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CELT AND SAXON
By George Meredith
I. WHEREIN AN EXCURSION IS MADE IN A CELTIC MIND
II. MR. ADISTER
IV. THE PRINCESS
V. AT THE PIANOS CHIEFLY WITHOUT MUSIC
VI. A CONSULTATION: WITH OPINIONS UPON WELSH WOMEN AND THE CAMBRIAN
VII. THE MINIATURE
VIII. CAPTAIN CON AND MRS. ADISTER O'DONNELL
IX. THE CAPTAIN'S CABIN
X. THE BROTHERS
XI. INTRODUCING A NEW CHARACTER
XII. MISS MATTOCK
XIII. THE DINNER-PARTY
XIV. OF ROCKNEY
XV. THE MATTOCK FAMILY
XVI. OF THE GREAT MR. BULL AND THE CELTIC AND SAXON VIEW OF HIM:
AND SOMETHING OF RICHARD ROCKNEY
XVII. CROSSING THE RUBICON
XVIII. CAPTAIN CON'S LETTER
X1X. MARS CONVALESCENT
CELT AND SAXON
WHEREIN AN EXCURSION IS MADE IN A CELTIC MIND
A young Irish gentleman of the numerous clan O'Donnells, and a Patrick,
hardly a distinction of him until we know him, had bound himself, by
purchase of a railway-ticket, to travel direct to the borders of North
Wales, on a visit to a notable landowner of those marches, the Squire
Adister, whose family-seat was where the hills begin to lift and spy into
the heart of black mountains. Examining his ticket with an apparent
curiosity, the son of a greener island debated whether it would not be
better for him to follow his inclinations, now that he had gone so far as
to pay for the journey, and stay. But his inclinations were also subject
to question, upon his considering that he had expended pounds English for
the privilege of making the journey in this very train. He asked himself
earnestly what was the nature of the power which forced him to do it--a
bad genius or a good: and it seemed to him a sort of answer, inasmuch as
it silenced the contending parties, that he had been the victim of an
impetus. True; still his present position involved a certain outlay of
money simply, not at all his bondage to the instrument it had procured
for him, and that was true; nevertheless, to buy a ticket to shy it away
is an incident so uncommon, that if we can but pause to dwell on the
singularity of the act, we are unlikely to abjure our fellowship with
them who would not be guilty of it; and therefore, by the aid of his
reflections and a remainder of the impetus, Mr. Patrick O'Donnell stepped
into a carriage of the train like any ordinary English traveller, between
whom and his destination there is an agreement to meet if they can.
It is an experience of hesitating minds, be they Saxon or others, that
when we have submitted our persons to the charge of public companies,
immediately, as if the renouncing of our independence into their hands
had given us a taste of a will of our own, we are eager for the
performance of their contract to do what we are only half inclined to;
the train cannot go fast enough to please us, though we could excuse it
for breaking down; stoppages at stations are impertinences, and the
delivery of us at last on the platform is an astonishment, for it is not
we who have done it--we have not even desired it. To be imperfectly in
accord with the velocity precipitating us upon a certain point, is to be
going without our heads, which have so much the habit of supposing it
must be whither we intend, when we go in a determined manner, that a,
doubt of it distracts the understanding--decapitates us; suddenly to
alight, moreover, and find ourselves dropped at the heels of flying Time,
like an unconsidered bundle, is anything but a reconstruction of the
edifice. The natural revelry of the blood in speed suffers a violent
shock, not to speak of our notion of being left behind, quite isolated
and unsound. Or, if you insist, the condition shall be said to belong
exclusively to Celtic nature, seeing that it had been drawn directly from
a scion of one of those tribes.
Young Patrick jumped from the train as headless as good St. Denis. He
was a juvenile thinker, and to discover himself here, where he both
wished and wished not to be, now deeming the negative sternly in the
ascendant, flicked his imagination with awe of the influence of the
railway service upon the destinies of man. Settling a mental debate
about a backward flight, he drove across the land so foreign to his eyes
and affections, and breasted a strong tide of wishes that it were in a
contrary direction. He would rather have looked upon the desert under a
sand-storm, or upon a London suburb yet he looked thirstingly. Each
variation of landscape of the curved highway offered him in a moment
decisive features: he fitted them to a story he knew: the whole circle
was animated by a couple of pale mounted figures beneath no happy light.
For this was the air once breathed by Adiante Adister, his elder brother
Philip's love and lost love: here she had been to Philip flame along the
hill-ridges, his rose-world in the dust-world, the saintly in his
earthly. And how had she rewarded him for that reverential love of her?
She had forborne to kill him. The bitter sylph of the mountain lures men
to climb till she winds them in vapour and leaves them groping, innocent
of the red crags below. The delicate thing had not picked his bones:
Patrick admitted it; he had seen his brother hale and stout not long
back. But oh! she was merciless, she was a witch. If ever queen-witch
was, she was the crowned one!
For a personal proof, now: he had her all round him in a strange district
though he had never cast eye on her. Yonder bare hill she came racing up
with a plume in the wind: she was over the long brown moor, look where he
would: and vividly was she beside the hurrying beck where it made edges
and chattered white. He had not seen, he could not imagine her face:
angelic dashed with demon beauty, was his idea of the woman, and there is
little of a portrait in that; but he was of a world where the elemental
is more individual than the concrete, and unconceived of sight she was a
recognised presence for the green-island brain of a youth whose manner of
hating was to conjure her spirit from the air and let fly his own in
pursuit of her.
It has to be stated that the object of the youngster's expedition to
Earlsfont was perfectly simple in his mind, however much it went against
his nature to perform. it. He came for the purpose of obtaining Miss
Adister's Continental address; to gather what he could of her from her
relatives, and then forthwith to proceed in search of her, that he might
plead with her on behalf of his brother Philip, after a four years'
division of the lovers. Could anything be simpler? He had familiarised
himself with the thought of his advocacy during those four years. His
reluctance to come would have been accountable to the Adisters by a
sentiment of shame at his family's dealings with theirs: in fact, a
military captain of the O'Donnells had in old days played the adventurer
and charmed a maid of a certain age into yielding her hand to him; and
the lady was the squire of Earlsfont's only sister: she possessed funded
property. Shortly after the union, as one that has achieved the goal of
enterprise, the gallant officer retired from the service nor did north-
western England put much to his credit the declaration of his wife's
pronouncing him to be the best of husbands. She naturally said it of him
in eulogy; his own relatives accepted it in some contempt, mixed with a
relish of his hospitality: his wife's were constant in citing his gain by
the marriage. Could he possibly have been less than that? they
exclaimed. An excellent husband, who might easily have been less than
that, he was the most devoted of cousins, and the liberal expenditure of
his native eloquence for the furtherance of Philip's love-suit was the
principal cause of the misfortune, if misfortune it could subsequently be
called to lose an Adiante.
The Adister family were not gifted to read into the heart of a young man
of a fanciful turn. Patrick had not a thought of shame devolving on him
from a kinsman that had shot at a mark and hit it. Who sees the shame of
taking an apple from a garden of the Hesperides? And as England
cultivates those golden, if sometimes wrinkled, fruits, it would have
seemed to him, in thinking about it, an entirely lucky thing for the
finder; while a question of blood would have fired his veins to rival
heat of self-assertion, very loftily towering: there were Kings in
Ireland: cry for one of them in Uladh and you will hear his name, and he
has descendants yet! But the youth was not disposed unnecessarily to
blazon his princeliness. He kept it in modest reserve, as common
gentlemen keep their physical strength. His reluctance to look on
Earlsfont sprang from the same source as unacknowledged craving to see
the place, which had precipitated him thus far upon his road: he had a
horror of scenes where a faithless girl had betrayed her lover. Love was
his visionary temple, and his idea of love was the solitary light in it,
painfully susceptible to coldair currents from the stories of love abroad
over the world. Faithlessness he conceived to be obnoxious to nature; it
stained the earth and was excommunicated; there could be no pardon of the
crime, barely any for repentance. He conceived it in the feminine; for
men are not those holy creatures whose conduct strikes on the soul with
direct edge: a faithless man is but a general villain or funny monster, a
subject rejected of poets, taking no hue in the flat chronicle of
history: but a faithless woman, how shall we speak of her! Women,
sacredly endowed with beauty and the wonderful vibrating note about the
very mention of them, are criminal to hideousness when they betray. Cry,
False! on them, and there is an instant echo of bleeding males in many
circles, like the poor quavering flute-howl of transformed beasts, which
at some remembering touch bewail their higher state. Those women are
sovereignly attractive, too, loathsomely. Therein you may detect the
Our moralist had for some time been glancing at a broad, handsome old
country mansion on the top of a wooded hill backed by a swarm of mountain
heads all purple-dark under clouds flying thick to shallow, as from a
brush of sepia. The dim silver of half-lighted lakewater shot along
below the terrace. He knew the kind of sky, having oftener seen that
than any other, and he knew the house before it was named to him and he
had flung a discolouring thought across it. He contemplated it placably
and studiously, perhaps because the shower-folding armies of the fields
above likened its shadowed stillness to that of his Irish home. There
had this woman lived! At the name of Earlsfont she became this witch,
snake, deception. Earlsfont was the title and summary of her black
story: the reverberation of the word shook up all the chapters to pour
out their poison.
Mr. Patrick O'Donnell drove up to the gates of Earlsfont notwithstanding
these emotions, upon which light matter it is the habit of men of his
blood too much to brood; though it is for our better future to have a
capacity for them, and the insensible race is the oxenish.
But if he did so when alone, the second man residing in the Celt put that
fellow by and at once assumed the social character on his being requested
to follow his card into Mr. Adister's library. He took his impression of
the hall that had heard her voice, the stairs she had descended, the door
she had passed through, and the globes she had perchance laid hand on,
and the old mappemonde, and the severely-shining orderly regiment of
books breathing of her whether she had opened them or not, as he bowed to
his host, and in reply to, 'So, sir! I am glad to see you,' said
swimmingly that Earlsfont was the first house he had visited in this
country: and the scenery reminded him of his part of Ireland: and on
landing at Holyhead he had gone off straight to the metropolis by
appointment to meet his brother Philip, just returned from Canada a full
captain, who heartily despatched his compliments and respects, and hoped
to hear of perfect health in this quarter of the world. And Captain Con
the same, and he was very flourishing.
Patrick's opening speech concluded on the sound of a short laugh coming
from Mr. Adister.
It struck the young Irishman's ear as injurious and scornful in relation
to Captain Con; but the remark ensuing calmed him:
'He has no children.'
