Part 4 out of 10
"Your lordship proposes the fortune not as the first object of my
affection, but merely as a corollary. But, perhaps, it will be as well
that you should finish your proposition, before I make any remarks on
the subject." And Lord Kilcullen, sat down, with a well-feigned look of
"Well, Kilcullen, I have latterly been thinking much about you, and so
has your poor mother. She is very uneasy that you should still--still
be unmarried; and Jervis has written to me very strongly. You see it
is quite necessary that something should be done--or we shall both be
ruined. Now, if I did raise this sum--and I really could not do it--I
don't think I could manage it, just at present; but, even if I did, it
would only be encouraging you to go on just in the same way again. Now,
if you were to marry, your whole course of life would be altered, and
you would become, at the same time, more respectable and more happy."
"That would depend a good deal upon circumstances, I should think."
"Oh! I am sure you would. You are just the same sort of fellow I was
when at your age, and I was much happier after I was married, so I know
it. Now, you see, your cousin has a hundred thousand pounds; in fact
something more than that."
"What?--Fanny! Poor Ballindine! So that's the way with him is it! When
I was contradicting the rumour of his marriage with Fanny, I little
thought that I was to be his rival! At any rate, I shall have to shoot
"You might, at any rate, confine yourself to sense, Lord Kilcullen,
when I am taking so much pains to talk sensibly to you, on a subject
which, I presume, cannot but interest you."
"Indeed, my lord, I'm all attention; and I do intend to talk sensibly
when I say that I think you are proposing to treat Ballindine very ill.
The world will think well of your turning him adrift on the score of
the match being an imprudent one; but it won't speak so leniently of
you if you expel him, as soon as your ward becomes an heiress, to make
way for your own son."
"You know that I'm not thinking of doing so. I've long seen that Lord
Ballindine would not make a fitting husband for Fanny--long before
"And you think that I shall?"
"Indeed I do. I think she will be lucky to get you."
"I'm flattered into silence: pray go on."
"You will be an earl--a peer--and a man of property. What would she
become if she married Lord Ballindine?"
"Oh, you are quite right! Go on. I wonder it never occurred to her
before to set her cap at me."
"Now do be serious. I wonder how you can joke on such a subject, with
all your debts. I'm sure I feel them heavy enough, if you don't. You
see Lord Ballindine was refused--I may say he was refused--before we
heard about that poor boy's unfortunate death. It was the very morning
we heard of it, three or four hours before the messenger came, that
Fanny had expressed her resolution to declare it off, and commissioned
me to tell him so. And, therefore, of course, the two things can't have
the remotest reference to each other."
"I see. There are, or have been, two Fanny Wyndhams--separate persons,
though both wards of your lordship. Lord Ballindine was engaged to the
girl who had a brother; but he can have no possible concern with Fanny
Wyndham, the heiress, who has no brother."
"How can you be so unfeeling?--but you may pay your debts in your own
way. You won't ever listen to what I have to say! I should have thought
that, as your father, I might have considered myself entitled to more
respect from you."
"Indeed, my lord, I'm all respect and attention, and I won't say one
more word till you've finished."
"Well--you must see, there can be no objection on the score of Lord
"Oh, none at all."
"And then, where could Fanny wish for a better match than yourself? it
would be a great thing for her, and the match would be, in all things,
so--so respectable, and just what it ought to be; and your mother would
be so delighted, and so should I, and--"
"Her fortune would so nicely pay all my debts."
"Exactly. Of course, I should take care to have your present
income--five thousand a year--settled on her, in the shape of jointure;
and I'm sure that would be treating her handsomely. The interest of her
fortune would not be more than that."
"And what should we live on?"
"Why, of course, I should continue your present allowance."
"And you think that that which I have found so insufficient for myself,
would be enough for both of us?"
"You must make it enough, Kilcullen--in order that there may be
something left to enable you to keep up your title when I am gone."
By this time, Lord Kilcullen appeared to be as serious, and nearly as
solemn, as his father, and he sat, for a considerable time, musing,
till his father said, "Well, Kilcullen, will you take my advice?"
"It's impracticable, my lord. In the first place, the money must be
paid immediately, and considerable delay must occur before I could even
offer to Miss Wyndham; and, in the next place, were I to do so, I am
sure she would refuse me."
"Why; there must be some delay, of course. But I suppose, if I passed
my word, through Jervis, for so much of the debts as are immediate,
that a settlement might be made whereby they might stand over for
twelve months, with interest, of course. As to refusing you, it's not
at all likely: where would she look for a better offer?"
"I don't know much of my cousin; but I don't think she's exactly the
girl to take a man because he's a good match for her."
"Perhaps not. But then, you know, you understand women so well, and
would have such opportunities; you would be sure to make yourself
agreeable to her, with very little effort on your part."
"Yes, poor thing--she would be delivered over, ready bound, into the
lion's den." And then the young man sat silent again, for some time,
turning the matter over in his mind. At last, he said,--
"Well, my lord; I am a considerate and a dutiful son, and I will agree
to your proposition: but I must saddle it with conditions. I have no
doubt that the sum which I suggested should be paid through your agent,
could be arranged to be paid in a year, or eighteen months, by your
making yourself responsible for it, and I would undertake to indemnify
you. But the thirty thousand pounds I must have at once. I must return
to London, with the power of raising it there, without delay. This,
also, I would repay you out of Fanny's fortune. I would then undertake
to use my best endeavours to effect a union with your ward. But I most
positively will not agree to this--nor have any hand in the matter,
unless I am put in immediate possession of the sum I have named, and
unless you will agree to double my income as soon as I am married."
To both these propositions the earl, at first, refused to accede; but
his son was firm. Then, Lord Cashel agreed to put him in immediate
possession of the sum of money he required, but would not hear of
increasing his income. They argued, discussed, and quarrelled over the
matter, for a long time; till, at last, the anxious father, in his
passion, told his son that he might go his own way, and that he would
take no further trouble to help so unconscionable a child. Lord
Kilcullen rejoined by threatening immediately to throw the whole of the
property, which was entailed on himself, into the hands of the Jews.
Long they argued and bargained, till each was surprised at the
obstinacy of the other. They ended, however, by splitting the
difference, and it was agreed, that Lord Cashel was at once to hand
over thirty thousand pounds, and to take his son's bond for the amount;
that the other debts were to stand over till Fanny's money was
forthcoming; and that the income of the newly married pair was to be
seven thousand five hundred a-year.
"At least," thought Lord Kilcullen to himself, as he good-humouredly
shook hands with his father at the termination of the interview--"I
have not done so badly, for those infernal dogs will be silenced, and I
shall get the money. I could not have gone back without that. I can go
on with the marriage, or not, as I may choose, hereafter. It won't be a
bad speculation, however."
To do Lord Cashel justice, he did not intend cheating his son, nor did
he suspect his son of an intention to cheat him. But the generation was
XIV. THE COUNTESS
It was delightful to see on what good terms the earl and his son met
that evening at dinner. The latter even went so far as to be decently
civil to his mother, and was quite attentive to Fanny. She, however,
did not seem to appreciate the compliment. It was now a fortnight since
she had heard of her brother's death, and during the whole of that time
she had been silent, unhappy, and fretful. Not a word more had been
said to her about Lord Ballindine, nor had she, as yet, spoken about
him to any one; but she had been thinking about little else, and had
ascertained,--at least, so she thought,--that she could never be happy,
unless she were reconciled to him.
The more she brooded over the subject, the more she felt convinced that
such was the case; she could not think how she had ever been induced
to sanction, by her name, such an unwarrantable proceeding as the
unceremonious dismissal of a man to whom her troth had been plighted,
merely because he had not called to see her. As for his not writing,
she was aware that Lord Cashel had recommended that, till she was of
age, they should not correspond. As she thought the matter over in
her own room, long hour after hour, she became angry with herself for
having been talked into a feeling of anger for him. What right had she
to be angry because he kept horses? She could not expect him to put
himself into Lord Cashel's leading-strings. Indeed, she thought she
would have liked him less if he had done so. And now, to reject him
just when circumstances put it in her power to enable her to free
him from his embarrassments, and live a manner becoming his station!
What must Frank think of her?--For he could not but suppose that her
rejection had been caused by her unexpected inheritance.
In the course of the fortnight, she made up her mind that all Lord
Cashel had said to Lord Ballindine should be unsaid;--but who was to do
it? It would be a most unpleasant task to perform; and one which, she
was aware, her guardian would be most unwilling to undertake. She fully
resolved that she would do it herself, if she could find no fitting
ambassador to undertake the task, though that would be a step to which
she would fain not be driven. At one time, she absolutely thought of
asking her cousin, Kilcullen, about it:--this was just before his
leaving Grey Abbey; he seemed so much more civil and kind than usual.
