Part 5 out of 10
definitive at last, you know, Grace."
A silence ensued, which neither Miss Nugent nor Lord Colambre seemed
able or willing to break.
"Very good company, faith, you three!--One of ye asleep, and the other
two saying nothing, to keep one awake. Colambre, have you no Dublin
news? Grace, have you no Buxton scandal? What was it Lady Clonbrony
told us you'd tell us, about the oddness of Miss Broadhurst's settling
her marriage? Tell me that, for I love to hear odd things."
"Perhaps you will not think it odd," said she. "One evening--but I
should begin by telling you that three of her admirers, besides Sir
Arthur Berryl, had followed her to Buxton, and had been paying their
court to her all the time we were there; and at last grew impatient
for her decision."
"Ay, for her definitive!" said Lord Clonbrony. Miss Nugent was put out
again, but resumed.
"So one evening, just before the dancing began, the gentlemen were
all standing round Miss Broadhurst; one of them said, 'I wish Miss
Broadhurst would decide--that whoever she dances with to-night should
be her partner for life: what a happy man he would be!'
"'But how can I decide?' said Miss Broadhurst.
"'I wish I had a friend to plead for me!' said one of the suitors,
looking at me.
"'Have you no friend of your own?' said Miss Broadhurst.
"'Plenty of friends,' said the gentleman.
"'Plenty!--then you must be a very happy man,' replied Miss
Broadhurst. 'Come,' said she, laughing, 'I will dance with that man
who can convince me that he has, near relations excepted, one true
friend in the world! That man who has made the best friend, I dare
say, will make the best husband!'
"At that moment," continued Miss Nugent, "I was certain who would
be her choice. The gentlemen all declared at first that they had
abundance of excellent friends--the best friends in the world! but
when Miss Broadhurst cross-examined them, as to what their friends
had done for them, or what they were willing to do, modern friendship
dwindled into a ridiculously small compass. I cannot give you the
particulars of the cross-examination, though it was conducted with
great spirit and humour by Miss Broadhurst; but I can tell you the
result--that Sir Arthur Berryl, by incontrovertible facts, and
eloquence warm from the heart, convinced every body present that he
had the best friend in the world; and Miss Broadhurst, as he finished
speaking, gave him her hand, and he led her off in triumph--So
you see, Lord Colambre, you were at last the cause of my friend's
She turned to Lord Colambre as she spoke these words, with such
an affectionate smile, and such an expression of open, innocent
tenderness in her whole countenance, that our hero could hardly resist
the impulse of his passion--could hardly restrain himself from falling
at her feet that instant, and declaring his love. "But St. Omar! St.
Omar!--It must not be!"
"I must be gone!" said Lord Clonbrony, pulling out his watch. "It is
time to go to my club; and poor Terry will wonder what has become of
Lord Colambre instantly offered to accompany his father; much to Lord
Clonbrony's, and more to Miss Nugent's surprise.
"What!" said she to herself, "after so long an absence, leave
me!--Leave his mother, with whom he always used to stay--on purpose to
avoid me! What can I have done to displease him? It is clear it was
not about Miss Broadhurst's marriage he was offended; for he looked
pleased, and like himself, whilst I was talking of that: but the
moment afterwards, what a constrained, unintelligible expression of
countenance--and leaves me to go to a club which he detests!"
As the gentlemen shut the door on leaving the room, Lady Clonbrony
awakened, and, starting up, exclaimed, "What's the matter? Are they
gone? Is Colambre gone?"
"Yes, ma'am, with my uncle."
"Very odd! very odd of him to go and leave me! he always used to stay
with me--what did he say about me?"
"Well, then, I have nothing to say about him, or about any thing,
indeed, for I'm excessively tired and stupid--alone in Lon'on's as bad
as any where else. Ring the bell, and we'll go to bed directly--if you
have no objection, Grace."
Grace made no objection: Lady Clonbrony went to bed and to sleep in
ten minutes. Miss Nugent went to bed; but she lay awake, considering
what could be the cause of her cousin Colambre's hard unkindness, and
of "his altered eye." She was openness itself; and she determined
that, the first moment she could speak to him alone, she would at once
ask for an explanation. With this resolution, she rose in the morning,
and went down to the breakfast-room, in hopes of meeting him, as it
had formerly been his custom to be early; and she expected to find him
reading in his usual place.
No--Lord Colambre was not in his accustomed place, reading in the
breakfast-room; nor did he make his appearance till both his father
and mother had been some time at breakfast.
"Good morning to you, my Lord Colambre," said his mother, in a
reproachful tone, the moment he entered; "I am much obliged to you for
your company last night."
"Good morning to you, Colambre," said his father, in a more jocose
tone of reproach; "I am obliged to you for your good company last
"Good morning to you, Lord Colambre," said Miss Nugent; and though she
endeavoured to throw all reproach from her looks, and to let none be
heard in her voice, yet there was a slight tremulous motion in that
voice, which struck our hero to the heart.
"I thank you, ma'am, for missing me," said he, addressing himself to
his mother: "I stayed away but half an hour; I accompanied my father
to St. James's-street, and when I returned I found that every one had
retired to rest."
"Oh, was that the case?" said Lady Clonbrony: "I own I thought it very
unlike you to leave me in that sort of way."
"And, lest you should be jealous of that half hour when he was
accompanying me," said Lord Clonbrony, "I must remark, that, though
I had his body with me, I had none of his mind; that he left at home
with you ladies, or with some fair one across the water, for the
deuce of two words did he bestow upon me, with all his pretence of
"Lord Colambre seems to have a fair chance of a pleasant breakfast,"
said Miss Nugent, smiling; "reproaches on all sides."
"I have heard none on your side, Grace," said Lord Clonbrony; "and
that's the reason, I suppose, he wisely takes his seat beside you. But
come, we will not badger you any more, my dear boy. We have given him
as fine a complexion amongst us as if he had been out hunting these
three hours: have not we, Grace?"
"When Colambre has been a season or two more in Lon'on, he'll not be
so easily put out of countenance," said Lady Clonbrony; "you don't see
young men of fashion here blushing about nothing."
"No, nor about any thing, my dear," said Lord Clonbrony; "but that's
no proof they do nothing they ought to blush for."
"What they do, there's no occasion for ladies to inquire," said Lady
Clonbrony; "but this I know, that it's a great disadvantage to a young
man of a certain rank to blush; for no people, who live in a certain
set, ever do: and it is the most opposite thing possible to a certain
air, which, I own, I think Colambre wants; and now that he has done
travelling in Ireland, which is no use in _pint_ of giving a gentleman
a travelled air, or any thing of that sort, I hope he will put himself
under my conduct for next winter's campaign in town."
Lord Clonbrony looked as if he did not know how to look; and, after
drumming on the table for some seconds, said, "Colambre, I told you
how it would be: that's a fatal hard condition of yours."
"Not a hard condition, I hope, my dear father," said Lord Colambre.
"Hard it must be, since it can't be fulfilled, or won't be fulfilled,
which comes to the same thing," replied Lord Clonbrony, sighing.
"I am persuaded, sir, that it will be fulfilled," said Lord Colambre;
"I am persuaded that, when my mother hears the truth, and the whole
truth--when she finds that your happiness, and the happiness of her
whole family, depend upon her yielding her taste on one subject--"
"Oh, I see now what you are about," cried Lady Clonbrony; "you are
coming round with your persuasions and prefaces to ask me to give
up Lon'on, and go back with you to Ireland, my lord. You may save
yourselves the trouble, all of you; for no earthly persuasions shall
make me do it. I will never give up my taste on that _pint_. My
happiness has a right to be as much considered as your father's,
Colambre, or anybody's; and, in one word, I won't do it," cried she,
rising angrily from the breakfast table.
"There! did not I tell you how it would be?" cried Lord Clonbrony.
"My mother has not heard me yet," said Lord Colambre, laying his hand
upon his mother's arm, as she attempted to pass: "hear me, madam, for
your own sake. You do not know what will happen, this very day--this
very hour, perhaps--if you do not listen to me."
"And what will happen?" said Lady Clonbrony, stopping short.
"Ay, indeed; she little knows," said Lord Clonbrony, "what's hanging
over her head."
"Hanging over my head?" said Lady Clonbrony, looking up;
"An execution, madam!" said Lord Colambre.
"Gracious me! an execution!" said Lady Clonbrony, sitting down again;
"but I heard you talk of an execution months ago, my lord, before my
son went to Ireland, and it blew over--I heard no more of it."
"It won't blow over now," said Lord Clonbrony; "you'll hear more of
it now. Sir Terence O'Fay it was, you may remember, that settled it
"Well, and can't he settle it now? Send for him, since he understands
these cases; and I will ask him to dinner myself, for your sake, and
be very civil to him, my lord."
"All your civility, either for my sake or your own, will not signify a
straw, my dear, in this case--any thing that poor Terry could do, he'd
do, and welcome, without it; but he can do nothing."
"Nothing!--that's very extraordinary. But I'm clear no one dare to
bring a real execution against us in earnest; and you are only trying
to frighten me to your purpose, like a child; but it shan't do."
"Very well, my dear; you'll see--too late."
A knock at the house door.
"Who is it?--What is it?" cried Lord Clonbrony, growing very pale.
Lord Colambre changed colour too, and ran down stairs. "Don't let 'em
let any body in, for your life, Colambre; under any pretence," cried
Lord Clonbrony, calling from the head of the stairs: then running to
the window, "By all that's good, it's Mordicai himself! and the people
"Lean your head on me, my dear aunt," said Miss Nugent: Lady Clonbrony
leant back, trembling, and ready to faint.
"But he's walking off now; the rascal could not get in--safe for the
present!" cried Lord Clonbrony, rubbing his hands, and repeating,
"safe for the present!"
"Safe for the present!" repeated Lord Colambre, coming again into the
room. "Safe for the present hour."
"He could not get in, I suppose.--Oh, I warned all the servants
well," said Lord Clonbrony; "and so did Terry. Ay, there's the rascal
Mordicai walking off, at the end of the street; I know his walk a mile
off. Gad! I can breathe again. I am glad he's gone. But he will come
back and always lie in wait, and some time or other, when we're off
our guard (unawares), he'll slide in."
"Slide in! Oh, horrid!" cried Lady Clonbrony, sitting up, and wiping
away the water which Miss Nugent had sprinkled on her face.
"Were you much alarmed?" said Lord Colambre, with a voice of
tenderness, looking at his mother first, but his eyes fixing on Miss
"Shockingly!" said Lady Clonbrony; "I never thought it would _reelly_
come to this."
"It will really come to much more, my dear," said Lord Clonbrony,
"that you may depend upon, unless you prevent it."
