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Title: Tales and Novels — Volume 06
Author: Edgeworth, Maria
Language: English
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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 "Tales and Novels — Volume 06" ***

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VOL. 6





“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! every body’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 any thing.”

“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.

“Yes, every body 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.

“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 any body, 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 does Lady Clonbrony expect to pass for English?” said the

“Oh, yes! 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 Miss 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.

“Miss 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

“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 should know,” pursued
Lady Langdale, “though I don’t recollect seeing him any where 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 every body 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. While Lady Langdale spoke, she never seemed to see or think of
any body 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 mimicry, 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 renegado 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 dependent of the
family, every body 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
school-boy, 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 mean time, 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 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 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,
altogether, 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, “May be 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 coachmaker, 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, and 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_?”

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

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 farther 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 farther; 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 were both
at that work, he trusted he was their match.

“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 any thing 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

“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 _tote_ of the debts, and whether you know them all for

“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

“Stop, sir,” cried Lord Colambre, in a voice which made Mordicai and
every body 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 _ra_son my heart warmed to him from the
first minute he come into the yard, though I did not know it till

“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
fling 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.


Full of what he had heard, and impatient to obtain farther 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 maître_. The whole face of
things must be changed. There must be new hangings, new draperies, new
cornices, new candelabras, new every thing!--

  “The upholsterer’s eye, in fine frenzy rolling,
  Glances from ceiling to floor, from floor to ceiling;
  And, as imagination bodies forth
  The form of things unknown, the upholsterer’s pencil
  Turns them 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 _encoinières_--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 head with gold rays--and here,
ma’am, you place four _chancelières_, with chimeras at the corners,
covered with blue silk and silver fringe, elegantly fanciful--with
my STATIRA CANOPY here--light blue silk draperies--aërial 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 unrol 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 _valence 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 every where--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 demi-saison
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

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

“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 any thing, 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 Miss Nugent said every thing 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
her--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 any thing
preposterously absurd, or exorbitantly extravagant.

Lord Colambre was actually sorry when the business was ended--when Mr.
Soho departed--for Miss 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
any thing but--Grace Nugent.

When Miss Nugent left the room, after some minutes’ silence, and some
effort, Lord Colambre said to his mother, “Pray, madam, do you know
any thing 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 Lord Colambre, with exultation.

“I only wish your father, Colambre, could say as much,” added Lady

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

“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 Henglishwoman _bawn_, must be well _infawmed_ on this _pint_, any

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’es_ being on the turf; and Mr. St. Albans’ 7000_l._ 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
_idears_ 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 wish
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

“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

“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 any body. Marrying an heiress
accomplishes all this at once--and the young lady is every thing 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 any thing 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

This said--which had she been at the moment mistress of herself, she
would not have betrayed--Lady Clonbrony abruptly quitted the room.
Her son stood motionless, saying to himself, “Is this my mother?--How

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 any thing
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

“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
warm-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, may be--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 gâtoit 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 the gala I’m thinking of now--I hear you are to have the
golden Venus, my Lady Clonbrony, won’t you?”


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 apostrophize 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 Medici, 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 are 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 Æneas 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 50,000_l._ down, or 1,000_l._
a-year in land. Would you have a man so d----d nice as to balk,
when house and land is agoing--a going--a going!--because of the
incumbrance of a little learning? But, after all, I never heard that
Miss Broadhurst was any thing of a learned lady.”

“Miss Broadhurst!” said Miss Nugent: “how did you get round to Miss

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

“I beg your pardon, my lord, it was apropos to good fortune, which,
I hope, will not be out of your way, even if you went by Tipperary.
She has, besides 100,000_l._ in the funds, a clear landed property of
10,000_l._ per annum. _Well! some people talk of morality, and some of
religion, bat 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

“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,

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

“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 every thing 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 his room: “shall I never hear the end of that
fortune, when I’ve seen the end of it long ago?”

During this matrimonial dialogue, Miss Nugent and Lord Colambre never
once looked at each other. She 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 mantel-piece; 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

“My dear mother, I never can neglect any one of your guests; but
I shall be careful not to show any particular attention to Miss
Broadhurst, for I never will pretend what I do not feel.”

“But, my dear Colambre, Miss Broadhurst is every thing you could wish,
except being a beauty.”

“Perhaps, madam,” said Lord Colambre, fixing his eyes on Miss 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

“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

Lord Colambre smiled, and now listened as if he wished that she 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.”


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 _naïveté_ 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

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 every body 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 Catherine 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 were to be cards in one room, music
in another, dancing in a third, and in this little room there were
prints and chess-boards, &c.

“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 Catherine, you will play, and I will look

Miss Broadhurst drew her seat to the fire; Lady Catherine 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 Catherine 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
passed three-and-twenty--shall be four-and-twenty the fifth of next

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

“Four-and-twenty next July!--impossible!” cried Lady Catherine.

“Very possible,” said Miss Broadhurst, quite unconcerned.

“Now, Lord Colambre, would you believe it? Can you believe it?” asked
Lady Catherine.

“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 extort a smile from
him under false pretences? I am sure he sees that you, 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, showed a desire to converse with her, and listened
eagerly to what she said. He recollected that Miss Nugent had told
him, that this young lady had no common character; and, neglecting his
move at chess, he looked up at Miss Nugent, 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 Catherine.

“I beg your ladyship’s pardon--”

“Are not these rooms beautiful, Miss Broadhurst?” said Lady Catherine,
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?”


The beauty of the rooms would have answered Lady Catherine’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

“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

“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 Catherine.

“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.”

“O dear! what a move was there!” cried Lady Catherine. “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 _connoissance 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 Catherine; “but you
make no battle.”

“It would be so vain to combat against your ladyship,” said Lord
Colambre, rising, and bowing politely to Lady Catherine, 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 Catherine.

“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, every thing, if I were you,” said Lady Anne.

“Rank, to begin with,” said Lady Catherine.

“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 Catherine.

“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 it with 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 Anne. “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, Lady Catherine.”

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_ the young heiress--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 Catherine 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--every body 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 swandown couch. When, after
having monopolized 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 every thing 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 criticised 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
about the rooms telling every body of her acquaintance--and she was
acquainted with every body--how shamefully Soho had imposed upon poor
Lady Clonbrony, protesting she could not forgive the man. “For,” said
she, “though the Duchess of Torcaster had 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 ear, 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 every
body. Englishwoman!--no, no, no!--Soho could not take you for an

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; every body declared, that from the first, the want
of proportion “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, are 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, every thing is appropriate here, I flatter my self,” said
Lady Clonbrony.

“And how good of you, my dear Lady Clonbrony, in defiance of bulls
and blunders, to allow us a comfortable English fire-place 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

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 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 move
freely; for here she thought she was upon safe ground:--“Every thing,
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--“Every thing 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 any
thing that struck her fancy in the dress of her fashionable friends,
she had a way of hanging her head aside, and saying, with a peculiarly
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, altogether, 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 day, let me ask you if you have never observed that a wit,
once conquered in company by a wit of higher order, is thenceforward
in complete subjection to the conqueror; whenever and wherever they

“You would not persuade me that yonder gentle-looking girl 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 any

“Well, then, when Miss Nugent first came to London, Mrs. Dareville--”

“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 Miss 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.”

“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 recognizing 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 I 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 the 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.”

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!”


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 whole 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
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 dose; 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 any body
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 apprized, 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 accustomed 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 were 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 any body, 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; 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 being 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

“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 any thing 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
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 sçavoir-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 every thing 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 a taste
for 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 benefited
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

“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

“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.

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 sheep-hooks; but the first
winter in 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 again, 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

“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 every thing 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 any body
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, Mrs. Broadhurst
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 sha’n’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. Berryl signed the bond, and threw it to him.

“There, monster!--quit the house!”

“_Monster_ is not actionable--I wish you had called me _knave_,”
 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 proceedings; 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

Mordicai, without reply, snatched up his hat, and walked towards the
door; but Lord Colambre held the door open--it 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 down stairs; Lord Colambre, before he went back into
the room, waited to see him 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 him.

“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 benefiting 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.”


In the mean time, 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 every
where. How miserable is the fine lady’s lot, who cannot forget, and
who is forgotten 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 a
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 in the alphabet. It will form a precedent of the most
dangerous and inevitable application. If she have 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.

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

“But, I dare say, 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 from herself and Miss Nugent were left for each member of the
family; and her civil messages, left with the footmen, extended to the
utmost possibility of remainder. It had occurred to her ladyship, 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 farther, 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 entrée 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 every thing 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.

“_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 any thing 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

“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 great entertainments
she was invited to great entertainments, to large parties; but further
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 inuendo, the insolent mimicry; but she was kept at a cold,
impassable distance, by ceremony--“So far shalt thou go, and no
further,” 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,” &c.--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
“Alcalá--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 gentlemen 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
any thing else with propriety, she would not have thought of sending
her ladyship any thing 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 every thing 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 you
not 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.

Every body sympathized 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 generalized 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
every body--every body 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 to-morrow night, and the next, and the
next night, 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 that rascal was bringing
upon you--but an execution?--he was.”

“An execution!” repeated every body 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 draft, 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: “hav’n’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 on 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 _Every-body-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 sheriffs 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 stee_, 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 Miss Nugent to the
table, where she was sealing letters--“I must tell you how I _sa_rved
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 you, 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 brick-bats; 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 sheriff’s fellow thrust his bayonet up through your false plaster,
and down came tumbling the family plate--hey! Terry?--That hit cost
your friend, Lord Every-body-knows-who, more than your head’s worth,

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

“When he paid 7000_l._ 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

“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.”

“Ha! ha! ha!--That _was_ neat, I grant you, Terry,” said Lord
Clonbrony. “But what a dolt of a born ignoramus must that sheriff’s
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

“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. Any thing
to help 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

“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 now-a-days. So I, that am under no
natural obligations to it by birth or otherwise, have just stood by it
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 left the room.

“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
bear 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, 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 any
thing 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
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 only ask her the question, she would tell you it
is truth, I dare say.”

“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!--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 further 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 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 any thing 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 headlong to
follow 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 every body,

“I am sorry that Miss Nugent should be disappointed,” said Lord

“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 no
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.”


“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
_reely_ 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! 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

“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 others; an Irish home, when I had no
other; that my earliest and happiest years, under your kind care, had
been spent there; and 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 any
thing 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 any thing but _that_, Grace--Return to Clonbrony, while I am able
to live in London? That I never can or will do for you or any body!”
 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

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 he 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 any where. 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, in 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
he 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 easily be
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, capable of looking steadily at
truth. 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 realized
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

“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 every thing. Poetry apart, my
dear Grace, you may be assured that I shall think no more of Lord

“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 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 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 loud knock at the door announced the arrival of company.

“Think no more of love, but as much as you please of admiration--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. 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 down
stairs. “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
confi_dan_tially, 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 every thing,
and hear of every thing, 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 may be 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 every
thing: 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 chargé d’affaires, or as the
lady of a chargé d’affaires, could have assumed. She spoke of her
_private belief_; of _the impression left upon her mind_; and her
_confidential_ 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 on reasonable

In the mean time, 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.


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
gentlemanlike, 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 the most satisfaction; and with discriminative, not superficial
celerity, touched on all ancient and modern authors on this subject,
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 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

“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 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
scandalized 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’s 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
every thing 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 _nouveaux riches_,
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 mean time, 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 address.... 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 re-commence 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

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, become
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, of which
he is too polite to suspect his customers, and to which he is proud of
proving himself superior. 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 were 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

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 their 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:


    “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 any thing, 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,


    “P.S. And I hope to make the gentlemen stop the night with me: so
    will not have beds. Excuse haste and compliments, &c.

    “_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

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. Raffarty 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 viranda,
which she said could not he 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 tight 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
every thing 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 every thing 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
deformity 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 apologized 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
apologizing, and fussing, and fretting inwardly and outwardly, and
directing and calling to her servants--striving to make a butler who
was deaf, and a boy who was harebrained, do the business of five
accomplished footmen of _parts and figure_. The mistress of the house
called for “plates, clean plates!--plates!”

  “But none did come, when she did call.”

Mrs. Raffarty called “Lanty! Lanty! 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 Lanty 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 sent Lanty after Kenny, and
Kenny after Lanty; 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 maccaroni 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. She vented her ill humour on
her unfortunate husband, who happening not to hear her order to help
my lord to some hare, she exclaimed loud, that all the world might
hear, “Corny Raffarty! Corny Raffarty! you’re no more _gud_ at the
_fut_ of my table than a stick of celery!”

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 over much, 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, sympathizing 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

“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 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 _pick-nick_ 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 recognized 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
any thing 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 every thing of that nature now, is vastly
put-up-able with!”

“My lord,” said Sir James Brooke, “we shall be late.”

Lord Colambre, 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 jockeyed 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 far 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

“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 first 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 lady, 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 appeared 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. Bell! Bell! 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.”


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’s 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 farther observed, that, though all joined
in abusing these ladies in their absence, when present they seemed
universally admired. Though every body cried “shame!” and “shocking!”
 yet every body 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 every where repeated;
the dress and air of the daughter every where 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 civilized 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

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 any body 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 any thing 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

“No,” thought our hero; “Heaven forefend 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 pick-lock 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 ladyship, “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 any thing 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

“Bless you! don’t let that be a stumbling-block in the way of your
tender conscience. I am going to Killpatricks-town, 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 your bows or your blushes--but _nobilitas_ by itself, nobility
is virtue enough in all parties, in all families, where there are
girls, and of course balls, as there are always at Killpatricks-town.
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 any thing I might not laugh at--your lordship excepted. So
you’ll come--that’s settled.”

And so it was settled. Our hero went to Killpatricks-town.

“Every thing 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. Luxuries enough for
an English prince of the blood: comforts not enough for an English
yeoman. 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 any body 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.[1] 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, besides 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. “And ‘sure, ‘tis nothing at all, out of all his honour my lord
has. How could he _feel_ it[2]?--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 openhouse-keeper, _nor_[3] 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 mimicry, sarcasm, exaggeration, and
truth, she succeeded continually in making Lord Colambre laugh at
every thing at which she wished to make him laugh; at every _thing_,
but not at 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

“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

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 à 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 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 enough
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 down stairs 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

In the neighbourhood of Killpatrick’s-town, 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 any thing 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. They
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

“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 park;
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:
every thing let to go to ruin for the want of a moment’s care, or
pulled to pieces for the sake of the most 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 _dishonours_ 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
characterizes _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, was 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 in evidence in the lawsuit that brought her
to Ireland. Lord Colambre stood politely looking on and listening,
while her ladyship explained the splendid intermarriages 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 riband_, 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,

“Oh, no, ma’am--Pray say no more; I will explain myself another time.”

“Nay, there you are wrong, Isabel; in point of good-breeding, any
thing 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, I ask the question, Are you, my Lord
Colambre, or are you not, related to or connected with any of the St.

“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 none 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 fallen 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


One morning Lady Dashfort had formed an ingenious scheme for leaving
Lady Isabel and Lord Colambre _tête-à-tête_; 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 next season.--“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

“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 Major Benson and Captain Williamson were taken to the count’s.
Major 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 any thing 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 fishing; but his servant said that he would
he 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 leash 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 any thing in the creation, dragged out his watch with some
difficulty, saying, “I wonder now whether they are likely to think of
giving us any thing 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. Ulick 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, recognized 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 fishing: his fishing accoutrements hanging carelessly
about him, he advanced, unembarrassed, to Lady Dashfort; and received
his other guests with a mixture of military ease and gentlemanlike

Without adverting to the awkward and ridiculous situation in which he
had found poor Heathcock, he apologized 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
apologize; 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, to a

“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 new comers: 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 next
season: 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 Killpatrick’s-town. 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

To all this Major Benson answered only, “We are not militia officers.”

“The major looks so like a stuffed man of straw,” whispered Lady
Dashfort to Lord Colambre, “and the captain so like the king of
spades, 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

“Well, we are fairly in at the death, I hope,” said Lady Dashfort: “I
was thrown out sadly at one time in the chase.”

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

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 a fisherman too; 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

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

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

“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 Lady Dashfort’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

“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

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

“Count, you have made an excellent house of your castle,” said Lady

“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, blessed 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 eel-pie, and of Irish ortolans [4], 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

“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 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--those 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.


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

    “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

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. “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

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 were--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 this poor man’s being broke, and in
half a dozen duels, may be.”

“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 écouter, 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

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 farther
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 Cressy 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.” 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. They 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 Halloran Castle, 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 every thing 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 let, on which the burial-place was found, had taken
it into his head to refuse admittance, and none could enter his

Count O’Halloran was much pleased by Lord Colambre’s visit. The
very day of his 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 he 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 with Lady Dashfort and Lady

A little circumstance which occurred during this visit, increased his
interest for the family. When Lady de Cressy’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 on 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
Killpatrick’s-town, 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 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, and 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 had looked forward to the idea of
marrying and settling in Ireland, and then every thing 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 concerns. 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 great-coat, 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 neatness 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 which they were never intended by nature or art. No chambermaid
slipshod, or waiter smelling of whiskey; but all tight and right, and
every body doing their own business, and doing it as if it were their
every day occupation, not as if it were done by particular desire, for
the first or last time this season. The landlord came in at supper
to inquire whether any thing 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 who had never seen the town
since it was a town, to call a town.”

“And does the land in the neighbourhood belong to this Lord

“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 any thing 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

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_.[5] 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 own planting, 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 every thing,” said Lord Colambre,
smiling: “he seems to be a very uncommon 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
any way; 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, every thing 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 his 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 tea.

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 tea 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 every thing 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 any thing 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 he 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

“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.” Mr.
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!” 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 with 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.

The next night the post brought a letter to Mr. Burke, from Lord
Clonbrony, which he 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
recognized the writing of Sir Terence O’Fay.

“It does not look like the hand of a gentleman, indeed,” said Lord

“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; “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 he 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.


    “As I have no farther 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 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,

    “Sir, your obedient humble servant,



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

“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.”

“But 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 every thing to every body,” 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.


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 jantleman, any way, Welsh or other.”

Notwithstanding the shabby great coat, the shrewd postilion 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 postilion said was the worst part of the _bad step_; but
as the road “was not yet to say good,” he continued walking beside the

“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 every thing 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

“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 postilion, 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 linchpin out
of the hedge, for this one won’t go far.”

Whilst Larry was making the linchpin, 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 any way, 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 Lord Colambre.

“The _rael_ saint!” said the postilion, 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 postilion, 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’s 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 every thing to
the likes of them.”

Lord Colambre listened with all possible composure and attention;
but the postilion, having now made his linchpin 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

“I don’t understand you.”

“No, beca-ase you’re an Englishman--that is, a Welshman--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 rackrent, 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

“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 wern’t made this ways; and it’s the best way
in the wide world, and the finest roads we have. And when the _rael_
jantleman’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

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 Saint Dennis wrote up to Dublin to Old Nick, and he over to the
landlord, how none would take it, or bid any thing 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 postilion, 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 postilion.

“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 licence for whiskey, 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

“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 postilion.

“Oh! who would I see? or why would I tell?” replied Larry in a sulky

“Come, come, be smart!” said the man with the silver whip, offering
to put half-a-crown into the postilion’s hand; “point me which way he

“I’ll have none o’ 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 Killogenesawce.”

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

“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, may be 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

“A glass of what, in the name of Heaven?” said Lord Colambre.

“_Potsheen_, plase your honour;--beca-ase it’s the little whiskey
that’s made in the private still or pot; and _sheen_, because 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.

“Because 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 whiskey, more than the quality,
or the _jidge_ on the bench?”

“What do you mean?”

“Why! was not I _prisint_ in the court-house myself, when the _jidge_
was 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 postilion, “once a snug place, when my Lady
Clonbrony was at home to white-wash 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 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 in--”

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, all together, a
complete group of beggars. The woman stopped, and looked after the

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 postilion, “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 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 postilion 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, band-boxes.

“How are you, Finnucan? you’ve fine loading there--from Dublin, are

“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_[7] 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_[8]! 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 the band-boxes,
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

“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 whiskey 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 were
vain! He darted into the whiskey-house with the carman--re-appeared
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, though it’s nightfall, and
that’s four good miles, but ‘a spur in the head is worth two in the

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 axletrees to
hinder them from lacing[9], 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 linchpin came off, and the chaise was overset: Lord
Colambre was a little bruised, but glad to escape without fractured

“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 linchpin, and them barrows of loose
stones, that ought to be fined any way, 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? plase your honour. I would not use any jantleman so ill,
_barring_ I could do no other,” replied the postilion, 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 he, no compare,
snugger than at 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
potatoe 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, sir,” 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
postilion; “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

“Set the salt, dear; and the butter, love: where’s your head, Grace,

“Grace!” repeated Lord Colambre, looking up: and, to apologize for
his involuntary exclamation, he added, “Is Grace a common name in

“I can’t say, plase your honour; but it was give her by Lady
Clonbrony, from a niece of her own, 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

“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 truth he’s overworked.”

“Would you want any thing 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”


The kettle was on the fire, tea-things set, every thing 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 loop-hole 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 holyday morning; my Grace is gone to
early prayers, so your honour will be content with an old woman to
make your tea. Oh, let me put in plenty of tea, for it will never be
good; and if your honour takes stirabout, an old hand will engage to
make that to your liking, any way; 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 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 good-will he, and no other, shall get her, and with her
good-will 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! 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

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

“But if we can sell the cow for any thing 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 any thing 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 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--may be, 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 of 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_!” cried the young man, with joy sparkling in his eyes, as
his mother held up the packet. “Lend me the papers.”

He cracked the seals, and taking off the cover--“Ay, I know it’s the
_lase_ sure enough. 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 postilion: “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 postilion 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’s 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 holiday; 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 church-yard; and several
boys (with more of skin apparent than clothes) were playing at pitch
and toss 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,
because there was no church there; nor had not been this twelvemonth;
beca-ase 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
public-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 licence,” said
the boy, “take care of yourself, Brannagan.” “_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 whiskey 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 McGivney 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

“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 whiskey
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 whiskey was nothing,” as the wife
affirmed, “for it was every where 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

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

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 gentlemen 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 am 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 to-morrow?”

“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; any body 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 Lord Colambre had heard declaring that he would bid for the
land that was advertised; whilst another, who had the same intentions,
most respectfully held his 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

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

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 that 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 whiskey, and 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’Neil’s


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 potatoe 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, any way, 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 this
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 never minded her run out, nor ever 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; may be, 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’ 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 between us any more!’ said Grace, low to me, and her heart
was on her lips; but the colour came and went, and I was _afeard_
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, not a more kind-hearted, nor
generous; never thinking any thing she could do, or give, too much
for them she loved, and any thing 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
every thing.”

“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

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

“And must my lodger get up, and turn out, sir?” said she.

“He must turn out, to be sure--not a living soul must he 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

“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[10]. 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

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 any thing.

“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 she overtook on the road with an empty
car. This carman was Finnucan, who dissipated Lord Colambre’s fears of
meeting and being recognized 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 band-boxes 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 mossy
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 ground in lots to
be sold. A hill that had been covered with an oak wood, where 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 any body 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 door-way.”

“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 great coats.--“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 the 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 back-ground,
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 I 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’Neil, 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

“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 any thing your honour _plases_--any
thing 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 have 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

“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

“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

“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, any way, 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 ruined, 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

“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

“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

“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 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
back-bone--“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

Lord Colambre, now recollecting that he still wore the old great coat,
threw it off.

“Oh, bless him! Then now I’d know him any where. 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.

“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

“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

“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 good-will,” 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 good-will; 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 postchaise 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

“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 ate 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
postilion was eating, and the horses finished 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.


    “I hope to be with you in a few days. Lest any thing should detain
    me on the road, I write this, to make an earnest request, that you
    will not sign any papers, or transact any farther business with
    Messrs. Nicholas or Dennis Garraghty before you see

    “Your affectionate son,


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

“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’Neil, before whom others had pressed. An opening was made for her

“There! that was the very way his father stood, with his foot on the
step. 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 withinside,” 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!”


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 ever I crossed,
that your honour is my lord--but I was only telling your honour, that
you might not be looking upon me as a _timesarver_.”

“I do not look upon you as a _timesarver_, 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.

“May be, we’ll overtake the mail,” said Larry: and, as he spoke,
he slid down from his seat, and darted into the public-house,
re-appearing, 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 postilion 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 mean time, my good fellow,
keep away from the sign of the Horseshoe--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 live on hope,--but mind, if you disappoint me, I don’t swear but
I’ll take to the whiskey 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 postilion;
“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, 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 snatching the pen from his father’s 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

“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 any where
else, will do that? To my knowledge, I never did any thing, 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 will 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 are 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 any thing 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

“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

“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

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 down stairs 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 am a fool, and don’t know the value of character, good or

“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 he 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

“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 any thing 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.”

“The devil a pound, nor a penny,” said Sir Terence; “for you have to
deal with a Jew and Old Nick; and, since 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 please,” 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: I was as sharp
as Garraghty, and he knew it; I was to have had for your father
_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, may be, 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 mean
time, 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

“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 mode he can point out, as more
agreeable or more advantageous to him, join in giving security to his

“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

“That you and my mother should cease to be absentees.”

“Oh, murder!” said Sir Terence; “may be 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.
Unless this condition were granted, he would not engage to do any

“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

“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

“Of whom are you talking, sir?” 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
there’s no 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 sensible you’ve one in petto in your sleeve for my friend Lord
Clonbrony. But I’ll lay you a wager of a hundred guineas on paper,
that a marriage of his son with an 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 sensible as you are that it must be, why
what is it, after all, but a bonus, in a gentlemanlike 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

“My mother! Miss Nugent!” cried Lord Colambre, springing eagerly

“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

“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 Colambre.

“Why, that Miss Broadhurst is going to be married.”

“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
has passed, Miss Broadhurst had the assurance to expect I would let
my niece be her bride’s-maid. 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 bride’s-maid:--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 any thing like any body else; settled
her marriage at last in the oddest way. Grace can tell you 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.[11] 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 may be you may get her down and into spirits again. But,
for your lives, don’t touch upon Ireland this 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, may be. But I’m not one of those that think that money’s every
thing--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

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 bride’s-maid, 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 this 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 wit--but 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

“Grace, my girl!” said her uncle, “I’m glad to see you’ve got up your
spirits again, though you were not to be bride’s-maid. 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
able or willing 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, besides 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 every body 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

She turned to Lord Colambre as she spoke these words, with such
an affectionate smile, and such an expression of open, innocent
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

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
awakened, 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 any thing,
indeed, for I’m excessively tired and stupid--alone in Lon’on’s as bad
as any where 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.


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

“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 any thing, 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 any thing 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;

“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.”

“It 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

“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--any thing 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 down stairs. “Don’t let ‘em
let any body 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

“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, every thing 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

“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 any thing 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

“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

“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 and his
occupations, compelled 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 of what 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, who, in return for all the pains we take to
imitate, to court them--in return for the sacrifice of health,
fortune, peace of mind--bestow sarcasm, contempt, ridicule, and

“Oh, Colambre! Colambre! mimicry--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’Neil.”

“Oh, did you see the widow O’Neil! 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

“If any body knew,” said Lady Clonbrony, “if any body 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 stupified astonishment; “is _that_ what you are thinking of,

“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’Neil. 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

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 every thing that every body says, and more
than they say, will come and tell me how it is reported every where
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 soon, 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

“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 leaven 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 its object. It could not have been
done but for her perfect simplicity and innocence. But how could this
be supported 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 sentiments, 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 considerable 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 some 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

Sir Terence, pleased with his commission, immediately went to

“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 mean time, 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

“Don’t matter for that: he has sent me to look over your accounts, 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

“Be _aisy_, Mister Mordicai!--you sha’n’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

“No, Mr. Terence! nor six thousand nine hundred and ninety-nine
pounds. My demand is seven thousand one hundred and thirty pounds,
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 goosequill,
5000_l._ 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
500_l._, I cannot abate a doit: 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

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:--



    “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.

    “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,


    “_Grosvenor-square, London_.”

Lord Colambre was so continually occupied with business, during the
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 uneasiness that
concerned only herself. She determined to suppress her doubts, to
keep her feelings to herself, and endeavour, by constant kindness, to
regain that place in his affections, which she imagined that she had
lost. “Every thing 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

“Well thought of, my dear boy!--God bless you!--that has weighed more
upon my conscience and heart than all the rest, though I never said
any thing 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 pennyless, 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 every
thing 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,
unless you are with me. Leave Lady Clonbrony here to sign these
papers. Terry will witness them properly, and do you come along with

“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--every thing 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; and now, all I have to ask
of you, Colambre, 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
any body can persuade you, I’m sure it’s that man that’s now leaning
against the mantel-piece. It’s Colambre 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; “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

“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 _à
l’envie l’une de l’autre_.”

“Oh, I recollect her now perfectly,” said Lord Colambre: “but what of

“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; I 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!” 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 early what I have just mentioned to you
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

“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

“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 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, 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

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 he 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

“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 down stairs; “and I don’t know where I laid my lady’s
_numbrella_, for my life--do you, 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 any thing on a journey

“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

“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 can--conveniently can.”

Mrs. Le Maistre stood in the door-way, 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 down stairs,
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

“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 any body 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 any thing 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

“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 any thing 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

“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 every thing 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

“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.”


“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 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

“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 down stairs. “Sir James Brooke, I
dare say.”

No, not Sir James Brooke; but one he was almost as glad to see--Count

“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 the 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
any thing, 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 _tête-à-tête_. 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 with 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 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 in Huntingdonshire; doing, what
do you think? I will give you a leading hint; recollect the seal
which the little De Cressy 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,” said the count, “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, starting, 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 any thing which tended to lower the female sex in public

“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

“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 for all those
purposes: his father is dead, and has 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, à 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--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, who is in danger of being broke, in consequence of that
affair, you know, about his mistress, 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
realized; 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

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--a 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 any thing 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 scandalized
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’ sake, I made farther inquiries about the widow, intending,
of course, to act as a friend, if she were 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

Lord Colambre thanked him with an eagerness that showed how much he
was interested in the event. It was clear, he said, that either 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 chargé d’affaires in Vienna--we cannot get at

“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,


The count, in the mean time, 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 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, a waste of words.”


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 withinside 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 any body 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, may be, 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 he 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’ 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
cross-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, may be, it would be to a dog (he was remarkably 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

“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’ 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: sure every body 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 turn
again 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 postilion. “Oh, how unlike my Larry!” thought Lord

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 postilion’s sulkiness more, the waggoner, in
his embroidered frock, walked in state, with his long sceptre in his

The postilion 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 postilion 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 penetrable 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

“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 hand-writing 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 its 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 adventures 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 sympathized 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 look 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; only one nobleman in Ireland, it is said, has 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!

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

“Sir--gentlemen! I’m much obliged; that is, when you have done the
thing I shall be much obliged. But, may be, 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

“Hot! I see,” said old Reynolds, nodding as he looked at Lord
Colambre: “Cool!” added he, nodding at the count. “But a time for
every thing; I was hot once: both answers good for their ages.”

This speech Lord Colambre 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 once had 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

The convulsed motions ceased; and the old man unbuttoned his
waistcoat, as if to relieve some sense of oppression; 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

“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

“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

“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, 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 the 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 death-bed; 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 hand-writing--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 whom, 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 am 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 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

“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 Killpatricks-town. Lord Colambre was
“indeed _undeniably an old acquaintance_:” 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 was
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 any body 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 Duchess 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 any thing that I care,” said old

“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 precedence in efficacy.
But it was not of prayers and death-bed affairs I came commissioned to
treat--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

“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’ 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 I can’t guess. But, since it seems
annoying and inopportune, I shall make my _finale_, and shall thus
leave 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 or 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 Killpatricks-town,” 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, of flattery properly administered, and of bearing with all
her _dear_ Mr. Reynolds’ _oddnesses_ and _rough-nesses_, 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
any thing 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 Rundell and Bridges’, to make sure at all events of the jewels.

In the mean time 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 dare say.--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 Rundell and Bridges’, 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

“Not so this bride elect, or I mistake her much,” said the count,
as they passed by the window, at Rundell and Bridges’, 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

“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 the 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. Rundell here’s
to be judge.”

Lady Isabel paid for this promise one of her sweetest smiles; 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 penetration.

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 moralize 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 the 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, 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

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 Cressy, 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

“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 every thing--even my friend the
minister’s secret expedition--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

“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.”


As Lord Colambre was returning home, he was overtaken by Sir Terence

“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 any where, 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 every where, 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 be ever 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 every thing
    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,


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 any thing’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-diamond 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 aching 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--sha’n’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 sha’n’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’
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 any thing 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 Lord 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 any where! 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

“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; that never killed any body!”

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.

“Ob, 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?”

Lady Berryl hastened to her friend’s assistance.

“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.--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

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 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 every thing 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 complacency: 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 mean time, 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, “Every
thing 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 been all your life 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 horse-flesh; 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 thorough going
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 endeavouring 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’ 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 mean time, 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 charms 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.



    “Yours of the 16th, enclosing 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 enclosed 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 Welshman,
    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, came 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 any how. 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
    Hartley 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 deserve it at my hands, when I want it for them that
    do, as 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 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 me out of
    the yard to him, and axed me--’ Friend Larry,’ says he, ‘did you
    keep your promise?’--‘My oath again the whiskey, 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 _tir_rass, 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 _tir_rass, 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’Neil, my lord?’ says I; ‘she’s yonder, with
    the white kerchief, 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
    _tir_rass, 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’Neil by the hand, and then my Lord Colambre _‘troduced_
    Grace to Miss Nugent, and there was the word _namesake_, and
    something about a check curtain; 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’Neil,
    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 _tir_rass brink to bid O’Neil 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 _ax_ 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 may be 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, to 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 Clonbrony,
    ‘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
    compl_a_te 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 may be 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,





  “There oft are heard the notes of infant woe,
  The short thick sob, loud scream, and shriller squall.
  How can you, mothers, vex your infants so?”--POPE.

“D’abord, madame, c’est impossible!--Madame ne descendra pas
ici?[12]” said François, the footman of Mad. de Fleury, with a half
expostulatory, half indignant look, as he let down the step of her
carriage at the entrance of a dirty passage, that led to one of the
most miserable-looking houses in Paris.

“But what can be the cause of the cries which I hear in this house?”
 said Mad. de Fleury.

“‘Tis only some child, who is crying,” replied François: and he would
have put up the step, but his lady was not satisfied.

“‘Tis nothing in the world,” continued he, with a look of appeal to
the coachman, “it _can_ be nothing, but some children, who are locked
up there above. The mother, the workwoman my lady wants, is not at
home, that’s certain.”

“I must know the cause of these cries; I must see these children,”
 said Mad. de Fleury, getting out of her carriage.

François held his arm for his lady as she got out.

“Bon!” cried he, with an air of vexation. “Si madame la veut
absolument, à la bonne heure!--Mais madame sera abimée. Madame
verra que j’ai raison. Madame ne montera jamais ce vilain escalier.
D’ailleurs c’est an cinquième. Mais, madame, c’est impossible.”[13]

Notwithstanding the impossibility, Mad. de Fleury proceeded; and
bidding her talkative footman wait in the entry, made her way up the
dark, dirty, broken staircase, the sound of the cries increasing every
instant, till, as she reached the fifth story, she heard the shrieks
of one in violent pain. She hastened to the door of the room from
which the cries proceeded; the door was fastened, and the noise was
so great, that though she knocked as loud as she was able, she could
not immediately make herself heard. At last the voice of a child from
within answered, “The door is locked--mamma has the key in her pocket,
and won’t be home till night; and here’s Victoire has tumbled from the
top of the big press, and it is she that is shrieking so.”

Mad. de Fleury ran down the stairs which she had ascended with so
much difficulty, called to her footman, who was waiting in the entry,
despatched him for a surgeon, and then she returned to obtain from
some people who lodged in the house assistance to force open the door
of the room in which the children were confined.

On the next floor there was a smith at work, filing so earnestly that
he did not hear the screams of the children. When his door was pushed
open, and the bright vision of Mad. de Fleury appeared to him, his
astonishment was so great that he seemed incapable of comprehending
what she said. In a strong provincial accent he repeated,
“_Plait-il?_” and stood aghast till she had explained herself three
times: then suddenly exclaiming, “Ah! c’est ça!”--he collected his
tools precipitately, and followed to obey her orders. The door of
the room was at last forced half open, for a press that had been
overturned prevented its opening entirely. The horrible smells that
issued did not overcome Mad. de Fleury’s humanity: she squeezed her
way into the room, and behind the fallen press saw three little
children: the youngest, almost an infant, ceased roaring, and ran
to a corner: the eldest, a boy of about eight years old, whose face
and clothes were covered with blood, held on his knee a girl younger
than himself, whom he was trying to pacify, but who struggled most
violently, and screamed incessantly, regardless of Mad. de Fleury, to
whose questions she made no answer.

“Where are you hurt, my dear?” repeated Mad. de Fleury in a soothing
voice. “Only tell me where you feel pain?”

The boy, showing his sister’s arm, said, in a surly tone--“It is this
that is hurt--but it was not I did it.”

“It was, it _was_,” cried the girl as loud as she could vociferate:
“it was Maurice threw me down from the top of the press.”

“No--it was you that were pushing me, Victoire, and you fell
backwards.--Have done screeching, and show your arm to the lady.”

“I can’t,” said the girl.

“She won’t,” said the boy.

“She _cannot_,” said Mad. de Fleury, kneeling down to examine it. “She
cannot move it: I am afraid that it is broken.”

“Don’t touch it! don’t touch it!” cried the girl, screaming more

“Ma’am, she screams that way for nothing often,” said the boy. “Her
arm is no more broke than mine, I’m sure; she’ll move it well enough
when she’s not cross.”

“I am afraid,” said Mad. de Fleury, “that her arm is broken.”

“Is it indeed?” said the boy, with a look of terror.

“Oh! don’t touch it--you’ll kill me, you are killing me,” screamed the
poor girl, whilst Mad. de Fleury with the greatest care endeavoured
to join the bones in their proper place, and resolved to hold the arm
till the arrival of the surgeon.

From the feminine appearance of this lady, no stranger would have
expected such resolution; but with all the natural sensibility and
graceful delicacy of her sex, she had none of that weakness or
affectation, which incapacitates from being useful in real distress.
In most sudden accidents, and in all domestic misfortunes, female
resolution and presence of mind are indispensably requisite: safety,
health, and life, often depend upon the fortitude of women. Happy
they, who, like Mad. de Fleury, possess strength of mind united with
the utmost gentleness of manner and tenderness of disposition!

Soothed by this lady’s sweet voice, the child’s rage subsided; and
no longer struggling, the poor little girl sat quietly on her lap,
sometimes writhing and moaning with pain.

The surgeon at length arrived: her arm was set: and he said, “that she
had probably been saved much future pain by Mad. de Fleury’s presence
of mind.”

“Sir,--will it soon be well?” said Maurice to the surgeon.

“Oh, yes, very soon, I dare say,” said the little girl. “To-morrow,
perhaps; for now that it is tied up, it does not hurt me to
signify--and after all, I do believe, Maurice, it was not you threw me

As she spoke, she held up her face to kiss her brother.--“That is
right,” said Mad. de Fleury; “there is a good sister.”

The little girl put out her lips, offering a second kiss, but the boy
turned hastily away to rub the tears from his eyes with the back of
his hand.

“I am not cross now: am I, Maurice?” said she.

“No, Victoire, I was cross myself when I said _that_.”

As Victoire was going to speak again, the surgeon imposed silence,
observing that she must be put to bed, and should be kept quiet. Mad.
de Fleury laid her upon the bed, as soon as Maurice had cleared it of
the things with which it was covered; and as they were spreading the
ragged blanket over the little girl, she whispered a request to Mad.
de Fleury, that she would “stay till her mamma came home, to beg
Maurice off from being whipped, if mamma should be angry.”

Touched by this instance of goodness, and compassionating the desolate
condition of these children, Mad. de Fleury complied with Victoire’s
request; resolving to remonstrate with their mother for leaving them
locked up in this manner. They did not know to what part of the town
their mother was gone; they could tell only, “that she was to go to
a great many different places to carry back work, and to bring home
more; and that she expected to be in by five.” It was now half after

Whilst Mad. de Fleury waited, she asked the boy to give her a full
account of the manner in which the accident had happened.

“Why, ma’am,” said Maurice, twisting and untwisting a ragged
handkerchief as he spoke, “the first beginning of all the mischief
was, we had nothing to do; so we went to the ashes to make dirt pies:
but Babet would go so close that she burnt her petticoat, and threw
about all our ashes, and plagued us, and we whipped her: but all would
not do, she would not be quiet; so to get out of her reach, we climbed
up by this chair on the table to the top of the press, and there we
were well enough for a little while, till somehow we began to quarrel
about the old scissors, and we struggled hard for them till I got this

Here he unwound the handkerchief, and for the first time showed the
wound, which he had never mentioned before.

“Then,” continued he, “when I got the cut, I shoved Victoire, and she
pushed at me again, and I was keeping her off, and her foot slipped,
and down she fell; and caught by the press-door, and pulled it and me
after her, and that’s all I know.”

“It is well that you were not both killed,” said Mad. de Fleury. “Are
you often left locked up in this manner by yourselves, and without any
thing to do?”

“Yes, always, when mamma is abroad--except sometimes we are let out
upon the stairs, or in the street; but mamma says we get into mischief

This dialogue was interrupted by the return of the mother. She came up
stairs slowly, much fatigued, and with a heavy bundle under her arm.

“How now! Maurice, how comes my door open? What’s all this?” cried
she, in an angry voice; but seeing a lady sitting upon her child’s
bed, she stopped short in great astonishment. Mad. de Fleury related
what had happened, and averted her anger from Maurice, by gently
expostulating upon the hardship and hazard of leaving her young
children in this manner during so many hours of the day.

“Why, my lady,” replied the poor woman, wiping her forehead, “every
hard-working woman in Paris does the same with her children; and what
can I do else? I must earn bread for these helpless ones, and to do
that I must be out backwards and forwards, and to the furthest parts
of the town, often from morning till night, with those that employ me;
and I cannot afford to send the children to school, or to keep any
kind of a servant to look after them; and when I’m away, if I let
them run about these stairs and entries, or go into the streets, they
do get a little exercise and air to be sure, such as it is; on which
account I do let them out sometimes; but then a deal of mischief comes
of that, too--they learn all kinds of wickedness, and would grow up to
be no better than pickpockets, if they were let often to consort with
the little vagabonds they find in the streets. So what to do better
for them I don’t know.”

The poor mother sat down upon the fallen press, looked at Victoire,
and wept bitterly. Mad. de Fleury was struck with compassion: but she
did not satisfy her feelings merely by words or comfort, or by the
easy donation of some money--she resolved to do something more, and
something better.


  “Come often, then; for haply in my bow’r
  Amusement, knowledge, wisdom, thou may’st gain:
  If I one soul improve, I have not lived in vain.”


It is not so easy to do good as those who have never attempted it may
imagine; and they who without consideration follow the mere instinct
of pity, often by their imprudent generosity create evils more
pernicious to society than any which they partially remedy. “Warm
Charity, the general friend,” may become the general enemy, unless she
consults her head as well as her heart. Whilst she pleases herself
with the idea that she daily feeds hundreds of the poor, she is
perhaps preparing want and famine for thousands. Whilst she delights
herself with the anticipation of gratitude for her bounties, she is
often exciting only unreasonable expectations, inducing habits of
dependence, and submission to slavery.

Those who wish to do good should attend to experience, from whom they
may receive lessons upon the largest scale that time and numbers can

Mad. de Fleury was aware that neither a benevolent disposition nor a
large fortune were sufficient to enable her to be of real service,
without the constant exercise of her judgment. She had therefore
listened with deference to the conversation of well-informed men upon
those subjects on which ladies have not always the means or the wish
to acquire extensive and accurate knowledge. Though a Parisian belle,
she had read with attention some of those books which are generally
thought too dry or too deep for her sex. Consequently her benevolence
was neither wild in theory, nor precipitate nor ostentatious in

Touched with compassion for a little girl, whose arm had been
accidentally broken, and shocked by the discovery of the confinement
and the dangers to which numbers of children in Paris were doomed,
she did not make a parade of her sensibility. She did not talk of her
feelings in fine sentences to a circle of opulent admirers, nor did
she project for the relief of the little sufferers some magnificent
establishment, which she could not execute or superintend. She was
contented with attempting only what she had reasonable hopes of

The gift of education she believed to be more advantageous than
the gift of money to the poor; as it ensures the means both of
future subsistence and happiness. But the application even of
this incontrovertible principle requires caution and judgment. To
crowd numbers of children into a place called a school, to abandon
them to the management of any person called a schoolmaster or a
schoolmistress, is not sufficient to secure the blessings of a good
education. Mad. de Fleury was sensible that the greatest care is
necessary in the choice of the person to whom young children are to
be intrusted: she knew that only a certain number can be properly
directed by one superintendent; and that by attempting to do too much,
she might do nothing, or worse than nothing. Her school was formed,
therefore, on a small scale, which she could enlarge to any extent,
if it should be found to succeed. From some of the families of poor
people, who in earning their bread are obliged to spend most of the
day from home, she selected twelve little girls, of whom Victoire was
the eldest, and she was between six and seven.

The person under whose care Mad. de Fleury wished to place these
children was a nun of the _Soeurs de la Charité_, with whose
simplicity of character, benevolence, and mild, steady temper, she was
thoroughly acquainted. Sister Frances was delighted with the plan. Any
scheme that promised to be of service to her fellow-creatures was sure
of meeting with her approbation; but this suited her taste peculiarly,
because she was extremely fond of children. No young person had ever
boarded six months at her convent without becoming attached to good
Sister Frances.

The period of which we are writing was some years before convents were
abolished; but the strictness of their rules had in many instances
been considerably relaxed. Without much difficulty, permission was
obtained from the abbess for our nun to devote her time during the day
to the care of these poor children, upon condition that she should
regularly return to her convent every night before evening prayers.
The house which Mad. de Fleury chose for her little school was in an
airy part of the town; it did not face the street, but was separated
from other buildings at the back of a court, retired from noise and
bustle. The two rooms intended for the occupation of the children
were neat and clean, but perfectly simple, with whitewashed walls,
furnished only with wooden stools and benches, and plain deal tables.
The kitchen was well lighted (for light is essential to cleanliness),
and it was provided with utensils; and for these appropriate places
were allotted, to give the habit and the taste of order. The
school-room opened into a garden larger than is usually seen in towns.
The nun, who had been accustomed to purchase provisions for her
convent, undertook to prepare daily for the children breakfast and
dinner; they were to sup and sleep at their respective homes. Their
parents were to take them to Sister Frances every morning, when they
went out to work, and to call for them upon their return home every
evening. By this arrangement, the natural ties of affection and
intimacy between the children and their parents would not be loosened;
they would be separate only at the time when their absence must be
inevitable. Mad. de Fleury thought that any education which estranges
children entirely from their parents must be fundamentally erroneous;
that such a separation must tend to destroy that sense of filial
affection and duty, and those principles of domestic subordination, on
which so many of the interests, and much of the virtue and happiness,
of society depend. The parents of these poor children were eager to
trust them to her care, and they strenuously endeavoured to promote
what they perceived to be entirely to their advantage. They promised
to take their daughters to school punctually every morning--a promise
which was likely to be kept, as a good breakfast was to be ready at a
certain hour, and not to wait for any body. The parents looked forward
with pleasure also to the idea of calling for their little girls at
the end of their day’s labour, and of taking them home to their family
supper. During the intermediate hours, the children were constantly
to be employed, or in exercise. It was difficult to provide suitable
employments for their early age; but even the youngest of those
admitted could be taught to wind balls of cotton, thread, and silk,
for haberdashers; or they could shell peas and beans, &c. for a
neighbouring _traiteur_; or they could weed in a garden. The next
in age could learn knitting and plain-work, reading, writing, and
arithmetic. As the girls should grow up, they were to be made useful
in the care of the house. Sister Frances said she could teach them
to wash and iron, and that she would make them as skilful in cookery
as she was herself. This last was doubtless a rash promise; for in
most of the mysteries of the culinary art, especially in the medical
branches of it, in making savoury messes palatable to the sick, few
could hope to equal the neat-handed Sister Frances. She had a variety
of other accomplishments; but her humility and good sense forbade
her, upon the present occasion, to mention these. She said nothing of
embroidery, or of painting, or of cutting out paper, or of carving in
ivory, though in all these she excelled: her cuttings-out in paper
were exquisite as the finest lace; her embroidered housewives, and
her painted boxes, and her fan-mounts, and her curiously wrought
ivory toys, had obtained for her the highest reputation in the
convent, amongst the best judges in the world. Those only who have
philosophically studied and thoroughly understand the nature of fame
and vanity can justly appreciate the self-denial, or magnanimity, of
Sister Frances, in forbearing to enumerate or boast of these things.
She alluded to them but once, and in the slightest and most humble

“These little creatures are too young for us to think of teaching them
any thing but plain-work at present; but if hereafter any of them
should show a superior genius, we can cultivate it properly! Heaven
has been pleased to endow me with the means--at least our convent says

The actions of Sister Frances showed as much moderation as her words;
for though she was strongly tempted to adorn her new dwelling with
those specimens of her skill, which had long been the glory of her
apartment in the convent, yet she resisted the impulse, and contented
herself with hanging over the chimney-piece of her school-room a
Madonna of her own painting.