But then, she knew so little of him, and so little liked what she did
know: that scheme, therefore, was given up. Lady Selina was so cold,
and prudent--would talk to her so much about propriety, self-respect,
and self-control, that she could not make a confidante of her. No one
could talk to Selina on any subject more immediately interesting than a
Roman Emperor, or a pattern for worsted-work. Fanny felt that she would
not be equal, herself, to going boldly to Lord Cashel, and desiring him
to inform Lord Ballindine that he had been mistaken in the view he had
taken of his ward's wishes: no--that was impossible; such a proceeding
would probably bring on a fit of apoplexy.
There was no one else to whom she could apply, but her aunt. Lady
Cashel was a very good-natured old woman, who slept the greatest
portion of her time, and knitted through the rest of her existence. She
did not take a prominent part in any of the important doings of Grey
Abbey; and, though Lord Cashel constantly referred to her, for he
thought it respectable to do so, no one regarded her much. Fanny felt,
however, that she would neither scold her, ridicule her, nor refuse to
listen: to Lady Cashel, therefore, at last, she went for assistance.
Her ladyship always passed the morning, after breakfast, in a
room adjoining her own bed-room, in which she daily held deep
debate with Griffiths, her factotum, respecting household affairs,
knitting-needles, and her own little ailments and cossetings.
Griffiths, luckily, was a woman of much the same tastes as her
ladyship, only somewhat of a more active temperament; and they were
most stedfast friends. It was such a comfort to Lady Cashel to have
some one to whom she could twaddle!
The morning after Lord Kilcullen's departure Fanny knocked at her door,
and was asked to come in. The countess, as usual, was in her easy
chair, with the knitting-apparatus in her lap, and Griffiths was seated
at the table, pulling about threads, and keeping her ladyship awake by
"I'm afraid I'm disturbing you, aunt," said Fanny, "but I wanted to
speak to you for a minute or two. Good morning, Mrs Griffiths."
"Oh, no! you won't disturb me, Fanny. I was a little busy this morning,
for I wanted to finish this side of the--You see what a deal I've
done,"--and the countess lugged up a whole heap of miscellaneous
worsted from a basket just under her arm--"and I must finish it by
lady-day , or I shan't get the other done, I don't know when. But
still, I've plenty of time to attend to you."
[FOOTNOTE 25: lady-day--Annunciation Day, March 25]
"Then I'll go down, my lady, and see about getting the syrup boiled,"
said Griffiths. "Good morning, Miss Wyndham."
"Do; but mind you come up again immediately--I'll ring the bell when
Miss Wyndham is going; and pray don't leave me alone, now."
"No, my lady--not a moment," and Griffiths escaped to the syrup.
Fanny's heart beat quick and hard, as she sat down on the sofa,
opposite to her aunt. It was impossible for any one to be afraid of
Lady Cashel, there was so very little about her that could inspire awe;
but then, what she had to say was so very disagreeable to say! If she
had had to tell her tale out loud, merely to the empty easy chair, it
would have been a dreadful undertaking.
"Well, Fanny, what can I do for you? I'm sure you look very nice in
your bombazine; and it's very nicely made up. Who was it made it for
"I got it down from Dublin, aunt; from Foley's."
"Oh, I remember; so you told me. Griffiths has a niece makes those
things up very well; but then she lives at Namptwich, and one couldn't
send to England for it. I had such a quantity of mourning by me, I
didn't get any made up new; else, I think I must have sent for her."
"My dear aunt, I am very unhappy about something, and I want you to
help me. I'm afraid, though, it will give you a great deal of trouble."
"Good gracious, Fanny!--what is it? Is it about poor Harry? I'm sure I
grieved about him more than I can tell."
"No, aunt: he's gone now, and time is the only cure for that grief. I
know I must bear that without complaining. But, aunt, I feel--I think,
that is, that I've used Lord Ballindine very ill."
"Good gracious me, my love! I thought Lord Cashel had managed all
that--I thought that was all settled. You know, he would keep those
horrid horses, and all that kind of thing; and what more could you do
than just let Lord Cashel settle it?"
"Yes, but aunt--you see, I had engaged myself to Lord Ballindine, and I
don't think--in fact--oh, aunt! I did not wish to break my word to Lord
Ballindine, and I am very very sorry for what has been done," and Fanny
was again in tears.
"But, my dear Fanny," said the countess, so far excited as to commence
rising from her seat--the attempt, however, was abandoned, when
she felt the ill effects of the labour to which she was exposing
herself--"but, my dear Fanny--what would you have? It's done, now, you
know; and, really, it's for the best."
"Oh, but, dear aunt, I must get somebody to see him. I've been thinking
about it ever since he was here with my uncle. I wouldn't let him think
that I broke it all off, merely because--because of poor Harry's
money," and Fanny sobbed away dreadfully.
"But you don't want to marry him!" said the naive countess.
Now, Fanny did want to marry him, though she hardly liked saying so,
even to Lady Cashel.
"You know, I promised him I would," said she; "and what will he think
of me?--what must he think of me, to throw him off so cruelly, so
harshly, after all that's past?--Oh, aunt! I must see him again."
"I know something of human nature," replied the aunt, "and if you do, I
tell you, it will end in your being engaged to him again. You know it's
off now. Come, my dear; don't think so much about it: I'm sure Lord
Cashel wouldn't do anything cruel or harsh."
"Oh, I must see him again, whatever comes of it;" and then she paused
for a considerable time, during which the bewildered old lady was
thinking what she could do to relieve her sensitive niece. "Dear, dear
aunt, I don't want to deceive you!" and Fanny, springing up, knelt at
her aunt's feet, and looked up into her face. "I do love him--I always
loved him, and I cannot, cannot quarrel with him." And then she burst
out crying vehemently, hiding her face in the countess's lap.
Lady Cashel was quite overwhelmed. Fanny was usually so much more
collected than herself, that her present prostration, both of
feeling and body, was dreadful to see. Suppose she was to go into
hysterics--there they would be alone, and Lady Cashel felt that she had
not strength to ring the bell.
"But, my dear Fanny! oh dear, oh dear, this is very dreadful!--but,
Fanny--he's gone away now. Lift up your face, Fanny, for you frighten
me. Well, I'm sure I'll do anything for you. Perhaps he wouldn't mind
coming back again,--he always was very good-natured. I'm sure I always
liked Lord Ballindine very much,--only he would have all those horses.
But I'm sure, if you wish it, I should be very glad to see him marry
you; only, you know, you must wait some time, because of poor Harry;
and I'm sure I don't know how you'll manage with Lord Cashel."
"Dear aunt--I want you to speak to Lord Cashel. When I was angry
because I thought Frank didn't come here as he might have done, I
consented that my uncle should break off the match: besides, then, you
know, we should have had so little between us. But I didn't know then
how well I loved him. Indeed, indeed, aunt, I cannot bring my heart to
quarrel with him; and I am quite, _quite_ sure he would never wish to
quarrel with me. Will you go to my uncle--tell him that I've changed my
mind; tell him that I was a foolish girl, and did not know my mind. But
tell him I _must_ be friends with Frank again."
"Well, of course I'll do what you wish me,--indeed, I would do anything
for you, Fanny, as if you were one of my own; but really, I don't
know--Good gracious! What am I to say to him? Wouldn't it be better,
Fanny, if you were to go to him yourself?"
"Oh, no, aunt; pray do you tell him first. I couldn't go to him;
besides, he would do anything for you, you know. I want you to go
to him--do, now, dear aunt--and tell him--not from me, but from
yourself--how very, very much I--that is, how very very--but you will
know what to say; only Frank must, _must_ come back again."
"Well, Fanny, dear, I'll go to Lord Cashel; or, perhaps, he wouldn't
mind coming here. Ring the bell for me, dear. But I'm sure he'll be
very angry. I'd just write a line and ask Lord Ballindine to come and
dine here, and let him settle it all himself, only I don't think Lord
Cashel would like it."
Griffiths answered the summons, and was despatched to the book-room
to tell his lordship that her ladyship would be greatly obliged if
he would step upstairs to her for a minute or two; and, as soon as
Griffiths was gone on her errand, Fanny fled to her own apartment,
leaving her aunt in a very bewildered and pitiable state of mind: and
there she waited, with palpitating heart and weeping eyes, the effects
of the interview.
She was dreadfully nervous, for she felt certain that she would be
summoned before her uncle. Hitherto, she alone, in all the house, had
held him in no kind of awe; indeed, her respect for her uncle had not
been of the most exalted kind; but now she felt she was afraid of him.