"Lord! What can I do?--I know nothing of business: how should I, Lord
Clonbrony? But I know there's Colambre--I was always told that when he
was of age, every thing should be settled; and why can't he settle it
when he's upon the spot?"
"And upon one condition, I will," cried Lord Colambre; "at what loss
to myself, my dear mother, I need not mention."
"Then I will mention it," cried Lord Clonbrony: "at the loss it will
be of nearly half the estate he would have had, if we had not spent
"Loss! Oh, I am excessively sorry my son's to be at such a loss--it
must not be."
"It cannot be otherwise," said Lord Clonbrony; "nor it can't be this
way either, my Lady Clonbrony, unless you comply with his condition,
and consent to return to Ireland."
"I cannot--I will not," replied Lady Clonbrony. "Is this your
condition, Colambre?--I take it exceedingly ill of you. I think it
very unkind, and unhandsome, and ungenerous, and undutiful of you,
Colambre; you my son!" She poured forth a torrent of reproaches;
then came to entreaties and tears. But our hero, prepared for this,
had steeled his mind; and he stood resolved not to indulge his own
feelings, or to yield to caprice or persuasion, but to do that which
he knew was best for the happiness of hundreds of tenants, who
depended upon them--best for both his father and his mother's ultimate
happiness and respectability.
"It's all in vain," cried Lord Clonbrony; "I have no resource but one,
and I must condescend now to go to him this minute, for Mordicai will
be back and seize all--I must sign and leave all to Garraghty."
"Well, sign, sign, my lord, and settle with Garraghty. Colambre, I've
heard all the complaints you brought over against that man. My lord
spent half the night telling them to me: but all agents are bad, I
suppose; at any rate I can't help it--sign, sign, my lord; he has
money--yes, do; go and settle with him, my lord."
Lord Colambre and Miss Nugent, at one and the same moment, stopped
Lord Clonbrony as he was quitting the room, and then approached Lady
Clonbrony with supplicating looks; but she turned her head to the
other side, and, as if putting away their entreaties, made a repelling
motion with both her hands, and exclaimed, "No, Grace Nugent!--no,
Colambre--no--no, Colambre! I'll never hear of leaving Lon'on--there's
no living out of Lon'on--I can't, I won't live out of Lon'on, I say."
Her son saw that the _Londonomania_ was now stronger than ever
upon her, but resolved to make one desperate appeal to her natural
feelings, which, though smothered, he could not believe were wholly
extinguished: he caught her repelling hands, and pressing them with
respectful tenderness to his lips, "Oh, my dear mother, you once loved
your son," said he; "loved him better than any thing in this world: if
one spark of affection for him remains, hear him now, and forgive him,
if he pass the bounds--bounds he never passed before--of filial duty.
Mother, in compliance with your wishes my father left Ireland--left
his home, his duties, his friends, his natural connexions, and for
many years he has lived in England, and you have spent many seasons in
"Yes, in the very best company--in the very first circles," said Lady
Clonbrony; "cold as the high-bred English are said to be in general to
"Yes," replied Lord Colambre, "the very best company (if you mean the
most fashionable) have accepted of our entertainments. We have forced
our way into their frozen circles; we have been permitted to breathe
in these elevated regions of fashion; we have it to say, that the
Duke of _This_, and my Lady _That_, are of our acquaintance.--We may
say more: we may boast that we have vied with those whom we could
never equal. And at what expense have we done all this? For a single
season, the last winter (I will go no farther), at the expense of
a great part of your timber, the growth of a century--swallowed in
the entertainments of one winter in London! Our hills to be bare for
another half century to come! But let the trees go: I think more of
your tenants--of those left under the tyranny of a bad agent, at the
expense of every comfort, every hope they enjoyed!--tenants, who were
thriving and prosperous; who used to smile upon you, and to bless you
both! In one cottage, I have seen--"
Here Lord Clonbrony, unable to restrain his emotion, hurried out of
"Then I am sure it is not my fault," said Lady Clonbrony; "for I
brought my lord a large fortune: and I am confident I have not, after
all, spent more any season, in the best company, than he has among a
set of low people, in his muddling, discreditable way."
"And how has he been reduced to this?" said Lord Colambre. "Did he
not formerly live with gentlemen, his equals, in his own country;
his contemporaries? Men of the first station and character, whom I
met in Dublin, spoke of him in a manner that gratified the heart of
his son: he was respectable and respected, at his own home; but when
he was forced away from that home, deprived of his objects and his
occupations, compelled to live in London, or at watering-places, where
he could find no employments that were suitable to him--set down, late
in life, in the midst of strangers, to him cold and reserved--himself
too proud to bend to those who disdained him as an Irishman--is he
not more to be pitied than blamed for--yes, I, his son, must say the
word--the degradation which has ensued? And do not the feelings, which
have this moment forced him to leave the room, show of what he is
capable? Oh, mother!" cried Lord Colambre, throwing himself at Lady
Clonbrony's feet, "restore my father to himself! Should such feelings
be wasted?--No; give them again to expand in benevolent, in kind,
useful actions; give him again to his tenantry, his duties, his
country, his home; return to that home yourself, dear mother! leave
all the nonsense of high life--scorn the impertinence of these
dictators of fashion, who, in return for all the pains we take to
imitate, to court them--in return for the sacrifice of health,
fortune, peace of mind--bestow sarcasm, contempt, ridicule, and
"Oh, Colambre! Colambre! mimicry--I'll never believe it."
"Believe me--believe me, mother; for I speak of what I know. Scorn
them--quit them! Return to an unsophisticated people--to poor, but
grateful hearts, still warm with the remembrance of your kindness,
still blessing you for favours long since conferred, ever praying to
see you once more. Believe me, for I speak of what I know--your son
has heard these prayers, has felt these blessings. Here! at my heart
felt, and still feel them, when I was not known to be your son, in the
cottage of the widow O'Neil."
"Oh, did you see the widow O'Neil! and does she remember me?" said
"Remember you! and you, Miss Nugent! I have slept in the bed--I would
tell you more, but I cannot."
"Well! I never should have thought they would have remembered me so
long! poor people!" said Lady Clonbrony.
"I thought all in Ireland must have forgotten me, it is now so long
since I was at home."
"You are not forgotten in Ireland by any rank, I can answer for that.
Return home, my dearest mother--let me see you once more among your
natural friends, beloved, respected, happy!"
"Oh, return! let us return home!" cried Miss Nugent, with a voice of
great emotion. "Return, let us return home! My beloved aunt, speak to
us! say that you grant our request!" She kneeled beside Lord Colambre,
as she spoke.
"Is it possible to resist that voice, that look?" thought Lord
"If any body knew," said Lady Clonbrony, "if any body could conceive,
how I detest the sight, the thoughts of that old yellow damask
furniture, in the drawing-room at Clonbrony Castle--"
"Good Heavens!" cried Lord Colambre, starting up, and looking at his
mother in stupified astonishment; "is _that_ what you are thinking of,
"The yellow damask furniture!" said her niece, smiling. "Oh, if that's
all, that shall never offend your eyes again. Aunt, my painted velvet
chairs are finished; and trust the furnishing that room to me. The
legacy lately left me cannot be better applied--you shall see how
beautifully it will be furnished."
"Oh, if I had money, I should like to do it myself; but it would take
an immensity to new furnish Clonbrony Castle properly."
"The furniture in this house," said Miss Nugent, looking round--
"Would do a great deal towards it, I declare," cried Lady Clonbrony;
"that never struck me before, Grace, I protest--and what would
not suit one might sell or exchange here--and it would be a great
amusement to me--and I should like to set the fashion of something
better in that country. And I declare now, I should like to see those
poor people, and that widow O'Neil. I do assure you, I think I was
happier at home; only that one gets, I don't know how, a notion,
one's nobody out of Lon'on. But, after all, there's many drawbacks
in Lon'on--and many people are very impertinent, I'll allow--and if
there's a woman in the world I hate, it is Mrs. Dareville--and, if I
was leaving Lon'on, I should not regret Lady Langdale neither--and
Lady St. James is as cold as a stone. Colambre may well say
_frozen circles_--these sort of people are really very cold, and
have, I do believe, no hearts. I don't verily think there is
one of them would regret me more--Hey! let me see, Dublin--the
winter--Merrion-square--new furnished--and the summer--Clonbrony
Lord Colambre and Miss Nugent waited in silence till her mind should
have worked itself clear. One great obstacle had been removed; and now
that the yellow damask had been taken out of her imagination, they no
Lord Clonbrony put his head into the room. "What hopes?--any? if
not, let me go." He saw the doubting expression of Lady Clonbrony's
countenance--hope in the face of his son and niece. "My dear, dear
Lady Clonbrony, make us all happy by one word," said he, kissing her.
"You never kissed me so since we left Ireland before," said Lady
Clonbrony. "Well, since it must be so, let us go," said she.
"Did I ever see such joy!" said Lord Clonbrony, clasping his hands: "I
never expected such joy in my life!--I must go and tell poor Terry!"
and off he ran.
"And now, since we are to go," said Lady Clonbrony, "pray let us
go immediately, before the thing gets wind, else I shall have Mrs.
Dareville, and Lady Langdale, and Lady St. James, and all the world,
coming to condole with me, just to satisfy their own curiosity: and
then, Miss Pratt, who hears every thing that every body says, and more
than they say, will come and tell me how it is reported every where
that we are ruined. Oh! I never could bear to stay and hear all this.
I'll tell you what I'll do--you are to be of age soon, Colambre,--very
well, there are some papers for me to sign,--I must stay to put my
name to them, and, that done, that minute I'll leave you and Lord
Clonbrony to settle all the rest; and I'll get into my carriage, with
Grace, and go down to Buxton again; where you can come for me, and
take me up, when you're all ready to go to Ireland--and we shall be so
far on our way. Colambre, what do you say to this?"
"That, if you like it, madam," said he, giving one hasty glance at
Miss Nugent, and withdrawing his eyes, "it is the best possible
"So," thought Grace, "that is the best possible arrangement which
takes us away."
"If I like it!" said Lady Clonbrony; "to be sure I do, or I should
not propose it. What is Colambre thinking of? I know, Grace, at all
events, what you and I must think of--of having the furniture packed
up, and settling what's to go, and what's to be exchanged, and all
that. Now, my dear, go and write a note directly to Mr. Soho, and bid
him come himself, immediately: and we'll go and make out a catalogue
this instant of what furniture I will have packed."
So with her head full of furniture, Lady Clonbrony retired. "I go to
my business, Colambre: and I leaven you to settle yours in peace."
