father's debts, and the settlement
of the Irish agent's accounts; and, in transacting this complicated
business, he derived consider-able assistance from Sir Terence O'Fay,
and from Sir Arthur Berryl's solicitor, Mr. Edwards. Whilst acting for
Sir Arthur, on a former occasion, Lord Colambre had gained the entire
confidence of this solicitor, who was a man of the first eminence. Mr.
Edwards took the papers and Lord Clonbrony's title-deeds home with him,
saying that he would give an answer the next morning. He then waited
upon Lord Colambre, and informed him, that he had just received a letter
from Sir Arthur Berryl, who, with the consent and desire of his lady,
requested that whatever money might be required by Lord Clonbrony should
be immediately supplied on their account, without waiting till
Lord Colambre should be of age, as the ready money might be of same
convenience to him in accelerating the journey to Ireland, which Sir
Arthur and Lady Berryl knew was his lordship's object. Sir Terence O'Fay
now supplied Mr. Edwards with accurate information as to the demands
that were made upon Lord Clonbrony, and of the respective characters of
the creditors. Mr. Edwards undertook to settle with the fair claimants;
Sir Terence with the rogues; so that by the advancement of ready money
from THE BERRYLS, and by the detection of false and exaggerated charges,
which Sir Terence made among the inferior class, the debts were reduced
nearly to one half of their former amount. Mordicai, who had been foiled
in his vile attempt to become sole creditor, had, however, a demand of
more than seven thousand pounds upon Lord Clonbrony, which he had raised
to this enormous sum in six or seven years, by means well known to
himself. He stood the foremost in the list, not from the greatness of
the sum, but from the danger of his adding to it the expenses of law.
Sir Terence undertook to pay the whole with five thousand pounds. Lord
Clonbrony thought it impossible; the solicitor thought it improvident,
because he knew that upon a trial a much greater abatement would
be allowed; but Lord Colambre was determined, from the present
embarrassments of his own situation, to leave nothing undone that could
be accomplished immediately.

Sir Terence, pleased with his commission, immediately went to Mordicai.

'Well, Sir Terence,' said Mordicai, 'I hope you are come to pay me my
hundred guineas; for Miss Broadhurst is married!'

'Well, Mister Mordicai, what then? The ides of March are come, but
not gone! Stay, if you plase, Mister Mordicai, till Lady-day, when it
becomes due; in the meantime, I have a handful, or rather an armful, of
bank-notes for you, from my Lord Colambre.'

'Humph!' said Mordicai; 'how's that? he'll not be of age these three
days.'

'Don't matter for that; he has sent me to look over your account, and to
hope that you will make some small ABATEMENT in the total.'

'Harkee, Sir Terence you think yourself very clever in things of this
sort, but you've mistaken your man; I have an execution for the whole,
and I'll be d--d if all your cunning shall MAKE me take up with part!'

'Be easy, Mister Mordicai!--you shan't make me break your bones, nor
make me drop one actionable word against your high character; for I know
your clerk there, with that long goose-quill behind his ear, would be
ready evidence again' me. But I beg to know, in one word, whether you
will take five thousand down, and GIVE Lord Clonbrony a discharge?'

'No, Mr. Terence! nor six thousand nine hundred and ninety-nine pounds.
My demand is L7130, odd shillings: if you have that money, pay it; if
not, I know how to get it, and along with it complete revenge for all
the insults I have received from that greenhorn, his son.'

'Paddy Brady!' cried Sir Terence,'do you hear that? Remember that word,
REVENGE!--Mind, I call you to witness!'

'What, sir, will you raise a rebellion among my workmen?'

'No, Mr. Mordicai, no rebellion; and I hope you won't cut the boy's ears
off for listening to a little of the brogue--So listen, my good lad.
Now, Mr. Mordicai, I offer you here, before little goose-quill, L5000
ready penny--take it, or leave it; take your money, and leave your
revenge; or, take your revenge, and lose your money.'

'Sir Terence, I value neither your threats nor your cunning. Good
morning to you.'

'Good morning to you, Mr. Mordicai--but not kindly! Mr. Edwards, the
solicitor, has been at the office to take off the execution; so now you
may have law to your heart's content! And it was only to plase the
young lord that the OULD one consented to my carrying this bundle to
you,'--showing the bank-notes.

'Mr. Edwards employed!' cried Mordicai. 'Why, how the devil did Lord
Clonbrony get into such hands as his? The execution taken off! Well,
sir, go to law I am ready for you; Jack Latitat is A MATCH for your
sober solicitor.'

'Good morning again to you, Mr. Mordicai; we're fairly out of your
clutches, and we have enough to do with our money.'

'Well, Sir Terence, I must allow you have a very wheedling way--Here,
Mr. Thompson, make out a receipt for Lord Clonbrony: I never go to law
with an old customer, if I can help it.'

This business settled, Mr. Soho was next to be dealt with.

He came at Lady Clonbrony's summons; and was taking directions, with the
utmost SANG FROID, for packing up and sending off the very furniture for
which he was not paid.

Lord Colambre called him into his father's study; and, producing his
bill, he began to point out various articles which were charged at
prices that were obviously extravagant.

'Why, really, my lord, they are ABUNDANTLY extravagant; if I charged
vulgar prices, I should be only a vulgar tradesman. I, however, am not a
broker, nor a Jew. Of the article superintendence, which is only L500,
I cannot abate a dolt; on the rest of the bill, if you mean to offer
READY, I mean, without any negotiation, to abate thirty per cent; and I
hope that is a fair and gentlemanly offer.'

'Mr. Soho, there is your money!'

'My Lord Colambre! I would give the contents of three such bills to be
sure of such noblemanly conduct as yours. Lady Clonbrony's furniture
shall be safely packed, without costing her a farthing.'

With the help of Mr. Edwards, the solicitor, every other claim was soon
settled; and Lord Clonbrony, for the first time since he left Ireland,
found himself out of debt, and out of danger.

Old Nick's account could not be settled in London. Lord Colambre had
detected numerous false charges, and sundry impositions; the land, which
had been purposely let to run wild, so far from yielding any rent, was
made a source of constant expense, as remaining still unset: this was a
large tract, for which St. Dennis had at length offered a small rent.

Upon a fair calculation of the profits of the ground, and from other
items in the account, Nicholas Garraghty, Esq., appeared at last to be,
not the creditor, but the debtor to Lord Clonbrony. He was dismissed
with disgrace, which perhaps he might not have felt, if it had not been
accompanied by pecuniary loss, and followed by the fear of losing his
other agencies, and by the dread of immediate bankruptcy.

Mr. Burke was appointed agent in his stead to the Clonbrony as well
as the Colambre estate. His appointment was announced to him by the
following letter:--

To MRS. BURKE, AT COLAMBRE. DEAR MADAM, The traveller whom you so
hospitably received some months ago was Lord Colambre--he now writes to
you in his proper person. He promised you that he would, as far as it
might be in his power, do justice to Mr. Burke's conduct and character,
by representing what he had done for Lord Clonbrony in the town of
Colambre, and in the whole management of the tenantry and property under
his care.

Happily for my father, my dear madam, he is now as fully convinced
as you could wish him to be of Mr. Burke's merits; and he begs me to
express his sense of the obligations he is under to him and to you. He
entreats that you will pardon the impropriety of a letter, which, as I
assured you the moment I saw it, he never wrote or read. This will, he
says, cure him, for life, of putting his signature to any paper without
reading it.

He hopes that you will forget that such a letter was ever received,
and that you will use your influence with Mr. Burke to induce him to
continue to our family his regard and valuable services. Lord Clonbrony
encloses a power of attorney, enabling Mr. Burke to act in future for
him, if Mr. Burke will do him that favour, in managing the Clonbrony as
well as the Colambre estate.

Lord Clonbrony will be in Ireland in the course of next month, and
intends to have the pleasure of soon paying his respects in person
to Mr. Burke, at Colambre.--I am, dear madam, your obliged guest, and
faithful servant, COLAMBRE.

GROSVENOR SQUARE, LONDON.

Lord Colambre was so continually occupied with business during the two
days previous to his coming of age, every morning at his solicitor's
chambers, every evening in his father's study, that Miss Nugent never
saw him but at breakfast or dinner; and, though she watched for it most
anxiously, never could find an opportunity of speaking to him alone,
or of asking an explanation of the change and inconsistencies of his
manner. At last, she began to think that, in the midst of so much
business of importance, by which he seemed harassed, she should do wrong
to torment him, by speaking of any small disquietude that concerned only
herself. She determined to suppress her doubts, to keep her feelings to
herself, and to endeavour, by constant kindness, to regain that place in
his affections which she imagined that she had lost. 'Everything will go
right again,' thought she, 'and we shall all be happy, when he returns
with us to Ireland--to that dear home which he loves as well as I do!'

The day Lord Colambre was of age, the first thing he did was to sign
a bond for five thousand pounds, Miss Nugent's fortune, which had been
lent to his father, who was her guardian.

'This, sir, I believe,' said he, giving it to his father as soon as
signed--'this, I believe, is the first debt you would wish to have
secured.'

'Well thought of, my dear boy I--God bless you!--that has weighed more
upon my conscience and heart than all the rest, though I never said
anything about it. I used, whenever I met Mr. Salisbury, to wish myself
fairly down at the centre of the earth; not that he ever thought of
fortune, I'm sure; for he often told me, and I believed him, he would
rather have Miss Nugent without a penny, if he could get her, than
the first fortune in the empire. But I'm glad she will not go to him
penniless, for all that; and by my fault, especially. There, there's
my name to it--do witness it, Terry. But, Colambre, you must give it to
her--you must take it to Grace.'

'Excuse me, sir; it is no gift of mine--it is a debt of yours. I beg you
will take the bond to her yourself, my dear father.'

'My dear son, you must not always have your own way, and hide everything
good you do, or give me the honour of it I won't be the jay in borrowed
feathers. I have borrowed enough in my life, and I've done with
borrowing now, thanks to you, Colambre--so come along with me; for I'll
be hanged if ever I give this joint bond to Miss Nugent, without you
along with me. Leave Lady Clonbrony here to sign these papers. Terry
will witness them properly, and you come along with me.'

'And pray, my lord,' said her ladyship, 'order the carriage to the
door; for, as soon as you have my signature, I hope you'll let me off to
Buxton.'

'Oh, certainly--the carriage is ordered--everything ready, my dear.'

'And pray tell Grace to be ready,' added Lady Clonbrony.

'That's not necessary; for she is always ready,' said Lord Clonbrony.
'Come, Colambre,' added he, taking his son under the arm, and carrying
him up to Miss Nugent's dressing-room.

They knocked, and were admitted.

'Ready!' said Lord Clonbrony; 'ay, always ready--so I said. Here's
Colambre, my darling,' continued he, 'has secured your fortune to you to
my heart's content; but he would not condescend to come up to tell you
so, till I made him. Here's the bond; put your hand to it, Colambre; you
were ready enough to do that when it cost you something; and now, all I
have to ask of you is, to persuade her to marry out of hand, that I
may see her happy before I die. Now my heart's at ease! I can meet Mr.
Salisbury with a safe conscience. One kiss, my little Grace. If anybody
can persuade you, I'm sure it's that man that's now leaning against
the mantelpiece. It's Colambre's will, or your heart's not made like
mine--so I leave you.'

And out of the room walked he, leaving his poor son in as awkward,
embarrassing, and painful a situation, as could well be conceived. Half
a dozen indistinct ideas crossed his mind; quick conflicting feelings
made his heart beat and stop. And how it would have ended, if he had
been left to himself, whether he would have stood or fallen, have spoken
or have continued silent, can never now be known, for all was decided
without the action of his will. He was awakened from his trance by these
simple words from Miss Nugent--

'I'm much obliged to you, cousin Colambre--more obliged to you for
your kindness in thinking of me first, in the midst of all your other
business, than by your securing my fortune. Friendship--and your
friendship--is worth more to me than fortune. May I believe that is
secured?'

'Believe it! Oh, Grace, can you doubt it?'

'I will not; it would make me too unhappy. I will not.'

'You need not.'

'That is enough--I am satisfied--I ask no farther explanation. You are
truth itself--one word from you is security sufficient. We are friends
for life,' said she, taking his hand between both of hers; 'are not we?'

'We are--and therefore sit down, cousin Grace, and let me claim the
privilege of friendship, and speak to you of him who aspires to be more
than your friend for life, Mr.--'

Mr. Salisbury!' said Miss Nugent; 'I saw him yesterday. We had a very
long conversation; I believe he understands my sentiments perfectly, and
that he no longer thinks of being more to me than a friend for life.'

'You have refused him!'

'Yes. I have a high opinion of Mr. Salisbury's understanding, a great
esteem for his character; I like his manners and conversation; but I do
not love him, and therefore, you know, I could not marry him.'

'But, my dear Miss Nugent, with a high opinion, a great esteem, and
liking his manners and conversation, in such a well-regulated mind as
yours, can there be a better foundation for love?'

'It is an excellent foundation,' said she; 'but I never went any
farther than the foundation; and, indeed, I never wished to proceed any
farther.'

Lord Colambre scarcely dared to ask why; but, after some pause, he
said--

'I don't wish to intrude upon your confidence.'

'You cannot intrude upon my confidence; I am ready to give it to
you entirely, frankly; I hesitated only because another person was
concerned. Do you remember, at my aunt's gala, a lady who danced with
Mr. Salisbury?'

'Not in the least.'

'A lady with whom you and Mr. Salisbury were talking, just before
supper, in the Turkish tent.'

'Not in the least.'

'As we went down to supper, you told me you had had a delightful
conversation with her--that you thought her a charming woman.'

'A charming woman!--I have not the slightest recollection of her.'

'And you told me that she and Mr. Salisbury had been praising me A
L'ENVIE L'UNE ET L'AUTRE.'

'Oh, I recollect her now perfectly,' said Lord Colambre; 'But what of
her?'

'She is the woman who, I hope, will be Mrs. Salisbury. Ever since I have
been acquainted with them both, I have seen that they were suited to
each other; and fancy, indeed I am almost sure, that she could love him,
tenderly love him--and, I know, I could not. But my own sentiments, you
may be sure, are all I ever told Mr. Salisbury.'

'But of your own sentiments you may not be sure,' said Lord Colambre;
'and I see no reason why you should give him up from false generosity.'

'Generosity?' interrupted Miss Nugent; 'you totally misunderstand me;
there is no generosity, nothing for me to give up in the case. I did not
refuse Mr. Salisbury from generosity, but because I did not love him.
Perhaps my seeing this at first prevented me from thinking of him as
a lover; but, from whatever cause, I certainly never felt love for Mr.
Salisbury, nor any of that pity which is said to lead to love; perhaps,'
added she, smiling, 'because I was aware that he would be so much better
off after I refused him--so much happier with one suited to him in age,
talents, fortune, and love--"What bliss, did he but know his bliss,"
were HIS!'

'Did he but know his bliss,' repeated Lord Colambre; 'but is not he the
best judge of his own bliss?'