The day arrived when she was to receive her pupils in their new
habitation. When the children entered the room for the first time,
they paid the Madonna the homage of their unfeigned admiration.
Involuntarily the little crowd stopped short at the sight of
the picture. Some dormant emotions of human vanity were now
awakened--played for a moment about the heart of Sister Frances--and
may be forgiven. Her vanity was innocent and transient, her
benevolence permanent and useful. Repressing the vain-glory of an
artist, as she fixed her eyes upon the Madonna, her thoughts rose to
higher objects, and she seized this happy moment to impress upon the
minds of her young pupils their first religious ideas and feelings.
There was such unaffected piety in her manner, such goodness in her
countenance, such persuasion in her voice, and simplicity in her
words, that the impression she made was at once serious, pleasing,
and not to be effaced. Much depends upon the moment and the manner in
which the first notions of religion are communicated to children: if
these ideas be connected with terror, and produced when the mind is
sullen or in a state of dejection, the future religious feelings are
sometimes of a gloomy, dispiriting sort; but if the first impression
be made when the heart is expanded by hope or touched by affection,
these emotions are happily and permanently associated with religion.
This should be particularly attended to by those who undertake the
instruction of the children of the poor, who must lead a life of
labour, and can seldom have leisure or inclination when arrived at
years of discretion, to re-examine the principles early infused into
their minds. They cannot in their riper age conquer by reason those
superstitious terrors, or bigoted prejudices, which render their
victims miserable or perhaps criminal. To attempt to rectify any
errors in the foundation after an edifice has been constructed, is
dangerous: the foundation, therefore, should be laid with care. The
religious opinions of Sister Frances were strictly united with just
rules of morality, strongly enforcing, as the essential means of
obtaining present and future happiness, the practice of the social
virtues; so that no good or wise persons, however they might differ
from her in modes of faith, could doubt the beneficial influence of
her general principles, or disapprove of the manner in which they were

Detached from every other worldly interest, this benevolent nun
devoted all her earthly thoughts to the children of whom she had
undertaken the charge. She watched over them with unceasing vigilance,
whilst diffidence of her own abilities was happily supported by her
high opinion of Mad. de Fleury’s judgment. This lady constantly
visited her pupils every week; not in the hasty, negligent manner in
which fine ladies sometimes visit charitable institutions, imagining
that the honour of their presence is to work miracles, and that every
thing will go on rightly when they have said, “_Let it be so_,” or,
“_I must have it so_.” Mad. de Fleury’s visits were not of this
dictatorial or cursory nature. Not minutes, but hours, she devoted
to these children--she who could charm by the grace of her manners,
and delight by the elegance of her conversation, the most polished
circles[14] and the best-informed societies of Paris, preferred to the
glory of being admired the pleasure of being useful--

  “Her life, as lovely as her face,
  Each duty mark’d with every grace;
  Her native sense improved by reading,
  Her native sweetness by good-breeding.”


  “Ah me! how much I fear lest pride it be;
  But if that pride it be, which thus inspires,
  Beware, ye dames! with nice discernment see
  Ye quench not too the sparks of nobler fires.”


By repeated observation, and by attending to the minute _reports_
of Sister Frances, Mad. de Fleury soon became acquainted with the
habits and temper of each individual in this little society. The most
intelligent and the most amiable of these children was Victoire.
Whence her superiority arose, whether her abilities were naturally
more vivacious than those of her companions, or whether they had been
more early developed by accidental excitation, we cannot pretend to
determine, lest we should involve ourselves in the intricate question
respecting natural genius--a metaphysical point, which we shall
not in this place stop to discuss. Till the world has an accurate
philosophical dictionary (a work not to be expected in less than half
a dozen centuries), this question will never be decided to general
satisfaction. In the mean time, we may proceed with our story.

Deep was the impression made on Victoire’s heart by the kindness
that Mad. de Fleury showed her at the time her arm was broken; and
her gratitude was expressed with all the enthusiastic _fondness_
of childhood. Whenever she spoke or heard of Mad. de Fleury, her
countenance became interested, and animated, in a degree that would
have astonished a cool English spectator. Every morning her first
question to Sister Frances was--“Will _she_ come to-day?”--If Mad.
de Fleury was expected, the hours and the minutes were counted, and
the sand in the hourglass that stood on the school-room table was
frequently shaken. The moment she appeared, Victoire ran to her, and
was silent; satisfied with standing close beside her, holding her gown
when unperceived, and watching, as she spoke and moved, every turn
of her countenance. Delighted by these marks of sensibility, Sister
Frances would have praised the child, but was warned by Mad. de Fleury
to refrain from injudicious eulogiums, lest she should teach her

“If I must not praise, you will permit me at least to love her,” said
Sister Frances.

Her affection for Victoire was increased by compassion: during two
months the poor child’s arm hung in a sling, so that she could not
venture to play with her companions. At their hours of recreation, she
used to sit on the school-room steps, looking down into the garden at
the scene of merriment, in which she could not partake.

For those who know how to find it, there is good in every thing.
Sister Frances used to take her seat on the steps, sometimes with her
work, and sometimes with a book; and Victoire, tired of being quite
idle, listened with eagerness to the stories which Sister Frances
read, or watched with interest the progress of her work: soon she
longed to imitate what she saw done with so much pleasure, and begged
to be taught to work and read. By degrees she learned her alphabet;
and could soon, to the amazement of her schoolfellows, read the names
of all the animals in Sister Frances’ _picture-book_. No matter how
trifling the thing done, or the knowledge acquired, a great point is
gained by giving the desire for employment. Children frequently become
industrious from impatience of the pains and penalties of idleness.
Count Rumford showed that he understood childish nature perfectly
well, when, in his House of Industry at Munich, he compelled the young
children to sit for some time idle in a gallery round the hall, where
others a little older than themselves were busied at work. During
Victoire’s state of idle convalescence, she acquired the desire to be
employed, and she consequently soon became more industrious than her
neighbours. Succeeding in her first efforts, she was praised--was
pleased, and persevered till she became an example of activity to her
companions. But Victoire, though now nearly seven years old, was not
quite perfect. Naturally, or accidentally, she was very passionate,
and not a little self-willed.

One day being mounted, horsemanlike, with whip in hand, upon the
banister of the flight of stairs leading from the school-room to the
garden, she called in a tone of triumph to her playfellows, desiring
them to stand out of the way, and see her slide from top to bottom. At
this moment Sister Frances came to the school-room door, and forbade
the feat: but Victoire, regardless of all prohibition, slid down
instantly, and moreover was going to repeat the glorious operation,
when Sister Frances, catching hold of her arm, pointed to a heap
of sharp stones that lay on the ground upon the other side of the

“I am not afraid,” said Victoire.

“But if you fall there, you may break your arm again.”

“And if I do I can bear it,” said Victoire. “Let me go, pray let me
go: I must do it.”

“No; I forbid you, Victoire, to slide down again!--Babet, and all
the little ones, would follow your example, and perhaps break their

The nun, as she spoke, attempted to compel Victoire to dismount:
but she was so much of a heroine, that she would do nothing upon
compulsion. Clinging fast to the banisters, she resisted with all her
might; she kicked and screamed, and screamed and kicked; but at last
her feet were taken prisoners; then grasping the railway with one
hand, with the other she brandished high the little whip.

“What!” said the mild nun, “would you strike me with that _arm_?”

The arm dropped instantly--Victoire recollected Mad. de Fleury’s
kindness the day when the arm was broken: dismounting immediately,
she threw herself upon her knees in the midst of the crowd of young
spectators, and begged pardon of Sister Frances. For the rest of the
day she was as gentle as a lamb; nay, some assert that the effects of
her contrition were visible during the remainder of the week.

Having thus found the secret of reducing the little rebel to obedience
by touching her on the tender point of gratitude, the nun had recourse
to this expedient in all perilous cases: but one day, when she was
boasting of the infallible operation of her charm, Mad. de Fleury
advised her to forbear recurring to it frequently, lest she should
wear out the sensibility she so much loved. In consequence of this
counsel, Victoire’s violence of temper was sometimes reduced by force,
and sometimes corrected by reason; but the principle and the feeling
of gratitude were not exhausted or weakened in the struggle. The hope
of reward operated upon her generous mind more powerfully than the
fear of punishment; and Mad. de Fleury devised rewards with as much
ability as some legislators invent punishments.

Victoire’s brother Maurice, who was now of an age to earn his own
bread, had a strong desire to be bound apprentice to the smith who
worked in the house where his mother lodged. This most ardent wish
of his soul he had imparted to his sister: and she consulted her
benefactress, whom she considered as all-powerful in this, as in every
other affair.

“Your brother’s wish shall be gratified,” replied Mad. de Fleury, “if
you can keep your temper one month. If you are never in a passion
for a whole month, I will undertake that your brother shall be bound
apprentice to his friend the smith. To your companions, to Sister
Frances, and above all to yourself, I trust, to make me a just report
this day month.”


  “You she preferr’d to all the gay resorts,
  Where female vanity might wish to shine,
  The pomp of cities, and the pride of courts.”


At the end of the time prescribed, the judges, including Victoire
herself, who was the most severe of them all, agreed she had justly
deserved her reward. Maurice obtained his wish; and Victoire’s temper
never relapsed into its former bad habits--so powerful is the effect
of a well-chosen motive!--Perhaps the historian may be blamed for
dwelling on such trivial anecdotes; yet a lady, who was accustomed to
the conversation of deep philosophers and polished courtiers, listened
without disdain to these simple annals. Nothing appeared to her a
trifle that could tend to form the habits of temper, truth, honesty,
order, and industry;--habits which are to be early induced, not by
solemn precepts, but by practical lessons. A few more examples of
these shall be recorded, notwithstanding the fear of being tiresome.

One day little Babet, who was now five years old, saw, as she was
coming to school, an old woman, sitting at a corner of the street,
beside a large black brazier full of roasted chestnuts. Babet thought
that the chestnuts looked and smelled very good; the old woman was
talking earnestly to some people, who were on her other side; Babet
filled her work-bag with chestnuts, and then ran after her mother and
sister, who, having turned the corner of the street, had not seen what
passed. When Babet came to the school-room, she opened her bag with
triumph, displayed her treasure, and offered to divide it with her
companions. “Here, Victoire,” said she, “here is the largest chestnut
for you.”

But Victoire would not take it; for she said that Babet had no
money, and that she could not have come honestly by these chestnuts.
She spoke so forcibly upon this point, that even those who had the
tempting morsel actually at their lips, forbore to bite; those who had
bitten laid down their half-eaten prize; and those who had their hands
full of chestnuts, rolled them, back again towards the bag, Babet
cried with vexation.

“I burned my fingers in getting them for you, and now you won’t eat
them!--And I must not eat them!” said she: then curbing her passion,
she added, “But at any rate, I won’t be a thief. I am sure I did not
think it was being a thief just to take a few chestnuts from an old
woman, who had such heaps and heaps: but Victoire says it is wrong,
and I would not be a thief for all the chestnuts in the world--I’ll
throw them all into the fire this minute!”

“No; give them back again to the old woman,” said Victoire.

“But, may be, she would scold me for having taken them,” said Babet;
“or who knows but she might whip me?”

“And if she did, could not you bear it?” said Victoire: “I am sure I
would rather bear twenty whippings than be a thief.”

“Twenty whippings! that’s a great many,” said Babet; “and I am so
little, consider--and that woman has such a monstrous arm!--Now, if it
was Sister Frances, it would be another thing. But come! if you will
go with me, Victoire, you shall see how I will behave.”

“We will all go with you,” said Victoire.

“Yes, all!” said the children; “and Sister Frances, I dare say, would
go, if you asked her.”

Babet ran and told her, and she readily consented to accompany the
little penitent to make restitution. The chestnut woman did not whip
Babet, nor even scold her; but said she was sure, that since the child
was so honest as to return what she had taken, she would never steal
again. This was the most _glorious_ day of Babet’s life, and the
happiest. When the circumstance was told to Mad. de Fleury, she gave
the little girl a bag of the best chestnuts the old woman could
select, and Babet with great delight shared her reward with her

“But, alas! these chestnuts are not roasted. Oh, if we could but roast
them!” said the children.

Sister Frances placed in the middle of the table, on which the
chestnuts were spread, a small earthenware furnace--a delightful toy,
commonly used by children in Paris to cook their little feasts.

“This can be bought for sixpence,” said she: “and if each of you
twelve earn one halfpenny a-piece to-day, you can purchase it
to-night, and I will put a little fire into it, and you will then he
able to roast your chestnuts.”

The children ran eagerly to their work--some to wind worsted for a
woman who paid them a _liard_ for each ball, others to shell peas
for a neighbouring _traiteur_--all rejoicing that they were able to
earn _something_. The elder girls, under the directions and with the
assistance of Sister Frances, completed making, washing, and ironing,
half a dozen little caps, to supply a baby-linen warehouse. At the end
of the day, when the sum of the produce of their labours was added
together, they were surprised to find, that, instead of one, they
could purchase two furnaces. They received and enjoyed the reward of
their united industry. The success of their first efforts was fixed
in their memory: for they were very happy roasting the chestnuts, and
they were all (Sister Frances inclusive) unanimous in opinion that
no chestnuts ever were so good, or so well roasted. Sister Frances
always partook in their little innocent amusements; and it was her
great delight to be the dispenser of rewards, which at once conferred
present pleasure, and cherished future virtue.


  “To virtue wake the pulses of the heart,
  And bid the tear of emulation start.”--ROGERS.

Victoire, who gave constant exercise to the benevolent feelings of the
amiable nun, became every day more dear to her. Far from having the
selfishness of a favourite, Victoire loved to bring into public notice
the good actions of her companions. “Stoop down your ear to me, Sister
Frances,” said she, “and I will tell you a secret--I will tell you why
my friend Annette is growing so thin--I found it out this morning--she
does not eat above half her soup everyday. Look, there’s her porringer
covered up in the corner--she carries it home to her mother, who is
sick, and who has not bread to eat.”

Mad. de Fleury came in, whilst Sister Frances was yet bending down to
hear this secret; it was repeated to her, and she immediately ordered
that a certain allowance of bread should be given to Annette every day
to carry to her mother during her illness.

“I give it in charge to you, Victoire, to remember this, and I am sure
it will never be forgotten. Here is an order for you upon my baker:
run and show it to Annette. This is a pleasure you deserve; I am glad
that you have chosen for your friend a girl who is so good a daughter.
Good daughters make good friends.”

By similar instances of goodness Victoire obtained the love
and confidence of her companions, notwithstanding her manifest
superiority. In their turn, they were eager to proclaim her merits;
and, as Sister Frances and Mad. de Fleury administered justice with
invariable impartiality, the hateful passions of envy and jealousy
were never excited in this little society. No servile sycophant, no
malicious detractor, could rob or defraud their little virtues of
their due reward.

“Whom shall I trust to take this to Mad. de Fleury?” said Sister
Frances, carrying into the garden where the children were playing a
pot of fine jonquils, which she had brought from her convent.--“These
are the first jonquils I have seen this year, and finer I never
beheld! Whom shall I trust to take them to Mad. de Fleury this
evening?--It must be some one who will not stop to stare about on the
way, but who will be very, very careful--some one in whom I can place
perfect dependence.”

“It must be Victoire, then,” cried every voice.

“Yes, she deserves it to-day particularly,” said Annette, eagerly;
“because she was not angry with Babet, when she did what was enough to
put any body in a passion. Sister Frances, you know this cherry-tree
which you grafted for Victoire last year, and that was yesterday so
full of blossoms--now you see, there is not a blossom left!--Babet
plucked them all this morning to make a nosegay.”

“But she did not know,” said Victoire, “that pulling off the blossoms
would prevent my having any cherries.”

“Oh, I am very sorry I was so foolish,” said Babet; “Victoire did not
even say a cross word to me.”

“Though she was excessively anxious about the cherries,” pursued
Annette, “because she intended to have given the first she had to Mad.
de Fleury.”

“Victoire, take the jonquils--it is but just,” said Sister Frances.
“How I do love to hear them all praise her!--I knew what she would be
from the first.”

With a joyful heart Victoire took the jonquils, promised to carry them
with the utmost care, and not to stop to stare on the way. She set out
to Mad. de Fleury’s hotel, which was in _La Place de Louis Quinze_.
It was late in the evening, the lamps were lighting, and as Victoire
crossed the Pont de Louis Seize, she stopped to look at the reflection
of the lamps in the water, which appeared in succession, as they were
lighted, spreading as if by magic along the river. While Victoire
leaned over the battlements of the bridge, watching the rising of
these stars of fire, a sudden push from the elbow of some rude
passenger precipitated her pot of jonquils into the Seine. The sound
it made in the water was thunder to the ear of Victoire; she stood
for an instant vainly hoping it would rise again, but the waters had
closed over it for ever.

  “Dans cet êtat affreux, que faire?
  Mon devoir.”

Victoire courageously proceeded to Mad. de Fleury’s, and desired to
see her.

“D’abord c’est impossible--madame is dressing to go to a concert;”
 said François. “Cannot you leave your message?”

“Oh, no,” said Victoire; “it is of great consequence--I must see _her_
myself; and she is so good, and you too, Monsieur François, that I am
sure you will not refuse.”

“Well, I remember one day you found the seal of my watch, which I
dropped at your school-room door--one good turn deserves another.
If it is possible, it shall be done--I will inquire of madame’s
woman.”--“Follow me up stairs,” said he, returning in a few minutes;
“madame will see you.”

She followed him up the large staircase, and through a suite of
apartments sufficiently grand to intimidate her young imagination.

“Madame est dans son cabinet. Entrez--mais entrez done, entrez

Mad. de Fleury was more richly dressed than usual; and her image was
reflected in the large looking-glass, so that at the first moment
Victoire thought she saw many fine ladies, but not one of them the
lady she wanted.

“Well, Victoire, my child, what is the matter?”

“Oh, it is her voice!--I know you now, madame, and I am not
afraid--not afraid even to tell you how foolish I have been. Sister
Frances trusted me to carry for you, madame, a beautiful pot of
jonquils, and she desired me not to stop on the way to stare; but
I did stop to look at the lamps on the bridge, and I forgot the
jonquils, and somebody brushed by me, and threw them into the
river--and I am very sorry I was so foolish.”

“And I am very glad that you are so wise as to tell the truth, without
attempting to make any paltry excuses. Go home to Sister Frances, and
assure her that I am more obliged to her for making you such an honest
girl than I could be for a whole bed of jonquils.”

Victoire’s heart was so full that she could not speak--she kissed
Mad. de Fleury’s hand in silence, and then seemed to be lost in
contemplation of her bracelet.

“Are you thinking, Victoire, that you should be much happier, if you
had such bracelets as these?--Believe me, you are mistaken if you
think so; many people are unhappy, who wear fine bracelets; so, my
child, content yourself.”

“Myself! Oh, madam, I was not thinking of myself--I was not wishing
for bracelets, I was only thinking that--”

“That what?”

“That it is a pity you are so very rich; you have every thing in this
world that you want, and I can never be of the least use to _you_--all
my life I shall never be able to do _you_ any good--and what,”
 said Victoire, turning away to hide her tears, “what signifies the
gratitude of such a poor little creature as I am?”

“Did you never hear the fable of the lion and the mouse, Victoire?”

“No, madam--never!”

“Then I will tell it to you.”

Victoire looked up with eyes of eager expectation--François opened
the door to announce that the Marquis de M---- and the Comte de S----
were in the saloon; but Mad. de Fleury stayed to tell Victoire her
fable--she would not lose the opportunity of making an impression upon
this child’s heart.

It is whilst the mind is warm that the deepest impressions can be
made. Seizing the happy moment sometimes decides the character and the
fate of a child. In this respect what advantages have the rich and
great in educating the children of the poor! they have the power which
their rank, and all its decorations, obtain over the imagination.
Their smiles are favours; their words are listened to as oracular;
they are looked up to as beings of a superior order. Their powers of
working good are almost as great, though not quite so wonderful, as
those formerly attributed to beneficent fairies.


  “Knowledge for them unlocks her _useful_ page,
  And virtue blossoms for a better age.”--BARBAULD.

A few days after Mad. de Fleury had told Victoire the fable of the
lion and the mouse, she was informed by Sister Frances that Victoire
had put the fable into verse. It was wonderfully well done for a child
of nine years old, and Mad. de Fleury was tempted to praise the lines;
but, checking the enthusiasm of the moment, she considered whether
it would be advantageous to cultivate her pupil’s talent for poetry.
Excellence in the poetic art cannot be obtained without a degree of
application for which a girl in her situation could not have leisure.
To encourage her to become a mere rhyming scribbler, without any
chance of obtaining celebrity or securing subsistence, would be folly
and cruelty. Early prodigies, in the lower ranks of life, are seldom
permanently successful; they are cried up one day, and cried down the
next. Their productions rarely have that superiority which secures
a fair preference in the great literary market. Their performances
are, perhaps, said to be--_wonderful, all things considered_,
&c. Charitable allowances are made; the books are purchased by
associations of complaisant friends or opulent patrons; a kind of
forced demand is raised, but this can be only temporary and delusive.
In spite of bounties and of all the arts of protection, nothing but
what is intrinsically good will long be preferred, when it must be
purchased. But granting that positive excellence is attained, there
is always danger that for works of fancy the taste of the public may
suddenly vary; there is a fashion in these things; and when the mode
changes, the mere literary manufacturer is thrown out of employment;
he is unable to turn his hand to another trade, or to any but his own
peculiar branch of the business. The powers of the mind are often
partially cultivated in these self-taught geniuses. We often see that
one part of their understanding is nourished to the prejudice of the
rest--the imagination, for instance, at the expense of the judgment:
so that, whilst they have acquired talents for show, they have none
for use. In the affairs of common life, they are utterly ignorant and
imbecile--or worse than imbecile. Early called into public notice,
probably before their moral habits are formed, they are extolled for
some play of fancy or of wit, as Bacon calls it, some _juggler’s trick
of the intellect_; they immediately take an aversion to plodding
labour, they feel raised above their situation; _possessed_ by the
notion that genius exempts them, not only from labour, but from vulgar
rules of prudence, they soon disgrace themselves by their conduct,
are deserted by their patrons, and sink into despair, or plunge into

Convinced of these melancholy truths, Mad. de Fleury was determined
not to add to the number of those imprudent or ostentatious patrons,
who sacrifice to their own amusement and vanity the future happiness
of their favourites. Victoire’s verses were not handed about in
fashionable circles, nor was she called upon to recite them before a
brilliant audience, nor was she produced in public as a prodigy; she
was educated in private, and by slow and sure degrees, to be a good,
useful, and happy member of society. Upon the same principles which
decided Mad. de Fleury against encouraging Victoire to be a poetess,
she refrained from giving any of her little pupils accomplishments
unsuited to their situation. Some had a fine ear for music, others
showed powers of dancing; but they were taught neither dancing nor
music--talents which in their station were more likely to be dangerous
than serviceable. They were not intended for actresses or opera-girls,
but for shop-girls, mantua-makers, work-women, and servants of
different sorts; consequently they were instructed in things which
would be most necessary and useful to young women in their rank of
life. Before they were ten years old, they could do all kinds of plain
needlework, they could read and write well, and they were mistresses
of the common rules of arithmetic. After this age, they were practised
by a writing-master in drawing out bills neatly, keeping accounts, and
applying to every-day use their knowledge of arithmetic. Some were
taught by a laundress to wash, and _get up_ fine linen and lace;
others were instructed by a neighbouring _traiteur_ in those culinary
mysteries with which Sister Frances was unacquainted. In sweetmeats
and confectionaries she yielded to no one; and she made her pupils
as expert as herself. Those who were intended for ladies’ maids were
taught mantua-making, and had lessons from Mad. de Fleury’s own woman
in hair-dressing.

Amongst her numerous friends and acquaintances, and amongst the
shopkeepers whom she was in the habit of employing, Mad. de Fleury
had means of placing and establishing her pupils suitably and
advantageously: of this both they and their parents were aware, so
that there was a constant and great motive operating continually to
induce them to exert themselves, and to behave well. This reasonable
hope of reaping the fruits of their education, and of being
immediately rewarded for their good conduct; this perception of the
connexion between what they are taught and what they are to become,
is necessary to make young people assiduous: for want of attending to
these principles, many splendid establishments have failed to produce
pupils answerable to the expectations which had been formed of them.

During seven years that Mad. de Fleury persevered uniformly on the
same plan, only one girl forfeited her protection--a girl of the
name of Manon; she was Victoire’s cousin, but totally unlike her in

When very young, her beautiful eyes and hair caught the fancy of a
rich lady, who took her into her family as a sort of humble playfellow
for her children. She was taught to dance and to sing: she soon
excelled in these accomplishments, and was admired, and produced as a
prodigy of talent. The lady of the house gave herself great credit for
having discerned, and having _brought forward_, such talents. Manon’s
moral character was in the mean time neglected. In this house, where
there was a constant scene of hurry and dissipation, the child had
frequent opportunities and temptations to be dishonest. For some time
she was not detected; her caressing manners pleased her patroness,
and servile compliance with the humours of the children of the family
secured their good-will. Encouraged by daily petty successes in
the art of deceit, she became a complete hypocrite. With culpable
negligence, her mistress trusted implicitly to appearances; and
without examining whether she were really honest, she suffered her to
have free access to unlocked drawers and valuable cabinets. Several
articles of dress were missed from time to time; but Manon managed
so artfully, that she averted from herself all suspicion. Emboldened
by this fatal impunity, she at last attempted depredations of more
importance. She purloined a valuable snuff-box--was detected in
disposing of the broken parts of it at a pawnbroker’s, and was
immediately discarded in disgrace; but by her tears and vehement
expressions of remorse, she so far worked upon the weakness of the
lady of the house, as to prevail upon her to conceal the circumstance
that occasioned her dismissal. Some months afterwards Manon,
pleading that she was thoroughly reformed, obtained from this lady
a recommendation to Mad. de Fleury’s school. It is wonderful that
people, who in other respects profess and practise integrity, can
be so culpably weak as to give good characters to those who do not
deserve them: this is really one of the worst species of forgery.
Imposed upon by this treacherous recommendation, Mad. de Fleury
received into the midst of her innocent young pupils one who might
have corrupted their minds secretly and irrecoverably. Fortunately a
discovery was made in time of Manon’s real disposition. A mere trifle
led to the detection of her habits of falsehood. As she could not do
any kind of needlework, she was employed in winding cotton; she was
negligent, and did not in the course of the week wind the same number
of balls as her companions; and to conceal this, she pretended that
she had delivered the proper number to the woman, who regularly called
at the end of the week for the cotton. The woman persisted in her
account; the children in theirs; and Manon would not retract her
assertion. The poor woman gave up the point; but she declared that she
would the next time send her brother to make up the account, because
he was _sharper_ than herself, and would not be imposed upon so
easily. The ensuing week the brother came, and he proved to be the
very pawnbroker to whom Manon formerly offered the stolen box: he knew
her immediately; it was in vain that she attempted to puzzle him, and
to persuade him that she was not the same person. The man was clear
and firm. Sister Frances could scarcely believe what she heard.
Struck with horror, the children shrunk back from Manon, and stood
in silence. Mad. de Fleury immediately wrote to the lady who had
recommended this girl, and inquired into the truth of the pawnbroker’s
assertions. The lady, who had given Manon a false character, could not
deny the facts, and could apologize for herself only by saying, that
“she believed the girl to be partly reformed, and that she hoped,
under Mad. de Fleury’s judicious care, she would become an amiable and
respectable woman.”

Mad. de Fleury, however, wisely judged, that the hazard of corrupting
all her pupils should not be incurred for the slight chance of
correcting one, whose had habits were of such long standing. Manon was
expelled from this happy little community--even Sister Frances, the
most mild of human beings, could never think of the danger to which
they had been exposed without expressing indignation against the lady
who recommended such a girl as a fit companion for her blameless and
beloved pupils.


  “Alas! regardless of their doom,
  The little victims play:
  No sense have they of ills to come,
  No care beyond to-day.”--GRAY.

Good legislators always attend to the habits, and what is called the
genius, of the people they have to govern. From youth to age, the
taste for whatever is called _une fête_ pervades the whole French
nation. Mad. de Fleury availed herself judiciously of this powerful
motive, and connected it with the feelings of affection more than with
the passion for show. For instance, when any of her little people had
done any thing particularly worthy of reward, she gave them leave to
invite their parents to a _fête_ prepared for them by their children,
assisted by the kindness of Sister Frances.

One day--it was a holiday obtained by Victoire’s good conduct--all the
children prepared in their garden a little feast for their parents.
Sister Frances spread the table with a bountiful hand, the happy
fathers and mothers were waited upon by their children, and each in
their turn heard with delight from the benevolent nun some instance
of their daughter’s improvement. Full of hope for the future, and of
gratitude for the past, these honest people ate and talked, whilst
in imagination they saw their children all prosperously and usefully
settled in the world. They blessed Mad. de Fleury in her absence, and
they wished ardently for her presence.

“The sun is setting, and Mad. de Fleury is not yet come,” cried
Victoire; “she said she would be here this evening--What can be the

“Nothing is the matter, you may be sure,” said Babet; “but that she
has forgotten us--she has so many things to think of.”

“Yes; but I know she never forgets us,” said Victoire; “and she loves
so much to see us all happy together, that I am sure it must be
something very extraordinary that detains her.”

Babet laughed at Victoire’s fears: but presently even she began to
grow impatient; for they waited long after sunset, expecting every
moment that Mad. de Fleury would arrive. At last she appeared, but
with a dejected countenance, which seemed to justify Victoire’s
foreboding. When she saw this festive company, each child sitting
between her parents, and all at her entrance looking up with
affectionate pleasure, a faint smile enlivened her countenance for a
moment; but she did not speak to them with her usual ease. Her mind
seemed pre-occupied by some disagreeable business of importance. It
appeared that it had some connexion with them; for as she walked round
the table with Sister Frances, she said with a voice and look of great
tenderness, “Poor children! how happy they are at this moment!--Heaven
only knows how soon they may be rendered, or may render themselves,

None of the children could imagine what this meant; but their parents
guessed that it had some allusion to the state of public affairs.
About this time some of those discontents had broken out, which
preceded the terrible days of the Revolution. As yet, most of the
common people, who were honestly employed in earning their own living,
neither understood what was going on, nor foresaw what was to happen.
Many of their superiors were not in such happy ignorance--they
had information of the intrigues that were forming; and the more
penetration they possessed, the more they feared the consequences of
events which they could not control. At the house of a great man, with
whom she had dined this day, Mad. de Fleury had heard alarming news.
Dreadful public disturbances, she saw, were inevitable; and whilst she
trembled for the fate of all who were dear to her, these poor children
had a share in her anxiety. She foresaw the temptations, the dangers,
to which they must be exposed, whether they abandoned, or whether they
abided by, the principles their education had instilled. She feared
that the labour of years would perhaps be lost in an instant, or that
her innocent pupils would fall victims even to their virtues.

Many of these young people were now of an age to understand and to
govern themselves by reason; and with these she determined to use
those preventive measures which reason affords. Without meddling with
politics, in which no amiable or sensible woman can wish to interfere,
the influence of ladies in the higher ranks of life may always be
exerted with perfect propriety, and with essential advantage to the
public, in conciliating the inferior classes of society, explaining to
them their duties and their interests, and impressing upon the minds
of the children of the poor, sentiments of just subordination and
honest independence. How happy would it have been for France, if
women of fortune and abilities had always exerted their talents and
activity in this manner, instead of wasting their powers in futile
declamations, or in the intrigues of party!


  “E’en now the devastation is begun,
  And half the business of destruction done.”


Madame de Fleury was not disappointed in her pupils. When the public
disturbances began, these children were shocked by the horrible
actions they saw. Instead of being seduced by bad example, they
only showed anxiety to avoid companions of their own age, who were
dishonest, idle, or profligate. Victoire’s cousin Manon ridiculed
these _absurd_ principles, as she called them; and endeavoured to
persuade Victoire that she would be much happier if she _followed the

“What! Victoire, still with your work-bag on your arm, and still going
to school with your little sister, though you are but a year younger
than I am, I believe!--thirteen last birthday, were not you?--Mon
Dieu! Why, how long do you intend to be a child? and why don’t you
leave that old nun, who keeps you in leading-strings?--I assure you,
nuns, and schoolmistresses, and schools, and all that sort of thing,
are out of fashion now--we have abolished all that--we are to live a
life of reason now--and all soon to be equal, I can tell you; let your
Mad. de Fleury look to that, and look to it yourself; for with all
your wisdom, you might find yourself in the wrong box by sticking to
her, and that side of the question.--Disengage yourself from her, I
advise you, as soon as you can.--My dear Victoire! believe me, you may
spell very well--but you know nothing of the rights of man, or the
rights of woman.”

“I do not pretend to know any thing of the rights of men, or the
rights of women,” cried Victoire; “but this I know, that I never can
or will be ungrateful to Mad. de Fleury. Disengage myself from her! I
am bound to her for ever, and I will abide by her till the last hour I

“Well, well! there is no occasion to be in a passion--I only speak as
a friend, and I have no more time to reason with you; for I must go
home, and get ready my dress for the ball to-night.”

“Manon, how can you afford to buy a dress for a ball?”

“As you might, if you had common sense, Victoire--only by being a
_good citizen_. I and a party of us _denounced_ a milliner and a
confectioner in our neighbourhood, who were horrible aristocrats; and
of their goods forfeited to the nation we had, as was our just share,
such delicious _marangles_, and charming ribands!--Oh, Victoire,
believe me, you will never get such things by going to school, or
saying your prayers either. You may look with as much scorn and
indignation as you please, but I advise you to let it alone, for all
that is out of fashion, and may moreover bring you into difficulties.
Believe me, my dear Victoire, your head is not deep enough to
understand these things--you know nothing of politics.”

“But I know the difference between right and wrong, Manon: politics
can never alter that, you know.”

“Never alter that!--there you are quite mistaken,” said Manon: “I
cannot stay to convince you now--but this I can tell you, that I know
secrets that you don’t suspect.”

“I do not wish to know any of your secrets, Manon,” said Victoire,

“Your pride may be humbled, Citoyenne Victoire, sooner than you
expect,” exclaimed Manon, who was now so provoked by her cousin’s
contempt, that she could not refrain from boasting of her political
knowledge. “I can tell you, that your fine friends will in a few days
not be able to protect you. The Abbé Tracassier is in love with a dear
friend of mine, and I know all the secrets of state from her--and I
know what I know. Be as incredulous, as you please, but you will
see that, before this week is at end, Monsieur de Fleury will be
guillotined, and then what will become of you? Good morning, my proud

Shocked by what she had just heard, Victoire could scarcely believe
that Manon was in earnest; she resolved, however, to go immediately
and communicate this intelligence, whether true or false, to Mad. de
Fleury. It agreed but too well with other circumstances, which alarmed
this lady for the safety of her husband. A man of his abilities,
integrity, and fortune, could not in such times hope to escape
persecution. He was inclined to brave the danger; but his lady
represented that it would not be courage, but rashness and folly, to
sacrifice his life to the villany of others, without probability or
possibility of serving his country by his fall.

M. de Fleury, in consequence of these representations, and of
Victoire’s intelligence, made his escape from Paris; and the very next
day _placards_ were put up in every street, offering a price for the
head of Citoyen Fleury, _suspected of incivisme_.

Struck with terror and astonishment at the sight of these _placards_,
the children read them as they returned in the evening from school;
and little Babet in the vehemence of her indignation mounted a
lamplighter’s ladder, and tore down one of the papers. This imprudent
action did not pass unobserved: it was seen by one of the spies of
Citoyen Tracassier, a man who, under the pretence of zeal _pour la
chose publique_, gratified without scruple his private resentments
and his malevolent passions. In his former character of an abbé, and
a man of wit, he had gained admittance into Mad. de Fleury’s society.
There he attempted to dictate both as a literary and religious despot.
Accidentally discovering that Mad. de Fleury had a little school for
poor children, he thought proper to be offended, because he had not
been consulted respecting the regulations, and because he was not
permitted, as he said, to take the charge of this little flock. He
made many objections to Sister Frances, as being an improper person
to have the spiritual guidance of these young people: but as he
was unable to give any just reason for his dislike, Mad. de Fleury
persisted in her choice, and was at last obliged to assert, in
opposition to the domineering abbé, her right to judge and decide
in her own affairs. With seeming politeness, he begged ten thousand
pardons for his conscientious interference. No more was said upon the
subject; and as he did not totally withdraw from her society till the
revolution broke out, she did not suspect that she had any thing to
fear from his resentment. His manners and opinions changed suddenly
with the times; the mask of religion was thrown off; and now, instead
of objecting to Sister Frances as not being sufficiently strict and
orthodox in her tenets, he boldly declared, that a nun was not a
fit person to be intrusted with the education of any of the young
citizens--they should all be _des élèves de la patrie_. The abbé,
become a member of the Committee of Public Safety, denounced Mad. de
Fleury, in the strange jargon of the day, as “_the fosterer of a swarm
of bad citizens, who were nourished in the anticivic prejudices_ de
l’ancien régime, _and fostered in the most detestable superstitions,
in defiance of the law_.” He further observed, that he had good reason
to believe that some of these little _enemies to the constitution_ had
contrived and abetted M. de Fleury’s escape. Of their having rejoiced
at it in a most indecent manner, he said he could produce irrefragable
proof. The boy who saw Babet tear down the _placard_ was produced and
solemnly examined; and the thoughtless action of this poor little girl
was construed into a state crime of the most horrible nature. In a
declamatory tone, Tracassier reminded his fellow-citizens, that in the
ancient Grecian times of virtuous republicanism (times of which France
ought to show herself emulous), an Athenian child was condemned to
death for having made a plaything of a fragment of the gilding that
had fallen from a public statue. The orator, for the reward of his
eloquence, obtained an order to seize every thing in Mad. de Fleury’s
school-house, and to throw the nun into prison.


  “Who now will guard bewilder’d youth
  Safe from the fierce assault of hostile rage?--
  Such war can Virtue wage?”

At the very moment when this order was going to be put in execution,
Mad. de Fleury was sitting in the midst of the children, listening to
Babet, who was reading Æsop’s fable of _The old man and his sons_.
Whilst her sister was reading, Victoire collected a number of twigs
from the garden: she had just tied them together; and was going,
by Sister Frances’ desire, to let her companions try if they could
break the bundle, when the attention of the moral of the fable was
interrupted by the entrance of an old woman, whose countenance
expressed the utmost terror and haste, to tell what she had not breath
to utter. To Mad. de Fleury she was a stranger; but the children
immediately recollected her to be the _chestnut woman_, to whom Babet
had some years ago restored certain purloined chestnuts. “Fly!” said
she, the moment she had breath to speak: “Fly!--they are coming to
seize every thing here--carry off what you can--make haste--make
haste!--I came through a by-street. A man was eating chestnuts at my
stall, and I saw him show one that was with him the order from Citoyen
Tracassier. They’ll be here in five minutes--quick!--quick!--You, in
particular,” continued she, turning to the nun, “else you’ll be in
prison.” At these words, the children, who had clung round Sister
Frances, loosed their hold, exclaiming, “Go! go quick: but where?
where?--we will go with her.” “No, no!” said Madame de Fleury, “she
shall come home with me--my carriage is at the door.” “Ma belle dame!”
 cried the chestnut woman, “your house is the worst place she can go
to--let her come to my cellar--the poorest cellar in these days is
safer than the grandest palace.” So saying, she seized the nun with
honest roughness, and hurried her away. As soon as she was gone, the
children ran different ways, each to collect some favourite thing,
which they thought they could not leave behind. Victoire alone stood
motionless beside Mad. de Fleury; her whole thoughts absorbed by the
fear that her benefactress would be imprisoned. “Oh, madame! dear,
dear Madame de Fleury, don’t stay! don’t stay!”

“Oh, children, never mind these things.”

“Don’t stay, madame, don’t stay! I will stay with them--I will
stay--do you go.”

The children hearing these words, and recollecting Mad. de Fleury’s
danger, abandoned all their little property, and instantly obeyed
her orders to go home to their parents. Victoire at last saw Mad. de
Fleury safe in her carriage. The coachman drove off at a great rate;
and a few minutes afterwards Tracassier’s myrmidons arrived at the
school-house. Great was their surprise, when they found only the
poor children’s little books, unfinished samplers, and half-hemmed
handkerchiefs. They ran into the garden to search for the nun. They
were men of brutal habits; yet as they looked at every thing round
them, which bespoke peace, innocence, and childish happiness, they
could not help thinking it was a pity to destroy what _could do the
nation no great harm after all_. They were even glad that the nun
had made her escape, since they were not answerable for it; and they
returned to their employer, satisfied for once without doing any
mischief: but Citizen Tracassier was of too vindictive a temper to
suffer the objects of his hatred thus to elude his vengeance. The next
day Mad. de Fleury was summoned before his tribunal, and ordered to
give up the nun, against whom, as a suspected person, a decree of the
law had been obtained.

Mad. de Fleury refused to betray the innocent woman: the gentle
firmness of this lady’s answers to a brutal interrogatory was termed
insolence; she was pronounced a refractory aristocrat, dangerous to
the state; and an order was made out to seal up her goods, and to keep
her a prisoner in her own house.


  “Alas! full oft on Guilt’s victorious car
  The spoils of Virtue are in triumph borne,
  While the fair captive, mark’d with many a scar,
  In lone obscurity, oppress’d, forlorn,
  Resigns to tears her angel form.”--BEATTIE.

A close prisoner in her own house, Mad. de Fleury was now guarded by
men suddenly become soldiers, and sprung from the dregs of the people;
men of brutal manners, ferocious countenances, and more ferocious
minds. They seemed to delight in the insolent, display of their
newly-acquired power. One of these men had formerly been convicted of
some horrible crime, and had been sent to the galleys by M. de Fleury.
Revenge actuated this wretch under the mask of patriotism, and he
rejoiced in seeing the wife of the man he hated a prisoner in his
custody. Ignorant of the facts, his associates were ready to believe
him in the right, and to join in the senseless cry against all
who were their superiors in fortune, birth, and education. This
unfortunate lady was forbidden all intercourse with her friends, and
it was in vain she attempted to obtain from her jailers intelligence
of what was passing in Paris.

“Tu verras--Tout va bien--Ca ira,” were the only answers they deigned
to make: frequently they continued smoking their pipes in obdurate
silence. She occupied the back rooms of her house, because her guards
apprehended that she might from the front windows receive intelligence
from her friends. One morning she was awakened by an unusual noise in
the streets; and upon her inquiring the occasion of it, her guards
told her she was welcome to go to the front windows, and satisfy her
curiosity. She went, and saw an immense crowd of people surrounding a
guillotine, that had been erected the preceding night. Mad. de Fleury
started back with horror--her guards burst into an inhuman laugh, and
asked whether her curiosity was satisfied. She would have left the
room; but it was now their pleasure to detain her, and to force her to
continue the whole day in this apartment. When the guillotine began
its work, they had even the barbarity to drag her to the window,
repeating, “It is there you ought to be!--It is there your husband
ought to be!--You are too happy, that your husband is not there this
moment. But he will be there--the law will overtake him--he will be
there in time--and you too!”

The mild fortitude of this innocent, benevolent woman made no
impression upon these cruel men. When at night they saw her kneeling
at her prayers, they taunted her with gross and impious mockery; and
when she sunk to sleep, they would waken her by their loud and drunken
orgies: if she remonstrated, they answered, “The enemies of the
constitution should have no rest.”

Mad. de Fleury was not an enemy to any human being; she had never
interfered in politics; her life had been passed in domestic
pleasures, or employed for the good of her fellow-creatures. Even
in this hour of personal danger she thought of others more than of
herself: she thought of her husband, an exile in a foreign country,
who might be reduced to the utmost distress, now that she was deprived
of all means of remitting him money. She thought of her friends, who,
she knew, would exert themselves to obtain her liberty, and whose
zeal in her cause might involve them and their families in distress.
She thought of the good Sister Frances, who had been exposed by her
means to the unrelenting persecution of the malignant and powerful
Tracassier. She thought of her poor little pupils, now thrown upon the
world without a protector. Whilst these ideas were revolving in her
mind, one night, as she lay awake, she heard the door of her chamber
open softly, and a soldier, one of her guards, with a light in his
hand, entered: he came to the foot of her bed; and, as she started up,
laid his finger upon his lips.

“Don’t make the least noise,” said he in a whisper; “those without are
drunk, and asleep. Don’t you know me?--Don’t you remember my face?”

“Not in the least; yet I have some recollection of your voice.”

The man took off the bonnet-rouge--still she could not guess who he
was.--“You never saw me in an uniform before, nor without a black

She looked again, and recollected the smith, to whom Maurice was bound
apprentice, and remembered his _patois_ accent.

“I remember you,” said he, “at any rate; and your goodness to that
poor girl the day her arm was broken, and all your goodness to
Maurice--But I’ve no time for talking of that now--get up, wrap this
great coat round you--don’t be in a hurry, but make no noise, and
follow me.”

She followed him; and he led her past the sleeping sentinels, opened
a back door into the garden, hurried her, almost carried her, across
the garden, to a door at the furthest end of it, which opened into
Les Champs Elysées--“La voilà!” cried he, pushing her through the
half-opened door. “God be praised!” answered a voice, which Mad. de
Fleury knew to be Victoire’s, whose arms were thrown round her with a
transport of joy.

“Softly; she is not safe yet--wait till we get her home, Victoire,”
 said another voice, which she knew to be that of Maurice. He produced
a dark lantern, and guided Mad. de Fleury across the Champs Elysées,
and across the bridge, and then through various by-streets, in perfect
silence, till they arrived safely at the house where Victoire’s mother
lodged, and went up those very stairs which she had ascended in such
different circumstances several years before. The mother, who was
sitting up waiting most anxiously for the return of her children,
clasped her hands in an ecstasy, when she saw them return with Mad. de

“Welcome, madame! Welcome, dear madame! but who would have thought of
seeing you here, in such a way? Let her rest herself--let her rest;
she is quite overcome. Here, madame, can you sleep on this poor bed?”

“The very same bed you laid me upon the day my arm was broken,” said

“Ay, Lord bless her!” said the mother; “and though it’s seven good
years ago, it seemed but yesterday that I saw her sitting on that bed,
beside my poor child, looking like an angel. But let her rest, let her
rest--we’ll not say a word more, only God bless her; thank Heaven,
she’s safe with us at last!”

Mad. de Fleury expressed unwillingness to stay with these good people,
lest she should expose them to danger; but they begged most earnestly
that she would remain with them without scruple.

“Surely, madame,” said the mother, “you must think that we have some
remembrance of all you have done for us, and some touch of gratitude.”

“And surely, madame, you can trust us, I hope,” said Maurice.

“And surely you are not too proud to let us do something for you. The
lion was not too proud to be served by the poor little mouse,” said
Victoire. “As to danger for us,” continued she, “there can be none;
for Maurice and I have contrived a hiding-place for you, madame,
that can never be found out--let them come spying here as often as
they please, they will never find her out, will they, Maurice? Look,
madame, into this lumber-room--you see it seems to be quite full of
wood for firing; well, if you creep in behind, you can hide yourself
quite snug in the loft above, and here’s a trap-door into the loft
that nobody ever would think of--for we have hung these old things
from the top of it, and who could guess it was a trap-door? So, you
see, dear madame, you may sleep in peace here, and never fear for us.”

Though but a girl of fourteen, Victoire showed at this time all the
sense and prudence of a woman of thirty. Gratitude seemed at once to
develope all the powers of her mind. It was she and Maurice who had
prevailed upon the smith to effect Mad. de Fleury’s escape from her
own house. She had invented, she had foreseen, she had arranged every
thing; she had scarcely rested night or day since the imprisonment of
her benefactress; and now that her exertions had fully succeeded, her
joy seemed to raise her above all feeling of fatigue; she looked as
fresh and moved as briskly, her mother said, as if she were preparing
to go to a ball.

“Ah! my child,” said she, “your cousin Manon, who goes to those balls
every night, was never so happy as you are this minute.”

But Victoire’s happiness was not of long continuance; for the next day
they were alarmed by intelligence that Tracassier was enraged beyond
measure at Mad. de Fleury’s escape, that all his emissaries were at
work to discover her present hiding-place, that the houses of all the
parents and relations of her pupils were to be searched, and that the
most severe denunciations were issued against all by whom she should
be harboured. Manon was the person who gave this intelligence, but not
with any benevolent design; she first came to Victoire, to display
her own consequence; and to terrify her, she related all she knew
from a soldier’s wife, who was M. Tracassier’s mistress. Victoire
had sufficient command over herself to conceal from the inquisitive
eyes of Manon the agitation of her heart; she had also the prudence
not to let any one of her companions into her secret, though, when
she saw their anxiety, she was much tempted to relieve them, by the
assurance that Mad. de Fleury was in safety. All the day was passed
in apprehension. Mad. de Fleury never stirred from her place of
concealment: as the evening and the hour of the domiciliary visits
approached, Victoire and Maurice were alarmed by an unforeseen
difficulty. Their mother, whose health had been broken by hard work,
in vain endeavoured to suppress her terror at the thoughts of this
domiciliary visit; she repeated incessantly that she knew they should
all be discovered, and that her children would be dragged to the
guillotine before her face. She was in such a distracted state, that
they dreaded she would, the moment she saw the soldiers, reveal all
she knew.

“If they question me, I shall not know what to answer,” cried the
terrified woman. “What can I say?--What can I do?”