In peace!--Never was our hero's mind less at peace than at this
moment. The more his heart felt that it was painful, the more his
reason told him it was necessary that he should part from Grace
Nugent. To his union with her there was an obstacle which his prudence
told him ought to be insurmountable; yet he felt that, during the few
days he had been with her, the few hours he had been near her, he
had, with his utmost power over himself, scarcely been master of his
passion, or capable of concealing its object. It could not have been
done but for her perfect simplicity and innocence. But how could this
be supported on his part? How could he venture to live with this
charming girl? How could he settle at home? What resource?
His mind turned towards the army: he thought that abroad, and in
active life, he should lose all the painful recollections, and drive
from his heart all the sentiments, which could now be only a source of
unavailing regret. But his mother--his mother, who had now yielded her
own taste to his entreaties, for the good of her family--she expected
him to return and live with her in Ireland. Though not actually
promised or specified, he knew that she took it for granted; that it
was upon this hope, this faith, she consented: he knew that she would
be shocked at the bare idea of his going into the army. There was one
chance--our hero tried, at this moment, to think it the best possible
chance--that Miss Nugent might marry Mr. Salisbury, and settle in
England. On this idea he relied, as the only means of extricating him
It was necessary to turn his thoughts immediately to business, to
execute his promises to his father. Two great objects were now to be
accomplished--the payment of his father's debts, and the settlement
of the Irish agent's accounts; and, in transacting this complicated
business, he derived considerable assistance from Sir Terence O'Fay,
and from Sir Arthur Berryl's solicitor, Mr. Edwards. Whilst acting for
Sir Arthur, on a former occasion, Lord Colambre had gained the entire
confidence of this solicitor, who was a man of the first eminence. Mr.
Edwards took the papers and Lord Clonbrony's title-deeds home with
him, saying that he would give an answer the next morning. He then
waited upon Lord Colambre, and informed him that he had just received
a letter from Sir Arthur Berryl, who, with the consent and desire of
his lady, requested that whatever money might be required by Lord
Clonbrony should be immediately supplied on their account, without
waiting till Lord Colambre should be of age, as the ready money might
be of some convenience to him in accelerating the journey to Ireland,
which Sir Arthur and Lady Berryl knew was his lordship's object. Sir
Terence O'Fay now supplied Mr. Edwards with accurate information as to
the demands that were made upon Lord Clonbrony, and of the respective
characters of the creditors. Mr. Edwards undertook to settle with
the fair claimants; Sir Terence with the rogues: so that by the
advancement of ready money from _the Berryls_, and by the detection
of false and exaggerated charges which Sir Terence made among the
inferior class, the debts were reduced nearly to one-half of their
former amount. Mordicai, who had been foiled in his vile attempt
to become sole creditor, had, however, a demand of more than seven
thousand pounds upon Lord Clonbrony, which he had raised to this
enormous sum in six or seven years, by means well known to himself. He
stood the foremost in the list: not from the greatness of the sum; but
from the danger of his adding to it the expenses of law. Sir Terence
undertook to pay the whole with five thousand pounds. Lord Clonbrony
thought it impossible: the solicitor thought it improvident, because
he knew that upon a trial a much greater abatement would be allowed;
but Lord Colambre was determined, from the present embarrassments of
his own situation, to leave nothing undone that could be accomplished
Sir Terence, pleased with his commission, immediately went to
"Well, Sir Terence," said Mordicai, "I hope you are come to pay me my
hundred guineas; for Miss Broadhurst is married!"
"Well, Mister Mordicai, what then? The ides of March are come, but
not gone! Stay, if you plase, Mister Mordicai, till Lady-day, when it
becomes due: in the mean time, I have a handful, or rather an armful,
of bank-notes for you, from my Lord Colambre."
"Humph." said Mordicai: "how's that? he'll not be of age these three
"Don't matter for that: he has sent me to look over your accounts, and
to hope that you will make some small ABATEMENT in the total."
"Harkee, Sir Terence--you think yourself very clever in things of this
sort, but you've mistaken your man: I have an execution for the whole,
and I'll be d----d if all your cunning shall MAKE me take up with
"Be _aisy_, Mister Mordicai!--you sha'n't make me break your bones,
nor make me drop one actionable word against your high character; for
I know your clerk there, with that long goose-quill behind his ear,
would be ready evidence again' me. But I beg to know, in one word,
whether you will take five thousand down, and GIVE Lord Clonbrony a
"No, Mr. Terence! nor six thousand nine hundred and ninety-nine
pounds. My demand is seven thousand one hundred and thirty pounds,
odd shillings: if you have that money, pay it; if not, I know how to
get it, and along with it complete revenge for all the insults I have
received from that greenhorn, his son."
"Paddy Brady!" cried Sir Terence, "do you hear that? Remember that
word _revenge_!--Mind I call you to witness!"
"What, sir, will you raise a rebellion among my workmen?"
"No, Mr. Mordicai, no rebellion; and I hope you won't cut the boy's
ears off for listening to a little of the brogue--so listen, my good
lad. Now, Mr. Mordicai, I offer you here, before little goosequill,
5000_l._ ready penny--take it, or leave it: take your money, and leave
your revenge; or take your revenge, and lose your money."
"Sir Terence, I value neither your threats nor your cunning. Good
morning to you."
"Good morning to you, Mr. Mordicai--but not kindly! Mr. Edwards, the
solicitor, has been at the office to take off the execution: so now
you may have law to your heart's content! And it was only to plase the
young lord that the _ould_ one consented to my carrying this bundle to
you," showing the bank-notes.
"Mr. Edwards employed!" cried Mordicai. "Why, how the devil did Lord
Clonbrony get into such hands as his? The execution taken off! Well,
sir, go to law--I am ready for you. Jack Latitat IS A MATCH for your
"Good morning again to you, Mr. Mordicai: we're fairly out of your
clutches, and we have enough to do with our money."
"Well, Sir Terence, I must allow you have a very wheedling way--Here,
Mr. Thompson, make out a receipt for Lord Clonbrony: I never go to law
with an old customer, if I can help it."
This business settled, Mr. Soho was next to be dealt with.
He came at Lady Clonbrony's summons; and was taking directions with
the utmost _sang froid_, for packing up and sending off the very
furniture for which he was not paid.
Lord Colambre called him into his father's study; and, producing his
bill, he began to point out various articles which were charged at
prices that were obviously extravagant.
"Why, really, my lord, they are _abundantly_ extravagant: if I charged
vulgar prices, I should be only a vulgar tradesman. I, however, am not
a broker, nor a Jew. Of the article superintendence, which is only
500_l._, I cannot abate a doit: on the rest of the bill, if you mean
to offer _ready_, I mean, without any negotiation, to abate thirty per
cent., and I hope that is a fair and gentlemanly offer."
"Mr. Soho, there is your money!"
"My Lord Colambre! I would give the contents of three such bills to be
sure of such noblemanly conduct as yours. Lady Clonbrony's furniture
shall be safely packed, without costing her a farthing."
With the help of Mr. Edwards, the solicitor, every other claim was
soon settled; and Lord Clonbrony, for the first time since he left
Ireland, found himself out of debt, and out of danger.
Old Nick's account could not be settled in London. Lord Colambre had
detected numerous false charges, and sundry impositions: the land,
which had been purposely let to run wild, so far from yielding any
rent, was made a source of constant expense, as remaining still unset:
this was a large tract, for which St. Dennis had at length offered a
Upon a fair calculation of the profits of the ground, and from other
items in the account, Nicholas Garraghty, Esq., appeared at last
to be, not the creditor, but the debtor to Lord Clonbrony. He was
dismissed with disgrace; which perhaps he might not have felt, if
it had not been accompanied by pecuniary loss, and followed by the
fear of losing his other agencies, and by the dread of immediate
Mr. Burke was appointed agent in his stead to the Clonbrony as well
as the Colambre estate. His appointment was announced to him by the
"TO MRS. BURKE, AT COLAMBRE.
"The traveller whom you so hospitably received some months ago
was Lord Colambre; he now writes to you in his proper person. He
promised you that he would, as far as it might be in his power, do
justice to Mr. Burke's conduct and character, by representing what
he had done for Lord Clonbrony in the town of Colambre, and in the
whole management of the tenantry and property under his care.
"Happily for my father, my dear madam, he is now as fully
convinced as you could wish him to be of Mr. Burke's merits; and
he begs me to express his sense of the obligations he is under to
him and to you. He entreats that you will pardon the impropriety
of a letter, which, as I assured you the moment I saw it, he never
wrote or read.
"He hopes that you will forget that such a letter was ever
received, and that you will use your influence with Mr. Burke
to induce him to continue to our family his regard and valuable
services. Lord Clonbrony encloses a power of attorney, enabling
Mr. Burke to act in future for him, if Mr. Burke will do him that
favour, in managing the Clonbrony as well as the Colambre estate.
"Lord Clonbrony will be in Ireland in the course of next month,
and intends to have the pleasure of soon paying his respects in
person to Mr. Burke, at Colambre.
"I am, dear madam,
"Your obliged guest,
"And faithful servant,
Lord Colambre was so continually occupied with business, during the
days previous to his coming of age, every morning at his solicitor's
chambers, every evening in his father's study, that Miss Nugent never
saw him but at breakfast or dinner; and, though she watched for it
most anxiously, never could find an opportunity of speaking to him
alone, or of asking an explanation of the change and inconsistencies
of his manner. At last, she began to think, that, in the midst of so
much business of importance, by which he seemed harassed, she should
do wrong to torment him, by speaking of any small uneasiness that
concerned only herself. She determined to suppress her doubts, to
keep her feelings to herself, and endeavour, by constant kindness, to
regain that place in his affections, which she imagined that she had
lost. "Every thing will go right again," thought she, "and we shall
all be happy, when he returns with us to Ireland--to that dear home
which he loves as well as I do!"
The day Lord Colambre was of age, the first thing he did was, to sign
a bond for five thousand pounds, Miss Nugent's fortune, which had been
lent to his father, who was her guardian.
"This, sir, I believe," said he, giving it to his father as soon as
signed, "this, I believe, is the first debt you would wish to have
"Well thought of, my dear boy!--God bless you!--that has weighed more
upon my conscience and heart than all the rest, though I never said
any thing about it. I used, whenever I met Mr. Salisbury, to wish
myself fairly down at the centre of the earth: not that he ever
thought of fortune, I'm sure; for he often told me, and I believed
him, he would rather have Miss Nugent without a penny, if he could get
her, than the first fortune in the empire. But I'm glad she will not
go to him pennyless, for all that; and by my fault, especially. There,
there's my name to it--do witness it, Terry. But, Colambre, you must
give it to her--you must take it to Grace."
"Excuse me, sir; it is no gift of mine--it is a debt of yours. I beg
you will take the bond to her yourself, my dear father."