'And am not I the best judge of mine?' said Miss Nugent; 'I go no
farther.'

'You are; and I have no right to go farther. Yet, this much permit me
to say, my dear Grace, that it would give me sincere pleasure, that is,
real satisfaction, to see you happily--established.'

'Thank you, my dear Lord Colambre; but you spoke that like a man of
seventy at least, with the most solemn gravity of demeanour.'

'I meant to be serious, not solemn,' said Lord Colambre, endeavouring to
change his tone.

'There now,' said she, in a playful tone, 'you have SERIOUSLY
accomplished the task my good uncle set you; so I will report well of
you to him, and certify that you did all that in you lay to exhort me
to marry; that you have even assured me that it would give you sincere
pleasure, that is, real satisfaction, to see me happily established.'

'Oh, Grace, if you knew how much I felt when I said that, you would
spare this raillery.'

'I will be serious--I am most seriously convinced of the sincerity of
your affection for me; I know my happiness is your object in all you
have said, and I thank you from my heart for the interest you take about
me. But really and truly, I do not wish to marry. This is not a mere
commonplace speech; but I have not yet seen any man I could love. I like
you, cousin Colambre, better than Mr. Salisbury--I would rather live
with you than with him; you know that is a certain proof that I am not
likely to be in love with him. I am happy as I am, especially now we are
all going to dear Ireland, home, to live together: you cannot conceive
with what pleasure I look forward to that.'

Lord Colambre was not vain; but love quickly sees love where it exists,
or foresees the probability, the possibility of its existence. He saw
that Miss Nugent might love him tenderly, passionately; but that duty,
habit, the prepossession that it was impossible she could marry her
cousin Colambre--a prepossession instilled into her by his mother--had
absolutely prevented her from ever yet thinking of him as a lover. He
saw the hazard for her, he felt the danger for himself. Never had she
appeared to him so attractive as at this moment, when he felt the hope
that he could obtain return of love.

'But St. Omar!--Why! why is she a St, Omar!--illegitimate!--"No St.
Omar SANS REPROCHE." My wife she cannot be--I will not engage her
affections.'

Swift as thoughts in moments of strong feeling pass in the mind without
being put into words, our hero thought all this, and determined, cost
what it would, to act honourably.

'You spoke of my returning to Ireland, my dear Grace. I have not yet
told you my plans.'

'Plans! are not you returning with us?' said she, precipitately; 'are
not you going to Ireland--home--with us?'

'No--I am going to serve a campaign or two abroad. I think every young
man in these times--'

'Good heavens! What does this mean? What can you mean?' cried she,
fixing her eyes upon his, as if she would read his very soul. 'Why? what
reason?--Oh, tell me the truth and at once.'

His change of colour--his hand that trembled, and withdrew from
hers--the expression of his eyes as they met hers--revealed the truth to
her at once. As it flashed across her mind, she started back; her face
grew crimson, and, in the same instant, pale as death.

'Yes--you see, you feel the truth now,' said Lord Colambre. 'You see,
you feel, that I love you--passionately.'

'Oh, let me not hear it!' said she; 'I must not--ought not. Never,
till this moment, did such a thought cross my mind--I thought it
impossible--oh, make me think so still.'

'I will--it is impossible that we can ever be united.'

'I always thought so,' said she, taking breath with a deep sigh. 'Then
why not live as we have lived?'

'I cannot--I cannot answer for myself--I will not run the risk; and
therefore I must quit you--knowing, as I do, that there is an invincible
obstacle to our union, of what nature I cannot explain; I beg you not to
inquire.'

'You need not beg it--I shall not inquire--I have no curiosity--none,'
said she, in a passive, dejected tone; 'that is not what I am thinking
of in the least. I know there are invincible obstacles; I wish it to
be so. But, if invincible, you who have so much sense, honour, and
virtue--'

'I hope, my dear cousin, that I have honour and virtue. But there are
temptations to which no wise, no good man will expose himself. Innocent
creature! you do not know the power of love. I rejoice that you have
always thought it impossible--think so still--it will save you from--all
I must endure. Think of me but as your cousin, your friend--give your
heart to some happier man. As your friend, your true friend, I conjure
you, give your heart to some more fortunate man. Marry, if you can feel
love--marry, and be happy. Honour! virtue! Yes, I have both, and I will
not forfeit them. Yes, I will merit your esteem and my own--by actions,
not words; and I give you the strongest proof, by tearing myself from
you at this moment. Farewell!'

'The carriage at the door, Miss Nugent, and my lady calling for you,'
said her maid. 'Here's your key, ma'am, and here's your gloves, my dear
ma'am.'

'The carriage at the door, Miss Nugent, said Lady Clonbrony's woman,
coming eagerly with parcels in her hand, as Miss Nugent passed her and
ran downstairs; 'and I don't know where I laid my lady's NUMBRELLA, for
my life--do your Anne?'

'No, indeed--but I know here's my own young lady's watch that she
has left. Bless me! I never knew her to forget anything on a journey
before.'

'Then she is going to be married, as sure as my name's Le Maistre, and
to my Lord Colambre; for he has been here this hour, to my certain Bible
knowledge. Oh, you'll see, she will be Lady Colambre?

'I wish she may, with all my heart said Anne; 'but I must run
down--they're waiting.'

'Oh no,' said Mrs. le Maistre, seizing Anne's arm, and holding her fast;
'stay--you may safely--for they're all kissing and taking leave, and all
that, you know; and my lady is talking on about Mr. Soho, and giving a
hundred directions about legs of TABLES, and so forth, I warrant--she's
always an hour after she's ready before she gets in--and I'm looking for
the NUMBRELLA. So stay, and tell me--Mrs. Petito wrote over word it was
to be Lady Isabel; and then a contradiction came--it was turned into
the youngest of the Killpatricks; and now here he's in Miss Nugent's
dressing-room to the last moment. Now, in my opinion, that am not
censorious, this does not look so pretty; but, according to my verdict,
he is only making a fool of Miss Nugent, like the rest; and his lordship
seems too like what you might call a male COCKET, or a masculine jilt.'

'No more like a masculine jilt than yourself, Mrs. le Maistre,' cried
Anne, taking fire. 'And my young lady is not a lady to be made a fool
of, I promise you; nor is my lord likely to make a fool of any woman.'

'Bless us all! that's no great praise for any young nobleman. Miss
Anne.'

'Mrs. le Maistre! Mrs. le Maistre! are you above?' cried a footman from
the bottom of the stairs; 'my lady's calling for you.'

'Very well! very well!' said sharp Mrs. le Maistre; 'very well! and
if she is--manners, sir!--Come up for one, can't you, and don't stand
bawling at the bottom of the stairs, as if one had no ears to be saved.
I'm coming as fast as I conveniently can.' Mrs. le Maistre stood in the
doorway, so as to fill it up, and prevent Anne from passing.

'Miss Anne! Miss Anne! Mrs. le Maistre!' cried another footman; 'my
lady's in the carriage, and Miss Nugent.'

'Miss Nugent!--is she?' cried Mrs. le Maistre, running downstairs,
followed by Anne. 'Now, for the world in pocket-pieces wouldn't I have
missed seeing him hand Miss Nugent in; for by that I could have judged
definitively.'

'My lord, I beg pardon!--I'm AFEARD I'm late,' said Mrs. le Maistre, as
she passed Lord Colambre, who was standing motionless in the hall. 'I
beg a thousand pardons; but I was hunting high and low, for my lady's
NUMBRELLA.'

Lord Colambre did not hear or heed her; his eyes were fixed, and they
never moved.

Lord Clonbrony was at the open carriage-door, kneeling on the step,
and receiving Lady Clonbrony's 'more last words' for Mr. Soho. The two
waiting-maids stood together on the steps.

'Look at our young lord, how he stands,' whispered Mrs. le Maistre to
Anne, 'the image of despair! And she, the picture of death!--I don't
know what to think.'

'Nor I; but don't stare if you can help it,' said Anne. 'Get in, get in,
Mrs. le Maistre,' added she, as Lord Clonbrony now rose from the step,
and made way for them.

'Ay, in with you--in with you, Mrs. le Maistre,' said Lord Clonbrony.
'Good-bye to you, Anne, and take care of your young mistress at Buxton;
let me see her blooming when we meet again; I don't half like her looks,
and I never thought Buxton agreed with her.'

'Buxton never did anybody harm,' said Lady Clonbrony; 'and as to bloom,
I'm sure, if Grace has not bloom enough in her cheeks this moment to
please you, I don't know what you'd have, my dear lord--Rouge?--Shut the
door, John! Oh, stay!--Colambre! Where upon earth's Colambre?' cried her
ladyship, stretching from the farthest side of the coach to the window.
'Colambre!'

Colambre was forced to appear.

'Colambre, my dear! I forgot to say that, if anything detains you longer
than Wednesday se'nnight, I beg you will not fail to write, or I shall
be miserable.'

'I will write; at all events, my dearest mother, you shall hear from
me.'

'Then I shall be quite happy. Go on!'

The carriage drove on.

'I do believe Colambre's ill; I never saw a man look so ill in my
life--did you, Grace?--as he did the minute we drove on. He should take
advice. I've a mind, cried Lady Clonbrony, laying her hand on the cord
to stop the coachman--'I've a mind to turn about, tell him so, and ask
what is the matter with him.'

'Better not!' said Miss Nugent; 'he will write to you, and tell you--if
anything is the matter with him. Better go on now to Buxton!' continued
she, scarcely able to speak. Lady Clonbrony let go the cord.

'But what is the matter with you, my dear Grace? for you are certainly
going to die too!'

'I will tell you--as soon as I can; but don't ask me now, my dear aunt!'

'Grace, Grace! pull the cord!' cried Lady Clonbrony--'Mr. Salisbury's
phaeton!--Mr. Salisbury, I'm happy to see you! We're on our way to
Buxton--as I told you.'

'So am I,' said Mr. Salisbury. 'I hope to be there before your ladyship;
will you honour me with any commands!--of course, I will see that
everything is ready for your reception.'

Her ladyship had not any commands. Mr. Salisbury drove on rapidly.

Lady Clonbrony's ideas had now taken the Salisbury channel.

'You didn't know that Mr. Salisbury was going to Buxton to meet you, did
you, Grace?' said Lady Clonbrony.

'No, indeed, I did not!' said Miss Nugent; 'and I am very sorry for it.'

'Young ladies, as Mrs. Broadhurst says, "never know, or at least never
tell, what they are sorry or glad for,"' replied Lady Clonbrony. 'At
all events, Grace, my love, it has brought the fine bloom back to your
cheeks; and I own I am satisfied.'



CHAPTER XV

'Gone! for ever gone from me!' said Lord Colambre to himself, as the
carriage drove away. 'Never shall I see her more--never WILL I see her
more, till she is married.'

Lord Colambre went to his own room, locked the door, and was relieved
in some degree by the sense of privacy; by the feeling that he could
now indulge his reflections undisturbed. He had consolation--he had
done what was honourable--he had transgressed no duty, abandoned no
principle--he had not injured the happiness of any human being--he had
not, to gratify himself, hazarded the peace of the woman he loved--he
had not sought to win her heart. Of her innocent, her warm, susceptible
heart, he might perhaps have robbed her--he knew it--but he had left it
untouched, he hoped entire, in her own power, to bless with it hereafter
some man worthy of her. In the hope that she might be happy, Lord
Colambre felt relief; and in the consciousness that he had made his
parents happy, he rejoiced. But, as soon as his mind turned that way
for consolation, came the bitter concomitant reflection, that his mother
must be disappointed in her hopes of his accompanying her home, and of
his living with her in Ireland; she would be miserable when she should
hear that he was going abroad into the army--and yet it must be so--and
he must write, and tell her so. 'The sooner this difficulty is off my
mind, the sooner this painful letter is written, the better,' thought
he. 'It must be done--I will do it immediately.'

He snatched up his pen, and began a letter.

My dear mother--Miss Nugent--'

He was interrupted by a knock at his door.

'A gentleman below, my lord,' said a servant, 'who wishes to see you.'

I cannot see any gentleman. Did you say I was at home?'

'No, my lord; I said you was not at home; for I thought you would not
choose to be at home, and your own man was not in the way for me to
ask--so I denied you; but the gentleman would not be denied; he said
I must come and see if you was at home. So, as he spoke as if he was
a gentleman not used to be denied, I thought it might be somebody of
consequence, and I showed him into the front drawing-room. I think he
said he was sure you'd be at home for a friend from Ireland.'

'A friend from Ireland! Why did not you tell me that sooner?' said Lord
Colambre, rising, and running downstairs. 'Sir James Brooke, I daresay.'

No, not Sir James Brooke; but one he was almost as glad to see--Count
O'Halloran!

'My dear count! the greater pleasure for being unexpected.'

'I came to London but yesterday,' said the count; 'but I could not be
here a day, without doing myself the honour of paying my respects to
Lord Colambre.'

'You do me not only honour, but pleasure, my dear count. People when
they like one another, always find each other out, and contrive to meet
even in London.'

'You are too polite to ask what brought such a superannuated militaire
as I am,' said the count, 'from his retirement into this gay world
again. A relation of mine, who is one of our Ministry, knew that I
had some maps, and plans, and charts, which might be serviceable in an
expedition they are planning. I might have trusted my charts across
the channel, without coming myself to convoy them, you will say. But
my relation fancied--young relations, you know, if they are good for
anything, are apt to overvalue the heads of old relations--fancied that
mine was worth bringing all the way from Halloran Castle to London, to
consult with TETE-A-TETE. So you know, when this was signified to me by
a letter from the secretary in office, PRIVATE, MOST CONFIDENTIAL, what
could I do, but do myself the honour to obey? For though honour's voice
cannot provoke the silent dust, yet "flattery soothes the dull cold ear
of AGE."--But enough, and too much of myself,' said the count: 'tell
me, my dear lord, something of yourself. I do not think England seems to
agree with you so well as Ireland; for, excuse me, in point of health,
you don't look like the same man I saw some weeks ago.'

'My mind has been ill at ease of late,' said Lord Colambre.

'Ay, there's the thing! The body pays for the mind--but those who
have feeling minds, pain and pleasure altogether computed, have the
advantage; or at least they think so; for they would not change with
those who have them not, were they to gain by the bargain the most
robust body that the most selfish coxcomb, or the heaviest dunce extant,
ever boasted. For instance, would you now, my lord, at this moment
change altogether with Major Benson, or Captain Williamson, or even our
friend, 'Eh, really now, "pon honour"--would you!--I'm glad to see you
smile.'

'I thank you for making me smile, for I assure you I want it. I wish--if
you would not think me encroaching upon your politeness and kindness in
honouring me with this visit--You see,' continued he, opening the doors
of the back drawing-room, and pointing to large packages--'you see we
are all preparing for a march; my mother has left town half an hour
ago--my father engaged to dine abroad--only I at home--and, in this
state of confusion, could I even venture to ask Count O'Halloran to
stay and dine with me, without being able to offer him Irish ortolans or
Irish plums--in short, will you let me rob you of two or three hours
of your time? I am anxious to have your opinion on a subject of some
importance to me, and on one where you are peculiarly qualified to judge
and decide for me.'