Reasoning, entreaties, all were vain; she was not in a condition to
understand, or even to listen to, any thing that was said. In this
situation they were, when the domiciliary visitors arrived--they heard
the noise of the soldiers’ feet on the stairs--the poor woman sprang
from the arms of her children; but at the moment the door was opened,
and she saw the glittering of the bayonets, she fell at full length
in a swoon on the floor--fortunately before she had power to utter a
syllable. The people of the house knew, and said, that she was subject
to fits on any sudden alarm; so that her being affected in this manner
did not appear surprising. They threw her on a bed, whilst they
proceeded to search the house: her children stayed with her; and,
wholly occupied in attending to her, they were not exposed to the
danger of betraying their anxiety about Mad. de Fleury. They trembled,
however, from head to foot, when they heard one of the soldiers swear
that all the wood in the lumber-room must be pulled out, and that he
would not leave the house till every stick was moved; the sound of
each log, as it was thrown out, was heard by Victoire: her brother
was now summoned to assist. How great was his terror, when one of the
searchers looked up to the roof, as if expecting to find a trap-door!
fortunately, however, he did not discover it. Maurice, who had seized
the light, contrived to throw the shadows so as to deceive the eye.
The soldiers at length retreated; and with inexpressible satisfaction
Maurice lighted them down stairs, and saw them fairly out of the
house. For some minutes after they were in safety, the terrified
mother, who had recovered her senses, could scarcely believe that
the danger was over. She embraced her children by turns with wild
transport; and with tears begged Mad. de Fleury to forgive her
cowardice, and not to attribute it to ingratitude, or to suspect
that she had a bad heart. She protested that she was now become so
courageous, since she found that she had gone through this trial
successfully, and since she was sure that the hiding-place was really
so secure, that she should never be alarmed at any domiciliary visit
in future. Mad. de Fleury, however, did not think it either just or
expedient to put her resolution to the trial. She determined to leave
Paris; and, if possible, to make her escape from France. The master of
one of the Paris diligences was brother to François, her footman: he
was ready to assist her at all hazards, and to convey her safely to
Bourdeaux, if she could disguise herself properly; and if she could
obtain a pass from any friend under a feigned name.

Victoire--the indefatigable Victoire--recollected that her friend
Annette had an aunt, who was nearly of Mad. de Fleury’s size, and who
had just obtained a pass to go to Bourdeaux, to visit some of her
relations. The pass was willingly given up to Mad. de Fleury; and upon
reading it over it was found to answer tolerably well--the colour of
the eyes and hair at least would do; though the words _un nez gros_
were not precisely descriptive of this lady’s. Annette’s mother, who
had always worn the provincial dress of Auvergne, furnished the high
_cornette_, stiff stays, boddice, &c.; and equipped in these, Mad. de
Fleury was so admirably well disguised, that even Victoire declared
she should scarcely have known her. Money, that most necessary
passport in all countries, was still wanting: as seals had been
put upon all Mad. de Fleury’s effects the day she had been first
imprisoned in her own house, she could not save even her jewels. She
had, however, one ring on her finger of some value. How to dispose
of it without exciting suspicion was the difficulty. Babet, who was
resolved to have her share in assisting her benefactress, proposed
to carry the ring to a _colporteur_--a pedlar, or sort of travelling
jeweller, who had come to lay in a stock of hardware at Paris: he was
related to one of Mad. de Fleury’s little pupils, and readily disposed
of the ring for her: she obtained at least two-thirds of its value--a
great deal in those times.

The proofs of integrity, attachment, and gratitude, which she received
in these days of peril, from those whom she had obliged in her
prosperity, touched her generous heart so much, that she has often
since declared she could not regret having been reduced to distress.
Before she quitted Paris, she wrote letters to her friends,
recommending her pupils to their protection; she left these letters in
the care of Victoire, who to the last moment followed her with anxious
affection. She would have followed her benefactress into exile, but
that she was prevented by duty and affection from leaving her mother,
who was in declining health.

Mad. de Fleury successfully made her escape from Paris. Some of the
municipal officers in the towns through which she passed on her
road were as severe as their ignorance would permit in scrutinizing
her passport. It seldom happened that more than one of these petty
committees of public safety could read. One usually spelled out the
passport as well as he could, whilst the others smoked their pipes,
and from time to time held a light up to the lady’s face to examine
whether it agreed with the description.

“Mais toi! tu n’as pas le nez gros!” said one of her judges to her.
“Son nez est assez gros, et c’est moi qui le dit,” said another. The
question was put to the vote; and the man who had asserted what was
contrary to the evidence of his senses was so vehement in supporting
his opinion, that it was carried in spite of all that could be said
against it. Mad. de Fleury was suffered to proceed on her journey.
She reached Bourdeaux in safety. Her husband’s friends--the good have
always friends in adversity--her husband’s friends exerted themselves
for her with the most prudent zeal. She was soon provided with a sum
of money sufficient for her support for some time in England; and she
safely reached that free and happy country, which has been the refuge
of so many illustrious exiles.


  “Cosi rozzo diamante appena splende
  Dalla rupe natìa quand’ esce fuora,
  E a poco a poco lucido se rende
  Sotto l’attenta che lo lavora.”

Mad. de Fleury joined her husband, who was in London; and they both
lived in the most retired and frugal manner. They had too much of the
pride of independence to become burthensome to their generous English
friends. Notwithstanding the variety of difficulties they had to
encounter, and the number of daily privations to which they were
forced to submit, yet they were happy--in a tranquil conscience, in
their mutual affection, and the attachment of many poor but grateful
friends. A few months after she came to England, Mad. de Fleury
received, by a private hand, a packet of letters from her little
pupils. Each of them, even the youngest, who had but just begun to
learn joining-hand, would write a few lines in this packet.

In various hands, of various sizes, the changes were rung upon these
simple words:


    “I love you--I wish you were here again--I will be _very very_
    good whilst you are away. If you stay away ever so long, I shall
    never forget you, nor your goodness; but I hope you will soon be
    able to come back, and this is what I pray for every night. Sister
    Frances says I may tell you that I am very good, and Victoire
    thinks so too.”

This was the substance of several of their little letters. Victoire’s
contained rather more information:--

    “You will be glad to _learn_ that dear Sister Frances is safe, and
    that the good chestnut woman, in whose cellar she took refuge, did
    not get into any difficulty. After you were gone, M. T---- said
    that he did not think it worth while to pursue her, as it was only
    you he wanted to humble. Manon, who has, I do not know how, means
    of knowing, told me this. Sister Frances is now with her abbess,
    who, as well as every body else that knows her, is very fond of
    her. What was a convent is no longer a convent: the nuns are
    turned out of it. Sister Frances’ health is not so good as it used
    to be, though she never complains; I am sure she suffers much; she
    has never been the same person since that day when we were driven
    from our happy school-room. It is all destroyed--the garden and
    every thing. It is now a dismal sight. Your absence also afflicts
    Sister Frances much, and she is in great anxiety about all of
    us. She has the six little ones with her every day, in her own
    apartment, and goes on teaching them as she used to do. We six
    eldest go to see her as often as we can. I should have begun, my
    dear Mad. de Fleury, by telling you, that, the day after you left
    Paris, I went to deliver all the letters you were so very kind to
    write for us in the midst of your hurry. Your friends have been
    exceedingly good to us, and have got places for us all. Rose is
    with Mad. la Grace, your mantua-maker, who says she is more handy
    and more expert at cutting out than girls she has had these three
    years. Marianne is in the service of Mad. de V----, who has lost
    a great part of her large fortune, and cannot afford to keep her
    former waiting-maid. Mad. de V---- is well pleased with Marianne,
    and bids me tell you that she thanks you for her. Indeed,
    Marianne, though she is only fourteen, can do every thing her lady
    wants. Susanne is with a confectioner; she gave Sister Frances
    a box of _bonbons_ of her own making this morning; and Sister
    Frances, who is a judge, says they are excellent; she only wishes
    you could taste them. Annette and I (thanks to your kindness!) are
    in the same service, with Mad. Feuillot, the _brodeuse_, to whom
    you recommended us: she is not discontented with our work, and
    indeed sent a very civil message yesterday to Sister Frances on
    this subject; but I believe it is too flattering for me to repeat
    in this letter. We shall do our best to give her satisfaction. She
    is glad to find that we can write tolerably, and that we can make
    out bills and keep accounts; this being particularly convenient
    to her at present, as the young man she had in the shop is become
    an _orator_, and good for nothing but _la chose publique_: her
    son, who could have supplied his place, is ill; and Mad. Feuillot
    herself, not having had, as she says, the advantage of such a good
    education as we have been blessed with, writes but badly, and
    knows nothing of arithmetic. Dear Mad. de Fleury, how much, how
    very much we are obliged to you! We feel it every day more and
    more: in these times what would have become of us, if we could
    do nothing useful? Who _would_, who _could_ be burdened with us?
    Dear madame, we owe every thing to you--and we can do nothing, not
    the least thing, for you!--My mother is still in bad health, and
    I fear will never recover: Babet is with her always, and Sister
    Frances is very good to her. My brother Maurice is now so good a
    workman that he earns a louis a week. He is very steady to his
    business, and never goes to the revolutionary meetings, though
    once he had a great mind to be an orator of the people, but never
    since the day that you explained to him that he knew nothing about
    equality and the rights of men, &c. How could I forget to tell
    you, that his master the smith, who was one of your guards, and
    who assisted you to escape, has returned without suspicion to his
    former trade? and he declares that he will never more meddle with
    public affairs. I gave him the money you left with me for him. He
    is very kind to my brother--yesterday Maurice mended for Annette’s
    mistress the lock of an English writing-desk, and he mended it so
    astonishingly well, that an English gentleman, who saw it, could
    not believe the work was done by a Frenchman; so my brother was
    sent for, to prove it, and they were forced to believe it. To-day
    he has more work than he can finish this twelvemonth--all this we
    owe to you. I shall never forget the day when you promised that
    you would grant my brother’s wish to be apprenticed to the smith,
    if I was not in a passion for a month--that cured me of being so

    “Dear Mad. de Fleury, I have written you too long a letter, and
    not so well as I can write when I am not in a hurry; but I wanted
    to tell you every thing at once, because, may be, I shall not for
    a long time have so safe an opportunity of sending a letter to


Several months elapsed before Mad. de Fleury received another letter
from Victoire: it was short, and evidently written in great distress
of mind. It contained an account of her mother’s death. She was
now left at the early age of sixteen an orphan. Mad. Feuillot, the
_brodeuse_, with whom she lived, added a few lines to her letter,
penned with difficulty and strangely spelled, but expressive of her
being highly pleased with both the girls recommended to her by Mad. de
Fleury, especially Victoire, who she said was such a treasure to her,
that she would not part with her on any account, and should consider
her as a daughter. “I tell her not to grieve so much; for though she
has lost one mother, she has gained another for herself, who will
always love her: and besides, she is so useful, and in so many ways,
with her pen and her needle, in accounts, and every thing that is
wanted in a family or a shop, she can never want employment or friends
in the worst times; and none can be worse than these, especially for
such pretty girls as she is, who have all their heads turned, and are
taught to consider nothing a sin that used to be sins. Many gentlemen,
who come to our shop, have found out that Victoire is very handsome,
and tell her so; but she is so modest and prudent, that I am not
afraid for her. I could tell you, madame, a good anecdote on this
subject, but my paper will not allow, and besides, my writing is so

Above a year elapsed before Mad. de Fleury received another letter
from Victoire: this was in a parcel, of which an emigrant took charge:
it contained a variety of little offerings from her pupils, instances
of their ingenuity, their industry, and their affection: the last
thing in the packet was a small purse labelled in this manner--

“_Savings from our wages and earnings, for her who taught us all we


  “Dans sa pompe élégante, admirez Chantilly,
  De héros en héros, d’âge en âge, embelli.”


The health of the good Sister Frances, which had suffered much from
the shock her mind received at the commencement of the revolution,
declined so rapidly in the course of the two succeeding years, that
she was obliged to leave Paris, and she retired to a little village
in the neighbourhood of Chantilly. She chose this situation, because
here she was within a morning’s walk of Mad. de Fleury’s country-seat.
The Château de Fleury had not yet been seized as national property,
nor had it suffered from the attacks of the mob, though it was in
a perilous situation, within view of the high road to Paris. The
Parisian populace had not yet extended their outrages to this distance
from the city; and the poor people who lived on the estate of Fleury,
attached from habit, principle, and gratitude to their lord, were not
disposed to take advantage of the disorder of the times, to injure the
property of those from whom they had all their lives received favours
and protection. A faithful old steward had the care of the castle and
the grounds. Sister Frances was impatient to talk to him, and to visit
the château, which she had never seen; but for some days after her
arrival in the village, she was so much fatigued and so weak, that she
could not attempt so long a walk. Victoire had obtained permission
from her mistress to accompany the nun for a few days to the country,
as Annette undertook to do all the business of the shop during the
absence of her companion. Victoire was fully as eager as Sister
Frances to see the faithful steward and the Château de Fleury, and the
morning was now fixed for their walk: but in the middle of the night
they were awakened by the shouts of a mob, who had just entered the
village fresh from the destruction of a neighbouring castle. The nun
and Victoire listened; but in the midst of the horrid yells of joy, no
human voice, no intelligible word, could be distinguished: they looked
through a chink in the window-shutter, and they saw the street
below filled with a crowd of men, whose countenances were by turns
illuminated by the glare of the torches which they brandished.

“Good Heavens!” whispered the nun to Victoire: “I should know the face
of that man who is loading his musket--the very man whom I nursed ten
years ago, when he was ill with a jail fever!”

This man, who stood in the midst of the crowd, taller by the head than
the others, seemed to be the leader of the party; they were disputing
whether they should proceed further, spend the remainder of the night
in the village alehouse, or return to Paris. Their leader ordered
spirits to be distributed to his associates, and exhorted them in a
loud voice to proceed in their glorious work. Tossing his firebrand
over his head, he declared that he would never return to Paris till
he had razed to the ground the Château de Fleury. At these words,
Victoire, forgetful of all personal danger, ran out into the midst of
the mob, pressed her way up to the leader of these ruffians, caught
him by the arm, exclaiming, “You will not touch a stone in the Château
de Fleury--I have my reasons--I say you will not suffer a stone in the
Château de Fleury to be touched.”

“And why not?” cried the man, turning astonished; “and who are you,
that I should listen to you?”

“No matter who I am,” said Victoire; “follow me, and I will show
you one to whom you will not refuse to listen. Here!--here she is,”
 continued Victoire, pointing to the nun, who had followed her in
amazement; “here is one to whom you will listen--yes, look at her
well: hold the light to her face.”

The nun, in a supplicating attitude, stood in speechless expectation.

“Ay, I see you have gratitude, I know you will have mercy,” cried
Victoire, watching the workings in the countenance of the man; “you
will save the Château de Fleury, for her sake--who saved your life.”

“I will,” cried this astonished chief of a mob, fired with sudden
generosity. “By my faith you are a brave girl, and a fine girl, and
know how to speak to the heart, and in the right moment. Friends,
citizens! this nun, though she is a nun, is good for something. When
I lay ill with a fever, and not a soul else to help me, she came and
gave me medicines and food--in short, I owe my life to her. ‘Tis ten
years ago, but I remember it well; and now it is our turn to rule,
and she shall be paid as she deserves. Not a stone of the Château de
Fleury shall be touched!”

With loud acclamations, the mob joined in the generous enthusiasm of
the moment, and followed their leader peaceably out of the village.
All this passed with such rapidity as scarcely to leave the impression
of reality upon the mind. As soon as the sun rose in the morning,
Victoire looked out for the turrets of the Château de Fleury, and
she saw that they were safe--safe in the midst of the surrounding
devastation. Nothing remained of the superb palace of Chantilly but
the white arches of its foundation!


  “When thy last breath, ere Nature sank to rest,
  Thy meek submission to thy God express’d;
  When thy last look, ere thought and feeling fled,
  A mingled gleam of hope and triumph shed;
  What to thy soul its glad assurance gave--
  Its hope in death, its triumph o’er the grave?
  The sweet remembrance of unblemish’d youth,
  Th’inspiring voice of innocence and truth!”


The good Sister Frances, though she had scarcely recovered from the
shock of the preceding night, accompanied Victoire to the Château de
Fleury. The gates were opened for them by the old steward and his son
Basile, who welcomed them with all the eagerness with which people
welcome friends in time of adversity. The old man showed them the
place; and through every apartment of the castle went on, talking of
former times, and with narrative fondness told anecdotes of his dear
master and mistress. Here his lady used to sit and read--here was
the table at which she wrote--this was the sofa on which she and
the ladies sat the very last day she was at the castle, at the open
windows of the hall, whilst all the tenants and people of the village
were dancing on the green.

“Ay, those were happy times,” said the old man; “but they will never

“Never! Oh, do not say so,” cried Victoire.

“Never during my life, at least,” said the nun in a low voice, and
with a look of resignation.

Basile, as he wiped the tears from his eyes, happened to strike his
arm against the chord of Mad. de Fleury’s harp, and the sound echoed
through the room.

“Before this year is at an end,” cried Victoire, “perhaps that harp
will be struck again in this château by Mad. de Fleury herself. Last
night we could hardly have hoped to see these walls standing this
morning, and yet it is safe--not a stone touched! Oh, we shall all
live, I hope, to see better times!”

Sister Frances smiled, for she would not depress Victoire’s
enthusiastic hope: to please her, the good nun added, that she felt
better this morning than she had felt for months, and Victoire was
happier than she had been since Mad. de Fleury left France. But, alas!
it was only a transient gleam. Sister Frances relapsed, and declined
so rapidly, that even Victoire, whose mind was almost always disposed
to hope, despaired of her recovery. With placid resignation, or rather
with mild confidence, this innocent and benevolent creature met the
approach of death. She seemed attached to earth only by affection for
those whom she was to leave in this world. Two of the youngest of the
children which had formerly been placed under her care, and who were
not yet able to earn their own subsistence, she kept with her, and in
the last days of her life she continued her instructions to them with
the fond solicitude of a parent. Her father confessor, an excellent
man, who never even in these dangerous times shrunk from his duty,
came to attend Sister Frances in her last moments, and relieved her
mind from all anxiety, by promising to place the two little children
with the lady who had been abbess of her convent, who would to the
utmost of her power protect and provide for them suitably. Satisfied
by this promise, the good Sister Frances smiled upon Victoire, who
stood beside her bed, and with that smile upon her countenance
expired.--It was some time before the little children seemed to
comprehend, or to believe, that Sister Frances was dead: they had
never before seen any one die; they had no idea what it was to die,
and their first feeling was astonishment: they did not seem to
understand why Victoire wept. But the next day when no Sister Frances
spoke to them, when every hour they missed some accustomed kindness
from her,--when presently they saw the preparations for her
funeral,--when they heard that she was to be buried in the earth, and
that they should never see her more,--they could neither play nor eat,
but sat in a corner holding each other’s hands, and watching every
thing that was done for the dead by Victoire.

In those times, the funeral of a nun, with a priest attending, would
not have been permitted by the populace. It was therefore performed
as secretly as possible: in the middle of the night the coffin was
carried to the burial-place of the Fleury family; the old steward, his
son Basile, Victoire, and the good father confessor, were the only
persons present. It is necessary to mention this, because the facts
were afterwards misrepresented.


  “The character is lost!
  Her head adorn’d with lappets, pinn’d aloft,
  And ribands streaming gay, superbly raised,
  Indebted to some smart wig-weaver’s hand
  For more than half the tresses it sustains.”


Upon her return to Paris, Victoire felt melancholy; but she exerted
herself as much as possible in her usual occupation; finding that
employment and the consciousness of doing her duty were the best
remedies for sorrow.

One day, as she was busy settling Mad. Feuillot’s accounts, a servant
came into the shop, and inquired for Mademoiselle Victoire: he
presented her a note, which she found rather difficult to decipher.
It was signed by her cousin Manon, who desired to see Victoire at her
hotel. “_Her hotel_!” repeated Victoire with astonishment. The servant
assured her that one of the finest hotels in Paris belonged to his
lady, and that he was commissioned to show her the way to it. Victoire
found her cousin in a magnificent house, which had formerly belonged
to the Prince de Salms. Manon, dressed in the disgusting, indecent
extreme of the mode, was seated under a richly-fringed canopy. She
burst into a loud laugh as Victoire entered.

“You look just as much astonished as I expected,” cried she. “Great
changes have happened since I saw you last--I always told you,
Victoire, I knew the world better than you did. What has come of
all your schooling, and your mighty goodness, and your gratitude
truly?--Your patroness is banished and a beggar, and you a drudge in
the shop of a _brodeuse_, who makes you work your fingers to the bone,
no doubt.--Now you shall see the difference. Let me show you my house;
you know it was formerly the hotel of the Prince de Salms, he that was
guillotined the other day; but you know nothing, for you have been
out of Paris this month, I understand. Then I must tell you, that my
friend Villeneuf has acquired an immense fortune! by assignats, made
in the course of a fortnight--I say an immense fortune! and has bought
this fine house--Now do you begin to understand?”

“I do not clearly know whom you mean by your friend Villeneuf,” said

“The hairdresser, who lived in our street,” said Manon; “he became a
great patriot, you know, and orator; and, what with his eloquence and
his luck in dealing in assignats, he has made his fortune and mine.”

“And yours! then he is your husband!”

“That does not follow--that is not necessary--but do not look so
shocked--every body goes on the same way now; besides, I had no
other resource--I must have starved--I could not earn my bread as
you do. Besides, I was too delicate for hard work of any sort--and
besides--but come, let me show you my house--you have no idea how
fine it is.”

With anxious ostentation, Manon displayed all her riches, to excite
Victoire’s envy.

“Confess, Victoire,” said she at last, “that you think me the happiest
person you have ever known.--You do not answer; whom did you ever know
that was happier?”

“Sister Frances, who died last week, appeared to be much happier,”
 said Victoire.

“The poor nun!” said Manon, disdainfully. “Well, and whom do you think
the next happiest?”

“Madame de Fleury.”

“An exile and a beggar!--Oh, you are jesting now,
Victoire--or--envious. With that sanctified face, citoyenne--perhaps
I should say Mademoiselle Victoire, you would be delighted to change
places with me this instant. Come, you shall stay with me a week, to
try how you like it.”

“Excuse me,” said Victoire, firmly; “I cannot stay with you,
Manon--you have chosen one way of life, and I another--quite another.
I do not repent my choice--may you never repent yours!--Farewell!”

“Bless me! what airs! and with what dignity she looks! Repent of my
choice!--a likely thing, truly. Am not I at the top of the wheel?”

“And may not the wheel turn?” said Victoire.

“Perhaps it may,” said Manon; “but till it does I will enjoy myself.
Since you are of a different humour, return to Mad. Feuillot, and
_figure_ upon cambric and muslin, and make out bills, and nurse old
nuns, all the days of your life. You will never persuade me, however,
that you would not change places with me if you could. Stay till you
are tried, Mademoiselle Victoire. Who was ever in love with you, or
your virtues?--Stay till you are tried.”


  “But beauty, like the fair Hesperian tree,
  Laden with blooming gold, had need the guard
  Of dragon watch with unenchanted eye
  To save her blossoms, or defend her fruit.”


The trial was nearer than either Manon or Victoire expected. Manon had
scarcely pronounced the last words, when the ci-devant hairdresser
burst into the room, accompanied by several of his political
associates, who met to consult measures for the good of the nation.
Among these patriots was the Abbé Tracassier.

“Who is that pretty girl who is with you, Manon?” whispered he; “a
friend of yours, I hope?”

Victoire left the room immediately, but not before the profligate
abbé had seen enough to make him wish to see more. The next day he
went to Mad. Feuillot’s, under pretence of buying some embroidered
handkerchiefs; he paid Victoire a profusion of extravagant
compliments, which made no impression upon her innocent heart, and
which appeared ridiculous to her plain good sense. She did not know
who he was, nor did Mad. Feuillot; for though she had often heard
of the abbé, yet she had never seen him. Several succeeding days he
returned, and addressed himself to Victoire, each time with increasing
freedom. Mad. Feuillot, who had the greatest confidence in her,
left her entirely to her own discretion. Victoire begged her friend
Annette to do the business of the shop, and stayed at work in the back
parlour. Tracassier was much disappointed by her absence; but as he
thought no great ceremony necessary in his proceedings, he made his
name known in a haughty manner to Mad. de Feuillot, and desired that
he might be admitted into the back parlour, as he had something of
consequence to say to Mlle. Victoire in private. Our readers will
not require to have a detailed account of this tête-à-tête; it is
sufficient to say, that the disappointed and exasperated abbé left
the house muttering imprecations. The next morning a note came to
Victoire, apparently from Manon: it was directed by her, but the
inside was written by an unknown hand, and contained these words:--

    “You are a charming, but incomprehensible girl--since you do not
    like compliments, you shall not be addressed with empty flattery.
    It is in the power of the person who dictates this, not only to
    make you as rich and great as your cousin Manon, but also to
    restore to fortune and to their country the friends for whom you
    are most interested. Their fate as well as your own is in your
    power: if you send a favourable answer to this note, the persons
    alluded to will, to-morrow, be struck from the list of emigrants,
    and reinstated in their former possessions. If your answer is
    decidedly unfavourable, the return of your friends to France will
    be thenceforward impracticable, and their château, as well as
    their house in Paris, will be declared national property, and sold
    without delay to the highest bidder. To you, who have as much
    understanding as beauty, it is unnecessary to say more. Consult
    your heart, charming Victoire! be happy, and make others happy.
    This moment is decisive of your fate and of theirs, for you have
    to answer a man of a most decided character.”

Victoire’s answer was as follows:--

    “My friends would not, I am sure, accept of their fortune, or
    consent to return to their country, upon the conditions proposed;
    therefore I have no merit in rejecting them.”

Victoire had early acquired good principles, and that plain, steady,
good sense, which goes straight to its object, without being
dazzled or imposed upon by sophistry. She was unacquainted with the
refinements of sentiment, but she distinctly knew right from wrong,
and had sufficient resolution to abide by the right. Perhaps many
romantic heroines might have thought it a generous self-devotion to
have become in similar circumstances the mistress of Tracassier;
and those who are skilled “to make the worst appear the better
cause” might have made such an act of heroism the foundation of an
interesting, or at least a fashionable novel. Poor Victoire had not
received an education sufficiently refined to enable her to understand
these mysteries of sentiment. She was even simple enough to flatter
herself that this libertine patriot would not fulfil his threats,
and that these had been made only with a view to terrify her into
compliance. In this opinion, however, she found herself mistaken. M.
Tracassier was indeed a man of the most decided character, if this
term may properly be applied to those who act uniformly in consequence
of their ruling passion. The Château de Fleury was seized as national
property. Victoire heard this bad news from the old steward, who was
turned out of the castle, along with his son, the very day after her
rejection of the proposed conditions.

“I could not have believed that any human creature could be so
wicked!” exclaimed Victoire, glowing with indignation: but indignation
gave way to sorrow.

“And the Château de Fleury is really seized?--and you, good old
man, are turned out of the place where you were born?--and you too,
Basile?--and Mad. de Fleury will never come back again!--and perhaps
she may be put into prison in a foreign country, and may die for
want--and I might have prevented all this!”

Unable to shed a tear, Victoire stood in silent consternation,
whilst Annette explained to the good steward and his son the whole
transaction. Basile, who was naturally of an impetuous temper, was so
transported with indignation, that he would have gone instantly with
the note from Tracassier to _denounce_ him before the whole National
Convention, if he had not been restrained by his more prudent father.
The old steward represented to him, that as the note was neither
signed nor written by the hand of Tracassier, no proof could be
brought home to him, and the attempt to convict one of so powerful a
party would only bring certain destruction upon the accusers. Besides,
such was at this time the general depravity of manners, that numbers
would keep the guilty in countenance. There was no crime which the
mask of patriotism could not cover.

“There is one comfort we have in our misfortunes, which these men can
never have,” said the old man; “when their downfall comes, and come it
will most certainly, they will not feel as we do, INNOCENT. Victoire,
look up! and do not give way to despair--all will yet be well.”

“At all events, you have done what is right--so do not reproach
yourself,” said Basile. “Every body--I mean every body who is good for
any thing--must respect, admire, and love you, Victoire.”


  “Ne mal cio che v’annoja,
  Quello e vero gioire
  Che nasce da virtude dopo il soffrire.”

Basile had not seen without emotion the various instances of goodness
which Victoire showed during the illness of Sister Frances. Her
conduct towards M. Tracassier increased his esteem and attachment;
but he forbore to declare his affection, because he could not,
consistently with prudence, or with gratitude to his father, think of
marrying, now that he was not able to maintain a wife and family. The
honest earnings of many years of service had been wrested from the
old steward at the time the Château de Fleury was seized, and he now
depended on the industry of his son for the daily support of his age.
His dependence was just, and not likely to be disappointed; for he had
given his son an education suitable to his condition in life. Basile
was an exact arithmetician, could write an excellent hand, and was a
ready draughtsman and surveyor. To bring these useful talents into
action, and to find employment for them, with men by whom they would
be honestly rewarded, was the only difficulty--a difficulty which
Victoire’s brother Maurice soon removed. His reputation as a smith had
introduced him, among his many customers, to a gentleman of worth and
scientific knowledge, who was at this time employed to make models and
plans of all the fortified places in Europe; he was in want of a good
clerk and draughtsman, of whose integrity he could be secure. Maurice
mentioned his friend Basile; and upon inquiry into his character, and
upon trial of his abilities, he was found suited to the place, and
was accepted. By his well-earned salary he supported himself and his
father; and began, with the sanguine hopes of a young man, to flatter
himself that he should soon be rich enough to marry, and that then
he might declare his attachment to Victoire. Notwithstanding all his
boasted prudence, he had betrayed sufficient symptoms of his passion
to have rendered a declaration unnecessary to any clear-sighted
observer: but Victoire was not thinking of conquests; she was wholly
occupied with a scheme of earning a certain sum of money for her
benefactress, who was now, as she feared, in want. All Mad. de
Fleury’s former pupils contributed their share to the common stock;
and the mantua-maker, the confectioner, the servants of different
sorts, who had been educated at her school, had laid by, during the
years of her banishment, an annual portion of their wages and savings:
with the sum which Victoire now added to the fund, it amounted to
ten thousand livres. The person who undertook to carry this money to
Mad. de Fleury, was François, her former footman, who had procured a
pass to go to England as a hairdresser. The night before he set out
was a happy night for Victoire, as all her companions met, by Mad.
Feuillot’s invitation, at her house; and after tea they had the
pleasure of packing up the little box, in which each, besides the
money, sent some token of their gratitude, and some proof of their
ingenuity. They would with all their hearts have sent twice as many
_souvenirs_ as François could carry.

“D’abord c’est impossible!” cried he, when he saw the box that was
prepared for him to carry to England: but his good-nature was unable
to resist the entreaties of each to have her offering carried, “which
would take up no room.”

He departed--arrived safe in England--found out Mad. de Fleury, who
was in real distress, in obscure lodgings at Richmond. He delivered
the money, and all the presents of which he had taken charge: but the
person to whom she entrusted a letter, in answer to Victoire, was not
so punctual, or was more unlucky; for the letter never reached her,
and she and her companions were long uncertain whether their little
treasure had been received. They still continued, however, with
indefatigable gratitude, to lay by a portion of their earnings for
their benefactress; and the pleasure they had in this perseverance
made them more than amends for the loss of some little amusements,
and for privations to which they submitted in consequence of their

In the mean time Basile, going on steadily with his employments,
advanced every day in the favour of his master, and his salary was
increased in proportion to his abilities and industry; so that he
thought he could now, without any imprudence, marry. He consulted his
father, who approved of his choice; he consulted Maurice as to the
probability of his being accepted by Victoire; and encouraged by both
his father and his friend, he was upon the eve of addressing himself
to Victoire, when he was prevented by a new and unforeseen misfortune.
His father was taken up, by an emissary of Tracassier’s, and brought
before one of their revolutionary committees, where he was accused of
various acts of incivisme. Among other things equally criminal, it was
proved that one Sunday, when he went to see Le Petit Trianon, then a
public-house, he exclaimed, “C’est ici que la canaille danse, et que
les honnêtes gens pleurent!”

Basile was present at this mock examination of his father--he saw him
on the point of being dragged to prison--when a hint was given that
he might save his father by enlisting immediately, and going with the
army out of France. Victoire was full in Basile’s recollection--but
there was no other means of saving his father. He enlisted, and in
twenty-four hours left Paris.

What appear to be the most unfortunate circumstances of life often
prove ultimately the most advantageous. Indeed, those who have
knowledge, activity, and integrity, can convert the apparent blanks
in the lottery of fortune into prizes. Basile was recommended to his
commanding officer by the gentleman who had lately employed him as
a clerk--his skill in drawing plans, and in taking rapid surveys of
the country through which they passed, was extremely useful to his
general; and his integrity made it safe to trust him as a secretary.
His commanding officer, though a brave man, was illiterate, and a
secretary was to him a necessary of life. Basile was not only useful,
but agreeable; without any mean arts, or servile adulation, he
pleased, by simply showing the desire to oblige, and the ability to

“Diable!” exclaimed the general one day, as he looked at Basile’s plan
of a town, which the army was besieging. “How comes it that you are
able to do all these things? But you have a genius for this sort of
work, apparently.”

“No, sir,” said Basile, “these things were taught to me, when I was a
child, by a good friend.”

“A good friend he was indeed! he did more for you than if he had
given you a fortune; for, in these times, that might have been soon
taken from you; but now you have the means of making a fortune for

This observation of the general’s, obvious as it may seem, is
deserving of the serious consideration of those who have children
of their own to educate, or who have the disposal of money for
public charities. In these times, no sensible person will venture
to pronounce that a change of fortune and station may not await
the highest and the lowest; whether we rise or fall in the scale of
society, personal qualities and knowledge will be valuable. Those who
fall, cannot be destitute; and those who rise, cannot be ridiculous or
contemptible, if they have been prepared for their fortune by proper
education. In shipwreck, those who carry their all in their minds are
the most secure.

But to return to Basile. He had sense enough not to make his general
jealous of him by any unseasonable display of his talents, or any
officious intrusion of advice, even upon subjects which he best

The talents of the warrior and the secretary were in such different
lines, that there was no danger of competition; and the general,
finding in his secretary the soul of all the arts, good sense,
gradually acquired the habit of asking his opinion on every subject
that came within his department. It happened that the general received
orders from the Directory at Paris, to take a certain town, let
it cost what it would, within a given time: in his perplexity, he
exclaimed before Basile against the unreasonableness of these orders,
and declared his belief that it was impossible he should succeed, and
that this was only a scheme of his enemies to prepare his ruin. Basile
had attended to the operations of the engineer who acted under the
general, and perfectly recollected the model of the mines of this
town, which he had seen when he was employed as draughtsman by his
Parisian friend. He remembered, that there was formerly an old mine,
that had been stopped up somewhere near the place where the engineer
was at work; he mentioned _in private_ his suspicions to the general,
who gave orders in consequence; the old mine was discovered, cleared
out, and by these means the town was taken the day before the time
appointed. Basile did not arrogate to himself any of the glory of this
success--he kept his general’s secret and his confidence. Upon their
return to Paris, after a fortunate campaign, the general was more
grateful than some others have been, perhaps because more room was
given by Basile’s prudence for the exercise of this virtue.

“My friend,” said he to Basile, “you have done me a great service by
your counsel, and a greater still by holding your tongue. Speak now,
and tell me freely, if there is any thing I can do for you. You
see, as a victorious general, I have the upper hand amongst these
fellows--Tracassier’s scheme to ruin me missed--whatever I ask will at
this moment he granted; speak freely, therefore.”

Basile asked what he knew Victoire most desired--that M. and Mad. de
Fleury should be struck from the list of emigrants, and that their
property now in the hands of the nation should be restored to them.
The general promised that this should be done. A warm contest
ensued upon the subject between him and Tracassier; but the general
stood firm; and Tracassier, enraged, forgot his usual cunning, and
quarrelling irrevocably with a party now more powerful than his own,
he and his adherents were driven from that station in which they had
so long tyrannized. From being the rulers of France, they in a few
hours became banished men, or, in the phrase of the times, _des

We must not omit to mention the wretched end of Manon. The man with
whom she lived perished by the guillotine. From his splendid house
she went upon the stage--did not succeed--sunk from one degree of
profligacy to another; and at last died in an hospital.

In the mean time, the order for the restoration of the Fleury
property, and for permission for the Fleury family to return to
France, was made out in due form, and Maurice begged to be the
messenger of these good tidings:--he set out for England with the

Victoire immediately went down to the Château de Fleury, to get every
thing in readiness for the reception of the family.

Exiles are expeditious in their return to their native country.
Victoire had but just time to complete her preparations, when M. and
Mad. de Fleury arrived at Calais. Victoire had assembled all her
companions, all Mad. de Fleury’s former pupils; and the hour when she
was expected home, they with the peasants of the neighbourhood were
all in their holiday clothes, and according to the custom of the
country singing and dancing. Without music and dancing there is
no perfect joy in France. Never was _fête du village_ or _fête du
Seigneur_ more joyful than this.

The old steward opened the gate--the carriage drove in. Mad. de Fleury
saw that home which she had little expected evermore to behold; but
all other thoughts were lost in the pleasure of meeting her beloved

“My children!” cried she, as they crowded round her the moment she got
out of her carriage--“My dear _good_ children!”

It was all she could say. She leaned on Victoire’s arm as she went
into the house, and by degrees recovering from the almost painful
excess of pleasure, began to enjoy what she yet only confusedly felt.

Several of her pupils were so much grown and altered in their external
appearance, that she could scarcely recollect them till they spoke,
and then their voices and the expression of their countenances brought
their childhood fully to her memory. Victoire, she thought, was
changed the least, and at this she rejoiced.

The feeling and intelligent reader will imagine all the pleasure that
Mad. de Fleury enjoyed this day; nor was it merely the pleasure of
a day. She heard from all her friends, with prolonged satisfaction,
repeated accounts of the good conduct of these young people during her
absence. She learned with delight how her restoration to her country
and her fortune had been effected; and is it necessary to add,
that Victoire consented to marry Basile, and that she was suitably
portioned, and, what is better still, that she was perfectly
happy?--M. de Fleury rewarded the attachment and good conduct of
Maurice, by taking him into his service; and making him his manager
under the old steward at the Château de Fleury.

On Victoire’s wedding-day, Mad. de Fleury produced all the little
offerings of gratitude which she had received from her and her
companions during her exile. It was now her turn to confer favours,
and she knew how to confer them both with grace and judgment.

“No gratitude in human nature! No gratitude in the lower classes of
the people!” cried she: “how much those are mistaken who think so!
I wish they could know my history and the history of these _my
children_, and they would acknowledge their error.”

_Edgeworthstown_, 1805.


“I am young, I am in good health.” said Emilie de Coulanges; “I am
not to be pitied. But my poor mamma, who has been used all her life
to such luxuries! And now to have only her Emilie to wait upon her!
Her Emilie, who is but an awkward _femme de chambre_! But she will
improve, it must be hoped; and as to the rest, things, which are now
always changing, and which cannot change for the worse, must soon
infallibly change for the better--and mamma will certainly recover
all her property one of these days. In the mean time (if mamma is
tolerably well), we shall be perfectly happy in England--that charming
country, which, perhaps, we should never have seen but for this
terrible revolution!--Here we shall assuredly find friends. The
English are such good people!--Cold, indeed, at first--that’s their
misfortune: but then the English coldness is of manner, not of heart.
Time immemorial, they have been famous for making the best friends in
the world; and even to us, who are their _natural enemies_, they are
generous in our distress. I have heard innumerable instances of their
hospitality to our emigrants; and mamma will certainly not be the
first exception. At her Hotel de Coulanges, she always received the
English with distinguished attention; and though our hotel, with half
Paris, has changed its name since those days, the English have too
good memories to forget it, I am sure.”

By such speeches Emilie endeavoured to revive her mother’s spirits.
To a most affectionate disposition and a feeling heart she joined
all the characteristic and constitutional gaiety of her nation; a
gaiety which, under the pressure of misfortune, merits the name of
philosophy, since it produces all the effects, and is not attended
with any of the parade of stoicism.

Emilie de Coulanges was a young French emigrant, of a noble family,
and heiress to a large estate; but the property of her family had been
confiscated during the revolution. She and her mother, la Comtesse
de Coulanges, made their escape to England. Mad. de Coulanges was in
feeble health, and much dispirited by the sudden loss of rank and
fortune. Mlle. de Coulanges felt the change more for her mother than
for herself; she always spoke of her mother’s misfortunes, never of
her own.

Upon their arrival in London, Emilie, full of life and hope, went to
present some of her mother’s letters of recommendation. One of them
was addressed to Mrs. Somers. Mlle. de Coulanges was particularly
delighted by the manner in which she was received by this lady.

“No English coldness!--no English reserve!--So warm in her expressions
of kindness!--so eager in her offers of service!” Emilie could
speak of nothing for the remainder of the day, but “cette charmante
Mad. Somers!” The next day, and the next, and the next, she found
increasing reasons to think her charming. Mrs. Somers exerted herself,
indeed, with the most benevolent activity, to procure for Mad. de
Coulanges every thing that could be convenient or agreeable. She
prepared apartments in her own house for the mother and daughter,
which she absolutely insisted upon their occupying immediately: she
assured them that they should not be treated as visitors, but as
inmates and friends of the family. She pressed her invitation with
such earnestness, and so politely urged her absolute right to show her
remembrance of the civilities which she had received at Paris, that
there was no possibility of persisting in a refusal. The pride of high
birth would have revolted at the idea of becoming dependent, but all
such thoughts were precluded by the manner in which Mrs. Somers spoke;
and the Comtesse de Coulanges accepted of the invitation, resolving,
however, not to prolong her stay, if affairs in her own country should
not take a favourable turn. She expected remittances from a Paris
banker, with whom she had lodged a considerable sum--all that could be
saved in ready money, in jewels, &c. from the wreck of her fortune:
with this sum, if she should find all schemes of returning to France
and recovering her property impracticable, she determined to live, in
some retired part of England, in the most economical manner possible.
But, in the mean time, as economy had never been either her theory or
her practice, and as she considered retreat from _the world_ as the
worst thing, next to death, that could befal a woman, she was glad to
put off the evil hour. She acknowledged that ill health made her look
some years older than she really was; but she could not think herself
yet old enough to become _devout_; and, till that crisis arrived, she,
of course, would not willingly be banished from _society_. So that,
upon the whole, she was well satisfied to find herself established
in Mrs. Somers’s excellent house; where, but for the want of three
antechambers, and of the Parisian quantity of looking-glass on every
side of every apartment, la comtesse might have fancied herself at her
own Hotel de Coulanges. Emilie would have been better contented to
have been lodged and treated with less magnificence; but she rejoiced
to see that her mother was pleased, and that she became freer from her
_vapeurs noirs_[16]. Emilie began to love Mrs. Somers for making her
mother well and happy--to love her with all the fearless enthusiasm of
a young, generous mind, which accepts of obligation without any idea
that gratitude may become burdensome. Mrs. Somers excited not only
affection--she inspired admiration. Capable of the utmost exertion and
of the most noble sacrifices for her friends, the indulgence of her
generosity seemed not only to be the greatest pleasure of her soul,
but absolutely necessary to her nature. To attempt to restrain her
liberality was to provoke her indignation, or to incur her contempt.
To refuse her benefits was to forfeit her friendship. She grew
extremely fond of her present guests, because, without resistance,
they permitted her to load them with favours. According to her custom,
she found a thousand perfections in those whom she obliged. She had
considered la Comtesse de Coulanges, when she knew her at Paris, as a
very well-bred woman, but as nothing more; yet now she discovered that
Mad. de Coulanges had a superior understanding and great strength
of mind;--and Emilie, who had pleased her when a child, only by the
ingenuous sweetness of her disposition and vivacity of her manners,
was now become a complete angel--no angel had ever such a variety of
accomplishments--none but an angel could possess such a combination of
virtues. Mrs. Somers introduced her charming and noble emigrants to
all her numerous and fashionable acquaintance; and she would certainly
have quarrelled with any one who did not at least appear to sympathize
in her sentiments. Fortunately there was no necessity for quarrelling;
these foreigners were well received in every company, and Emilie
pleased universally; or, as Mad. de Coulanges expressed it, “Elle
avoit des grands _succès_ dans la société.” The French comtesse
herself could hardly give more emphatic importance to the
untranslateable word _succès_ than Mrs. Somers annexed to it upon
this occasion. She was proud of producing Emilie as her protégée; and
the approbation of others increased her own enthusiasm: much as she
did for her favourite, she longed to do more.--An opportunity soon
presented itself.

One evening, after Mad. de Coulanges had actually tired herself with
talking to the crowd, which her vivacity, grace, and volubility had
attracted about her sofa, she ran to entrench herself in an arm-chair
by the fireside, sprinkled the floor round her with _eau de senteur_,
drew, with her pretty foot, a line of circumvallation, and then,
shaking her tiny fan at the host of assailants, she forbade them,
under pain of her sovereign displeasure, to venture within the magic
circle, or to torment her by one more question or compliment. It was
now absolutely necessary to be serious, and to study the politics of
Europe. She called for the French newspapers, which Mrs. Somers had
on purpose for her; and, provided with a pinch of snuff, from the
ever-ready box of a French abbé, whose arm was permitted to cross
the line of demarcation, Mad. de Coulanges began to study. Silence
ensued--for novelty always produces silence in the first instant of
surprise. An English gentleman wrote on the back of a letter an offer
to his neighbour of a wager, that the silence would be first broken by
the French countess, and that it could not last above two minutes. The
wager was accepted, and watches were produced. Before the two minutes
had expired, the pinch of snuff dropped from the countess’s fingers,
and, clasping her hands together, she exclaimed, “Ah! ciel!”--The
surrounding gentlemen, who were full of their wager, and who had
heard, from the lady, during the course of the evening, at least a
dozen exclamations of nearly equal vehemence about the merest trifles,
were more amused than alarmed at this instant: but Emilie, who knew
her mother’s countenance, and who saw the sudden change in it, pressed
through the circle, and just caught her mother in her arms as she
fainted. Mrs. Somers, much alarmed, hastened to her assistance. The
countess was carried out of the room, and every body was full of
pity and of curiosity. When Mad. de Coulanges recovered from her
fainting-fit, she was seized with one of her nervous attacks; so that
no explanation could be obtained. Emilie and Mrs. Somers looked over
the French paper, but could not find any paragraph unusually alarming.
At length, more composed, the countess apologized for the disturbance
which she had occasioned; thanked Mrs. Somers repeatedly for her
kindness; but spoke in a hurried manner, as if she did not well know
what she said. She concluded by declaring that she was subject to
these nervous attacks, that she should be quite well the next morning,
and that she did not wish that any one should sit up with her during
the night except Emilie, who was used to her ways. With that true
politeness which understands quickly the feelings and wishes of
others, Mrs. Somers forbore to make any ill-timed inquiries or
officious offers of assistance; but immediately retired, and ordered
the attendants to leave the room, that Mad. de Coulanges and her
daughter might be at perfect liberty. Early in the morning Mrs. Somers
heard somebody knock softly at her door. It was Emilie.

“Mrs. Masham told me that you were awake, madam, or I should not--”

“Come in, come in, my dearest Emilie--I am awake--wide awake. Is your
mother better?”

“Alas! no, madam!”

“Sit down, my dear, and do not call me _madam_, so coldly.--I do not
deserve it.”

“My dear friend! friend of mamma! my dearest friend!” cried Emilie,
bursting into tears, and seizing Mrs. Somers’ hand; “do not accuse
me of coldness to you. I am always afraid that my French expressions
should sound exaggerated to English ears, and that you should think I
say too much to be sincere in expressing my gratitude.”

“My sweet Emilie, who could doubt your sincerity?--none but a brute or
a fool: but do not talk to me of gratitude.”

“I must,” said Emilie; “for I feel it.”

“Prove it to me, then, in the manner I like best--in the only manner
I like--by putting it in my power to serve you. I do not intrude upon
your mother’s confidence--I make no inquiries; but do me the justice
to tell me how I can be of use to her--or rather to you. From you I
expect frankness. Command my fortune, my time, my credit, my utmost
exertions--they are all, they ever have been, they ever shall be,
whilst I have life, at the command of my friends. And are not you my

“Generous lady!--You overpower me with your goodness.”

“No praises, no speeches!--Actions for me!--Tell me how I can serve

“Alas! _you_, even you, can do us no good in this business.”

“That I will never believe, till I know the business.”

“The worst of it is,” said Emilie, “that we must leave you.”

“Leave me! Impossible!” cried Mrs. Somers, starting up.--You shall not
leave me, that I am determined upon. Why cannot you speak out at once,
and tell me what is the matter, Emilie? How can I act, unless I am
trusted? and who deserves to be trusted by you, if I do not?”

“Assuredly nobody deserves it better; and if it were only my affair,
dear Mrs. Somers, you should have known it as soon as I knew it
myself; but it is mamma’s, more than mine.”

“Madame la comtesse, then, does not think me worthy of her
confidence,” said Mrs. Somers, in a haughty tone, whilst displeasure
clouded her whole countenance. “Is that what I am to understand from
you, Mille. de Coulanges?”

“No, no; that is not what you are to understand, dear madam--my dear
friend, I should say,” cried Emilie, alarmed. “Certainly I have
explained myself ill, or you could not suspect mamma for a moment of
such injustice. She knows you to be most worthy of her confidence; but
on this occasion her reserve, believe me, proceeds solely from motives
of delicacy, of which you could not but approve.”