"My dear son, you must not always have your own way, and hide every
thing good you do, or give me the honour of it--I won't be the jay in
borrowed feathers. I have borrowed enough in my life, and I've done
with borrowing now, thanks to you, Colambre--so come along with me;
for I'll be hanged if ever I give this joint bond to Miss Nugent,
unless you are with me. Leave Lady Clonbrony here to sign these
papers. Terry will witness them properly, and do you come along with
"And pray, my lord," said her ladyship, "order the carriage to the
door; for, as soon as you have my signature, I hope you'll let me off
"Oh, certainly--the carriage is ordered--every thing ready, my dear."
"And pray tell Grace to be ready," added Lady Clonbrony.
"That's not necessary; for she is always ready," said Lord Clonbrony.
"Come, Colambre," added he, taking his son under the arm, and carrying
him up to Miss Nugent's dressing-room.
They knocked, and were admitted.
"Ready!" said Lord Clonbrony; "ay, always ready--so I said. Here's
Colambre, my darling," continued he, "has secured your fortune to you
to my heart's content; but he would not condescend to come up to tell
you so, till I made him. Here's the bond; and now, all I have to ask
of you, Colambre, is, to persuade her to marry out of hand, that I
may see her happy before I die. Now my heart's at ease; I can meet
Mr. Salisbury with a safe conscience. One kiss, my little Grace. If
any body can persuade you, I'm sure it's that man that's now leaning
against the mantel-piece. It's Colambre will, or your heart's not made
like mine--so I leave you."
And out of the room walked he, leaving his poor son in as awkward,
embarrassing, and painful a situation as could well be conceived. Half
a dozen indistinct ideas crossed his mind; quick conflicting feelings
made his heart beat and stop. And how it would have ended, if he had
been left to himself; whether he would have stood or fallen, have
spoken or have continued silent, can never now be known, for all was
decided without the action of his will. He was awakened from his
trance by these simple words from Miss Nugent: "I'm much obliged
to you, cousin Colambre--more obliged to you for your kindness in
thinking of me first, in the midst of all your other business, than by
your securing my fortune. Friendship--and your friendship--is worth
more to me than fortune. May I believe that is secured?"
"Believe it! Oh, Grace, can you doubt it?"
"I will not; it would make me too unhappy, I will not."
"You need not."
"That is enough--I am satisfied--I ask no farther explanation. You are
truth itself--one word from you is security sufficient. We are friends
for life," said she; "are not we?"
"We are--and therefore sit down, cousin Grace, and let me claim the
privilege of friendship, and speak to you of him who aspires to be
more than your friend for life, Mr.--"
"Mr. Salisbury!" said Miss Nugent; "I saw him yesterday. We had a very
long conversation; I believe he understands my sentiments perfectly,
and that he no longer thinks of being more to me than a friend for
"You have refused him!"
"Yes. I have a high opinion of Mr. Salisbury's understanding, a great
esteem for his character; I like his manners and conversation; but I
do not love him, and, therefore, you know, I could not marry him."
"But, my dear Miss Nugent, with a high opinion, a great esteem, and
liking his manners and conversation, in such a well-regulated mind as
yours, can there be a better foundation for love?"
"It is an excellent foundation," said she; "but I never went any
farther than the foundation; and, indeed, I never wished to proceed
Lord Colambre scarcely dared to ask why; but after some pause he said,
"I don't wish to intrude upon your confidence."
"You cannot intrude upon my confidence; I am ready to give it to
you entirely, frankly; I hesitated only because another person was
concerned. Do you remember, at my aunt's gala, a lady who danced with
"Not in the least."
"A lady with whom you and Mr. Salisbury were talking, just before
supper, in the Turkish tent."
"Not in the least."
"As we went down to supper, you told me you had had a delightful
conversation with her; that you thought her a charming woman."
"A charming woman!--I have not the slightest recollection of her."
"And you told me that she and Mr. Salisbury had been praising me _à
l'envie l'une de l'autre_."
"Oh, I recollect her now perfectly," said Lord Colambre: "but what of
"She is the woman who, I hope, will be Mrs. Salisbury. Ever since I
have been acquainted with them both, I have seen that they were suited
to each other; I fancy, indeed I am almost sure, that she could
love him, tenderly love him--and, I know, I could not. But my own
sentiments, you may be sure, are all I ever told Mr. Salisbury."
"But of your own sentiments you may not be sure," said Lord
Colambre; "and I see no reason why you should give him up from false
"Generosity!" interrupted Miss Nugent; "you totally misunderstand
me; there is no generosity, nothing for me to give up in the case. I
did not refuse Mr. Salisbury from generosity, but because I did not
love him. Perhaps my seeing early what I have just mentioned to you
prevented me from thinking of him as a lover; but, from whatever
cause, I certainly never felt love for Mr. Salisbury, nor any of that
pity which is said to lead to love: perhaps," added she, smiling,
"because I was aware that he would be so much better off after I
refused him--so much happier with one suited to him in age, talents,
fortune, and love--'What bliss, did he but know his bliss,' were
"Did he but know his bliss!" repeated Lord Colambre; "but is not he
the best judge of his own bliss?"
"And am not I the best judge of mine?" said Miss Nugent: "I go no
"You are; and I have no right to go farther. Yet, this much permit me
to say, my dear Grace, that it would give me sincere pleasure, that
is, real satisfaction, to see you happily--established."
"Thank you, my dear Lord Colambre; but you spoke that like a man of
seventy at least, with the most solemn gravity of demeanour."
"I meant to be serious, not solemn," said Lord Colambre, endeavouring
to change his tone.
"There now," said she, in a playful tone, "you have _seriously_
accomplished the task my good uncle set you; so I will report well of
you to him, and certify that you did all that in you lay to exhort me
to marry; that you have even assured me that it would give you sincere
pleasure, that is, real satisfaction, to see me happily established."
"Oh, Grace, if you knew how much I felt when I said that, you would
spare this raillery."
"I will be serious--I am most seriously convinced of the sincerity of
your affection for me; I know my happiness is your object in all you
have said, and I thank you from my heart for the interest you take
about me. But really and truly I do not wish to marry. This is not a
mere commonplace speech; but I have not yet seen any man I could love.
I am happy as I am, especially now we are all going to dear Ireland,
home, to live together: you cannot conceive with what pleasure I look
forward to that."
Lord Colambre was not vain; but love quickly sees love, or foresees
the probability, the possibility, of its existence. He saw that Miss
Nugent might love him tenderly, passionately; but that duty, habit,
the prepossession that it was impossible she could marry her cousin
Colambre,--a prepossession instilled into her by his mother--had
absolutely prevented her from ever yet thinking of him as a lover. He
saw the hazard for her, he felt the danger for himself. Never had she
appeared to him so attractive as at this moment, when he felt the hope
that he could obtain return of love.
"But St. Omar!--Why! why is she a St. Omar?--illegitimate!--'No St.
Omar _sans reproche_.' My wife she cannot be--I will not engage her
Swift as thoughts in moments of strong feeling pass in the mind
without being put into words, our hero thought all this, and
determined, cost what it would, to act honourably.
"You spoke of my returning to Ireland, my dear Grace. I have not yet
told you my plans."
"Plans! are not you returning with us?" said she, precipitately; "are
not you going to Ireland--home--with us?"
"No:--I am going to serve a campaign or two abroad. I think every
young man in these times--
"Good Heavens! What does this mean? What can you mean?" cried she,
fixing her eyes upon his, as if she would read his very soul. "Why?
what reason?--Oh, tell me the truth--and at once."
His change of colour--his hand that trembled, and withdrew from
hers--the expression of his eyes as they met hers--revealed the truth
to her at once. As it flashed across her mind, she started back; her
face grew crimson, and, in the same instant, pale as death.
"Yes--you see, you feel the truth now," said Lord Colambre. "You see,
you feel, that I love you--passionately."
"Oh, let me not hear it!" said she; "I must not--ought not. Never
till this moment did such a thought cross my mind--I thought it
impossible--Oh, make me think so still."
"I will--it _is_ impossible that we can ever he united."
"I always thought so," said she, taking breath with a deep sigh.
"Then, why not live as we have lived?"
"I cannot--I cannot answer for myself--I will not run the risk;
and therefore I must quit you, knowing, as I do, that there is an
invincible obstacle to our union; of what nature I cannot explain; I
beg you not to inquire."
"You need not beg it--I shall not inquire--I have no curiosity--none,"
said she in a passive, dejected tone; "that is not what I am thinking
of in the least. I know there are invincible obstacles; I wish it to
be so. But, if invincible, you who have so much sense, honour, and
"I hope, my dear cousin, that I have honour and virtue. But there
are temptations to which no wise, no good man will expose himself.
Innocent creature! you do not know the power of love. I rejoice that
you have always thought it impossible--think so still--it will save
you from--all I must endure. Think of me but as your cousin, your
friend--give your heart to some happier man. As your friend, your true
friend, I conjure you, give your heart to some more fortunate man.
Marry, if you can feel love--marry, and be happy. Honour! virtue!
Yes, I have both, and I will not forfeit them. Yes, I will merit your
esteem and my own--by actions, not words; and I give you the strongest
proof, by tearing myself from you at this moment. Farewell!"
"The carriage at the door, Miss Nugent, and my lady calling for you,"
said her maid. "Here's your key, ma'am, and here's your gloves, my
"The carriage at the door, Miss Nugent," said Lady Clonbrony's woman,
coming eagerly with parcels in her hand, as Miss Nugent passed
her, and ran down stairs; "and I don't know where I laid my lady's
_numbrella_, for my life--do you, Anne?"
"No, indeed--but I know here's my own young lady's watch that she has
left. Bless me! I never knew her to forget any thing on a journey
"Then she is going to be married, as sure as my name's Le Maistre, and
to my Lord Colambre; for he has been here this hour, to my certain
Bible knowledge. Oh, you'll see she will be Lady Colambre."
"I wish she may, with all my heart," said Anne; "but I must run
"Oh, no!" said Mrs. Le Maistre, seizing Anne's arm, and holding her
fast; "stay--you may safely--for they're all kissing and taking
leave, and all that, you know; and _my_ lady is talking on about
Mr. Soho, and giving a hundred directions about legs of tables, and
so forth, I warrant--she's always an hour after she's ready before
she gets in--and I'm looking for the _numbrella_. So stay, and
tell me--Mrs. Petito wrote over word it was to be Lady Isabel; and
then a contradiction came--it was turned into the youngest of the
Killpatricks; and now here he's in Miss Nugent's dressing-room to the
last moment. Now, in my opinion, that am not censorious, this does not
look so pretty; but, according to my verdict, he is only making a fool
of Miss Nugent, like the rest; and his lordship seems too like what
you might call a male _cocket_, or a masculine jilt."