She remained in her room much longer than she thought it would have
taken her aunt to explain what she had to say. At last, however, she
heard footsteps in the corridor, and Griffiths knocked at the door. Her
aunt would be obliged by her stepping into her room. She tried not to
look disconcerted, and asked if Lord Cashel were still there. She was
told that he was; and she felt that she had to muster up all her
courage to encounter him.
When she went into the room, Lady Cashel was still in her easy-chair,
but the chair seemed to lend none of its easiness to its owner. She
was sitting upright, with her hands on her two knees, and she looked
perplexed, distressed, and unhappy. Lord Cashel was standing with his
back to the fire-place, and Fanny had never seen his face look so
black. He really seemed, for the time, to have given over acting, to
have thrown aside his dignity, and to be natural and in earnest.
Lady Cashel began the conversation.
"Oh, Fanny," she said, "you must really overcome all this
sensitiveness; you really must. I've spoken to your uncle, and it's
quite impossible, and very unwise; and, indeed, it can't be done at
all. In fact, Lord Ballindine isn't, by any means, the sort of person I
Fanny knit her brows a little at this, and felt somewhat less humble
than she did before. She knew she should get indignant if her uncle
abused her lover, and that, if she did, her courage would rise in
proportion. Her aunt continued--
"Your uncle's very kind about it, and says he can, of course, forgive
your feeling a little out of sorts just at present; and, I'm sure, so
can I, and I'm sure I'd do anything to make you happy; but as for
making it all up with Lord Ballindine again, indeed it cannot be
thought of, Fanny; and so your uncle will tell you."
And then Lord Cashel opened his oracular mouth, for the purpose of
"Really, Fanny, this is the most unaccountable thing I ever heard of.
But you'd better sit down, while I speak to you," and Fanny sat down on
the sofa. "I think I understood you rightly, when you desired me, less
than a month ago, to inform Lord Ballindine that circumstances--that
is, his own conduct--obliged you to decline the honour of his alliance.
Did you not do so spontaneously, and of your own accord?"
"Certainly, uncle, I agreed to take your advice; though I did so most
"Had I not your authority for desiring him--I won't say to discontinue
his visits, for that he had long done--but to give up his pretensions
to your hand? Did you not authorise me to do so?"
"I believe I did. But, uncle--"
"And I have done as you desired me; and now, Fanny, that I have done
so--now that I have fully explained to him what you taught me to
believe were your wishes on the subject, will you tell me--for I really
think your aunt must have misunderstood you--what it is that you wish
me to do?"
"Why, uncle, you pointed out--and it was very true then, that my
fortune was not sufficient to enable Lord Ballindine to keep up his
rank. It is different now, and I am very, very sorry that it is so;
but it is different now, and I feel that I ought not to reject Lord
Ballindine, because I am so much richer than I was when he--when he
proposed to me."
"Then it's merely a matter of feeling with you, and not of affection?
If I understand you, you are afraid that you should be thought to have
treated Lord Ballindine badly?"
"It's not only that--" And then she paused for a few moments, and
added, "I thought I could have parted with him, when you made me
believe that I ought to do so, but I find I cannot."
"You mean that you love him?" and the earl looked very black at his
niece. He intended to frighten her out of her resolution, but she
"Yes, uncle, I do."
"And you want me to tell him so, after having banished him from my
Fanny's eyes again shot fire at the word "banished", but she answered,
very quietly, and even with a smile,
"No, uncle; but I want you to ask him here again. I might tell him the
"But, Fanny, dear," said the countess, "your uncle couldn't do it: you
know, he told him to go away before. Besides, I really don't think he'd
come; he's so taken up with those horrid horses, and that Mr Blake, who
is worse than any of 'em. Really, Fanny, Kilcullen says that he and Mr
Blake are quite notorious."
"I think, aunt, Lord Kilcullen might be satisfied with looking after
himself. If it depended on him, he never had a kind word to say for
"But you know, Fanny," continued the aunt, "he knows everybody; and if
he says Lord Ballindine is that sort of person, why, it must be so,
though I'm sure I'm very sorry to hear it."
Lord Cashel saw that he could not trust any more to his wife: that last
hit about Kilcullen had been very unfortunate; so he determined to put
an end to all Fanny's yearnings after her lover with a strong hand, and
"If you mean, Fanny, after what has passed, that I should go to Lord
Ballindine, and give him to understand that he is again welcome to
Grey Abbey, I must at once tell you that it is absolutely--absolutely
impossible. If I had no personal objection to the young man on any
prudential score, the very fact of my having already, at your request,
desired his absence from my house, would be sufficient to render it
impossible. I owe too much to my own dignity, and am too anxious for
your reputation, to think of doing such a thing. But when I also
remember that Lord Ballindine is a reckless, dissipated gambler--I
much fear, with no fixed principle, I should consider any step towards
renewing the acquaintance between you a most wicked and unpardonable
When Fanny heard her lover designated as a reckless gambler, she lost
all remaining feelings of fear at her uncle's anger, and, standing up,
looked him full in the face through her tears.
"It's not so, my lord!" she said, when he had finished. "He is not what
you have said. I know him too well to believe such things of him, and I
will not submit to hear him abused."
"Oh, Fanny, my dear!" said the frightened countess; "don't speak in
that way. Surely, your uncle means to act for your own happiness; and
don't you know Lord Ballindine has those horrid horses?"
"If I don't mind his horses, aunt, no one else need; but he's no
gambler, and he's not dissipated--I'm sure not half so much so as Lord
"In that, Fanny, you're mistaken," said the earl; "but I don't wish to
discuss the matter with you. You must, however, fully understand this:
Lord Ballindine cannot be received under this roof. If you regret him,
you must remember that his rejection was your own act. I think you then
acted most prudently, and I trust it will not be long before you are of
the same opinion yourself," and Lord Cashel moved to the door as though
he had accomplished his part in the interview.
"Stop one moment, uncle," said Fanny, striving hard to be calm, and
hardly succeeding. "I did not ask my aunt to speak to you on this
subject, till I had turned it over and over in my mind, and resolved
that I would not make myself and another miserable for ever, because I
had been foolish enough not to know my mind. You best know whether you
can ask Lord Ballindine to Grey Abbey or not; but I am determined, if
I cannot see him here, that I will see him somewhere else," and she
turned towards the door, and then, thinking of her aunt, she turned
back and kissed her, and immediately left the room.
The countess looked up at her husband, quite dumbfounded, and he seemed
rather distressed himself. However, he muttered something about her
being a hot-headed simpleton and soon thinking better about it, and
then betook himself to his private retreat, to hold sweet converse with
his own thoughts--having first rung the bell for Griffiths, to pick up
the scattered threads of her mistress's knitting.
Lord Cashel certainly did not like the look of things. There was a
determination in Fanny's eye, as she made her parting speech, which
upset him rather, and which threw considerable difficulties in the way
of Lord Kilcullen's wooing. To be sure, time would do a great deal: but
then, there wasn't so much time to spare. He had already taken steps to
borrow the thirty thousand pounds, and had, indeed, empowered his son
to receive it: he had also pledged himself for the other fifty; and
then, after all, that perverse fool of a girl would insist on being in
love with that scapegrace, Lord Ballindine! This, however, might wear
away, and he would take very good care that she should hear of his
misdoings. It would be very odd if, after all, his plans were to be
destroyed, and his arrangements disconcerted by his own ward, and
niece--especially when he designed so great a match for her!
He could not, however, make himself quite comfortable, though he had
great confidence in his own diplomatic resources.
XV. HANDICAP LODGE
Lord Ballindine left Grey Abbey, and rode homewards, towards Handicap
Lodge, in a melancholy and speculative mood. His first thoughts were
all of Harry Wyndham. Frank, as the accepted suitor of his sister, had
known him well and intimately, and had liked him much; and the poor
young fellow had been much attached to him. He was greatly shocked to
hear of his death. It was not yet a month since he had seen him shining
in all the new-blown splendour of his cavalry regimentals, and Lord
Ballindine was unfeignedly grieved to think how short a time the lad
had lived to enjoy them. His thoughts, then, naturally turned to
his own position, and the declaration which Lord Cashel had made to
him respecting himself. Could it be absolutely true that Fanny had
determined to give him up altogether?--After all her willing vows, and
assurances of unalterable affection, could she be so cold as to content
herself with sending him a formal message, by her uncle, that she
did not wish to see him again? Frank argued with himself that it was
impossible; he was sure he knew her too well. But still, Lord Cashel
would hardly tell him a downright lie, and he had distinctly stated
that the rejection came from Miss Wyndham herself.