“Motives of delicacy, my dear Emilie,” said Mrs. Somers, softening her
tone, but still with an air of dissatisfaction--“motives of delicacy,
my dear Emilie, are mighty pretty sounding words; and at your age I
used to think them mighty grand things; but I have long since found
out that _motives of delicacy_ are usually the excuse of weak minds
for not speaking the plain truth to their friends. People quit the
straight path from motives of delicacy, may be, to a worm or a
beetle--vulgar souls, observe, I rank only as worms and beetles; they
cross our path every instant in life; and those who fear to give them
offence must deviate and deviate, till they get into a labyrinth,
from which they can never extricate themselves, or be extricated. My
Emilie, I am sure, will always keep the straight road--I know her
strength of mind. Indeed, I did expect strength of mind from her
mother; but, like all who have lived a great deal in the world, she
is, I find, a slave to motives of delicacy.”

“Mamma’s delicacy is of a very different sort from what you describe,
and what you dislike,” said Emilie. “But, since persisting in her
reserve would, as I see, offend one whom she would be most sorry to
displease, permit me to go this moment and persuade her to let me tell
you the simple truth.”

“Go--run, my dear. Now I know my Emilie again. Now I shall be able to
do some good.”

By the time that Emilie returned, Mrs. Somers was dressed: she had
dressed in the greatest hurry imaginable, that she might be ready for
action--instantaneous action--if the service of her friends, as she
hoped, required it. Emilie brought the newspaper in her hand, which
her mother had been reading the preceding night.

“Here is all the mystery,” said she, pointing to a paragraph which
announced the failure of a Paris banker. “Mamma lodged all the money
she had left in this man’s hands.”

“And is that all?--I really expected something much more terrible.”

“It is terrible to mamma; because, depending on this man’s
punctuality, she has bought in London clothes and trinkets--chiefly
for me, indeed--and she has no immediate means of paying these debts;
but, if she will only keep her mind tranquil, all will yet be well.
You flatter me that I play tolerably on the piano-forte and the harp;
you will recommend me, and I can endeavour to teach music. So that, if
mamma will but be well, we shall not be in any great distress--except
in leaving you; that is painful, but must be done. Yes, it absolutely
must. Mamma knows what is proper, and so do I. We are not people to
encroach upon the generosity of our friends. I need not say more;
for I am sure that Mrs. Somers, who is herself so well-born and
well-educated, must understand and approve of mamma’s way of

Mrs. Somers replied not one word, but rang her bell violently--ordered
her carriage.

“Do not you breakfast, madam, before you go out?” said the servant.


“Not a dish of chocolate, ma’am?”

“My carriage, I tell you.--Emilie, you have been up all night: I
insist upon your going to bed this minute, and upon your sleeping till
I come back again. La comtesse always breakfasts in her own room; so I
have no apologies to make for leaving her. I shall be at home before
her toilette is finished, and hope she will then permit me to pay
my respects to her--you will tell her so, my dear. I must be gone
instantly.--Why will they not let me have this carriage?--Where are
those gloves of mine?--and the key of my writing-desk?--Ring again for
the coach.”

Between the acting of a generous thing and the first motion, all the
interim was, with Mrs. Somers, a delicious phantasma; and her ideas of
time and distance were as extravagant as those of a person in a dream.
She very nearly ran over Emilie in her way down stairs, and then said,
“Oh! I beg pardon a thousand times, my dear!--I thought you had been
in bed an hour ago.”

The toilette of Mad. de Coulanges, this morning, went on at the usual
rate. Whether in adversity or prosperity, this was to la comtesse an
elaborate, but never a tedious work. Long as it had lasted, it was,
however, finished; and she had full leisure for a fit and a half of
the vapours, before Mrs. Somers returned--she came in with a face
radiant with joy.

“Fortunately, most fortunately,” cried she, “I have it in my power to
repair the loss occasioned by the failure of this good-for-nothing
banker! Nay, positively, Mad. de Coulanges, I must not be refused,”
 continued she, in a peremptory manner. “You make an enemy, if you
refuse a friend.”

She laid a pocket-book on the table, and left the room instantly. The
pocket-book contained notes to a very considerable amount, surpassing
the sum which Mad. de Coulanges had lost by her banker; and on a
scrap of paper was written in pencil “Mad. de Coulanges must never
return this sum, for it is utterly useless to Mrs. Somers; as
the superfluities it was appropriated to purchase are now in the
possession of one who will not sell them.”

Astonished equally at the magnitude and the manner of the gift, Mad.
de Coulanges repeated, a million of times, that it was “noble! très
noble! une belle action!”--that she could not possibly accept of such
an obligation--that she could not tell how to refuse it--that Mrs.
Somers was the most generous woman upon earth--that Mrs. Somers had
thrown her into a terrible embarrassment.

Then la comtesse had recourse to her smelling-bottle, consulted
Emilie’s eyes, and answered them.

“Child! I have no thoughts of accepting; but I only ask you how I can
refuse, after what has been said, without making Mrs. Somers my enemy?
You see her humour--English humours must not be trifled with--her
humour, you see, is to give. It is a shocking thing for people of our
birth to be reduced to receive, but we cannot avoid it without losing
Mrs. Somers’ friendship entirely; and that is what you would not wish
to do, Emilie.”

“Oh, no, indeed!”

“Now we must be under obligations to our milliner and jeweller, if we
do not pay them immediately; for these sort of people call it a favour
to give credit for a length of time: and I really think that it is
much better to be indebted to Mrs. Somers than to absolute strangers
and to rude tradespeople. It is always best to have to deal with
polite persons.”

“And with generous persons!” cried Emilie; “and a more generous person
than Mrs. Somers, I am sure, cannot exist.”

“And then,” continued Mad. de Coulanges, “like all these rich English,
she can afford to be generous. I am persuaded that this Mrs. Somers is
as rich as a Russian princess; yes, as rich as the Russian princess
with the superb diadem of diamonds. You remember her at Paris?”

“No, mamma, I forget her,” answered Emilie, with a look of absence of

“Bon Dieu! what can you be thinking of?” exclaimed Mad. de Coulanges.
“You forget the Russian princess, with the diamond diadem, that was
valued at 200,000 livres! She wore it at her presentation--it was the
conversation of Paris for a week: you must recollect it, Emilie?”

“Oh, yes: I recollect something about its cutting her forehead.”

“Not at all, my dear; how you exaggerate! The princess only
complained, by way of something to say, that the weight of the
diamonds made her head ache.

“Was that all?”

“That was all. But I will tell you what you are thinking of,
Emilie--quite another thing--quite another person--broad Mad.
Vanderbenbruggen: her diamonds were not worth looking at; and they
were so horribly set, that she deserved all manner of misfortunes, and
to be disgraced in public, as she was. For you know the bandeau slipt
over her great forehead; and instead of turning to the gentlemen, and
ordering some man of sense to arrange her head-dress, she kept holding
her stiff neck stock still, like an idiot; she actually sat, with the
patience of a martyr, two immense hours, till somebody cried, ‘Ah!
madame, here is the blood coming!’ I see her before me this instant.
Is it possible, my dear Emilie, that you do not remember the
difference between this _buche_ of a Mad. Vanderbenbruggen, and our
charming princess? but you are as dull as Mad. Vanderbenbruggen
herself, this morning.”

The vivacious countess having once seized upon the ideas of Mad.
Vanderbenbruggen, the charming princess, and the fine diamonds, it was
some time before Emilie could recall her to the order of the day--to
the recollection of her banker’s failure, and of the necessity of
giving an answer to generous Mrs. Somers. The decision of Mad. de
Coulanges was probably at last influenced materially by the gay ideas
of “stars and dukes, and all their sweeping train,” associated with
Mad. Vanderbenbruggen’s image. The countess observed, that, after
the style in which she had been used to live in the first company
at Paris, it would be worse than death to be buried alive in some
obscure country town in England; and that she would rather see Emilie
guillotined at once, than condemned, with all her grace and talents,
to work, like a galley slave, at a tambour frame for her bread all the
days of her life.

Emilie assured her mother that she should cheerfully submit to much
greater evils than that of working at a tambour frame; and that, as
far as her own feelings were concerned, she should infinitely prefer
living by labour to becoming dependent. She therefore intreated that
her mother might not, from any false tenderness for her Emilie, decide
contrary to her own principles or wishes.

Mad. de Coulanges, after looking in the glass, at length determined
that it would be best to accept of Mrs. Somers’ generous offer; and
Emilie, who usually contrived to find something agreeable in all her
mother’s decisions, rejoiced that by this determination, Mrs. Somers
at least would be pleased. Mrs. Somers, indeed, was highly gratified;
and her expressions of satisfaction were so warm, that any body would
have thought she was the person receiving, instead of conferring, a
great favour. She thanked Emilie, in particular, for having vanquished
her mother’s false delicacy. Emilie blushed at hearing this undeserved
praise; and assured Mrs. Somers that all the merit was her mother’s.

“What!” cried Mrs. Somers hastily, “was it contrary to your
opinion?--Were you treacherous--were you my enemy--Mlle. de

Emilie replied that she had left the decision to her mother; that
she confessed she had felt some reluctance to receive a pecuniary
obligation, even from Mrs. Somers; but that she had rather be obliged
to her than to any body in the world, except to her mamma.

This explanation was not perfectly satisfactory to Mrs. Somers, and
there was a marked coldness in her manner towards Emilie during the
remainder of the day. Her affectionate and grateful disposition made
her extremely sensible to this change; and, when she retired to her
own room at night, she sat down beside her bed, and shed tears for the
first time since she had been in England. Mrs. Somers happened to go
into Emilie’s room to leave some message for Mad. de Coulanges--she
found Emilie in tears--inquired the cause--was touched and flattered
by her sensibility--kissed her--blamed herself--confessed she had been
extremely unreasonable--acknowledged that her temper was naturally too
hasty and susceptible, especially with those she loved--but assured
Emilie that this, which had been their first, should be their last
quarrel;--a rash promise, considering the circumstances in which they
were both placed. Those who receive and those who confer great favours
are both in difficult situations; but the part of the benefactor is
the most difficult to support with propriety. What a combination of
rare qualities is essential for this purpose! Amongst others, sense,
delicacy and temper. Mrs. Somers possessed all but the last; and,
unluckily, she was not sensible of the importance of this deficiency.
Confident and proud, that, upon all the grand occasions where
the human heart is put to the trial, she could display superior
generosity, she disdained attention to the minutiæ of kindness.
This was inconvenient to her friends; because occasion for a great
sacrifice of the heart occurs, perhaps, but once in a life, whilst
small sacrifices of temper are requisite every day, and every hour[17].

Mrs. Somers had concealed from Mad. de Coulanges and from Emilie the
full extent of their obligation: she told them, that the sum of money
which she offered had become useless to her, because it had been
destined to the purchase of some superfluities, which were now in
the possession of another person. The fact was, that she had been in
treaty for two fine pictures, a Guido and a Correggio; these pictures
might have been hers, but that on the morning, when she heard of
the failure of the banker of Mad. de Coulanges, she had hastened to
prevent the money from being paid for them. She was extremely fond
of paintings, and had long and earnestly desired to possess these
celebrated pictures; so that she had really made a great sacrifice
of her taste and of her vanity. For some time she was satisfied with
her own self-complacent reflections: but presently she began to be
displeased that Mad. de Coulanges and Emilie did not see the full
extent of her sacrifice. She became provoked by their want of
penetration in not discovering all that she studiously concealed; and
her mind, going on rapidly from one step to another, decided that this
want of penetration arose from a deficiency of sensibility.

One day, some of her visitors, who were admiring the taste with
which she had newly furnished a room, inquired for what those two
compartments were intended, looking at the compartments which had been
prepared for the famous pictures. Mrs. Somers replied that she had not
yet determined what she should put there: she glanced her eye upon
Mad. de Coulanges and upon Emilie, to observe whether they _felt as
they ought to do_. Mad. de Coulanges, imagining that an appeal was
made to her taste, decidedly answered, that nothing would have so fine
an effect as handsome looking-glasses: “Such,” added she, “as we
have at Paris. No house is furnished without them--they are absolute
necessaries of life. And, no doubt, these places were originally
intended for mirrors.”

“No,” said Mrs. Somers, dryly, and with a look of great displeasure:
“No, madame la comtesse, those places were not originally intended for

The countess secretly despised Mrs. Somers for her want of taste; but,
being too well bred to dispute the point, she confessed that she was
no judge--that she knew nothing of the matter; and then immediately
turned to her abbé, and asked him if he remembered the superb mirrors
in Mad. de V----‘s charming house on the Boulevards. “It is,” said
she, “in my opinion one of the very best houses in Paris. There you
enter the principal apartments by an antechamber, such as you ought to
see in a great house, with real ottomanes, covered with buff trimmed
with black velvet; and then you pass through the spacious salle à
manger and the delightful saloon, hung with blue silk, to the _bijou_
of a boudoir, that looks out upon the garden, with the windows shaded
by the most beautiful flowering shrubs in summer, and in winter
adorned with exotics. Then you see, through the plate-glass door of
the boudoir, into the gallery of paintings--I call it a gallery, but
it is, in fact, a delightful room, not a gallery--where you are not to
perish in cold, whilst you admire the magnificence of the place. Not
at all: it is warmed by a large stove, and you may examine the fine
pictures at your ease, or, as you English would say, in comfort. This
gallery must have cost M. de V---- an immense sum. The connoisseurs
say that it is really the best collection of Flemish pictures in the
possession of any individual in France. By-the-bye, Mrs. Somers, there
is, amongst others, an excellent Van Dyck, a portrait of your Charles
the First, when a boy, which I wonder that none of you rich English
have purchased.”

The countenance of Mrs. Somers had clouded over more and more during
this speech; but the heedless countess went on, with her usual

“Yet, no doubt, M. de V---- would not sell this Van Dyck: but he
would, I am told, part with his superb collection of prints, which
cost him 30,000 of your pounds. He must look for a purchaser amongst
those Polish and Russian princes who have nothing to do with their
riches--for instance, my friend Lewenhof, who complained that he was
not able to spend half his income in Paris; that he could not contrive
to give an entertainment that cost him money enough. What can he do
better than commence amateur?--then he might throw away money as fast
as his heart could wish. M. l’abbé, why do not you, or some man of
letters, write directly, and advise him to this, for the good of his
country? What a figure those prints would make in Petersburgh!--and
how they would polish the Russians! But, as a good Frenchwoman, I
ought to wish them to remain at Paris: they certainly cannot be better
than where they are.”

“True,” cried Emilie, “they cannot be better than where they are, in
the possession of those generous friends. I used to love to see Mad.
de V---- in the midst of all her fine things, of which she thought so
little. Her very looks are enough to make one happy--all radiant with
good-humoured benevolence. I am sure one might always salute Mad.
de V---- with the Chinese compliment, ‘Felicity is painted in your

This was a compliment which could not be paid to Mrs. Somers at the
present instant; for her countenance was as little expressive of
felicity as could well be imagined. Emilie, who suddenly turned and
saw it, was so much struck that she became immediately silent. There
was a dead pause in the conversation. Mad. de Coulanges was the only
unembarrassed person in company; she was very contentedly arranging
her hair upon her forehead opposite to a looking-glass. Mrs. Somers
broke the silence by observing, that, in her opinion, there was no
occasion for more mirrors in this room; and she added, in a voice
of suppressed anger, “I did originally intend to have filled those
unfortunate blanks with something more to my taste.”

Mad. de Coulanges was too much occupied with her ringlets to hear or
heed this speech. Mrs. Somers fixed her indignant eyes upon Emilie,
who, perceiving that she was offended, yet not knowing by what, looked
embarrassed, and simply answered, “Did you?”

This reply, which seemed as neutral as words could make it, and which
was uttered not only with a pacific, but with an intimidated tone,
incensed Mrs. Somers beyond measure. It put the finishing stroke
to the whole conversation. All that had been said about elegant
houses--antechambers--mirrors--pictures--amateurs--throwing away
money; and the generous Mad. de V----, _who was always good-humoured_,
Mrs. Somers fancied was meant _for her_. She decided that it was
absolutely impossible that Emilie could be so stupid as not to have
perfectly understood that the compartments had been prepared for the
Guido and Correggio, which she had so generously sacrificed; and the
total want of feeling--of common civility--evinced by Emilie’s reply,
was astonishing, was incomprehensible.

The more she reflected upon the words, the more of artifice, of
duplicity, of ingratitude, of insult, of meanness she discovered in
them. In her cold fits of ill-humour, this lady was prone to degrade,
as monsters below the standard of humanity, those whom, in the warmth
of her enthusiasm, she had exalted to the state of angelic perfection.
Emilie, though aware that she had unwittingly offended, was not aware
how low she had sunk in her friend’s opinion: she endeavoured, by
playful wit and caresses, to atone for her fault, and to reinstate
herself in her favour. But playful wit and caresses were aggravating
crimes; they were proofs of obstinacy in deceit, of a callous
conscience, and of a heart that was not to be touched by the marked
displeasure of a benefactress. Three days and three nights did the
displeasure of Mrs. Somers continue in full force, and manifest itself
by a variety of signs, which were lost upon Mad. de Coulanges, but
which were all intelligible to poor Emilie. She made several attempts
to bring on an explanation, by saying, “Are you not well?--Is any
thing the matter, dear Mrs. Somers?” But these questions were always
coldly answered by, “I am perfectly well, I thank you, Mlle. de
Coulanges--why should you imagine that any thing is the matter with

At the end of the third day of reprobation, Emilie, who could no
longer endure this state, resolved to take courage and to ask pardon
for her unknown offence. That night she went, trembling like a real
criminal, into Mrs. Somers’ dressing-room, kissed her forehead, and
said, “I hope you have not such a headache as I have?”

“Have you the headache?--I am sorry for it,” said Mrs. Somers; “but
you should take something for it--what will you take?”

“I will take nothing, except--your forgiveness.”

“My forgiveness!--you astonish me, Mlle. de Coulanges! I am sure that
I ought to ask yours, if I have said a word that could possibly give
you reason to imagine I am angry--I really am not conscious of any
such thing; but if you will point it out to me--”

“You cannot imagine that I come to accuse you, dear Mrs. Somers; I do
not attempt even to justify myself: I am convinced that, if you are
displeased, it cannot be without reason.”

“But still you do not tell me how I have shown this violent
displeasure: I have not, to the best of my recollection, said an angry
or a hasty word.”

“No; but when we love people, we know when they are offended, without
their saying a hasty word--your manner has been so different towards
me these three days past.”

“My manner is very unfortunate. It is impossible always to keep a
guard over our manners: it is sufficient, I think, to guard our

“Pray do not guard either with me,” said Emilie; “for I would a
thousand times rather that a friend should say or look the most angry
things, than that she should conceal from me what she thought; for
then, you know, I might displease her continually without knowing it,
and perhaps lose her esteem and affection irretrievably, before I was
aware of my danger--and with _you_--with you, to whom we owe so much!”

Touched by the feeling manner in which Emilie spoke, and by the
artless expression of her countenance, Mrs. Somers’ anger vanished,
and she exclaimed, “I have been to blame--I ask your pardon, Emilie--I
have been much to blame--I have been very unjust--very ill-humoured--I
see I was quite wrong--I see that I was quite mistaken in what I

“And what did you imagine?” said Emilie.

“_That_ you must excuse me from telling,” said Mrs. Somers; “I am too
much ashamed of it--too much ashamed of myself. Besides, it was a sort
of thing that I could not well explain, if I were to set about it; in
short, it was the silliest trifle in the world: but I assure you that
if I had not loved you very much, I should not have been so foolishly
angry. You must forgive these little infirmities of temper--you know
my heart is as it should be.”

Emilie embraced Mrs. Somers affectionately; and, in her joy at this
reconciliation, and in the delight she felt at being relieved from the
uneasiness which she had suffered for three days, loved her friend the
better for this quarrel: she quite forgot the pain in the pleasure of
the reconciliation; and thought that, even if Mrs. Somers had been in
the wrong, the candour with which she acknowledged it more than made
amends for the error.

“You must forgive these little infirmities of temper--you know my
heart is as it should be.”

Emilie repeated these words, and said to herself, “Forgive them! yes,
surely; I should be the most ungrateful of human beings if I did

Without being the most ungrateful of human beings, Emilie, however,
found it very difficult to keep her resolution.

Almost every day she felt the apprehension or the certainty of having
offended her benefactress: and the causes by which she gave offence
were sometimes so trifling as to elude her notice; so mysterious,
that they could not be discovered; or so various and anomalous, that,
even when she was told in what manner she had displeased, she could
not form any rule, or draw any inference, for her future conduct.
Sometimes she offended by differing, sometimes by agreeing, in taste
or opinion with Mrs. Somers. Sometimes she perceived that she was
thought positive; at other times, too complying. A word, a look,
or even silence--passive silence--was sufficient to affront this
susceptible lady. Then she would go on with a string of deductions, or
rather of imaginations, to prove that there must be something wrong
in Emilie’s disposition; and she would insist upon it, that she knew
better what was passing, or what would pass, in her mind, than Emilie
could know herself. Nothing provoked Mrs. Somers more than the want
of success in any of her active attempts to make others happy. She
was continually angry with Emilie for not being sufficiently pleased
or grateful for things which she had not the vanity to suspect were
intended for her gratification, or which were not calculated to
contribute to her amusement: this humility, or this difference of
taste, was always considered as affectation or perversity. One day,
Mrs. Somers was angry with Emilie because she did not thank her for
inviting a celebrated singer to her concert; but Emilie had no idea
that the singer was invited on her account: of this nothing could
convince Mrs. Somers. Another day, she was excessively displeased
because Emilie was not so much entertained as she had expected her to
be at the installation of a knight of the garter.

“Mad. de Coulanges expressed a wish to see the ceremony of the
installation; and, though I hate such things myself, I took prodigious
pains to procure tickets, and to have you well placed--”

“Indeed, I was very sensible of it, dear madam.”

“May be so, my dear; but you did not look as if you were: you seemed
tired to death, and said you were sleepy; and ten times repeated,
‘Ah! qu’il fait chaud!’ But this is what I am used to--what I have
experienced all my life. The more pains a person takes to please and
oblige, the less they can succeed, and the less gratitude they are to

Emilie reproached herself, and resolved that, upon the next similar
trial, she would not complain of being sleepy or tired; and that she
would take particular care not to say--“Ah! qu’il fait chaud!” A short
time afterwards she was in a crowded assembly, at the house of a
friend of Mrs. Somers, a _rout_--a species of entertainment of which
she had not seen examples in her own country (it appeared to her
rather a barbarous mode of amusement, to meet in vast crowds, to
squeeze or to be squeezed, without a possibility of enjoying any
rational conversation). Emilie was fatigued, and almost fainting,
from the heat, but she bore it all with a smiling countenance, and
heroic gaiety; for this night she was determined not to displease
Mrs. Somers. On their return home, she was rather surprised and
disappointed to find this lady in a fit of extreme ill-humour.

“I wanted to get away two hours ago,” cried she; “but you would not
understand any of my hints, Mlle. de Coulanges; and when I asked you
whether you did not find it very hot, you persisted in saying, ‘Not in
the least--not in the least.’”

Mrs. Somers was the more angry upon this occasion, because she
recollected having formerly reproached Emilie, at the installation,
for complaining of the heat; and she persuaded herself, that this was
an instance of perversity in Emilie’s temper, and a sly method of
revenging herself for the past. Nothing could be more improbable, from
a girl of such a frank, forgiving, sweet disposition; and no one would
have been so ready to say so as Mrs. Somers in another mood; but the
moment that she was irritated, she judged without common sense--never
from general observations, but always from particular instances. It
was in vain that Emilie disclaimed the motives attributed to her: she
was obliged to wait the return of her friend’s reason, and in the
mean time to bear her reproaches--she did with infinite patience.
Unfortunately this patience soon became the source of fresh evils.
Because Emilie was so gentle, and so ready to acknowledge and to
believe herself to be in the wrong, Mrs. Somers became convinced that
she herself was in the right in all her complaints; and she fancied
that she had great merit in passing over so many defects in one whom
she had so much obliged, and who professed so much gratitude. Between
the fits of her ill-humour, she would, however, waken to the full
sense of Emilie’s goodness, and would treat her with particular
kindness, as if to make amends for the past. Then, if Emilie could
not immediately resume that easy, gay familiarity of manner, which
she used to have before experience had taught her the fear of
offending, Mrs. Somers grew angry again and decided that Emilie had
not sufficient elevation of soul to understand her character, or to
forgive the _little infirmities_ of the best of friends. When she was
under the influence of this suspicion, every thing that Emilie said or
looked was confirmation strong. Mrs. Somers was apt in conversation to
throw out general reflections that were meant to apply to particular
persons; or to speak with one meaning obvious to all the company, and
another to be understood only by some individual whom she wished to
reproach. This art, which she had often successfully practised upon
Emilie, she, for that reason, suspected that Emilie tried upon her.
And then the utmost ingenuity was employed to torture words into
strange meanings: she would misinterpret the plainest expressions, or
attribute to them some double, mysterious signification.

One evening Emilie had been reading a new novel, the merits of which
were eagerly discussed by the company. Some said that the heroine
was a fool: others, that she was a mad woman; some, that she was not
either, but that she acted as if she were both; another party asserted
that she was every thing that was great and good, and that it was
impossible to paint in truer colours the passion of love. Mrs. Somers
declared herself of this opinion; but Emilie, who happened not to be
present when this declaration was made, on coming into the room and
joining in the conversation, gave a diametrically opposite judgment:
she said, that the author had painted the enthusiasm with which the
heroine yielded to her passion, instead of the violence of the passion
to which she yielded. The French abbé, to whom Emilie made this
observation, repeated it triumphantly to Mrs. Somers, who immediately
changed colour, and replied in a constrained voice, “Certainly that is
a very apposite remark, and vastly well expressed; and I give Mlle. de
Coulanges infinite credit for it.”

Emilie, who knew every inflection of Mrs. Somers’ voice, and every
turn of her countenance, perceived that these words of praise were
accompanied with strong feelings of displeasure. She was much
embarrassed, especially as her friend fixed her eyes upon her whilst
she blushed; and this made her blush ten times more: she was afraid
that the company, who were silent, should take notice of her distress;
and therefore she went on talking very fast about the novel, though
scarcely knowing what she said. She made sundry blunders in names and
characters, which were eagerly corrected by the astonished Mad. de
Coulanges, who could not conceive how any body could forget the
dramatis personæ of the novel of the day. Mrs. Somers, all the time,
preserved silence, as if she dared not trust herself to speak; but
her compressed lips showed sufficiently the constraint under which
she laboured. Whilst every body else went on talking, and helping
themselves to refreshments which the servants were handing about,
Mrs. Somers continued leaning on the mantel-piece in a deep reverie,
pulling her bracelet round and round upon her wrist, till she was
roused by Mad. de Coulanges, who appealed for judgment upon her new
method of preparing an orange.

“C’est à la corbeille--Tenez!” cried she, holding it by a slender
handle of orange-peel; “Tenez! c’est à la corbeille!”

Mrs. Somers, with a forced smile admired the orange-basket; but said,
that, for her part, her hands were not sufficiently dexterous to
imitate this fashion: “I,” said she, “can only do like the king of
Prussia and _other people_--squeeze the orange, and throw the peel
away. By-the-bye, how absurd it was of Voltaire to be angry with the
king of Prussia for that witty and just apologue!”

“_Just!_” repeated Emilie.

“Just!” reiterated Mrs. Somers, in a harsh voice: “surely you think
it so. For my part, I like the king the better for avowing his
principles--all the world act as he did, though few avow it.”

“What!” said Emilie, in a low voice, “do not you believe in the
reality of gratitude?”

“Apparently,” cried Mad. de Coulanges, who was still busy with her
orange, “apparently, madame is a disciple of our Rochefoucault, and
allows of no principle but self-love. In that case, I shall have as
bitter quarrels with her as I have with you, mon cher abbé;--for
Rochefoucault is a man I detest, or rather, I detest his maxims--the
duke himself, they say, was the most amiable man of his day. Only
conceive, that such a man should ascribe all our virtues to self-love
and vanity!”

“And, perhaps,” said the abbé, “it was merely vanity that made him say
so--he wished to write a witty satirical book; but I will lay a wager
he did not think as ill of human nature as he speaks of it.”

“He could hardly speak or think too ill of it,” said Mrs. Somers, “if
he judged of human nature by such speeches as that of the king of
Prussia about his friend and the orange.”

“But,” said Emilie, in a timid voice, “would it not be doing poor
human nature injustice to judge of it by such words as those? I am
convinced, with M. l’abbé, that some men, for the sake of appearing
witty, speak more malevolently than they feel; and, perhaps, this was
the case with the king of Prussia.”

“And Mlle. de Coulanges thinks, then,” said Mrs. Somers, “that it
is quite allowable, for the sake of appearing witty, to speak

“Dear madam! dear Mrs. Somers!--no!” cried Emilie; “you quite
misunderstood me.”

“Pardon me, I thought you were justifying the king of Prussia,”
 continued Mrs. Somers; “and I do not well see how that can be done
without allowing--what many people do in practice, though not in
theory--that it is right, and becoming, and prudent, to sacrifice a
friend for a bon-mot.”

The angry emphasis, and pointed manner, in which Mrs. Somers spoke
these words, terrified and completely abashed Emilie, who saw that
something more was meant than met the ear. In her confusion she ran
over a variety of thoughts; but she could not recollect any thing
that she had ever said, which merited the name of a bon-mot--and a
malevolent bon-mot! “Surely what I said about that foolish novel
cannot have offended Mrs. Somers?--How is it possible!--She cannot
be so childish as to be angry with me merely for differing with her
in opinion. What I said might be bad criticism, but it could not be
malevolent; it referred only to the heroine of a novel. Perhaps the
author may be a friend of hers, or some person who is in distress,
and whom she has generously taken under her protection. Why did not I
think of this before?--I was wrong to give my opinion so decidedly:
but then my opinion is of so little consequence; assuredly it can
neither do good nor harm to any author. When Mrs. Somers considers
this, she will be pacified; and when she is once cool again, she will
feel that I could not mean to say any thing ill-natured.”

The moment Mrs. Somers saw that Emilie was sensible of her
displeasure, she exerted herself to assume, during the remainder of
the evening, an extraordinary appearance of gaiety and good-humour.
Every body shared her smiles and kindness, except the unfortunate
object of her indignation: she behaved towards Mlle. de Coulanges with
the most punctilious politeness; but “all the cruel language of the
eye” was sufficiently expressive of her real feelings. Emilie bore
with this infirmity of temper with resolute patience: she expected
that the fit would last only till she could ask for an explanation;
and she followed Mrs. Somers, as was her usual custom upon such
occasions, to her room at night, in order to assert her innocence.
Mrs. Somers walked into her room in a reverie, without perceiving that
she was followed by Emilie--threw herself into a chair--and gave a
deep sigh.

“What is the matter, my dear friend?” Emilie began; but, on hearing
the sound of her voice, Mrs. Somers started up with sudden anger;
then, constraining herself, she said, “Pardon me, Mlle. de Coulanges,
if I tell you that I really am tired to-night--body and mind--I wish
to have rest for both if possible--would you be so very obliging as to
pull that bell for Masham?--I wish you a very good night.--I hope Mad.
de Coulanges will have her ass’s milk at the proper hour to-morrow--I
have given particular orders for that purpose.”

“Your kindness to mamma, dear Mrs. Somers,” said Emilie, “has been
invariable, and--”

“Spare me, I beseech you, Mlle. de Coulanges, all these _grateful
speeches_--I really am not prepared to hear them with temper to-night.
Were you so good as to ring that bell--or will you give me leave to
ring it myself?”

“If you insist upon it,” said Emilie, gently withholding the tassel
of the bell; “but if you would grant me five minutes--one minute--you
might perhaps save yourself and me a sleepless night.”

Mrs. Somers, incapable of longer commanding her passion, made no
reply, but snatched the bell-rope, and rang violently--Emilie let go
the tassel and withdrew. She heard Mrs. Somers say to herself, as
she left the room--“This is too much--too much--really too
much!--hypocrisy I cannot endure.--Any thing but hypocrisy!”

These words hurt Emilie more than any thing Mrs. Somers had ever
said: her own indignation was roused, and she was upon the point
of returning to vindicate herself; but gratitude, if not prudence,
conquered her resentment: she recollected her promise to bear with the
temper of her benefactress; she recollected all Mrs. Somers’ kindness
to her mother; and quietly retired to her room, determining to wait
till morning for a more favourable opportunity to speak.--After
passing a restless night, and dreaming the common dream of falling
down precipices, and the uncommon circumstance of dragging Mrs.
Somers after her by a bell-rope, she wakened to the confused, painful
remembrance of all that had passed the preceding evening. She was
anxious to obtain admittance to Mrs. Somers as soon as she was
dressed; but Masham informed her that her lady had given particular
orders that she should “_not be disturbed_.” When Mrs. Somers made her
appearance late at breakfast, there was the same forced good-humour
in her countenance towards the company in general, and the same
punctilious politeness towards Emilie, which had before appeared. She
studiously avoided all opportunity of explaining herself; and every
attempt of Emilie’s towards a reconciliation, either by submissive
gentleness or friendly familiarity, was disregarded, or noticed with
cold disdain. Yet all this was visible only to her; for every body
else observed that Mrs. Somers was in remarkably good spirits, and
in the most actively obliging humour imaginable. After breakfast she
proposed and arranged various parties of pleasure: she went with Mad.
de Coulanges to pay several visits; a large company dined with her;
and at night she went to a concert. In the midst of these apparent
amusements, Emilie was made as unhappy as the marked, yet mysterious,
displeasure of a benefactress could render a person of real
sensibility. As she did not wish to expose herself to a second
repulse, she forbore to follow Mrs. Somers to her room at night; but
she sent her this note by Mrs. Masham.

    “I have done or said something to offend you, dear Mrs. Somers.
    If you knew how much pain I have felt from your displeasure, I am
    sure you would explain to me what it can be. Is it possible that
    my differing in opinion from you about the heroine of the novel
    can have offended you?--Perhaps the author of the book is a friend
    of yours, or under your protection. Be assured, that if this be
    the case, I did not in the least suspect it at the time I made the
    criticism. Perhaps it was this to which you alluded when you said
    that the King of Prussia was not the only person who would not
    hesitate to sacrifice a friend for a bon-mot. What injustice you
    do me by such an idea! I will not here say one word about my
    gratitude or my affection, lest you should again reproach me with
    hypocrisy--any thing else I am able to bear. Pray write, if you
    will not speak to me.


When Emilie was just falling asleep, Masham came into her room with a
note in her hand.

“Mademoiselle, I am sorry to waken you; but my mistress thought you
would not sleep, unless you read this note to-night.”

Emilie started up in her bed, and read the following _note_ of four

    “Yes I will write, because I am ashamed to speak to you, my dear
    Emilie. I beg your pardon for pulling the bell-cord so violently
    from your hand last night--you must have thought me quite
    ill-bred; and still more, I reproach myself for what I said about
    _hypocracy_--You have certainly the sweetest and gentlest temper
    imaginable--would to Heaven I had! But the strength of my feelings
    absolutely runs away with me. It is the doom of persons of great
    sensibility to be both unreasonable and unhappy; and often, alas!
    to involve in their misery those for whom they have the most
    enthusiastic affection. You see, my dear Emilie, the price you
    must pay for being my friend; but you have strength of mind
    joined to a feeling heart, and you will bear with my defects.
    Dissimulation is not one of them. In spite of all my efforts, I
    find it is impossible ever to conceal from you any of even my most
    unreasonable fancies--your note, which is so characteristically
    frank and artless, has opened my eyes to my own folly. I must show
    you that, when I am in my senses, I do you justice. You deserve to
    be treated with perfect openness; therefore, however humiliating
    the explanation, I will confess to you the real cause of my
    displeasure. When you spoke of the heroine of this foolish novel,
    what you said was so applicable to some part of my own history
    and character, that I could not help suspecting you had heard the
    facts from a person with whom you spent some hours lately; and I
    was much hurt by your alluding to them in such a severe and public
    manner. You will ask me, how I could conceive you to be capable of
    such unprovoked malevolence: and my answer is, ‘I cannot tell;’ I
    can only say, such is the effect of the unfortunate susceptibility
    of my heart, or, to speak more candidly, of my temper. I confess
    I cannot, in these particulars, alter my nature. Blame me as much
    as I blame myself; be as angry as you please, or as you can, my
    gentle friend: but at last you must pity and forgive me.

    “Now that all this affair is off my mind, I can sleep in peace:
    and so, I hope, will you, my dear Emilie--Good night! If
    friends never quarrelled, they would never taste the joys of
    reconciliation. Believe me,

    “Your ever sincere and affectionate

    “A. SOMERS.”

No one tasted the joys of reconciliation more than Emilie; but, after
reiterated experience, she was inclined to believe that they cannot
balance the evils of quarrelling. Mrs. Somers was one of those, who
“confess their faults, but never mend;” and who expect, for this
gratuitous candour, more applause than others would claim for the real
merit of reformation. So far did this lady carry her admiration of her
own candour, that she was actually upon the point of quarrelling with
Emilie again, the next morning, because she did not seem sufficiently
sensible of the magnanimity with which she had confessed herself to be
ill-tempered. These few specimens are sufficient to give an idea of
this lady’s powers of tormenting; but, to form an adequate notion of
their effect upon Emilie’s spirits, we must conceive the same sort
of provocations to be repeated every day, for several months. Petty
torments, incessantly repeated, exhaust the most determined patience.

All this time, Mad. de Coulanges went on very smoothly with Mrs.
Somers; for she had not Emilie’s sensibility; and, notwithstanding her
great quickness, a hundred things might pass, and did pass, before
her eyes, without her seeing them. She examined no farther than the
surface; and, provided that there was not any deficiency of those
_little attentions_ to which she had been accustomed, it never
occurred to her that a friend could be more or less pleased: she did
not understand or study physiognomy; a smile of the lips was, to her,
always a sufficient token of approbation; and, whether it were merely
conventional, or whether it came from the heart, she never troubled
herself to inquire. Provided that she saw at dinner the usual
_couverts_, and that she had a sufficient number of people to converse
with, or rather to talk to, she was satisfied that every thing was
right. All the variations in Mrs. Somers’ temper were unmarked by
her, or went under the general head, _vapeurs noirs_. This species
of ignorance, or confidence, produced the best effects; for as Mrs.
Somers could not, without passing the obvious bounds of politeness,
make Mad. de Coulanges sensible of her displeasure, and as she had the
utmost respect for the countess’s opinion of her good breeding, she
was, to a certain degree, compelled to command her temper. Mad. de
Coulanges often, without knowing it, tried it terribly, by differing
from her in taste and judgment, and by supporting her own side of the
question with all the enthusiastic volubility of the French language.
Sometimes the English and French music were compared--sometimes the
English and French painters; and every time the theatre was mentioned,
Mad. de Coulanges pronounced an eulogium on her favourite French
actors, and triumphed over the comparison between the elegance of the
French, and the _grossièreté_ of the English taste for comedy.

“Good Heaven!” said she, “your fashionable comedies would be too
absurd to make the lowest of our audiences at the Boulevards laugh;
you have excluded sentiment and wit, and what have you in their place?
Characters out of drawing and out of nature; grotesque figures, such
as you see in a child’s magic lantern. Then you talk of English
humour--I wish I could understand it; but I cannot be diverted with
seeing a tailor turned gentleman pricking his father with a needle, or
a man making grimaces over a jug of sour beer.”

Mrs. Somers, piqued perhaps by the justice of some of these
observations, would dryly answer, that it was impossible for a
foreigner to comprehend English humour--that she believed the French,
in particular, were destitute of taste for humour.

Mad. de Coulanges insisted upon it, that the French have humour; and
Molière furnished her with many admirable illustrations.

Emilie, in support of her mother, read a passage from that elegant
writer, M. Suard[18], who has lately attacked, with much ability, the
pretensions of the English to the exclusive possession of humour.

Mrs. Somers then changed her ground, and inveighed against French
tragedy, and the unnatural tones and attitudes of the French tragic

“Your heroes on the French stage,” said she, “always look over their
right shoulders, to express magnanimous disdain; and a lover, whether
he be Grecian or Roman, Turk, Israelite, or American, must regularly
show his passion by the pompous emphasis with which he pronounces the
word MADAME!--a word which must certainly have, for a French audience,
some magical charm, incomprehensible to other nations.”

What was yet more incomprehensible to Mad. de Coulanges, was the
enthusiasm of the English for that bloody-minded barbarian Shakspeare,
who is never satisfied till he has strewn the stage with dead bodies;
who treats his audience like children, that are to be frightened
out of their wits by ghosts of all sorts and sizes in their winding
sheets; or by a set of old beggarmen, dressed in women’s clothes,
armed with broomsticks, and dancing and howling out their nonsensical
song round a black kettle.

Mrs. Somers, smiling as in scorn, would only reply, “Madame la
comtesse, yours is Voltaire’s Shakspeare, not ours.--Have you read
Mrs. Montagu’s essay upon Shakspeare?”


“Then positively you must read it before we say one word more upon the

Mad. de Coulanges, though unwilling to give up the pleasure of
talking, took the book, which Mrs. Somers pressed upon her, with a
promise to read it through some morning; but, unluckily, she chanced
to open it towards the end, and happened to see some animadversions
upon Racine, by which she was so astonished and disgusted that she
could read no more. She threw down the book, defying _any good critic
to point out a single bad line in Racine_. “This is a defiance I have
heard made by men of letters of the highest reputation in Paris,”
 added la comtesse: “have not you, Mons. l’Abbé?”

The abbé, who was madame’s common voucher, acceded, with this slight
emendation--that he had heard numbers defy any critic of good taste to
point out a flat line in _Phædre_.

Mrs. Somers would, perhaps, have acknowledged the beauties of Phædre,
if she had not been piqued by this defiance; but exaggeration on one
side produced injustice on the other: and these disputes about Racine
and Shakspeare were continually renewed, and never ended to the
satisfaction of either party. Those who will not make allowances for
national prejudice, and who do not consider how much all our tastes
are influenced by early education, example, and the accidental
association of ideas, may dispute for ever without coming to
any conclusion; especially, if they avoid stating any distinct
proposition; if each of the combatants sets up a standard of his own,
as the universal standard of taste; and if, instead of arguments,
both parties have recourse to wit and ridicule. In these skirmishes,
however, Mad. de Coulanges, though apparently the most eager for
victory, never seriously lost her temper--her eagerness was more of
manner than of mind; after pleading the cause of Racine, as if it were
a matter of life and death, as if the fate of Europe or the universe
depended upon it, she would turn to discuss the merits of a riband
with equal vehemence, or coolly observe that she was hoarse, and that
she would quit Racine for a better thing--_de l’eau sucré_. Mrs.
Somers, on the contrary, took the cause of Shakspeare, or any other
cause that she defended, seriously to heart. The wit or raillery of
her adversary, if she affected not to be hurt by it at the moment,
left a sting in her mind which rankled long and sorely. Though she
often failed to refute the arguments brought against her, yet she
always rose from the debate precisely of her first opinion; and even
her silence, which Mad. de Coulanges sometimes mistook for assent or
conviction, was only the symptom of contemptuous pity--the proof
that she deemed the understanding of her opponent beneath all fair
competition with her own. The understanding of Mad. de Coulanges had,
indeed, in the space of a few months, sunk far below the point of
mediocrity, in Mrs. Somers’ estimation--she had begun by overvaluing,
and she ended by underrating it. She at first had taken it for granted
that Mad. de Coulanges possessed a “very superior understanding and
great strength of mind;” then she discovered that la comtesse was
“uncommonly superficial, even for a Frenchwoman;” and at last she
decided, that “really Mad. de Coulanges was a very silly woman.”

Mrs. Somers now began to be seriously angry with Emilie for always
being of her mother’s opinion: “It is really, Mlle. de Coulanges,
carrying your filial affection too far. We cold-hearted English can
scarcely conceive this sort of fervid passion, which French children
express about every thing, the merest trifle, that relates to
_mamma!_--Well! it is an amiable national prejudice; and one cannot
help wishing that it may never, like other amiable enthusiasms, fail
in the moment of serious trial.”

Emilie, touched to the quick upon a subject nearest her heart, replied
with a degree of dignity and spirit which surprised Mrs. Somers, who
had never seen in her any thing but the most submissive gentleness.
“The affection, whether enthusiastic or not, which we French children
profess for our parents, has been of late years put to some strong
trials, and has not been found to fail. In many instances it
has proved superior to all earthly terrors--to imprisonment--to
torture--to death--to Robespierre. Daughters have sacrificed
themselves for their parents.--Oh! if _my_ life could have saved my

Emilie clasped her hands, and looked up to heaven with the unaffected
expression of filial piety in her countenance. Every body was silent.
Mrs. Somers was struck with regret--with remorse--for the taunting
manner in which she had spoken.

“My dearest Emilie, forgive me!” cried she; “I am shocked at what I

Emilie took Mrs. Somers’ hand between hers, and endeavoured to smile.
Mrs. Somers resolved that she would keep, henceforward, the strictest
guard upon her own temper; and that she would never more be so
ungenerous, so barbarous, as to insult one who was so gentle, so
grateful, so much in her power, and so deserving of her affection.
These good resolutions, formed in the moment of contrition, were,
however, soon forgotten: strong emotions of the heart are transient in
their power; habits of the temper permanent in their influence.--Like
a child who promises to be always _good_, and forgets its promise
in an hour, Mrs. Somers soon grew tired of keeping her temper in
subjection. It did not, indeed, break out immediately towards
Emilie; but, in her conversations with Mad. de Coulanges, the same
feelings of irritation and contempt recurred; and Emilie, who was a
clear-sighted bystander, suffered continual uneasiness upon these
occasions--uneasiness, which appeared to Mad. de Coulanges perfectly
causeless, and at which she frequently expressed her astonishment.
Emilie’s prescient kindness often, indeed, “felt the coming storm;”
 while her mother’s careless eye saw not, even when the dark cloud
was just ready to burst over her head. With all the innocent address
of which she was mistress, Emilie tried to turn the course of the
conversation whenever it tended towards _dangerous_ subjects of
discussion; but her mother, far from shunning, would often dare and
provoke the war; and she would combat long after both parties were
in the dark, even till her adversary quitted the field of battle,
exclaiming, “_Let us have peace on any terms, my dear countess!--I
give up the point to you, Mad. de Coulanges._”

This last phrase Emilie particularly dreaded, as the precursor of
ill-humour for some succeeding hours. Mrs. Somers at length became so
conscious of her own inability to conceal her contempt or to command
her temper, that she was almost as desirous as Emilie could be to
avoid these arguments; and, the moment the countess prepared for the
attack, she would recede, with, “Excuse me, Mad. de Coulanges: we had
better not talk upon these subjects--it is of no use--really of no
manner of use: let us converse upon other topics--there are subjects
enough, I hope, upon which we shall always agree.”

Emilie was at first rejoiced at this arrangement, but the constraint
was insupportable to her mother: indeed, the circle of proper subjects
for conversation contracted daily; for not only the declared offensive
topics were to be avoided, but innumerable others, bordering on or
allied to them, were to be shunned with equal care--a degree of
caution of which the volatile countess was utterly incapable. One
day, at dinner, she asked the gentleman opposite to her, “How long
this intolerable rule--of talking only upon subjects where people are
of the same opinion--had been the fashion, and what time it would
probably last in England?--If it continue much longer, I must fly
the country,” said she. “I would almost as soon, at this rate, be a
prisoner in Paris, as in your land of freedom. You value, above all
things, your liberty of the press--now, to me, liberty of the tongue,
which is evidently a part, if not the best part, of personal liberty,
is infinitely more dear. Bon Dieu!--even in l’Abbaye one might talk of

Mad. de Coulanges spoke this half in jest, half in earnest; but Mrs.
Somers took it wholly in earnest, and was most seriously offended.
Her feelings upon the occasion were strongly expressed in a letter
to a friend, to whom she had, from her infancy, been in the habit of
confiding all her joys and sorrows--all the histories of her loves
and hates--of her quarrels and reconciliations. This friend was an
elderly lady, who, besides possessing superior mental endowments which
inspired admiration, and a character which commanded high respect, was
blessed with an uncommonly placid, benevolent temper. This enabled her
to do what no other human being had ever accomplished--to continue
in peace and amity, for upwards of thirty years, with Mrs. Somers.
The following is one of many hundreds of epistolary complaints or
invectives, which, during the course of that time, this “much enduring
lady” was doomed to read and answer.


    “For once, my dear friend, I am secure of your sympathizing in my
    indignation--my long suppressed, just, virtuous indignation--yes,
    virtuous; for I do hold indignation to be a part of virtue: it
    is the natural, proper expression of a warm heart and a strong
    character against the cold-blooded vices of meanness and
    ingratitude. Would that those to whom I allude could feel it
    as a punishment!--but no, this is not the sort of punishment
    they are formed to feel. Nothing but what comes home to their
    interests--their paltry interests!--their pleasures--their
    selfish pleasures!--their amusements--their frivolous amusements!
    can touch souls of such a sort. To this half-formed race of
    _worldlings_, who are scarce endued with a moral sense, the
    generous expression of indignation always appears something
    incomprehensible--ridiculous; or, in their language, _outré!
    inouï_! With such beings, therefore, I always am--as much as my
    nature will allow me to be--upon my guard; I keep within what
    they call the bounds of politeness--their dear politeness! What a
    system of _simagrée_ it is, after all! and how can honest human
    nature bear to be penned up all its days by the Chinese paling of
    ceremony, or that French filigree work, _politesse_? English human
    nature cannot endure this, as _yet_; and I am glad of it--heartily
    glad of it--Now to the point.