"No more like a masculine jilt than yourself, Mrs. Le Maistre," cried
Anne, taking fire. "And my young lady is not a lady to be made a fool
of, I promise you; nor is my lord likely to make a fool of any woman."
"Bless us all! that's no great praise for any young nobleman, Miss
"Mrs. Le Maistre! Mrs. Le Maistre! are you above?" cried a footman
from the bottom of the stairs: "my lady's calling for you."
"Very well! Very well!" said sharp Mrs. Le Maistre; "Very well! and
if she is--manners, sir!--Come up for one, can't you, and don't stand
bawling at the bottom of the stairs, as if one had no ears to be
saved. I'm coming as fast as I can--conveniently can."
Mrs. Le Maistre stood in the door-way, so as to fill it up, and
prevent Anne from passing.
"Miss Anne! Miss Anne! Mrs. Le Maistre!" cried another footman; "my
lady's in the carriage, and Miss Nugent."
"Miss Nugent!--is she?" cried Mrs. Le Maistre, running down stairs,
followed by Anne. "Now, for the world in pocket-pieces wouldn't I have
missed seeing him hand Miss Nugent in; for by that I could have judged
"My lord, I beg pardon!--I'm _afeard_ I'm late," said Mrs. Le Maistre,
as she passed Lord Colambre, who was standing motionless in the hall.
"I beg a thousand pardons; but I was hunting, high and low, for my
lady's _numbrella_." Lord Colambre did not hear or heed her: his eyes
were fixed, and they never moved.
Lord Clonbrony was at the open carriage-door, kneeling on the step,
and receiving Lady Clonbrony's "more last words" for Mr. Soho. The two
waiting-maids stood together on the steps.
"Look at our young lord, how he stands," whispered Mrs. Le Maistre to
Anne, "the image of despair! And she, the picture of death!--I don't
know what to think."
"Nor I: but don't stare, if you can help it," said Anne. "Get in, get
in, Mrs. Le Maistre," added she, as Lord Clonbrony now rose from the
step, and made way for them.
"Ay, in with you--in with you, Mrs. Le Maistre," said Lord Clonbrony.
"Good bye to you, Anne, and take care of your young mistress at
Buxton: let me see her blooming when we meet again; I don't half like
her looks, and I never thought Buxton agreed with her."
"Buxton never did any body harm," said Lady Clonbrony: "and as
to bloom, I'm sure, if Grace has not bloom enough in her cheeks
this moment to please you, I don't know what you'd have, my dear
lord--Rouge?--Shut the door, John! Oh, stay!--Colambre!--Where upon
earth's Colambre?" cried her ladyship, stretching from the farthest
side of the coach to the window.--"Colambre!"
Colambre was forced to appear.
"Colambre, my dear! I forgot to say, that, if any thing detains you
longer than Wednesday se'nnight, I beg you will not fail to write, or
I shall be miserable."
"I will write: at all events, my dearest mother, you shall hear from
"Then I shall be quite happy. Go on!"
The carriage drove on.
"I do believe Colambre's ill: I never saw a man look so ill in my
life--did you, Grace?--as he did the minute we drove on. He should
take advice. I've a mind," cried Lady Clonbrony, laying her hand on
the cord, to stop the coachman, "I've a mind to turn about--tell him
so--and ask what is the matter with him."
"Better not!" said Miss Nugent: "he will write to you, and tell
you--if any thing is the matter with him. Better go on now to Buxton!"
continued she, scarcely able to speak. Lady Clonbrony let go the cord.
"But what is the matter with you, my dear Grace? for you are certainly
going to die too!"
"I will tell you--as soon as I can; but don't ask me now, my dear
"Grace, Grace! pull the cord!" cried Lady Clonbrony--"Mr. Salisbury's
phaeton!--Mr. Salisbury, I'm happy to see you! We're on our way to
Buxton--as I told you."
"So am I," said Mr. Salisbury. "I hope to be there before your
ladyship: will you honour me with any commands?--of course, I will see
that every thing is ready for your reception."
Her ladyship had not any commands. Mr. Salisbury drove on rapidly.
Lady Clonbrony's ideas had now taken the Salisbury channel. "You
didn't know that Mr. Salisbury was going to Buxton to meet you, did
you, Grace?" said Lady Clonbrony.
"No, indeed, I did not!" said Miss Nugent; "and I am very sorry for
"Young ladies, as Mrs. Broadhurst says, 'never know, or at least never
tell, what they are sorry or glad for,'" replied Lady Clonbrony. "At
all events, Grace, my love, it has brought the fine bloom back to your
cheeks; and I own I am satisfied."
"Gone! for ever gone from me!" said Lord Colambre to himself, as the
carriage drove away. "Never shall I see her more--never _will_ I see
her more, till she is married."
Lord Colambre went to his own room, locked the door, and was relieved
in some degree by the sense of privacy; by the feeling that he could
now indulge his reflections undisturbed. He had consolation--he had
done what was honourable--he had transgressed no duty, abandoned no
principle--he had not injured the happiness of any human being--he
had not, to gratify himself, hazarded the peace of the woman he
loved--he had not sought to win her heart. Of her innocent, her warm,
susceptible heart, he might, perhaps, have robbed her--he knew it--but
he had left it untouched, he hoped entire, in her own power, to bless
with it hereafter some man worthy of her. In the hope that she might
be happy, Lord Colambre felt relief; and in the consciousness that
he had made his parents happy, he rejoiced; but, as soon as his mind
turned that way for consolation, came the bitter reflection, that his
mother must be disappointed in her hopes of his accompanying her home,
and of his living with her in Ireland: she would be miserable when she
should hear that he was going abroad into the army--and yet it must be
so--and he must write, and tell her so. "The sooner this difficulty is
off my mind, the sooner this painful letter is written, the better,"
thought he. "It must be done--I will do it immediately."
He snatched up his pen, and began a letter.
"My dear mother, Miss Nugent--" He was interrupted by a knock at his
"A gentleman below, my lord." said a servant, "who wishes to see you."
"I cannot see any gentleman. Did you say I was at home?"
"No, my lord, I said you was not at home; for I thought you would not
choose to be at home, and your own man was not in the way for me to
ask--so I denied you: but the gentleman would not be denied; he said
I must come and see if you was at home. So, as he spoke as if he was
a gentleman not used to be denied, I thought it might be somebody of
consequence, and I showed him into the front drawing-room. I think he
said he was sure you'd be at home for a friend from Ireland."
"A friend from Ireland! Why did not you tell me that sooner?" said
Lord Colambre, rising, and running down stairs. "Sir James Brooke, I
No, not Sir James Brooke; but one he was almost as glad to see--Count
"My dear count! the greater pleasure for being unexpected."
"I came to London but yesterday," said the count; "but I could not be
here a day, without doing myself the honour of paying my respects to
"You do me not only honour, but pleasure, my dear count. People, when
they like one another, always find each other out, and contrive to
meet, even in London."
"You are too polite to ask what brought such a superannuated militaire
as I am," said the count, "from his retirement into this gay world
again. A relation of mine, who is one of the ministry, knew that I had
some maps, and plans, and charts, which might be serviceable in an
expedition they are planning. I might have trusted my charts across
the channel, without coming myself to convoy them, you will say. But
my relation fancied--young relations, you know, if they are good for
any thing, are apt to overvalue the heads of old relations--fancied
that mine was worth bringing all the way from Halloran Castle to
London, to consult with _tête-à-tête_. So, you know, when this was
signified to me by a letter from the secretary in office, _private,
most confidential_, what could I do, but do myself the honour to
obey? For though honour's voice cannot provoke the silent dust, yet
'flattery soothes the dull cold ear of _age_.'--But enough and too
much of myself," said the count: "tell me, my dear lord, something of
yourself. I do not think England seems to agree with you so well as
Ireland; for, excuse me, in point of health, you don't look like the
same man I saw some weeks ago."
"My mind has been ill at ease of late," said Lord Colambre.
"Ay, there's the thing! The body pays for the mind--but those who
have feeling minds, pain and pleasure altogether computed, have the
advantage; or at least they think so; for they would not change with
those who have them not, were they to gain by the bargain the most
robust body that the most selfish coxcomb, or the heaviest dunce
extant, ever boasted. For instance, would you now, my lord, at this
moment, change altogether with Major Benson, or Captain Williamson, or
even with our friend, 'Eh, really now, 'pon honour'--would you?--I'm
glad to see you smile."
"I thank you for making me smile, for I assure you I want it. I
wish--if you would not think me encroaching upon your politeness in
honouring me with this visit--You see," continued he, opening the
doors of the back drawing-room, and pointing to large packages, "you
see we are all preparing for a march: my mother has left town half an
hour ago--my father engaged to dine abroad--only I at home--and, in
this state of confusion, could I even venture to ask Count O'Halloran
to stay and dine with me, without being able to offer him Irish
ortolans or Irish plums--in short, will you let me rob you of two
or three hours of your time? I am anxious to have your opinion on a
subject of some importance to me, and on one where you are peculiarly
qualified to judge and decide for me."
"My dear lord, frankly, I have nothing half so good or so agreeable to
do with my time; command my hours. I have already told you how much it
flatters me to be consulted by the most helpless clerk in office; how
much more about the private concerns of an enlightened young-friend,
will Lord Colambre permit me to say? I hope so; for, though the
length of our acquaintance might not justify the word, yet regard and
intimacy are not always in proportion to the time people have known
each other, but to their mutual perception of certain attaching
qualities, a certain similarity and suitableness of character."
The good count, seeing that Lord Colambre was in much distress of
mind, did all he could to soothe him by kindness: far from making any
difficulty about giving up a few hours of his time, he seemed to have
no other object in London, and no purpose in life, but to attend to
our hero. To put him at ease, and to give him time to recover and
arrange his thoughts, the count talked of indifferent subjects.
"I think I heard you mention the name of Sir James Brooke."
"Yes, I expected to have seen him when the servant first mentioned a
friend from Ireland; because Sir James had told me that, as soon as he
could get leave of absence, he would come to England."
"He is come; is now at his estate in Huntingdonshire; doing, what
do you think? I will give you a leading hint; recollect the seal
which the little De Cressy put into your hands the day you dined
at Oranmore. Faithful to his motto, 'Deeds, not words,' he is this
instant, I believe, at deeds, title deeds; making out marriage
settlements, getting ready to put his seal to the happy articles."
"Happy man! I give him joy," said Lord Colambre: "happy man! going to
be married to such a woman--daughter of such a mother."