'No, sir; Captain Con wasn't born to increase the number of our clan,'
Patrick rejoined; and thought: By heaven! I get a likeness of her out of
you, with a dash of the mother mayhap somewhere. This was his Puck-
manner of pulling a girdle round about from what was foremost in his head
to the secret of his host's quiet observation; for, guessing that such
features as he beheld would be slumped on a handsome family, he was led
by the splendid severity of their lines to perceive an illimitable pride
in the man likely to punish him in his offspring, who would inherit that
as well; so, as is the way with the livelier races, whether they seize
first or second the matter or the spirit of what they hear, the vivid
indulgence of his own ideas helped him to catch the right meaning by the
tail, and he was enlightened upon a domestic unhappiness, although Mr.
Adister had not spoken miserably. The 'dash of the mother' was thrown in
to make Adiante, softer, and leave a loophole for her relenting.
The master of Earlsfont stood for a promise of beauty in his issue,
requiring to be softened at the mouth and along the brows, even in men.
He was tall, and had clear Greek outlines: the lips were locked metal,
thin as edges of steel, and his eyes, when he directed them on the person
he addressed or the person speaking, were as little varied by motion of
the lids as eyeballs of a stone bust. If they expressed more, because
they were not sculptured eyes, it was the expression of his high and
frigid nature rather than any of the diversities pertaining to sentiment
and shades of meaning.
'You have had the bequest of an estate,' Mr. Adister said, to compliment
him by touching on his affairs.
'A small one; not a quarter of a county,' said Patrick.
''Tis a tramp of discovery, sir, to where bog ends and cultivation
'Bequeathed to you exclusively over the head of your elder brother, I
Patrick nodded assent. 'But my purse is Philip's, and my house, and my
'Not bequeathed by a member of your family?'
'By a distant cousin, chancing to have been one of my godmothers.'
'Women do these things,' Mr. Adister said, not in perfect approbation of
'And I think too, it might have gone to the elder,' Patrick replied to
'It is not your intention to be an idle gentleman?'
'No, nor a vagrant Irishman, sir.'
'You propose to sit down over there?'
'When I've more brains to be of service to them and the land, I do.'
Mr. Adister pulled the arm of his chair. 'The professions are crammed.
An Irish gentleman owning land might do worse. I am in favour of some
degree of military training for all gentlemen. You hunt?'
Patrick's look was, 'Give me a chance'; and Mr. Adister continued: 'Good
runs are to be had here; you shall try them. You are something of a
shot, I suppose. We hear of gentlemen now who neither hunt nor shoot.
'That's to say, I've had lessons in the art.'
'I am not aware that there is now an art of fencing taught in Ireland.'
'Nor am I,' said Patrick; 'though there's no knowing what goes on in the
Mr. Adister appeared to acquiesce. Observations of sly import went by
him like the whispering wind.
'Your priests should know,' he said.
To this Patrick thought it well not to reply. After a pause between
them, he referred to the fencing.
'I was taught by a Parisian master of the art, sir.'
'You have been to Paris?'
'I was educated in Paris.'
'How? Ah!' Mr. Adister corrected himself in the higher notes of
recollection. 'I think I have heard something of a Jesuit seminary.'
'The Fathers did me the service to knock all I know into me, and call it
education, by courtesy,' said Patrick, basking in the unobscured frown of
'Then you are accustomed to speak French?' The interrogation was put to
extract some balm from the circumstance.
Patrick tried his art of fence with the absurdity by saying: 'All but
like a native.'
'These Jesuits taught you the use of the foils?'
'They allowed me the privilege of learning, sir.'
After meditation, Mr. Adister said: 'You don't dance?' He said it
speculating on the' kind of gentleman produced in Paris by the disciples
'Pardon me, sir, you hit on another of my accomplishments.'
'These Jesuits encourage dancing?'
'The square dance--short of the embracing: the valse is under interdict.'
Mr. Adister peered into his brows profoundly for a glimpse of the devilry
in that exclusion of the valse.
What object had those people in encouraging the young fellow to be a
perfect fencer and dancer, so that he should be of the school of the
polite world, and yet subservient to them?
'Thanks to the Jesuits, then, you are almost a Parisian,' he remarked;
provoking the retort
'Thanks to them, I've stored a little, and Paris is to me as pure a place
as four whitewashed walls:' Patrick added: 'without a shadow of a monk on
them.' Perhaps it was thrown in for the comfort of mundane ears afflicted
sorely, and no point of principle pertained to the slur on a monk.
Mr. Adister could have exclaimed, That shadow of the monk! had he been
in an exclamatory mood. He said: 'They have not made a monk of you,
Patrick was minded to explain how that the Jesuits are a religious order
exercising worldly weapons. The lack of precise words admonished him of
the virtue of silence, and he retreated--with a quiet negative: 'They
'Then, you are no Jesuit?' he was asked.
Thinking it scarcely required a response, he shrugged.
'You would not change your religion, sir?' said Mr. Adister in seeming
Patrick thought he would have to rise: he half fancied himself summoned
to change his religion or depart from the house.
'Not I,' said he.
'Not for the title of Prince?' he was further pressed, and he replied:
'I don't happen to have an ambition for the title of Prince.'
'Or any title!' interjected Mr. Adister, 'or whatever the devil can
offer!--or,' he spoke more pointedly, 'for what fools call a brilliant
'My religion?' Patrick now treated the question seriously and raised his
head: 'I'd not suffer myself to be asked twice.'
The sceptical northern-blue eyes of his host dwelt on him with their full
The young Catholic gentleman expected he might hear a frenetic zealot
roar out: Be off!
He was not immediately reassured by the words 'Dead or alive, then, you
have a father!'
The spectacle of a state of excitement without a show of feeling was
novel to Patrick. He began to see that he was not implicated in a wrath
that referred to some great offender, and Mr. Adister soon confirmed his
view by saying: 'You are no disgrace to your begetting, sir!'
With that he quitted his chair, and hospitably proposed to conduct his
guest over the house and grounds.
Men of the Adister family having taken to themselves brides of a very
dusty pedigree from the Principality, there were curious rough heirlooms
to be seen about the house, shields on the armoury walls and hunting-
horns, and drinking-horns, and spears, and chain-belts bearing clasps of
heads of beasts; old gold ornaments, torques, blue-stone necklaces, under
glass-cases, were in the library; huge rings that must have given the
wearers fearful fists; a shirt of coarse linen with a pale brown spot on
the breast, like a fallen beech-leaf; and many sealed parchment-skins,
very precious, for an inspection of which, as Patrick was bidden to
understand, History humbly knocked at the Earlsfont hall-doors; and the
proud muse made her transcripts of them kneeling. He would have been
affected by these wonders had any relic of Adiante appeased his thirst.
Or had there been one mention of her, it would have disengaged him from
the incessant speculations regarding the daughter of the house, of whom
not a word was uttered. No portrait of her was shown. Why was she
absent from her home so long? where was she? How could her name be
started? And was it she who was the sinner in her father's mind? But
the idolatrous love between Adiante and her father was once a legend:
they could not have been cut asunder. She had offered up her love of
Philip as a sacrifice to it: Patrick recollected that, and now with a
softer gloom on his brooding he released her from the burden of his grand
charge of unfaithfulness to the truest of lovers, by acknowledging that
he was in the presence of the sole rival of his brother. Glorious girl
that she was, her betrayal of Philip had nothing of a woman's base
caprice to make it infamous: she had sacrificed him to her reading of
duty; and that was duty to her father; and the point of duty was in this
instance rather a sacred one. He heard voices murmur that she might be
praised. He remonstrated with them, assuring them, as one who knew, that
a woman's first duty is her duty to her lover; her parents are her second
thought. Her lover, in the consideration of a real soul among the shifty
creatures, is her husband; and have we not the word of heaven directing
her to submit herself to him who is her husband before all others? That
peerless Adiante had previously erred in the upper sphere where she
received her condemnation, but such a sphere is ladder and ladder and
silver ladder high above your hair-splitting pates, you children of
earth, and it is not for you to act on the verdict in decrying her:
rather 'tis for you to raise hymns of worship to a saint.
Thus did the ingenious Patrick change his ground and gain his argument
with the celerity of one who wins a game by playing it without an
adversary. Mr. Adister had sprung a new sense in him on the subject of
the renunciation of the religion. No thought of a possible apostasy had
ever occurred to the youth, and as he was aware that the difference of
their faith had been the main cause of the division of Adiante and
Philip, he could at least consent to think well of her down here, that
is, on our flat surface of earth. Up there, among the immortals, he was
compelled to shake his head at her still, and more than sadly in certain
moods of exaltation, reprovingly; though she interested him beyond all
her sisterhood above, it had to be confessed.
They traversed a banqueting-hall hung with portraits, to two or three of
which the master of Earlsfont carelessly pointed, for his guest to be
interested in them or not as he might please. A reception-hall flung
folding-doors on a grand drawing-room, where the fires in the grates went
through the ceremony of warming nobody, and made a show of keeping the
house alive. A modern steel cuirass, helmet and plume at a corner of the
armoury reminded Mr. Adister to say that he had worn the uniform in his
day. He cast an odd look at the old shell containing him when he was a
brilliant youth. Patrick was marched on to Colonel Arthur's rooms, and
to Captain David's, the sailor. Their father talked of his two sons.
They appeared to satisfy him. If that was the case, they could hardly
have thrown off their religion. Already Patrick had a dread of naming
the daughter. An idea struck him that she might be the person who had
been guilty of it over there on the Continent. What if she had done it,
upon a review of her treatment of her lover, and gone into a convent to
wait for Philip to come and claim her?--saying, 'Philip, I've put the
knife to my father's love of me; love me double'; and so she just half
swoons, enough to show how the dear angel looks in her sleep: a trick of
kindness these heavenly women have, that we heathen may get a peep of
their secret rose-enfolded selves; and dream 's no word, nor drunken, for
the blessed mischief it works with us.
Supposing it so, it accounted for everything: for her absence, and her
father's abstention from a mention of her, and the pretty good sort of
welcome Patrick had received; for as yet it was unknown that she did it
all for an O'Donnell.
These being his reflections, he at once accepted a view of her that so
agreeably quieted his perplexity, and he leapt out of his tangle into the
happy open spaces where the romantic things of life are as natural as the
sun that rises and sets. There you imagine what you will; you live what
you imagine. An Adiante meets her lover another Adiante, the phantom
likeness of her, similar to the finger-tips, hovers to a meeting with
some one whose heart shakes your manful frame at but a thought of it.
But this other Adiante is altogether a secondary conception, barely
descried, and chased by you that she may interpret the mystical nature of
the happiness of those two, close-linked to eternity, in advance. You
would learn it, if she would expound it; you are ready to learn it, for
the sake of knowledge; and if you link yourself to her and do as those
two are doing, it is chiefly in a spirit of imitation, in sympathy with
the darting couple ahead . . . .
Meanwhile he conversed, and seemed, to a gentleman unaware of the
vaporous activities of his brain, a young fellow of a certain practical
'We have not much to teach you in: horseflesh,' Mr. Adister said,
quitting the stables to proceed to the gardens.