Then, he began to feel indignant, and spurred his horse, and rode a
little faster, and made a few resolutions as to upholding his own
dignity. He would run after neither Lord Cashel nor his niece; he would
not even ask her to change her mind, since she had been able to bring
herself to such a determination as that expressed to him. But he would
insist on seeing her; she could not refuse that to him, after what had
passed between them, and he would then tell her what he thought of her,
and leave her for ever. But no; he would do nothing to vex her, as long
as she was grieving for her brother. Poor Harry!--she loved him so
dearly! Perhaps, after all, his sudden rejection was, in some manner,
occasioned by this sad event, and would be revoked as her sorrow grew
less with time. And then, for the first time, the idea shot across his
mind, of the wealth Fanny must inherit by her brother's death.
It certainly had a considerable effect on him, for he breathed slow
awhile, and was some little time before he could entirely realise the
conception that Fanny was now the undoubted owner of a large fortune.
"That is it," thought he to himself, at last; "that sordid earl
considers that he can now be sure of a higher match for his niece, and
Fanny has allowed herself to be persuaded out of her engagement: she
has allowed herself to be talked into the belief that it was her duty
to give up a poor man like me." And then, he felt very angry again.
"Heavens!" said he to himself--"is it possible she should be so
servile and so mean? Fanny Wyndham, who cared so little for the prosy
admonitions of her uncle, a few months since, can she have altered her
disposition so completely? Can the possession of her brother's money
have made so vile a change in her character? Could she be the same
Fanny who had so entirely belonged to him, who had certainly loved him
truly once? Perish her money! he had sought her from affection alone;
he had truly and fondly loved her; he had determined to cling to her,
in spite of the advice of his friends! And then, he found himself
deserted and betrayed by her, because circumstances had given her the
probable power of making a better match!"
Such were Lord Ballindine's thoughts; and he flattered himself with
the reflection that he was a most cruelly used, affectionate, and
disinterested lover. He did not, at the moment, remember that it was
Fanny's twenty thousand pounds which had first attracted his notice;
and that he had for a considerable time wavered, before he made up his
mind to part with himself at so low a price. It was not to be expected
that he should remember that, just at present; and he rode on,
considerably out of humour with all the world except himself.
As he got near to Handicap Lodge, however, the genius of the
master-spirit of that classic spot came upon him, and he began to
bethink himself that it would be somewhat foolish of him to give up the
game just at present. He reflected that a hundred thousand pounds would
work a wondrous change and improvement at Kelly's Court--and that, if
he was before prepared to marry Fanny Wyndham in opposition to the
wishes of her guardian, he should now be doubly determined to do so,
even though all Grey Abbey had resolved to the contrary. The last idea
in his mind, as he got off his horse at his friend's door was, as to
what Dot Blake would think, and say, of the tidings he brought home
It was dark when he reached Handicap Lodge, and, having first asked
whether Mr Blake was in, and heard that he was dressing for dinner, he
went to perform the same operation himself. When he came down, full of
his budget, and quite ready, as usual, to apply to Dot for advice, he
was surprised, and annoyed, to find two other gentlemen in the room,
together with Blake. What a bore! to have to make one of a dinner-party
of four, and the long protracted rubber of shorts which would follow
it, when his mind was so full of other concerns! However, it was not to
The guests were, the fat, good-humoured, ready-witted Mat Tierney, and
a little Connaught member of Parliament, named Morris, who wore a wig,
played a very good rubber of whist, and knew a good deal about selling
hunters. He was not very bright, but he told one or two good stories of
his own adventures in the world, which he repeated oftener than was
approved of by his intimate friends; and he drank his wine plentifully
and discreetly--for, if he didn't get a game of cards after consuming a
certain quantum, he invariably went to sleep.
There was something in the manner in which the three greeted him, on
entering the room, which showed him that they had been speaking of him
and his affairs. Dot was the first to address him.
"Well, Frank, I hope I am to wish you joy. I hope you've made a good
morning's work of it?"
Frank looked rather distressed: before he could answer, however, Mat
"Well, Ballindine, upon my soul I congratulate you sincerely, though,
of course, you've seen nothing at Grey Abbey but tears and cambric
handkerchiefs. I'm very glad, now, that what Kilcullen told me wasn't
true. He left Dublin for London yesterday, and I suppose he won't hear
of his cousin's death before he gets there."
"Upon my honour, Lord Ballindine," said the horse-dealing member, "you
are a lucky fellow. I believe old Wyndham was a regular golden nabob,
and I suppose, now, you'll touch the whole of his gatherings."
Dot and his guests had heard of Harry Wyndham's death, and Fanny's
accession of fortune; but they had not heard that she had rejected her
lover, and that he had been all but turned out of her guardian's house.
Nor did he mean to tell them; but he did not find himself pleasantly
situated in having to hear their congratulations and listen to
their jokes, while he himself felt that the rumour which he had so
emphatically denied to Mat Tierney, only two days since, had turned out
to be true.
Not one of the party made the slightest reference to the poor brother
from whom Fanny's new fortune had come, except as the lucky means of
conveying it to her. There was no regret even pretended for his early
death, no sympathy expressed with Fanny's sorrow. And there was,
moreover, an evident conviction in the minds of all the three, that
Frank, of course, looked on the accident as a piece of unalloyed
good fortune--a splendid windfall in his way, unattended with any
disagreeable concomitants. This grated against his feelings, and made
him conscious that he was not yet heartless enough to be quite fit for,
the society in which he found himself.
The party soon went into the dining-room; and Frank at first got a
little ease, for Fanny Wyndham seemed to be forgotten in the willing
devotion which was paid to Blake's soup; the interest of the fish,
also, seemed to be absorbing; and though conversation became more
general towards the latter courses, still it was on general subjects,
as long as the servants were in the room. But, much to his annoyance,
his mistress again came on the tapis , together with the claret.
[FOOTNOTE 26: A tapis was a small cloth or tapestry sometimes
used to cover a table; hence the expression "on
the tapis" meant "on the table" or "under
"You and Kilcullen don't hit it off together--eh, Ballindine?" said
"We never quarrelled," answered Frank; "we never, however, were very
"I wonder at that, for you're both fond of the turf. There's a large
string of his at Murphy's now, isn't there, Dot?"
"Too many, I believe," said Blake. "If you've a mind to be a purchaser,
you'll find him a very pleasant fellow--especially if you don't object
to his own prices."
"Faith I'll not trouble him," said Mat; "I've two of them already, and
a couple on the turf and a couple for the saddle are quite enough to
suit me. But what the deuce made him say, so publicly, that your match
was off, Ballindine? He couldn't have heard of Wyndham's death at the
time, or I should think he was after the money himself."
"I cannot tell; he certainly had not my authority," said Frank.
"Nor the lady's either, I hope."
"You had better ask herself, Tierney; and, if she rejects me, maybe
she'll take you."
"There's a speculation for you," said Blake; "you don't think yourself
too old yet, I hope, to make your fortune by marriage?--and, if you
don't, I'm sure Miss Wyndham can't."
"I tell you what, Dot, I admire Miss Wyndham much, and I admire a
hundred thousand pounds more. I don't know anything I admire more than
a hundred thousand pounds, except two; but, upon my word, I wouldn't
take the money and the lady together."
"Well, that's kind of him, isn't it, Frank? So, you've a chance left,
"Ah! but you forget Morris," said Tierney; "and there's yourself, too.
If Ballindine is not to be the lucky man, I don't see why either of you
"Oh! as for me, I'm the devil. I've a tail, only I don't wear it,
except on state occasions; and I've horns and hoofs, only people can't
see them. But I don't see why Morris should not succeed: he's the only
one of the four that doesn't own a racehorse, and that's much in his
favour. What do you say, Morris?"
"I'd have no objection," said the member; "except that I wouldn't like
to stand in Lord Ballindine's way."
"Oh! he's the soul of good-nature. You wouldn't take it ill of him,
would you, Frank?"
"Not the least," said Frank, sulkily; for he didn't like the
conversation, and he didn't know how to put a stop to it.
"Perhaps you wouldn't mind giving him a line of introduction to Lord
Cashel," said Mat.
"But, Morris," said Blake, "I'm afraid your politics would go against
you. A Repealer would never go down at Grey Abbey."
"Morris'll never let his politics harm him," said Tierney. "Repeal's a
very good thing the other side of the Shannon; or one might, carry it
as far as Conciliation Hall, if one was hard pressed, and near an
election. Were you ever in Conciliation Hall yet, Morris?"
"No, Mat; but I'm going next Thursday. Will you go with me?"