"Daughter of such a mother! That is indeed a great addition and a
great security to his happiness," said the count. "Such a family
to marry into; good from generation to generation; illustrious by
character as well as by genealogy; 'all the sons brave, and all the
Lord Colambre with difficulty repressed his feelings. "If I could
choose," said the count, "I would rather that a woman I loved were of
such a family than that she had for her dower the mines of Peru."
"So would I," cried Lord Colambre.
"I am glad to hear you say so, my lord, and with such energy; so few
young men of the present day look to what I call good connexion. In
marrying, a man does not, to be sure, marry his wife's mother; and yet
a prudent man, when he begins to think of the daughter, would look
sharp at the mother; ay, and back to the grandmother too, and along
the whole female line of ancestry."
"True--most true--he ought--he must."
"And I have a notion," said the count, smiling, "your lordship's
practice has been conformable to your theory."
"I!--mine!" said Lord Colambre, starting, and looking at the count
"I beg your pardon," said the count; "I did not intend to surprise
your confidence. But you forget that I was present, and saw the
impression which was made on your mind by a mother's want of a proper
sense of delicacy and propriety--Lady Dashfort."
"Oh, Lady Dashfort! she was quite out of my head."
"And Lady Isabel?--I hope she is quite out of your heart."
"She never was in it," said Lord Colambre. "Only laid siege to it,"
said the count. "Well, I am glad your heart did not surrender at
discretion, or rather without discretion. Then I may tell you, without
fear or preface, that the Lady Isabel, who talks of 'refinement,
delicacy, sense,' is going to stoop at once, and marry--Heathcock."
Lord Colambre was not surprised, but concerned and disgusted, as
he always felt, even when he did not care for the individual, from
hearing any thing which tended to lower the female sex in public
"As to myself," said he, "I cannot say I have had an escape, for I
don't think I ever was in much danger."
"It is difficult to measure danger when it is over--past danger, like
past pain, is soon forgotten," said the old general. "At all events, I
rejoice in your present safety."
"But is she really going to be married to Heathcock?" said Lord
"Positively: they all came over in the same packet with me, and
they are all in town now, buying jewels, and equipages, and horses.
Heathcock, you know, is as good as another man for all those
purposes: his father is dead, and has left him a large estate. _Que
voulez-vous?_ as the French valet said to me on the occasion, _c'est
que monsieur est un homme de bien: il a des biens, à ce qu'on dit._"
Lord Colambre could not help smiling.
"How they got Heathcock to fall in love is what puzzles me," said his
lordship. "I should as soon have thought of an oyster's falling in
love as that being."
"I own I should have sooner thought," replied the count, "of his
falling in love with an oyster; and so would you, if you had seen him,
as I did, devouring oysters on shipboard.
"'Say, can the lovely _heroine_ hope to vie
With a fat turtle or a ven'son pie?'
"But that is not our affair; let the Lady Isabel look to it."
Dinner was announced; and no farther conversation of any consequence
passed between the count and Lord Colambre till the cloth was removed
and the servants had withdrawn. Then our hero opened on the subject
which was heavy at his heart.
"My dear count--I have a mind to serve a campaign or two, if I could
get a commission in a regiment going to Spain; but I understand so
many are eager to go at this moment, that it is very difficult to get
a commission in such a regiment."
"It is difficult," said the count. "But," added he, after thinking for
a moment, "I have it! I can get the thing done for you, and directly.
Major Benson, who is in danger of being broke, in consequence of that
affair, you know, about his mistress, wants to sell out; and that
regiment is to be ordered immediately to Spain: I will have the thing
done for you, if you request it."
"First, give me your advice, Count O'Halloran: you are well acquainted
with the military profession, with military life. Would you advise
me--I won't speak of myself, because we judge better by general views
than by particular cases--would you advise a young man at present to
go into the army?"
The count was silent for a few minutes, and then replied: "Since
you seriously ask my opinion, my lord, I must lay aside my own
prepossessions, and endeavour to speak with impartiality. To go into
the army in these days, my lord, is, in my sober opinion, the most
absurd and base, or the wisest and noblest thing a young man can do.
To enter into the army, with the hope of escaping from the application
necessary to acquire knowledge, letters, and science--I run no risk,
my lord, in saying this to you--to go into the army, with the hope of
escaping from knowledge, letters, science, and morality; to wear a red
coat and an epaulette; to be called captain; to figure at a ball; to
lounge away time in country sports, at country quarters, was never,
even in times of peace, creditable; but it is now absurd and base.
Submitting to a certain portion of ennui and contempt, this mode
of life for an officer was formerly practicable--but now cannot be
submitted to without utter, irremediable disgrace. Officers are now,
in general, men of education and information; want of knowledge,
sense, manners, must consequently be immediately detected, ridiculed,
and despised, in a military man. Of this we have not long since seen
lamentable examples in the raw officers who have lately disgraced
themselves in my neighbourhood in Ireland--that Major Benson and
Captain Williamson. But I will not advert to such insignificant
individuals, such are rare exceptions--I leave them out of the
question--I reason on general principles. The life of an officer
is not now a life of parade, of coxcombical or of profligate
idleness--but of active service, of continual hardship and danger. All
the descriptions which we see in ancient history of a soldier's life,
descriptions which in times of peace appeared like romance, are now
realized; military exploits fill every day's newspapers, every day's
conversation. A martial spirit is now essential to the liberty and
the existence of our own country. In the present state of things, the
military must be the most honourable profession, because the most
useful. Every movement of an army is followed wherever it goes, by
the public hopes and fears. Every officer must now feel, besides this
sense of collective importance, a belief that his only dependence
must be on his own merit--and thus his ambition, his enthusiasm, are
raised; and, when once this noble ardour is kindled in the breast,
it excites to exertion, and supports under endurance. But I forget
myself," said the count, checking his enthusiasm; "I promised to speak
soberly. If I have said too much, your own good sense, my lord, will
correct me, and your good nature will forgive the prolixity of an old
man, touched upon his favourite subject--the passion of his youth."
Lord Colambre, of course, assured the count that he was not tired.
Indeed, the enthusiasm with which this old officer spoke of his
profession, and the high point of view in which he placed it,
increased our hero's desire to serve a campaign abroad. Good sense,
politeness, and experience of the world preserved Count O'Halloran
from that foible with which old officers are commonly reproached, of
talking continually of their own military exploits. Though retired
from the world, he had contrived, by reading the best books, and
corresponding with persons of good information, to keep up with the
current of modern affairs; and he seldom spoke of those in which he
had been formerly engaged. He rather too studiously avoided speaking
of himself; and this fear of egotism diminished the peculiar interest
he might have inspired: it disappointed curiosity, and deprived those
with whom he conversed of many entertaining and instructive anecdotes.
However, he sometimes made exceptions to his general rule in favour
of persons who peculiarly pleased him, and Lord Colambre was of this
He this evening, for the first time, spoke to his lordship of the
years he had spent in the Austrian service; told him anecdotes of
the emperor; spoke of many distinguished public characters whom he
had known abroad; of those officers who had been his friends and
companions. Among others he mentioned, with particular regard, a young
English officer who had been at the same time with him in the Austrian
service, a gentleman of the name of Reynolds.
The name struck Lord Colambre: it was the name of the officer who had
been the cause of the disgrace of Miss St. Omar--of--Miss Nugent's
mother. "But there are so many Reynoldses."
He eagerly asked the age--the character of this officer.
"He was a gallant youth," said the count, "but too adventurous--too
rash. He fell, after distinguishing himself in a glorious manner, in
his twentieth year--died in my arms."
"Married or unmarried?" cried Lord Colambre.
"Married--he had been privately married, less than a year before
his death, to a very young English lady, who had been educated at a
convent in Vienna. He was heir to a considerable property, I believe,
and the young lady had little fortune; and the affair was kept secret,
from the fear of offending his friends, or for some other reason--I do
not recollect the particulars."
"Did he acknowledge his marriage?" said Lord Colambre.
"Never, till he was dying--then he confided his secret to me."
"Do you recollect the name of the young lady he married?"
"Yes--a Miss St. Omar."
"St. Omar!" repeated Lord Colambre, with an expression of lively joy
in his countenance. "But are you certain, my dear count, that she was
really married, legally married, to Mr. Reynolds? Her marriage has
been denied by all his friends and relations--hers have never been
able to establish it--her daughter is--My dear count, were you present
at the marriage?"
"No," said the count, "I was not present at the marriage; I never
saw the lady; nor do I know any thing of the affair, except that Mr.
Reynolds, when he was dying, assured me that he was privately married
to a Miss St. Omar, who was then boarding at a convent in Vienna. The
young man expressed great regret at leaving her totally unprovided
for; but said that he trusted his father would acknowledge her, and
that her friends would be reconciled to her. He was not of age, he
said, to make a will; but I think he told me that his child, who at
that time was not born, would, even if it should be a girl, inherit a
considerable property. With this I cannot, however, charge my memory
positively; but he put a packet into my hands which, he told me,
contained a certificate of his marriage, and, I think he said, a
letter to his father: this he requested that I would transmit to
England by some safe hand. Immediately after his death, I went to the
English ambassador, who was then leaving Vienna, and delivered the
packet into his hands: he promised to have it safely delivered. I was
obliged to go the next day, with the troops, to a distant part of the
country. When I returned, I inquired at the convent what had become of
Miss St. Omar--I should say Mrs. Reynolds; and I was told that she had
removed from the convent to private lodgings in the town, some time
previous to the birth of her child. The abbess seemed much scandalized
by the whole transaction; and I remember I relieved her mind by
assuring her that there had been a regular marriage. For poor young
Reynolds' sake, I made farther inquiries about the widow, intending,
of course, to act as a friend, if she were in any difficulty or
distress. But I found, on inquiry at her lodgings, that her brother
had come from England for her, and had carried her and her infant
away. The active scenes," continued the count, "in which I was
immediately afterwards engaged, drove the whole affair from my mind.
Now that your questions have recalled them, I feel certain of the
facts I have mentioned; and I am ready to establish them by my
Lord Colambre thanked him with an eagerness that showed how much he
was interested in the event. It was clear, he said, that either the
packet left with the ambassador had not been delivered, or that the
father of Mr. Reynolds had suppressed the certificate of the marriage,
as it had never been acknowledged by him or by any of the family. Lord
Colambre now frankly told the count why he was so anxious about this
affair; and Count O'Halloran, with all the warmth of youth, and with
all the ardent generosity characteristic of his country, entered
into his feelings, declaring that he would never rest till he had
established the truth.
"Unfortunately," said the count, "the ambassador who took the packet
in charge is dead. I am afraid we shall have difficulty."