    “You guess that I am going to speak of the Coulanges. Yes, my
    dear friend, you were quite right in advising me, when I first
    became acquainted with them, not to give way blindly to my
    enthusiasm--not to be too generous, or to expect too much
    gratitude. Gratitude! why should I ever expect to meet with
    any?--Where I have most deserved, most hoped for it, I have
    been always most disappointed. My life has been a life of
    sacrifices!--thankless and fruitless sacrifices! There is not any
    possible species of sacrifice of interest, pleasure, happiness,
    which I have not been willing to make--which I have not made--for
    my friends--for my enemies. Early in life, I gave up a lover I
    adored to a friend, who afterwards deserted me. I married a man I
    detested to oblige a mother, who at last refused to see me on her
    death-bed. What exertions I made for years to win the affection of
    the husband to whom I was only bound in duty! My generosity was
    thrown away upon him--he died--I became ambitious--I had means
    of gratifying my ambition--a splendid alliance was in my power.
    Ambition is a strong passion as well as love--but I sacrificed
    it without hesitation to my children--I devoted myself to the
    education of my two sons, one of whom has never, in any instance,
    since he became his own master, shown his mother tenderness or
    affection; and who, on some occasions, has scarcely behaved
    towards her with the common forms of respect and duty. Despairing,
    utterly despairing of gratitude from my own family and natural
    friends, I looked abroad, and endeavoured to form friendships with
    strangers, in hopes of finding more congenial tempers. I spared
    nothing to earn attachment--my time, my health, my money. I
    lavished money so, as even, notwithstanding my large income, to
    reduce myself frequently to the most straitened and embarrassing
    circumstances. And by all I have done, by all I have suffered,
    what have I gained?--not a single friend--except yourself. You, on
    whom I have never conferred the slightest favour, you are at this
    instant the only friend upon earth by whom I am really beloved. To
    you, who know my whole history, I may speak of myself as I have
    done, Heaven knows! not with vanity, but with deep humiliation and
    bitterness of heart. The experience of my whole life leaves me
    only the deplorable conviction that it is impossible to do good,
    that it is vain to hope even for friendship from those whom we

    “My last disappointment has been cruel, in proportion to the fond
    hopes I had formed. I cannot cure myself of this credulous folly.
    I did form high expectations of happiness from the society and
    gratitude of this Mad. and Mlle. de Coulanges; but the mother
    turns out to be a mere frivolous French comtesse, ignorant,
    vain, and positive--as all ignorant people are; full of national
    prejudices, which she supports in the most absurd and petulant
    manner. Possessed with the insanity, common to all Parisians, of
    thinking that Paris is the whole world, and that nothing can be
    good taste, or good sense, or good manners, but what is _à-la-mode
    de Paris_; through all her boasted politeness, you see, even by
    her mode of praising, that she has a most illiberal contempt for
    all who are not Parisians--she considers the rest of the world
    as barbarians. I could give you a thousand instances; but her
    conversation is really so frivolous, that it is not worth
    reciting. I bore with it day after day for several months with a
    patience for which, I am sure, you would have given me credit;
    and I let her go on eternally with absurd observations upon
    Shakspeare, and extravagant nonsense about Racine. To avoid
    disputing with her, I gave up every point--I acquiesced in all she
    said--and only begged to have peace. Still she was not satisfied.
    You know there are tempers which never can be contented, do what
    you will to please them. Mad. de Coulanges actually quarrelled
    with me for begging that we might have peace; and that we might
    talk upon subjects where we should not be likely to disagree.
    This will seem to you incredible; but it is the nature of French
    caprice: and for this I ought to have been prepared. But, indeed,
    I never could have prepared myself for the strange manner in which
    this lady thought proper to manifest her anger this day at dinner,
    before a large company. She spoke absolutely, notwithstanding all
    her good-breeding, in the most brutally ungrateful manner; and,
    after all I have done for her, she represented me as being as
    great a tyrant as Robespierre, and spoke of my house as a more
    intolerable prison than any in Paris!!! I only state the fact to
    you, without making any comments--I never yet saw so thoroughly
    selfish and unfeeling a human being.

    “The daughter has as far too much as the mother has too little
    sensibility. Emilie plagues me to death with her fine feelings
    and her sentimentality, and all her French parade of affection,
    and superfluity of endearing expressions, which mean nothing,
    and disgust English ears. She is always fancying that I am angry
    or displeased with her or with her mother; and then I am to have
    tears, and explanations, and apologies: she has not a mind large
    enough to understand my character: and if I were to explain to
    eternity, she would be as much in the dark as ever. Yet, after
    all, there is something so ingenuous and affectionate about this
    girl that I cannot help loving her, and that is what provokes me;
    for she does not, and never can, feel for me the affection that I
    have for her. My little hastiness of temper she has not strength
    of mind sufficient to bear--I see she is dreadfully afraid of
    me, and more constrained in my company than in that of any other
    person. Not a visitor comes, however insignificant, but Mlle. de
    Coulanges seems more at her ease, and converses more with them
    than with me--she talks to me only of gratitude, and such stuff.
    She is one of those feeble persons who, wanting confidence in
    themselves, are continually afraid that they shall not be grateful
    enough; and so they reproach and torment themselves, and refine
    and _sentimentalize_, till gratitude becomes burdensome (as it
    always does to weak minds), and the very idea of a benefactor
    odious. Mlle. de Coulanges was originally unwilling to accept of
    any obligation from me: she knew her own character better than I
    did. I do not deny that she has a heart; but she has no soul: I
    hope you understand and feel the difference. I rejoice, my dear
    Lady Littleton, that you are coming to town immediately. I am
    harassed almost to death between want of feeling and fine feeling.
    I really long to see you and to talk over all these things. Nobody
    but you, my dear friend, ever understood me.--Farewell!

    “Yours affectionately,

    “A. SOMERS.”

To this long letter, Lady Littleton replied by the following short

    “I hope to see you the day after to-morrow, my dear friend; in the
    mean time, do not decide, irrevocably, that Mlle. de Coulanges has
    no soul.

    “Yours affectionately,


Mrs. Somers was rather disappointed by the calmness of this note; and
she was most impatient to see Lady Littleton, that she might work up
her mind to the proper pitch of indignation. She stationed a servant
at her ladyship’s house to give her notice the moment of her arrival
in town. The instant that she was informed of it she ordered her
carriage; and the whole of her conversation during this visit was an
invective against Emilie and Mad. de Coulanges. The next day, Emilie,
who had heard the most enthusiastic eulogiums upon Lady Littleton,
expressed much satisfaction on finding that she was come to town; and
requested Mrs. Somers’ permission to accompany her on her next visit.
The request was rather embarrassing; but Mrs. Somers granted it with
a sort of constrained civility. It was fortunate for Emilie that she
was so unsuspicious; for her manner was consequently frank, natural,
and affectionate; and she appeared to the greatest advantage to Lady
Littleton. Mrs. Somers threw herself back in the chair and sat silent,
whilst Emilie, in hopes of pleasing her, conversed with the utmost
freedom with her friend. The conversation, at last, was interrupted
by an exclamation from Mrs. Somers, “Good Heavens! my dear Lady
Littleton, how can you endure this smell of paint? It has made my head
ache terribly--where does it come from?”

“From my bedchamber,” said Lady Littleton. “They have, unluckily,
misunderstood my orders; and they have freshly painted every one in my

“Then it is impossible that you should sleep here--I will not allow
you--it will poison you--it will give you the palsy immediately--it
is destruction--it is death. You must come home with me directly--I
insist upon it--But, no,” said she, checking herself, with a look of
sudden disappointment, “no, my dearest friend! I cannot invite you;
for I have not a bed to offer you.”

“Yes, mine--you forget mine--dear Mrs. Somers,” cried Emilie; “you
know I can sleep with mamma.”

“By no means, Mlle. de Coulanges; you cannot possibly imagine--”

“I only imagine the truth,” said Emilie, “that this arrangement would
be infinitely more convenient to mamma; I know she likes to have me in
the room with her. Pray, dear Mrs. Somers, let it be so.”

Mrs. Somers made many ceremonious speeches: but Lady Littleton seemed
so well inclined to accept Emilie’s offered room, that she was obliged
to yield. She was vexed to perceive that Emilie’s manners pleased
Lady Littleton; and, after they returned home, the activity with
which Emilie moved her books, her drawing-box, work, &c., furnished
Mrs. Somers with fresh matter for displeasure. At night, when Lady
Littleton went to take possession of her apartment, and when she
observed how active and obliging Mlle. de Coulanges had been, Mrs.
Somers shook her head, and replied, “All this is just a proof to
me of what I asserted, Lady Littleton--and what I must irrevocably
assert--that Mlle. de Coulanges has no soul. You are a new
acquaintance, and I am an old friend. She exerts herself to please
you; she does not care what I think or what I feel about the matter.
Now this is just what I call having no soul.”

“My dear Mrs. Somers,” said Lady Littleton, “be reasonable; and you
must perceive that Emilie’s eagerness to please me arises from her
regard and gratitude to you: she has, I make no doubt, heard that I
am your intimate friend, and your praises have disposed her to like
me.--Is this a proof that she has no soul?”

“My dear Lady Littleton, we will not dispute about it--I see you are
fascinated, as I was at first. Manner is a prodigious advantage--but I
own I prefer solid English sincerity. Stay a little: as soon as Mlle.
de Coulanges thinks herself secure of you, she will completely abandon
me. I make no doubt that she will complain to you of my bad temper and
ill usage; and I dare say that she will succeed in prejudicing you
against me.”

“She will succeed only in prejudicing me against herself, if she
attempt to injure you,” said Lady Littleton; “but, till I have some
plain proof of it, I cannot believe that any person has such a base
and ungrateful disposition.”

Mrs. Somers spent an hour and a quarter in explaining her causes of
complaint against both mother and daughter; and she at last retired
much dissatisfied, because her friend was not as angry as she was,
but persisted in the resolution to see more before she decided.
After passing a few days in the house with Mlle. de Coulanges, Lady
Littleton frankly declared to Mrs. Somers that she thought her
complaints of Emilie’s temper quite unreasonable, and that she was
a most amiable and affectionate girl. Respect for Lady Littleton
restrained Mrs. Somers from showing the full extent of her vexation;
she contented herself with repeating, “Mlle. de Coulanges is certainly
a very amiable young woman--I would by no means prejudice you against
her--but when you know her as well as I do, you will find that she has
no soul.”

Mrs. Somers, in the course of four-and-twenty hours, found a multitude
of proofs in support of her opinion; but they were none of them
absolutely satisfactory to Lady Littleton’s judgment. Whilst they were
debating about her character, Emilie came into the room to show Mrs.
Somers a _French_ translation, which she had been making, of a pretty
little English poem, called “The Emigrant’s Grave.” It was impossible
to be displeased with the translation, or with the motive from which
it was attempted; for it was done at the particular request of Mrs.
Somers. This lady’s ingenuity, however, did not fail to discover some
cause for dissatisfaction. Mlle. de Coulanges had adapted the words to
a French, and not to an English air.

“This is a favourite air of mamma’s,” said Emilie, “and I thought that
she would be pleased by my choosing it.”

“Yes,” replied Mrs. Somers, in her constrained voice, “I remember
that the Countess de Coulanges and her friend--or your friend--M. de
Brisac, were charmed with this air, when you sang it the other night.
I found fault with it, I believe--but then you had a majority against
me; and with some people that is sufficient. Few ask themselves _what
constitutes a majority_--numbers or sense. Judgments and tastes may
differ in value; but one vote is always as good as another, in the
opinion of those who are decided merely by numbers.”

“I hope that I shall never be one of those,” said Emilie. “Upon
the present occasion I assure you, my dear Mrs. Somers, that I was
influenced by--”

“Oh! my dear Mlle. de Coulanges,” interrupted Mrs. Somers, “you need
not give yourself the trouble to explain about such a trifle--the
thing is perfectly clear. And nothing is more natural than that you
should despise the taste of a friend when put in competition with that
of a lover.”

“Of a lover!”

“Yes, of a lover. Why should Mlle. de Coulanges think it necessary to
look astonished? But young ladies imagine this sort of dissimulation
is becoming; and can I hope to meet with an exception, or to find one
superior to the _finesse_ of her sex?--I beg your pardon, Mlle. de
Coulanges, I really forgot that Lady Littleton was present when this
terrible word lover escaped--but I can assure you that frankness is
not incompatible with _her_ ideas of delicacy.”

“You are mistaken, dear Mrs. Somers; indeed you are mistaken,” said
Emilie; “but you are displeased with me now, and I will take a more
favourable moment to set you right. In the mean time, I will go and
water the hydrangia, which I forgot, and which I reproached myself for
forgetting yesterday.”

Emilie left the room.

“Are you convinced now, my dear Lady Littleton,” cried Mrs. Somers,
“that this girl has no soul--and very little heart?”

“I am convinced only that she has an excellent temper,” said Lady
Littleton. “I hope you do not think a good temper is incompatible with
a heart or a soul.”

“I will tell you what I think, and what I am sure of,” cried Mrs.
Somers, raising her voice; “that Mlle. de Coulanges will be a constant
cause of dispute and uneasiness between you and me, Lady Littleton--I
foresee the end of this. As a return for all I have done for her and
her mother, she will rob me of the affections of one whom I love and
esteem, respect and admire--as she well knows--above all other human
beings. She will rob me of the affections of one who has been my
friend, my best, my only constant friend, for twenty years!--Oh! why
am I doomed eternally to be the victim of ingratitude?”

In spite of Lady Littleton’s efforts to stop and calm her, Mrs. Somers
burst out of the room in an agony of passion. She ran up a back
staircase which led to her dressing-room, but suddenly stopped when
she came to the landing-place, for she found Emilie watering her

“Look, dear Mrs. Somers, this hydrangia is just going to blow; though
I was so careless as to forget to water it yesterday.”

“I beg, Mlle. de Coulanges, that you will not trouble yourself,” said
Mrs. Somers, haughtily. “Surely there are servants enough in this
house whose business it is to remember these things.”

“Yes,” said Emilie, “it is their business, but it is my pleasure. You
must not, indeed you must not, take my watering-pot from me!”

“Pardon me, I must, mademoiselle--you are very condescending and
polite, and I am very blunt and rude, or whatever you please to think
me. But the fact is, that I am not to be flattered by what the French
call _des petites attentions_: they are suited to little minds, but
not to me. You will never know my character, Mlle. de Coulanges--I am
not to be pleased by such means.”

“Teach me then better means, my dear friend, and do not bid me despair
of ever pleasing you,” said Emilie, throwing her arms round Mrs.
Somers to detain her.

“Excuse me--I am an Englishwoman, and do not love _embrassades_, which
mean nothing,” said Mrs. Somers, struggling to disengage herself; and
she rushed suddenly forward, without perceiving that Emilie’s foot was
entangled in her train. Emilie was thrown from the top of the stairs
to the bottom. Mrs. Somers screamed--Lady Littleton came out of her

“She is dead!--I have killed her!”--cried Mrs. Somers. Lady Littleton
raised Emilie from the ground--she was quite stunned by the violence
of the fall.

“Oh! speak to me! dearest Emilie, speak once more!” said Mrs. Somers.

As soon as Emilie could speak, she assured Mrs. Somers that she should
be quite well in a few minutes. When she attempted, however, to
walk, she found she was unable to move, for her ankle was violently
sprained: she was carried into Lady Littleton’s room, and placed upon
a sofa. She exerted herself to bear the pain she felt, that she might
not alarm or seem to reproach Mrs. Somers; and she repeatedly blamed
herself for the awkwardness with which she had occasioned her own
fall. Mrs. Somers, in the greatest bustle and confusion, called every
servant in the house about her, sent them different ways for all the
remedies she had ever heard of for a sprain; then was sure Emilie’s
skull was fractured--asked fifty times in five minutes whether she did
not feel a certain sickness in her stomach, which was the infallible
sign of “_something wrong_”--insisted upon her smelling at salts,
vinegar, and various essences; and made her swallow, or at least
taste, every variety of drops and cordials. By this time Mad. de
Coulanges, who was at her toilet, had heard of the accident, and came
running in half dressed; the hurry of Mrs. Somers’ manner, the crowd
of assistants, the quantity of remedies, the sight of Emilie stretched
upon a sofa, and the sound of the word _fracture_, which caught her
ear, had such an effect upon the countess, that she was instantly
seized with one of her nervous attacks; and Mrs. Somers was astonished
to see Emilie spring from the sofa to assist her mother. When Mad. de
Coulanges recovered, Emilie used all her powers of persuasion to calm
her spirits, laughed at the idea of her skull being fractured, and
said, that she had only twisted her ankle, which would merely prevent
her from dancing for a few days. The countess pitied herself for
having such terribly weak nerves--congratulated herself upon her
daughter’s safety--declared that it was a miracle how she could
have escaped, in falling down such a narrow staircase--observed,
that, though the stairs in London were cleaner and better carpeted,
the staircases of Paris were at least four times as broad, and,
consequently, a hundred times as safe. She then reminded Emilie of an
anecdote mentioned by Mad. de Genlis about a princess of France, who,
when she retired to a convent, complained bitterly of the narrowness
of the staircase, which, she said, she found a real misfortune to
be obliged to descend. “Tell me, Emilie, what was the name of the

“The Princess Louisa of France, I believe, mamma,” replied Emilie.

Mad. de Coulanges repeated, “Ay, the Princess Louisa of France;” and
then, well satisfied, returned to finish her toilette.

“You have an excellent memory, Mlle. de Coulanges,” said Mrs. Somers,
looking with an air of pique at Emilie. “I really am rejoiced to see
you so much yourself again--I thought you were seriously hurt.”

“I told you that I was not,” said Emilie, forcing a smile.

“Yes, but I was such a fool as to be terrified out of my senses by
seeing you lie down on the sofa. I might have saved myself and you a
great deal of trouble. I must have appeared ridiculously officious. I
saw indeed that I was troublesome; and I seem to be too much for you
now. I will leave you with Lady Littleton, to explain to her how the
accident happened. Pray tell the thing just as it was--do not spare
me, I beg. I do not desire that Lady Littleton, or any friend I have
upon earth, should think better of me than I deserve. Remember,
you have my free leave, Mlle. de Coulanges, to speak of me as you
think--so don’t spare me!” cried Mrs. Somers, shutting the door with
violence as she left the room.

“Lean upon me, my dear,” said Lady Littleton, who saw that Emilie
turned exceedingly pale, and looked towards a chair, as if she wished
to reach it, but could not.

“I thought,” said she, in a faint voice, “that this pain would go
off, but it is grown more violent.” Emilie could say no more; she had
borne intense pain as long as she was able: and now, quite overcome,
she leaned back, and fainted. Lady Littleton threw open the window,
sprinkled water upon Emilie’s face, and gave her assistance in the
kindest manner, without calling any of the servants; she knew that
the return of Mrs. Somers would do more harm than good. Emilie soon
recovered her recollection; and, whilst Lady Littleton was rubbing the
sprained ankle with ether, in hopes of lessening the pain, she asked
how the accident had happened.--Emilie replied simply, that she had
entangled her foot in Mrs. Somers’ gown. “I understand, from what Mrs.
Somers hinted when she left the room,” said Lady Littleton, “that she
was somehow in fault in this affair, and that you could blame her if
you would; but I see that you will not; and I love you the better for
justifying the good opinion that I had formed of you, Emilie.--But I
will not talk sentiment to you now--you are in too much pain to relish

“Not at all,” said Emilie: “I feel more pleasure than pain at
this moment; indeed my ankle does not hurt me now that I am quite
still--the pleasant cold of the ether has relieved the pain. How kind
you are to me, Lady Littleton, and how much I am obliged to you for
judging so favourably of my character!”

“You are not obliged to me, my dear, for I do you only justice.”

“Justice is sometimes felt as the greatest possible obligation,
especially by those who have experienced the reverse.--But,” said
Emilie, checking herself, “let me not blame Mrs. Somers, or incline
you to blame her. I should do very wrong, indeed, if I were, in return
for all she has done for us, to cause any jealousies or quarrels
between her and her best friend. Oh! that is what I most dread! To
prevent it, I would--it is not polite to say so--but I would, my dear
Lady Littleton, even withdraw myself from your society. This very day
you return to your own house. You were so good as to ask me to go
often to see you: forgive me if I do not avail myself of this kind
permission. You will know my reasons; and I hope they are such as you
will approve of.”

A servant came in, to say that her ladyship’s carriage was at the

“One word more before you go, my dear Lady Littleton,” said Emilie,
with a supplicating voice and countenance. “Tell me, I beseech
you--for you have been her friend from her childhood, and must know
better than any one living--tell me how I can please Mrs. Somers.
I begin to be afraid that I shall at last be weary of my fruitless
efforts, and I dread--above all things I dread--that my affection
for her should be worn out. How painful it would be to sustain the
continual weight of obligation without being able to feel the pleasure
of gratitude!”

Lady Littleton was going to reply, but she was prevented by the sudden
entrance of Mrs. Somers with her face of wrath.

“So, Lady Littleton, you are actually going, I find!--And I have not
had one moment of your conversation. May I be allowed--if Mlle. de
Coulanges has finished her mysteries--to say a few words to you?”

“You will give me leave, I am sure, Emilie,” said Lady Littleton, “to
repeat to Mrs. Somers every word that you have said to me?”

“Yes, every word,” said Emilie, blushing, yet speaking with firmness.
“I have no mysteries--I do not wish to conceal from Mrs. Somers any
thing that I say or think.”

Mrs. Somers seized Lady Littleton’s arm, and left the room; but when
she had entire possession of her friend’s ear, she had nothing to say,
or nothing that she would say, except half sentences, reproaching her
for not staying longer, and insinuating that Emilie would be the cause
of their separating for ever.--“Now, as you have her permission, will
you favour me with a repetition of her last conversation?”

“Not in your present humour, my dear,” said Lady Littleton: “this
is not the happy moment to speak reason to you. Adieu! I give you
four-and-twenty hours’ grace before I declare you a bankrupt in
temper. You shall hear from me to-morrow; for, on some subjects, I
have always found it better to write than to speak to you.”

Mrs. Somers continued during the remainder of the day in a desperate
state of ill-humour, which was increased by finding that Mlle. de
Coulanges could neither stand nor walk. Mrs. Somers was persuaded that
Emilie, if she would have exerted herself, could have done both, but
that she preferred exciting the pity of the whole house; and this, all
circumstances considered, was a proof of total want of generosity and
gratitude. The next morning, however, she was alarmed by hearing from
Mrs. Masham, whom she had sent to attend upon Mlle. de Coulanges, that
her ankle was violently swelled and inflamed.--Just when the full
tide of her affections was beginning to flow in Emilie’s favour, Mrs.
Somers received the following letter from Lady Littleton:--

    “Enclosed, I have sent you, as well as I can recollect it, every
    word of the conversation that passed yesterday between Mlle. de
    Coulanges and me. If I were less anxious for your happiness,
    and if I had not so high an opinion of the excellence of your
    disposition, I should wish, my dear friend, to spare both you and
    myself the pain of speaking and hearing the truth. But I know that
    I have preserved your affection many years beyond the usual limits
    of female friendship, by daring to speak to you with perfect
    sincerity, and by trusting to the justice of your better self.
    Perhaps you would rather have a compliment to your generosity than
    to your justice; but in this I shall not indulge you, because I
    think you already set too high a value upon generosity. It has
    been the misfortune of your life, my dear friend, to believe that,
    by making great sacrifices, and conferring great benefits, you
    could ensure to yourself, in return, affection and gratitude. You
    mistake both the nature of obligation and the effect which it
    produces on the human mind. Obligations may command gratitude, but
    can never ensure love. If the benefit be of a pecuniary nature, it
    is necessarily attended with a certain sense of humiliation, which
    destroys the equality of friendship. Of whatever description the
    favour may be, it becomes burdensome, if gratitude be expected as
    a tribute, instead of being accepted as the free-will offering
    of the heart: ‘still paying still to owe’ is irksome, even to
    those who have nothing Satanic in their natures. A person who has
    received a favour is in a defenceless state with respect to a
    benefactor; and the benefactor who makes an improper use of the
    power which gratitude gives becomes an oppressor. I know your
    generous spirit, and I am fully sensible that no one has a more
    just idea than you have of the delicacy that ought to be used
    towards those whom you have obliged; but you must permit me to
    observe, that your practice is not always conformable to your
    theory. Temper is doubly necessary to those who love, as you do,
    to confer favours: it is the duty of a benefactress to command her
    feelings, and to refrain absolutely from every species of direct
    or indirect reproach; else her kindness becomes only a source
    of misery; and even from the benevolence of her disposition she
    derives the means of giving pain.

    “I have said enough; and I know that you will not be offended. The
    moment your understanding is convinced and your heart touched,
    all paltry jealousies and petty irritations subside, and you
    are always capable of acting in a manner worthy of yourself.
    Adieu!--May you, my dear friend, preserve the affections of one
    who feels for you, I am convinced, the most sincere gratitude! You
    will reap a rich harvest, if you do not, with childish impatience,
    disturb the seeds that you have sown, to examine whether they are

    “Your faithful friend,


This letter had an immediate and strong effect upon the mind of Mrs.
Somers: she went directly with it open in her hand to Emilie. “Here,”
 said she, “is the letter of a noble-minded woman, who dares to speak
truth, painful truth, to her best friend. She does me justice in
being convinced that I shall not be offended; she does me justice
in believing that an appeal to my candour and generosity cannot be
in vain, especially when it is made by her voice. Emilie, you shall
see that I am worthy to have a sincere friend; you shall see that
I can even command my temper, when I have what, to my own feelings
and understanding, appears adequate motive. But, my dear, you are
in pain--let me look at this ankle--I am absolutely afraid to see
it!--Good Heavens! how it is swelled!--And I fancied, all yesterday,
that you could have walked upon it!--And I thought you wanted only
to excite pity!--My poor child!--I have used you barbarously--most
barbarously!” cried Mrs. Somers, kneeling down beside the sofa. “And
can you ever forgive me?--Yes! that sweet smile tells me that you

“All I ask of you,” said Emilie, embracing Mrs. Somers, “is to believe
that I am grateful, and to continue to make me love you as long as I
live. This must depend upon you more than upon myself.”

“I know it, my dear,” said Mrs. Somers. “Be satisfied--I will not
wear out your affections. You have dealt fairly with me. I love you
for having the courage to speak as you think.--But now that it is all
over, I must tell you what it was that displeased me--for I hate half
reconciliations: I will tell you all that passed in my mind.”

“Pray do,” said Emilie; “for then I shall know how to avoid
displeasing you another time.”

“No danger of that, my dear. You will never make me angry again; for
I am sure you will now be as frank towards me as I am towards you. It
was not your adapting that little poem to a French rather than to an
English air that displeased me--I am not quite so childish as to be
offended by such a trifle; but I own I did not like your saying that
you chose it merely to comply with your mother’s taste.--And you will
acknowledge, Emilie, there was a want of sincerity, a want of candour,
in your affected look of astonishment, when I mentioned M. de Brisac.
I do not claim your confidence as a right--God forbid!--But if the
warmest desire for your happiness, the most affectionate sympathy, can
merit confidence--But I will not say a word that can imply reproach.
On the contrary, I will only assure you, that I have penetration
sufficient always to know your wishes, and activity enough to serve
you effectually, even without being your confidante. I shall this
night see a friend who is in power--I will speak to him about M. de
Brisac: I have hopes that his pension from our government may be

“I wish it may, for his sake,” said Emilie; “but certainly not for my

“Oh! Mlle. de Coulanges!--But I have no right to extort confidence. I
will not, as I said before, utter a syllable that can imply reproach.
Let me go on with what I was telling you of my intentions. As soon as
the pension is doubled, I will speak to Mad. de Coulanges about M. de

“For Heaven’s sake, do not!” interrupted Emilie; “for you would do me
the greatest possible injury. Mamma would then think it a suitable
match, and she would wish me to marry him; and nothing could make me
move unhappy than to be under the necessity of acting contrary to my
duty--of disobeying and displeasing her for ever--or else of uniting
myself to M. de Brisac, whom I can neither love nor esteem.”

“Is it possible,” exclaimed Mrs. Somers, with joyful astonishment, “is
it possible that I have been under a mistake all this time? My dearest
Emilie! now you are every thing I first thought you! Indeed, I could
not think with patience of your making such a match; for M. de Brisac
is a mere nothing--worse than a mere nothing; a coxcomb, and a peevish

“And how could you suspect me of loving such a man?” said Emilie.

“I never thought you loved him, but I thought you would marry him.
French marriages, you know, according to _l’ancien régime_, in which
you were brought up, were never supposed to be affairs of the heart,
but mere alliances of interest, pride, or convenience.”

“Yes--_des mariages de convenance_,” said Emilie. “We have suffered
terribly by the revolution; but I owe to it one blessing, which,
putting what mamma has felt out of the question, I should say has
overbalanced all our losses: I have escaped--what must have been my
fate in the ancient order of things--_un mariage de convenance_.
I must tell you how I escaped by a happy misfortune,” continued
Emilie, suddenly recovering her vivacity of manner. “The family of
M. de Brisac had settled, with mine, that I was to be la Comtesse de
Brisac--But we lost our property, and M. le comte his memory. Mamma
was provoked and indignant--I rejoiced. When I saw how shabbily he
behaved, could I do otherwise than rejoice at having escaped being
his wife? M. le Comte de Brisac soon lost his hereditary honours and
possessions--Heaven forgive me for not pitying him! I was only glad
mamma now agreed with me that we had nothing to regret. I had hoped
that we should never have heard more of him: but, lo! here he is again
in my way with a commission in your English army and a pension from
your generous king, which make him, amongst poor emigrants, a man of
consequence. And he has taken it into his head to sigh for me, because
I laugh at him; and he talks of his sentiments!--sentiments!--he who
has no principles!--”

“My noble-minded Emilie!” cried Mrs. Somers; “I cannot express to you
the delight I feel at this explanation. How could I be such an idiot
as not sooner to see the truth! But I was misled by the solicitude
that Mad. de Coulanges showed about this M. de Brisac; and I foolishly
concluded that you and your mother were one. On the contrary, no
two people can be more different, thank Heaven!--I beg your pardon
for that thanksgiving--I see it distresses you, my dear Emilie--and
believe me, I never was less disposed to give you pain--I have made
you suffer too much already, both in mind and body. This terrible

“It does not give me any pain,” said Emilie, “except when I attempt to
walk; and it is no great misfortune to be obliged to be quiet for a
few days.”

Mrs. Somers’ whole soul was now intent upon the means of making her
young friend amends for all she had suffered: this last conversation
had raised her to the highest point both of favour and esteem. Mrs.
Somers was now revolving in her mind a scheme, which she had formed in
the first moments of her partiality for Emilie--a scheme of marrying
her to her son. She had often quarrelled with this son; but she
persuaded herself that Emilie would make him every thing that was
amiable and respectable, and that she would form an indissoluble bond
of family union and felicity. “Then,” said she to herself, “Emilie
will certainly be established according to her mother’s satisfaction.
M. de Brisac cannot possibly stand in the way here; for my son has
name and fortune, and every thing that Mad. de Coulanges can desire.”

Mrs. Somers wrote immediately to summon her son home. In the mean
time, delighted with this new and grand project, and thinking herself
sure of success, she neglected, according to her usual custom, the
“little courtesies of life;” and all Lady Littleton’s excellent
observations upon the nature of gratitude, and the effect produced on
the mind by obligations, were entirely obliterated from her memory.

Emilie’s sprained ankle confined her to the house for some weeks; both
Mad. de Coulanges and Mrs. Somers began by offering in the most eager
manner, in competition with each other, to stay at home every evening
to keep her company; but she found that she could not accept of the
offer of one without offending the other; she knew that her mother
would have _les vapeurs noirs_, if she were not in _society_; and
as she had reason to apprehend that Mrs. Somers could not, with the
best intentions possible, remain three hours alone, with even a
dear friend, without finding or making some subject of quarrel, she
wisely declined all these kind offers. In fact, these were _trifling
sacrifices_, which it would not have suited Mrs. Somers’ temper to
make: for there was no glory to be gained by them. She regularly came
every evening, as soon as she was dressed, to pity Emilie--to repeat
her wish that she might be allowed to stay at home--then to step into
her carriage, and drive away to spend four hours in company which she
professed to hate.

Lady Littleton made no complimentary speeches, but every day she
contrived to spend some time with Emilie; and, by a thousand small but
kind instances of attention, which asked neither for admiration nor
gratitude, she contributed to Emilie’s daily happiness.

This ready sympathy, and this promptitude to oblige in trifles, became
extremely agreeable to Mlle. de Coulanges: perhaps from the contrast
with Mrs. Somers’ defects, Lady Littleton’s manners pleased her
peculiarly. She was under no fear of giving offence, so that she could
speak her sentiments or express her feelings without constraint: and,
in short, she enjoyed in this lady’s society, a degree of tranquillity
of mind and freedom to which she had long been a stranger. Lady
Littleton had employed her excellent understanding in studying
the minute circumstances which tend to make people, of different
characters and tempers, agree and live happily together; and she
understood and practised so successfully all the _honest_ arts of
pleasing, that she rendered herself the centre of union to a large
circle of relations, many of whom she had converted into friends. This
she had accomplished without any violent effort, without making any
splendid sacrifices, but with that calm, gentle, persevering kindness
of temper, which, when united to good sense, forms the real happiness
of domestic life, and the true perfection of the female character.
Those who have not traced the causes of family quarrels would not
readily guess from what slight circumstances they often originate:
they arise more frequently from small defects in temper than from
material faults of character. People who would perhaps sacrifice their
fortunes or lives for each other cannot, at certain moments, give up
their will, or command their humour in the slightest degree.

Whilst Emilie was confined by her sprained ankle, she employed herself
in embroidering and painting various trifles, which she intended
to offer as _souvenirs_ to her English friends. Amongst these, the
prettiest was one which she called _the watch of Flora_.[19] It
was a dial plate for a pendule, on which the hours were marked
by flowers--by those flowers which open or close their petals at
particular times of the day. “Linnæus has enumerated forty-six flowers
which possess this kind of sensibility; and has marked,” as he says,
“their respective hours of rising and setting.” From these forty-six
Emilie wished to select the most beautiful: she had some difficulty in
finding such as would suit her purpose, especially as the observations
made in the botanic gardens of Upsal could not exactly agree with our
climate. She sometimes applied to Mrs. Somers for assistance; but Mrs.
Somers repeatedly forgot to borrow for her the botanical books which
she wanted: this was too small a service for her to remember. She
was provoked at last by Emilie’s reiterated requests, and vexed by
her own forgetfulness; so that Mlle. de Coulanges at last determined
not to run the risk of offending, and she reluctantly laid aside her

Young people of vivacious and inventive tempers, who know what it is
to be eagerly intent upon some favourite little project, will give
Emilie due credit for her forbearance. Lady Littleton, though not a
young person, could so far sympathize in the pursuits of youth, as to
feel for Emilie’s disappointment. “No,” said she, “you must not lay
aside your watch of Flora; perhaps I can help you to what you want.”
 She was indefatigable in the search of books and flowers; and, by
assisting her in the pursuit of this slight object, she not only
enabled her to spend many happy hours, but was of the most essential
service to Emilie. It happened, that one morning, when Lady Littleton
went to Kew Gardens to search in the hot-houses for some of the
flowers, and to ascertain their hours of closing, she met with a
French botanist, who had just arrived from Paris, who came to examine
the arrangement of Kew Gardens, and to compare it with that of
the Jardin des Plantes. He paid some deserved compliments to the
superiority of Kew Gardens; and, with the ease of a Frenchman, he
entered into conversation with Lady Littleton. As he inquired for
several French emigrants, she mentioned the name of Mad. de Coulanges,
and asked whether he knew to whom the property of her family now
belonged. He said, “that it was still in the possession of that
_scelerat_ of a steward, who had, by his informations, brought his
excellent master, le Comte de Coulanges, to the guillotine. But,”
 added the botanist, “if you, madam, are acquainted with any of the
family, will you give them notice that this wretch is near his end;
that he has, within a few weeks, had two strokes of apoplexy; and that
his eldest son by no means resembles him; but is a worthy young man,
who, to my certain knowledge, is shocked at his father’s crimes, and
who might be prevailed upon, by a reasonable consideration, to restore
to the family, to whom it originally belonged, the property that
has been seized. I have more than once, even in the most dangerous
times, heard him (in confidence) express the strongest attachment to
the descendant of the good master, who loaded him in his childhood
with favours. These sentiments he has been, of course, obliged to
dissemble, and to profess directly the contrary principles: it can
only be by such means that he can gain possession of the estate, which
he wishes to restore to the rightful owners. He passes for as great
a scoundrel as his father: this is not the least of his merits. But,
madam, you may depend upon the correctness of my information, and of
my knowledge of his character. I was once, as a man of science, under
obligation to the late Comte de Coulanges, who gave me the use of his
library; and most happy should I think myself, if I could by any means
be instrumental in restoring his descendants to the possession of that

There was such an air of truth and frankness in the countenance and
manner of this gentleman, that, notwithstanding the extraordinary
nature of his information, and the still more extraordinary facility
with which it was communicated, Lady Littleton could not help
believing him. He gave her ladyship his address; told her that he
should return to Paris in a few days; and that he should be happy
if he could be made, in any manner, useful to Mad. de Coulanges.
Impatient to impart all this good news to her friends, Lady Littleton
hastened to Mrs. Somers’; but just as she put her hand on the lock of
Emilie’s door, she recollected Mrs. Somers, and determined to tell
her the first, that she might have the pleasure of communicating the
joyful tidings. From her knowledge of the temper of her friend, Lady
Littleton thought that this would be peculiarly gratifying to her;
but, contrary to all rational expectation, Mrs. Somers heard the news
with an air of extreme mortification, which soon turned into anger.
She got up and walked about the room, whilst Lady Littleton was
speaking; and, as soon as she had finished her story, exclaimed, “Was
there ever any thing so provoking!”

She continued walking, deep in reverie, whilst Lady Littleton sat
looking at her in amazement. Mrs. Somers having once formed the
_generous_ scheme of enriching Emilie by a marriage with her son, was
actually disappointed to find that there was a probability that Mlle.
de Coulanges should recover a fortune which would make her more than a
suitable match for Mr. Somers. There was another circumstance that was
still more provoking--this property was likely to be recovered without
the assistance of Mrs. Somers. There are people who would rather that
their best friends should miss a piece of good fortune than that they
should obtain it without their intervention. Mrs. Somers at length
quieted her own mind by the idea that all Lady Littleton had heard
might have no foundation in truth.

“I am surprised, my dear friend, that a person of your excellent
judgment can, for an instant, believe such a strange story as this,”
 said Mrs. Somers. “I assure you, I do not give the slightest credit to
it; and, in my opinion, it would be much better not to say one word
about the matter, either to Emilie or Mad. de Coulanges: it will only
fill their minds with false and absurd hopes. Mad. de Coulanges will
torment herself and me to death with conjectures and exclamations; and
we shall hear of nothing but the Hotel de Coulanges, and the Chateau
de Coulanges, from morning till night; and, after all, I am convinced
she will never see either of them again.”

To this assertion, which Mrs. Somers could support only by
repeating that it was her conviction--that it was her unalterable
conviction--Lady Littleton simply replied, that it would be improper
not to mention what had happened to Mad. de Coulanges, because this
would deprive her of an opportunity of judging and acting for herself
in her own affairs. “This French gentleman has offered to carry
letters, or to do her any service in his power; and we should not be
justifiable in concealing this: the information may be false, but of
that Mad. de Coulanges should at least have an opportunity of judging;
she should see this botanist, and she will recollect whether what he
says of the count, and his allowing him the use of his library, be
true or false: from these circumstances we may obtain some farther
reason to believe or disbelieve him. I should be sorry to excite hopes
which must end in disappointment; but the chance of good, in this
case, appears to me far greater than the chance of evil.”

“Very well, my dear Lady Littleton,” interrupted Mrs. Somers, “you
will follow your judgment, and I must be allowed to follow mine,
though I make no doubt that yours is superior. Manage this business as
you please: I will have nothing to do with it. It is your opinion that
Mad. de Coulanges and her daughter should hear this wonderfully fine
story; therefore I beg you will be the relater--I must be excused--for
my part, I can’t give any credit to it--no, not the slightest. But
your judgment is better than mine, Lady Littleton--you will act as you
think proper, and manage the whole business yourself--I am sure I wish
you success with all my heart.”

Lady Littleton, by a mixture of firmness and gentleness in her manner,
so far worked upon the temper of Mrs. Somers, as to prevail upon her
to believe that the management of the business was not her object; and
she even persuaded Mrs. Somers to be present when the intelligence
was communicated to Mad. de Coulanges and Emilie. She could not,
however, forbear repeating, that she did not believe the story:--this
incredulity afforded her a plausible pretext for not sympathizing in
the general joy. Mad. de Coulanges was alternately in ecstasy and in
despair, as she listened to Lady Littleton or to Mrs. Somers: her
exclamations would have been much less frequent and violent, if Mrs.
Somers had not provoked them, by mixing with her hopes a large portion
of fear. The next day, when she saw the French gentleman, her hopes
were predominant: for she recollected perfectly having seen this
gentleman, in former times, at the Hotel de Coulanges; she knew that
he was _un savant_; and that he had, before the revolution, the
reputation of being a very worthy man. Mad. de Coulanges, by Lady
Littleton’s advice, determined, however, to be cautious in what she
wrote to send to France by this gentleman. Emilie took the letters to
Mrs. Somers, and requested her opinion; but she declined giving any.

“I have nothing to do with the business, Mlle. de Coulanges,” said
she; “you will be guided by the opinion of my Lady Littleton.”

Emilie saw that it was in vain to expostulate; she retired in silence,
much embarrassed as to the answer which she was to give to her mother,
who was waiting to hear the opinion of Mrs. Somers. Mad. de Coulanges,
impatient with Emilie, for bringing her only a reference to Lady
Littleton’s opinion, went herself, with what she thought the most
amiable politeness, to solicit the advice of Mrs. Somers; but she was
astonished, and absolutely shocked, by the coldness and want of good
breeding with which this lady persisted in a refusal to have any thing
to do with the business, or even to read the letters which waited
for her judgment. The countess opened her large eyes to their utmost
orbicular extent; and, after a moment’s _silence_, the strongest
possible expression that she could give of amazement, she also
retired, and returned to Emilie, to demand from her an explanation of
what she could not understand. The ill-humour of Mrs. Somers, now that
Mad. de Coulanges was wakened to the perception of it, was not, as
it had been to poor Emilie, a subject of continual anxiety and pain,
but merely matter of astonishment and curiosity. She looked upon
Mrs. Somers as an English _oddity_, as a _lusus naturæ_; and she
alternately asked Emilie to account for these strange appearances, or
shrugged up her shoulders, and submitted to the impossibility of a
Frenchwoman’s ever understanding such _extravagances_.

“Ah que c’est bizarre! Mais, mon enfant, expliquez moi done tout
ça--Mais ça ne s’explique point--Certes c’est une Anglaise qui sçait
donner, mais qui ne sçait pas vivre.--Voltaire s’y connaissait mieux
que moi apparemment--et heureusement.”

Content with this easy method of settling things, Mad. de Coulanges
sealed and despatched her letters, appealed no more to Mrs. Somers
for advice, and, when she saw any extraordinary signs of displeasure,
repeated to herself--“Ah que c’est bizarre!” And this phrase was
for some time a quieting charm. But as the anxiety of the countess
increased, at the time when she expected to receive the decisive
answer from her steward’s son, she talked with incessant and
uncontrollable volubility of her hopes and fears--her conjectures
and calculations--and of the Chateau and Hotel de Coulanges; and she
could not endure to see that Mrs. Somers heard all this with affected
coldness or real impatience.

“How is this possible, Emilie?” said she. “Here is a woman who would
give me half her fortune, and who yet seems to wish that I should not
recover the whole of mine! Here is a woman who would move heaven and
earth to serve me in her own way; but who, nevertheless, will not
give me either a word of advice or a look of sympathy, in the most
important affair and the most anxious moment of my life! But this is
more than _bizarre_--this is intolerably provoking. For my part, I
would rather a friend would deny me any thing than sympathy: without
sympathy, there is no society--there is no living--there is no
talking. I begin to feel my obligations a burden; and, positively,
with the first money I receive from my estates, I will relieve
myself from my pecuniary debt to this generous but incomprehensible

Every day Emilie dreaded the arrival of the post, when her mother
asked, “Are there any letters from Paris?”--Constantly the answer
was--“No.”--Mrs. Somers’ look was triumphant; and Mad. de Coulanges
applied regularly to her smelling-bottle or her snuff-box to conceal
her emotion, which Mrs. Somers increased by indirect reflections upon
the absurdity of those who listen to idle reports, and build castles
in the air. Having set her opinion in opposition to Lady Littleton’s,
she supported it with a degree of obstinacy, and even acrimony, which
made her often transgress the bounds of that politeness which she had
formerly maintained in all her differences with the comtesse.

Mad. de Coulanges could no longer consider her humour as merely
_bizarre_, she found it _insupportable_; and Mrs. Somers appeared to
her totally changed, and absolutely odious, now that she was roused by
her own sufferings to the perception of those evils which Emilie had
long borne with all the firmness of principle, and all the philosophy
of gratitude. Not a day passed without her complaining to Emilie of
some _grossièreté_ from Mrs. Somers. Mad. de Coulanges suffered so
much from irritation and anxiety, that her _vapeurs noirs_ returned
with tenfold violence. Emilie had loved Mrs. Somers, even when most
unreasonable towards herself, as long as she behaved with kindness to
her mother; but now that, instead of a source of pleasure, she became
the hourly cause of pain to Mad. de Coulanges, Emilie’s affection
could no farther go; and she really began to dislike this lady--to
dread to see her come into the room--and to tremble at hearing her
voice. Emilie could judge only by what she saw; and she could not
divine that Mrs. Somers was occupied, all this time, with the generous
scheme of marrying her to her son and heir, and of settling upon her
a large fortune; nor could she guess, that all the ill-humour in Mrs.
Somers originated in the fear that her friends should be made either
rich or happy without her assistance. Her son’s delaying to return
home, according to her mandate, had disappointed and vexed her
extremely. Every day, when the post came in, she inquired for letters
with almost as much eagerness as Mad. de Coulanges. At length a letter
came from Mr. Somers, to inform his impatient mother that he should
certainly be in town the beginning of the ensuing week. Delighted by
this news, she could not refrain from the temptation of opening her
whole mind to Emilie; though she had previously resolved not to give
the slightest intimation of her scheme to any one, not even to Lady
Littleton, till a definitive answer had been received from Paris,
respecting the fortune of Mad. de Coulanges. Often, when Mrs.
Somers was full of some magnanimous design, the merest trifle that
interrupted the full display of her generosity threw her into a
passion, even with those whom she was going to serve. So it happened
in the present instance. She went, with her open letter in her hand,
to the countess’s apartment, where unluckily she found M. de Brisac,
who was going to read the French newspapers to madame. Mrs. Somers sat
down beside Emilie, who was painting the last flower of her watch of
Flora. Mrs. Somers wrote on a slip of paper, “Don’t ask M. de Brisac
to read the papers, for I want to speak to you.” She threw down the
note before Emilie, who was so intent upon what she was about, that
she did not immediately see it--Mrs. Somers touched her elbow--Emilie
started, and let fall her brush, which made a blot upon her

“Oh! what a pity!--Just as I had finished my work,” cried Emilie, “I
have spoiled it!”

M. de Brisac laid down the newspaper to pour forth compliments of
condolence.--Mrs. Somers tore the piece of paper as he approached
the table, and said, with some asperity, “One would think this was a
matter of life and death, by the terms in which it is deplored.”

M. de Brisac, who stood so that Mrs. Somers could not see him,
shrugged his shoulders, and looked at Mad. de Coulanges, who answered
him by another look, that plainly said, “This is English politeness!”

Emilie, who saw that her mother was displeased, endeavoured to change
the course of her thoughts, by begging M. de Brisac to go on with what
he was reading from the French papers. This was a fresh provocation to
Mrs. Somers, who forgot that Emilie had not read the words on the slip
of paper which had been torn; and consequently could not know all Mrs.
Somers’ impatience for his departure. M. de Brisac read, in what this
lady called his _unemphatic French tone_, paragraph after paragraph,
and column after column, whilst her anxiety to have him go every
moment increased. She moulded her son’s letter into all manner of
shapes as she sat in penance. To complete her misfortunes, something
in the paper put Mad. de Coulanges in mind of former times; and she
began a long history of the destruction of some fine old tapestry
hangings in the Chateau de Coulanges, at the beginning of the
Revolution: this led to endless melancholy reflections; and at length
tears began to flow from the fine eyes of the countess.

Just at this instant a butterfly flew into the room, and passed by
Mad. de Coulanges, who was sitting near the open window. “Oh! the
beautiful butterfly!” cried she, starting up to catch it. “Did you
ever see such a charming creature? Catch it, M. de Brisac!--Catch it,
Emilie!--Catch it, Mrs. Somers!”