"Faith, I will not: but I think you should go; you ought to do
something for your country, for you're a patriot. I never was a public
"Well, when I can do any good for my country, I'll go there. Talking of
that, I saw O'Connell in town yesterday, and I never saw him looking so
well. The verdict hasn't disturbed him much. I wonder what steps the
Government will take now? They must be fairly bothered. I don't think
they dare imprison him."
"Not dare!" said Blake--'and why not? When they had courage to indict
him, you need not fear but what they'll dare to go on with a strong
hand, now they have a verdict."
"I'll tell you what, Dot; if they imprison the whole set," said Mat,
"and keep them in prison for twelve months, every Catholic in Ireland
will be a Repealer by the end of that time."
"And why shouldn't they all be Repealers?" said Morris. "It seems to me
that it's just as natural for us to be Repealers, as it is for you to
be the contrary."
"I won't say they don't dare to put them in prison," continued Mat;
"but I will say they'll be great fools to do it. The Government have
so good an excuse for not doing so: they have such an easy path out
of the hobble. There was just enough difference of opinion among the
judges--just enough irregularity in the trial, such as the omissions of
the names from the long panel--to enable them to pardon the whole set
with a good grace."
"If they did," said Blake, "the whole high Tory party in this
country--peers and parsons--would be furious. They'd lose one set of
supporters, and wouldn't gain another. My opinion is, they'll lock the
whole party up in the stone jug--for some time, at least."
"Why," said Tierney, "their own party could not quarrel with them for
not taking an advantage of a verdict, as to the legality of which there
is so much difference of opinion even among the judges. I don't know
much about these things, myself; but, as far as I can understand, they
would have all been found guilty of high treason a few years back, and
probably have been hung or beheaded; and if they could do that now, the
country would be all the quieter. But they can't: the people will have
their own way; and if they want the people to go easy, they shouldn't
put O'Connell into prison. Rob them all of the glories of martyrdom,
and you'd find you'll cut their combs and stop their crowing."
"It's not so easy to do that now, Mat," said Morris. "You'll find that
the country will stick to O'Connell, whether he's in prison or out
of it;--but Peel will never dare to put him there. They talk of the
Penitentiary; but I'll tell you what, if they put him there, the people
of Dublin won't leave one stone upon another; they'd have it all down
in a night."
"You forget, Morris, how near Richmond barracks are to the
"No, I don't. Not that I think there'll be any row of the kind, for
I'll bet a hundred guineas they're never put in prison at all."
"Done," said Dot, and his little book was out--"put that down, Morris,
and I'll initial it: a hundred guineas, even, that O'Connell is not in
prison within twelve months of this time."
"Very well: that is, that he's not put there and kept there for six
months, in consequence of the verdict just given at the State trials."
"No, my boy; that's not it. I said nothing about being kept there six
months. They're going to try for a writ of error, or what the devil
they call it, before the peers. But I'll bet you a cool hundred he is
put in prison before twelve months are over, in consequence of the
verdict. If he's locked up there for one night, I win. Will you take
"Well, I will," said Morris; and they both went to work at their little
"I was in London," said Mat, "during the greater portion of the
trial--and it's astonishing what unanimity of opinion there was at
the club that the whole set would be acquitted. I heard Howard make
bet, at the Reform Club, that the only man put in prison would be the
"He ought to have included the Chief Justice," said Morris. "By the
bye, Mat, is that Howard the brother of the Honourable and Riverind
"Upon my soul, I don't know whose brother he is. Who is the Riverind
"Morris wants to tell a story, Mat,' said Blake; 'don't spoil him,
"Indeed I don't," said the member: "I never told it to any one till I
mentioned it to you the other day. It only happened the other day, but
it _is_ worth telling."
"Out with it, Morris," said Mat, "it isn't very long, is it?--because,
if it is, we'll get Dot to give us a little whiskey and hot water
first. I'm sick of the claret."
"Just as you like, Mat," and Blake rang the bell, and the hot water was
"You know Savarius O'Leary," said Morris, anxious to tell his story,
"What, Savy, with the whiskers?" said Tierney, "to be sure I do. Who
doesn't know Savy?"
"You know him, don't you, Lord Ballindine?" Morris was determined
everybody should listen to him.
"Oh yes, I know him; he comes from County Mayo--his property's close to
mine; that is, the patch of rocks and cabins--which he has managed to
mortgage three times over, and each time for more than its value--which
he still calls the O'Leary estate."
"Well; some time ago--that is, since London began to fill, O'Leary was
seen walking down Regent Street, with a parson. How the deuce he'd ever
got hold of the parson, or the parson of him, was never explained; but
Phil Mahon saw him, and asked him who his friend in the white choker
was. 'Is it my friend in black, you mane?' says Savy, 'thin, my frind
was the Honourable and the Riverind Augustus Howard, the Dane.' 'Howard
the Dane,' said Mahon, 'how the duce did any of the Howards become
Danes?' 'Ah, bother!' said Savy, 'it's not of thim Danes he is; it's
not the Danes of Shwaden I mane, at all, man; but a rural Dane of the
Church of England.'"
Mat Tierney laughed heartily at this, and even Frank forgot that his
dignity had been hurt, and that he meant to be sulky; and he laughed
also: the little member was delighted with his success, and felt
himself encouraged to persevere.
"Ah, Savy's a queer fellow, if you knew him," he continued, turning to
Lord Ballindine, "and, upon my soul, he's no fool. Oh, if you knew him
"Didn't you hear Ballindine say he was his next door neighbour in
Mayo?" said Blake, "or, rather, next barrack neighbour; for they
dispense with doors in Mayo--eh, Frank? and their houses are all cabins
"Why, we certainly don't pretend to all the Apuleian luxuries of
Handicap Lodge; but we are ignorant enough to think ourselves
comfortable, and swinish enough to enjoy our pitiable state."
"I beg ten thousand pardons, my dear fellow. I didn't mean to offend
your nationality. Castlebar, we must allow, is a fine provincial
city--though Killala's the Mayo city, I believe; and Claremorris, which
is your own town I think, is, as all admit, a gem of Paradise: only
it's a pity so many of the houses have been unroofed lately. It adds
perhaps to the picturesque effect, but it must, I should think, take
away from the comfort."
"Not a house in Claremorris belongs to me," said Lord Ballindine, again
rather sulky, "or ever did to any of my family. I would as soon own
Claremorris, though, as I would Castleblakeney. Your own town is quite
as shattered-looking a place."
"That's quite true--but I have some hopes that Castleblakeney will be
blotted out of the face of creation before I come into possession."
"But I was saying about Savy O'Leary," again interposed Morris, "did
you ever hear what he did?"
But Blake would not allow his guest the privilege of another story. "If
you encourage Morris," said he, "we shall never get our whist," and
with that he rose from the table and walked away into the next room.
They played high. Morris always played high if he could, for he made
money by whist. Tierney was not a gambler by profession; but the men he
lived among all played, and he, therefore, got into the way of it, and
played the game well, for he was obliged to do so in his own defence.
Blake was an adept at every thing of the kind; and though the
card-table was not the place where his light shone brightest, still he was
quite at home at it.
As might be supposed, Lord Ballindine did not fare well among the
three. He played with each of them, one after the other, and lost with
them all. Blake, to do him justice, did not wish to see his friend's
money go into the little member's pocket, and, once or twice, proposed
giving up; but Frank did not second the proposal, and Morris was
inveterate. The consequence was that, before the table was broken up,
Lord Ballindine had lost a sum of money which he could very ill spare,
and went to bed in a very unenviable state of mind, in spite of the
brilliant prospects on which his friends congratulated him.
XVI. BRIEN BORU
The next morning, at breakfast, when Frank was alone with Blake, he
explained to him how matters really stood at Grey Abbey. He told him
how impossible he had found it to insist on seeing Miss Wyndham so soon
after her brother's death, and how disgustingly disagreeable, stiff and
repulsive the earl had been; and, by degrees, they got to talk of other
things, and among them, Frank's present pecuniary miseries.
"There can be no doubt, I suppose," said Dot, when Frank had consoled
himself by anathematising the earl for ten minutes, "as to the fact of
Miss Wyndham's inheriting her brother's fortune?"
"Faith, I don't know; I never thought about her fortune if you'll
believe me. I never even remembered that her brother's death would in
any way affect her in the way of money, until after I left Grey Abbey."
"Oh, I can believe you capable of anything in the way of imprudence."
"Ah, but, Dot, to think of that pompous fool--who sits and caws in
that dingy book-room of his, with as much wise self-confidence as an
antiquated raven--to think of him insinuating that I had come there
looking for Harry Wyndham's money; when, as you know, I was as ignorant
of the poor fellow's death as Lord Cashel was himself a week ago.