'My dear lord, frankly, I have nothing half so good or so agreeable to
do with my time; command my hours. I have already told you how much it
flatters me to be consulted by the most helpless clerk in office; how
much more about the private concerns of an enlightened young--friend,
will Lord Colambre permit me to say? I hope so; for though the length of
our acquaintance might not justify the word, yet regard and intimacy are
not always in proportion to the time people have known each other, but
to their mutual perception of certain attaching qualities, a certain
similarity and suitableness of character.'

The good count, seeing that Lord Colambre was in much distress of
mind, did all he could to soothe him by kindness; far from making any
difficulty about giving up a few hours of his time, he seemed to have
no other object in London, and no purpose in life, but to attend to our
hero. To put him at ease, and to give him time to recover and arrange
his thoughts, the count talked of indifferent subjects.

'I think I heard you mention the name of Sir James Brooke.'

'Yes, I expected to have seen him when the servant first mentioned a
friend from Ireland; because Sir James had told me that, as soon as he
could get leave of absence, he would come to England.'

'He is come; is now at his estate is Huntingdonshire; doing, what do
you think? I will give you a leading hint; recollect the seal which
the little De Cresey put into your hands the day you dined at Oranmore.
Faithful to his motto, "Deeds not words," he is this instant, I believe,
at deeds, title-deeds; making out marriage settlements, getting ready to
put his seal to the happy articles.'

'Happy man! I give him joy,' said Lord Colambre; 'happy man! going to be
married to such a woman--daughter of such a mother.'

'Daughter of such a mother! That is indeed a great addition and a great
security to his happiness,' said the count. 'Such a family to marry
into; good from generation to generation; illustrious by character
as well as by genealogy; "all the sons brave, and all the daughters
chaste."'--Lord Colambre with difficulty repressed his feelings.--'if I
could choose, I would rather that a woman I loved were of such a family
than that she had for her dower the mines of Peru.'

'So would I,' cried Lord Colambre.

'I am glad to hear you say so, my lord, and with such energy; so few
young men of the present day look to what I call good connexion. In
marrying, a man does not, to be sure, marry his wife's mother; and yet
a prudent man, when he begins to think of the daughter, would look sharp
at the mother; ay, and back to the grandmother too, and along the whole
female line of ancestry.'

'True--most true--he ought he must.'

'And I have a notion,' said the count, smiling, 'your lordship's
practice has been conformable to your theory.'

'I!--mine!' said Lord Colambre, starling, and looking at the count with
surprise.

'I beg your pardon,' said the count; 'I did not intend to surprise your
confidence. But you forget that I was present, and saw the impression
which was made on your mind by a mother's want of a proper sense of
delicacy and propriety--Lady Dashfort.'

'Oh, Lady Dashfort! she was quite out of my head.'

'And Lady Isabel?--I hope she is quite out of your heart.'

'She never was in it,' said Lord Colambre.

'Only laid siege to it,' said the count. 'Well, I am glad your heart did
not surrender at discretion, or rather without discretion. Then I may
tell you, without fear or preface, that the Lady Isabel, who "talks
of refinement, delicacy, sense," is going to stoop at once, and
marry--Heathcock.'

Lord Colambre was not surprised, but concerned and disgusted, as he
always felt, even when he did not care for the individual, from hearing
anything which tended to lower the female sex in public estimation.

'As to myself,' said he, 'I cannot say I have had an escape, for I don't
think I ever was in much danger.'

'It is difficult to measure danger when it is over--past danger, like
past pain, is soon forgotten,' said the old general. 'At all events, I
rejoice in your present safety.'

'But is she really going to be married to Heathcock?' said Lord
Colambre.

'Positively; they all came over in the same packet with me, and they are
all in town now, buying jewels, and equipages, and horses. Heathcock,
you know, is as good as another man, A PEU PRES, for all those purposes;
his father is dead, and left him a large estate. QUE VOULEZ VOUS? as the
French valet said to me on the occasion. C'EST QUE MONSIEUR EST UN HOMME
DE BIEN: IL A DES BIENS, A CE QU'ON DIT.'

Lord Colambre could not help smiling. 'How they got Heathcock to fall
in love is what puzzles me,' said his lordship. 'I should as soon have
thought of an oyster's falling in love as that being!'

'I own I should have sooner thought,' replied the count, 'Of his falling
in love with an oyster; and so would you, if you had seen him, as I did,
devouring oysters on shipboard.

'Say, can the lovely HEROINE hope to vie With a fat turtle or a ven'son
pie?

But that is not our affair; let the Lady Isabel look to it.'

Dinner was announced; and no farther conversation of any consequence
passed between the count and Lord Colambre till the cloth was removed
and the servants had withdrawn. Then our hero opened on the subject
which was heavy at his heart.

'My dear count--to go back to the BURIAL PLACE OF THE NUGENTS, where my
head was lost the first time I had the pleasure of seeing you--you know,
or, possibly,' said he, smiling, 'you do not know, that I have a cousin
of the name of Nugent?'

'You told me,' replied the count, 'that you had near relations of that
name; but I do not recollect that you mentioned any one in particular.'

'I never named Miss Nugent to you. No! it is not easy to me to talk of
her, and impossible to me to describe her. If you had come one half-hour
sooner this morning, you would have seen her: I know she is exactly
suited to your excellent taste. But it is not at first sight she pleases
most; she gains upon the affections, attaches the heart, and unfolds
upon the judgment. In temper, manners, and good sense, in every quality
a man can or should desire in a wife, I never saw her equal. Yet, there
is an obstacle, an invincible obstacle, the nature of which I cannot
explain to you, that forbids me to think of her as a wife. She lives
with my father and mother: they are returning to Ireland, I wished,
earnestly wished, on many accounts, to have accompanied them, chiefly on
my mother's; but it cannot be. The first thing a man must do is to act
honourably; and, that he may do so, he must keep out of the way of a
temptation which he believes to be above his strength. I will never see
Miss Nugent again till she is married; I must either stay in England,
or go abroad. I have a mind to serve a campaign or two, if I could get
a commission in a regiment going to Spain; but I understand so many
are eager to go at this moment, that it is very difficult to get a
commission in such a regiment.'

'It is difficult,' said the count. 'But,' added he, after thinking for
a moment, 'I have it! I can get the thing done for you, and directly.
Major Benson, in consequence of that affair, you know, about his
mistress, is forced to quit the regiment. When the lieutenant-colonel
came to quarters, and the rest of the officers heard the fact, they
would not keep company with Benson, and would not mess with him. I know
he wants to sell out; and that regiment is to be ordered immediately to
Spain. I will have the thing done for you, if you request it.'

'First, give me your advice, Count O'Halloran; you are well acquainted
with the military profession, with military life. Would you advise me--I
won't speak of myself, because we judge better by general views than by
particular cases--would you advise a young man at present to go into the
army?'

The count was silent for a few minutes, and then replied: 'Since
you seriously ask my opinion, my lord, I must lay aside my own
prepossessions, and endeavour to speak with impartiality. To go into the
army in these days, my lord, is, in my sober opinion, the most absurd
and base, or the wisest and noblest thing a young man can do. To enter
into the army, with the hope of escaping from the application necessary
to acquire knowledge, letters, and science--I run no risk, my lord, in
saying this to you--to go into the army, with the hope of escaping from
knowledge, letters, science, and morality; to wear a red coat and an
epaulette; to be called captain; to figure at a ball; to lounge away
time in country sports, at country quarters, was never, even in times
of peace, creditable; but it is now absurd and base. Submitting to a
certain portion of ennui and contempt, this mode of life for an officer
was formerly practicable--but now cannot be submitted to without utter,
irremediable disgrace. Officers are now, in general, men of education
and information; want of knowledge, sense, manners, must consequently be
immediately detected, ridiculed, and despised in a military man. Of this
we have not long since seen lamentable examples in the raw officers who
have lately disgraced themselves in my neighbourhood in Ireland--that
Major Benson and Captain Williamson. But I will not advert to such
insignificant individuals, such are rare exceptions--I leave them out of
the question--I reason on general principles. The life of an officer is
not now a life of parade, of coxcombical, or of profligate idleness--but
of active service, of continual hardship and danger. All the
descriptions which we see in ancient history of a soldier's
life--descriptions which, in times of peace, appeared like romance--are
now realised; military exploits fill every day's newspapers, every day's
conversation. A martial spirit is now essential to the liberty and
the existence of our own country. In the present state of things,
the military must be the most honourable profession, because the most
useful. Every movement of an army is followed, wherever it goes, by the
public hopes and fears. Every officer must now feel, besides this sense
of collective importance, a belief that his only dependence must be on
his own merit and thus his ambition, his enthusiasm, are raised; and
when once this noble ardour is kindled in the breast, it excites to
exertion, and supports under endurance. But I forget myself,' said the
count, checking his enthusiasm; 'I promised to speak soberly. If I have
said too much, your own good sense, my lord, will correct me, and your
good-nature will forgive the prolixity of an old man, touched upon his
favourite subject--the passion of his youth.'

Lord Colambre, of course, assured the count that he was not tired.
Indeed, the enthusiasm with which this old officer spoke of his
profession, and the high point of view in which he placed it, increased
our hero's desire to serve a campaign abroad. Good sense, politeness,
and experience of the world preserved Count O'Halloran from that foible
with which old officers are commonly reproached, of talking continually
of their own military exploits. Though retired from the world, he had
contrived, by reading the best books, and corresponding with persons of
good information, to keep up with the current of modern affairs; and he
seldom spoke of those in which he had been formerly engaged. He rather
too studiously avoided speaking of himself; and this fear of egotism
diminished the peculiar interest he might have inspired: it disappointed
curiosity, and deprived those with whom he conversed of many
entertaining and instructive anecdotes. However, he sometimes made
exceptions to his general rule in favour of persons who peculiarly
pleased him, and Lord Colambre was of this number.

He this evening, for the first time, spoke to his lordship of the years
he had spent in the Austrian service; told him anecdotes of the emperor;
spoke of many distinguished public characters whom he had known abroad;
of those officers who had been his friends and companions. Among others
he mentioned, with particular regard, a young English officer who had
been at the same time with him in the Austrian service, a gentleman of
the name of Reynolds. The name struck Lord Colambre; it was the name of
the officer who had been the cause of the disgrace of Miss St. Omar--of
Miss Nugent's mother. 'But there are so many Reynoldses.'

He eagerly asked the age--the character of this officer.

'He was a gallant youth,' said the count, 'but too adventurous--too
rash. He fell, after distinguishing himself in a glorious manner, in
his twentieth year--died in my arms.' 'Married or unmarried?' cried Lord
Colambre.

'Married--he had been privately married, less than a year before his
death, to a very young English lady, who had been educated at a convent
in Vienna. He was heir to a considerable property, I believe, and the
young lady had little fortune; and the affair was kept secret from
the fear of offending his friends, or for some other reason--I do not
recollect the particulars.'

'Did he acknowledge his marriage?' said Lord Colambre.

'Never till he was dying--then he confided his secret to me.'

'Do you recollect the name of the young lady he married?' 'Yes--Miss St.
Omar.'

'St. Omar!' repeated Lord Colambre, with an expression of lively joy
in his countenance. 'But are you certain, my dear count, that she was
really married, legally married, to Mr. Reynolds? Her marriage has been
denied by all his friends and relations--hers have never been able to
establish it--her daughter is--My dear count, were you present at the
marriage?'

'No,' said the count, 'I was not present at the marriage; I never
saw the lady, nor do I know anything of the affair, except that Mr.
Reynolds, when he was dying, assured me that he was privately married to
a Miss St. Omar, who was then boarding at a convent in Vienna. The young
man expressed great regret at leaving her totally unprovided for; but
said that he trusted his father would acknowledge her, and that her
friends would be reconciled to her. He was not of age, he said, to make
a will; but I think he told me that his child, who at that time was
not born, would, even if it should be a girl, inherit a considerable
property. With this, I cannot, however, charge my memory positively; but
he put a packet into my hands which, he told me, contained a certificate
of his marriage, and, I think he said, a letter to his father; this
he requested that I would transmit to England by some safe hand.
Immediately after his death, I went to the English ambassador, who
was then leaving Vienna, and delivered the packet into his hands; he
promised to have it safely delivered. I was obliged to go the next day,
with the troops, to a distant part of the country. When I returned, I
inquired at the convent what had become of Miss St. Omar--I should say
Mrs. Reynolds; and I was told that she had removed from the convent to
private lodgings in the town, some time previous to the birth of her
child. The abbess seemed much scandalised by the whole transaction; and
I remember I relieved her mind by assuring her that there had been
a regular marriage. For poor young Reynolds's sake, I made farther
inquiries about the widow, intending, of course, to act as a friend, if
she was in any difficulty or distress. But I found, on inquiry at
her lodgings, that her brother had come from England for her, and had
carried her and her infant away. The active scenes,' continued the
count, 'in which I was immediately afterwards engaged, drove the whole
affair from my mind. Now that your questions have recalled them, I feel
certain of the facts I have mentioned; and I am ready to establish them
by my testimony.'

Lord Colambre thanked him with an eagerness that showed how much he was
interested in the event. It was clear, he said, either that the packet
left with the ambassador had not been delivered, or that the father of
Mr. Reynolds had suppressed the certificate of the marriage, as it had
never been acknowledged by him or by any of the family. Lord Colambre
now frankly told the count why he was so anxious about this affair; and
Count O'Halloran, with all the warmth of youth, and with all the ardent
generosity characteristic of his country, entered into his feelings,
declaring that he would never rest till he had established the truth.

'Unfortunately,' said the count, 'the ambassador who took the packet in
charge is dead. I am afraid we shall have difficulty.'

'But he must have had some secretary,' said Lord Colambre; 'who was his
secretary?--we can apply to him.'

'His secretary is now CHARGE D'AFFAIRES in Vienna--we cannot get at
him.'

'Into whose hands have that ambassador's papers fallen--who is his
executor?' said Lord Colambre.

'His executor!--now you have it,' cried the count. 'His executor is the
very man who will do your business--your friend Sir James Brooke is the
executor. All papers, of course, are in his hands; or he can have access
to any that are in the hands of the family. The family seat is within
a few miles of Sir James Brooke's, in Huntingdonshire, where, as I told
you before, he now is.'

'I'll go to him immediately--set out in the mail this night. Just in
time!' cried Lord Colambre, pulling out his watch with one hand, and
ringing the bell with the other.

'Run and take a place for me in the mail for Huntingdon. Go directly,'
said Lord Colambre to the servant.

'And take two places, if you please, sir,' said the count. 'My lord, I
will accompany you.'