With the tears yet upon her cheeks, Mad. de Coulanges began the
chase, and M. de Brisac followed, beating the air with his perfumed
handkerchief, and the butterfly fluttered round the table at which
Emilie was standing.

“Eh! M. de Brisac, catch it!--Catch it, Emilie!” repeated her
mother.--“Catch it, Mrs. Somers, for the love of Heaven!”

“_For the love of Heaven_!” repeated Mrs. Somers, who, immovably
grave, and sullenly indignant, kept aloof during this chase.

“Ah! pour le coup, papillon, je te tiens!” cried la comtesse, and with
eager joy she covered it with a glass, as it lighted on the table.

“Mlle. de Coulanges,” cried Mrs. Somers, “I acknowledge, now, that I
was wrong in my criticism of Caroline de Lichteld. I blamed the author
for representing Caroline, at fifteen, or just when she is going to be
married, as running after butterflies. I said that, at that age, it
was too frivolous--out of drawing--out of nature. But I should have
said only, that it was out of _English nature_.--I stand corrected.”

Mad. de Coulanges and M. de Brisac again interchanged looks, which
expressed “_Est-il possible_!” And la comtesse then, with an unusual
degree of deliberation and dignity in her manner, walked out of the
room. Emilie, who saw that her mother was extremely offended, was much
embarrassed--she went on washing the blot out of her drawing. M. de
Brisac stood silently looking over her, and Mrs. Somers opposite to
him, wishing him fairly at the antipodes. M. de Brisac, to break the
silence, which seemed to him as if it never would be broken, asked
Mlle. de Coulanges if she had ever seen the stadtholder’s fine
collection of butterflies, and if she did not admire them extremely?
No, she never had; but she said that she admired extremely the
generosity the stadtholder had shown in sacrificing, not only his fine
collection of butterflies, but his most valuable pictures, to save the
lives of the poor French emigrants, who were under his protection.

At the sound of the word generosity, Mrs. Somers became attentive; and
Emilie was in hopes that she would recover her temper, and apologize
to her mother: but at this moment a servant came to tell Mlle. de
Coulanges that la comtesse wished to speak to her immediately. She
found her mother in no humour to receive any apology, even if it had
been offered: nothing could have hurt Mad. de Coulanges more than the
imputation of being frivolous.

“Frivole!--frivole!--moi frivole!” she repeated, as soon as Emilie
entered the room. “My dear Emilie! I would not live with this
Mrs. Somers for the rest of my days, were she to offer me the Pitt
diamond, or the whole mines of Golconda!--Bon Dieu!--neither money
nor diamonds, after all, can pay for the want of kindness and
politeness!--There is Lady Littleton, who has never done us any
favour, but that of showing us attention and sympathy; I protest I
love her a million of times better than I can love Mrs. Somers, to
whom we owe so much. It is in vain, Emilie, to remind me that she is
our benefactress. I have said that over and over to myself, till I am
tired, and till I have absolutely lost all sense of the meaning of the
word. Bitterly do I repent having accepted of such obligations from
this strange woman; for, as to the idea of regaining our estate, and
paying my debt to her, I have given up all hopes of it. You see that
we have no letters from France. I am quite tired out. I am convinced
that we shall never have any good news from Paris. And I cannot, I
will not, remain longer in this house. Would you have me submit to be
treated with disrespect? Mrs. Somers has affronted me before M. de
Brisac, in a manner that I cannot, that I ought not, to endure--that
you, Emilie, ought not to wish me to endure. I positively will
not live upon the bounty of Mrs. Somers. There is but one way of
extricating ourselves. M. de Brisac--Why do you turn pale, child?--M.
de Brisac has this morning made me a proposal for you, and the best
thing we can possibly do is to accept of it.”

“The best!--Pray don’t say the best!” cried Emilie. “Ah! dear mamma,
for me the worst! Let me beseech you not to sacrifice my happiness for
ever by such a marriage!”

“And what other can you expect, Emilie, in your present

“None,” said Emilie.

“And here is an establishment--at least an independence for you--and
you call it sacrificing your happiness for ever to accept of it!”

“Yes,” said Emilie; “because it is offered to me by one whom I can
neither love nor esteem. Dearest mamma! can you forget all his former
meanness of conduct?”

“His present behaviour makes amends for the past,” said Mad. de
Coulanges, “and entitles him to my esteem and to yours, and that is
sufficient. As to love--well educated girls do not marry for love.”

“But they ought not to marry without feeling love, should they?” said

“Emilie! Emilie!” said her mother, “these are strange ideas that have
come into the heads of young women since the Revolution. If you had
remained safe in your convent, I should have heard none of this

“Perhaps not, mamma,” said Emilie, with a deep sigh. “But should I
have been happier?”

“A fine question, truly!--How can I tell? But this I can ask you--How
can any girl expect to be happy, who abandons the principles in which
she was bred up, and forgets her duty to the mother by whom she has
been educated--the mother, whose pride, whose delight, whose darling,
she has ever been? Oh, Emilie! this is to me worse than all I have
ever suffered!”

Mad. de Coulanges burst into a passion of tears, and Emilie stood
looking at her in silent despair.

“Emilie, you cannot deceive me,” cried her mother; “you cannot pretend
that it is simply your want of esteem for M. de Brisac which renders
you thus obstinately averse to the match. You are in love with another

“Not in love,” said Emilie, in a faltering voice.

“You cannot deceive me, Emilie--remember all you said to me about the
stranger who was our fellow prisoner at the Abbaye. You cannot deny
this, Emilie.”

“Nor do I, dear mamma,” said Emilie. “I _cannot_ deceive you, indeed
I _would_ not; and the best proof that I do not wish to deceive
you--that I never attempted it--is, that I told you all I thought and
felt about that stranger. I told you that his honourable, brave,
and generous conduct towards us, when we were in distress, made an
impression upon my heart--that I preferred him to any person I had
ever seen--and I told you, my dear mamma, that--”

“You told me too much,” interrupted Mad. de Coulanges; “more than
I wished to hear--more than I will have repeated, Emilie. This is
romance and nonsense. The man, whoever he was--and Heaven knows who
he was!--behaved very well, and was a very agreeable person: but what
then? are you ever likely to see him again? Do you even know his
birth--his name--his country--or any thing about him, but that he
was brave and generous?--So are fifty other men, five hundred, five
thousand, five million, I hope. But is this any reason that you should
refuse to marry M. de Brisac? Henry the Fourth was brave and generous
two hundred years ago. That is as much to the purpose. You have as
much chance of establishing yourself, if you wait for Henry the Fourth
to come to life again, as if you wait for this nameless nobody of a
hero--who is perhaps married, after all--who knows!--Really, Emilie,
this is too absurd!”

“But, dear mamma, I cannot marry one man and love another--love I
did not quite mean to say. But whilst I prefer another, I cannot, in
honour, marry M. de Brisac.”

“Honour!--Love!--But in France, in my time, who ever heard of a
young lady’s being in love before she was married? You astonish, you
frighten, you shock me, child! Recollect yourself, Emilie! Misfortune
may have deprived you of the vast possessions to which you are
heiress; but do not, therefore, degrade yourself and me by forgetting
your principles, and all that the representative of the house of
Coulanges ought to remember. And as for myself--have I no claim upon
your affections, Emilie?--have not I been a fond mother?”

“Oh, yes!” said Emilie, melting into tears. “Of your kindness I
think more than of any thing else!--more than of the whole house of

“Do not let me see you in tears, child!” said Mad. de Coulanges, moved
by Emilie’s grief. “Your tears hurt my nerves more even than Mrs.
Somers’ _grossièreté_. You must blame Mrs. Somers, not me, for all
this--her temper drives me to it--I cannot live with her. We have no
alternative. Emilie, my sweet child! make me happy!--I am miserable in
this house. Hitherto you have ever been the best of daughters, and you
shall find me the most indulgent of mothers. One whole month I will
give you to change your mind, and recollect your duty. At the end
of that time, I must see you Mad. de Brisac, and in a house of your
own.--In the house of Mrs. Somers I will not, I cannot longer remain.”

Poor Emilie was glad of the reprieve of one month. She retired from
her mother’s presence in silent anguish, and hastened to her own
apartment, that she might give way to her grief. There she found Mrs.
Somers waiting for her, seated in an arm-chair, with an open letter in
her hand.

“Why do you start, Emilie? You look as if you were sorry to find me
here,” cried Mrs. Somers--“IF THAT be the case, Mlle. de Coulanges--”

“Oh, Mrs. Somers! do not begin to quarrel with me at this moment, for
I shall not be able to bear it--I am sufficiently unhappy already!”
 said Emilie.

“I am extremely sorry that any thing should make you unhappy, Emilie,”
 said Mrs. Somers; “but I think that you had never less reason than at
this moment to suspect me of an intention of quarrelling with you--I
came here with a very different design. May I know the cause of your

Emilie hesitated, for she did not know how to explain the cause
without imputing blame either to Mrs. Somers or to her mother--she
could only say--“_M. de Brisac_--”

“What!” cried Mrs. Somers, “your mother wants you to marry him?”



“In one month.”

“And you have consented?”


“_But_--Good Heavens! Emilie, what weakness of mind there is in that

“Is it weakness of mind to fear to disobey my mother--to dread to
offend her for ever--to render her unhappy--and to deprive her,
perhaps, even of the means of subsistence?”

“_The means of subsistence_! my dear. This phrase, you know, can only
be a figure of rhetoric,” said Mrs. Somers. “Your refusing M. de
Brisac cannot deprive your mother of the means of subsistence. In the
first place, she expects to recover her property in France.”

“No,” said Emilie; “she has given up these hopes--you have persuaded
her that they are vain.”

“Indeed I think them so. But still you must know, my dear, that your
mother can never be in want of the means of subsistence, nor any
of the conveniences, and, I may add, luxuries of life, whilst I am

Emilie sighed; and when Mrs. Somers urged her more closely, she said,
“Mamma has not, till lately, been accustomed to live on the bounty of
others; the sense of dependence produces many painful feelings, and
renders people more susceptible than perhaps they would be, were they
on terms of equality.”

“To what does all this tend, my dear?” interrupted Mrs. Somers. “Is
Mad. de Coulanges offended with me?--Is she tired of living with
me?--Does she wish to quit my house?--And where does she intend to
go?--Oh! that is a question that I need not ask!--Yes, yes--I have
long foreseen it--you have arranged it admirably--you go to Lady
Littleton, I presume?”

“Oh, no!”

“To M. de Brisac?”

“Mamma wishes to go--”

“Then to M. de Brisac, for Heaven’s sake, let her go,” cried Mrs.
Somers, bursting into a fit of laughter, which astonished Emilie
beyond measure. “To M. de Brisac let her go--‘tis the best thing she
can possibly do, my dear; and seriously to tell you the truth, I have
always thought it would be an excellent match. Since she is so much
prepossessed in his favour, can she do better than marry him? and, as
he is so much attached to the house of Coulanges, when he cannot have
the daughter, can he do better than marry the mother?--Your mother
does not look too old for him, when she is well rouged; and I am sure,
if she heard me say so, she would forgive me all the rest--butterfly,
frivolity, and all inclusive. Permit me, Emilie, to laugh.”

“I cannot permit any body to laugh at mamma,” said Emilie; “and Mrs.
Somers is the last person whom I should have supposed would have been
inclined to laugh, when I told her that I was really unhappy.”

“My dear Emilie, I forgive you for being angry, because I never saw
you angry before; and that is more than you can say for me. You do me
justice, however, by supposing that I should be the last person to
laugh when you are in woe, unless I thought--unless I was sure--that I
could remove the cause, and make you completely happy.”

“That, I fear, is impossible,” said Emilie: “for mamma’s pride and her
feelings have been so much hurt, that I do not think any apology would
now calm her mind.”

“Apology!--I am not in the least inclined to make any. Can I tell Mad.
de Coulanges that I do not think her frivolous?--Impossible, indeed,
my dear! I will do any thing else to oblige you. But I have as much
pride, and as much feeling, in my own way, as any of the house of
Coulanges: and if, after all I have done, madame can quarrel with
me about a butterfly, I must say, not only that she is the most
frivolous, but the most ungrateful woman upon earth; and, as she
desires to quit my house, far from attempting to detain her, I can
only wish that she may accomplish her purpose as soon as possible--as
soon as it may suit her own convenience. As for you, Emilie, I do not
suspect you of the ingratitude of wishing to leave me--I can make
distinctions, even when I have most reason to be angry. I do not blame
you, my dear--I do not ever ask you to blame your mother. I respect
your filial piety--I am sure you must think her to blame, but I do not
desire you to say so. Could any thing be more barbarously selfish than
the plan of marrying _you_ to this M. de Brisac, that _she_ might have
an establishment more to her taste than my house has been able to

Emilie attempted, but in vain, to say a few words for her mother. Mrs.
Somers ran on with her own thoughts.

“And at what a time, at what a cruel time for me, did Mad. de
Coulanges choose to express her desire to leave my house--at the
moment when my whole soul was intent upon a scheme for the happiness
of her daughter! Yes, Emilie, for your happiness!--and, my dear, your
mother’s conduct shall change nothing in my views. You I have always
found uniformly kind, gentle, grateful--I will say no more--I have
found in you, Emilie, real magnanimity. I have tried your temper
much--sometimes too much--but I have always found you proof against
these petty trials. Your character is suited to mine. I love you, as
if you were my daughter, and I wish you to be my daughter.--Now you
know my whole mind, Emilie. My son--my _eldest_ son, I should with
emphasis say, if I were speaking to Mad. de Coulanges--will be here in
a few days: read this letter. How happy I shall be if you find him--or
if you will make him--such as you can entirely approve and love! You
will have power over him--your influence will do what his mother’s
never could accomplish. But whatever reasons I may have to complain of
him, this is not the time to state them--you will connect him with me.
At all events, he is a man of honour and a gentleman; and as he is
not, thank Heaven! under the debasing necessity of considering fortune
in the choice of a wife, he is, at least in this respect, worthy of my
dear and high-minded Emilie.”

Mrs. Somers paused, and fixed her eyes eagerly on Emilie, impatient
for her answer, and already half provoked by not seeing the sudden
transition of countenance which she had pictured in her imagination.
With a mixture of dignity and affectionate gratitude in her manner,
Emilie was beginning to thank Mrs. Somers for the generous kindness
of her intention; but this susceptible lady interrupted her, and
exclaimed, “Spare me your thanks, Mlle. de Coulanges, and tell me at
once what is passing in your mind; for something very extraordinary is
certainly passing there, which I cannot comprehend. Surely you cannot
for a moment imagine that your mother will insist upon your now
accepting of M. de Brisac; or, if she does, surely you would not have
the weakness to yield. I must have some proof of strength of mind from
my friends. You must judge for yourself, Emilie, or you are not the
person I take you for. You will have full opportunity of judging in
a few days. Will you promise me that you will decide entirely for
yourself, and that you will keep your mind unbiassed? Will you promise
me this? And will you speak, at all events, my dear, that I may
understand you?”

Emilie, who saw that even before she spoke Mrs. Somers was on the
brink of anger, trembled at the idea of confessing the truth--that her
heart was already biassed in favour of another: she had, however, the
courage to explain to her all that passed in her mind. Mrs. Somers
heard her with inexpressible disappointment. She was silent for some
minutes. At last she said, in a voice of constrained passion, “Mlle.
de Coulanges, I have only one question to ask of you--you will reflect
before you answer it, because on your reply depends the continuance
or utter dissolution of our friendship--do you, or do you not, think
proper to refuse my son before you have seen him?”

“Before I have seen Mr. Somers, it surely can be no affront to you
or to him,” said Emilie, “to decline an offer that I cannot accept,
especially when I give as my reason, that my mind is prepossessed in
favour of another. With that prepossession, I cannot unite myself to
your son: I can only express to you my gratitude--my most sincere
gratitude--for your kind and generous intentions, and my hopes that he
will find, amongst his own countrywomen, one more suited to him than I
can be. His fortune is far above--”

“Say no more, I beg, Mlle. de Coulanges--I asked only for a simple
answer to a plain question. You refuse my son--you refuse to be my
daughter. I am satisfied--perfectly satisfied. I suppose you have
arranged to go to Lady Littleton’s. I heartily hope that she may be
able to make her house more agreeable to you than I could render mine.
Shake hands, Mlle. de Coulanges. You have my best wishes for your
health and happiness--Here we part.”

“Oh! do not let us part in anger!” said Emilie.

“In anger!--not in the least--I never was cooler in my life. You have
completely cooled me--you have shown me the folly of that warmth of
friendship which can meet with no return.”

“Would it be a suitable return for your warm friendship to deceive
your son?” said Emilie.

“To deceive me, I think still less suitable!” cried Mrs. Somers.

“And how have I deceived you?”

“You know best. Why was I kept in ignorance till the last moment? Why
did you never confide your thoughts to me, Emilie? Why did you never
till now say one word to me of this strange attachment?”

“There was no necessity for speaking till now,” said Emilie. “It is a
subject I never named to any one except to mamma--a subject on which I
did not think it right to speak to any one but to a parent.”

“Your notions of right and wrong, ma’am, differ widely from mine--we
are not fit to live together. I have no idea of a friend’s
concealing any thing from me: without entire confidence, there is no
friendship--at least no friendship with me. Pray no tears. I am not
fond of _scenes_. Nobody ever is that feels much.--Adieu!--Adieu!”

Mrs. Somers hurried out of the room, repeating, “I’ll write
directly--this instant--to Lady Littleton. Mad. de Coulanges shall not
be kept prisoner in _my_ house.” Emilie stood motionless.

In a few minutes Mrs. Somers returned with an unfolded letter, which
she put into Emilie’s passive hand. “Read it, ma’am, I beg--read it. I
do every thing openly--every thing handsomely, I hope--whatever may be
my faults.”

The letter was written with a rapid hand, which was scarcely legible,
especially to a foreigner. Emilie, with her eyes full of tears, had no
chance of deciphering it.

“Do not hurry yourself, ma’am,” said Mrs. Somers. “I will leave you my
letter to show to madame la comtesse, and then you will be so good as
to despatch it.--Mlle. de Coulanges,” cried Mrs. Somers, “you will be
so obliging as to refrain from mentioning to the countess the foolish
offer that I made you in my son’s name this morning. There is no
necessity for mortifying my pride any farther--a refusal from you is
quite decisive--so pray let there be no consultations. As to the rest,
the blame of our disagreement will of course be thrown upon me.”

As Emilie moved towards the door, Mrs. Somers said, “Mlle. de
Coulanges, I beg pardon for calling you back: but should you ever
think of this business or of me, hereafter, you will do me the justice
to remember that I made the proposal to you at a time when I was under
the firm belief that you would never recover an inch of your estates
in France.”

“And you, dear Mrs. Somers, if you should ever think of me hereafter,”
 said Emilie, “will, I hope, remember that my answer was given under
the same belief.”

With a look which seemed to refuse assent, Mrs. Somers continued, “I
am as well aware, ma’am, as you, or Mad. de Coulanges, can be, that if
you should recover your hereditary property, the heiress of the house
of Coulanges would be a person to whom my son should not presume to

“Oh, Mrs. Somers! Is not this cruel mockery--undeserved by
me--unworthy of you?”

“Mockery!--Ma’am, it is not three days since your mother was so
positive in her expectations of being in the Hotel de Coulanges before
next winter, that she was almost in fits because I ventured to differ
on this point from her and Lady Littleton--Lady Littleton’s judgment
is much better than mine, and has, of course, had its weight--very
justly--But I insist upon your understanding clearly that it had no
weight with me in this affair. Whatever you may imagine, I never
thought of the Coulanges estate.”

“Believe me, I never could have imagined that you did. If _I_ could
suspect Mrs. Somers of interested motives,” said Emilie, with emotion
so great that she could scarcely articulate the words, “I must be an
unfeeling--an ungrateful idiot!”

“No, not an idiot, Mlle. de Coulanges--nobody can mistake you for an
idiot: but, as I was going to say, if you inquire, Lady Littleton can
tell you that I was absolutely provoked when I first heard you had a
chance of recovering your property--you may smile, ma’am, but it is
perfectly true. I own I might have been more prudent; but prudence,
in affairs of the heart, is not one of my virtues: I own, however,
it would have been more prudent to have refrained from making this
proposal, till you had received a positive answer from France.”

“And why?” said Emilie. “Whatever that answer might have been, surely
you must be certain that it would not have made any alteration in
my conduct.--You are silent, Mrs. Somers!--You wound me to the
heart!--Oh! do me justice!--Justice is all I ask.”

“I think that I do you justice--full justice--Mlle. de Coulanges; and
if it wounds you to the heart, I am sorry for it; but that is not my

Emilie’s countenance suddenly changed from the expression of
supplicating tenderness to haughty indignation. “You doubt my
integrity!” she exclaimed: “then, indeed, Mrs. Somers, it is best that
we should part!”

Mlle. de Coulanges disappeared, and Mrs. Somers shut herself up in her
room, where she walked backwards and forwards for above an hour, then
threw herself upon a sofa, and remained nearly another hour, till Mrs.
Masham came to say that it was time to dress for dinner. She then
started up, saying aloud, “I will think no more of these ungrateful

“They are gone, ma’am,” said Mrs. Masham--“gone, and gave no
vails!--which I don’t think _on_, upon my own account, God knows! for
if millions were offered me, in pocket-pieces, I would not touch one
from any soul that comes to the house, having enough, and more than
enough, from my own generous lady, who is the only person I stoop to
receive from with pleasure. But there are others in the house who
are accustomed to vails, and, after staying so long, it was a little
ungenteel to go without so much as offering any one any thing--and to
go in such a hurry and huff--taking only a French leave, after all!
I must acknowledge with you, ma’am, that they are the ungratefullest
people that ever were seen in England. Why, ma’am, I went backwards
and forwards often enough into their apartments, to try to make out
the cause of the packings and messages to the washer-woman, that I
might inform you, but nothing transpired; yet I am certain, in their
hearts, they are more black and ungrateful than any that ever were
born; for there!--at the last moment, when even, for old acquaintance
sake, the tears stood in my eyes, there was Miss Emilie, sitting as
composedly as a judge, painting a butterfly’s wing on some of her
Frenchifications! Her eyes were red, to do her justice; but whether
with painting or crying, I can’t pretend to be certain. But as to Mad.
de Coulanges, I can answer for her that the sole thing in nature
she thought of, in leaving this house, was the bad step of the

“Hackney-coach!” cried Mrs. Somers, with surprise. “Did they go away
in a hackney-coach?”

“Yes, ma’am, much against the countess’ stomach, I am sure: I only
wish you had seen the face she made when the glass would not come up.”

“But why did not they take my carriage, or wait for Lady Littleton’s?
They were, it seems, in a violent hurry to be gone,” said Mrs. Somers.

“So it seems, indeed, ma’am--no better proof of their being the most
ungratefullest people in the universe: but so it is, by all accounts,
with all of their nation--the French having no constant hearts for any
thing but singing, and dancing, and dressing, and making merry-andrews
of themselves. Indeed, I own, till to-day, I thought Miss Emilie had
less of the merry-andrew nature than any of her country; but the
butterfly has satisfied me that there is no striving against climate
and natural character, which conquer gratitude and every thing else.”

Mrs. Somers sighed, and told Masham that she had said enough upon
this disagreeable subject. At dinner the subject was renewed by many
visitors, who, as soon as they found that Mad. and Mlle. de Coulanges
had left Mrs. Somers, began to find innumerable faults with the French
in general, and with the countess and her daughter in particular. On
the chapter of gratitude they were most severe; and Mrs. Somers was
universally pitied for having so much generosity, and blamed for
having had so much patience. Every body declared that they foresaw
how she would be treated; and the exclamations of wonder at Lady
Littleton’s inviting to her house those who had behaved so ill to
her friend were unceasing. Mrs. Somers all the time denied that she
had any cause of complaint against either Mad. de Coulanges or her
daughter; but the company judiciously trusted more to her looks than
her words. Every thing was said or hinted that could exasperate her
against her former favourites: for Mad. de Coulanges had made many
enemies by engrossing an unreasonable share in the conversation; and
Emilie by attracting too great a portion of attention by her beauty
and engaging manners. Malice often overshoots the mark: Mrs. Somers
was at first glad to hear the objects of her indignation abused; but
at last she began to think the profusion of blame greater than was
merited, and when she retired to rest at night, and when Masham began
with “Oh, ma’am! do you know that Mlle. de Coulanges--” Mrs. Somers
interrupted her, and said, “Masham, I desire to hear nothing more
about Mlle. de Coulanges: I have heard her and her mother abused,
without ceasing, these two hours, and that is enough.”

“Lord! ma’am, I was not going to abuse them--God forbid! I was just
going to tell you,” cried Masham, “that never was any thing so
mistaken as all I said before dinner. Just now, ma’am, when I went
into the little dressing-room, within Mad. de Coulanges’ room, and
happened to open the wardrobe, I was quite struck back with shame at
my own unjustice: there, ma’am, poor Miss Emilie left something--and
out of her best things!--to every maid-servant in the house; all
directed in her own hand, and with a good word for each; and this ring
for me, which she is kind enough to say is of no value but to put me
in mind of all the attentions I have shown her and her mother--which,
I am sure, were scarcely worth noticing, especially at such a time
when she had enough to do, and her heart full, no doubt, poor
soul!--There are her little paintings and embroideries, and pretty
things, that she did when she was confined with her sprain, all laid
out in order--‘tis my astonishment how she found time!--and directed
to her friends in London, as keep-sakes:--and the very butterfly that
I was so angry with her for staying to finish, is on something for
you, ma’am; and here’s a packet that was with it, and that nobody saw
till this minute.”

“Give it me!” cried Mrs. Somers. She tore it open, and found, in the
first place, the pocketbook, full of bank notes, which she had given
Mad. de Coulanges, with a few polite but haughty lines from the
countess, saying that only twenty guineas had been used, which she
hoped, at some future period, to be able to repay. Then came a note
from Emilie, in which Mrs. Somers found her own letter to Lady
Littleton. Emilie expressed herself as follows.

    “Many thanks for the enclosed, but we have determined not to go to
    Lady Littleton’s: at least we will take care not to be the cause
    of quarrel between friends to whom we are so much obliged.--No,
    dear Mrs. Somers! we do not part in anger. Excuse me, if the last
    words I said to you were hasty--they were forced from me by a
    moment of passion--but it is past: all your generosity, all your
    kindness, the recollection of all that you have done, all that you
    have wished for my happiness, rush upon my mind; and every other
    thought, and every other feeling, is forgotten. Would to Heaven
    that I could express to you my gratitude by actions!--but words,
    alas! are all that I have in my power--and where shall I find
    words that can reach your heart? I had better be silent, and trust
    to time and to you. I know your generous temper--you will soon
    blame yourself for having judged too severely of Emilie. But
    do not reproach yourself--do not let this give you a moment’s
    uneasiness: the clouds pass away, and the blue sky remains. Think
    only--as I ever shall--of your goodness to mamma and to me. Adieu!


Mrs. Somers was much affected by this letter, and by the information
that Emilie and her mother had declined taking refuge with Lady
Littleton, lest they should occasion jealousies between her and her
friend. Generous people are, of all others, the most touched by
generosity of sentiment or of action. Mrs. Somers went to bed, enraged
against herself--but it was now too late.

In the mean time, Emilie and her mother were in an obscure lodging, at
a haberdasher’s near Golden Square. The pride of Mad. de Coulanges,
at first, supported her even beyond her daughter’s expectations; she
uttered no complaints, but frequently repeated, “Mais nous sommes
bien ici, très bien--we cannot expect to have things as well as at
the Hotel de Coulanges.” In a short time she was threatened with fits
of her _vapeurs noirs_; but Emilie, with the assistance of her whole
store of French songs, a bird-organ, a lap-dog, and a squirrel,
belonging to the girl of the house, contrived to avert the danger for
the present--as to the future, she trembled to think of it. M. de
Brisac seemed to be continually in her mother’s thoughts; and whatever
occurred, or whatever was the subject of conversation, Mad. de
Coulanges always found means to end with “_à propos de M. de Brisac_.”
 Faithful to her promise, however, which Emilie, with the utmost
delicacy, recalled to her mind, she declared that she would not give
M. de Brisac an answer till the end of the month, which she had
allowed her daughter for reflection, and that, till that period,
she would not even let him know where they were to be found. Emilie
thought that the time went very fast, and her mother evidently
rejoiced at the idea that the month would soon be at an end. Emilie
endeavoured, with all her skill, to demonstrate to her mother that
it would be possible to support themselves, by her industry and
ingenuity, without this marriage; and to this, Mad. de Coulanges at
first replied, “Try, and you will soon be tired, child.” Emilie’s
spirits rose on receiving this permission: she began by copying music
for a music-shop in the neighbourhood; and her mother saw, with
astonishment, that she persevered in her design, and that no fatigue
or discouraging circumstances could vanquish her resolution.

“Good Heavens! my child,” said she, “you will wear yourself to a
skeleton with copying music, and with painting, and embroidery,
besides stooping so many hours over that tambour frame. My dear, how
can you bear all this?”

“How!--Oh! dear mamma!” said Emilie, “there is no great difficulty in
all this to me--the difficulty, the impossibility would be, to live
happily with a man I despise.”

“I wish,” cried Mad. de Coulanges, “I wish to all the saints, that
that hero of yours, that fellow-prisoner of ours at the Abbaye, with
his humanity, and his generosity, and his courage, and all his fine
qualities, had kept out of your way, Emilie: I wish he were fairly at
the bottom of the Black Sea.”

“But you forget that he was the means of obtaining your liberty,

“I wish I could forget it--I am always doomed to be obliged to those
whom I cannot love. But, after all, you might as well think of the
khan of Tartary as of this man, whom we shall never hear of more.
Marry M. de Brisac, like a reasonable creature, and do not let me see
you bending, as you do, for ever, over a tambour frame, wasting your
fine eyes and spoiling your charming shape.”

“But, mamma,” said Emilie, “would it not be much worse to marry one
man, and like another?”

“For mercy’s sake! say something new to me, Emilie; at all events, I
have heard this a hundred times.”

“The simple truth, alas!” said Emilie, “must always be the same: I
wish I could put it in any new light that would please you, dear

“It never can please me, child,” cried Mad. de Coulanges, angrily;
“nor can you please me, either, as you are going on. Fine heroism,
truly!--you will sacrifice your duty and your mother to your obstinacy
in an idle fancy. But, remember, the last days of the month are at
hand--longer I will not listen to such provoking nonsense--it has half
killed me already.”

Neither lap-dog, squirrel, bird-organ, nor Emilie’s whole stock of
French songs, could longer support the vivacity of Mad. de Coulanges;
for some days she had passed the time in watching and listening to the
London cries, as she sat at her window: the figures and sounds in this
busy part of the town were quite new to her; and, whilst the novelty
lasted, she was, like a child, good-humoured and full of exclamations.
The want of some one to listen to these exclamations was an
insupportable evil; she complained terribly of her daughter’s silence,
whilst she was attending to her different employments. This want of
conversation, and of all the luxuries she enjoyed at the house of Mrs.
Somers, her anger against that lady, her loss of all hope of hearing
from France, and her fear that Emilie would at last absolutely refuse
to obey and marry M. de Brisac, all together operated so powerfully
upon Mad. de Coulanges, that she really felt sick, and kept her bed.
Emilie now confined herself to her mother’s room, and attended her
with the most affectionate care, and with a degree of anxiety, which
those only can comprehend who have believed themselves to be the cause
of the illness of a friend--of a parent. Mad. de Coulanges would
sometimes reply, when her daughter asked her if such or such a thing
had done her good, “No, my child, nothing will do me good but your
obedience, which you refuse me--perhaps on my deathbed.”

Though Emilie did not apprehend that her mother was in any immediate
danger, yet these continual fits of low spirits and nervous attacks
excited much alarm. Emilie’s reflections on her own helpless situation
contributed to magnify her fears: she considered that she was a
stranger, a foreigner, without friends, without credit, almost without
money, and deprived, by the necessary attendance on her sick mother,
of all power to earn any by her own exertions. The bodily fatigue
that she endured, even without any mental anxiety, would have been
sufficient to wear out the spirits of a more robust person than
Emilie. She had no human being to assist her but a young girl, a
servant-maid belonging to the house, who, fortunately, was active and
good-natured; but her mistress was excessively cross, vulgar, and
avaricious; avarice, indeed, often seemed to conquer in her the common
feelings of humanity. Once, whilst Mad. de Coulanges was extremely
ill, she forced her way into her bedchamber, to insist upon changing
the counterpane upon the bed, which she said was too good to be
stained with coffee: another day, when she was angry with Mlle. de
Coulanges, for having cracked a basin by heating some soup for her
mother, she declared, in the least ceremonious terms possible, that
she hated to have any of the French _refugees_ and emigrants in the
house, for that she was not accustomed to let her lodgings to folk
that nobody ever came near to visit, and that lived only upon soups
and salads, and such low stuff; “and who, when they were ill, never so
much as called in a physician, or even a nurse, but must take up the
time of people that were not bound to wait upon them.”

Mlle. de Coulanges bore all this patiently rather than run the
hazard of removing to other lodgings whilst her mother was so ill.
The countess had a prejudice against English physicians, as she
affirmed that it was impossible that they could understand French
constitutions, especially hers, which was different from that of any
other human being, and which, as she said, only one medical man in
France rightly understood. At last, however, she yielded to the
persuasions of her daughter, and permitted Emilie to send for a
physician. When she inquired what he thought of her mother, he said,
that she was in a nervous fever, and that unless her mind was kept
free from anxiety he could not answer for her recovery. Mad. de
Coulanges looked full at her daughter, who was standing at the foot
of her bed; a mist came before Emilie’s eyes, a cold dew covered
her forehead, and she was forced to hold by the bed-post to support

At this instant the door opened, and Lady Littleton appeared. Emilie
sprang forward, and threw herself into her arms--Mad. de Coulanges
started up in her bed, exclaiming “Ah Ciel!” and then all were
silent--except the mistress of the house, who went on making apologies
about the dirt of her stairs, and its being Friday night. But as she
at length perceived that not a soul in the room knew a word she was
saying, she retreated. The physician took leave--and, when they were
thus left at liberty, Lady Littleton seated herself in the broken
arm-chair beside the bed, and told Mad. de Coulanges that Mrs. Somers
had been very unhappy, in consequence of their quarrel; and that she
had been indefatigable in her inquiries and endeavours to find out the
place of their retreat; that she had at last given up the search in
despair. “But,” continued Lady Littleton, “it has been my good fortune
to discover you by means of this flower of Emilie’s painting”--(she
produced a little hand-screen, which Emilie had lately made, and which
she had sent to be disposed of at the Repository for Ingenious Works).
“I knew it to be yours, my dear, because it is an exact resemblance
of one upon your watch of Flora, which was drawn from the flower I
brought you from Kew Gardens. Now you must not be angry with me for
finding you out, nor for begging of you to be reconciled to poor Mrs.
Somers, who has suffered much in your absence--much from the idea of
what you would endure--and more from her self-reproaches. She has,
indeed, an unfortunate susceptibility of temper, which makes her
sometimes forget both politeness and justice: but, as you well know,
her heart is excellent. Come, you must promise me to meet her at my
house, as soon as you are able to go out, my dear Mad. de Coulanges.”

“I do not know when that will be,” replied Mad. de Coulanges, in a
sick voice: “I was never so ill in my life--and so the physician says.
But I am revived by seeing Lady Littleton--she is, and ever has been,
all goodness and politeness to us. I am ashamed that she should see us
in such a miserable place. Emilie, give me my other night-riband, and
the wretched little looking-glass.”

Mad. de Coulanges sat up and arranged her head-dress. At this moment,
Lady Littleton took Emilie aside, and put into her hand a letter from
France!--“I would not speak of it suddenly to your mother, my dear,”
 said she; “but you will find the proper time. I hope it contains good
news--at present I will have patience. You shall see me again soon;
and you must, at all events, let me take you from this miserable
place. Mrs. Somers has been punished enough.--Adieu!--I long to know
the news from France.”

The news from France was such as made the looking-glass drop from the
hand of Mad. de Coulanges. It was a letter from the son of her old
steward, to tell her that his father was dead--that he was now in
possession of all the family fortune, which he was impatient to
restore to the wife and daughter of his former master and friend.

“Heaven be praised!” exclaimed Mad. de Coulanges, in an ecstasy of
joy--“Heaven be praised! we shall once more see dear Paris, and the
Hotel de Coulanges!”

“Heaven be praised!” cried Emilie, “I shall never more see M. de
Brisac. My mother, I am sure, will no longer wish me to marry him.”

“No, in truth,” said the countess, “it would now be a most unequal
match, and one to which he is by no means entitled. How fortunate it
is that I had not given him my promise!--After all, your aversion to
him, child, was quite providential. Now you may form the most splendid
alliance that your heart can desire.”

“My heart,” said Emilie, sighing, “desires no splendid alliance. But
had you not better lie down, dear mamma?--You will certainly catch
cold--and remember, your mind must be kept quiet.”

It was impossible to keep her mind quiet; she ran on from one subject
to another with extravagant volubility; and Emilie was afraid that she
would, the next day, be quite exhausted; but, on the contrary, after
talking above half the night, she fell into a sound sleep; and when
she wakened, after having slept fourteen hours, she declared that she
would no longer be kept a prisoner in bed. The renovating effects of
joy and the influence of the imagination were never more strongly
displayed. “Le malheur passé n’est bon qu’à être oublié,” was la
comtesse’s favourite maxim--and to do her justice, she was as ready to
forget past quarrels as past misfortunes. She readily complied with
Emilie’s request that she would, as soon as she was able to go out,
accompany her to Lady Littleton’s, that they might meet and be
reconciled to Mrs. Somers.

“She has the most tormenting temper imaginable,” said the countess;
“and I would not live with her for the universe--Mais d’ailleurs c’est
la meilleure femme du monde.”

If, instead of being the best woman in the world, Mrs. Somers had been
the worst, and if, instead of being a benefactress, she had been an
enemy, it would have been all the same thing to the countess; for,
in this moment, she was, as usual, like a child, a _friend_ to every
creature of every kind.

Her volubility was interrupted by the arrival of Lady Littleton, who
came to carry Mad. de Coulanges and Emilie to her house, where, as
her ladyship said, Mrs. Somers was impatiently waiting for them. Lady
Littleton had prevented her from coming to this poor lodging-house,
because she knew that the being seen there would mortify the pride of
some of the house of Coulanges.

Mrs. Somers was indeed waiting for them with inexpressible impatience.
The moment she heard their voices in the hall at Lady Littleton’s, she
ran down stairs to meet them; and as she embraced Emilie she could not
refrain from bursting into tears.

“Tears of joy, these must be,” cried Mad. de Coulanges: “we are
all happy now--perfectly happy--Are not we?--Embrace me, Mrs.
Somers--Emilie shall not have all your heart--I have some gratitude
as well as my daughter; and I should have none if I did not love
you--especially at this moment.”

Mad. de Coulanges was, by this time, at the head of the stairs; a
servant opened the drawing-room door; but something was amiss with the
strings of her sandals--she would stay to adjust them--and said to
Emilie, “Allez, allez--entrez.”

Emilie obeyed. An instant afterwards Mad. de Coulanges thought she
heard a sudden cry, either of joy or grief, from Emilie--she hurried
into the drawing-room.

“Bon Dieu! c’est notre homme de l’Abbaye!” cried she, starting back at
the sight of a gentleman who had been kneeling at Emilie’s feet, and
who arose as she entered.

“My son!” said Mrs. Somers, eagerly presenting him to Mad. de
Coulanges--“my son! whom it is in your power to make the happiest or
the most miserable of men!”

“In my power!--in Emilie’s, you mean, I suppose,” said the countess,
smiling. “She is so good a girl that I cannot make her miserable;
and as for you, Mrs. Somers, the honour of your alliance--and our
obligations--But then I shall be miserable myself if she does not go
back with me to the Hotel de Coulanges--Ah! Ciel!--And then poor M.
de Brisac, he will be miserable, unless, to comfort him, I marry him
myself.”--Half laughing, half crying, Mad. de Coulanges scarcely knew
what she said or did.

It was some time before she was sufficiently composed to understand
clearly what was said to her by any person in the room, though she
asked, half a dozen times, at least, from every one present, an
explanation of all that had happened.

Lady Littleton was the only person who could give an explanation. She
had contrived this meeting, and even Mrs. Somers had not foreseen the
event--she never suspected that her own son was the very person to
whom Emilie was attached, and that it was for Emilie’s sake her son
had hitherto refused to comply with her earnest desire that he should
marry and settle in the world. He had no hopes that she would consent
to his marrying a French girl without fortune, because she formerly
quarrelled with him for refusing to marry a rich lady of quality, who
happened to be, at that time, high in her favour. Upon the summons
home that he received from her, he was alarmed by the apprehension
that she had some new alliance in view for him, and he resolved,
before he saw his mother, to trust his secret to Lady Littleton, who
had always been a mediatrix and peace-maker. He declined telling the
name of the object of his affections; but, from his description, and
from many concomitant dates and circumstances, Lady Littleton was led
to suspect that it might be Emilie de Coulanges. She consequently
contrived an interview, which she knew must be decisive.

Mad. de Coulanges, whose imagination was now at Paris, felt rather
disappointed at the idea of her daughter’s marrying an Englishman, who
was neither a count, a marquis, nor even a baron; but Lady Littleton
at length obtained that consent which she knew would be necessary to
render Emilie happy, even in following the dictates of her heart, or
her reason.

Some conversation passed between Lady Littleton and Mrs. Somers about
a dormant title in the Somers’ family, which might be revived. This
made a wonderful impression on the countess. She yielded, as she did
every thing else, with a good grace.

History does not say, whether she did or did not console M. de Brisac:
we are only informed that, immediately after her daughter’s marriage,
she returned to Paris, and gave a splendid ball at her Hotel de
Coulanges. We are further assured that Mrs. Somers never quarrelled
with Emilie from the day of her marriage till the day of her
death--but that is incredible.




  “And since in man right reason bears the sway,
  Let that frail thing, weak woman, have her way.”



  “Blest as th’immortal gods is he,
  The youth who fondly sits by thee,
  Who sees and hears thee all the while,
  Softly speak and sweetly smile.”

“Is not this ode set to music, my dear Griselda?” said the happy
bridegroom to his bride.

“Yes, surely, my dear: did you never hear it?”

“Never; and I am glad of it, for I shall have the pleasure of hearing
it for the first time from you, my love: will you be so kind as to
play it for me?”

“Most willingly,” said Griselda, with an enchanting smile; “but I am
afraid that I shall not be able to do it justice,” added she, as she
sat down to her harp, and threw her white arm across the chords.

“Charming! Thank you, my love,” said the bridegroom, who had listened
with enthusiastic devotion.--“Will you let me hear it once more?”

The complaisant bride repeated the strain.

“Thank you, my dear love,” repeated her husband. This time he omitted
the word “_charming_”--she missed it, and, pouting prettily, said,

“I never can play any thing so well the second time as the
first.”--She paused: but as no compliment ensued, she continued, in a
more pettish tone, “And for that reason, I do hate to be made to play
any thing twice over.”

“I did not know that, my dearest love, or I would not have asked you
to do it; but I am the more obliged to you for your ready compliance.”

“Obliged!--Oh, my dear, I am sure you could not be the least obliged
to me, for I know I played it horridly: I hate flattery.”

“I am convinced of that, my dear, and therefore I never flatter: you
know I did not say that you played as well the last time as the first,
did I?”

“No, I did not say you did,” cried Griselda, and her colour rose as
she spoke: she tuned her harp with some precipitation--“This harp is
terribly out of tune.”

“Is it? I did not perceive it.”

“Did not you, indeed? I am sorry for that.”

“Why so, my dear?”

“Because, my dear, I own that I would rather have had the blame thrown
on my harp than upon myself.”

“Blame? my love!--But I threw no blame either on you or your harp. I
cannot recollect saying even a syllable that implied blame.”

“No, my dear, you did not say a syllable; but in some cases the
silence of those we love is the worst, the most mortifying species of

The tears came into Griselda’s beautiful eyes.

“My sweet love,” said he, “how can you let such a trifle affect you so

“Nothing is a trifle to me which concerns those I love,” said
Griselda.--Her husband kissed away the pearly drops which rolled over
her vermeil-tinctured cheeks. “My love,” said he, “this is having too
much sensibility.”

“Yes, I own I have too much sensibility,” said she, “too much--a great
deal too much, for my own happiness.--Nothing ever can be a trifle to
me which marks the decline of the affection of those who are most dear
to me.”

The tenderest protestations of undiminished and unalterable affection
could not for some time reassure this timid sensibility: but at length
the lady suffered herself to be comforted, and with a languid smile
said, that she hoped she was mistaken--that her fears were perhaps
unreasonable--that she prayed to Heaven they might in future prove

A few weeks afterwards her husband unexpectedly met with Mr. Granby,
a friend, of whose company he was particularly fond: he invited him
home to dinner, and was talking over past times in all the gaiety
and innocence of his heart, when suddenly his wife rose and left the
room.--As her absence appeared to him long, and as he had begged his
friend to postpone _an excellent story_ till her return, he went to
her apartment and called “Griselda!--Griselda, my love!”--No Griselda
answered.--He searched for her in vain in every room in the house:
at last, in an alcove in the garden, he found the fair dissolved in

“Good Heavens! my dear Griselda, what can be the matter?”

A melancholy, not to say sullen, silence was maintained by his dear
Griselda, till this question had been reiterated in all the possible
tones of fond solicitude and alarm: at last, in broken sentences, she
replied that she saw he did not love her--never had loved her; that
she had now but too much reason to be convinced that all her fears
were real, not imaginary; that her presentiments, alas! never deceived
her; that she was the most miserable woman on earth.

Her husband’s unfeigned astonishment she seemed to consider as an
aggravation of her woes, and it was an additional insult to plead
ignorance of his offence.

If he did not understand her feelings, it was impossible, it was
needless, to explain them. He must have lost all sympathy with her,
all tenderness for her, if he did not know what had passed in her

The man stood in stupid innocence. Provoked to speak more plainly, the
lady exclaimed, “Unfeeling, cruel, barbarous man!--Have not you this
whole day been trying your utmost skill to torment me to death? and,
proud of your success, now you come to enjoy your triumph.”


“Yes, triumph!--I see it in your eyes--it is in vain to deny it. All
this I owe to your friend Mr. Granby. Why he should be my enemy!--I
who never injured him, or any body living, in thought, word, or
deed--why he should be my enemy!”--

“Enemy!--My love, this is the strangest fancy! Why should you imagine
that he is your enemy?”

“He _is_ my enemy--nobody shall ever convince me of the contrary;
he has wounded me in the tenderest point, and in the basest manner:
has not he done his utmost, in the most artful, insidious way,--even
before my face,--to persuade you that you were a thousand times
happier when you were a bachelor than you are now--than you ever have
been since you married me?”

“Oh, my dear Griselda, you totally misunderstand him: such a thought
never entered his mind.”

“Pardon me, I know him better than you do.”

“But I have known him ever since I was a child.”

“That is the very reason you cannot judge of him as well as I can: how
could you judge of character when you were a child?”

“But now that I am a man--”

“Now that you are a man you are prejudiced in his favour by all the
associations of your childhood--all those associations,” continued the
fair one, renewing her tears, “all those early associations, which are
stronger than every other species of affection--all those associations
which I never _can_ have in your mind, which ever must act against me,
and which no merit--if I had any merit--no tenderness, no fidelity, no
fondness of mine, can ever hope to balance in the heart of the man I

“My dearest Griselda! be reasonable, and do not torment yourself and
me for no earthly purpose about these associations: really it is
ridiculous. Come, dry these useless tears, let me beseech you, my
love. You do not know how much pain they give me, unreasonable as they

At these words they flowed more bitterly.

“Nay, my love, I conjure you to compose yourself, and return to the
company: you do not know how long you have been away, and I too. We
shall be missed; we shall make ourselves ridiculous.”

“If it be ridiculous to love, I shall be ridiculous all my life. I am
sorry you think me so; I knew it would come to this; I must bear it if
I can,” said Griselda; “only be so kind to excuse me from returning
to the company to-night--indeed I am not fit, I am not able: say that
I am not well; indeed, my love, you may say so with truth.--Tell
your friend that I have a terrible head-ache, and that I am gone
to bed--but not to rest,” added she, in a lower and more plaintive
tone, as she drew her hand from her husband’s, and in spite of all
his entreaties retired to her room with an air of heart-broken

Whoever has had the felicity to be beloved by such a wife as our
Griselda, must have felt how much the charms of beauty are heightened
by the anguish of sensibility. Even in the moment when a husband is
most tormented by her caprices, he feels that there is something so
amiable, so flattering to his vanity in their source, that he cannot
complain of the killing pleasure. On the contrary, he grows fonder of
his dear tormentor; he folds closer to him this pleasing bosom ill.