'We must look alive to keep up our breed, sir,' said Patrick. 'We're
breeding too fine: and soon we shan't be able to horse our troopers. I
call that the land for horses where the cavalry's well-mounted on a
'You have your brother's notions of cavalry, have you!'
'I leave it to Philip to boast what cavalry can do on the field. He
knows: but he knows that troopers must be mounted: and we're fineing more
and more from bone: with the sales to foreigners! and the only chance
of their not beating us is that they'll be so good as follow our bad
example. Prussia's well horsed, and for the work it's intended to do,
the Austrian light cavalry's a model. So I'm told. I'll see for myself.
Then we sit our horses too heavy. The Saxon trooper runs headlong to
flesh. 'Tis the beer that fattens and swells him. Properly to speak,
we've no light cavalry. The French are studying it, and when they take
to studying, they come to the fore. I'll pay a visit to their breeding
establishments. We've no studying here, and not a scrap of system that
I see. All the country seems armed for bullying the facts, till the
periodical panic arrives, and then it 's for lying flat and roaring--
and we'll drop the curtain, if you please.'
'You say we,' returned Mr. Adister. 'I hear you launched at us English
by the captain, your cousin, who has apparently yet to learn that we are
'We 're held together and a trifle intermixed; I fancy it's we with him
and with me when we're talking of army or navy,' said Patrick. 'But
Captain Con's a bit of a politician: a poor business, when there's
nothing to be done.'
'A very poor business!' Mr. Adister rejoined,
'If you'd have the goodness to kindle his enthusiasm, he'd be for the
first person plural, with his cap in the air,' said Patrick.
'I detest enthusiasm.
'You're not obliged to adore it to give it a wakener.
'Pray, what does that mean?'
Patrick cast about to reply to the formal challenge for an explanation.
He began on it as it surged up to him: 'Well, sir, the country that's got
hold of us, if we 're not to get loose. We don't count many millions in
Europe, and there's no shame in submitting to force majeure, if a stand
was once made; and we're mixed up, 'tis true, well or ill; and we're
stronger, both of us, united than tearing to strips: and so, there, for
the past! so long as we can set our eyes upon something to admire,
instead of a bundle squatting fat on a pile of possessions and vowing she
won't budge; and taking kicks from a big foot across the Atlantic, and
shaking bayonets out of her mob-cap for a little one's cock of the eye at
her: and she's all for the fleshpots, and calls the rest of mankind fools
because they're not the same: and so long as she can trim her ribands and
have her hot toast and tea, with a suspicion of a dram in it, she doesn't
mind how heavy she sits: nor that 's not the point, nor 's the land
question, nor the potato crop, if only she wore the right sort of face
to look at, with a bit of brightness about it, to show an idea inside
striking alight from the day that's not yet nodding at us, as the tops of
big mountains do: or if she were only braced and gallant, and cried,
Ready, though I haven't much outlook! We'd be satisfied with her for a
handsome figure. I don't know whether we wouldn't be satisfied with her
for politeness in her manners. We'd like her better for a spice of
devotion to alight higher up in politics and religion. But the key of
the difficulty's a sparkle of enthusiasm. It's part business, and the
greater part sentiment. We want a rousing in the heart of us; or else
we'd be pleased with her for sitting so as not to overlap us entirely:
we'd feel more at home, and behold her more respectfully. We'd see the
policy of an honourable union, and be joined to you by more than a
telegraphic cable. That's Captain Con, I think, and many like him.'
Patrick finished his airy sketch of the Irish case in a key signifying
that he might be one among the many, but unobtrusive.
'Stick to horses!' observed Mr. Adister.
It was pronounced as the termination to sheer maundering.
Patrick talked on the uppermost topic for the remainder of their stroll.
He noticed that his host occasionally allowed himself to say, 'You
Irish': and he reflected that the saying, 'You English,' had been hinted
as an offence.
He forgot to think that he had possibly provoked this alienation in a
scornfully proud spirit. The language of metaphor was to Mr. Adister
fool's froth. He conceded the use of it to the Irish and the Welsh as a
right that stamped them for what they were by adopting it; and they might
look on a country as a 'she,' if it amused them: so long as they were not
recalcitrant, they were to be tolerated, they were a part of us;
doubtless the nether part, yet not the less a part for which we are bound
to exercise a specially considerate care, or else we suffer, for we are
sensitive there: this is justice but the indications by fiddle-faddle
verbiage of anything objectionable to the whole in the part aroused an
irritability that speedily endued him with the sense of sanity opposing
lunacy; when, not having a wide command of the undecorated plain speech
which enjoyed his approval, he withdrew into the entrenchments of
Patrick heard enough to let him understand why the lord of Earlsfont and
Captain Con were not on the best of terms. Once or twice he had a twinge
or suspicion of a sting from the tone of his host, though he was not
political and was of a mood to pity the poor gentleman's melancholy state
of solitariness, with all his children absent, his wife dead, only a
niece, a young lady of twenty, to lend an air of grace and warmth to his
She was a Caroline, and as he had never taken a liking to a Caroline,
he classed her in the tribe of Carolines. To a Kathleen, an Eveleen, a
Nora, or a Bessy, or an Alicia, he would have bowed more cordially on his
introduction to her, for these were names with portraits and vistas
beyond, that shook leaves of recollection of the happiest of life--the
sweet things dreamed undesiringly in opening youth. A Caroline awakened
no soft association of fancies, no mysterious heaven and earth. The
others had variously tinted skies above them; their features wooed the
dream, led it on as the wooded glen leads the eye till we are deep in
richness. Nor would he have throbbed had one of any of his favourite
names appeared in the place of Caroline Adister. They had not moved his
heart, they had only stirred the sources of wonder. An Eveleen had
carried him farthest to imagine the splendours of an Adiante, and the
announcement of the coming of an Eveleen would perchance have sped a
little wild fire, to which what the world calls curiosity is frozenly
akin, through his veins.
Mr. Adister had spoken of his niece Caroline. A lacquey, receiving
orders from his master, mentioned Miss Adister. There was but one Miss
Adister for Patrick. Against reason, he was raised to anticipate the
possible beholding of her, and Caroline's entrance into the drawing-room
brought him to the ground. Disappointment is a poor term for the descent
from an immoderate height, but the acknowledgment that we have shot up
irrationally reconciles even unphilosophical youth to the necessity of
the fall, though we must continue sensible of a shock. She was the Miss
Adister; and how, and why? No one else accompanied them on their march
to the dinner-table. Patrick pursued his double task of hunting his
thousand speculations and conversing fluently, so that it is not
astonishing if, when he retired to his room, the impression made on him
by this young Caroline was inefficient to distinguish her from the horde
of her baptismal sisters. And she had a pleasant face: he was able to
see that, and some individuality in the look of it, the next morning; and
then he remembered the niceness of her manners. He supposed her to have
been educated where the interfusion of a natural liveliness with a
veiling retenue gives the title of lady. She had enjoyed the advantage
of having an estimable French lady for her governess, she informed him,
as they sauntered together on the terrace.
'A Protestant, of course,' Patrick spoke as he thought.
'Madame Dugue is a Catholic of Catholics, and the most honourable of
'That I'll believe; and wasn't for proselytisms,' said he.
'Oh, no: she was faithful to her trust.'
'Save for the grand example!'
'That,' said Caroline, 'one could strive to imitate without embracing her
'There's my mind clear as print!' Patrick exclaimed. 'The Faith of my
fathers! and any pattern you like for my conduct, if it's a good one.'
Caroline hesitated before she said: 'You have noticed my Uncle Adister's
prepossession; I mean, his extreme sensitiveness on that subject.'
'He blazed on me, and he seemed to end by a sort of approval.'
She sighed. 'He has had cause for great unhappiness.'
'Is it the colonel, or the captain? Forgive me!'
Her head shook.
'Is it she? Is it his daughter? I must ask!'
'You have not heard?'
Oh! then, I guessed it,' cried Patrick, with a flash of pride in his
arrowy sagacity. 'Not a word have I heard, but I thought it out for
myself; because I love my brother, I fancy. And now, if you'll be so
good, Miss Caroline, let me beg, it's just the address, or the city, or
the country--where she is, can you tell me?--just whereabouts! You're
surprised: but I want her address, to be off, to see her; I'm anxious to
speak to her. It's anywhere she may be in a ring, only show me the ring,
I'll find her, for I've a load; and there's nothing like that for sending
you straight, though it's in the dark; it acts like an instinct. But you
know the clear address, and won't let me be running blindfold. She's on
the Continent and has been a long time, and it was the capital of
Austria, which is a Catholic country, and they've Irish blood in the
service there, or they had. I could drop on my knees to you!'
The declaration was fortunately hushed by a supplicating ardour, or Mr.
Adister would have looked more surprised than his niece. He stepped out
of the library window as they were passing, and, evidently with a mind
occupied by his own affairs, held up an opened letter for Caroline's
perusal. She took a view of the handwriting.
'Any others?' she said.
'You will consider that one enough for the day,' was his answer.
Patrick descended the terrace and strolled by the waterside, grieved at
their having bad news, and vexed with himself for being a stranger,
unable to console them.
Half an hour later they were all three riding to the market-town, where
Mr. Adister paid a fruitless call on his lawyer.
'And never is at home! never was known to be at home when wanted!' he
said, springing back to the saddle.
Caroline murmured some soothing words. They had a perverse effect.
'His partner! yes, his partner is at home, but I do not communicate
upon personal business with his partner; and by and by there will be,
I suppose, a third partner. I might as well deposit my family history
in the hands of a club. His partner is always visible. It is my belief
that Camminy has taken a partner that he may act the independent
gentleman at his leisure. I, meantime, must continue to be the mark for
these letters. I shall expect soon to hear myself abused as the positive
cause of the loss of a Crown!'
'Mr. Camminy will probably appear at the dinner hour,' said Caroline.
'Claret attracts him: I wish I could say as much of duty,' rejoined her
Patrick managed to restrain a bubbling remark on the respective charms of
claret and duty, tempting though the occasion was for him to throw in a
conversational word or two.
He was rewarded for listening devoutly.
Mr. Adister burst out again: 'And why not come over here to settle this
transaction herself?--provided that I am spared the presence of her
Schinderhannes! She could very well come. I have now received three
letters bearing on this matter within as many months. Down to the sale
of her hereditary jewels! I profess no astonishment. The jewels may
well go too, if Crydney and Welvas are to go. Disrooted body and soul!
--for a moonshine title!--a gaming-table foreign knave!--Known for a
knave!--A young gentlewoman?--a wild Welsh . . . !'
Caroline put her horse to a canter, and the exclamations ended, leaving
Patrick to shuffle them together and read the riddle they presented, and
toss them to the wind, that they might be blown back on him by the powers
of air in an intelligible form.