But this Lord Colambre would not permit, as it would be unnecessary to
fatigue the good old general; and a letter from him to Sir James Brooke
would do all that the count could effect by his presence; the search
for the papers would be made by Sir James, and if the packet could be
recovered, or if any memorandum or mode of ascertaining that it had
actually been delivered to old Reynolds could be discovered, Lord
Colambre said he would then call upon the count for his assistance, and
trouble him to identify the packet; or to go with him to Mr. Reynolds to
make farther inquiries; and to certify, at all events, the young man's
dying acknowledgment of his marriage and of his child.

The place in the mail, just in time, was taken. Lord Colambre sent a
servant in search of his father, with a note explaining the necessity of
his sudden departure. All the business which remained to be done in town
he knew Lord Clonbrony could accomplish without his assistance. Then he
wrote a few lines to his mother, on the very sheet of paper on which, a
few hours before, he had sorrowfully and slowly begun--

MY DEAR MOTHER MISS NUGENT. He now joyfully and rapidly went on--MY DEAR
MOTHER AND MISS NUGENT, I hope to be with you on Wednesday se'nnight;
but if unforeseen circumstances should delay me, I will certainly write
to you again.--Dear mother, believe me, your obliged and grateful son,
COLAMBRE.

The count, in the meantime, wrote a letter for him to Sir James Brooke,
describing the packet which he had given to the ambassador, and relating
all the circumstances that could lead to its recovery. Lord Colambre,
almost before the wax was hard, seized possession of the letter; the
count seeming almost as eager to hurry him off as he was to set out. He
thanked the count with few words, but with strong feeling. Joy and love
returned in full tide upon our hero's soul; all the military ideas,
which but an hour before filled his imagination, were put to flight:
Spain vanished, and green Ireland reappeared.

Just as they shook hands at parting, the good old general, with a smile,
said to him, 'I believe I had better not stir in the matter of Benson's
commission till I hear more from you. My harangue, in favour of the
military profession, will, I fancy, prove like most other harangues, EN
PURE PERTE.'



CHAPTER XVI

In what words of polite circumlocution, or of cautious diplomacy, shall
we say, or hint, that the deceased ambassador's papers were found in
shameful disorder. His excellency's executor, Sir James Brooke, however,
was indefatigable in his researches. He and Lord Colambre spent two
whole days in looking over portfolios of letters and memorials, and
manifestoes, and bundles of paper of the most heterogeneous sorts; some
of them without any docket or direction to lead to a knowledge of their
contents; others written upon in such a manner as to give an erroneous
notion of their nature; so that it was necessary to untie every paper
separately. At last, when they had opened, as they thought, every paper,
and, wearied and in despair, were just on the point of giving up the
search, Lord Colambre spied a bundle of old newspapers at the bottom of
a trunk.

'They are only old Vienna Gazettes; I looked at them,' said Sir James.

Lord Colambre, upon this assurance, was going to throw them into the
trunk again; but observing that the bundle had not been untied, he
opened it, and within-side of the newspapers he found a rough copy of
the ambassador's journal, and with it the packet, directed to Ralph
Reynolds sen., Esq., Old Court, Suffolk, per favour of his excellency,
Earl --, a note on the cover, signed O'Halloran, stating when received
by him, and the date of the day when delivered to the ambassador--seals
unbroken. Our hero was in such a transport of joy at the sight of this
packet, and his friend Sir James Brooke so full of his congratulations,
that they forgot to curse the ambassador's carelessness, which had been
the cause of so much evil.

The next thing to be done was to deliver the packet to Ralph Reynolds,
Old Court, Suffolk. But when Lord Colambre arrived at Old Court,
Suffolk, he found all the gates locked, and no admittance to be had. At
last an old woman came out of the porter's lodge, who said Mr. Reynolds
was not there, and she could not say where he was. After our hero had
opened her heart by the present of half a guinea, she explained, that
she 'could not JUSTLY say where he was, because that he never let
anybody of his own people know where he was any day; he had several
different houses and places in different parts, and far-off counties,
and other shires, as she heard, and by times he was at one, and by times
at another.' The names of two of the places, Toddrington and Little
Wrestham, she knew; but there were others to which she could give no
direction. He had houses in odd parts of London, too, that he let; and
sometimes, when the lodgers' time was out, he would go, and be never
heard of for a month, maybe, in one of them. In short, there was no
telling or saying where he was or would be one day of the week, by where
he had been the last.'

When Lord Colambre expressed some surprise that an old gentleman, as he
conceived Mr. Ralph Reynolds to be, should change places so frequently,
the old woman answered, 'That though her master was a deal on the wrong
side of seventy, and though, to look at him, you'd think he was glued to
his chair, and would fall to pieces if he should stir out of it, yet was
as alert, and thought no more of going about, than if he was as young
as the gentleman who was now speaking to her. It was old Mr. Reynolds's
delight to come down and surprise his people at his different places,
and see that they were keeping all tight.'

'What sort of a man is he;--Is he a miser?' said Lord Colambre.

'He is a miser, and he is not a miser,' said the woman. 'Now he'd
think as much of the waste of a penny as another man would of a hundred
pounds, and yet he would give a hundred pounds easier than another would
give a penny, when he's in the humour. But his humour is very odd,
and there's no knowing where to have him; he's gross-grained, and more
POSITIVER-like than a mule; and his deafness made him worse in this,
because he never heard what nobody said, but would say on his own
way--he was very ODD but not CRACKED--no, he was as clear-headed, when
he took a thing the right way, as any man could be, and as clever, and
could talk as well as any member of Parliament,--and good-natured, and
kind-hearted, where he would take a fancy--but then, maybe, it would be
to a dog (he was remarkable fond of dogs), or a cat, or a rat even,
that he would take a fancy, and think more of 'em than he would of a
Christian. But, Poor gentleman, there's great allowance,' said she, 'to
be made for him, that lost his son and heir--that would have been heir
to all, and a fine youth that he doted upon. But,' continued the old
woman, in whose mind the transitions from GREAT to little, from serious
to trivial, were ludicrously abrupt, 'that was no reason why the old
gentleman should scold me last time he was here, as he did, for as long
as ever he could stand over me, only because I killed a mouse who was
eating my cheese; and, before night, he beat a boy for stealing a piece
of that same cheese; and he would never, when down here, let me set a
mouse-trap.'

'Well, my good woman,' interrupted Lord Colambre, who was little
interested in this affair of the mouse-trap, and nowise curious to
learn more of Mr. Reynolds's domestic economy, 'I'll not trouble you any
farther, if you can be so good as to tell me the road to Toddrington, or
to Little Wickham, I think you call it.'

Little Wickham!' repeated the woman, laughing--' Bless you, sir, where
do you come from?--It's Little Wrestham; surely everybody knows, near
Lantry; and keep the PIKE till you come to the turn at Rotherford, and
then you strike off into the by-road to the left, and then again turn at
the ford to the right. But, if you are going to Toddrington, you don't
go the road to market, which is at the first turn to the left, and the
cross-country road, where there's no quarter, and Toddrington lies--but
for Wrestham, you take the road to market.'

It was some time before our hero could persuade the old woman to stick
to Little Wrestham, or to Toddrington, and not to mix the directions for
the different roads together--he took patience, for his impatience only
confused his director the more. In process of time, he made out, and
wrote down, the various turns that he was to follow, to reach Little
Wrestham; but no human power could get her from Little Wrestham to
Toddrington, though she knew the road perfectly well; but she had, for
the seventeen last years, been used to go 'the other road,' and all the
carriers went that way, and passed the door, and that was all she could
certify.

Little Wrestham, after turning to the left and right as often as his
directory required, our hero happily reached; but, unhappily, he found
no Mr. Reynolds there; only a steward, who gave nearly the same account
of his master as had been given by the old woman, and could not guess
even where the gentleman might now be. Toddrington was as likely as any
place--but he could not say.

'Perseverance against fortune.' To Toddrington our hero proceeded,
through cross-country roads--such roads!--very different from the Irish
roads. Waggon ruts, into which the carriage wheels sunk nearly to the
nave--and, from time to time, 'sloughs of despond,' through which it
seemed impossible to drag, walk, wade, or swim, and all the time with a
sulky postillion. 'Oh, how unlike my Larry!' thought Lord Colambre.

At length, in a very narrow lane, going up a hill, said to be two miles
of ascent, they overtook a heavy laden waggon, and they were obliged to
go step by step behind it, whilst, enjoying the gentleman's impatience
much, and the postillion's sulkiness more, the waggoner, in his
embroidered frock, walked in state, with his long sceptre in his hand.

The postillion muttered 'curses not loud, but deep.' Deep or loud,
no purpose would they have answered; the waggoner's temper was proof
against curse in or out of the English language; and from their snail's
pace neither DICKENS nor devil, nor any postillion in England, could
make him put his horses. Lord Colambre jumped out of the chaise, and,
walking beside him, began to talk to him; and spoke of his horses, their
bells, their trappings; the beauty and strength of the thill-horse--the
value of the whole team, which his lordship happening to guess right
within ten pounds, and showing, moreover, some skill about road-making
and waggon-wheels, and being fortunately of the waggoner's own opinion
in the great question about conical and cylindrical rims, he was pleased
with the young chap of a gentleman; and, in spite of the chuffiness of
his appearance and churlishness of his speech, this waggoner's bosom
'being made of penetrating stuff,' he determined to let the gentleman
pass. Accordingly, when half-way up the hill, and the head of the
fore-horse came near an open gate, the waggoner, without saying one word
or turning his head, touched the horse with his long whip--and the horse
turned in at the gate, and then came--

'Dobbin!--Jeho!' and strange calls and sounds, which all the other
horses of the team obeyed; and the waggon turned into the farmyard.

'Now, master! while I turn, you may pass.'

The covering of the waggon caught in the hedge as the waggon turned
in; and as the sacking was drawn back, some of the packages were
disturbed--a cheese was just rolling off on the side next Lord Colambre;
he stopped it from falling; the direction caught his quick eye--'To
Ralph Reynolds, Esq.'--'TODDRINGTON' scratched out; 'Red Lion Square,
London,' written in another hand below.

'Now I have found him! And surely I know that hand!' said Lord Colambre
to himself, looking more closely at the direction.

The original direction was certainly in a handwriting well known to him
it was Lady Dashfort's.

'That there cheese, that you're looking at so cur'ously,' said the
waggoner, has been a great traveller; for it came all the way down from
Lon'on, and now it's going all the way up again back, on account of not
finding the gentleman at home; and the man that booked it told me as how
it came from foreign parts.'

Lord Colambre took down the direction, tossed the honest waggoner a
guinea, wished him good-night, passed, and went on. As soon as he could,
he turned into the London road--at the first town, got a place in the
mail--reached London--saw his father--went directly to his friend, Count
O'Halloran, who was delighted when he beheld the packet. Lord Colambre
was extremely eager to go immediately to old Reynolds, fatigued as
he was; for he had travelled night and day, and had scarcely allowed
himself, mind or body, one moment's repose.

'Heroes must sleep, and lovers too; or they soon will cease to be heroes
or lovers!' said the count. 'Rest, rest, perturbed spirit! this night;
and to-morrow morning we'll finish the adventure in Red Lion Square, or
I will accompany you when and where you will; if necessary, to earth's
remotest bounds.'

The next morning Lord Colambre went to breakfast with the count. The
count, who was not in love, was not up, for our hero was half an hour
earlier than the time appointed. The old servant Ulick, who had attended
his master to England, was very glad to see Lord Colambre again, and,
showing him into the breakfast parlour, could not help saying, in
defence of his master's punctuality--

'Your clocks, I suppose, my lord, are half an hour faster than ours; my
master will be ready to the moment.'

The count soon appeared--breakfast was soon over, and the carriage at
the door; for the count sympathised in his young friend's impatience.
As they were setting out, the count's large Irish dog pushed out of the
house door to follow them and his master would have forbidden him, but
Lord Colambre begged that he might be permitted to accompany them;
for his lordship recollected the old woman's having mentioned that Mr.
Reynolds was fond of dogs.

They arrived in Red Lion Square, found the house of Mr. Reynolds, and,
contrary to the count's prognostics, found the old gentleman up, and
they saw him in his red night-cap at his parlour window. After some
minutes' running backwards and forwards of a boy in the passage, and
two or three peeps taken over the blinds by the old gentleman, they were
admitted.

The boy could not master their names; so they were obliged reciprocally
to announce themselves--'Count O'Halloran and Lord Colambre.' The names
seemed to make no impression on the old gentleman; but he deliberately
looked at the count and his lordship, as if studying WHAT rather
than WHO they were. In spite of the red night-cap, and a flowered
dressing-gown, Mr. Reynolds looked like a gentleman, an odd
gentleman--but still a gentleman.

As Count O'Halloran came into the room, and as his large dog attempted
to follow, the count's voice expressed: 'Say, shall I let him in, or
shut the door?'

'Oh, let him in, by all means, sir, if you please! I am fond of dogs;
and a finer one I never saw; pray, gentlemen, be seated,' said he--a
portion of the complacency inspired by the sight of the dog, diffusing
itself over his manner towards the master of so fine an animal, and
even extending to the master's companion, though in an inferior degree.
Whilst Mr. Reynolds stroked the dog, the count told him that 'the dog
was of a curious breed, now almost extinct--the Irish greyhound, of
which only one nobleman in Ireland, it is said, has now a few of the
species remaining in his possession--Now, lie down, Hannibal,' said the
count. 'Mr. Reynolds, we have taken the liberty, though strangers, of
waiting upon you--'

'I beg your pardon, sir,' interrupted Mr. Reynolds; 'but did I
understand you rightly, that a few of the same species are still to
be had from one nobleman in Ireland? pray, what is his name?' said he,
taking out his pencil.

The count wrote the name for him, but observed, that 'he had asserted
only that a few of these dogs remained in the possession of that
nobleman; he could not answer for it that they were TO BE HAD.'

'Oh, I have ways and means,' said old Reynolds; and, rapping his
snuff-box, and talking, as it was his custom, loud to himself, 'Lady
Dashfort knows all those Irish lords; she shall get one for me--ay! ay!'

Count O'Halloran replied, as if the words had been addressed to him--

'Lady Dashfort is in England.'

'I know it, sir; she is in London,' said Mr. Reynolds, hastily. 'What do
you know of her?'

'I know, sir, that she is not likely to return to Ireland, and that
I am; and so is my young friend here; and if the thing can be
accomplished, we will get it done for you.'

Lord Colambre joined in this promise, and added that, 'if the dog
could be obtained, he would undertake to have him safely sent over to
England.'

'Sir--gentlemen! I'm much obliged; that is, when you have done the
thing I shall be much obliged. But, maybe, you are only making me civil
speeches!'

'Of that, sir,' said the count, smiling with much temper, 'your own
sagacity and knowledge of the world must enable you to judge.'

'For my own part, I can only say,' cried Lord Colambre, 'that I am
not in the habit of being reproached with saying one thing and meaning
another.'

'Hot! I see,' said old Reynolds, nodding, as he looked at Lord Colambre.
'Cool!' added he, nodding at the count. 'But a time for everything; I
was hot once--both answers good, for their ages.'