Insolent blackguard! I would never, willingly, speak another word to
him, or put my foot inside that infernal door of his, if it were to get
ten times all Harry Wyndham's fortune."
"Then, if I understand you, you now mean to relinquish your claims to
Miss Wyndham's hand."
"No; I don't believe she ever sent the message her uncle gave me. I
don't see why I'm to give her up, just because she's got this money."
"Nor I, Frank, to tell the truth; especially considering how badly you
want it yourself. But I don't think quarrelling with the uncle is the
surest way to get the niece."
"But, man, he quarrelled with me."
"It takes two people to quarrel. If he quarrelled with you, do you be
the less willing to come to loggerheads with him."
"Wouldn't it be the best plan, Dot, to carry her off?"
"She wouldn't go, my boy: rope ladders and post-chaises are out of
"But if she's really fond of me--and, upon my honour, I don't believe
I'm flattering myself in thinking that she is--why the deuce shouldn't
she marry me, _malgre_  Lord Cashel? She must be her own mistress
in a week or two. By heavens, I cannot stomach that fellow's arrogant
assumption of superiority."
[FOOTNOTE 27: malgre--(French) in spite of; notwithstanding]
"It will be much more convenient for her to marry you _bon gre_ 
Lord Cashel, whom you may pitch to the devil, in any way you like best,
as soon as you have Fanny Wyndham at Kelly's Court. But, till that
happy time, take my advice, and submit to the cawing. Rooks and ravens
are respectable birds, just because they do look so wise. It's a great
thing to look wise; the doing so does an acknowledged fool, like Lord
Cashel, very great credit."
[FOOTNOTE 28: bon gre--(French) with the consent of]
"But what ought I to do? I can't go to the man's house when he told me
expressly not to do so."
"Oh, yes, you can: not immediately, but by and by--in a month or six
weeks. I'll tell you what I should do, in your place; and remember,
Frank, I'm quite in earnest now, for it's a very different thing
playing a game for twenty thousand pounds, which, to you, joined to a
wife, would have been a positive irreparable loss, and starting for
five or six times that sum, which would give you an income on which you
might manage to live."
"Well, thou sapient counsellor--but, I tell you beforehand, the chances
are ten to one I sha'n't follow your plan."
"Do as you like about that: you sha'n't, at any rate, have me to blame.
I would in the first place, assure myself that Fanny inherited her
"There's no doubt about that. Lord Cashel said as much."
"Make sure of it however. A lawyer'll do that for you, with very little
trouble. Then, take your name off the turf at once; it's worth your
while to do it now. You may either do it by a _bona fide_ sale of the
horses, or by running them in some other person's name. Then, watch
your opportunity, call at Grey Abbey, when the earl is not at home, and
manage to see some of the ladies. If you can't do that, if you can't
effect an _entree_, write to Miss Wyndham; don't be too lachrymose, or
supplicatory, in your style, but ask her to give you a plain answer
personally, or in her own handwriting."
"And if she declines the honour?"
"If, as you say and as I believe, she loves, or has loved you, I don't
think she'll do so. She'll submit to a little parleying, and then
she'll capitulate. But it will be much better that you should see her,
if possible, without writing at all."
"I don't like the idea of calling at Grey Abbey. I wonder whether
they'll go to London this season?"
"If they do, you can go after them. The truth is simply this,
Ballindine; Miss Wyndham will follow her own fancy in the matter, in
spite of her guardian; but, if you make no further advances to her, of
course she can make none to you. But I think the game is in your own
hand. You haven't the head to play it, or I should consider the stakes
as good as won."
"But then, about these horses, Dot. I wish I could sell them, out and
out, at once."
"You'll find it very difficult to get anything like the value for a
horse that's well up for the Derby. You see, a purchaser must make up
his mind to so much outlay: there's the purchase-money, and expense of
English training, with so remote a chance of any speedy return."
"But you said you'd advise me to sell them."
"That's if you can get a purchaser:--or else run them in another name.
You may run them in my name, if you like it; but Scott must understand
that I've nothing whatever to do with the expense."
"Would you not buy them yourself, Blake?"
"No. I would not."
"If I gave you anything like the value for them, the bargain would not
suit me; and if I got them for what they'd be worth to me, you'd think,
and other people would say, that I'd robbed you."
Then followed a lengthened and most intricate discourse on the affairs
of the stable. Frank much wanted his friend to take his stud entirely
off his hands, but this Dot resolutely refused to do. In the course of
conversation, Frank owned that the present state of his funds rendered
it almost impracticable for him to incur the expense of sending his
favourite, Brien Boru, to win laurels in England. He had lost nearly
three hundred pounds the previous evening which his account at his
banker's did not enable him to pay; his Dublin agent had declined
advancing him more money at present, and his tradesmen were very
importunate. In fact, he was in a scrape, and Dot must advise him how
to extricate himself from it.
"I'll tell you the truth, Ballindine," said he; "as far as I'm
concerned myself, I never will lend money, except where I see, as a
matter of business, that it is a good speculation to do so. I wouldn't
do it for my father."
"Who asked you?" said Frank, turning very red, and looking very angry.
"You did not, certainly; but I thought you might, and you would have
been annoyed when I refused you; now, you have the power of being
indignant, instead. However, having said so much, I'll tell you what I
think you should do, and what I will do to relieve you, as far as the
horses are concerned. Do you go down to Kelly's Court, and remain there
quiet for a time. You'll be able to borrow what money you absolutely
want down there, if the Dublin fellows actually refuse; but do with as
little as you can. The horses shall run in my name for twelve months.
If they win, I will divide with you at the end of the year the amount
won, after deducting their expenses. If they lose, I will charge you
with half the amount lost, including the expenses. Should you not feel
inclined, at the end of the year, to repay me this sum, I will then
keep the horses, instead, or sell them at Dycer's, if you like it
better, and hand you the balance if there be any. What do you say to
this? You will be released from all trouble, annoyance, and expense,
and the cattle will, I trust, be in good hands."
"That is to say, that, for one year, you are to possess one half of
whatever value the horses may be?"
"Exactly: we shall be partners for one year."
"To make that fair," said Frank, "you ought to put into the concern
three horses, as good and as valuable as my three."
"Yes; and you ought to bring into the concern half the capital to be
expended in their training; and knowledge, experience, and skill in
making use of them, equal to mine. No, Frank; you're mistaken if you
think that I can afford to give up my time, merely for the purpose of
making an arrangement to save you from trouble."
"Upon my word, Dot," answered the other, "you're about the coolest hand
I ever met! Did I ask you for your precious time, or anything else?
You're always afraid that you're going to be done. Now, you might make
a distinction between me and some of your other friends, and remember
that I am not in the habit of doing anybody."
"Why, I own I don't think it very likely that I, or indeed anyone else,
should suffer much from you in that way, for your sin is not too much
"Then why do you talk about what you can afford to do?"
"Because it's necessary. I made a proposal which you thought an unfair
one. You mayn't believe me, but it is a most positive fact, that my
only object in making that proposal was, to benefit you. You will find
it difficult to get rid of your horses on any terms; and yet, with the
very great stake before you in Miss Wyndham's fortune, it would be
foolish in you to think of keeping them; and, on this account, I
thought in what manner I could take them from you. If they belong to my
stables I shall consider myself bound to run them to the best
"Well, well--for heaven's sake don't speechify about it."
"Stop a moment, Frank, and listen, for I must make you understand. I
must make you see that I am not taking advantage of your position, and
trying to rob my own friend in my own house. I don't care what most
people say of me, for in my career I must expect people to lie of me. I
must, also, take care of myself. But I do wish you to know, that though
I could not disarrange my schemes for you, I would not take you in."
"Why, Dot--how can you go on so? I only thought I was taking a leaf out
of your book, by being careful to make the best bargain I could."
"Well, as I was saying--I would run the horses to the best
advantage--especially Brien, for the Derby: by doing so, my whole book
would be upset: I should have to bet all round again--and, very likely,
not be able to get the bets I want. I could not do this without a very
strong interest in the horse. Besides, you remember that I should have
to go over with him to England myself, and that I should be obliged to
be in England a great deal at a time when my own business would require
"My dear fellow," said Frank, "you're going on as though it were
necessary to defend yourself. I never accused you of anything."
"Never mind whether you did or no. You understand me now: if it will
suit you, you can take my offer, but I should be glad to know at once."