"But he must have had some secretary," said Lord Colambre: "who was
his secretary?--we can apply to him."
"His secretary is now chargé d'affaires in Vienna--we cannot get at
"Into whose hands have that ambassador's papers fallen--who is his
executor?" said Lord Colambre.
"His executor!--now you have it," cried the count. "His executor is
the very man who will do your business--your friend Sir James Brooke
is the executor. All papers, of course, are in his hands; or he can
have access to any that are in the hands of the family. The family
seat is within a few miles of Sir James Brooke's, in Huntingdonshire,
where, as I told you before, he now is."
"I'll go to him immediately--set out in the mail this night. Just in
time!" cried Lord Colambre, pulling out his watch with one hand, and
ringing the bell with the other.
"Run and take a place for me in the mail for Huntingdon. Go directly,"
said Lord Colambre to the servant.
"And take two places, if you please, sir," said the count. "My lord, I
will accompany you."
But this Lord Colambre would not permit, as it would be unnecessary
to fatigue the good old general; and a letter from him to Sir James
Brooke would do all that the count could effect by his presence: the
search for the papers would be made by Sir James, and if the packet
could be recovered, or if any memorandum or mode of ascertaining that
it had actually been delivered to old Reynolds could be discovered,
Lord Colambre said he would then call upon the count for his
assistance, and trouble him to identify the packet; or to go with him
to Mr. Reynolds to make farther inquiries; and to certify, at all
events, the young man's dying acknowledgment of his marriage and of
The place in the mail, just in time, was taken. Lord Colambre sent a
servant in search of his father, with a note, explaining the necessity
of his sudden departure. All the business which remained to be done in
town he knew Lord Clonbrony could accomplish without his assistance.
Then he wrote a few lines to his mother, on the very sheet of paper
on which, a few hours before, he had sorrowfully and slowly begun,
"_My dear mother--Miss Nugent._"
He now joyfully and rapidly went on,
"My dear mother and Miss Nugent,
"I hope to be with you on Wednesday se'nnight; but if unforeseen
circumstances should delay me, I will certainly write to you again.
Dear mother, believe me,
"Your obliged and grateful son,
The count, in the mean time, wrote a letter for him to Sir James
Brooke, describing the packet which he had given to the ambassador,
and relating all the circumstances that could lead to its recovery.
Lord Colambre, almost before the wax was hard, seized the letter; the
count seeming almost as eager to hurry him off as he was to set out.
He thanked the count with few words, but with strong feeling. Joy and
love returned in full tide upon our hero's soul; all the military
ideas, which but an hour before filled his imagination, were put to
flight: Spain vanished, and green Ireland reappeared.
Just as they shook hands at parting, the good old general, with a
smile, said to him, "I believe I had better not stir in the matter of
Benson's commission till I hear more from you. My harangue, in favour
of the military profession, will, I fancy, prove, like most other
harangues, a waste of words."
In what words of polite circumlocution, or of cautious diplomacy,
shall we say, or hint, that the deceased ambassador's papers were
found in shameful disorder. His excellency's executor, Sir James
Brooke, however, was indefatigable in his researches. He and Lord
Colambre spent two whole days in looking over portfolios of letters,
and memorials, and manifestoes, and bundles of paper of the most
heterogeneous sorts; some of them without any docket or direction to
lead to a knowledge of their contents; others written upon in such
a manner as to give an erroneous notion of their nature; so that it
was necessary to untie every paper separately. At last, when they had
opened, as they thought, every paper, and, wearied and in despair,
were just on the point of giving up the search, Lord Colambre spied a
bundle of old newspapers at the bottom of a trunk.
"They are only old Vienna Gazettes; I looked at them," said Sir James.
Lord Colambre, upon this assurance, was going to throw them into the
trunk again; but observing that the bundle had not been untied, he
opened it, and withinside of the newspapers he found a rough copy of
the ambassador's journal, and with it the packet directed to Ralph
Reynolds, sen., Esq., Old Court, Suffolk, per favour of his excellency
Earl *****--a note on the cover, signed O'Halloran, stating when
received by him, and, the date of the day when delivered to the
ambassador--seals unbroken. Our hero was in such a transport of joy
at the sight of this packet, and his friend Sir James Brooke so full
of his congratulations, that they forgot to curse the ambassador's
carelessness, which had been the cause of so much evil.
The next thing to be done was to deliver the packet to Ralph Reynolds,
Old Court, Suffolk. But when Lord Colambre arrived at Old Court,
Suffolk, he found all the gates locked, and no admittance to be had.
At last an old woman came out of the porter's lodge, who said Mr.
Reynolds was not there, and she could not say where he was. After
our hero had opened her heart by the present of half a guinea, she
explained, that she "could not _justly_ say where he was, because that
he never let any body of his own people know where he was any day;
he had several different houses and places in different parts, and
far off counties, and other shires, as she heard, and by times he
was at one, and by times at another. The names of two of the places,
Toddrington and Little Wrestham, she knew; but there were others to
which she could give no direction. He had houses in odd parts of
London, too, that he let; and sometimes, when the lodgers' time was
out, he would go, and be never heard of for a month, may be, in one of
them. In short, there was no telling or saying where he was or would
be one day of the week, by where he had been the last."
When Lord Colambre expressed some surprise that an old gentleman,
as he conceived Mr. Ralph Reynolds to be, should change places so
frequently, the old woman answered, "that though her master was a deal
on the wrong side of seventy, and though, to look at him, you'd think
he was glued to his chair, and would fall to pieces if he should stir
out of it, yet he was as alert, and thought no more of going about,
than if he was as young as the gentleman who was now speaking to her.
It was old Mr. Reynolds' delight to come down and surprise his people
at his different places, and see that they were keeping all tight."
"What sort of a man is he?--Is he a miser?" said Lord Colambre.
"He is a miser, and he is not a miser," said the woman. "Now he'd
think as much of the waste of a penny as another man would of a
hundred pounds, and yet he would give a hundred pounds easier
than another would give a penny, when he's in the humour. But his
humour is very odd, and there's no knowing where to have him; he's
cross-grained, and more _positiver_-like than a mule; and his deafness
made him worse in this, because he never heard what nobody said, but
would say on his own way--he was very _odd_, but not _cracked_--no,
he was as clear-headed, when he took a thing the right way, as any
man could be, and as clever, and could talk as well as any member of
parliament--and good-natured, and kind-hearted, where he would take a
fancy--but then, may be, it would be to a dog (he was remarkably fond
of dogs), or a cat, or a rat even, that he would take a fancy, and
think more of 'em than he would of a Christian. But, poor gentleman,
there's great allowance," said she, "to be made for him, that lost
his son and heir--that would have been heir to all, and a fine youth
that he doted upon. But," continued the old woman, in whose mind
the transitions from great to little, from serious to trivial, were
ludicrously abrupt, "that was no reason why the old gentleman should
scold me last time he was here, as he did, for as long as ever he
could stand over me, only because I killed a mouse who was eating
my cheese; and, before night, he beat a boy for stealing a piece of
that same cheese; and he would never, when down here, let me set a
"Well, my good woman," interrupted Lord Colambre, who was little
interested in this affair of the mouse-trap, and nowise curious to
learn more of Mr. Reynolds' domestic economy, "I'll not trouble
you any farther, if you can be so good as to tell me the road to
Toddrington, or to Little Wickham, I think you call it."
"Little Wickham!" repeated the woman, laughing--"Bless you, sir, where
do you come from? It's Little Wrestham: sure every body knows, near
Lantry; and keep the _pike_ till you come to the turn at Rotherford,
and then you strike off into the by-road to the left, and then turn
again at the ford to the right. But, if you are going to Toddrington,
you don't go the road to market, which is at the first turn to the
left, and the cross country road, where there's no quarter, and
Toddrington lies--but for Wrestham, you take the road to market."
It was some time before our hero could persuade the old woman to stick
to Little Wrestham, or to Toddrington, and not to mix the directions
for the different roads together--he took patience, for his impatience
only confused his director the more. In process of time he made out,
and wrote down, the various turns that he was to follow, to reach
Little Wrestham; but no human power could get her from Little Wrestham
to Toddrington, though she knew the road perfectly well; but she had,
for the seventeen last years, been used to go "the other road," and
all the carriers went that way, and passed the door, and that was all
she could certify.
Little Wrestham, after turning to the left and right as often as his
directory required, our hero happily reached: but, unhappily, he
found no Mr. Reynolds there; only a steward, who gave nearly the same
account of his master as had been given by the old woman, and could
not guess even where the gentleman might now be. Toddrington was as
likely as any place--but he could not say.
"Perseverance against fortune." To Toddrington our hero proceeded,
through cross country roads--such roads!--very different from the
Irish roads. Waggon ruts, into which the carriage wheels sunk nearly
to the nave--and, from time to time, "sloughs of despond," through
which it seemed impossible to drag, walk, wade, or swim, and all the
time with a sulky postilion. "Oh, how unlike my Larry!" thought Lord
At length, in a very narrow lane, going up a hill, said to be two
miles of ascent, they overtook a heavy laden waggon, and they were
obliged to go step by step behind it, whilst, enjoying the gentleman's
impatience much, and the postilion's sulkiness more, the waggoner, in
his embroidered frock, walked in state, with his long sceptre in his
The postilion muttered "curses not loud, but deep." Deep or loud, no
purpose would they have answered; the waggoner's temper was proof
against curse in or out of the English language; and from their
snail's pace neither _Dickens_, nor devil, nor any postilion in
England could make him put his horses. Lord Colambre jumped out of the
chaise, and, walking beside him, began to talk to him; and spoke of
his horses, their bells, their trappings; the beauty and strength
of the thill-horse--the value of the whole team, which his lordship
happening to guess right within ten pounds, and showing, moreover,
some skill about road-making and waggon-wheels, and being fortunately
of the waggoner's own opinion in the great question about conical and
cylindrical rims, he was pleased with the young chap of a gentleman;
and, in spite of the chuffiness of his appearance and churlishness of
his speech, this waggoner's bosom being "made of penetrable stuff," he
determined to let the gentleman pass. Accordingly, when half way up
the hill, and the head of the fore-horse came near an open gate, the
waggoner, without saying one word or turning his head, touched the
horse with his long whip--and the horse turned in at the gate, and
then came, "Dobbin!--Jeho!" and strange calls and sounds, which all
the other horses of the team obeyed; and the waggon turned into the
"Now, master! while I turn, you may pass."
The covering of the waggon caught in the hedge as the waggon turned
in; and as the sacking was drawn back, some of the packages were
disturbed--a cheese was just rolling off on the side next Lord
Colambre; he stopped it from falling: the direction caught his quick
eye--"To Ralph Reynolds, Esq."--"_Toddrington_" scratched out; "Red
Lion Square, London," written in another hand below.