This speech Lord Colombre and the count tacitly agreed to consider as
another APART, which they were not to hear, or seem to hear. The count
began again on the business of their visit, as he saw that Lord Colambre
was boiling with impatience, and feared that he should BOIL OVER, and
spoil all. The count commenced with--

'Mr. Reynolds, your name sounds to me like the name of a friend; for
I had once a friend of that name; I had once the pleasure (and a very
great pleasure it was to me) to be intimately acquainted abroad, on the
Continent, with a very amiable and gallant youth--your son!'

'Take care, sir,' said the old man, starting up from his chair,
and instantly sinking down again--'take care! Don't mention him to
me--unless you would strike me dead on the spot!'

The convulsed motions of his fingers and face worked for some moments;
whilst the count and Lord Colambre, much shocked and alarmed, stood in
silence.

The convulsed motions ceased; and the old man unbuttoned his waistcoat,
as if to relieve some sense of expression; uncovered his gray hairs;
and, after leaning back to rest himself, with his eyes fixed, and
in reverie for a few moments, he sat upright again in his chair, and
exclaimed, as he looked round--

'Son!--Did not somebody say that word? Who is so cruel to say that word
before me? Nobody has ever spoken of him to me--but once, since his
death! Do you know, sir,' said he, fixing his eyes on Count O'Halloran,
and laying his cold hand on him, 'do you know where he was buried, I ask
you, sir? do you remember how he died?'

'Too well! too well!' cried the count, so much affected as to be
scarcely able to pronounce the words; 'he died in my arms; I buried him
myself!'

'Impossible!' cried Mr. Reynolds. 'Why do you say so, sir?' said
he, studying the count's face with a sort of bewildered earnestness.
'Impossible! His body was sent over to me in a lead coffin; and I saw it
and I was asked--and I answered, "in the family vault." But the shock is
over,' said he; 'and, gentlemen, if the business of your visit relates
to that subject, I trust I am now sufficiently composed to attend to
you. Indeed, I ought to be prepared; for I had reason, for years, to
expect the stroke; and yet, when it came, it seemed sudden!--it stunned
me--put an end to all my worldly prospects--left me childless, without
a single descendant or relation near enough to be dear to me! I am an
insulated being!'

'No, sir, you are not an insulated being,' said Lord Colambre 'you have
a near relation, who will, who must be dear to you; who will make you
amends for all you have lost, all you have suffered--who will bring
peace and joy to your heart. You have a grand-daughter.'

'No, sir; I have no grand-daughter,' said old Reynolds, his face and
whole form becoming rigid with the expression of obstinacy. 'Rather have
no descendant than be forced to acknowledge an illegitimate child.'

'My lord, I entreat as a friend--I command you to be patient,' said the
count, who saw Lord Colambre's indignation suddenly rise.

'So, then, this is the purpose of your visit,' continued old Reynolds;
'and you come from my enemies, from the St. Omars, and you are in a
league with them,' continued old Reynolds; 'and all this time it is of
my eldest son you have been talking.'

'Yes, sir,' replied the count; 'of Captain Reynolds, who fell in battle,
in the Austrian service, about nineteen years ago--a more gallant and
amiable youth never lived.'

Pleasure revived through the dull look of obstinacy in the father's
eyes.

'He was, as you say, sir, a gallant, an amiable youth, once and he
was my pride, and I loved him, too, once but did not you know I had
another?'

'No, sir, we did not--we are, you may perceive, totally ignorant of your
family and of your affairs we have no connexion whatever or knowledge of
any of the St. Omars.'

'I detest the sound of the name,' cried Lord Colambre.

'Oh, good! good!--Well! well! I beg your pardon, gentlemen, a thousand
times--I am a hasty, very hasty old man; but I have been harassed,
persecuted, hunted by wretches, who got a scent of my gold; often in
my rage I longed to throw my treasure-bags to my pursuers, and bid
them leave me to die in peace. You have feelings, I see, both of you,
gentlemen; excuse me, and bear with my temper.'

'Bear with you! Much enforced, the best tempers will emit a hasty
spark,' said the count, looking at Lord Colambre, who was now cool
again; and who, with a countenance full of compassion, sat with his eyes
fixed upon the poor--no, not the poor, but the unhappy old man.

'Yes, I had another son,' continued Mr. Reynolds, 'and on him all my
affections concentrated when I lost my eldest, and for him I desired to
preserve the estate which his mother brought into my family. Since you
know nothing of my affairs, let me explain to you; that estate was so
settled, that it would have gone to the child, even the daughter of my
eldest son, if there had been a legitimate child. But I knew there
was no marriage, and I held out firm to my opinion. "If there was
a marriage," said I, "show me the marriage certificate, and I will
acknowledge the marriage, and acknowledge the child;" but they could
not, and I knew they could not; and I kept the estate for my darling
boy,' cried the old gentleman, with the exultation of successful
positiveness again appearing strong in his physiognomy; but suddenly
changing and relaxing, his countenance fell, and he added, 'But now I
have no darling boy. What use all!--all must go to the heir-at-law, or
I must will it to a stranger--a lady of quality, who has just found
out she is my relation--God knows how--I'm no genealogist--and sends
me Irish cheese and Iceland moss, for my breakfast, and her
waiting-gentlewoman to namby-pamby me. Oh, I'm sick of it all--see
through it--wish I was blind--wish I had a hiding-place, where
flatterers could not find me--pursued, chased--must change my lodgings
again to-morrow--will, will--I beg your pardon, gentlemen, again; you
were going to tell me, sir, something more of my eldest son; and how I
was led away from the subject, I don't know; but I meant only to have
assured you that his memory was dear to me, till I was so tormented
about that unfortunate affair of his pretended marriage, that at length
I hated to hear him named; but the heir-at-law, at last, will triumph
over me.'

'No, my good sir, not if you triumph over yourself, and do justice,'
cried Lord Colambre; 'if you listen to the truth, which my friend will
tell you, and if you will read and believe the confirmation of it, under
your son's own hand, in this packet.'

'His own hand indeed! His seal unbroken. But how--when where--why was it
kept so long, and how came it into your hands?'

Count O'Halloran told Mr. Reynolds that the packet had been given to him
by Captain Reynolds on his deathbed; related the dying acknowledgment
which Captain Reynolds had made of his marriage; and gave an account
of the delivery of the packet to the ambassador, who had promised to
transmit it faithfully. Lord Colambre told the manner in which it had
been mislaid, and at last recovered from among the deceased ambassador's
papers. The father still gazed at the direction, and re-examined the
seals.

'My son's handwriting--my son's seals! But where is the certificate of
the marriage?' repeated he; 'if it is withinside of this packet, I have
done great IN--but I am convinced it never was a marriage. 'Yet I
wish now it could be proved--only, in that case, I have for years done
great--'

'Won't you open the packet, sir?' said Lord Colambre. Mr. Reynolds
looked up at him with a look that said, 'I don't clearly know what
interest you have in all this.' But, unable to speak, and his hands
trembling so that he could scarcely break the seals, he tore off the
cover, laid the papers before him, sat down, and took breath. Lord
Colambre, however impatient, had now too much humanity to hurry the
old gentleman; he only ran for the spectacles, which he espied on the
chimney-piece, rubbed them bright, and held them ready. Mr. Reynolds
stretched his hand out for them, put them on, and the first paper he
opened was the certificate of the marriage; he read it aloud, and,
putting it down, said--

'Now I acknowledge the marriage. I always said, if there is a marriage
there must be a certificate. And you see now there is a certificate I
acknowledge the marriage.'

'And now,' cried Lord Colambre, 'I am happy, positively happy.
Acknowledge your grand-daughter, sir--acknowledge Miss Nugent.'

'Acknowledge who, sir?'

'Acknowledge Miss Reynolds--your grand-daughter; I ask no more--do what
you will with your fortune.'

'Oh, now I understand--I begin to understand this young gentleman is
in love--but where is my grand-daughter?--how shall I know she is my
grand-daughter? I have not heard of her since she was an infant--I
forgot her existence--I have done her great injustice.'

'She knows nothing of it, sir,' said Lord Colambre, who now entered into
a full explanation of Miss Nugent's history, and of her connexion with
his family, and of his own attachment to her; concluding the whole by
assuring Mr. Reynolds that his grand-daughter had every virtue under
heaven. 'And as to your fortune, sir, I know that she will, as I do,
say--'

'No matter what she will say,' interrupted old Reynolds; 'where is she?
When I see her, I shall hear what she says. Tell me where she is let me
see her. I long to see whether there is any likeness to her poor father.
Where is she? Let me see her immediately.'

'She is one hundred and sixty miles off, sir, at Buxton.'

'Well, my lord, and what is a hundred and sixty miles? I suppose you
think I can't stir from my chair, but you are mistaken. I think
nothing of a journey of a hundred and sixty miles--I'm ready to set off
to-morrow--this instant.'

Lord Colambre said, that he was sure Miss Reynolds would obey her
grandfather's slightest summons, as it was her duty to do, and would be
with him as soon as possible, if this would be more agreeable to him. 'I
will write to her instantly,' said his lordship, 'if you will commission
me.'

'No, my lord, I do not commission--I will go--I think nothing, I say, of
a journey of a hundred and sixty miles--I'll go--and set out to-morrow
morning.'

Lord Colambre and the count, perfectly satisfied with the result of
their visit, now thought it best to leave old Reynolds at liberty to
rest himself, after so many strong and varied feelings. They paid their
parting compliments, settled the time for the next day's journey, and
were just going to quit the room when Lord Colambre heard in the passage
a well-known voice the voice of Mrs. Petito.

'Oh no, my compliments, and my Lady Dashfort's best compliments, and I
will call again.'

'No, no,' cried old Reynolds, pulling his bell; 'I'll have no calling
again--I'll be hanged if I do! Let her in now, and I'll see her--Jack!
let in that woman now or never.'

'The lady's gone, sir, out of the street door.'

'After her, then--now or never, tell her.'

'Sir, she was in a hackney coach.'

Old Reynolds jumped up, and went to the window himself, and, seeing the
hackney coachman just turning beckoned at the window, and Mrs. Petito
was set down again, and ushered in by Jack, who announced her as--

'The lady, sir.' The only lady he had seen in that house.

'My dear Mr. Reynolds, I'm so obliged to you for letting me in,' cried
Mrs. Petito, adjusting her shawl in the passage, and speaking in a voice
and manner well mimicked after her betters. 'You are so very good and
kind, and I am so much obliged to you.'

'You are not obliged to me, and I am neither good nor kind,' said old
Reynolds.

'You strange man,' said Mrs. Petito, advancing graceful in shawl
drapery; but she stopped short. 'My Lord Colambre and Count O'Halloran,
as I hope to be saved!'

'I did not know Mrs. Petito was an acquaintance of yours, gentlemen,'
said Mr. Reynolds, smiling shrewdly.

Count O'Halloran was too polite to deny his acquaintance with a lady
who challenged it by thus naming him; but he had not the slightest
recollection of her, though it seems he had met her on the stairs when
he visited Lady Dashfort at Killpatrickstown. Lord Colambre was 'indeed
UNDENIABLY AN OLD AQUAINTANCE:' and as soon as she had recovered from
her first natural start and vulgar exclamation, she with very easy
familiarity hoped 'My Lady Clonbrony, and my lord, and Miss Nugent, and
all her friends in the family, were well;' and said, 'she did not
know whether she was to congratulate his lordship or not upon Miss
Broadhurst, my Lady Berryl's marriage, but she should soon have to hope
for his lordship's congratulations for another marriage in HER present
family--lady Isabel to Colonel Heathcock, who has come in for a large
portion, and they are buying the wedding clothes--sights of clothes--and
the di'monds, this day; and Lady Dashfort and my Lady Isabel sent me
especially, sir, to you, Mr. Reynolds, and to tell you, sir, before
anybody else; and to hope the cheese COME safe up again at last; and
to ask whether the Iceland moss agrees with your chocolate, and is
palatable; it's the most DILUENT thing upon the universal earth, and the
most TONIC and fashionable--the DUTCHES of Torcaster takes it always for
breakfast, and Lady St. James' too is quite a convert, and I hear the
Duke of V--takes it too.'

'And the devil may take it too, for anything that I care,' said old
Reynolds.

'Oh, my dear, dear sir! you are so refractory a patient.'

'I am no patient at all, ma'am, and have no patience either; I am as
well as you are, or my Lady Dashfort either, and hope, God willing, long
to continue so.'

Mrs. Petito smiled aside at Lord Colambre, to mark her perception of the
man's strangeness. Then, in a cajoling voice, addressing herself to the
old gentleman--

'Long, long, I hope, to continue so, if Heaven grants my daily and
nightly prayers, and my Lady Dashfort's also. So, Mr. Reynolds, if the
ladies' prayers are of any avail, you ought to be purely, and I suppose
ladies' prayers have the precedency in efficacy. But it was not of
prayers and deathbed affairs I came commissioned to treat--not of
burials, which Heaven above forbid, but of weddings my diplomacy was to
speak; and to premise my Lady Dashfort would have come herself in her
carriage, but is hurried out of her senses, and my Lady Isabel could not
in proper modesty; so they sent me as their DOUBLE to hope you, my
dear Mr. Reynolds, who is one of the family relations, will honour the
wedding with your presence.'

'It would be no honour, and they know that as well as I do,' said the
intractable Mr. Reynolds. 'It will be no advantage, either; but that
they do not know as well as I do. Mrs. Petito, to save you and your lady
all trouble about me in future, please to let my Lady Dashfort know
that I have just received and read the certificate of my son Captain
Reynolds's marriage with Miss St. Omar. I have acknowledged the
marriage. Better late than never; and to-morrow morning, God willing,
shall set out with this young nobleman for Buxton, where I hope to see,
and intend publicly to acknowledge, my grand-daughter--provided she will
acknowledge me.'

'CRIMINI!' exclaimed Mrs. Petito, 'what new turns are here! Well, sir, I
shall tell my lady of the METAMORPHOSES that have taken place, though by
what magic (as I have not the honour to deal in the black art) I can't
guess. But, since it seems annoying and inopportune, I shall take my
FINALE, and shall thus have a verbal P.P.C.--as you are leaving town,
it seems, for Buxton so early in the morning. My Lord Colambre, if I
see rightly into a millstone, as I hope and believe I do on the present
occasion, I have to congratulate your lordship (haven't I?) upon
something like a succession, or a windfall, in this DENEWMENT. And I beg
you'll make my humble respects acceptable to the ci-devant Miss Grace
Nugent that was; and I won't DERROGATE her by any other name in the
interregnum, as I am persuaded it will only be a temporary name, scarce
worth assuming, except for the honour of the public adoption; and that
will, I'm confident, be soon exchanged for a viscount's title, or I have
no sagacity nor sympathy. I hope I don't (pray don't let me) put you to
the blush, my lord.'

Lord Colambre would not have let her, if he could have helped it.

'Count O'Halloran, your most obedient! I had the honour of meeting
you at Killpatrickstown,' said Mrs. Petito, backing to the door, and
twitching her shawl. She stumbled, nearly fell down, over the large
dog--caught by the door, and recovered herself. Hannibal rose and shook
his ears. 'Poor fellow! you are of my acquaintance too.' She would have
stroked his head; but Hannibal walked off indignant, and so did she.