While this conversation was going on, the two young men had left the
house, and sauntered out into Blake's stud-yard. Here were his stables,
where he kept such horses as were not actually in the trainer's
hands--and a large assortment of aged hunters, celebrated
timber-jumpers, brood mares, thoroughbred fillies, cock-tailed colts,
and promising foals. They were immediately joined by Blake's stud
groom, who came on business intent, to request a few words with his
master; which meant that Lord Ballindine was to retreat, as it was full
time for his friend to proceed to his regular day's work. Blake's groom
was a very different person in appearance, from the sort of servant in
the possession of which the fashionable owner of two or three horses
usually rejoices. He had no diminutive top boots; no loose brown
breeches, buttoned low beneath the knee; no elongated waistcoat with
capacious pockets; no dandy coat with remarkably short tail. He was a
very ugly man of about fifty, named John Bottom, dressed somewhat like
a seedy gentleman; but he understood his business well, and did it;
and was sufficiently wise to know that he served his own pocket best,
in the long run, by being true to his master, and by resisting the
numerous tempting offers which were made to him by denizens of the turf
to play foul with his master's horses. He was, therefore, a treasure to
Blake; and he knew it, and valued himself accordingly.
"Well, John," said his master, "I suppose I must desert Lord Ballindine
again, and obey your summons. Your few words will last nearly till
dinner, I suppose?"
"Why, there is a few things, to be sure, 'll be the better for being
talked over a bit, as his lordship knows well enough. I wish we'd as
crack a nag in our stables, as his lordship."
"Maybe we may, some day; one down and another come on, you know; as the
"At any rate, your horses don't want bottom" said Frank.
He--he--he! laughed John, or rather tried to do so. He had laughed at
that joke a thousand times; and, in the best of humours, he wasn't a
"Well, Frank," said Blake, "the cock has crowed; I must away. I suppose
you'll ride down to Igoe's, and see Brien: but think of what I've said,
and," he added, whispering--"remember that I will do the best I can for
the animals, if you put them into my stables. They shall be made second
to nothing, and shall only and always run to win."
So, Blake and John Bottom walked off to the box stables and home
Frank ordered his horse, and complied with his friend's suggestion, by
riding down to Igoe's. He was not in happy spirits as he went; he felt
afraid that his hopes, with regard to Fanny, would be blighted; and
that, if he persevered in his suit, he would only be harassed, annoyed,
and disappointed. He did not see what steps he could take, or how he
could manage to see her. It would be impossible for him to go to Grey
Abbey, after having been, as he felt, turned out by Lord Cashel. Other
things troubled him also. What should he now do with himself? It was
true that he could go down to his own house; but everyone at Kelly's
Court expected him to bring with him a bride and a fortune; and,
instead of that, he would have to own that he had been jilted, and
would be reduced to the disagreeable necessity of borrowing money from
his own tenants. And then, that awful subject, money--took possession
of him. What the deuce was he to do? What a fool he had been, to be
seduced on to the turf by such a man as Blake! And then, he expressed a
wish to himself that Blake had been--a long way off before he ever saw
him. There he was, steward of the Curragh, the owner of the best horse
in Ireland, and absolutely without money to enable him to carry on the
game till he could properly retreat from it!
Then he was a little unfair upon his friend: he accused him of knowing
his position, and wishing to take advantage of it; and, by the time he
had got to Igoe's, his mind was certainly not in a very charitable mood
towards poor Dot. He had, nevertheless, determined to accept his offer,
and to take a last look at the three Milesians.
The people about the stables always made a great fuss with Lord
Ballindine, partly because he was one of the stewards, and partly
because he was going to run a crack horse for the Derby in England;
and though, generally speaking, he did not care much for personal
complimentary respect, he usually got chattered and flattered into good
humour at Igoe's.
"Well, my lord," said a sort of foreman, or partner, or managing man,
who usually presided over the yard, "I think we'll be apt to get
justice to Ireland on the downs this year. That is, they'll give us
nothing but what we takes from 'em by hard fighting, or running, as the
case may be."
"How's Brien looking this morning, Grady?"
"As fresh as a primrose, my lord, and as clear as crystal: he's ready,
this moment, to run through any set of three years old as could be put
on the Curragh, anyway."
"I'm afraid you're putting him on too forward."
"Too forrard, is it, my lord? not a bit. He's a hoss as naturally don't
pick up flesh; though he feeds free, too. He's this moment all wind and
bottom, though, as one may say, he's got no training. He's niver been
sthretched yet. Faith it's thrue I'm telling you, my lord."
"I know Scott doesn't like getting horses, early in the season, that
are too fine--too much drawn up; he thinks they lose power by it, and
so they do;--it's the distance that kills them, at the Derby. It's so
hard to get a young horse to stay the distance."
"That's thrue, shure enough, my lord; and there isn't a gentleman this
side the wather, anyway, undherstands thim things betther than your
"Well, Grady, let's have a look at the young chieftain: he's all right
about the lungs, anyway."
"And feet too, my lord; niver saw a set of claner feet with plates on:
and legs too! If you were to canter him down the road, I don't think
he'd feel it; not that I'd like to thry, though."
"Why, he's not yet had much to try them."
"Faix, he has, my lord: didn't he win the Autumn Produce Stakes?"
"The only thing he ever ran for."
"Ah, but I tell you, as your lordship knows very well--no one
betther--that it's a ticklish thing to bring a two year old to the
post, in anything like condition--with any running in him at all, and
not hurt his legs."
"But I think he's all right--eh, Grady?"
"Right?--your lordship knows he's right. I wish he may be made righter
at John Scott's, that's all. But that's unpossible."
"Of course, Grady, you think he might be trained here, as well as at
the other side of the water?"
"No, I don't, my lord: quite different. I've none of thim ideas at all,
and never had, thank God. I knows what we can do, and I knows what they
can do:--breed a hoss in Ireland, train him in the North of England,
and run him in the South; and he'll do your work for you, and win your
money, steady and shure."
"And why not run in the North, too?"
"They're too 'cute, my lord: they like to pick up the crumbs
themselves--small blame to thim in that matther. No; a bright Irish
nag, with lots of heart, like Brien Boru, is the hoss to stand on for
the Derby; where all run fair and fair alike, the best wins;--but I
won't say but he'll be the betther for a little polishing at Johnny
"Besides, Grady, no horse could run immediately after a sea voyage. Do
you remember what a show we made of Peter Simple at Kilrue?"
"To be shure I does, my lord: besides, they've proper gallops there,
which we haven't--and they've betther manes of measuring horses:--why,
they can measure a horse to half a pound, and tell his rale pace on a
two-mile course, to a couple of seconds.--Take the sheets off, Larry,
and let his lordship run his hand over him. He's as bright as a star,
"I think you're getting him too fine. I'm sure Scott'll say so."
"Don't mind him, my lord. He's not like one of those English cats, with
jist a dash of speed about 'em, and nothing more--brutes that they put
in training half a dozen times in as many months. Thim animals pick up
a lot of loose, flabby flesh in no time, and loses it in less; and, in
course, av' they gets a sweat too much, there's nothin left in 'em; not
a hapoth. Brien's a different guess sort of animal from that."
"Were you going to have him out, Grady?"
"Why, we was not--that is, only just for walking exercise, with his
sheets on: but a canter down the half mile slope, and up again by the
bushes won't go agin him."
"Well, saddle him then, and let Pat get up."
"Yes, my lord"; and Brien was saddled by the two men together, with
much care and ceremony; and Pat was put up--"and now, Pat," continued
Grady, "keep him well in hand down the slope--don't let him out at all
at all, till you come to the turn: when you're fairly round the corner,
just shake your reins the laste in life, and when you're halfway up the
rise, when the lad begins to snort a bit, let him just see the end of
the switch--just raise it till it catches his eye; and av' he don't
show that he's disposed for running, I'm mistaken. We'll step across to
the bushes, my lord, and see him come round."
Lord Ballindine and the managing man walked across to the bushes
accordingly, and Pat did exactly as he was desired. It was a pretty
thing to see the beautiful young animal, with his sleek brown coat
shining like a lady's curls, arching his neck, and throwing down his
head, in his impatience to start. He was the very picture of health and
symmetry; when he flung up his head you'd think the blood was running
from his nose, his nostrils were so ruddy bright. He cantered off in
great impatience, and fretted and fumed because the little fellow on
his back would be the master, and not let him have his play--down the
slope, and round the corner by the trees. It was beautiful to watch
him, his motions were so easy, so graceful. At the turn he answered to
the boy's encouragement, and mended his pace, till again he felt the
bridle, and then, as the jock barely moved his right arm, he bounded up
the rising ground, past the spot where Lord Ballindine and the trainer
were standing, and shot away till he was beyond the place where he
knew his gallop ordinarily ended. As Grady said, he hadn't yet been
stretched; he had never yet tried his own pace, and he had that look so
beautiful in a horse when running, of working at his ease, and much
within his power.