Griselda perceived the effects, and felt the whole extent of the power
of sensibility; she had too much prudence, however, at once to wear
out the excitability of a husband’s heart; she knew that the influence
of tears, potent as it is, might in time cease to be irresistible,
unless aided by the magic of smiles; she knew the power of contrast
even in charms; she believed the poets, who certainly understand these
things, and who assure us that the very existence of love depends on
this blest vicissitude. Convinced, or seemingly convinced, of the
folly of that fond melancholy in which she persisted for a week, she
next appeared all radiant with joy; and she had reason to be delighted
by the effect which this produced. Her husband, who had not yet been
long enough her husband to cease to be her lover, had suffered much
from the obstinacy of her sorrow; his spirits had sunk, he had become
silent, he had been even seen to stand motionless with his arms
folded; he was in this attitude when she approached and smiled upon
him in all her glory. He breathed, he lived, he moved, he spoke.--Not
the influence of the sun on the statue of Memnon was ever more

Let any candid female say, or, if she will not say, imagine, what she
should have felt at that moment in Griselda’s place.--How intoxicating
to human vanity, to be possessed of such powers of enchantment!--How
difficult to refrain from their exercise!--How impossible to believe
in their finite duration!


  “_Some_ hope a lover by their faults to win,
  As spots on ermine beautify the skin.”

When Griselda thought that her husband had long enough enjoyed his new
existence, and that there was danger of his forgetting the taste of
sorrow, she changed her tone.--One day, when he had not returned home
exactly at the appointed minute, she received him with a frown,--such
as would have made even Mars himself recoil, if Mars could have beheld
such a frown upon the brow of his Venus.

“Dinner has been kept waiting for you this hour, my dear.”

“I am very sorry for it; but why did you wait, my dear? I am really
very sorry I am so late, but (looking at his watch) it is only half
past six by me.”

“It is seven by me.”

They presented their watches to each other; he, in an apologetical,
she, in a reproachful attitude.

“I rather think you are too fast, my dear,” said the gentleman.

“I am very sure you are too slow, my dear,” said the lady.

“My watch never loses a minute in the four-and-twenty hours,” said he.

“Nor mine a second,” said she.

“I have reason to believe I am right, my love,” said the husband,

“Reason!” exclaimed the wife, astonished; “what reason can you
possibly have to believe you are right, when I tell you I am morally
certain you are wrong, my love?”

“My only reason is, that I set my watch by the sun to-day.”

“The sun must be wrong, then,” cried the lady, hastily.--“You need not
laugh; for I know what I am saying--the variation, the declination,
must be allowed for in computing it with the clock. Now you know
perfectly well what I mean, though you will not explain it for me,
because you are conscious I am in the right.”

“Well, my dear, if _you_ are conscious of it, that is sufficient. We
will not dispute any more about such a trifle.--Are they bringing up

“If they know that you are come in; but I am sure I cannot tell
whether they do or not.--Pray, my dear Mrs. Nettleby,” cried the
lady, turning to a female friend, and still holding her watch in her
hand, “what o’clock is it by you? There is nobody in the world hates
disputing about trifles as much as I do; but I own I do love to
convince people that I am in the right.”

Mrs. Nettleby’s watch had stopped. How provoking!--Vexed at having no
immediate means of convincing people that she was in the right, our
heroine consoled herself by proceeding to criminate her husband, not
in this particular instance, where he pleaded guilty, but upon the
general charge of being always late for dinner, which he strenuously

There is something in the species of reproach, which advances thus
triumphantly from particulars to generals, peculiarly offensive to
every reasonable and susceptible mind: and there is something in the
general charge of being always late for dinner, which the punctuality
of man’s nature cannot easily endure, especially if he be hungry.
We should humbly advise our female friends to forbear exposing a
husband’s patience to this trial, or at least to temper it with much
fondness, else mischief will infallibly ensue. For the first time
Griselda saw her husband angry; but she recovered him by saying, in
a softened tone, “My love, you must be sensible that I can have but
one reason for being so impatient for your return home.--If I liked
your company less, I should not complain so much of your want of

Finding that this speech had the desired effect, it was afterwards
repeated with variations whenever her husband stayed from home to
enjoy any species of amusement, or to gratify any of his friends.
When he betrayed symptoms of impatience under this constraint, the
expostulations became more urgent, if not more forcible.

“Indeed, my dear, I take it rather unkindly of you that you pay so
little attention to my feelings--”

“I see I am of no consequence to you _now_; I find every body’s
society is preferred to mine: it was not always so.--Well! it is what
I might have expected--”


Griselda’s sighs were still persuasive, and her husband,
notwithstanding that he felt the restraints which daily multiplied
upon his time and upon his personal liberty becoming irksome, had not
the barbarity to give pain to the woman by whom he was so tenderly
beloved. He did not consider that in this case, as well as in many
others, apparent mercy is real cruelty. The more this monopolizing
humour of his wife’s was indulged, the more insatiable it became.
Every person, every thing but herself, was to be excluded from his
heart; and when this sole patent for pleasure was granted to her, she
became rather careless in its exercise, as those are apt to be who
fear no competitors. In proportion as her endeavours to please abated,
her expectations of being adored increased: the slightest word of
blame, the most remote hint that any thing in her conduct, manners, or
even dress, could be altered for the better, was the signal for battle
or for tears.

One night she wept for an hour, and debated for two, about an
alteration in her head-dress, which her husband unluckily happened to
say made it more becoming. _More becoming_! implied that it was before
unbecoming. She recollected the time when every thing she wore was
becoming in his eyes--but that time, alas! was completely past; and
she only wished that she could forget that it had ever been.

“To have been happy is additional misery.”

This misery may appear comic to some people, but it certainly was
not so to our heroine’s unfortunate husband. It was in vain that, in
mitigation of his offence, he pleaded total want of knowledge in the
arcana of the toilette, absolute inferiority of taste, and a willing
submission to the decrees of fashion.

This submission was called indifference--this calmness construed into
contempt. He stood convicted of having said that the lady’s dress was
unbecoming--she was certain that he thought more than he said, and
that every thing about her was grown disagreeable to him.

It was in vain he represented that his affection had not been created,
and could not be annihilated, by such trifles; that it rested on the
solid basis of esteem.

“Esteem!” cried his wife--“that is the unkindest stroke of all! When a
man begins to talk of esteem, there is an end of love.”

To illustrate this position, the fair one, as well as the disorder of
her mind would permit, entered into a refined disquisition, full of
all the metaphysics of gallantry, which proved that love--genuine
love--is an æthereal essence, a union of souls, regulated by none of
those formal principles, and founded upon none of those vulgar moral
qualities on which friendship, and the other connexions of society,
depend. Far, far above the jurisdiction of reason, true love creates
perfect sympathy in taste, and an absolute identity of opinion upon
all subjects, physical, metaphysical, moral, political, and economic.
After having thus established her theory, her practice was wonderfully
consistent, and she reasonably expected from her husband the most
exact conformity to her principles--of course, his five senses and
his understanding were to be identified with hers. If he saw, heard,
felt, or understood differently from her, he did not, could not, love
her. Once she was offended by his liking white better than black; at
another time she was angry with him for loving the taste of mushrooms.
One winter she quarrelled with him for not admiring the touch of
satin, and one summer she was jealous of him for listening to the song
of a blackbird. Then because he could not prefer to all other odours
the smell of jessamine, she was ready “to die of a rose in aromatic
pain.” The domain of taste, in the more enlarged sense of the
word, became a glorious field of battle, and afforded subjects of
inextinguishable war. Our heroine was accomplished, and knew how to
make all her accomplishments and her knowledge of use. As she was
mistress not only of the pencil, but of all “the cant of criticism,”
 had infinite advantages in the wordy war. From the _beau ideal_ to
the choice of a snuffer-dish, all came within her province, and was
to be submitted, without appeal, to her instinctive sense of moral
order.--Happy fruits of knowledge!--Happy those who can thus enlarge
their intellectual dominion, and can vary eternally the dear delight
of giving pain. The range of opinion was still more ample than the
province of taste, affording scope for all the joys of assertion
and declamation--for the opposing of learned and unlearned
authorities--for the quoting the opinions of friends--counting voices
instead of arguments--wondering at the absurdity of those who can be
of a different way of thinking--appealing to the judgment of the whole
world--or resting perfectly satisfied with her own. Sometimes the most
important, sometimes the most trivial, and seemingly uninteresting
subjects, gave exercise to Griselda’s powers; and in all cases being
entirely of her opinion was the only satisfactory proof of love.

Our heroine knew how, with able generalship, to take advantage of
time and situation.--Just before the birth of their child, which,
by-the-bye, was born dead, a dispute arose between the husband
and wife concerning public and private education, which, from its
vehemence, alarmed the gentleman into a perfect conviction that he was
in the wrong. Scarcely had Griselda gained this point, when a question
arose at the tea-table respecting the Chinese method of making tea. It
was doubted by some of the company whether it was made in a tea-pot or
a tea-cup. Griselda gave her opinion loudly for the tea-pot--her lord
and master inclined to the tea-cup; and as neither of them had been
in China, they could debate without fear of coming to a conclusion.
The subject seemed at first insignificant; but the lady’s method of
managing it supplied all deficiencies, and roused all the passions
of human nature on the one side or the other. Victory hung doubtful;
but our heroine won the day by taking time into the account.--Her
adversary was in a hurry to go to meet some person on business, and
quitted the field of battle.


  “Self-valuing Fancy, highly-crested Pride,
  Strong sovereign Will, and some desire to chide.”

“There are,” says Dr. Johnson, “a thousand familiar disputes which
reason can never decide; questions that elude investigation, and make
logic ridiculous--cases where something must be done, and where
little can be said.--Wretched would be the pair above all names of
wretchedness who should be doomed to adjust by reason every morning
all the detail of a domestic day.”

Our heroine made a double advantage of this passage: for she regularly
reasoned where logic was ridiculous, and could not be prevailed upon
to listen to reason when it might have been useful.--She substituted
her _will_ most frequently for arguments, and often opposed it to her
husband’s, in order to give him the merit of sacrificing his wishes.
When he wanted to read, she suddenly wished to walk; when he wished
to walk, she was immersed in her studies. When he was busy, she was
talkative; when he was eager to hear her converse, she was inclined
to be silent. The company that he liked, she disliked; the public
amusements that she most frequented were those of which he least
approved. This species of wilfulness was the strongest proof of her
solicitude about his good opinion.--She could not bear, she said, that
he should consider her as a child, who was not able to govern herself.
She could not believe that a man had confidence in her unless he
proved it by leaving her at liberty to decide and act for herself.

Sometimes she receded, sometimes she advanced in her claims; but
without marking the daily ebbs and flows of her humour, it is
sufficient to observe, that it continually encroached upon her
husband’s indulgence. She soon insisted upon being _consulted_, that
is, obeyed, in affairs which did not immediately come under the
cognizance of her sex--politics inclusive. This apparently exorbitant
love of power was veiled under the most affectionate humility.

“Oh, my love! I know you despise my abilities; you think these things
above the comprehension of poor women. I know I am but your plaything
after all: you cannot consider me for a moment as your equal or your
friend--I see that!--You talk of these things to your friend Mr.
Granby--I am not worthy to hear them.--Well, I am sure I have no
ambition, except to possess the confidence of the man I love.”

The lady forgot that she had, upon a former occasion, considered
a profession of esteem from her husband as an insult, and that,
according to her definition of true love, esteem was incompatible with
its existence.

Tacitus remarks, that it is common with princes to will
contradictories; in this characteristic they have the honour to
resemble some of the fair sex, as well as all spoiled children. Having
every feasible wish gratified, they are obliged to wish for what
is impossible, for want of something to desire or to do: they are
compelled to cry for the moon, or for new worlds to conquer.--Our
heroine having now attained the summit of human glory and happiness,
and feeling almost as much ennui as was expressed by the conqueror
of the world, yawned one morning, as she sat tête-à-tête with her
husband, and said--

“I wish I knew what was the matter with me this morning.--Why do you
keep the newspaper all to yourself, my dear?”

“Here it is for you, my dear: I have finished it.”

“I humbly thank you for giving it to me when you have done with it--I
hate stale news.--Is there any thing in the paper? for I cannot be at
the trouble of hunting it.”

“Yes, my dear, there are the marriages of two of our friends--”

“Who? Who?”

“Your friend the Widow Nettleby, to her cousin John Nettleby.”

“Mrs. Nettleby! Lord! but why did you tell me?”

“Because you asked me, my dear.”

“Oh! but it is a hundred times pleasanter to read the paragraph one’s
self: one loses all the pleasure of the surprise by being told.--Well!
whose was the other marriage?”

“Oh! my dear, I will not tell you--I will leave you the pleasure of
the surprise.”

“But you see I cannot guess it.--How provoking you are, my dear! Do
pray tell it me.”

“Our friend Mr. Granby.”

“Mr. Granby!--Dear! Why did not you make me guess? I should have
guessed him directly: but why do you call him our friend? I am sure he
is no friend of mine, nor ever was; I took an aversion to him, as you
may remember, the very first day I saw him: I am sure he is no friend
of mine.”

“I am sorry for it, my dear; but I hope you will go and see Mrs.

“Not I, indeed, my dear.--Who was she?”

“Miss Cooke.”

“Cooke!--but there are so many Cookes.--Can’t you distinguish her any
way?--Has she no Christian name?”

“Emma, I think--yes, Emma.”

“Emma Cooke!--No; it cannot be my friend Emma Cooke--for I am sure she
was cut out for an old maid.”

“This lady seems to me to be cut out for a good wife.”

“May be so--I am sure I’ll never go to see her--Pray, my dear, how
came you to see so much of her?”

“I have seen very little of her, my dear: I only saw her two or three
times before she was married.”

“Then, my dear, how could you decide that she is cut out for a good
wife?--I am sure you could not judge of her by seeing her only two or
three times, and before she was married.”

“Indeed, my love, that is a very just observation.”

“I understand that compliment perfectly, and thank you for it, my
dear.--I must own I can bear any thing better than irony.”

“Irony! my dear; I was perfectly in earnest.”

“Yes, yes; in earnest--so I perceive--I may naturally be dull of
apprehension, but my feelings are quick enough: I comprehend you too
well. Yes--it is impossible to judge of a woman before marriage, or
to guess what sort of a wife she will make. I presume you speak from
experience; you have been disappointed yourself, and repent your

“My dear, what did I say that was like this? Upon my word I meant no
such thing; I really was not thinking of you in the least.”

“No--you never think of me now: I can easily believe that you were not
thinking of me in the least.”

“But I said that only to prove to you that I could not be thinking ill
of you, my dear.”

“But I would rather that you thought ill of me than that you did not
think of me at all.”

“Well, my dear,” said her husband, laughing, “I will even think ill of
you, if that will please you.”

“Do you laugh at me?” cried she, bursting into tears. “When it comes
to this, I am wretched indeed! Never man laughed at the woman he
loved! As long as you had the slightest remains of love for me,
you could not make me an object of derision: ridicule and love are
incompatible, absolutely incompatible. Well, I have done my best, my
very best, to make you happy, but in vain. I see I am not _cut out_ to
be a good wife. Happy, happy Mrs. Granby!”

“Happy I hope sincerely that she will be with my friend; but my
happiness must depend on you, my love; so, for my sake, if not for
your own, be composed, and do not torment yourself with such fancies.”

“I do wonder,” cried our heroine, starting from her seat, “whether
this Mrs. Granby is really that Miss Emma Cooke. I’ll go and see her
directly; see her I must.”

“I am heartily glad of it, my dear; for I am sure a visit to his wife
will give my friend Granby real pleasure.”

“I promise you, my dear, I do not go to give him pleasure, or you
either; but to satisfy my own--_curiosity_.”

The rudeness of this speech would have been intolerable to her husband
if it had not been for a certain hesitation in the emphasis with which
she pronounced the word curiosity, which left him in doubt as to her
real motive.

Jealousy is sometimes thought to be a proof of love; and, in
this point of view, must not all its caprices, absurdities, and
extravagances, be graceful, amiable, and gratifying?

A few days after Griselda had satisfied her curiosity, she thus, in
the presence of her husband, began to vent her spleen:

“For Heaven’s sake, dear Mrs. Nettleby,” cried she, addressing herself
to the new-married widow, who came to return her wedding visit--“for
pity’s sake, dear Mrs. Nettleby, can you or any body else tell me what
possessed Mr. Granby to marry Emma Cooke?”

“I am sure I cannot tell, for I have not seen her yet.”

“You will be less able to tell after you have seen her, and still less
after you have heard her.”

“What, then, she is neither a wit nor a beauty! I’m quite surprised at
that; for I thought, to be sure, Mr. Granby, who is such a judge and
such a critic, and so nice about female manners, would not have been
content without something very extraordinary.”

“Nothing can be more ordinary.”

“Astonishing! but I am quite tired of being astonished at marriages!
One sees such strange matches every day, I am resolved never to be
surprised at any thing: who _can_, that lives in the world? But really
now I am surprised at Mr. Granby. What! is she nothing?”

“Nothing--absolutely nothing; a cipher; a nonentity.”

“Now really? you do not tell me so,” said Mrs. Nettleby. “Well, I am
so disappointed; for I always resolved to take example by Mr. Granby’s

“I would rather that she should take warning by me,” said Griselda,
laughing. “But to be candid, I must tell you that to some people’s
taste she is a pattern wife--a perfect Grizzle. She and I should have
changed names--or characters. Which, my dear?” cried she, appealing to
her husband.

“Not names, my dear,” answered he.

The conversation might here have ended happily, but unluckily our
heroine could not be easily satisfied before Mrs. Nettleby, to whom
she was proud of showing her conjugal ascendancy.

“My dear,” said she to her husband, “a-propos to pattern wives: you
have read Chaucer’s Tales. Do you seriously like or dislike the real,
original, old Griselda?”

“It is so long since I have seen her that I cannot tell,” replied he.

“Then, my dear, you must read the story over again, and tell me
without evasion.”

“And if he could read it before Mrs. Granby and me, what a compliment
that would be to one bride,” added the malicious Mrs. Nettleby, “and
what a lesson for another!”

“Oh, it must be so! it must be so!” cried Griselda. “I will ask her
here on purpose to a reading party; and you, my dear Mrs. Nettleby,
will come for your lesson. You, my love, who read so well--and who,
I am sure, will be delighted to pay a compliment to your favourite,
Mrs. Granby--you will read, and I will--weep. On what day shall it be?
Let me see: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday,
Sunday, I’m engaged: but Sunday is only a party at home; I can put
that off:--then Sunday let it be.”

“Sunday, I am unluckily engaged, my dear,” said her husband.

“Engaged? Oh, nonsense! You have no engagements of any consequence:
and when I put off _my_ party on purpose to have the pleasure of
hearing you read, oblige me, my love, for once.”

“My love, to oblige you, I will do any thing.”

Griselda cast a triumphant glance at Mrs. Nettleby, which said as
plainly as a look could say, “You see how I rule him!”


  “Feels every vanity in fondness lost,
  And asks no power but that of pleasing most.”

On Sunday evening a large company assembled at our heroine’s summons.
They were all seated in due form: the reader with his book open, and
waiting for the arrival of the bride, for whom a conspicuous place was
destined, where the spectators, and especially Mrs. Nettleby and our
Griselda, could enjoy a full view of her countenance.

“Lord bless me! it is getting late: I am afraid--I am really afraid
Mrs. Granby will not come.”

The ladies had time to discuss who and what she was: as she had lived
in the country, few of them had seen, or could tell any thing about
her; but our heroine circulated her opinion in whispers, and every
one was prepared to laugh at _the pattern wife, the original Griselda
revived_, as Mrs. Nettleby sarcastically called her.

Mrs. Granby was announced. The buzz was hushed and the titter
suppressed; affected gravity appeared in every countenance, and
all eyes turned with malicious curiosity upon the bride as she
entered.--The timidity of Emma’s first appearance was so free both
from awkwardness and affectation, that it interested at least every
gentleman present in her favour. Surrounded by strangers, but quite
unsuspicious that they were prepared to consider her as an object of
ridicule or satire, she won her way to the lady of the house, to whom
she addressed herself as to a friend.

“Is not she quite a different person from what you had expected?”
 whispered one of the ladies to her neighbour, as Emma passed. Her
manner seemed to solicit indulgence rather than to provoke envy. She
was very sorry to find that the company had been waiting for her; she
had been detained by the sudden illness of Mr. Granby’s mother.

Whilst Emma was making this apology, some of the audience observed
that she had a remarkably sweet voice; others discovered that there
was something extremely feminine in her person. A gentleman, who saw
that she was distressed at the idea of being seated in the conspicuous
place to which she was destined by the lady of the house, got up, and
offered his seat, which she most thankfully accepted.

“Oh, my dear Mrs. Granby, I cannot possibly allow you to sit there,”
 cried the lady of the house. “You must have the honours of the day,”
 added she, seizing Emma’s hand to conduct her to the _place of

“Pray excuse me,” said Mrs. Granby, “honours are so little suited to
me: I am perfectly well here.”

“But with that window _at your back_, my dear madam!” said Mrs.

“I do not feel the slightest breath of air. But perhaps I crowd these

“Not in the least, not in the least,” said the ladies, who were on
each side of her: they were won by the irresistible gentleness of
Emma’s manner. Our heroine was vexed to be obliged to give up her
point; and relinquishing Mrs. Granby’s hand, returned to her own seat,
and said in a harsh tone to her husband,

“Well! my dear, if we are to have any reading to-night, you had better

The reading began; and Emma was so completely absorbed, that she did
not perceive that most of the audience were intent upon her. Those who
act any part may be ridiculous in the playing it, but those are safe
from the utmost malignity of criticism who are perfectly unconscious
that they have any part to perform. Emma had been abashed at her first
appearance in an assembly of strangers, and concerned by the idea that
she had kept them waiting; but as soon as this embarrassment passed
over, her manners resumed their natural ease--a degree of ease which
surprised her judges, and which arose from the persuasion that she
was not of sufficient consequence to attract attention. Our heroine
was provoked by the sight of this insolent tranquillity, and was
determined that it should not long continue. The reader came to the
promise which Gualtherus exacts from his bride:--

  “Swear that with ready will, and honest heart,
  Like or dislike, without regret or art,
  In presence or alone, by night or day,
  All that I will, you fail not to obey;
  All I intend to forward, that you seek,
  Nor ever once object to what I speak.
  Nor yet in part alone my wish fulfil;
  Nor though you do it, do it with ill-will;
  Nor with a forced compliance half refuse;
  And acting duty, all the merit lose.
  To strict obedience add a willing grace,
  And let your soul be painted in your face;
  No reasons given, and no pretences sought,
  To swerve in deed or word, in look or thought.”

“Well, ladies!” cried the modern Griselda, “what do you think of

Shrill exclamations of various vehemence expressed with one accord the
sentiments, or rather feelings, of almost all the married ladies who
were present.

“Abominable! Intolerable! Insufferable! Horrible! I would rather have
seen the man perish at my feet; I would rather have died: I would have
remained unmarried all my life rather than have submitted to such

A few young unmarried ladies who had not spoken, or who had not
been heard to speak in the din of tongues, were appealed to by the
gentlemen next them. They could not be prevailed upon to pronounce any
distinct opinion: they qualified, and hesitated, and softened, and
equivocated, and “were not positively able to judge, for really they
had never thought upon the subject.”

Upon the whole, however, it was evident that they did not betray that
natural horror which pervaded the more experienced matrons. All agreed
that the terms were “hard terms,” and ill expressed: some added, that
only love could persuade a woman to submit to them: and some still
more sentimental maidens, in a lower voice, were understood to say,
that as nothing is impossible to Cupid, they might be induced to
such submission; but that it must be by a degree of love which they
solemnly declared they had never felt or could imagine as yet.

“For my part,” cried the modern Griselda, “I would sooner have lived
an old maid to the days of Methusalem than have been so mean as to
have married any man on earth upon such terms. But I know there are
people who can never think ‘marriage dear-bought.’ My dear Mrs.
Granby, we have not yet heard your opinion, and we should have had
yours first, as bride.”

“I forgot that I was bride,” said Emma.

“Forgot! Is it possible?” cried Mrs. Nettleby: “now this is an excess
of modesty of which I have no notion.”

“But for which Mr. Granby,” continued our heroine, turning to Mr.
Granby, who at this moment entered the room, “ought to make his best
bow. Here is your lady, sir, who has just assured us that she forgot
she was a bride: bow to this exquisite humility.”

“Exquisite vanity!” cried Mr. Granby; “she knows

  “‘How much the wife is dearer than the bride.’”

“She will be a singularly happy woman if she knows _that_ this time
twelvemonth,” replied our heroine, darting a reproachful look at her
silent husband. “In the mean time, do let us hear Mrs. Granby speak
for herself; I must have her opinion of Griselda’s promise to obey her
lord, right or wrong, in all things, no reasons given, to submit in
deed, and word, and look, and thought. If Mrs. Granby tells us that is
her theory, we must all reform our practice.”

Every eye was fixed upon Emma, and every ear was impatient for her

“I should never have imagined,” said she, smiling, “that any person’s
practice could be influenced by my theory, especially as I have no

“No more humility, my dear; if you have no theory, you have an opinion
of your own, I hope, and we must have a distinct answer to this simple
question: Would you have made the promise that was required from

“No,” answered Emma; “distinctly no; for I could never have loved or
esteemed the man who required such a promise.”

Disconcerted by this answer, which was the very reverse of what she
expected; amazed at the modest self-possession with which the timid
Emma spoke, and vexed by the symptoms of approbation which Emma’s
words and voice excited, our heroine called upon her husband, in a
more than usually authoritative tone, and bid him--read on.

He obeyed. Emma became again absorbed in the story, and her
countenance showed how much she felt all its beauties, and all its
pathos. Emma did all she could to repress her feelings; and our
heroine all she could to make her and them ridiculous. But in this
attempt she was unsuccessful; for many of the spectators, who at her
instigation began by watching Emma’s countenance to find subject for
ridicule, ended by sympathizing with her unaffected sensibility.

When the tale was ended, the modern Griselda, who was determined
to oppose as strongly as possible the charms of spirit to those of
sensibility, burst furiously forth into an invective against the
meanness of her namesake, and the tyranny of the odious Gualtherus.

“_Could_ you have forgiven him, Mrs. Granby? could you have forgiven
the monster?”

“He repented,” said Emma; “and does not a penitent cease to be a

“Oh, I never, never would have forgiven him, penitent or not penitent;
I would not have forgiven him such sins.”

“I would not have put it into his power to commit them,” said Emma.

“I confess the story never touched me in the least,” cried our

“Perhaps for the same reason that Petrarch’s friend said that he read
it unmoved,” replied Mrs. Granby: “because he could not believe that
such a woman as Griselda ever existed.”

“No, no, not for that reason: I believe many such poor, meek,
mean-spirited creatures exist.”

Emma was at length wakened to the perception of her friend’s envy and
jealousy; but--

  “She mild forgave the failing of her sex.”

“I cannot admire the original Griselda, or any of her imitators,”
 continued our heroine.

“There is no great danger of her finding imitators in these days,”
 said Mr. Granby. “Had Chaucer lived in our enlightened times, he would
doubtless have drawn a very different character.”

The modern Griselda looked “fierce as ten furies.” Emma softened her
husband’s observation by adding, “that allowance should certainly be
made for poor Chaucer, if we consider the times in which he wrote.
The situation and understandings of women have been so much improved
since his days. Women were then slaves, now they are free. My dear,”
 whispered she to her husband, “your mother is not well; shall we go

Emma left the room; and even Mrs. Nettleby, after she was gone, said,
“Really she is not ugly when she blushes.”

“No woman is ugly when she blushes,” replied our heroine; “but,
unluckily, a woman cannot _always_ blush.”

Finding that her attempt to make Emma ridiculous had failed, and that
it had really placed Mrs. Granby’s understanding, manners, and temper
in a most advantageous and amiable light, Griselda was mortified
beyond measure. She could scarcely bear to hear Emma’s name mentioned.


  “She that can please, is certain to persuade,
  To-day is lov’d, to-morrow is obey’d.”

A few days after the reading party, Griselda was invited to spend an
evening at Mrs. Granby’s.

“I shall not go,” said she, throwing down the card with an air of

“I shall go,” said her husband, calmly.

“You will go, my dear!” cried she, amazed. “You will go without _me_?”

“Not without you, if you will be so kind as to go with me, my love,”
 said he.

“It is quite out of my power,” said she: “I am engaged to my friend,
Mrs. Nettleby.”

“Very well, my dear,” said he; “do as you please.”

“Certainly I shall. And I am surprised, my dear, that you do not go to
see Mr. John Nettleby.”

“I have no desire to see him, my dear. He is, as I have often heard
you say, an obstinate fool. He is a man I dislike particularly.”

“Very possibly; but you ought to go to see him notwithstanding.”

“Why so, my dear?”

“Because he is married to a woman I like. If you had any regard for
me, your own feelings would have saved you the trouble of asking that

“But, my dear, should not your regard for me also suggest to you the
propriety of keeping up an acquaintance with Mrs. Granby, who is
married to a man I like, and who is not herself an obstinate fool?”

“I shall not enter into any discussion upon the subject,” replied our
heroine; for this was one of the cases where she made it a rule never
to reason. “I can only say that I have my own opinion, and that I beg
to be excused from keeping up any acquaintance whatever with Mrs.

“And I beg to be excused from keeping up any acquaintance whatever
with Mr. Nettleby,” replied her husband.

“Good Heavens!” cried she, raising herself upon the sofa, on which
she had been reclining, and fixing her eyes upon her husband, with
unfeigned astonishment: “I do not know you this morning, my dear.”

“Possibly not, my dear,” replied he; “for hitherto you have seen only
your lover; now you see your husband.”

Never did metamorphosis excite more astonishment. The lady was utterly
unconscious that she had had any part in producing it--that she had
herself dissolved the spell. She raged, she raved, she reasoned, in
vain. Her point she could not compass. Her cruel husband persisted
in his determination not to go to see Mr. John Nettleby. Absolutely
astounded, she was silent. There was a truce for some hours. She
renewed the attack in the evening, and ceased not hostilities for
three succeeding days and nights, in reasonable hopes of wearying the
enemy, still without success.

The morning rose, the great, the important day, which was to decide
the fate of the visit. The contending parties met as usual at
breakfast; they seemed mutually afraid of each other, and stood at
bay. There was a forced calm in the gentleman’s demeanour--treacherous
smiles played upon the lady’s countenance. He seemed cautious to
prolong the suspension of hostilities--she fond to anticipate the
victory. The name of Mrs. Granby, or of Mr. John Nettleby, was not
uttered by either party, nor did either inquire where the other was
to spend the evening. At dinner they met again, and preserved on this
delicate subject a truly diplomatic silence; whilst on the topics
foreign to their thoughts, they talked with admirable fluency:
actuated by as sincere desire as ever was felt by negotiating
politicians to establish peace on the broadest basis, they were,
_with the most perfect consideration_, each other’s devoted, and most
obedient humble servants. Candour, however, obliges us to confess,
that though the deference on the part of the gentleman was the most
unqualified and praiseworthy, the lady was superior in her inimitable
air of frank cordiality. The _volto sciolto_ was in her favour, the
_pensieri stretti_ in his. Any one but an ambassador would have been
deceived by the husband; any one but a woman would have been duped by
the wife.

So stood affairs when, after dinner, the high and mighty powers
separated. The lady retired to her toilette. The gentleman remained
with his bottle. He drank a glass of wine extraordinary. She stayed
half an hour more than usual at her mirror. Arrayed for battle, our
heroine repaired to the drawing-room, which she expected to find
unoccupied;--the enemy had taken the field.

“Dressed, my dear?” said he.

“Ready, my love!” said she.

“Shall I ring the bell for your carriage, my dear?” said the husband.

“If you please. You go with me, my dear?” said the wife.

“I do not know where you are going, my love.”

“To Mrs. Nettleby’s of course,--and you?”

“To Mrs. Granby’s.”

The lightning flashed from Griselda’s eyes, ere he had half pronounced
the words. The lightning flashed without effect.

“To Mrs. Granby’s!” cried she, in a thundering tone. “To Mrs.
Granby’s!” echoed he. She fell back on the sofa, and a shower of tears
ensued. Her husband walked up and down the room, rang again for the
carriage, ordered it in the tone of a master. Then hummed a tune. The
fair one sobbed: he continued to sing, but was out in the time. The
lady’s sobs grew alarming, and threatened hysterics. He threw open
the window, and approached the sofa on which she lay. She, half
recovering, unclasped one bracelet; in haste to get the other off, he
broke it. The footman came in to announce that the carriage was at the
door. She relapsed, and seemed in danger of suffocation from her pearl
necklace, which she made a faint effort to loosen from her neck.

“Send your lady’s woman instantly,” cried Griselda’s husband to the

Our heroine made another attempt to untie her necklace, and looked
up towards her husband with supplicating eyes. His hands trembled;
he entangled the strings. It would have been all over with him if
the maid had not at this instant come to his assistance. To her he
resigned his perilous post; retreated precipitately; and before the
enemy’s forces could rally, gained his carriage, and carried his

“To Mr. Granby’s!” cried he, triumphantly. Arrived there, he hurried
to Mr. Granby’s room.

“Another such victory,” cried he, throwing himself into an arm-chair,
“another such victory, and I am undone.”

He related all that had just passed between him and his wife.

“Another such combat,” said his friend, “and you are at peace for

We hope that our readers will not, from this speech, be induced to
consider Mr. Granby as an instigator of quarrels between man and wife;
or, according to the plebeian but expressive apophthegm, one who would
come between the bark and the tree. On the contrary, he was most
desirous to secure his friend’s domestic happiness; and, if possible,
to prevent the bad effects which were likely to ensue from excessive
indulgence, and inordinate love of dominion. He had a high respect for
our heroine’s powers, and thought that they wanted only to be well
managed. The same force which, ill-directed, bursts the engine, and
scatters destruction, obedient to the master-hand, answers a thousand
useful purposes, and works with easy, smooth, and graceful regularity.
Griselda’s husband, or, as he now deserves to have his name mentioned,
Mr. Bolingbroke, roused by his friend’s representations, and perhaps
by a sense of approaching danger, resolved to assume the guidance of
his wife, or at least--of himself. In opposition to his sovereign
lady’s will, he actually spent this evening as he pleased.


  “E sol quei giorni io mi vidi contenta,
  Ch’averla compiaciuto mi trovai.”

“You are a great deal more courageous than I am, my dear,” said Emma
to her husband, after Mr. Bolingbroke had left them. “I should be very
much afraid of interfering between your friend and his wife.”

“What is friendship,” said Mr. Granby, “if it will run no risks? I
must run the hazard of being called a mischief-maker.”

“That is not the danger of which I was thinking,” said Emma; “though I
confess that I should be weak enough to fear that a little: but what I
meant to express was an apprehension of our doing harm where we most
wish to do good.”

“Do you, my dear Emma, think Griselda incorrigible?”

“No, indeed,” cried Emma, with anxious emphasis; “far from it. But
without thinking a person incorrigible, may we not dislike the idea
of inflicting correction? I should be very sorry to be the means of
giving Griselda any pain; she was my friend when we were children; I
have a real regard for her, and if she does not now seem disposed to
love me, that must be my fault, not hers: or if it is not my fault,
call it my misfortune. At all events, I have no right to force myself
upon her acquaintance. She prefers Mrs. Nettleby; I have not the false
humility to say, that I think Mrs. Nettleby will prove as safe or as
good a friend as I hope I should he. But of this Mrs. Bolingbroke has
a right to judge. And I am sure, far from resenting her resolution to
avoid my acquaintance, my only feeling about it, at this instant, is
the dread that it should continue to be a matter of dispute between
her and her husband.”

“If Mr. Bolingbroke insisted, or if I advised him to insist upon his
wife’s coming here, when she does not like it,” said Mr. Granby,
“I should act absurdly, and he would act unjustly; but all that he
requires is equality of rights, and the liberty of going where _he_
pleases. She refuses to come to see you: he refuses to go to see Mr.
John Nettleby. Which has the best of the battle?”

Emma thought it would be best if there were no battle; and observed,
that refusals and reprisals would only irritate the parties, whose
interest and happiness it was to be pacified and to agree. She said,
that if Mr. Bolingbroke, instead of opposing his will to that of his
wife, which, in fact, was only conquering force by force, would speak
reasonably to her, probably she might be induced to yield, or to
command her temper. Mrs. Granby suggested, that a compromise, founded
on an offer of mutual sacrifice and mutual compliance, might be
obtained. That Mr. Bolingbroke might promise to give up some of his
time to the man he disliked, upon condition that Griselda should
submit to the society of a woman to whom she had an aversion.

“If she consented to this,” said Emma, “I would do my best to make her
like me; or at least to make her time pass agreeably at our house: her
liking me is a matter of no manner of consequence.”

Emma was capable of putting herself entirely out of the question,
when the interest of others was at stake; her whole desire was to
conciliate, and all her thoughts were intent upon making her friends
happy. She seemed to live in them more than in herself, and from
sympathy arose the greatest pleasure and pain of her existence. Her
sympathy was not of that useless kind which is called forth only by
the elegant fictitious sorrows of a heroine of romance; hers was ready
for all the occasions of real life; nor was it to be easily checked
by the imperfections of those to whom she could be of service. At
this moment, when she perceived that her husband was disgusted by
Griselda’s caprice, she said all she could think of in her favour: she
recollected every anecdote of Griselda’s childhood, which showed an
amiable disposition; and argued, that it was not probable her temper
should have entirely changed in a few years. Emma’s quick-sighted
good-nature could discern the least portion of merit, where others
could find only faults; as certain experienced eyes can discover
grains of gold in the sands, which the ignorant have searched, and
abandoned as useless. In consequence of Emma’s advice--for who would
reject good advice, offered with so much gentleness?--Mr. Granby wrote
a note to Mr. Bolingbroke, to recommend the compromise which she had
suggested. Upon his return home, Mr. Bolingbroke was informed that
his lady had gone to bed much indisposed; he spent a restless night,
notwithstanding all his newly-acquired magnanimity. He was much
relieved in the morning by his friend’s note, and blessed Emma for
proposing the compromise.


  “Each widow to her secret friend alone
  Whisper’d;--thus treated, he had had his own.”

Mr. Bolingbroke waited with impatience for Griselda’s appearance the
next morning; but he waited in vain: the lady breakfasted in her own
apartment, and for two hours afterwards remained in close consultation
with Mrs. Nettleby, whom she had summoned the preceding night by the
following note:

    “I have been prevented from spending this evening with you, my
    dearest Mrs. Nettleby, by the strangest conduct imaginable: am
    sure you will not believe it when I tell it to you. Come to me, I
    conjure you, as early to-morrow as you possibly can, that I may
    explain to you all that has passed, and consult as to the future.
    My dearest friend, I never was so much in want of an adviser. Ever


At this consultation, Mrs. Nettleby expressed the utmost astonishment
at Mr. Bolingbroke’s strange conduct, and assured Griselda, that if
she did not exert herself, all was lost, and she must give up the hope
of ever having her own way again as long as she lived.

“My dear,” said she, “I have had some experience in these things; a
wife must be either a tyrant or a slave: make your choice; now is your

“But I never knew him say or do any thing unkind before,” said

“Then the first offence should be properly resented. If he finds you
forgiving, he will become encroaching; ‘tis the nature of man, depend
upon it.”

“He always yielded to me till now,” said Griselda; “but even when I
was ready to go into fits, he left me, and what could I do then?”

“You astonish me beyond expression! you who have every
advantage--youth, wit, accomplishments, beauty! My dear, if _you_
cannot keep a husband’s heart, who can ever hope to succeed?”

“Oh! as to his heart, I have no doubts of his heart, to do him
justice,” said Griselda; “I know he loves me--passionately loves me.”

“And yet you cannot manage him! And you expect me to pity you? Bless
me, if I had half your advantages, what I would make of them! But if
you like to be a tame wife, my dear--if you are resolved upon it, tell
me so at once, and I will hold my tongue.”

“I do not know well what I am resolved upon,” said Griselda, leaning
her head in a melancholy posture upon her hand: “I am vexed, out of
spirits, and out of sorts.”

“Out of sorts! I am not surprised at that: but out of spirits! My dear
creature, you who have every thing to put you in spirits. I am never
so much _myself_ as when I have a quarrel to fight out.”

“I cannot say that is the case with me, unless where I am sure of the

“And it is your own fault if you are not always sure of it.”

“I thought so till last night; but I assure you last night he showed
such a spirit!”

“Break that spirit, my dear, break it, or else it will break your

“The alternative is terrible,” said Griselda, “and more terrible
perhaps than you could imagine, or I either till now: for would you
believe it, I never loved him in my life half so well as I did last
night in the midst of my anger, and when he was doing every thing to
provoke me?”

“Very natural, my dear; because you saw him behave with spirit, and
you love spirit; so does every woman; so does every body; show him
that you have spirit too, and he will be as angry as you were, and
love you as well in the midst of his anger, whilst you are doing every
thing to provoke him.”

Griselda appeared determined to take this good advice one moment, and
the next hesitated.

“But, my dear Mrs. Nettleby, did you always find this succeed

“Yes, always.”

This lady had the reputation indeed of having broken the heart of her
first husband; how she would manage her second was yet to be seen,
as her honeymoon was but just over. The pure love of mischief was
not her only motive in the advice which she gave to our heroine; she
had, like most people, mixed motives for her conduct. She disliked
Mr. Bolingbroke, because he disliked her; yet she wished that an
acquaintance should be kept up between him and her husband, because
Mr. Bolingbroke was a man of fortune and fashion.

Griselda promised that she would behave with that proper spirit,
which was to make her at once amiable and victorious; and the friends


  “With patient, meek, submissive mind,
  To her hard fate resign’d.”


Left to her own good genius, Griselda reflected that novelty has the
most powerful effect upon the heart of man. In all the variations of
her humour, her husband had never yet seen her in the sullen mood; and
in this she now sat prepared to receive him. He came with an earnest
desire to speak to her in the kindest and most reasonable manner. He
began by saying how much it had cost him to give her one moment’s
uneasiness:--his voice, his look, were those of truth and love.

Unmoved, Griselda, without raising her leaden eyes, answered in a cold
voice, “I am very sorry that you should have felt _any_ concern upon
my account.”

“_Any_! my love; you do not know how _much_ I have felt this night.”

She looked upon him with civil disbelief; and replied, “that she was
sure she ought to be much obliged to him.”

This frigid politeness repressed his affection: he was silent for some

“My dear Griselda,” said he, “this is not the way in which we should
live together; we who have every thing that can make us contented: do
not let us throw away our happiness for trifles not worth thinking

“If we are not happy, it is not my fault,” said Griselda.

“We will not inquire whose fault it is, my dear; let the blame rest
upon me: let the past be forgotten; let us look towards the future. In
future, let us avoid childish altercations, and live like reasonable
creatures. I have the highest opinion of your sex in general, and of
you in particular; I wish to live with my wife as my equal, my friend;
I do not desire that my will should govern: where our inclinations
differ, let reason decide between us; or where it is a matter not
worth reasoning about, let us alternately yield to one another.” He

“I do not desire or expect that you should ever henceforward yield to
my wishes either in trifles or in matters of consequence,” replied
Griselda, with provoking meekness; “you have taught me my duty: the
duty of a wife is to submit; and submit I hope I shall in future,
without reply or reasoning, to your sovereign will and pleasure.”

“Nay, my dear,” said he, “do not treat me as a brutal tyrant, when I
wish to do every thing in my power to make you happy. Use your own
excellent understanding, and I shall always, I hope, be inclined to
yield to your reasons.”

“I shall never trouble you with my reasons; I shall never use my own
understanding in the least: I know that men cannot bear understanding
in women; I shall always, as it is my duty, submit to your better

“But, my love, I do not require duty from you; this sort of blind
submission would be mortifying, instead of gratifying to me, from a

“I do not know what a wife can do to satisfy a husband, if submitting
in every thing be not sufficient.”

“I say it would be too much for me, my dearest love!”

“I can do nothing but submit,” repeated the perverse Griselda, with a
most provoking immoveable aspect of humility.

“Why _will_ you not understand me, my dear?” cried her husband.

“It is not my fault if I cannot understand you, my dear: I do not
pretend to have your understanding,” said the fair politician,
affecting weakness to gain her point; like those artful candidates for
papal dominion, who used to affect decrepitude and imbecility, till
they secured at once absolute power and infallibility.

“I know my abilities are quite inferior to yours, my dear,” said
Griselda; “but I thought it was sufficient for a woman to know how to
obey; I can do no more.”

Fretted beyond his patience, her husband walked up and down the room
greatly agitated, whilst she sat content and secure in tranquil

“You are enough to provoke the patience of Job, my dear,” cried her
husband; “you’ll break my heart.”

“I am sorry for it, my dear; but if you will only tell me what I can
do more to please you, I will do it.”

“Then, my love,” cried he, taking hold of her white hand, which hung
in a lifeless attitude over the arm of the couch, “be happy, I conjure
you! all I ask of you is to be happy.”

“That is out of my power,” said she, mildly, suffering her husband to
keep her hand, as if it was an act of duty to submit to his caresses.
He resigned her hand; her countenance never varied; if she had been
slave to the most despotic sultan of the East, she could not have
shown more utter submission than she displayed to this most indulgent
European “husband lover.”

Unable to command his temper, or to conceal how much he was hurt, he
rose and said, “I will leave you for the present, my dear; some time
when you are better disposed to converse with me, I will return.”

“Whenever you please, sir; all times are alike to me: whenever you are
at leisure, I can have no choice.”


  “And acting duty all the merit lose.”

Some hours afterwards, hoping to find his sultana in a better humour,
Mr. Bolingbroke returned; but no sooner did he approach the sofa on
which she was still seated, than she again seemed to turn into stone,
like the Princess Rhezzia, in the Persian Tales; who was blooming and
charming, except when her husband entered the room. The unfortunate
Princess Rhezzia loved her husband tenderly, but was doomed to this
fate by a vile enchanter. If she was more to be pitied for being
subject to involuntary metamorphosis, our heroine is surely more to
be admired, for the constancy with which she endured a self-inflicted
penance; a penance calculated to render her odious in the eyes of her

“My dear,” said this most patient of men, “I am sorry to renew any
ideas that will be disagreeable to you; I will mention the subject but
once more, and then let it be forgotten for ever--our foolish dispute
about Mr. Nettleby. Let us compromise the matter. I will bear Mr. John
Nettleby for your sake, if you will bear Mrs. Granby for mine. I will
go to see Mr. Nettleby to-morrow, if you will come the day afterwards
with me to Mr. Granby’s. Where husband and wife do not agree in their
wishes, it is reasonable that each should yield a little of their will
to the other. I hope this compromise will satisfy you, my dear.”

“It does not become a wife to enter into any compromise with her
husband; she has nothing to do but to obey, as soon as he signifies
his pleasure. I shall go to Mr. Granby’s on Tuesday, as you command.”

“Command! my love.”

“As you--whatever you please to call it.”

“But are you satisfied with this arrangement, my dear?”

“It is no manner of consequence whether I am or not.”

“To me, you know, it is of the greatest: you must be sensible that
my sincere wish is to make you happy: I give you some proof of it
by consenting to keep up an acquaintance with a man whose company I

“I am much obliged to you, my dear; but as to your going to see Mr.
John Nettleby, it is a matter of perfect indifference to me; I only
just mentioned it as a thing of course; I beg you will not do it on my
account: I hope you will do whatever you think best and what pleases
yourself, upon this and every other occasion. I shall never more
presume to offer my advice.”

Nothing more could be obtained from the submissive wife; she went to
Mr. Granby’s; she was all duty, for she knew the show of it was the
most provoking thing upon earth to a husband, at least to such a
husband as hers. She therefore persisted in this line of conduct, till
she made her victim at last exclaim--

  “I love thee and hate thee, but if I can tell
    The cause of my love and my hate, may I die.
  I can feel it, alas! I can feel it too well,
    That I love thee and hate thee, but cannot tell why.”

His fair one was much flattered by this confession; she triumphed in
having excited “this contrariety of feelings;” nor did she foresee
the possibility of her husband’s recollecting that stanza which the
school-boy, more philosophical than the poet, applies to his tyrant.

Whilst our heroine was thus acting to perfection the part of a dutiful
wife, Mrs. Nettleby was seconding her to the best of her abilities,
and announcing her amongst all their acquaintance, in the interesting
character of--“a woman that is very much to be pitied.”

“Poor Mrs. Bolingbroke!--Don’t you think, ma’am, she is very much
changed since her marriage?--Quite fallen away!--and all her fine
spirits, what are become of them?--It really grieves my heart to see
her.--Oh, she is a very unhappy woman!! really to be pitied, if you
knew but all.”

Then a significant nod, or a melancholy mysterious look, set the
imagination of the company at work; or, if this did not succeed, a
whisper in plain terms pronounced Mr. Bolingbroke “a sad sort of
husband, a very odd-tempered man, and, in short, a terrible tyrant;
though nobody would guess it, who only saw him in company: but men are
such deceivers!”

Mr. Bolingbroke soon found that all his wishes were thwarted, and all
his hopes of happiness crossed, by the straws which this evil-minded
dame contrived to throw in his way. Her influence over his wife he saw
increased every hour: though they visited each other every day, these
ladies could never meet without having some important secrets to
impart, and conspiracies were to be performed in private, at which a
husband could not be permitted to assist. Then notes without number
were to pass continually, and these were to be thrown hastily into
the fire at the approach of the enemy. Mr. Bolingbroke determined to
break this league, which seemed to be more a league of hatred than
of amity.--The London winter was now over, and, taking advantage of
the continuance of his wife’s perverse fit of duty and unqualified
submission, he one day requested her to accompany him into the
country, to spend a few weeks with his friend Mr. Granby, at his
charming place in Devonshire. The part of a wife was to obey, and
Griselda was bound to support her character. She resolved, however, to
make her obedience cost her lord as dear as possible, and she promised
herself that this party of pleasure should become a party of pain. She
and her lord were to travel in the same carriage with Mr. and Mrs.
Granby. Griselda had only time, before she set off, to write a hasty
billet to Mrs. Nettleby, to inform her of these intentions, and to bid
her adieu till better times. Mrs. Nettleby sincerely regretted this
interruption of their hourly correspondence; for she was deprived not
only of the pleasure of hearing, but of making matrimonial complaints.
She had now been married two months; and her fool began to grow
restive; no animal on earth is more restive than a fool: but,
confident that Mrs. Nettleby will hold the bridle with a strong hand,
we leave her to pull against his hard mouth.