Dinner, and a little piano-music and a song closed an evening that was
not dull to Patrick in spite of prolonged silences. The quiet course of
things within the house appeared to him to have a listening ear for big
events outside. He dreaded a single step in the wrong direction, and
therefore forbore to hang on any of his conjectures; for he might
perchance be unjust to the blessedest heroine on the surface of the
earth--a truly awful thought! Yet her name would no longer bear the
speaking of it to himself. It conjured up a smoky moon under confounding
Who was Schinderhannes?
Mr. Adister had said, her Schinderhannes.
Patrick merely wished to be informed who the man was, and whether he had
a title, and was much of a knave: and particularly Patrick would have
liked to be informed of the fellow's religion. But asking was not easy.
It was not possible. And there was a barrel of powder to lay a fiery
head on, for a pillow!
To confess that he had not the courage to inquire was as good as an
acknowledgment that he knew too much for an innocent questioner. And
what did he know? His brother Philip's fair angel forbade him to open
the door upon what he knew. He took a peep through fancy's keyhole, and
delighted himself to think that he had seen nothing.
After a turbulent night with Schinderhannes, who let him go no earlier
than the opening of a December day, Patrick hied away to one of the dusky
nooks by the lake for a bracing plunge. He attributed to his desire for
it the strange deadness of the atmosphere, and his incapacity to get an
idea out of anything he looked on: he had not a sensation of cold till
the stinging element gripped him. It is the finest school for the cure
of dreamers; two minutes of stout watery battle, with the enemy close all
round, laughing, but not the less inveterate, convinced him that, in
winter at least, we have only to jump out of our clothes to feel the
reality of things in a trice. The dip was sharpening; he could say that
his prescription was good for him; his craving to get an idea ceased with
it absolutely, and he stood in far better trim to meet his redoubtable
adversary of overnight; but the rascal was a bandit and had robbed him of
his purse; that was a positive fact; his vision had gone; he felt himself
poor and empty and rejoicing in the keenness of his hunger for breakfast,
singularly lean. A youth despoiled of his Vision and made sensible by
the activity of his physical state that he is a common machine, is eager
for meat, for excess of whatsoever you may offer him; he is on the
highroad of recklessness, and had it been the bottle instead of
Caroline's coffee-cup, Patrick would soon have received a priming for a
delivery of views upon the sex, and upon love, and the fools known as
lovers, acrid enough to win the applause of cynics.
Boasting was the best relief that a young man not without modesty could
find. Mr. Adister complimented him on the robustness of his habits, and
Patrick 'would like to hear of the temptation that could keep him from
his morning swim.'
Caroline's needle-thrust was provoked:
'Would not Arctic weather deter you, Mr. O'Donnell?' He hummed, and her
eyes filled with the sparkle.
'Short of Arctic,' he had to say. 'But a gallop, after an Arctic bath,
would soon spin the blood-upon an Esquimaux dog, of course,' he pursued,
to anticipate his critic's remark on the absence of horses, with a bow.
She smiled, accepting the mental alertness he fastened on her.
We must perforce be critics of these tear-away wits; which are, moreover,
so threadbare to conceal the character! Caroline led him to vaunt his
riding and his shooting, and a certain time passed before she perceived
that though he responded naturally to her first sly attacks, his gross
exaggerations upon them had not been the triumph of absurdity she
supposed herself to have evoked.
Her wish was to divert her uncle. Patrick discerned the intention and
'As for entertainment,' he said, in answer to Mr. Adister's courteous
regrets that he would have to be a prisoner in the house until his legal
adviser thought proper to appear, 'I'll be perfectly happy if Miss
Caroline will give me as much of her company as she can spare. It 's
amusing to be shot at too, by a lady who 's a good marksman! And birds
and hares are always willing to wait for us; they keep better alive. I
forgot to say that I can sing.'
'Then I was in the presence of a connoisseur last night,' said Caroline.
Mr. Adister consulted his watch and the mantelpiece clock for a minute of
difference between them, remarking that he was a prisoner indeed, and for
the whole day, unless Camminy should decide to come. 'There is the
library,' he said, 'if you care for books; the best books on agriculture
will be found there. You can make your choice in the stables, if you
would like to explore the country. I am detained here by a man who seems
to think my business of less importance than his pleasures. And it is
not my business; it is very much the reverse but I am compelled to
undertake it as my own, when I abhor the business. It is hard for me to
speak of it, much more to act a part in it.'
'Perhaps,' Caroline interposed hurriedly, 'Mr. O'Donnell would not be
unwilling to begin the day with some duets?'
Patrick eagerly put on his shame-face to accept her invitation,
protesting that his boldness was entirely due to his delight in music.
'But I've heard,' said he, 'that the best fortification for the exercise
of the a voice is hearty eating, so I 'll pay court again to that game-
pie. I'm one with the pigs for truffles.'
His host thanked him for spreading the contagion of good appetite, and
followed his example. Robust habits and heartiness were signs with him
of a conscience at peace, and he thought the Jesuits particularly
forbearing in the amount of harm they had done to this young man. So
they were still at table when Mr. Camminy was announced and ushered in.
The man of law murmured an excuse or two; he knew his client's eye, and
how to thaw it.
'No, Miss Adister, I have not breakfasted,' he said, taking the chair
placed for him. 'I was all day yesterday at Windlemont, engaged in
assisting to settle the succession. Where estates are not entailed!'
'The expectations of the family are undisciplined and certain not to be
satisfied,' Mr. Adister carried on the broken sentence. 'That house will
fall! However, you have lost no time this morning.--Mr. Patrick
Mr. Camminy bowed busily somewhere in the direction between Patrick and
'Our lawyers have us inside out, like our physicians,' Mr. Adister
resumed, talking to blunt his impatience for a private discussion with
'Surgery's a little in their practice too, we think in Ireland,' said
Mr. Camminy assented: 'No doubt.' He was hungry, and enjoyed the look of
the table, but the look of his client chilled the prospect, considered in
its genial appearance as a feast of stages; having luminous extension;
so, to ease his client's mind, he ventured to say: 'I thought it might be
'It is urgent,' was the answer.
'Ah: foreign? domestic?'
A frown replied.
Caroline, in haste to have her duties over, that she might escape the
dreaded outburst, pressed another cup of tea on Mr. Camminy and groaned
to see him fill his plate. She tried to start a topic with Patrick.
'The princess is well, I hope?' Mr. Camminy asked in the voice of
discretion. 'It concerns her Highness?'
'It concerns my daughter and her inheritance from her mad grandmother!'
Mr. Adister rejoined loudly; and he continued like a retreating thunder:
'A princess with a title as empty as a skull! At best a princess of
swamps, and swine that fight for acorns, and men that fight for swine!'
Patrick caught a glance from Caroline, and the pair rose together.
'They did that in our mountains a couple of thousand years ago,' said Mr.
Camminy, 'and the cause was not so bad, to judge by this ham. Men must
fight: the law is only a quieter field for them.'
'And a fatter for the ravens,' Patrick joined in softly, as if carrying
on a song.
'Have at us, Mr. O'Donnell! I'm ashamed of my appetite, Miss Adister,
but the morning's drive must be my excuse, and I'm bounden to you for
not forcing me to detain you. Yes, I can finish breakfast at my leisure,
and talk of business, which is never particularly interesting to ladies--
though,' Mr. Camminy turned to her uncle, 'I know Miss Adister has a head
Patrick hummed a bar or two of an air, to hint of his being fanatico per
la musica, as a pretext for their departure.
'If you'll deign to give me a lesson,' said he, as Caroline came away
from pressing her lips to her uncle's forehead.
'I may discover that I am about to receive one,' said she.
They quitted the room together.
Mr. Camminy had seen another Miss Adister duetting with a young Irishman
and an O'Donnell, with lamentable results to that union of voices, and he
permitted himself to be a little astonished at his respected client's
defective memory or indifference to the admonition of identical
AT THE PIANO, CHIEFLY WITHOUT MUSIC
Barely had the door shut behind them when Patrick let his heart out: 'The
princess?' He had a famished look, and Caroline glided along swiftly
with her head bent, like one musing; his tone alarmed her; she lent him
her ear, that she might get some understanding of his excitement,
suddenly as it seemed to have come on him; but he was all in his hungry
interrogation, and as she reached her piano and raised the lid, she saw
it on tiptoe straining for her answer.
'I thought you were aware of my cousin's marriage.'
'Was I?' said Patrick, asking it of himself, for his conscience would not
acknowledge an absolute ignorance. 'No: I fought it, I wouldn't have a
blot on her be suspected. She's married! She's married to one of their
princes!--married for a title!--and changed her religion! And Miss
Adister, you're speaking of Adiante?'
'My cousin Adiante.'
'Well did I hate the name! I heard it first over in France. Our people
wrote to me of her; and it's a name to set you thinking: Is she tender,
or nothing like a woman,--a stone? And I put it to my best friend there,
Father Clement, who's a scholar, up in everything, and he said it was a
name with a pretty sound and an ill meaning--far from tender; and a bad
history too, for she was one of the forty-nine Danaides who killed their
husbands for the sake of their father and was not likely to be the
fiftieth, considering the name she bore. It was for her father's sake
she as good as killed her lover, and the two Adiantes are like enough:
they're as like as a pair of hands with daggers. So that was my brother
Philip's luck! She's married! It's done; it's over, like death: no
hope. And this time it's against her father; it's against her faith.
There's the end of Philip! I could have prophesied it; I did; and when
they broke, from her casting him off--true to her name! thought I.
She cast him off, and she couldn't wait for him, and there's his heart
broken. And I ready to glorify her for a saint! And now she must have
loved the man, or his title, to change her religion. She gives him her
soul! No praise to her for that: but mercy! what a love it must be.
Or else it's a spell. But wasn't she rather one for flinging spells than
melting? Except that we're all of us hit at last, and generally by our
own weapon. But she loved Philip: she loved him down to shipwreck and
drowning: she gave battle for him, and against her father; all the place
here and the country's alive with their meetings and partings:--she can't
have married! She wouldn't change her religion for her lover: how can
she have done it for this prince? Why, it's to swear false oaths!--
unless it's possible for a woman to slip out of herself and be another
person after a death like that of a love like hers.'
Patrick stopped: the idea demanded a scrutiny.
'She's another person for me,' he said. 'Here's the worst I ever
imagined of her!--thousands of miles and pits of sulphur beyond the
worst and the very worst! I thought her fickle, I thought her heartless,
rather a black fairy, perched above us, not quite among the stars of
heaven. I had my ideas. But never that she was a creature to jump
herself down into a gulf and be lost for ever. She's gone, extinguished
--there she is, under the penitent's hoodcap with eyeholes, before the
faggots! and that's what she has married!--a burning torment, and none
of the joys of martyrdom. Oh! I'm not awake. But I never dreamed of
such a thing as this--not the hard, bare, lump-of-earth-fact:--and that's
the only thing to tell me I'm not dreaming now.'