Thus ended certain hopes; for Mrs. Petito had conceived that her
DIPLOMACY might be turned to account; that in her character of an
ambassadress, as Lady Dashfort's double, by the aid of Iceland moss in
chocolate, flattery properly administered; that, by bearing with all her
DEAR Mr. Reynolds's ODDNESSES and ROUGHNESES, she might in time--that is
to say, before he made a new will become his dear Mrs. Petito; or (for
stranger things have happened and do happen every day) his dear Mrs.
Reynolds! Mrs. Petito, however, was good at a retreat; and she flattered
herself that at least nothing of this underplot had appeared; and at all
events she secured by her services in this embassy, the long-looked-for
object of her ambition, Lady Dashfort's scarlet velvet gown--'not yet a
thread the worse for the wear!' One cordial look at this comforted her
for the loss of her expected OCTOGENAIRE; and she proceeded to discomfit
her lady, by repeating the message with which strange old Mr. Reynolds
had charged her. So ended all Lady Dashfort's hopes of his fortune.

Since the death of his youngest son, she had been indefatigable in her
attentions, and sanguine in her hopes; the disappointment affected both
her interest and her pride, as an INTRIGANTE. It was necessary, however,
to keep her feelings to herself; for if Heathcock should hear anything
of the matter before the articles were signed, he might 'be off!'--so
she put him and Lady Isabel into her coach directly--drove to Gray's, to
make sure at all events of the jewels.

In the meantime Count O'Halloran and Lord Colambre, delighted with the
result of their visit, took leave of Mr. Reynolds, after having arranged
the journey, and appointed the hour for setting off the next day.
Lord Colambre proposed to call upon Mr. Reynolds in the evening, and
introduce his father, Lord Clonbrony; but Mr. Reynolds said--

'No, no! I'm not ceremonious. I have given you proofs enough of that, I
think, in the short time we've been already acquainted. Time enough
to introduce your father to me when we are in a carriage, going our
journey; then we can talk, and get acquainted; but merely to come
this evening in a hurry, and say, "Lord Clonbrony, Mr. Reynolds;--Mr.
Reynolds, Lord Clonbrony," and then bob our two heads at one another,
and scrape one foot back, and away!--where's the use of that nonsense
at my time of life, or at any time of life? No, no! we have enough to do
without that, I daresay.--Good morning to you, Count O'Halloran! I thank
you heartily. From the first moment I saw you, I liked you; lucky too
that you brought your dog with you! 'Twas Hannibal made me first let you
in; I saw him over the top of the blind.--Hannibal, my good fellow! I'm
more obliged to you than you can guess.'

'So are we all,' said Lord Colambre.

Hannibal was well patted, and then they parted. In returning home they
met Sir James Brooke.

'I told you,' said Sir James, 'I should be in London almost as soon as
you. Have you found old Reynolds!'

'Just come from him.'

'How does your business prosper! I hope as well as mine.'

A history of all that had passed up to the present moment was given, and
hearty congratulations received.

'Where are you going now, Sir James?--cannot you come with us?' said
Lord Colambre and the count.

'Impossible,' replied Sir James;--'but, perhaps, you can come with
me--I'm going to Gray's, to give some old family diamonds, either to be
new set or exchanged. Count O'Halloran, I know you are a judge of these
things; pray, come and give me your opinion.'

'Better consult your bride elect!' said the count.

'No; she knows little of the matter--and cares less,' replied Sir James.

'Not so this bride elect, or I mistake her much,' said the count, as
they passed by the window and saw Lady Isabel, who, with Lady Dashfort,
had been holding consultation deep with the jeweller; and Heathcock,
playing PERSONNAGE MUET.

Lady Dashfort, who had always, as old Reynolds expressed it, 'her
head upon her shoulders'--presence of mind where her interests were
concerned--ran to the door before the count and Lord Colambre could
enter, giving a hand to each--as if they had all parted the best friends
in the world.

'How do? how do?--Give you joy! give me joy! and all that. But mind! not
a word,' said she, laying her finger upon her lips--'not a word before
Heathcock of old Reynolds, or of the best part of the old fool,--his
fortune!'

The gentlemen bowed, in sign of submission to her ladyship's commands;
and comprehended that she feared Heathcock might be OFF, if the best
part of his bride (her fortune, or her EXPECTATIONS) were lowered in
value or in prospect.

'How low is she reduced,' whispered Lord Colambre, 'when such a husband
is thought a prize--and to be secured by a manoeuvre!' He sighed.

'Spare that generous sigh!' said Sir James Brooke; 'it is wasted.'

Lady Isabel, as they approached, turned from a mirror, at which she
was trying on a diamond crescent. Her face clouded at sight of Count
O'Halloran and Lord Colambre, and grew dark as hatred when she saw Sir
James Brooke. She walked away to the farther end of the shop, and asked
one of the shopmen the price of a diamond necklace which lay upon the
counter.

The man said, 'He really did not know; it belonged to Lady Oranmore; it
had just been new set for one of her ladyship's daughters, who is going
to be married to Sir James Brooke--one of the gentlemen, my lady, who
are just come in.'

Then, calling to his master, he asked him the price of the necklace; he
named the value, which was considerable.

'I really thought Lady Oranmore and her daughters were vastly too
philosophical to think of diamonds,' said Lady Isabel to her mother,
with a sort of sentimental sneer in her voice and countenance. 'But it
is some comfort to me to find, in these pattern-women, philosophy and
love do not so wholly engross the heart, that they "feel every vanity in
fondness lost."'

''Twould be difficult, in some cases,' thought many present.

''Pon honour, di'monds are cursed expensive things, I know!' said
Heathcock. 'But, be that as it may,' whispered he to the lady, though
loud enough to be heard by others, 'I've laid a damned round wager, that
no woman's diamonds married this winter, under a countess, in Lon'on,
shall eclipse Lady Isabel Heathcock's!--and Mr. Gray here's to be
judge.'

Lady Isabel paid for this promise one of her sweetest smiles; with one
of those smiles which she had formerly bestowed upon Lord Colambre,
and which he had once fancied expressed so much sensibility--such
discriminative and delicate application. Our hero felt so much contempt,
that he never wasted another sigh of pity for her degradation. Lady
Dashfort came up to him as he was standing alone; and, whilst the count
and Sir James were settling about the diamonds--

'My Lord Colambre,' said she, in a low voice, 'I know your thoughts, and
I could moralise as well as you, if I did not prefer laughing--you are
right enough; and so am I, and so is Isabel; we are all right. For look
here: women have not always the liberty of choice, and therefore they
can't be expected to have always the power of refusal.'

The mother, satisfied with her convenient optimism, got into her
carriage with her daughter, her daughter's diamonds, and her precious
son-in-law, her daughter's companion for life.

'The more I see,' said Count O'Halloran to Lord Colambre, as they left
the shop, 'the more I find reason to congratulate you upon your escape,
my dear lord.'

'I owe it not to my own wit or wisdom,' said Lord Colambre; 'but much
to love, and much to friendship,' added he, turning to Sir James Brooke;
'here was the friend who early warned me against the siren's voice; who,
before I knew Lady Isabel, told me what I have since found to be true,
that,

     'Two passions alternately govern her fate--
      Her business is love, but her pleasure is hate.'

'That is dreadfully severe, Sir James,' said Count O'Halloran; 'but I am
afraid it is just.'

'I am sure it is just, or I would not have said it,' replied Sir James
Brooke. 'For the foibles of the sex, I hope, I have as much indulgence
as any man, and for the errors of passion as much pity; but I cannot
repress the indignation, the abhorrence I feel against women, cold and
vain, who use their wit and their charms only to make others miserable.'

Lord Colambre recollected at this moment Lady Isabel's look and voice,
when she declared that 'she would let her little finger be cut off to
purchase the pleasure of inflicting on Lady de Cresey, for one hour, the
torture of jealousy.'

'Perhaps,' continued Sir James Brooke, 'now that I am going to marry
into an Irish family, I may feel, with peculiar energy, disapprobation
of this mother and daughter on another account; but you, Lord Colambre,
will do me the justice to recollect that, before I had any personal
interest in the country, I expressed, as a general friend to Ireland,
antipathy to those who return the hospitality they received from
a warm-hearted people, by publicly setting the example of elegant
sentimental hypocrisy, or daring disregard of decorum, by privately
endeavouring to destroy the domestic peace of families, on which,
at last, public as well as private virtue and happiness depend. I do
rejoice, my dear Lord Colambre, to hear you say that I had any share in
saving you from the siren; and now, I will never speak of these ladies
more. I am sorry you cannot stay in town to see--but why should I be
sorry--we shall meet again, I trust, and I shall introduce you; and you,
I hope, will introduce me to a very different charmer. Farewell!--you
have my warm good wishes wherever you go.'

Sir James turned off quickly to the street in which Lady Oranmore lived,
and Lord Colambre had not time to tell him that he knew and admired his
intended bride. Count O'Halloran promised to do this for him. 'And now,'
said the good count, 'I am to take leave of you; and I assure you I do
it with so much reluctance that nothing less than positive engagements
to stay in town would prevent me from setting off with you to-morrow;
but I shall be soon, very soon, at liberty to return to Ireland; and
Clonbrony Castle, if you will give me leave, I will see before I see
Halloran Castle.'

Lord Colambre joyfully thanked his friend for this promise.

'Nay, it is to indulge myself. I long to see you happy--long to behold
the choice of such a heart as yours. Pray do not steal a march upon
me--let me know in time. I will leave everything--even the siege of--for
your wedding. But I trust I shall be in time.'

'Assuredly you will, my dear count; if ever that wedding--'

'IF,' repeated the count.

'IF,' repeated Lord Colambre. 'Obstacles which, when we last parted,
appeared to me invincible, prevented my having ever even attempted to
make an impression on the heart of the woman I love; and if you knew
her, count, as well as I do, you would know that her love could "not
unsought be won."'

'Of that I cannot doubt, or she would not be your choice; but when her
love is sought, we have every reason to hope,' said the count, smiling,
'that it may, because it ought to be won by tried honour and affection.
I only require to be left in hope.'

'Well, I leave you hope,' said Lord Colambre; 'Miss Nugent--Miss
Reynolds, I should say, has been in the habit of considering a union
with me as impossible; my mother early instilled this idea into her
mind. Miss Nugent thought that duty forbad her to think of me; she told
me so: I have seen it in all her conduct and manners. The barriers
of habit, the ideas of duty, cannot, ought not, to be thrown down or
suddenly changed in a well-regulated female mind. And you, I am sure,
know enough of the best female hearts, to be aware that time--'

'Well, well, let this dear good charmer take her own time, provided
there's none given to affectation, or prudery, or coquetry; and from
all these, of course, she must be free; and of course I must be content.
ADIEU AU REVOIR.'



CHAPTER XVII

As Lord Colambre was returning home, he was overtaken by Sir Terence
O'Fay.

'Well, my lord,' cried Sir Terence, out of breath, 'you have led me a
pretty dance all over the town; here's a letter somewhere down in my
safe pocket for you, which has cost me trouble enough. Phoo! where is
it now?--it's from Miss Nugent,' said he, holding up the letter. The
direction to Grosvenor Square, London, had been scratched out; and it
had been re-directed by Sir Terence to the Lord Viscount Colambre, at
Sir James Brooke's, Bart., Brookwood, Huntingdonshire, or elsewhere,
with speed. 'But the more haste the worse speed; for away it went to
Brookwood, Huntingdonshire, where I knew, if anywhere, you was to be
found; but, as fate and the post would have it, there the letter went
coursing after you, while you were running round, and back and forwards,
and everywhere, I understand, to Toddrington and Wrestham, and where
not, through all them English places, where there's no cross-post; so I
took it for granted that it found its way to the dead-letter office,
or was sticking up across a pane in the d--d postmaster's window at
Huntingdon, for the whole town to see, and it a love-letter, and some
puppy to claim it, under false pretence; and you all the time without
it, and it might breed a coolness betwixt you and Miss Nugent.'

'But, my dear Sir Terence, give me the letter now you have me.'

'Oh, my dear lord, if you knew what a race I have had, missing you here
by five minutes, and there by five seconds--but I have you at last,
and you have it--and I'm paid this minute for all I liquidated of my
substance, by the pleasure I have in seeing you crack the seal and read
it. But take care you don't tumble over the orange woman--orange barrows
are a great nuisance, when one's studying a letter in the streets of
London, or the metropolis. But never heed; stick to my arm, and I'll
guide you, like a blind man, safe through the thick of them.'

Miss Nugent's letter, which Lord Colambre read in spite of the jostling
of passengers, and the incessant talking of Sir Terence, was as
follows:--

Let me not be the cause of banishing you from your home and your
country, where you would do so much good, and make so many happy. Let me
not be the cause of your breaking your promise to your mother; of your
disappointing my dear aunt, so cruelly, who has complied with all our
wishes, and who sacrifices, to oblige us, her favourite tastes. How
could she ever be happy in Ireland--how could Clonbrony Castle be a home
to her, without her son? if you take away all she had of amusement
and PLEASURE, as it is called, are not you bound to give her, in their
stead, that domestic happiness, which she can enjoy only with you, and
by your means? If, instead of living with her, you go into the army, she
will be in daily, nightly anxiety and alarm about you; and her son will,
instead of being a comfort, be a source of torment to her.

I will hope that you will do now, as you have always hitherto done, on
every occasion where I have seen you act, what is right, and just, and
kind. Come here on the day you promised my aunt you would; before that
time I shall be in Cambridgeshire, with my friend Lady Berryl; she is
so good as to come to Buxton for me--I shall remain with her, instead of
returning to Ireland. I have explained my reasons to my dear aunt--Could
I have any concealment from her, to whom, from my earliest childhood,
I owe everything that kindness and affection could give? She is
satisfied--she consents to my living henceforward with Lady Berryl. Let
me have the pleasure of seeing, by your conduct, that you approve of
mine.--Your affectionate cousin and friend, GRACE NUGENT.

This letter, as may be imagined by those who, like him, are capable
of feeling honourable and generous conduct, gave our hero exquisite
pleasure. Poor, good-natured Sir Terence O'Fay enjoyed his lordship's
delight; and forgot himself so completely, that he never even inquired
whether Lord Colambre had thought of an affair on which he had spoken
to him some time before, and which materially concerned Sir Terence's
interest. The next morning, when the carriage was at the door, and Sir
Terence was just taking leave of his friend Lord Clonbrony, and actually
in tears, wishing them all manner of happiness, though he said there was
none left now in London, or the wide world, even, for him--Lord Colambre
went up to him, and said, 'Sir Terence, you have never inquired whether
I have done your business?'

'Oh, my dear, I'm not thinking of that now--time enough by the post--I
can write after you; but my thoughts won't turn for me to business now
no matter.'

'Your business is done,' replied Lord Colambre.