  “Playzir ne l’est qu’autant qu’on le partage.”

We pass over the infinite variety of petty torments, which our heroine
contrived to inflict upon her fellow-travellers during her journey
down to Devonshire. Inns, food, beds, carriage, horses, baggage,
roads, prospect, hill, dale, sun, wind, dust, rain, earth, air, fire,
and water, all afforded her matter of complaint. It was astonishing
that Emma discovered none of these inconveniences; but, as fast as
they were complained of, she amused herself in trying to obviate them.

Lord Kames has observed, that a power to recall at will pleasing
objects would be a more valuable gift to any mortal than ever was
bestowed in a fairy tale. With this power Emma was endowed in the
highest perfection; and as fast as our heroine recollected some evil
that had happened, or was likely to happen, Emma raised the opposite
idea of some good, past, present, or future; so that it was scarcely
possible even for the spirit of contradiction personified to resist
the magic of her good-humour.

No sooner did she arrive at her own house, than she contrived a
variety of ways of showing attention and kindness to her guest; and
when all this was received with sullen indifference, or merely
as tributes due to superiority, Emma was not discouraged in her
benevolence, but, instead of being offended, seemed to pity her friend
for “having had her temper so unhappily spoiled.”

“Griselda is so handsome,” said Mrs. Granby one day, in her defence,
“she has such talents--she has been so much admired, worshipped, and
indulged--that it would be wonderful if she were not a little spoiled.
I dare say that, if I had been in her place, my brain would never
have stood the intoxication. Who can measure their strength, or their
weakness, till they are tried? Another thing should be considered;
Griselda excites envy, and though she may not have more faults than
her neighbours, they are more noticed, because they are in the full
light of prosperity. What a number of motes swarm in a single ray of
light, coming through the shutter of a darkened room! There are not
more motes in that spot than in any other part of the room, but the
sun-beams show them more distinctly. The dust that lives in snug
obscurity should consider this, and have mercy upon its fellow dust.”

In Emma’s kindness there was none of the parade of goodness; she
seemed to follow her natural disposition; and, as Griselda once said
of her, to be good because she could not help it. She required neither
praise nor thanks for any thing that she did; and, provided her
friends were happy, she was satisfied, without ever wishing to be
admired as the cause of that happiness. Her powers of pleasing were
chiefly remarkable for lasting longer than others, and the secret of
their permanence was not easily guessed, because it was so simple.
It depended merely on the equability of her humour. It is said, that
there is nothing marvellous in the colours of those Egyptian monuments
which have been the admiration of ages; the secret of their duration
is supposed to depend simply on the fineness of the climate and
invariability of the temperature.--But

  “Griselda will admit no wandering muse.”

Mrs. Bolingbroke was by this time tired of continuing in one mood,
even though it was the sullen; and her genius was cramped by the
constraint of affected submission. She recovered her charming spirits
soon after she came into the country, and for a short time no mortal
mixture of earth’s mould could be more agreeable. She called forth
every charm; she was all gaiety, wit, and smiles; she poured light and
life upon conversation.

As the Marquis de Chastellux said of some fascinating fair one--“She
had no expression without grace, and no grace without expression.”
 It was delightful to our heroine to hear it said, “How charming Mrs.
Bolingbroke can be when she pleases; when she wishes to captivate, how
irresistible!--Who can equal Mrs. Bolingbroke when she is in one of
her _good days_?”

The triumph of eclipsing Mrs. Granby would have been delightful, but
that Emma seemed to feel no mortification from being thrown into the
shade; she seemed to enjoy her friend’s success so sincerely, that
it was impossible to consider her as a rival. She had so carefully
avoided noticing any little disagreement or coolness between Mr. and
Mrs. Bolingbroke, that it might have been doubted whether she attended
to their mutual conduct; but the obvious delight she took in seeing
them again on good terms with each other proved that she was not
deficient in penetration. She appeared to see only what others desired
that she should see, upon these delicate occasions, where voluntary
blindness is not artifice, but prudence. Mr. Bolingbroke was now
enchanted with Griselda, and ready to exclaim every instant, “Be ever

Her husband thought he had found a mine of happiness; he began
to breathe, and to bless his kind stars. He had indeed lighted
unexpectedly upon a rich vein, but it was soon exhausted, and all
his farther progress was impeded by certain vapours, dangerous to
approach. Fatal sweets! which lure the ignorant to destruction, but
from which the more experienced fly with precipitation.--Our heroine
was now fully prepared to kill her husband with kindness; she was
afraid, if he rode, that his horse would throw him; if he walked, that
he would tire himself; if he sat still, that he must want exercise; if
he went out, that he would catch cold; if he stayed at home, that he
was kept a prisoner; if he did not eat, that he was sick; if he did
eat, that he would be sick;--&c. &c. &c. &c. There was no end to these
fond fears: he felt that there was something ridiculous in submitting
to them; and yet to resist in the least was deemed the height
of unkindness and ingratitude. One night she fell into a fit of
melancholy, upon his laughing at her fears, that he should kill
himself, by standing for an instant at an open window, on a fine
night, to look at a beautiful rising moon. When he endeavoured to
recover her from her melancholy, it was suddenly converted into
anger, and, after tears, came a storm of reproaches. Her husband,
in consideration of the kindness of her original intention, passed
over her anger, and even for some days refrained from objecting to
any regimen she prescribed for his health and happiness. But his
forbearance failed him at length, and he presumed to eat some salad,
which his wife “knew would disagree with him.” She was provoked
afterwards, because she could not make him allow that it had made him
ill. She termed this extreme obstinacy; he pleaded that it was simple
truth. Truth upon some occasions is the most offensive thing that
can be spoken: the lady was enraged, and, after saying every thing
provoking that matrimonial spleen could suggest, when he in his turn
grew warm, she cooled, and said, “You must be sensible, my dear, that
all I say and do arises from affection.”

“Oh! my love,” said he, recovering his good-humour, “this
never-failing opiate soothes my vanity, and lulls my anger; then you
may govern me as you please. Torment me to death,--I cannot oppose

“I suppose,” said she, “you think me like the vampire-bat, who fans
his victim to sleep with its wings, whilst she sucks its life-blood.”

“Yes, exactly,” said he, smiling: “thank you for the apt allusion.”

“Very apt, indeed,” said she; and a thick gloom overspread her
countenance. She persisted in taking his assent in sober earnest.
“Yes,” said she, “I find you think all my kindness is treacherous. I
will show you no more, and then you cannot accuse me of treachery.”

It was in vain that he protested he had been only in jest; she was
convinced that he was in earnest; she was suddenly afflicted with an
absolute incapacity of distinguishing jest from earnest. She recurred
to the idea of the vampire-bat, whenever it was convenient to her to
suppose that her husband thought strange things of her, which never
entered his brain. This bat proved to him a bird of ill omen, which
preceded a train of misfortunes, that no mortal foresight could reach,
and no human prudence avert. His goddess was not to be appeased by any
propitiatory or expiatory sacrifice.


  “Short is the period of insulting power,
  Offended Cupid finds his vengeful hour.”

Finding it impossible to regain his fair one’s favour, Mr. Bolingbroke
absented himself from her presence. He amused himself for some days
with his friend Mr. Granby, in attending to a plantation which he was
laying out in his grounds. Griselda was vexed to perceive that her
husband could find any amusement independent of her; and she never
failed, upon his return, to mark her displeasure.

One morning the gentlemen had been so much occupied with their
plantation, that they did not attend the breakfast-table precisely
in due time: the contrast in the looks of the two ladies when their
husbands entered the room was striking. Griselda was provoked with
Mrs. Granby for being so good-humoured.

“Lord bless me! Mrs. Granby, how you spoil these men,” cried she.

All the time the gentlemen were at breakfast, Mrs. Bolingbroke played
with her tea-spoon, and did not deign to utter a syllable; and
when the gentlemen left the breakfast-table, and returned to their
business, Griselda, who was, as our readers may have observed, one
of the fashionable lollers by profession, established herself upon a
couch, and began an attack upon Emma, for spoiling her husband in such
a sad manner. Emma defended herself in a playful way, by answering
that she could not venture to give unnecessary pain, because she was
not so sure as some of her friends might be of their power of giving
pleasure. Mrs. Bolingbroke proceeded to descant upon the difference
between friendship and love: with some vanity, and some malice, she
touched upon the difference between the _sorts of sentiments_ which
different women excited. Passion, she argued, could be kept alive
only by a certain happy mixture of caprice and grace, coldness and
ill-humour. She confessed that, for her part, she never could be
content with the friendship of a husband. Emma, without claiming or
disclaiming her pretensions to love, quoted the saying of a French

  “L’Amitié est l’Amour sans ailes.”

  “Friendship is Love deprived of his wings.”

Griselda had no apprehension that love could ever fly from her, and
she declared she could not endure him without his wings.

Our heroine did not imagine that any of the little vexations which
she habitually inflicted upon her husband could really diminish his
regard. She, never had calculated the prodigious effects which can
be produced by petty causes constantly acting. Indeed this is a
consideration, to which the pride or short-sightedness of human nature
is not prone.

Who in contemplating one of Raphael’s finest pictures, fresh from
the master’s hand, ever bestowed a thought upon the wretched little
worm which works its destruction? Who that beholds the gilded vessel
gliding in gallant trim--“youth at the prow, and pleasure at the
helm;” ever at that instant thought of--barnacles? The imagination is
disgusted by the anti-climax; and of all species of the bathos, the
sinking from visionary happiness to sober reality is that from which
human nature is most averse. The wings of the imagination, accustomed
to ascend, resist the downward flight.

Confident of her charms, heedless of danger, accustomed to think her
empire absolute and eternal; our heroine, to amuse herself, and to
display her power to Emma, persisted in her practice of tormenting.
The ingenuity with which she varied her tortures was certainly
admirable. After exhausting old ones, she invented new; and when
the new lost their efficacy, she recurred to the old. She had often
observed, that the blunt method of contradicting, which some bosom
friends practise in conversation, is of sovereign power to provoke;
and this consequently, though unpolite, she disdained not to imitate.
It had the greater effect, as it was in diametrical opposition to the
style of Mrs. Granby’s conversation; who, in discussions with her
husband, or her intimate friends, was peculiarly and habitually
attentive to politeness.


  “Ella biasmandol sempre, e dispregiando
  Se gli venia piu sempre inimicando.”

By her judicious and kind interposition, Emma often prevented the
disagreeable consequences that threatened to ensue from Griselda’s
disputatious habits; but one night it was past her utmost skill to
avert a violent storm, which arose about the pronunciation of a word.
It began about eleven o’clock. Just as the family were sitting down
to supper, seemingly in perfect harmony of spirits, Mr. Bolingbroke
chanced to say, “I think the wind is rising.” (He pronounced the word
_wi*nd, short_.)

[Transcriber’s note: What is printed in the original text as an “i”
 with a breve is rendered here as “i*”.]

“_Wi*nd_! my dear,” cried his wife, echoing his pronunciation; “do,
for heaven’s sake, call it wi*nd.”

The lady sounded this word long.

“Wind! my love,” repeated he after her: “I doubt whether that be the
right pronunciation.”

“I am surprised you can doubt it,” said she, “for I never heard any
body call it _wi*nd_ but yourself.”

“Did not you, my love? that is very extraordinary: many people, I
believe, call it _wi*nd_.”

“Vulgarians, perhaps!”

“Vulgarians! No, indeed, my dear; very polite, well-informed people.”

Griselda, with a look of unutterable contempt, reiterated the word

“Yes, my dear, _polite_,” persisted Mr. Bolingbroke, who was now come
to such a pass, that he would defend his opinion in opposition to
hers, stoutly and warmly. “Yes, _polite_, my dear, I maintain it; the
most _polite_ people pronounce it as I do.”

“You may maintain what you please, my dear,” said the lady, coolly;
“but I maintain the contrary.”

“Assertion is no proof on either side, I acknowledge,” said Mr.
Bolingbroke, recollecting himself.

“No, in truth,” said Mrs. Bolingbroke, “especially such an absurd
assertion as yours, my dear. Now I will go no farther than Mrs.
Granby:--Mrs. Granby, did you ever hear any person, who knew how to
speak, pronounce wi*nd--_wi*nd_?”

“Mrs. Granby, have not you heard it called _wi*nd_ in good company?”

The disputants eagerly approached her at the same instant, and looked
as if their fortunes or lives depended upon the decision.

“I think I have heard the word pronounced both ways, by well-bred and
well-informed people,” said Mrs. Granby.

“That is saying nothing, my dear,” said Mrs. Bolingbroke, pettishly.

“This is saying all I want,” said Mr. Bolingbroke, satisfied.

“I would lay any wager, however, that Mr. ----, if he were here,
would give it in my favour; and I suppose you will not dispute his

“I will not dispute the authority of Sheridan’s Dictionary,” cried Mr.
Bolingbroke, taking it down from the book-case, and turning over the
leaves hastily.--“Sheridan gives it for me, my dear,” said he, with

“You need not speak with such triumph, my dear, for I do not submit to

“No! Will you submit to Kenrick, then?”

“Let us see what he says, and I will then tell you,” said the lady.
“No--Kenrick was not of her opinion, and he was no authority.” Walker
was produced; and this battle of the pronouncing dictionaries seemed
likely to have no end. Mrs. Granby, when she could be heard, remarked
that it was difficult to settle any dispute about pronunciation,
because in fact no reasons could be produced, and no standard appealed
to but custom, which is perpetually changing; and, as Johnson says,
“whilst our language is variable with the caprice of all who use it,
words can no more be ascertained in a dictionary, than a grove in the
agitation of a storm can be accurately delineated from its picture in
the water.”

The combatants would scarcely allow Emma time to finish this allusion,
and certainly did not give themselves time to understand it; but
continued to fight about the word custom, the only word that they had

“Yes, custom! custom!” cried they at once, “custom must decide, to
be sure.” Then came _my_ custom and _your_ custom; the custom of the
stage, the custom of the best company, the custom of the best poets;
and all these were opposed to one another with increasing rapidity.
“Good heavens, my dear! did you ever hear Kemble say, ‘Rage on, ye

“I grant you on the stage it may be winds; but in common conversation
it is allowable to pronounce it as I do, my dear.”

“I appeal to the best poets, Mr. Bolingbroke: nothing can be more
absurd than your way of--”

“Listen, lively lordlings all!” interrupted Emma, pressing with
playful vehemence between the disputants; “I must be heard, for I have
not spoken this half hour, and thus I pronounce--You both are right,
and both are wrong.

“And now, my good friends, had not we better go to rest?” said she;
“for it is past midnight.”

As they took their candles, and went up stairs, the parties continued
the battle: Mrs. Bolingbroke brought quotations innumerable to her
aid, and in a shrill tone repeated,

  “‘He might not let even the winds of heaven
  Visit her face too roughly.’

  ----“‘pass by me as the idle wind,
  Which I respect not.’

  “‘And let her down the wind to prey at fortune.’

  “‘Blow, thou winter’s wind,
  Thou art not so unkind.’

  “‘Blow, winds, and crack your cheeks; rage, blow.’”

Her voice was raised to the highest pitch: it was in vain that her
husband repeated that he acknowledged the word should be called as
she pronounced it in poetry; she reiterated her quotations and her
assertions till at last she knew not what she said; her sense failed
the more her anger increased. At length Mr. Bolingbroke yielded. Noise
conquers sometimes where art fails.

“Thus,” said he, “the hawk that could not be hoodwinked, was at last
tamed, by being exposed to the din of a blacksmith’s hammer.”

Griselda was incensed by this remark, and still more by the allusion,
which she called the second edition of the vampire-bat. Both husband
and wife went to sleep mutually displeased, and more disgusted with
each other than they had ever been since their marriage: and all this
for the pronunciation of a word!

Early in the morning they were wakened by a messenger, who brought an
express, informing Mr. Bolingbroke that his uncle was not expected to
live, and that he wished to see him immediately. Mr. Bolingbroke rose
instantly; all the time that he was dressing, and preparing in the
greatest hurry for his journey, Griselda tormented him by disputing
about the propriety of his going, and ended with, “Promise me to write
every post, my dear; positively you must.”


  “He sighs for freedom, she for power.”

Mr. Bolingbroke did not comply with his wife’s request, or rather with
her injunction, to write _every post_: and when he did write, Griselda
always found some fault with his letters. They were too short, too
stiff, or too cold, and “very different indeed,” she said, “from what
he used to write before he was married.” This was certainly true; and
absence was not at the present crisis the most advantageous thing
possible to our heroine. Absence is said to extinguish a weak flame,
and to increase a strong one. Mr. Bolingbroke’s passion for his
Griselda had, by some means, been of late diminished. He parted from
her with the disagreeable impression of a dispute upon his mind. As
he went farther from her he perceived that instead of dragging a
lengthened chain, his chain grew lighter. His uncle recovered: he
found agreeable society in the neighbourhood; he was persuaded to
prolong his stay: his mind, which had been continually harassed, now
enjoyed some tranquillity. On an unlucky evening, he recollected
Martial’s famous epigram and his wife, in one and the same instant:

  “My mind still hovering round about you,
  I thought I could not live without you;
  But now we have lived three weeks asunder,
  How I lived with you is the wonder.”

In the mean time, our heroine’s chief amusement, in her husband’s
absence, was writing to complain of him to Mrs. Nettleby. This lady’s
answers were now filled with a reciprocity of conjugal abuse; she had
found, to her cost, that it is the most desperate imprudence to marry
a fool, in the hopes of governing him. All her powers of tormenting
were lost upon her blessed helpmate. He was not to be moved by wit or
sarcasm, eloquence or noise, tears or caresses, reason, jealousy, or
the opinion of the world.

What did he care what the world thought, he would do as he pleased
himself; he would be master in his own house: it did not signify
talking or crying, or being in the right; right or wrong, he would be
obeyed; a wife should never govern him; he had no notion of letting a
woman rule, for his part; women were born to obey, and promised it
in church. As to jealousy, let his wife look to that; if she did not
choose to behave properly, he knew his remedy, and would as soon be
divorced as not: “Rule a wife and have a wife,” was the burden of his

It was in vain to goad his insensible nature, in hopes of obtaining
any good: vain as the art said to be possessed by Linnæus, of
producing pearls by pricking oysters. Mrs. Nettleby, the witty, the
spirited Widow Nettleby, was now in the most hopeless and abject
condition; tyrannized over by a dunce,--and who could pity her? not
even her dear Griselda.

One day Mrs. Bolingbroke received an epistle of seven pages from
_poor_ Mrs. Nettleby, giving a full and true account of Mr. Nettleby’s
extraordinary obstinacy about “the awning of a pleasure-boat, which
he would not suffer to be made according to her directions, and which
consequently caused the oversetting of the boat, and _very nearly_
the deaths of all the party.” Tired with the long history, and with
the notes upon the history of this adventure, in Mrs. Nettleby’s
declamatory style, our heroine walked out to refresh herself. She
followed a pleasant path in a field near the house, and came to a
shady lane, where she heard Mr. and Mrs. Granby’s voices. She went
towards the place. There was a turn in the lane, and a thick hedge
of hawthorn prevented them from being immediately seen. As she
approached, she heard Mr. Granby saying to Emma, in the fondest tone
of affection, “My dear Emma, pray let it be done the way that you like

They were looking at a cottage which they were building. The masons
had, by mistake, followed the plan which Mr. Granby proposed, instead
of that which Emma had suggested. The wall was half built; but Mr.
Granby desired that it might be pulled down and altered to suit Emma’s

“Bless me!” cried Griselda, with great surprise, “are you really going
to have it pulled down, Mr. Granby?”

“Certainly,” replied he; “and what is more, I am going to help to pull
it down.”

He ran to assist the masons, and worked with a degree of zeal, which
increased Mrs. Bolingbroke’s astonishment.

“Good Heavens!--He could not do more for you if you were his

“He never did so much for me, till I was his wife,” said Emma.

“That’s strange!--Very unlike other men. But, my dear,” said Mrs.
Bolingbroke, taking Mrs. Granby’s arm, and drawing her aside, “how did
you acquire such surprising power over your husband?”

“By not desiring it, I believe,” replied Emma, smiling; “I have never
used any other art.”


  “Et cependant avec toute sa diablerie,
  Il faut que je l’appelle et mon coeur et ma mie.”

Our heroine was still meditating upon the extraordinary method by
which Emma had acquired power over her husband, when a carriage drove
down the lane, and Mr. Bolingbroke’s head appeared looking out of the
chaise window. His face did not express so much joy as she thought it
ought to display at the sight of her, after three weeks’ absence. She
was vexed, and received him coldly. He turned to Mr. and Mrs. Granby,
and was not miserable. Griselda did not speak one word during their
walk home; still her husband continued in good spirits: she was more
and more out of humour, and took no pains to conceal her displeasure.
He bore it well, but then he seemed to feel it so little, that she
was exasperated beyond measure; she seized the first convenient
opportunity, when she found him alone, of beginning a direct attack.

“This is not the way in which you _used_ to meet me, after an absence
ever so short.” He replied, that he was really very glad to see her,
but that she, on the contrary, seemed sorry to see him.

“Because you are quite altered now,” continued she, in a querulous
tone. “I always prophesied, that you would cease to love me.”

“Take care, my dear,” said he, smiling; “some prophecies are the cause
of their own accomplishment,--the sole cause. Come, my Griselda,”
 continued he, in a serious tone, “do not let us begin to quarrel
the moment we meet.” He offered to embrace her, but she drew back
haughtily. “What! do you confess that you no longer love me?” cried

“Far from it: but it is in your own power,” said he, hesitating, “to
diminish or increase my love.”

“Then it is no love, if it can be either increased or diminished,”
 cried she; “it is no love worth having. I remember the day when
you swore to me, that your affection could not be increased or

“I was _in_ love in those days, my dear, and did not know what I
swore,” said Mr. Bolingbroke, endeavouring to turn the conversation:
“never reproach a man, when he is sober, with what he said when he was

“Then you are sober now, are you?” cried she angrily.

“It is to be hoped I am,” said he, laughing.

“Cruel, barbarous man!” cried she.

“For being sober?” said he: “have not you been doing all you could to
sober me these eighteen months, my dear? and now do not be angry if
you have in some degree succeeded.”

“Succeeded!--Oh, wretched woman! this is thy lot!” exclaimed Griselda,
clasping her hands in an agony of passion. “Oh, that my whole
unfortunate sex could _see_ me,--could _hear_ you at this instant!
Never, never did the love of man endure one twelvemonth after
marriage. False, treacherous, callous, perjured tyrant! leave me!
leave me!”

He obeyed; she called him back, with a voice half suffocated with
rage, but he returned not.

Never was departing love recalled by the voice of reproach. It is
not, as the poet fables, at the sight of human ties, that Cupid
is frightened, for he is blind; but he has the most delicate ears
imaginable: scared at the sound of female objurgation, Love claps his
wings and urges his irrevocable flight.

Griselda remained for some time in her apartment to indulge her
ill-humour; she had leisure for this indulgence; she was not now, as
formerly, disturbed by the fond interruptions of a husband. Longer had
her angry fit lasted, but for a circumstance, which may to many of our
readers appear unnatural: our heroine became hungry. The passions are
more under the control of the hours of meals[20] than any one, who has
not observed human life out of novels, can easily believe. Dinner-time
came, and Mrs. Bolingbroke appeared at dinner as usual. In the
presence of Mr. and Mrs. Granby pride compelled Griselda to command
herself, and no one could guess what had passed between her and her
husband: but no sooner was she again tête-à-tête with him, than her
reproaches recommenced with fresh violence.--“Will you only do me the
justice to tell me, Mr. Bolingbroke,” cried she, “what reason you have
to love me less?”

“Reason, my dear,” said he; “you know love is independent of reason,
according to your own definition: love is involuntary, you cannot
therefore blame me for its caprices.”

“Insulting casuistry!” said she, weeping; “sophistical nonsense! Have
you any rational complaint to make against me, Bolingbroke?”

“I make no complaints, rational or irrational, my dear; they are all
on your side.”

“And well they may be,” cried Griselda, “when you treat me in such a
barbarous manner: but I do not complain; the world shall be my judge;
the world will do me justice, if you will not. I appeal to every body
who knows me, have I ever given you the slightest cause for ill-usage?
Can you accuse me of any extravagance, of any imprudence, sir?”

“I accuse you of neither, Mrs. Bolingbroke.”

“No, because you cannot, sir; my character, my fidelity is
unimpeached, unimpeachable: the world will do me justice.”

Griselda contrived to make even her virtues causes of torment. Upon
the strength of this unimpeachable fidelity, she thought she might be
as ill-humoured as she pleased; she seemed now to think that she had
acquired an indefeasible right to reproach her husband, since she had
extorted from him the confession that he loved her less, and that he
had no crime to lay to her charge. Ten days passed on in this manner;
the lady becoming every hour more irritable, the gentleman every hour
more indifferent.

To have revived or killed affection _secundem artem_, the fair
practitioner should now have thrown in a little jealousy: but,
unluckily, she was so situated that this was impossible. No object any
way fit for the purpose was at hand; nothing was to be found within
ten miles of her but honest country squires; and,

  “With all the powers of nature and of art,
  She could not break one stubborn country heart.”


  “To whom the virgin majesty of Eve,
  As one who loves and some unkindness meets,
  With sweet austere composure thus replies.”

Many privileges are, and ought to be, allowed to the virgin majesty
of the sex; and even when the modern fair one does not reply with all
the sweet austere composure of Eve, her anger may have charms for a
lover. There is a certain susceptibility of temper, that sometimes
accompanies the pride of virtue, which indicates a quick sense of
shame, and warm feelings of affection; in whatsoever manner this may
be shown, it appears amiable and graceful. And if this sensibility
degenerate into irritability, a lover pardons it in his mistress; it
is her prerogative to be haughty; and if he be dexterous to seize
“the moment of returning love,” it is often his interest to promote
quarrels, for the sake of the pleasures of reconciliation. The jealous
doubts, the alternate hopes and fears, attendant on the passion of
love, are dear to the lover whilst his passion lasts; but when that
subsides--as subside it must--his taste for altercation ceases. The
proverb which favours the quarrels of lovers may prove fatal to the
happiness of husbands; and woe be to the wife who puts her faith in
it! There are, however, people who would extend that dangerous maxim
even to the commerce of friendship; and it must be allowed (for
morality, neither in small matters nor great, can gain any thing by
suppressing the truth), it must be allowed that in the commencement
of an intimacy the quarrels of friends may tend to increase their
mutual regard, by affording to one or both of them opportunities of
displaying qualities superior even to good humour; such as truth,
fidelity, honour, or generosity. But whatever may be the sum total
of their merit, when upon long acquaintance it comes to be fully
known and justly appreciated, the most splendid virtues or talents
can seldom compensate in domestic life for the want of temper. The
fallacy of a maxim, like the absurdity of an argument, is sometimes
best proved by pushing it as far as it can go, by observing all its
consequences. Our heroine, in the present instance, illustrates this
truth to admiration: her life and her husband’s had now become a
perpetual scene of disputes and reproaches; every day the quarrels
grew more bitter, and the reconciliations less sweet.

One morning, Griselda and her husband were present whilst Emma was
busy showing some poor children how to plait straw for hats.

“Next summer, my dear, when we are settled at home, I hope you will
encourage some manufacture of this kind amongst the children of our
tenants,” said Mr. Bolingbroke to his lady.

“I have no genius for teaching manufactures of this sort,” replied
Mrs. Bolingbroke, scornfully.

Her husband urged the matter no farther. A few minutes afterwards, he
drew out a straw from a bundle, which one of the children held.

“This is a fine straw!” said he, carelessly.

“Fine straw!” cried Mrs. Bolingbroke: “no--that is very coarse. This,”
 continued she, pulling one from another bundle; “this is a fine straw,
if you please.”

“I think mine is the finest,” said Mr. Bolingbroke.

“Then you must be blind, Mr. Bolingbroke,” cried the lady, eagerly
comparing them.

“Well, my dear,” said he, laughing, “we will not dispute about

“No, indeed,” said she; “but I observe whenever you know you are in
the wrong, Mr. Bolingbroke, you say, _we will not dispute, my dear_:
now pray look at these straws, Mrs. Granby, you that have eyes--which
is the finest?”

“I will draw lots,” said Emma, taking one playfully from Mrs.
Bolingbroke; “for it seems to me, that there is little or no
difference between them.”

“No difference? Oh, my dear Emma!” said Mrs. Bolingbroke.

“My dear Griselda,” cried her husband, taking the other straw from her
and blowing it away; “indeed it is not worth disputing about: this is
too childish.”

“Childish!” repeated she, looking after the straw, as it floated down
the wind; “I see nothing childish in being in the right: your raising
your voice in that manner never convinces me. Jupiter is always in the
wrong, you know, when he has recourse to his thunder.”

“Thunder, my dear Griselda, about a straw! Well, when women are
determined to dispute, it is wonderful how ingenious they are in
finding subjects. I give you joy, my dear, of having attained the
perfection of the art: you can now literally dispute about straws.”

Emma insisted at this instant upon having an opinion about the shape
of a hat, which she had just tied under the chin of a rosy little
girl of six years old; upon whose smiling countenance she fixed the
attention of the angry lady.

All might now have been well; but Griselda had a pernicious habit of
recurring to any slight words of blame which had been used by her
friends. Her husband had congratulated her upon having attained the
perfection of the art of disputing, since she could cavil about
straws. This reproach rankled in her mind. There are certain diseased
states of the body, in which the slightest wound festers, and becomes
incurable. It is the same with the mind; and our heroine’s was in this
dangerous predicament.


  “Que suis je?--qu’ai je fait? Que dois-je faire encore?
  Quel transport me saisit? Quel chagrin me dévore?”

Some hours after the quarrel about the straws, when her husband
had entirely forgotten it, and was sitting very quietly in his
own apartment writing a letter, Griselda entered the room with a
countenance prepared for great exploits.

“Mr. Bolingbroke,” she began in an awful tone of voice, “if you are at
leisure to attend to me, I wish to speak to you upon a subject of some

“I am quite at leisure, my dear; pray sit down: what is the matter?
you really alarm me!”

“It is not my intention to alarm you, Mr. Bolingbroke,” continued she
in a still more solemn tone; “the time is past when what I have to say
could have alarmed: I am persuaded that you will now hear it without
emotion, or with an emotion of pleasure.”

She paused; he laid down his pen, and looked all expectation.

“I am come to announce to you a fixed, unalterable resolution--To part
from you, Mr. Bolingbroke.”

“Are you serious, my dear?”

“Perfectly serious, sir.”

These words did not produce the revolution in her husband’s
countenance which Griselda had expected. She trembled with a mixed
indescribable emotion of grief and rage when she heard him calmly
reply, “Let us part, then, Griselda, if that be your wish; but let me
be sure that it is your wish: I must have it repeated from your lips
when you are perfectly calm.”

With a voice inarticulate from passion, Griselda began to assure him
that she was perfectly calm; but he stopped her, and mildly said,
“Take four-and-twenty hours to consider of what you are about,
Griselda; I will be here at this time to-morrow to learn your final

Mr. Bolingbroke left the room.

Mrs. Bolingbroke was incapable of thinking: she could only feel.
Conflicting passions assailed her heart. All the woman rushed upon
her soul; she loved her husband more at this instant than she had
ever loved him before. His firmness excited at once her anger and
her admiration. She could not believe that she had heard his _words
rightly_. She sat down to recall minutely every circumstance of what
had just passed, every word, every look; she finished by persuading
herself, that his calmness was affected, that the best method she
could possibly take was by a show of resistance to bully him out of
his indifference. She little knew what she hazarded; when the danger
of losing her husband’s love was imaginary, and solely of her own
creating, it affected her in the most violent manner; but now that the
peril was real and imminent, she was insensible to its existence.

A celebrated traveller in the Alps advises people to imagine
themselves walking amidst precipices, when they are safe upon smooth
ground; and he assures them that by this practice they may inure
themselves so to the idea of danger, as to prevent all sense of it in
the most perilous situations.

The four-and-twenty hours passed; and at the appointed moment our
heroine and her husband met. As she entered the room, she observed
that he held a book in his hand, but was not reading: he put it down,
rose deliberately, and placed a chair for her, in silence.

“I thank you, I would rather stand,” said she: he put aside the chair,
and walked to a door at the other end of the room, to examine whether
there was any one in the adjoining apartment.

“It is not necessary that what we have to say should be overheard by
servants,” said he.

“I have no objection to being overheard,” said Griselda: “I have
nothing to say of which I am ashamed; and all the world must know it

As Mr. Bolingbroke returned towards her, she examined his countenance
with an inquisitive eye. It was expressive of concern; grave, but

Whoever has seen a balloon--the reader, however impatient, must listen
to this allusion--whoever has seen a balloon, may have observed that
in its flaccid state it can be folded and unfolded with the greatest
ease, and it is manageable even by a child; but when once filled, the
force of multitudes cannot restrain, nor the art of man direct its
course. Such is the human mind--so tractable before, so ungovernable
after it fills with passion. By slow degrees, unnoticed by our
heroine, the balloon had been filling. It was full; but yet it was
held down by strong cords: it remained with her to cut or not to cut

“Reflect before you speak, my dear Griselda,” said her husband;
“consider that on the words which you are going to pronounce depend
your fate and mine.”

“I have reflected sufficiently,” said she, “and decide, Mr.
Bolingbroke--to part.”

“Be it so!” cried he; fire flashed from his eyes; he grew red and pale
in an instant. “Be it so,” repeated he, in an irrevocable voice--“We
part for ever!”

He vanished before Griselda could speak or think. She was breathless;
her limbs trembled; she could not support herself; she sunk she knew
not where. She certainly loved her husband better than any thing upon
earth, except power. When she came to her senses, and perceived that
she was alone, she felt as if she was abandoned by all the world. The
dreadful words “for ever,” still sounded in her ears. She was tempted
to yield her humour to her affection. It was but a momentary struggle;
the love of sway prevailed. When she came more fully to herself, she
recurred to the belief that her husband could not be in earnest, or at
least that he would never persist, if she had but the courage to dare
him to the utmost.


  “L’ai-je vu se troubler, et me plaindre un moment?
  En ai-je pu tirer un seul gémissement?”

Ashamed of her late weakness, our heroine rallied all her spirits, and
resolved to meet her husband at supper with an undaunted countenance.
Her provoking composure was admirably prepared: but it was thrown
away, for Mr. Bolingbroke did not appear at supper. When Griselda
retired to rest, she found a note from him on her dressing-table; she
tore it open with a triumphant hand, certain that it came to offer
terms of reconciliation.

    “You will appoint whatever friend you think proper to settle
    the terms of our separation. The time I desire to be as soon as
    possible. I have not mentioned what has passed to Mr. or Mrs.
    Granby; you will mention it to them or not, as you think fit. On
    this point, as on all others, you will henceforward follow your
    own discretion.


    “Twelve o’clock;

    “Saturday, Aug. 10th.”

Mrs. Bolingbroke read and re-read this note, weighed every word,
examined every letter, and at last exclaimed aloud, “He will not,
cannot, part from me.”

“He cannot be in earnest,” thought she. “Either he is acting a part or
he is in a passion. Perhaps he is instigated by Mr. Granby: no, that
cannot be, because he says he has not mentioned it to Mr. or Mrs.
Granby, and he always speaks the truth. If Emma had known it, she
would have prevented him from writing such a harsh note, for she is
such a good creature. I have a great mind to consult her; she is so
indulgent, so soothing. But what does Mr. Bolingbroke say about her?
He leaves me to my own discretion, to mention what has passed or not.
That means, mention it, speak to Mrs. Granby, that she may advise you
to submit. I will not say a word to her; I will out-general him yet.
He cannot leave me when it comes to the trial.”

She sat down, and wrote instantly this answer to her husband’s note:

    “I agree with you entirely, that the sooner we part the better.
    I shall write to-morrow to my friend Mrs. Nettleby, with whom I
    choose to reside. Mr. John Nettleby is the person I fix upon to
    settle the terms of our separation. In three days I shall have
    Mrs. Nettleby’s answer. This is Saturday: on Tuesday, then, we
    part--for ever.


Mrs. Bolingbroke summoned her maid. “Deliver this note,” said she,
“with your own hand; do not send Le Grand with it to his master.”

Griselda waited impatiently for her maid’s return.

“No answer, madam.”

“No answer! are you certain?”

“Certain, ma’am: my master only said, ‘Very well.’”

“And why did not you ask him if there was any answer?”

“I did, ma’am. I said, ‘Is there no answer for my lady?’ ‘No answer,’
said he.”

“Was he up?”

“No, ma’am: he was in bed.”

“Was he asleep when you went in?”

“I cannot say positively, ma’am: he undrew the curtain as I went in,
and asked, ‘Who’s there?’”

“Did you go in on tiptoe?”

“I forget, really, ma’am.”

“You forget really! Idiot!”

“But, ma’am, I recollect he turned his head to go to sleep as I closed
the curtain.”

“You need not wait,” said Mrs. Bolingbroke.

Provoked beyond the power of sleep, Mrs. Bolingbroke gave free
expression to her feelings, in an eloquent letter to Mrs. Nettleby;
but even after this relief, Griselda could not rest; so much was she
disturbed by the repose that her husband enjoyed, or was reputed to
enjoy. In the morning she placed her letter in full view upon the
mantel-piece in the drawing-room, in hopes that it would strike terror
into the heart of her husband. To her great mortification, she saw Mr.
Bolingbroke, with an unchanged countenance, give it to the servant,
who came to ask for “letters for the post.” She had now three days of
grace, before Mrs. Nettleby’s answer could arrive; but of these she
disdained to take advantage: she never mentioned what had passed to
Mrs. Granby, but persisted in the same haughty conduct towards her
husband, persuaded that she should conquer at last.

The third day came, and brought an answer from Mrs. Nettleby. After
a prodigious parade of professions, a decent display of astonishment
at Mr. Bolingbroke’s strange conduct, and pity for her dear Griselda,
Mrs. Nettleby came to the point, and was sorry to say, that Mr.
Nettleby was in one of his obstinate fits, and could not be brought
to listen to the scheme so near her heart: “He would have nothing to
do, he said, with settling the terms of Mr. and Mrs. Bolingbroke’s
separation, not he!--He absolutely refuses to meddle between man and
wife; and calls it meddling,” continued Mrs. Nettleby, “to receive
you as an inmate, after you have parted from your husband. Mr.
Bolingbroke, he says, has always been very civil to him, and came to
see him in town; therefore he will not encourage Mrs. Bolingbroke in
her tantarums. I represented to him, that Mr. B. desires the thing,
and leaves the choice of a residence to yourself: but Mr. Nettleby
replied, in his brutal way, that you might choose a residence where
you would, except in his house; that his house was his castle, and
should never be turned into an asylum for runagate wives; that he
would not set such an example to his own wife, &c. But,” continued
Mrs. Nettleby, “you can imagine all the foolish things he said, and I
need not repeat them, to vex you and myself. I know that he refuses to
receive you, my dear Mrs. Bolingbroke, on purpose to provoke me. But
what can one do or say to such a man?--Adieu, my dear. Pray write when
you are at leisure, and tell me how things are settled, or rather what
is settled upon you; which, to be sure, is now the only thing that you
have to consider.

“Ever yours, affectionately,


“P.S. Before you leave Devonshire, do, my dear, get me some of the
fine Devonshire lace; three or four dozen yards will do. I trust
implicitly to your taste. You know I do not mind the price; only let
it be broad, for narrow lace is my aversion.”


  “Lost is the dear delight of giving pain!”

Mortified by her dear friend’s affectionate letter and postscript,
Griselda was the more determined to persist in her resolution to defy
her husband to the utmost. The catastrophe, she thought, would always
be in her own power; she recollected various separation scenes in
novels and plays where the lady, after having tormented her husband or
lover by every species of ill conduct, reforms in an instant, and a
reconciliation is effected by some miraculous means. Our heroine had
seen Lady Townley admirably well acted, and doubted not that she could
now perform her part victoriously. With this hope, or rather in this
confidence, she went in search of Mr. Bolingbroke. He was not in the
house; he had gone out to take a solitary walk. Griselda hoped that
she was the object of his reflections, during his lonely ramble.

“Yes,” said she to herself, “my power is not exhausted: I shall make
his heart ache yet; and when he yields, how I will revenge myself!”

She rang for her woman, and gave orders to have every thing
immediately prepared for her departure. “As soon as the trunks are
packed, let them be corded, and placed in the great hall,” said she.

Our heroine, who had a happy memory, full well recollected the effect
which the sight of the corded trunks produced in the “Simple Story,”
 and she thought the stroke so good that it would bear repetition. With
malice prepense, she therefore prepared the blow, which she flattered
herself could not fail to astound her victim. Her pride still revolted
from the idea of consulting Mrs. Granby; but some apology was
requisite for thus abruptly quitting her house. Mrs. Bolingbroke began
in a tone that seemed intended to preclude all discussion.

“Mrs. Granby, do you know that Mr. Bolingbroke and I have come to a
resolution to be happy the rest of our lives; and, for this purpose,
we find it expedient to separate. Do not start or look so shocked,
my dear. This word separation may sound terrible to some people,
but I have, thank Heaven! sufficient strength of mind to hear it
with perfect composure. When a couple who are chained together pull
different ways, the sooner they break their chain the better. I shall
set out immediately for Weymouth. You will excuse me, my dear Mrs.
Granby; you see the necessity of the case.”

Mrs. Granby, with the most delicate kindness, began to expostulate;
but Griselda declared that she was incapable of using a friend so
ill as to pretend to listen to advice, when her mind was determined
irrevocably. Emma had no intention, she said, of obtruding her advice,
but she wished that Mrs. Bolingbroke would give her own excellent
understanding time to act, and that she would not throw away the
happiness of her life in a fit of passion. Mrs. Bolingbroke protested
that she never was freer from passion of every sort than she was at
this moment. With an unusually placid countenance, she turned from
Mrs. Granby and sat down to the piano-forte. “We shall not agree if
I talk any more upon this subject,” continued she, “therefore I had
better sing. I believe my music is better than my logic: at all events
I prefer music.”

In a fine _bravura_ style Griselda then began to sing--

  “What have I to do with thee,
  Dull, unjoyous constancy?” &c.

And afterwards she played all her gayest airs to convince Mrs. Granby
that her heart was quite at ease. She continued playing for an
unconscionable time, with the most provoking perseverance.

Emma stood at the window, watching for Mr. Bolingbroke’s return.
“Here comes Mr. Bolingbroke!--How melancholy he looks!--Oh, my dear
Griselda,” cried she, stopping Mrs. Bolingbroke’s hand as it ran gaily
over the keys, “this is no time for mirth or bravado: let me conjure

“I hate to be conjured,” interrupted Griselda, breaking from her; “I
am not a child, to be coaxed and kissed and sugar-plummed into being
good, and behaving prettily. Do me the favour to let Mr. Bolingbroke
know that I am in the study, and desire to speak to him for one

No power could detain the peremptory lady: she took her way to the
study, and rejoiced as she crossed the hall, to see the trunks placed
as she had ordered. It was impossible that her husband could
avoid seeing them the moment he should enter the house.--What a
satisfaction!--Griselda seated herself at ease in an arm-chair in
the study, and took up a book which lay open on the table. Mr.
Bolingbroke’s pencil-case was in it, and the following passage was

“Il y a un lieu sur la terre où les joies pures sont inconnues; d’où
la politesse est exilée et fait place à l’ègoîsme, à la contradiction,
aux injures à demivoilées; le remords et l’inquiétude, furies
infatigables, y tourmentent les habitans. Ce lieu est la maison de
deux époux qui ne peuvent ni s’estimer, ni s’aimer.

“Il y a un lieu sur la terre où le vice ne s’introduit pas, où les
passions tristes n’ont jamais d’empire, où le plaisir et l’innocence
habitent toujours ensemble, où les soins sont chers, où les travaux
sont doux, où les peines s’oublient dans les entretiens, où l’on jouit
du passé, du présent, de l’avenir; et c’est la maison de deux époux
qui s’aiment.”[21]

A pang of remorse seized Griselda, as she read these words; they
seemed to have been written on purpose for her. Struck with the sense
of her own folly, she paused--she doubted;--but then she thought that
she had gone too far to recede. Her pride could not bear the idea of
acknowledging that she had been wrong, or of seeking reconcilement.

“I could live very happily with this man; but then to yield the
victory to him!--and to reform!--No, no--all reformed heroines are
stupid and odious.”


  “And, vanquish’d, quit victoriously the field.”

Griselda flung the book from her as her husband entered the room.

“You have had an answer, madam, from your friend, Mrs. Nettleby, I
perceive,” said he, calmly.

“I have, sir. Family reasons prevent her from receiving me at present;
therefore I have determined upon going to Weymouth; where, indeed, I
always wished to spend this summer.”

Mr. Bolingbroke evinced no surprise, and made not the slightest
opposition. Mrs. Bolingbroke was so much vexed, that she could
scarcely command her countenance: she bit her lip violently.

“With respect to any arrangements that are to be made, I am to
understand that you wish me to address myself to Mr. J. Nettleby,”
 said her husband.

“No, to myself, if you please; I am prepared to listen, sir, to
whatever you may have to propose.”

“These things are always settled best in writing,” replied Mr.
Bolingbroke. “Be so obliging as to leave me your direction, and you
shall hear from me, or from Mrs. Granby, in a few days.”

Mrs. Bolingbroke hastily wrote a direction upon a card, and put it
into her husband’s hand, with as much unconcern as she could maintain.
Mr. Bolingbroke continued, precisely in the same tone: “If you have
any thing to suggest, that may contribute to your future convenience,
madam, you will be so good as to leave a memorandum with me, to which
I shall attend.”

He placed a sheet of paper before Mrs. Bolingbroke, and put a pen into
her hand. She made an effort to write, but her hand trembled so that
she could not form a letter. Her husband took up Saint Lambert, and
read, or seemed to read.--“Open the window, Mr. Bolingbroke,” said
she. He obeyed, but did not, as formerly, “hang over her enamoured.”
 He had been so often duped by her fainting-fits and hysterics, that
now, when she suffered in earnest, he suspected her of artifice. He
took up his book again, and marked a page with his pencil. She wrote
a line with a hurried hand, then starting up, flung her pen from her,
and exclaimed--“I need not, will not write; I have no request to make
to you, Mr. Bolingbroke; do what you will; I have no wishes, no wish
upon earth--but to leave you.”

“That wish will be soon accomplished, madam,” replied he, unmoved.

She pulled the bell till it broke.--A servant appeared.

“My carriage to the door directly, if you please, sir,” cried she.

A pause ensued. Griselda sat swelling with unutterable
rage.--“Heavens! have you no feeling left?” exclaimed she, snatching
the book from his hand; “have you no feeling left, Mr. Bolingbroke,
for any thing?”

“You have left me none for some things, Mrs. Bolingbroke, and I thank
you. All this would have broken my heart six months ago.”

“You have no heart to break,” cried she.--The carriage drove to the

“One word more, before I leave you for ever, Mr. Bolingbroke,”
 continued she.--“Blame yourself, not me, for all this.--When we were
first married, you humoured, you spoiled me; no temper could bear
it.--Take the consequences of your own weak indulgence.--Farewell.”

He made no effort to retain her, and she left the room.

  ----“Thus it shall befall
  Him who to worth in woman overtrusting
  Lets tier will rule: restraint she will not brook;
  And left to herself, if evil thence ensue,
  She first his _weak indulgence_ will accuse.”

A confused recollection of this warning of Adam’s was in Mr.
Bolingbroke’s head at this moment.

Mrs. Bolingbroke’s carriage drove by the window, and she kissed her
hand to him as she passed. He had not sufficient presence of mind
to return the compliment. Our heroine enjoyed this last triumph of
superior temper.

Whether the victory was worth the winning, whether the modern Griselda
persisted in her spirited sacrifice of happiness, whether she was
ever reconciled to her husband, or whether the fear of “reforming
and growing stupid” prevailed, are questions which we leave to the
sagacity or the curiosity of her fair contemporaries.

  “He that knows better how to tame a shrew,
  Let him now speak, ‘tis charity to shew.”


[Footnote 1: Fact.]

[Footnote 2: _Feel_ it, become sensible of it, know it.]

[Footnote 3: _Nor_, than.]

[Footnote 4: As it may be satisfactory to a large portion of the
public, and to all men of taste, the editor subjoins the following
account of the Irish ortolan, which will convince the world that this
bird is not in the class of fabulous animals:

“There is a small bird, which is said to be peculiar to the Blasquet
Islands, called by the Irish, Gourder, the English name of which I
am at a loss for, nor do I find it mentioned by naturalists. It is
somewhat larger than a sparrow; the feathers of the back are dark, and
those of the belly are white; the bill is straight, short, and thick;
and it is web-footed: they are almost one lump of fat; when roasted,
of a most delicious taste, and are reckoned to exceed an ortolan; for
which reason the gentry hereabouts