He subsided again; then deeply beseeching asked:
'Have you by chance a portrait of the gentleman, Miss Adister? Is there
Caroline stood at her piano, turning over the leaves of a music-book,
with a pressure on her eyelids. She was near upon being thrilled in
spite of an astonishment almost petrifying: and she could nearly have
smiled, so strange was his fraternal adoption, amounting to a
vivification--of his brother's passion. He seemed quite naturally to
impersonate Philip. She wondered, too, in the coolness of her alien
blood, whether he was a character, or merely an Irish character. As to
the unwontedness of the scene, Ireland was chargeable with that; and
Ireland also, a little at his expense as a citizen of the polite world,
relieved him of the extreme ridicule attached to his phrases and images.
She replied: 'We have no portrait.'
'May I beg to know, have you seen him?' said Patrick. Caroline shook her
'Is there no telling what he is like, Miss Adister?'
'He is not young.'
'An old man!'
She had not said that, and she wished to defend her cousin from the
charge of contracting such an alliance, but Patrick's face had brightened
out of a gloom of stupefaction; he assured her he was now ready to try
his voice with hers, only she was to excuse a touch of hoarseness; he
felt it slightly in his throat: and could he, she asked him, wonder at
it after his morning's bath?
He vindicated the saneness of the bath as well as he was able, showing
himself at least a good reader of music. On the whole, he sang
pleasantly, particularly French songs. She complimented him, with an
emphasis on the French. He said, yes, he fancied he did best in French,
and he had an idea of settling in France, if he found that he could not
live quietly in his own country.
'And becoming a Frenchman?'said Caroline.
'Why not?' said he. 'I 'm more at home with French people; they're
mostly of my creed; they're amiable, though they weren't quite kind to
poor Lally Tollendal. I like them. Yes, I love France, and when I'm
called upon to fix myself, as I suppose I shall be some day, I shan't
have the bother over there that I should find here.'
She spoke reproachfully: 'Have you no pride in the title of Englishman?'
'I 'm an Irishman.'
'We are one nation.'
'And it's one family where the dog is pulled by the collar.'
There was a retort on him: she saw, as it were, the box, but the lid
would not open to assist her to it, and she let it go by, thinking in her
patriotic derision, that to choose to be likened to the unwilling dog of
the family was evidence of a want of saving pride.
Besides, she could not trust to the glibness of her tongue in a contest
with a young gentleman to whom talking was as easy as breathing, even if
sometimes his volubility exposed him to attack. A superior position was
offered her by her being silent and critical. She stationed herself on
it: still she was grieved to think of him as a renegade from his country,
and she forced herself to say: 'Captain O'Donnell talks in that manner.'
'Captain Con is constitutionally discontented because he's a bard by
nature, and without the right theme for his harp,' said Patrick. 'He has
a notion of Erin as the unwilling bride of Mr. Bull, because her lord is
not off in heroics enough to please her, and neglects her, and won't let
her be mistress of her own household, and she can't forget that he once
had the bad trick of beating her: she sees the marks. And you mayn't
believe it, but the Captain's temper is to praise and exalt. It is.
Irony in him is only eulogy standing on its head: a sort of an upside
down; a perversion: that's our view of him at home. All he desires is
to have us on the march, and he'd be perfectly happy marching, never mind
the banner, though a bit of green in it would put him in tune, of course.
The banner of the Cid was green, Miss Adister: or else it's his pennon
that was. And there's a quantity of our blood in Spain too. We've
watered many lands.'
The poor young English lady's brain started wildly on the effort to be
with him, and to understand whether she listened to humour or emotion:
she reposed herself as well as she could in the contemplation of an
electrically-flashing maze, where every line ran losing itself in
He added: 'Old Philip!' in a visible throb of pity for his brother; after
the scrupulous dubitation between the banner and the pennon of the Cid!
It would have comforted her to laugh. She was closer upon tears, and
without any reason for them in her heart.
Such a position brings the hesitancy which says that the sitting is at an
She feared, as she laid aside her music-books, that there would be more
to come about Adiante, but he spared her. He bowed to her departing, and
strolled off by himself.
A CONSULTATION: WITH OPINIONS UPON WELSHWOMEN AND THE CAMBRIAN RACE
Later in the day she heard that he was out scouring the country on one of
her uncle's horses. She had too many distressing matters to think of for
so singular a young man to have any other place than that which is given
to the fantastical in a troubled and serious mind. He danced there like
the whimsy sunbeam of a shaken water below. What would be his opinion of
Adiante if he knew of her determination to sell the two fair estates she
inherited from a grandmother whom she had venerated; that she might
furnish arms to her husband to carry out an audacious enterprise likely
to involve both of them in blood and ruin? Would he not bound up aloft
and quiver still more wildly? She respected, quaint though it was, his
imaginative heat of feeling for Adiante sufficiently to associate him
with her so far; and she lent him in fancy her own bewilderment and grief
at her cousin's conduct, for the soothing that his exaggeration of them
afforded her. She could almost hear his outcry.
The business of the hour demanded more of her than a seeking for
refreshment. She had been invited to join the consultation of her uncle
with his lawyer. Mr. Adister tossed her another letter from Vienna, of
that morning's delivery. She read it with composure. It became her task
to pay no heed to his loss of patience, and induce him to acquiesce in
his legal adviser's view which was, to temporise further, present an
array of obstacles, and by all possible suggestions induce the princess
to come over to England, where her father's influence with her would have
a chance of being established again; and it might then be hoped that she,
who had never when under sharp temptation acted disobediently to his
wishes at home, and who certainly would not have dreamed of contracting
the abhorred alliance had she been breathing the air of common sense
peculiar to her native land, would see the prudence, if not the solemn
obligation, of retaining to herself these family possessions. Caroline
was urgent with her uncle to act on such good counsel. She marvelled at
his opposition, though she detected the principal basis of it.
Mr. Adister had no ground of opposition but his own intemperateness.
The Welsh grandmother's legacy of her estates to his girl, overlooking
her brothers, Colonel Arthur and Captain David, had excessively vexed
him, despite the strong feeling he entertained for Adiante; and not
simply because of the blow he received in it unexpectedly from that old
lady, as the last and heaviest of the long and open feud between them,
but also, chiefly, that it outraged and did permanent injury to his ideas
of the proper balance of the sexes. Between himself and Mrs. Winnion
Rhys the condition of the balance had been a point of vehement
disputation, she insisting to have it finer up to equality, and he that
the naturally lighter scale should continue to kick the beam. Behold now
the consequence of the wilful Welshwoman's insanest of legacies! The
estates were left to Adiante Adister for her sole use and benefit, making
almost a man of her, and an unshackled man, owing no dues to posterity.
Those estates in the hands of a woman are in the hands of her husband;
and the husband a gambler and a knave, they are in the hands of the Jews
--or gone to smoke. Let them go. A devilish malignity bequeathed them:
let them go back to their infernal origin. And when they were gone, his
girl would soon discover that there was no better place to come to than
her home; she would come without an asking, and alone, and without much
prospect of the intrusion of her infamous Hook-nose in pursuit of her at
Earlsfont. The money wasted, the wife would be at peace. Here she would
have leisure to repent of all the steps she had taken since that fatal
one of the acceptance of the invitation to the Embassy at Vienna. Mr.
Adister had warned her both against her going and against the influence
of her friend Lady Wenchester, our Ambassadress there, another Welsh
woman, with the weathervane head of her race. But the girl would accept,
and it was not for him to hold out. It appeared to be written that the
Welsh, particularly Welsh women, were destined to worry him up to the end
of his days. Their women were a composition of wind and fire. They had
no reason, nothing solid in their whole nature. Englishmen allied to
them had to learn that they were dealing with broomstick witches and
irresponsible sprites. Irishwomen were models of propriety beside them:
indeed Irishwomen might often be patterns to their English sisterhood.
Mr. Adister described the Cambrian ladies as a kind of daughters of the
Fata Morgana, only half human, and deceptive down to treachery, unless
you had them fast by their spinning fancy. They called it being
romantic. It was the ante-chamber of madness. Mad, was the word for
them. You pleased them you knew not how, and just as little did you know
how you displeased them. And you were long hence to be taught that in a
certain past year, and a certain month, and on a certain day of the
month, not forgetting the hour of the day to the minute of the hour, and
attendant circumstances to swear loud witness to it, you had mortally
offended them. And you receive your blow: you are sure to get it: the
one passion of those women is for vengeance. They taste a wound from the
lightest touch, and they nurse the venom for you. Possibly you may in
their presence have had occasion to praise the military virtues of the
builder of Carnarvon Castle. You are by and by pierced for it as hard as
they can thrust. Or you have incidentally compared Welsh mutton with
Southdown:--you have not highly esteemed their drunken Bards:--you have
asked what the Welsh have done in the world; you are supposed to have
slighted some person of their family--a tenth cousin!--anything turns
their blood. Or you have once looked straight at them without speaking,
and you discover years after that they have chosen to foist on you their
idea of your idea at the moment; and they have the astounding presumption
to account this misreading of your look to the extent of a full
justification, nothing short of righteous, for their treachery and your
punishment! O those Welshwomen!
The much-suffering lord of Earlsfont stretched forth his open hand, palm
upward, for a testifying instrument to the plain truth of his catalogue
of charges. He closed it tight and smote the table. 'Like mother--and
grandmother too--like daughter!' he said, and generalised again to
preserve his dignity: 'They're aflame in an instant. You may see them
quiet for years, but it smoulders. You dropped the spark, and they time
Caroline said to Mr. Camminy: 'You are sure you can give us the day?'
'All of it,' he replied, apologising for some show of restlessness. 'The
fact is, Miss Adister, I married a lady from over the borders, and though
I have never had to complain of her yet, she may have a finale in store.
It's true that I love wild Wales.'
'And so do I' Caroline raised her eyes to imagined mountains.
'You will pardon me, Camminy,' said Mr. Adister.
The lawyer cracked his back to bow to the great gentleman so
magnanimously humiliating himself. 'Sir! Sir!' he said. 'Yes, Welsh
blood is queer blood, I own. They find it difficult to forgive; and
trifles offend; and they are unhappily just as secretive as they are
sensitive. The pangs we cause them, without our knowing it, must be
horrible. They are born, it would seem, with more than the common
allowance of kibes for treading on: a severe misfortune for them. Now
for their merits: they have poetry in them; they are valiant; they are
hospitable to teach the Arab a lesson: I do believe their life is their
friend's at need--seriously, they would lay it down for him: or the
wherewithal, their money, their property, excepting the three-stringed
harp of three generations back, worth now in current value sixpence
halfpenny as a curiosity, or three farthings for firewood; that they'll
keep against their own desire to heap on you everything they have--if
they love you, and you at the same time have struck their imaginations.
Offend them, however, and it's war, declared or covert. And I must admit
that their best friend can too easily offend them. I have lost excellent
clients, I have never understood why; yet I respect the remains of their
literature, I study their language, I attend their gatherings and
subscribe the expenses; I consume Welsh mutton with relish; I enjoy the
Triads, and can come down on them with a quotation from Catwg the Wise:
but it so chanced that I trod on a kibe, and I had to pay the penalty.