"Now I have found him! And surely I know that hand!" said Lord
Colambre to himself, looking more closely at the direction.
The original direction was certainly in a hand-writing well known to
him--it was Lady Dashfort's.
"That there cheese, that you're looking at so cur'ously," said the
waggoner, "has been a great traveller; for it came all the way down
from Lon'on, and now its going all the way up again back, on account
of not finding the gentleman at home; and the man that booked it told
me as how it came from foreign parts."
Lord Colambre took down the direction, tossed the honest waggoner a
guinea, wished him good night, passed, and went on. As soon as he
could, he turned into the London road--at the first town, got a place
in the mail--reached London--saw his father--went directly to his
friend, Count O'Halloran, who was delighted when he beheld the packet.
Lord Colambre was extremely eager to go immediately to old Reynolds,
fatigued as he was; for he had travelled night and day, and had
scarcely allowed himself, mind or body, one moment's repose.
"Heroes must sleep, and lovers too; or they soon will cease to be
heroes or lovers!" said the count. "Rest, rest, perturbed spirit! this
night; and to-morrow morning we'll finish the adventures in Red Lion
Square, or I will accompany you when and where you will; if necessary,
to earth's remotest bounds."
The next morning Lord Colambre went to breakfast with the count. The
count, who was not in love, was not up, for our hero was half an
hour earlier than the time appointed. The old servant Ulick, who had
attended his master to England, was very glad to see Lord Colambre
again, and, showing him into the breakfast parlour, could not help
saying, in defence of his master's punctuality, "Your clocks, I
suppose, my lord, are half an hour faster than ours: my master will be
ready to the moment."
The count soon appeared--breakfast was soon over, and the carriage at
the door; for the count sympathized in his young friend's impatience.
As they were setting out, the count's large Irish dog pushed out of
the house-door to follow them; and his master would have forbidden
him, but Lord Colambre begged that he might be permitted to accompany
them; for his lordship recollected the old woman's having mentioned
that Mr. Reynolds was fond of dogs.
They arrived in Red Lion Square, found the house of Mr. Reynolds, and,
contrary to the count's prognostics, found the old gentleman up, and
they saw him in his red night-cap at his parlour window. After some
minutes' running backwards and forwards of a boy in the passage, and
two or three peeps taken over the blinds by the old gentleman, they
The boy could not master their names; so they were obliged
reciprocally to announce themselves--"Count O'Halloran and Lord
Colambre." The names seemed to make no impression on the old
gentleman; but he deliberately looked at the count and his lordship,
as if studying _what_ rather than _who_ they were. In spite of the red
night-cap, and a flowered dressing-gown, Mr. Reynolds looked like a
gentleman, an odd gentleman--but still a gentleman.
As Count O'Halloran came into the room, and as his large dog attempted
to follow, the count's look expressed--
"Say, shall I let him in, or shut the door?"
"Oh, let him in, by all means, sir, if you please! I am fond of
dogs; and a finer one I never saw: pray, gentlemen, be seated," said
he--a portion of the complacency, inspired by the sight of the dog,
diffusing itself over his manner towards the master of so fine an
animal, and even extending to the master's companion, though in an
inferior degree. Whilst Mr. Reynolds stroked the dog, the count told
him that "the dog was of a curious breed, now almost extinct--the
Irish greyhound; only one nobleman in Ireland, it is said, has a few
of the species remaining in his possession--Now, lie down, Hannibal,"
said the count. "Mr. Reynolds, we have taken the liberty, though
strangers, of waiting upon you--"
"I beg your pardon, sir," interrupted Mr. Reynolds; "but did I
understand you rightly, that a few of the same species are still to be
had from one nobleman in Ireland? Pray, what is his name?" said he,
taking out his pencil.
The count wrote the name for him, but observed, that "he had asserted
only that a few of these dogs remained in the possession of that
nobleman; he could not answer for it that they were _to be had_."
"Oh, I have ways and means," said old Reynolds; and, rapping his
snuff-box, and talking, as it was his custom, loud to himself, "Lady
Dashfort knows all those Irish lords: she shall get one for me--ay!
Count O'Halloran replied, as if the words had been addressed to him,
"Lady Dashfort is in England."
"I know it, sir; she is in London," said Mr. Reynolds, hastily. "What
do you know of her?"
"I know, sir, that she is not likely to return to Ireland, and
that I am; and so is my young friend here: and if the thing can be
accomplished, we will get it done for you."
Lord Colambre joined in this promise, and added, that, "if the dog
could be obtained, he would undertake to have him safely sent over to
"Sir--gentlemen! I'm much obliged; that is, when you have done the
thing I shall be much obliged. But, may be, you are only making me
"Of that, sir," said the count, smiling with much temper, "your own
sagacity and knowledge of the world must enable you to judge."
"For my own part, I can only say," cried Lord Colambre, "that I am not
in the habit of being reproached with saying one thing and meaning
"Hot! I see," said old Reynolds, nodding as he looked at Lord
Colambre: "Cool!" added he, nodding at the count. "But a time for
every thing; I was hot once: both answers good for their ages."
This speech Lord Colambre and the count tacitly agreed to consider as
another _apart_, which they were not to hear, or seem to hear. The
count began again on the business of their visit, as he saw that Lord
Colambre was boiling with impatience, and feared that he should _boil
over_, and spoil all. The count commenced with, "Mr. Reynolds, your
name sounds to me like the name of a friend; for I had once a friend
of that name: I once had the pleasure (and a very great pleasure it
was to me) to be intimately acquainted abroad, on the continent, with
a very amiable and gallant youth--your son!"
"Take care, sir," said the old man, starting up from his chair,
and instantly sinking down again, "take care! Don't mention him to
me--unless you would strike me dead on the spot!"
The convulsed motions of his fingers and face worked for some moments;
whilst the count and Lord Colambre, much shocked and alarmed, stood in
The convulsed motions ceased; and the old man unbuttoned his
waistcoat, as if to relieve some sense of oppression; uncovered his
gray hairs; and, after leaning back to rest himself, with his eyes
fixed, and in reverie for a few moments, he sat upright again in his
chair, and exclaimed, as he looked round, "Son!--Did not somebody say
that word? Who is so cruel to say that word before me? Nobody has ever
spoken of him to me--but once, since his death! Do you know, sir,"
said he, fixing his eyes on Count O'Halloran, and laying his cold
hand on him, "do you know where he was buried, I ask you, sir? do you
remember how he died?"
"Too well! too well!" cried the count, so much affected as to be
scarcely able to pronounce the words; "he died in my arms: I buried
"Impossible!" cried Mr. Reynolds. "Why do you say so, sir?" said he,
studying the count's face with a sort of bewildered earnestness.
"Impossible! His body was sent over to me in a lead coffin; and I saw
it--and I was asked--and I answered, 'In the family vault.' But the
shock is over," said he: "and, gentlemen, if the business of your
visit relates to that subject, I trust I am now sufficiently composed
to attend to you. Indeed, I ought to be prepared; for I had reason,
for years, to expect the stroke; and yet, when it came, it seemed
sudden!--it stunned me--put an end to all my worldly prospects--left
me childless, without a single descendant, or relation near enough to
be dear to me! I am an insulated being!"
"No, sir, you are not an insulated being," said Lord Colambre: "You
have a near relation, who will, who must, be dear to you; who will
make you amends for all you have lost, all you have suffered--who will
bring peace and joy to your heart: you have a grand-daughter."
"No, sir; I have no grand-daughter," said old Reynolds, his face and
whole form becoming rigid with the expression of obstinacy. "Rather
have no descendant than be forced to acknowledge an illegitimate
"My lord, I entreat as a friend--I command you to be patient," said
the count, who saw Lord Colambre's indignation suddenly rise.
"So, then, this is the purpose of your visit," continued old Reynolds:
"and you come from my enemies, from the St. Omars, and you are in a
league with them," continued old Reynolds: "and all this time it is of
my eldest son you have been talking."
"Yes, sir," replied the count; "of Captain Reynolds, who fell in
battle, in the Austrian service, about nineteen years ago--a more
gallant and amiable youth never lived."
Pleasure revived through the dull look of obstinacy in the father's
"He was, as you say, sir, a gallant, an amiable youth, once--and he
was my pride, and I loved him, too, once--but did not you know I had
"No, sir, we did not--we are, you may perceive, totally ignorant of
your family and of your affairs--we have no connexion whatever or
knowledge of any of the St. Omars."
"I detest the sound of the name," cried Lord Colambre.
"Oh, good! good!--Well! well! I beg your pardon, gentlemen, a thousand
times--I am a hasty, very hasty old man; but I have been harassed,
persecuted, hunted by wretches, who got a scent of my gold; often in
my rage I longed to throw my treasure-bags to my pursuers, and bid
them leave me to die in peace. You have feelings, I see, both of you,
gentlemen; excuse, and bear with my temper."
"Bear with you! Much enforced, the best tempers will emit a hasty
spark," said the count, looking at Lord Colambre, who was now cool
again; and who, with a countenance full of compassion, sat with his
eyes fixed upon the poor--no, not the poor, but the unhappy old man.
"Yes, I had another son," continued Mr. Reynolds, "and on him all my
affections concentrated when I lost my eldest, and for him I desired
to preserve the estate which his mother brought into the family. Since
you know nothing of my affairs, let me explain to you: that estate was
so settled, that it would have gone to the child, even the daughter of
my eldest son, if there had been a legitimate child. But I knew there
was no marriage, and I held out firm to my opinion. 'If there was
a marriage,' said I, 'show me the marriage certificate, and I will
acknowledge the marriage, and acknowledge the child:' but they could
not, and I knew they could not; and I kept the estate for my darling
boy," cried the old gentleman, with the exultation of successful
positiveness again appearing strong in his physiognomy: but, suddenly
changing and relaxing, his countenance fell, and he added, "but now I
have no darling boy. What use all!--all must go to the heir at law, or
I must will it to a stranger--a lady of quality, who has just found
out she is my relation--God knows how! I'm no genealogist--and sends
me Irish cheese, and Iceland moss, for my breakfast, and her waiting
gentlewoman to namby-pamby me. Oh, I'm sick of it all--see through
it--wish I was blind--wish I had a hiding-place, where flatterers
could not find me--pursued, chased--must change my lodgings again
to-morrow--will, will--I beg your pardon, gentlemen, again: you were
going to tell me, sir, something more of my eldest son; and how I was
led away from the subject, I don't know; but I meant only to have
assured you that his memory was dear to me, till I was so tormented
about that unfortunate affair of his pretended marriage, that at