'Then I wonder how you could think of it, with all you had upon your
mind and heart. When anything's upon my heart, good morning to my head,
it's not worth a lemon. Good-bye to you, and thank you kindly, and all
happiness attend you.'

'Good-bye to you, Sir Terence O'Fay,' said Lord Clonbrony; 'and, since
it's so ordered, I must live without you.'

'Oh! you'll live better without me! my lord; I am not a good liver, I
know, nor the best of all companions for a nobleman, young or old; and
now you'll be rich, and not put to your shifts and your wits, what would
I have to do for you?--Sir Terence O'Fay, you know, was only THE POOR
NOBLEMAN'S FRIEND, and you'll never want to call upon him again, thanks
to your jewel, your Pitt's-di'mond of a son there. So we part here, and
depend upon it you're better without me--that's all my comfort, or my
heart would break. The carriage is waiting this long time, and this
young lover's itching to be off. God bless you both!--that's my last
word.'

They called in Red Lion Square, punctual to the moment, on old Mr.
Reynolds, but his window-shutters were shut; he had been seized in the
night with a violent fit of the gout, which, as he said, held him fast
by the leg. 'But here,' said he, giving Lord Colambre a letter, 'here's
what will do your business without me. Take this written acknowledgment
I have penned for you, and give my grand-daughter her father's letter to
read--it would touch a heart of stone--touched mine--wish I could drag
the mother back out of her grave, to do her justice--all one now. You
see at last I'm not a suspicious rascal, however, for I don't suspect
you of palming a false grand-daughter upon me.'

'Will you,' said Lord Colambre, 'give your grand-daughter leave to come
up to town to you, sir? You would satisfy yourself, at least, as to
what resemblance she may bear to her father; Miss Reynolds will come
instantly, and she will nurse you.'

'No, no; I won't have her come. If she comes, I won't see her--shan't
begin by nursing me--not selfish. As soon as I get rid of this gout, I
shall be my own man, and young again, and I'll soon be after you across
the sea, that shan't stop me; I'll come to--what's the name of your
place in Ireland? and see what likeness I can find to her poor father
in this grand-daughter of mine, that you puffed so finely yesterday. And
let me see whether she will wheedle me as finely as Mrs. Petito would.
Don't get ready your marriage settlements, do you hear, till you have
seen my will, which I shall sign at--what's the name of your place?
Write it down there; there's pen and ink; and leave me, for the twinge
is coming, and I shall roar.'

'Will you permit me, sir, to leave my own servant with you to take care
of you? I can answer for his attention and fidelity.'

'Let me see his face, and I'll tell you.' Lord Colambre's servant was
summoned.

'Yes, I like his face. God bless you!--Leave me.'

Lord Colambre gave his servant a charge to bear with Mr. Reynolds's
rough manner and temper, and to pay the poor old gentleman every
possible attention. Then our hero proceeded with his father on his
journey, and on this journey nothing happened worthy of note. On his
first perusal of the letter from Grace, Lord Colambre had feared that
she would have left Buxton with Lady Berryl before he could reach it;
but, upon recollection, he hoped that the few lines he had written,
addressed to his mother AND Miss Nugent, with the assurance that he
should be with them on Wednesday, would be sufficient to show her that
some great change had happened, and consequently sufficient to
prevent her from quitting her aunt, till she could know whether such a
separation would be necessary. He argued wisely, more wisely than Grace
had reasoned; for, notwithstanding this note, she would have left Buxton
before his arrival, but for Lady Berryl's strength of mind, and positive
determination not to set out with her till Lord Colambre should arrive
to explain. In the interval, poor Grace was, indeed, in an anxious state
of suspense; and her uncertainty, whether she was doing right or wrong,
by staying to see Lord Colambre, tormented her most.

'My dear, you cannot help yourself; be quiet,' said Lady Berryl; 'I will
take the whole upon my conscience; and I hope my conscience may never
have anything worse to answer for.'

Grace was the first person who, from her window, saw Lord Colambre,
the instant the carriage drove to the door. She ran to her friend Lady
Berryl's apartment--'He is come!--Now, take me away!'

'Not yet, my sweet friend! Lie down upon this sofa, if you please; and
keep yourself tranquil, whilst I go and see what you ought to do; and
depend upon me for a true friend, in whose mind, as in your own, duty is
the first object.'

'I depend on you entirely,' said Grace, sinking down on the sofa; 'and
you see I obey you!'

'Many thanks to you for lying down, when you can't stand.'

Lady Berryl went to Lady Clonbrony's apartment; she was met by Sir
Arthur.

'Come, my love! come quick!--Lord Colambre is arrived.'

'I know it; and does he go to Ireland? Speak instantly, that I may tell
Grace Nugent.'

'You can tell her nothing yet, my love; for we know nothing. Lord
Colambre will not say a word till you come; but I know, by his
countenance, that he has good and extraordinary news.'

They passed rapidly along the passage to Lady Clonbrony's room.

'Oh, my dear, dear Lady Berryl, come! or I shall die with impatience,'
cried Lady Clonbrony, in a voice and manner between laughing and crying.
'There, now you have congratulated, are very happy, and very glad, and
all that--now, for mercy's sake, sit down, Lord Clonbrony! for Heaven's
sake, sit down--beside me here--or anywhere! Now, Colambre, begin; and
tell us all at once!'

But as nothing is so tedious as a twice-told tale, Lord Colambre's
narrative need not here be repeated. He began with Count O'Halloran's
visit, immediately after Lady Clonbrony had left London; and went
through the history of the discovery that Captain Reynolds was
the husband of Miss St. Omar, and the father of Grace; the dying
acknowledgment of his marriage; the packet delivered by Count O'Halloran
to the careless ambassador--how recovered, by the assistance of his
executor, Sir James Brooke; the travels from Wrestham to Toddrington,
and thence to Red Lion Square; the interview with old Reynolds, and its
final result; all was related as succinctly as the impatient curiosity
of Lord Colambre's auditors could desire.

'Oh, wonder upon wonder! and joy upon joy!' cried Lady Clonbrony. 'So my
darling Grace is as legitimate as I am, and an heiress after all. Where
is she? where is she? In your room, Lady Berryl?--Oh, Colambre! why
wouldn't you let her be by?--Lady Berryl, do you know, he would not
let me send for her, though she was the person of all others most
concerned!'

'For that very reason, ma'am; and that Lord Colambre was quite right, I
am sure you must be sensible, when you recollect, that Grace has no idea
that she is not the daughter of Mr. Nugent; she has no suspicion that
the breath of blame ever lighted upon her mother. This part of the story
cannot be announced to her with too much caution; and, indeed, her mind
has been so much harassed and agitated, and she is at present so far
from strong, that great delicacy--'

'True! very true, Lady Berryl,' interrupted Lady Clonbrony; 'and I'll
be as delicate as you please about it afterwards; but, in the first and
foremost place, I must tell her the best part of the story--that she's
an heiress, madam, never killed anybody!' So, darting through all
opposition, Lady Clonbrony made her way into the room where Grace was
lying--'Yes, get up! get up! my own Grace, and be surprised--well you
may!--you are an heiress, after all.'

'Am I, my dear aunt?' said Grace.

'True, as I'm Lady Clonbrony--and a very great heiress--and no more
Colambre's cousin than Lady Berryl here. So now begin and love him as
fast as you please--I give my consent--and here he is.'

Lady Clonbrony turned to her son, who just appeared at the door.

'Oh, mother! what have you done?'

'What have I done?' cried Lady Clonbrony, following her son's
eyes:--'Lord bless me!--Grace fainted dead--lady Berryl? Oh, what have I
done? My dear Lady Berryl, what shall we do?'

'There! her colour's coming again,' said Lord Clonbrony; 'come away, my
dear Lady Clonbrony, for the present, and so will I--though I long to
talk to the darling girl myself; but she is not equal to it yet.'

When Grace came to herself, she first saw Lady Berryl leaning over her,
and, raising herself a little, she said--

'What has happened?--I don't know yet--I don't know whether I am happy
or not.'

Then seeing Lord Colambre, she sat quite upright. 'You received my
letter, cousin, I hope?--Do you go to Ireland with my aunt?'

'Yes; and with you, I hope, my beloved friend,' said Colambre; 'you once
assured me that I had such a share of your esteem and affection, that
the idea of my accompanying you to Ireland was not disagreeable to you;
you flattered me that I formed part of your agreeable associations with
home.'

'Yes--sit down by me, won't you, my dear Lady Berryl--but then I
considered you as my cousin, Lord Colambre, and I thought you felt the
same towards me; but now--'

'But now, my charming Grace,' said Lord Colambre, kneeling beside her,
and taking her hand, 'no invincible obstacle opposes my passion--no
INVINCIBLE obstacle, did I say? let me hope that I may say no obstacle,
but what depends on the change in the nature of your sentiments. You
heard my mother's consent; you saw her joy.'

'I scarcely knew what I heard or saw,' said Grace, blushing deeply, 'or
what I now see and hear; but of this I feel secure, before I comprehend
the mystery, before you explain to me the causes of your--change of
conduct, that you have never been actuated by caprice, but governed by
wise and honourable motives. As to my going to Ireland, or remaining
with Lady Berryl, she has heard all the circumstances--she is my friend
and yours--a better friend cannot be; to her I appeal--she will decide
for me what I OUGHT to do; she promised to take me from hence instantly,
if I ought to go.'

'I did; and I would do so without hesitation, if any duty or any
prudence required it. But, after having heard all the circumstances, I
can only tell you that I willingly resign the pleasure of your company.'

'But tell her, my dear Lady Berryl,' said Lord Colambre, 'excellent
friend as you are--explain to her you can, better than any of us, all
that is to be known; let her know my whole conduct, and then let her
decide for herself, and I shall submit to her decision. It is difficult,
my dear Grace, to restrain the expression of love, of passion, such as
I feel; but I have some power over myself--you know it--and this I can
promise you, that your affections shall be free as air--that: no wishes
of friends, no interference, nothing but your own unbiassed choice
will I allow, if my life depended upon it, to operate in my favour. Be
assured, my dearest Grace,' added he, smiling as he retired, 'you shall
have time to know whether you are happy or not.'

The moment he had left the room, she threw herself into the arms of her
friend, and her heart, oppressed with various feelings, was relieved by
tears--a species of relief to which she was not habituated.

'I am happy,' said she; 'but what was the INVINCIBLE OBSTACLE?--what
was the meaning of my aunt's words?--and what was the cause of her joy?
Explain all this to me, my dear friend; for I am still as if I were in a
dream.'

With all the delicacy which Lady Clonbrony deemed superfluous Lady
Berryl explained. Nothing could surpass the astonishment of Grace, on
first learning that Mr. Nugent was not her father. When she was told
of the stigma that had been cast on her birth; the suspicions, the
disgrace, to which her mother had been subjected for so many years--that
mother, whom she had so loved and respected; who had, with such care,
instilled into the mind of her daughter the principles of virtue and
religion; that mother whom Grace had always seen the example of every
virtue she taught; on whom her daughter never suspected that the touch
of blame, the breath of scandal, could rest--Grace could express
her sensations only by repeating, in tones of astonishment, pathos,
indignation--'My mother!--my mother!--my mother!'

For some time she was incapable of attending to any other idea, or
of feeling any other sensations. When her mind was able to admit the
thought, her friend soothed her, by recalling the expressions of Lord
Colambre's love--the struggle by which he had been agitated, when he
fancied a union with her opposed by an invincible obstacle.

Grace sighed, and acknowledged that, in prudence, it ought to have been
an invincible obstacle she admired the firmness of his decision, the
honour with which he had acted towards her. One moment she exclaimed,
'Then, if I had been the daughter of a mother who had conducted herself
ill, he never would have trusted me!'

The next moment she recollected, with pleasure, the joy she had just
seen in his eyes--the affection, the passion, that spoke in every word
and look; then dwelt upon the sober certainty, that all obstacles were
removed.

'And no duty opposes my loving him! And my aunt wishes it! my kind aunt!
And I may think of him.--You, my best friend, would not assure me of
this if you were not certain of the truth.--Oh, how can I thank you for
all your kindness, and for that best of all kindness, sympathy. You see,
your calmness, your strength of mind supports and tranquillises me. I
would rather have heard all I have just learnt from you than from any
other person living. I could not have borne it from any one else. No one
else knows my mind so perfectly--yet my aunt is very good,--and my dear
uncle! should not I go to him?--But he is not my uncle, she is not my
aunt. I cannot bring myself to think that they are not my relations, and
that I am nothing to them.'

'You may be everything to them, my dear Grace,' said Lady Berryl;
'whenever you please, you may be their daughter.'

Grace blushed, and smiled, and sighed, and was consoled. But then she
recollected her new relation Mr. Reynolds, her grandfather, whom she
had never seen, who had for years disowned her--treated her mother with
injustice. She could scarcely think of him with complaisancy; yet,
when his age, his sufferings, his desolate state, were represented, she
pitied him; and, faithful to her strong sense of duty, would have gone
instantly to offer him every assistance and attention in her power. Lady
Berryl assured her that Mr. Reynolds had positively forbidden her going
to him; and that he had assured Lord Colambre he would not see her
if she went to him. After such rapid and varied emotions, poor Grace
desired repose, and her friend took care that it should be secured to
her for the remainder of the day.

In the meantime, Lord Clonbrony had kindly and judiciously employed his
lady in a discussion about certain velvet furniture, which Grace had
painted for the drawing-room at Clonbrony Castle.

In Lady Clonbrony's mind, as in some bad paintings, there was no
KEEPING; all objects, great and small, were upon the same level.

The moment her son entered the room, her ladyship exclaimed--

'Everything pleasant at once! Here's your father tells me, Grace's
velvet furniture's all packed; really, Soho's the best man in the world
of his kind, and the cleverest--and so, after all, my dear Colambre, as
I always hoped and prophesied, at last you will marry an heiress.'

'And Terry,' said Lord Clonbrony, 'will win his wager from Mordicai.'

'Terry!' repeated Lady Clonbrony, 'that odious Terry!--I hope, my lord,
that he is not to be one of my comforts in Ireland.'

'No, my dear mother; he is much better provided for than we could have
expected. One of my father's first objects was to prevent him from being
any encumbrance to you. We consulted him as to the means of making
him happy; and the knight acknowledged that he had long been casting
a sheep's eye at a little snug place, that will soon be open, in his
native country--the chair of assistant barrister at the sessions.
"Assistant barrister!" said my father; "but, my dear Terry, you have all
your life been evading the laws, and very frequently breaking the peace;
do you think this has qualified you peculiarly for being a guardian of
the laws?" Sir Terence replied, "Yes, sure; set a thief to catch a thief
is no bad maxim. And did not Mr. Colquhoun, the Scotchman, get himself
made a great justice, by his making all the world as wise as himself,
about thieves of all sorts, by land and by water, and in the air too,
where he detected the mud-larks?--And is not Barrington chief-justice of
Botany Bay?"