There's an Arabian tale, Miss Adister, of a peaceful traveller who ate a
date in the desert and flung away the stone, which hit an invisible son
of a genie in the eye, and the poor traveller suffered for it. Well, you
commit these mortal injuries to the invisible among the Welsh. Some of
them are hurt if you call them Welsh. They scout it as the original
Saxon title for them. No, they are Cymry, Cambrians! They have forgiven
the Romans. Saxon and Norman are still their enemies. If you stir their
hearts you find it so. And, by the way, if King Edward had not trampled
them into the mire so thoroughly, we should hear of it at times even now.
Instead of penillions and englyns, there would be days for fiery
triplets. Say the worst of them, they are soundheaded. They have a
ready comprehension for great thoughts. The Princess Nikolas, I
remember, had a special fondness for the words of Catwg the Wise.'
'Adiante,' had murmured Caroline, to correct his indiscretion.
She was too late.
'Nikolas!' Mr. Adister thundered. 'Hold back that name in this house,
title and all, if you speak of my daughter. I refuse admission to it
here. She has given up my name, and she must be known by the one her
feather-brained grandmother proposed for her, to satisfy her pleasure in
a fine sound. English Christian names are my preference. I conceded
Arthur to her without difficulty. She had a voice in David, I recollect;
with very little profit to either of the boys. I had no voice in
Adiante; but I stood at my girl's baptism, and Adiante let her be. At
least I saved the girl from the addition of Arianrod. It was to have
been Adiante Arianrod. Can you credit it? Prince-pah! Nikolas? Have
you a notion of the sort of prince that makes an English lady of the best
blood of England his princess?'
The lawyer had a precise notion of the sort of prince appearing to Mr.
Adister in the person of his foreign son-in-law. Prince Nikolas had been
described to him before, with graphic touches upon the quality of the
reputation he bore at the courts and in the gambling-saloons of Europe.
Dreading lest his client's angry heat should precipitate him on the
prince again, to the confusion of a lady's ears, Mr. Camminy gave an
emphatic and short affirmative.
'You know what he is like?' said Mr. Adister, with a face of disgust
reflected from the bare thought of the hideous likeness.
Mr. Camminy assured him that the description of the prince's lineaments
would not be new. It was, as he was aware, derived from a miniature of
her husband, transmitted by the princess, on its flight out of her
father's loathing hand to the hearthstone and under his heel.
Assisted by Caroline, he managed to check the famous delineation of the
adventurer prince in which a not very worthy gentleman's chronic fever of
abomination made him really eloquent, quick to unburden himself in the
teeth of decorum.
'And my son-in-law! My son-in-law!' ejaculated Mr. Adister, tossing his
head higher, and so he stimulated his amazement and abhorrence of the
portrait he rather wondered at them for not desiring to have sketched for
their execration of it, alluringly foul as it was: while they in concert
drew him back to the discussion of his daughter's business, reiterating
prudent counsel, with a knowledge that they had only to wait for the
ebbing of his temper.
'Let her be informed, sir, that by coming to England she can settle the
business according to her wishes in one quarter of the time it would take
a Commission sent out to her--if we should be authorised to send out
one,' said Mr. Camminy. 'By committing the business to you, I fancy I
perceive your daughter's disposition to consider your feelings: possibly
to a reluctance to do the deed unsanctioned by her father. It would
appear so to a cool observer, notwithstanding her inattention to your
The reply was: 'Dine here and sleep here. I shall be having more of
these letters,' Mr. Adister added, profoundly sighing.
Caroline slipped away to mark a conclusion to the debate; and Mr. Camminy
saw his client redden fast and frown.
'Besides,' he spoke in a husky voice, descending upon a subject hateful,
'she tells me to-day she is not in a state to travel! Do you hear? Make
what you can of it.'
The proud and injured gentleman had the aspect of one who receives a blow
that it is impossible for him to resent. He could not speak the shame he
felt: it was literally in his flesh. But the cause had been sufficiently
hinted to set the lawyer staring as men do when they encounter situations
of grisly humour, where certain of the passions of man's developed nature
are seen armed and furious against our mild prevailing ancient mother
nature; and the contrast is between our utter wrath and her simple
exposition of the circumstances and consequences forming her laws. There
are situations which pass beyond the lightly stirred perceptive wits to
the quiet court of the intellect, to be received there as an addition to
our acquaintance with mankind. We know not of what substance to name
them. Humour in its intense strain has a seat somewhere about the mouth
of tragedy, giving it the enigmatical faint wry pull at a corner visible
at times upon the dreadful mask.
That Mr. Adister should be astonished at such a communication from the
princess, after a year of her marriage: and that he should take it for a
further outrage of his paternal sentiments, should actually redden and be
hoarse in alluding to it: the revelation of such points in our human
character set the humane old lawyer staring at the reserve space within
himself apart from his legal being, whereon he by fits compared his own
constitution with that of the individuals revealed to him by their acts
and confidential utterances. For him, he decided that he would have
rejoiced at the news.
Granting the prince a monster, however, as Mr. Adister unforcedly
considered him, it was not so cheering a piece of intelligence that
involved him yet closer with that man's rank blood: it curdled his own.
The marriage had shocked and stricken him, cleaving, in his love for his
daughter, a goodly tree and withering many flowers. Still the marriage
was but Adiante's gulf: he might be called father-in-law of her spangled
ruffian; son-in-law, the desperado-rascal would never be called by him.
But the result of the marriage dragged him bodily into the gulf: he
became one of four, numbering the beast twice among them. The subtlety
of his hatred so reckoned it; for he could not deny his daughter in the
father's child; he could not exclude its unhallowed father in the
mother's: and of this man's child he must know and own himself the
grandfather. If ever he saw the child, if drawn to it to fondle it,
some part of the little animal not his daughter's would partake of his
embrace. And if neither of his boys married, and his girl gave birth to
a son! darkness rolled upon that avenue of vision. A trespasser and
usurper-one of the demon's brood chased his very name out of Earlsfont!
'Camminy, you must try to amuse yourself,' he said briskly. 'Anything
you may be wanting at home shall be sent for. I must have you here to
make sure that I am acting under good advice. You can take one of the
keepers for an hour or two of shooting. I may join you in the afternoon.
You will find occupation for your gun in the north covers.'
He wandered about the house, looking into several rooms, and only
partially at rest when he discovered Caroline in one, engaged upon some
of her aquarelle sketches. He asked where the young Irishman was.
'Are you in search of him?' said she. 'You like him, uncle? He is out
riding, they tell me.'
'The youngster is used to south-western showers in that climate of his,'
Mr. Adister replied. 'I dare say we could find the Jesuit in him
somewhere. There's the seed. His cousin Con O'Donnell has filled him
with stuff about Ireland and England: the man has no better to do than to
train a parrot. What do you think of him, my love?'
The judgement was not easily formed for expression. 'He is not quite
like what I remember of his brother Philip. He talks much more, does he
not? He seems more Irish than his brother. He is very strange. His
feelings are strong; he has not an idea of concealing them. For a young
man educated by the Jesuits, he is remarkably open.'
'The Jesuits might be of service to me just now!' Mr. Adister addressed
his troubled soul, and spoke upon another conception of them: 'How has he
shown his feelings?'
Caroline answered quickly: 'His love of his brother. Anything that
concerns his brother moves him; it is like a touch on a musical
instrument. Perhaps I should say a native one.'
'Concerns his brother?' Mr. Adister inquired, and his look requesting
enlightenment told her she might speak.
'Adiante,' she said softly. She coloured.
Her uncle mused awhile in a half-somnolent gloom. 'He talks of this at
this present day?'
'It is not dead to him. He really appears to have hoped . . . he is
extraordinary. He had not heard before of her marriage. I was a witness
of the most singular scene this morning, at the piano. He gathered it
from what he had heard. He was overwhelmed by it. I could not
exaggerate. It was impossible to help being a little touched, though it
was curious, very strange.'
Her uncle's attentiveness incited her to describe the scene, and as it
visibly relieved his melancholy, she did it with a few vivid indications
of the quaint young Irishman's manner of speech. She concluded: 'At last
he begged to see a portrait of her husband.'
'Not of her?' said Mr. Adister abruptly.
'No; only of her husband.'
'Show him her portrait.'
A shade of surprise was on Caroline's forehead. 'Shall I?' She had a dim
momentary thought that the sight of the beautiful face would not be good
'Yes; let him see the woman who could throw herself away on that branded
villain called a prince, abjuring her Church for a little fouler than
hangman to me and every gentleman alive. I desire that he should see it.
Submission to the demands of her husband's policy required it of her,
she says! Show it him when he returns; you have her miniature in your
keeping. And to-morrow take him to look at the full-length of her before
she left England and ceased to be a lady of our country. I will order it
to be placed in the armoury. Let him see the miniature of her this day.'
Mr. Adister resolved at the same time that Patrick should have his
portrait of the prince for a set-off to the face of his daughter. He
craved the relief it would be to him to lay his colours on the prince for
the sparkling amazement of one whom, according to Caroline's description,
he could expect to feel with him acutely, which neither his niece nor his
lawyer had done: they never did when he painted the prince. He was
unstrung, heavily plunged in the matter of his chagrin and grief: his
unhealed wound had been scraped and strewn with salt by his daughter's
letter; he had a thirst for the kind of sympathy he supposed he would
find in the young Irishman's horror at the husband of the incomparable
beauty now past redemption degraded by her hideous choice; lost to
England and to her father and to common respect. For none, having once
had the picture of the man, could dissociate them; they were like heaven
and its reverse, everlastingly coupled in the mind by their opposition of
characters and aspects. Her father could not, and he judged of others by
himself. He had been all but utterly solitary since her marriage,
brooded on it until it saturated him; too proud to speak of the thing
in sadness, or claim condolence for this wound inflicted on him by the
daughter he had idolised other than through the indirect method of
causing people to wonder at her chosen yoke-fellow. Their stupefaction
refreshed him. Yet he was a gentleman capable of apprehending
simultaneously that he sinned against his pride in the means he adopted
to comfort his nature. But the wound was a perpetual sickness needing
soul-medicine. Proud as he was, and unbending, he was not stronger than
his malady, and he could disguise, he could not contain, the cry of
immoderate grief. Adiante had been to him something beyond a creature
beloved; she had with her glorious beauty and great-heartedness been the
sole object which had ever inspirited his imagination. He could have
thought no man, not the most illustrious, worthy of her. And there she
was, voluntarily in the hands of a monster! 'Husband!' Mr. Adister broke
away from Caroline, muttering: 'Her husband's policy!'
She was used to his interjections; she sat thinking more of the strange
request to her to show Mr. O'Donnell the miniature of Adiante. She had
often thought that her uncle regretted his rejection of Philip.
