Part 2 out of 10
"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
"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.
"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
"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
"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
"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
"'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
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
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
"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
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:
"MY DEAR JULIANA O'LEARY,
"I have got a promise from Colambre, that he will be with us
at Tusculum on Friday, the 20th, in his way from the county of
Wicklow, for the collation I mentioned; and expect a large party
of officers: so pray come early, with your house, or as many as
the jaunting-car can bring. And pray, my dear, be _elegant_. You
need not let it transpire to Mrs. O'G----; but make my apologies
to Miss O'G----, if she says 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
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
"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
"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,"
"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
"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
"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
"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
"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
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