'My father now began to be seriously alarmed, lest Sir Terence should
insist upon his using his interest to make him an assistant barrister.
He was not aware that five years' practice at the bar was a necessary
accomplishment for this office; when, fortunately for all parties,
my good friend, Count O'Halloran, helped us out of the difficulty, by
starting an idea full of practical justice. A literary friend of the
count's had been for some time promised a lucrative situation under
Government; but, unfortunately, he was a man of so much merit and
ability, that they could not find employment for him at home, and they
gave him a commission, I should rather say a contract, abroad, for
supplying the army with Hungarian horses. Now the gentleman had not the
slightest skill in horseflesh; and, as Sir Terence is a complete jockey,
the count observed that he would be the best possible deputy for his
literary friend. We warranted him to be a thoroughgoing friend; and I do
think the coalition will be well for both parties. The count has settled
it all, and I left Sir Terence comfortably provided for, out of your
way, my dear mother, and as happy as he could be, when parting from my
father.'

Lord Colambre was assiduous in engaging his mother's attention upon
any subject which could for the present draw her thoughts away from
her young friend; but, at every pause in the conversation, her ladyship
repeated, 'So Grace is an heiress, after all--so, after all, they know
they are not cousins! Well! I prefer Grace, a thousand times over, to
any other heiress in England. No obstacle, no objection. They have my
consent. I always prophesied Colambre would marry an heiress; but why
not marry directly?'

Her ardour and impatience to hurry things forward seemed now likely to
retard the accomplishment of her own wishes; and Lord Clonbrony, who
understood rather more of the passion of love than his lady ever had
felt or understood, saw the agony into which she threw her son, and felt
for his darling Grace. With a degree of delicacy and address of which
few would have supposed Lord Clonbrony capable, his lordship co-operated
with his son in endeavours to keep Lady Clonbrony quiet, and to suppress
the hourly thanksgivings of Grace's TURNING OUT AN HEIRESS. On one
point, however, she vowed she would not be overruled--she would have a
splendid wedding at Clonbrony Castle, such as should become an heir
and heiress; and the wedding, she hoped, would be immediately on their
return to Ireland; she should announce the thing to her friends directly
on her arrival at Clonbrony Castle.

'My dear,' said Lord Clonbrony, 'we must wait, in the first place, the
pleasure of old Mr. Reynolds's fit of the gout.'

'Why, that's true, because of his will,' said her ladyship; 'but a
will's soon made, is not it? That can't be much delay.'

'And then there must be settlements,' said Lord Clonbrony; 'they take
time. Lovers, like all the rest of mankind, must submit to the law's
delay. In the meantime, my dear, as these Buxton baths agree with you
so well, and as Grace does not seem to be over and above strong for
travelling a long journey, and as there are many curious and beautiful
scenes of nature here in Derbyshire--Matlock, and the wonders of the
Peak, and so on--which the young people would be glad to see together,
and may not have another opportunity soon--why not rest ourselves a
little? For another reason, too,' continued his lordship, bringing
together as many arguments as he could--for he had often found,
that though Lady Clonbrony was a match for any single argument, her
understanding could be easily overpowered by a number, of whatever
sort--'besides, my dear, here's Sir Arthur and Lady Berryl come to
Buxton on purpose to meet us; and we owe them some compliment, and
something more than compliment, I think; so I don't see why we should
be in a hurry to leave them, or quit Buxton--a few weeks sooner or later
can't signify--and Clonbrony Castle will be getting all the while into
better order for us. Burke is gone down there; and if we stay here
quietly, there will be time for the velvet furniture to get there before
us, and to be unpacked, and up in the drawing-room.'

'That's true, my lord,' said Lady Clonbrony; 'and there is a great deal
of reason in all you say--so I second that motion, as Colambre, I see,
subscribes to it.'

They stayed some time in Derbyshire, and every day Lord Clonbrony
proposed some pleasant excursion, and contrived that the young people
should be left to themselves, as Mrs. Broadhurst used so strenuously to
advise; the recollection of whose authoritative maxims fortunately still
operated upon Lady Clonbrony, to the great ease and advantage of the
lovers.

Happy as a lover, a friend, a son; happy in the consciousness of having
restored a father to respectability, and persuaded a mother to quit the
feverish joys of fashion for the pleasures of domestic life; happy in
the hope of winning the whole heart of the woman he loved, and whose
esteem, he knew, he possessed and deserved; happy in developing every
day, every hour, fresh charm in his destined bride--we leave our hero,
returning to his native country.

And we leave him with the reasonable expectation that he will support
through life the promise of his early character; that his patriotic
views will extend with his power to carry wishes into action; that
his attachment to his warm-hearted countrymen will still increase upon
further acquaintance; and that he will long diffuse happiness through
the wide circle, which is peculiarly subject to the influence and
example of a great resident Irish proprietor.


LETTER FROM LARRY TO HIS BROTHER, PAT BRADY, AT MR. MORDICAI'S,
COACHMAKER, LONDON.

MY DEAR BROTHER,

Yours of the 26th, inclosing the five pound note for my father, came
safe to hand Monday last; and with his thanks and blessing to you, he
commends it to you herewith inclosed back again, on account of his being
in no immediate necessity, nor likelihood to want in future, as you
shall hear forthwith; but wants you over with all speed, and the note
will answer for travelling charges; for we can't enjoy the luck it has
pleased God to give us without YEES: put the rest in your pocket, and
read it when you've time.

Old Nick's gone, and St. Dennis along with him, to the place he come
from--praise be to God! The ould lord has found him out in his tricks;
and I helped him to that, through the young lord that I driv, as I
informed you in my last, when he was a Welchman, which was the best turn
ever I did, though I did not know it no more than Adam that time. So
OULD Nick's turned out of the agency clean and clear; and the day after
it was known, there was surprising great joy through the whole country;
not surprising either, but just what you might, knowing him, rasonably
expect. He (that is, old Nick and St. Dennis) would have been burnt that
night--I MANE, in EFFIGY, through the town of Clonbrony, but that the
new man, Mr. Burke, come down that day too soon to stop it, and said,
'it was not becoming to trample on the fallen,' or something that way,
that put an end to it; and though it was a great disappointment to many,
and to me in particular, I could not but like the jantleman the better
for it anyhow. They say, he is a very good jantleman, and as unlike
old Nick or the saint as can be; and takes no duty fowl, nor glove,
nor sealing-money; nor asks duty work nor duty turf. Well, when I was
disappointed of the EFFIGY, I comforted myself by making a bonfire of
old Nick's big rick of duty turf, which, by great luck, was out in the
road, away from all dwelling-house, or thatch, or yards, to take fire;
so no danger in life or objection. And such another blaze! I wished
you'd seed it--and all the men, women, and children in the town and
country, far and near, gathered round it, shouting and dancing like
mad!--and it was light as day quite across the bog, as far as Bartley
Finnigan's house. And I heard after, they seen it from all parts of the
three counties, and they thought it was St. John's Eve in a mistake--or
couldn't make out what it was; but all took it in good part, for a
good sign, and were in great joy. As for St. Dennis and OULD Nick,
an attorney had his foot upon em, with an habere a latitat, and three
executions hanging over 'em; and there's the end of rogues! and a great
example in the country. And--no more about it; for I can't be wasting
more ink upon them that don't desarve it at my hands, when I want it
for them that do, you shall see. So some weeks past, and there was great
cleaning at Clonbrony Castle, and in the town of Clonbrony; and the new
agent's smart and clever; and he had the glaziers, and the painters, and
the slaters up and down in the town wherever wanted; and you wouldn't
know it again. Thinks I, this is no bad sign! Now, cock up your ears,
Pat! for the great news is coming, and the good. The master's come
home--long life to him!--and family come home yesterday, all entirely!
The OULD lord and the young lord (ay, there's the man, Paddy!), and my
lady, and Miss Nugent. And I driv Miss Nugent's maid, that maid that
was, and another; so I had the luck to be in it along WID 'em, and
see all, from first to last. And first, I must tell you, my young Lord
Colambre remembered and noticed me the minute he lit at our inn,
and condescended to beckon at me out of the yard to him, and axed
me--'Friend Larry,' says he, 'did you keep your promise?'--'My oath
again' the whisky, is it?' says I. 'My lord, I surely did,' said I;
which was true, as all the country knows I never tasted a drop since.
'And I'm proud to see your honour, my lord, as good as your word too,
and back again among us. So then there was a call for the horses; and
no more at that time passed betwix' my young lord and me, but that he
pointed me out to the OULD one, as I went off. I noticed and thanked him
for it in my heart, though I did not know all the good was to come of
it. Well, no more of myself, for the present.

Ogh, it's I driv 'em well; and we all got to the great gate of the park
before sunset, and as fine an evening as ever you see; with the sun
shining on the tops of the trees, as the ladies noticed; the leaves
changed, but not dropped, though so late in the season. I believe the
leaves knew what they were about, and kept on, on purpose to welcome
them; and the birds were singing, and I stopped whistling, that they
might hear them; but sorrow bit could they hear when they got to the
park gate, for there was such a crowd, and such a shout, as you never
see--and they had the horses off every carriage entirely, and drew'em
home, with, blessings, through the park. And, God bless 'em! when they
got out, they didn't go shut themselves up in the great drawing-room,
but went straight out to the TIRrass, to satisfy the eyes and hearts
that followed them. My lady LANING on my young lord, and Miss Grace
Nugent that was, the beautifullest angel that ever you set eyes on,
with the finest complexion and sweetest of smiles, LANING upon the ould
lord's arm, who had his hat off, bowing to all, and noticing the old
tenants as he passed by name. Oh, there was great gladness and tears in
the midst; for joy I could scarce keep from myself.

After a turn or two upon the TIRrass, my Lord Colambre QUIT his mother's
arm for a minute, and he come to the edge of the slope, and looked down
and through all the crowd for some one.

'Is it the widow O'Neill, my lord?' says I; 'she's yonder, with the
spectacles on her nose, betwixt her son and daughter, as usual.'

Then my lord beckoned, and they did not know which of the TREE would
stir; and then he gave TREE beckons with his own finger, and they all
TREE came fast enough to the bottom of the slope forenent my lord; and
he went down and helped the widow up (Oh, he's the true jantleman), and
brought 'em all TREE up on the TIRrass, to my lady and Miss Nugent; and
I was up close after, that I might hear, which wasn't manners, but I
couldn't help it. So what he said I don't well know, for I could not get
near enough, after all. But I saw my lady smile very kind, and take the
widow O'Neill by the hand, and then my Lord Colambre 'TRODUCED Grace
to Miss Nugent, and there was the word NAMESAKE, and something about a
check curtains; but, whatever It was, they was all greatly pleased; then
my Lord Colambre turned and looked for Brian, who had fell back, and
took him with some commendation to my lord his father. And my lord the
master said, which I didn't know till after, that they should have their
house and farm at the OULD rent; and at the surprise, the widow dropped
down dead; and there was a cry as for ten BERRINGS. 'Be qui'te,' says I,
'she's only kilt for joy;' and I went and lift her up, for her son had
no more strength that minute than the child new born; and Grace trembled
like a leaf, as white as the sheet, but not long, for the mother came
to, and was as well as ever when I brought some water, which Miss Nugent
handed to her with her own hand.

'That was always pretty and good, said the widow, laying her hand upon
Miss Nugent, 'and kind and good to me and mine.'

That minute there was music from below. The blind harper, O'Neill, with
his harp, that struck up 'Gracey Nugent.'

And that finished, and my Lord Colambre smiling, with the tears standing
in his eyes too, and the OULD lord quite wiping his, I ran to the
TIRrass brink to bid O'Neill play it again; but as I run, I thought I
heard a voice call Larry.

'Who calls Larry?' says I.

'My Lord Colambre calls you, Larry,' says all at once; and four takes me
by the shoulders and spins me round. 'There's my young lord calling you,
Larry--run for your life.'

So I run back for my life, and walked respectful, with my hat in my
hand, when I got near.

'Put on your hat, my father desires it, says my Lord Colambre. The ould
lord made a sign to that purpose, but was too full to speak. 'Where's
your father?' continues my young lord.--' He's very ould, my lord,'
says I. 'I didn't ask you how ould he was,' says he; 'but where is
he?'--'He's behind the crowd below, on account of his infirmities; he
couldn't walk so fast as the rest, my lord,' says I; 'but his heart
is with you, if not his body. 'I must have his body too, so bring him
bodily before us; and this shall be your warrant for so doing,' said
my lord, joking; for he knows the NATUR of us, Paddy, and how we love a
joke in our hearts, as well as if he had lived all his life in Ireland;
and by the same token will, for that rason, do what he pleases with us,
and more maybe than a man twice as good, that never would smile on us.

But I'm telling you of my father. 'I've a warrant for you, father,'
says I; 'and must have you bodily before the justice, and my lord
chief-justice.' So he changed colour a bit at first; but he saw me
smile. 'And I've done no sin,' said he; 'and, Larry, you may lead me
now, as you led me all my life.'

And up the slope he went with me as light as fifteen; and, when we got
up, my Lord Clonbrony said, 'I am sorry an old tenant, and a good old
tenant, as I hear you were, should have been turned out of your farm.'

'Don't fret, it's no great matter, my lord,' said my father. 'I shall be
soon out of the way; but if you would be so kind to speak a word for
my boy here, and that I could afford, while the life is in me, bring my
other boy back out of banishment--'

'Then,' says my Lord Clonbrony, 'I'll give you and your sons three
lives, or thirty-one years, from this day, of your former farm. Return
to it when you please.' 'And,' added my Lord Colambre, 'the flaggers,
I hope, will be soon banished.' Oh, how could I thank him--not a word
could I proffer--but I know I clasped my two hands, and prayed for him
inwardly. And my father was dropping down on his knees, but the master
would not let him; and OBSARVED, that posture should only be for his
God. And, sure enough, in that posture, when he was out of sight, we did
pray for him that night, and will all our days.

But, before we quit his presence, he called me back, and bid me write
to my brother, and bring you back, if you've no objections, to your own
country.

So come, my dear Pat, and make no delay, for joy's not joy complAte
till you're in it--my father sends his blessing, and Peggy her love, The
family entirely is to settle for good in Ireland, and there was in the
castle yard last night a bonfire made by my lord's orders of the
ould yellow damask furniture, to plase my lady, my lord says. And the
drawing-room, the butler was telling me, is new hung; and the chairs
with velvet as white as snow, and shaded over with natural flowers, by
Miss Nugent. Oh! how I hope what I guess will come true, and I've rason
to believe it will, for I dreamt in my bed last night it did. But keep
yourself to yourself--that Miss Nugent (who is no more Miss Nugent, they
say, but Miss Reynolds, and has a new-found grandfather, and is a big
heiress, which she did not want in my eyes, nor in my young lord's),
I've a notion will be sometime, and maybe sooner than is expected, my
Lady Viscountess Colambre--so haste to the wedding. And there's another
thing: they say the rich ould grandfather's coming over;--and another
thing, Pat, you would not be out of the fashion--and you see it's
growing the fashion not to be an Absentee.--

Your loving brother,

LARRY BRADY.





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