It appeared so to her now, though not by any consecutive process of
reasoning. She went to fetch the miniature, and gazing on it, she tried
to guess at Mr. O'Donnell's thoughts when doing the same; for who so
inflammable as he? And who, woman or man, could behold this lighted
face, with the dark raised eyes and abounding auburn tresses, where the
contrast of colours was in itself thrilling, and not admire, or more,
half worship, or wholly worship? She pitied the youth: she fancied that
he would not continue so ingenuously true to his brother's love of
Adiante after seeing it; unless one might hope that the light above
beauty distinguishing its noble classic lines, and the energy of
radiance, like a morning of chivalrous promise, in the eyes, would subdue
him to distant admiration. These were her flitting thoughts under the
spell of her queenly cousin's visage. She shut up the miniature-case,
and waited to hand it to young Mr. O'Donnell.
Patrick returned to Earlsfont very late; he had but ten minutes to dress
for dinner; a short allowance after a heated ride across miry tracks,
though he would have expended some of them, in spite of his punctilious
respect for the bell of the house entertaining him, if Miss Adister had
been anywhere on the stairs or corridors as he rushed away to his room.
He had things to tell; he had not been out over the country for nothing.
Fortunately for his good social principles, the butler at Earlsfont was a
wary supervisor of his man; great guest or little guest; Patrick's linen
was prepared for him properly studded; he had only to spring out of one
suit into another; and still more fortunately the urgency for a rapid
execution of the manoeuvre prevented his noticing a large square envelope
posted against the looking-glass of his toilette-table. He caught sight
of it first when pulling down his shirt-cuffs with an air of recovered
ease, not to say genial triumph, to think that the feat of grooming
himself, washing, dressing and stripping, the accustomed persuasive final
sweep of the brush to his hair-crop, was done before the bell had rung.
His name was on the envelope; and under his name, in smaller letters,
'Shall I?' said he, doing the thing he asked himself about doing tearing
open the paper cover of the portrait of her who had flitted in his head
for years unseen. And there she was, remote but present.
His underlip dropped; he had the look of those who bate breath and swarm
their wits to catch a sound. At last he remembered that the summoning
bell had been in his ears a long time back, without his having been
sensible of any meaning in it. He started to and fro. The treasure he
held declined to enter the breast-pocket of his coat, and the other
pockets he perhaps, if sentimentally, justly discarded as being beneath
the honour of serving for a temporary casket. He locked it up, with a
vow to come early to rest. Even then he had thoughts whether it might be
Who spoke, and what they uttered at the repast, and his own remarks, he
was unaware of. He turned right and left a brilliant countenance that
had the glitter of frost-light; it sparkled and was unreceptive. No
wonder Miss Adister deemed him wilder and stranger than ever. She
necessarily supposed the excess of his peculiarities to be an effect of
the portrait, and would have had him, according to her ideas of a young
man of some depth of feeling, dreamier. On the contrary, he talked sheer
commonplace. He had ridden to the spur of the mountains, and had put up
the mare, and groomed and fed her, not permitting another hand to touch
her: all very well, and his praises of the mare likewise, but he had not
a syllable for the sublime of the mountains. He might have careered over
midland flats for any susceptibility that he betrayed to the grandeur of
the scenery she loved. Ultimately she fancied the miniature had been
overlooked in his hurry to dress, and that he was now merely excited by
his lively gallop to a certain degree of hard brightness noticeable in
hunting men at their dinner.
The elixir in Patrick carried him higher than mountain crests. Adiante
illumined an expanded world for him, miraculous, yet the real one, only
wanting such light to show its riches. She lifted it out of darkness
with swift throbs of her heavenliness as she swam to his eyelids,
vanished and dazzled anew, and made these gleams of her and the dark
intervals his dream of the winged earth on her flight from splendour to
splendour, secresy to secresy;--follow you that can, the youth whose
heart is an opened mine, whose head is an irradiated sky, under the spell
of imagined magical beauty. She was bugle, banner, sunrise, of his
inmost ambition and rapture.
And without a warning, she fled; her features were lost; his power of
imagining them wrestled with vapour; the effort contracted his outlook.
But if she left him blind of her, she left him with no lessened bigness
of heart. He frankly believed in her revelation of a greater world and a
livelier earth, a flying earth and a world wealthier than grouped history
in heroic marvels: he fell back on the exultation of his having seen her,
and on the hope for the speedy coming of midnight, when the fountain of
her in the miniature would be seen and drunk of at his full leisure, and
his glorious elation of thrice man almost up to mounting spirit would be
restored to make him worthy of the vision.
Meanwhile Caroline had withdrawn and the lord of Earlsfont was fretting
at his theme. He had decided not to be a party in the sale of either of
his daughter's estates: let her choose other agents: if the iniquity was
committed, his hands would be clean of it. Mr. Adister spoke by way of
prelude to the sketch of 'this prince' whose title was a lurid delusion.
Patrick heard of a sexagenarian rake and Danube adventurer, in person a
description of falcon-Caliban, containing his shagginess in a frogged
hussar-jacket and crimson pantaloons, with hook-nose, fox-eyes, grizzled
billow of frowsy moustache, and chin of a beast of prey. This fellow,
habitually one of the dogs lining the green tables of the foreign Baths,
snapping for gold all day and half the night, to spend their winnings in
debauchery and howl threats of suicide, never fulfilled early enough,
when they lost, claimed his princedom on the strength of his father's
murder of a reigning prince and sitting in his place for six months, till
a merited shot from another pretender sent him to his account. 'What do
you say to such a nest of assassins, and one of them, an outcast and
blackleg, asking an English gentleman to acknowledge him as a member of
his family! I have,' said Mr. Adister, 'direct information that this
gibbet-bird is conspiring to dethrone--they call it--the present reigning
prince, and the proceeds of my daughter's estates are, by her desire--if
she has not written under compulsion of the scoundrel--intended to speed
their blood-mongering. There goes a Welshwoman's legacy to the sea, with
a herd of swine with devils in them!'
Mr. Camminy kept his head bent, his hand on his glass of port. Patrick
stared, and the working of his troubled brows gave the unhappy gentleman
such lean comfort as he was capable of taking. Patrick in sooth was
engaged in the hard attempt at the same time to do two of the most
difficult things which can be proposed to the ingenuity of sensational
youth: he was trying to excuse a respected senior for conduct that he
could not approve, while he did inward battle to reconcile his feelings
with the frightful addition to his hoard of knowledge: in other words, he
sought strenuously to mix the sketch of the prince with the dregs of the
elixir coming from the portrait of Adiante; and now she sank into
obscurity behind the blackest of brushes, representing her incredible
husband; and now by force of some natural light she broke through the
ugly mist and gave her adored the sweet lines and colours of the features
he had lost. There was an ebb and flow of the struggle, until, able to
say to himself that he saw her clearly as though the portrait was in the
palm of his hand, the battle of the imagination ceased and she was fairer
for him than if her foot had continued pure of its erratic step: fairer,
owing to the eyes he saw with; he had shaken himself free of the exacting
senses which consent to the worship of women upon the condition of their
possessing all the precious and the miraculous qualities; among others,
the gift of an exquisite fragility that cannot break; in short, upon
terms flattering to the individual devotee. Without knowing it he had
done it and got some of the upholding strength of those noblest of honest
men who not merely give souls to women--an extraordinary endowment of
them--but also discourse to them with their souls.
Patrick accepted Adiante's husband: the man was her husband. Hideous
(for there was no combating her father's painting of him), he was almost
interesting through his alliance:--an example of how much earth the
worshipper can swallow when he is quite sincere. Instead of his going
under eclipse, the beauty of his lady eclipsed her monster. He believed
in her right to choose according to her pleasure since her lover was
denied her. Sitting alone by his fire, he gazed at her for hours and
bled for Philip. There was a riddle to be answered in her cutting
herself away from Philip; he could not answer it; her face was the
vindication and the grief. The usual traverses besetting true lovers
were suggested to him, enemies and slanders and intercepted letters. He
rejected them in the presence of the beautiful inscrutable. Small marvel
that Philip had loved her. 'Poor fellow' Patrick cried aloud, and
drooped on a fit of tears.
The sleep he had was urgently dream-ridden to goals that eluded him and
broadened to fresh races and chases waving something to be won which
never was won, albeit untiringly pursued amid a series of adventures,
tragic episodes; wild enthusiasm. The whole of it was featureless,
a shifting agitation; yet he must have been endowed to extricate a
particular meaning applied to himself out of the mass of tumbled events,
and closely in relation to realities, for he quitted his bed passionately
regretting that he had not gone through a course of drill and study of
the military art. He remembered Mr. Adister's having said that military
training was good for all gentlemen.
'I could join the French Foreign Legion,' he thought.
Adiante was as beautiful by day as by night. He looked. The riddle of
her was more burdensome in the daylight.
He sighed, and on another surging of his admiration launched the resolve
that he would serve her blindly, without one question. How, when, where,
and the means and the aim, he did not think of. There was she, and here
was he, and heaven and a great heart would show the way.
Adiante at eighteen, the full length of her, fresh in her love of Philip,
was not the same person to him, she had not the same secret; she was
beautiful differently. By right he should have loved the portrait best:
but he had not seen it first; he had already lived through a life of
emotions with the miniature, and could besides clasp the frame; and
moreover he fondled an absurd notion that the miniature would be
entrusted to him for a time, and was almost a possession. The pain of
the thought of relinquishing it was the origin of this foolishness. And
again, if it be fair to prove him so deeply, true to his brother though
he was (admiration of a woman does thus influence the tides of our blood
to render the noblest of us guilty of some unconscious wavering of our
loyalty), Patrick dedicated the full-length of Adiante to Philip, and
reserved the other, her face and neck, for himself.
Obediently to Mr. Adister's order, the portrait had been taken from one
of his private rooms and placed in the armoury, the veil covering the
canvas of late removed. Guns and spears and swords overhead and about,
the youthful figure of Adiante was ominously encompassed. Caroline stood
with Patrick before the portrait of her cousin; she expected him to show
a sign of appreciation. He asked her to tell him the Church whose forms
of faith the princess had embraced. She answered that it was the Greek
Church. 'The Greek,' said he, gazing harder at the portrait. Presently
she said: 'It was a perfect likeness.' She named the famous artist who
had painted it. Patrick's 'Ah' was unsatisfactory.
'We,' said she, 'think it a living image of her as she was then.'
He would not be instigated to speak.
'You do not admire it, Mr. O'Donnell?' she cried.
'Oh, but I do. That's how she looked when she was drawing on her gloves
with good will to go out to meet him. You can't see her there and not be
sure she had a heart. She part smiles; she keeps her mouth shut, but
there's the dimple, and it means a thought, like a bubble bursting up
from the heart in her breast. She's tall. She carries herself like a
great French lady, and nothing beats that. It's the same colour, dark
eyebrows and fair hair. And not thinking of her pride. She thinks of
her walk, and the end of it, where he's waiting. The eyes are not the
'The same?' said Caroline.
'As this.' He tapped on the left side. She did not understand it at all.
'The bit of work done in Vienna,' said he.
She blushed. 'Do you admire that so much?'
'We consider it not to be compared to this.'
'Perhaps not. I like it better.'
'But why do you like that better?' said Caroline, deeming it his
Patrick put out a finger. 'The eyes there don't seem to say, "I'm yours
to make a hero of you." But look,' he drew forth from under his
waistcoat the miniature, 'what don't they say here! It's a bright day
for the Austrian capital that has her by the river Danube. Yours has a
landscape; I've made acquaintance with the country, I caught the print of
it on my ride yesterday; and those are your mountains. But mine has her
all to herself while she's thinking undisturbed in her boudoir. I have
her and her thoughts; that's next to her soul. I've an idea it ought to
be given to Philip.' He craned his head round to woo some shadow of
assent to the daring suggestion. 'Just to break the shock 'twill be to
my brother, Miss Adister. If I could hand him this, and say, "Keep it,
for you'll get nothing more of her; and that's worth a kingdom."'
Caroline faltered: 'Your brother does not know?'
'Pity him. His blow 's to come. He can't or he 'd have spoken of it to
me. I was with him a couple of hours and he never mentioned a word of
it, nor did Captain Con. We talked of Ireland, and the service, and some
French cousins we have.'
'Ladies?' Caroline inquired by instinct.
'And charming,' said Patrick, 'real dear girls. Philip might have one,
if he would, and half my property, to make it right with her parents.
There'd be little use in proposing it. He was dead struck when the shaft
struck him. That's love! So I determined the night after I'd shaken his
hand I'd be off to Earlsfont and try my hardest for him. It's hopeless
now. Only he might have the miniature for his bride. I can tell him a
trifle to help him over his agony. She would have had him, she would,
Miss Adister, if she hadn't feared he'd be talked of as Captain Con has
been--about the neighbourhood, I mean, because he,' Patrick added
hurriedly, 'he married an heiress and sank his ambition for distinction
like a man who has finished his dinner. I'm certain she would. I have
it on authority.'
'What authority?' said Caroline coldly.
'Her own old nurse.'
'The one! I had it from her. And how she loves her darling Miss
Adiante! She won't hear of "princess." She hates that marriage. She
was all for my brother Philip. She calls him "Our handsome lieutenant."
She'll keep the poor fellow a subaltern all his life.'
'You went to Jenny's inn?'
'The Earlsfont Arms, I went to. And Mrs. Jenny at the door, watching the
rain. Destiny directed me. She caught the likeness to Philip on a lift
of her eye, and very soon we sat conversing like old friends. We were
soon playing at old cronies over past times. I saw the way to bring her
out, so I set to work, and she was up in defence of her darling, ready to
tell me anything to get me to think well of her. And that was the main
reason, she said, why Miss Adiante broke with him and went abroad her
dear child wouldn't have Mr. Philip abused for fortune-hunting. As for
the religion, they could each have practised their own: her father would
have consented to the fact, when it came on him in that undeniable shape
of two made one. She says, Miss Adiante has a mighty soul; she has brave
ideas. Miss Deenly, she calls her. Ay, and so has Philip: though the
worst is, they're likely to drive him out of the army into politics and
Parliament; and an Irishman there is a barrow trolling a load of
grievances. Ah, but she would have kept him straight. Not a soldier
alive knows the use of cavalry better than my brother. He wanted just
that English wife to steady him and pour drops of universal fire into
him; to keep him face to face with the world, I mean; letting him be true
to his country in a fair degree, but not an old rainpipe and spout. She
would have held him to his profession. And, Oh dear! She's a friend
worth having, lost to Ireland. I see what she could have done there.
Something bigger than an island, too, has to be served in our days: that
is, if we don't forget our duty at home. Poor Paddy, and his pig, and
his bit of earth! If you knew what we feel for him! I'm a landlord, but
I'm one with my people about evictions. We Irish take strong root. And
honest rent paid over to absentees, through an agent, if you think of it,
seems like flinging the money that's the sweat of the brow into a stone
conduit to roll away to a giant maw hungry as the sea. It's the bleeding
to death of our land! Transactions from hand to hand of warm human
flesh-nothing else will do: I mean, for men of our blood. Ah! she would
have kept my brother temperate in his notions and his plans. And why
absentees, Miss Adister? Because we've no centre of home life: the core
has been taken out of us; our country has no hearth-fire. I'm for union;
only there should be justice, and a little knowledge to make allowance
for the natural cravings of a different kind of people. Well, then, and
I suppose that inter-marriages are good for both. But here comes a man,
the boldest and handsomest of his race, and he offers himself to the
handsomest and sweetest of yours, and she leans to him, and the family
won't have him. For he's an Irishman and a Catholic. Who is it then
opposed the proper union of the two islands? Not Philip. He did his
best; and if he does worse now he's not entirely to blame. The
misfortune is, that when he learns the total loss of her on that rock-
promontory, he'll be dashing himself upon rocks sure to shiver him.
There's my fear. If I might take him this . . . ?' Patrick pleaded
with the miniature raised like the figure of his interrogation.
Caroline's inward smile threw a soft light of humour over her features at
the simple cunning of his wind-up to the lecture on his country's case,
which led her to perceive a similar cunning simplicity in his
identification of it with Philip's. It startled her to surprise, for the
reason that she'd been reviewing his freakish hops from Philip to Ireland
and to Adiante, and wondering in a different kind of surprise, how and by
what profitless ingenuity he contrived to weave them together. Nor
was she unmoved, notwithstanding her fancied perception of his Jesuitry:
his look and his voice were persuasive; his love of his brother was deep;
his change of sentiment toward Adiante after the tale told him by her old
nurse Jenny, stood for proof of a generous manliness.
Before she had replied, her uncle entered the armoury, and Patrick was
pleading still, and she felt herself to be a piece of damask, a very
To disentangle herself, she said on an impulse, desperately
'Mr. O'Donnell begs to have the miniature for his brother.'
Patrick swung instantly to Mr. Adister. 'I presumed to ask for it, sir,
to carry it to Philip. He is ignorant about the princess as yet; he
would like to have a bit of the wreck. I shan't be a pleasant messenger
to him. I should be glad to take him something. It could be returned
after a time. She was a great deal to Philip--three parts of his life.
He has nothing of her to call his own.'
'That!' said Mr. Adister. He turned to the virgin Adiante, sat down and
shut his eyes, fetching a breath. He looked vacantly at Patrick.
'When you find a man purely destructive, you think him a devil, don't
you?' he said.
'A good first cousin to one,' Patrick replied, watchful for a hint to
seize the connection.
'If you think of hunting to-day, we have not many minutes to spare before
we mount. The meet is at eleven, five miles distant. Go and choose your
horse. Caroline will drive there.'
Patrick consulted her on a glance for counsel. 'I shall be glad to join
you, sir, for to-morrow I must be off to my brother.'
'Take it,' Mr. Adister waved his hand hastily. He gazed at his idol of
untouched eighteen. 'Keep it safe,' he said, discarding the sight of the
princess. 'Old houses are doomed to burnings, and a devil in the family
may bring us to ashes. And some day . . . !' he could not continue his
thought upon what he might be destined to wish for, and ran it on to,
'Some day I shall be happy to welcome your brother, when it pleases him
to visit me.'
Patrick bowed, oppressed by the mighty gift. 'I haven't the word to
thank you with, sir.'
Mr. Adister did not wait for it.
'I owe this to you, Miss Adister,' said Patrick.
Her voice shook: 'My uncle loves those who loved her.'
He could see she was trembling. When he was alone his ardour of
gratefulness enabled him to see into her uncle's breast: the inflexible
frigidity; lasting regrets and remorse; the compassion for Philip in
kinship of grief and loss; the angry dignity; the stately generosity.
He saw too, for he was clear-eyed when his feelings were not over-active,
the narrow pedestal whereon the stiff figure of a man of iron pride must
accommodate itself to stand in despite of tempests without and within;
and how the statue rocks there, how much more pitiably than the common
sons of earth who have the broad common field to fall down on and our
good mother's milk to set them on their legs again.
CAPTAIN CON AND MRS. ADISTER O'DONNELL
Riding homeward from the hunt at the leisurely trot of men who have
steamed their mounts pretty well, Mr. Adister questioned Patrick
familiarly about his family, and his estate, and his brother's prospects
in the army, and whither he intended first to direct his travels:
questions which Patrick understood to be kindly put for the sake of
promoting conversation with a companion of unripe age by a gentleman who
had wholesomely excited his blood to run. They were answered, except the
last one. Patrick had no immediate destination in view.
'Leave Europe behind you,' said Mr. Adister warming, to advise him, and
checking the trot of his horse. 'Try South America.' The lordly
gentleman plotted out a scheme of colonisation and conquest in that
region with the coolness of a practised freebooter. 'No young man is
worth a job,' he said, 'who does not mean to be a leader, and as leader
to have dominion. Here we are fettered by ancestry and antecedents. Had
I to recommence without those encumbrances, I would try my fortune
yonder. I stood condemned to waste my youth in idle parades, and hunting
the bear and buffalo. The estate you have inherited is not binding on
you. You can realise it, and begin by taking over two or three hundred
picked Irish and English--have both races capable of handling spade and
musket; purchasing some thousands of acres to establish a legal footing
'You increase your colony from the mother country in the ratio of your
prosperity, until your power is respected, and there is a necessity for
the extension of your territory. When you are feared you will be on your
mettle. They will favour you with provocation. I should not doubt the
result, supposing myself to have under my sole command a trained body of
men of English blood--and Irish.'
'Owners of the soil,' rejoined Patrick, much marvelling.
'Undoubtedly, owners of the soil, but owing you service.'
'They fight sir'
'It is hardly to be specified in the calculation, knowing them. Soldiery
who have served their term, particularly old artillerymen, would be my
choice: young fellows and boys among them. Women would have to be taken.
Half-breeds are the ruin of colonists. Our men are born for conquest.
We were conquerors here, and it is want of action and going physically
forward that makes us a rusty people. There are--Mr. Adister's
intonation told of his proposing a wretched alternative,--'the Pacific
Islands, but they will soon be snapped up by the European and North
American Governments, and a single one of them does not offer space. It
would require money and a navy.' He mused. 'South America is the
quarter I should decide for, as a young man. You are a judge of horses;
you ride well; you would have splendid pastures over there; you might
raise a famous breed. The air is fine; it would suit our English stock.
We are on ground, Mr. O'Donnell, which my forefathers contested sharply
and did not yield.'
'The owners of the soil had to do that,' said Patrick. 'I can show the
same in my country, with a difference.'
'Considerably to your benefit.'
'Everything has been crushed there barring the contrary opinion.'
'I could expect such a remark from a rebel.'