"He's a beautiful creature," said Lord Ballindine, as he mournfully
reflected that he was about to give up to Dot Blake half the possession
of his favourite, and the whole of the nominal title. It was such a
pity he should be so hampered; the mere _eclat_ of possessing such a
horse was so great a pleasure; "He is a fine creature," said he, "and,
I am sure, will do well."
"Your lordship may say that: he'll go precious nigh to astonish the
Saxons, I think. I suppose the pick-up at the Derby'll be nigh four
thousand this year."
"I suppose it will--something like that."
"Well; I would like a nag out of our stables to do the trick on the
downs, and av' we does it iver, it'll be now. Mr Igoe's standing a deal
of cash on him. I wonder is Mr Blake standing much on him, my lord?"
"You'd be precious deep, Grady, if you could find what he's doing in
"That's thrue for you, my lord; but av' he, or your lordship, wants
to get more on, now's the time. I'll lay twenty thousand pounds this
moment, that afther he's been a fortnight at Johnny Scott's the odds
agin him won't be more than ten to one, from that day till the morning
he comes out on the downs."
"I dare say not."
"I wondher who your lordship'll put up?"
"That must depend on Scott, and what sort of a string he has running.
He's nothing, as yet, high in the betting, except Hardicanute."
"Nothing, my lord; and, take my word for it, that horse is ownly jist
run up for the sake of the betting; that's not his nathural position.
Well, Pat, you may take the saddle off. Will your lordship see the mare
"Not to-day, Grady. Let's see, what's the day she runs?"
"The fifteenth of May, my lord. I'm afraid Mr Watts' Patriot 'll be too
much for her; that's av' he'll run kind; but he don't do that always.
Well, good morning to your lordship."
"Good morning, Grady;" and Frank rode back towards Handicap Lodge.
He had a great contest with himself on his road home. He had hated
the horses two days since, when he was at Grey Abbey, and had hated
himself, for having become their possessor; and now he couldn't bear
the thought of parting with them. To be steward of the Curragh--to own
the best horse of the year--and to win the Derby, were very pleasant
things in themselves; and for what was he going to give over all this
glory, pleasure and profit, to another? To please a girl who had
rejected him, even jilted him, and to appease an old earl who had
already turned him out of his house! No, he wouldn't do it. By the time
that he was half a mile from Igoe's stables he had determined that, as
the girl was gone it would be a pity to throw the horses after her;
he would finish this year on the turf; and then, if Fanny Wyndham was
still her own mistress after Christmas, he would again ask her her
mind. "If she's a girl of spirit," he said to himself--"and nobody
knows better than I do that she is, she won't like me the worse for
having shown that I'm not to be led by the nose by a pompous old
fool like Lord Cashel," and he rode on, fortifying himself in this
resolution, for the second half mile. "But what the deuce should he do
about money?" There was only one more half mile before he was again at
Handicap Lodge.--Guinness's people had his title-deeds, and he knew
he had twelve hundred a year after paying the interest of the old
incumbrances. They hadn't advanced him much since he came of age;
certainly not above five thousand pounds; and it surely was very hard
he could not get five or six hundred pounds when he wanted it so much;
it was very hard that he shouldn't be able to do what he liked with his
own, like the Duke of Newcastle. However, the money must be had: he
must pay Blake and Tierney the balance of what they had won at whist,
and the horse couldn't go over the water till the wind was raised. If
he was driven very hard he might get something from Martin Kelly. These
unpleasant cogitations brought him over the third half mile, and he
rode through the gate of Handicap Lodge in a desperate state of
"I'll tell you what I'll do, Dot," he said, when he met his friend
coming in from his morning's work; "and I'm deuced sorry to do it, for
I shall be giving you the best horse of his year, and something tells
me he'll win the Derby."
"I suppose 'something' means old Jack Igoe, or that blackguard Grady,"
said Dot. "But as to his winning, that's as it may be. You know the
chances are sixteen to one he won't."
"Upon my honour I don't think they are."
"Will you take twelve to one?"
"Ah! youk now, Dot, I'm not now wanting to bet on the horse with you. I
was only saying that I've a kind of inward conviction that he will
"My dear Frank," said the other, "if men selling horses could also sell
their inward convictions with them, what a lot of articles of that
description there would be in the market! But what were you going to
say you'd do?"
"I'll tell you what I'll do: I'll agree to your terms providing you'll
pay half the expenses of the horses since the last race each of them
ran. You must see that would be only fair, supposing the horses
belonged to you, equally with me, ever since that time."
"It would be quite fair, no doubt, if I agreed to it: it would be quite
fair also if I agreed to give you five hundred pounds; but I will do
neither one nor the other."
"But look here, Dot--Brien ran for the Autumn Produce Stakes last
October, and won them: since then he has done nothing to reimburse me
for his expense, nor yet has anything been taken out of him by running.
Surely, if you are to have half the profits, you should at any rate pay
half the expenses?"
"That's very well put, Frank; and if you and I stood upon equal ground,
with an arbiter between us by whose decision we were bound to abide,
and to whom the settlement of the question was entrusted, your
arguments would, no doubt, be successful, but--"
"Well that's the fair way of looking at it."
"But, as I was going to say, that's not the case. We are neither of
us bound to take any one's decision; and, therefore, any terms which
either of us chooses to accept must be fair. Now I have told you my
terms--the lowest price, if you like to call it so,--at which I will
give your horses the benefit of my experience, and save you from their
immediate pecuniary pressure; and I will neither take any other terms,
nor will I press these on you."
"Why, Blake, I'd sooner deal with all the Jews of Israel--"
"Stop, Frank: one word of abuse, and I'll wash my hands of the matter
"Wash away then, I'll keep the horses, though I have to sell my hunters
and the plate at Kelly's Court into the bargain."
"I was going to add--only your energy's far too great to allow of a
slow steady man like me finishing his sentence--I was going to say
that, if you're pressed for money as you say, and if it will be any
accommodation, I will let you have two hundred and fifty pounds at five
per cent. on the security of the horses; that is, that you will be
charged with that amount, and the interest, in the final closing of the
account at the end of the year, before the horses are restored to you."
Had an uninterested observer been standing by he might have seen with
half an eye that Blake's coolness was put on, and that his indifference
to the bargain was assumed. This offer of the loan was a second bid,
when he found the first was likely to be rejected: it was made, too,
at the time that he was positively declaring that he would make none
but the first offer. Poor Frank!--he was utterly unable to cope with
his friend at the weapons with which they were playing, and he was
consequently most egregiously plundered. But it was in an affair of
horse-flesh, and the sporting world, when it learned the terms on which
the horses were transferred from Lord Ballindine's name to that of Mr
Blake, had not a word of censure to utter against the latter. He was
pronounced to be very wide awake, and decidedly at the top of his
profession; and Lord Ballindine was spoken of, for a week, with
considerable pity and contempt.
When Blake mentioned the loan Frank got up, and stood with his back to
the fire; then bit his lips, and walked twice up and down the room,
with his hands in his pockets, and then he paused, looked out of the
window, and attempted to whistle: then he threw himself into an
armchair, poked out both his legs as far as he could, ran his fingers
through his hair, and set to work hard to make up his mind. But it was
no good; in about five minutes he found he could not do it; so he took
out his purse, and, extracting half-a-crown, threw it up to the
"Well, Dot--head or harp? If you're right, you have them."
"Harp," cried Dot.
They both examined the coin. "They're yours," said Frank, with much
solemnity; "and now you've got the best horse--yes, I believe the very
best horse alive, for nothing."
"Only half of him, Frank."
"Well," said Frank; "it's done now, I suppose."
"Oh, of course it is," said Dot: "I'll draw out the agreement, and give
you a cheque for the money to-night."
And so he did; and Frank wrote a letter to Igoe, authorizing him to
hand over the horses to Mr Blake's groom, stating that he had sold
them--for so ran his agreement with Dot--and desiring that his bill
for training, &c., might be forthwith forwarded to Kelly's Court. Poor
Frank! he was ashamed to go to take a last look at his dear favourites,
and tell his own trainer that he had sold his own horses.
The next morning saw him, with his servant, on the Ballinasloe coach,
travelling towards Kelly's Court; and, also, saw Brien Boru, Granuell,
and Finn M'Goul led across the downs, from Igoe's stables to Handicap
The handsome sheets, hoods, and rollers, in which they had hitherto
appeared, and on which the initial B was alone conspicuous, were
carefully folded up, and they were henceforth seen in plainer, but as
serviceable apparel, labelled W. B.
"Will you give fourteen to one against Brien Boru?" said Viscount Avoca
to Lord Tathenham Corner, about ten days after this, at Tattersall's.
"I will," said Lord Tathenham.
"In hundreds?" said the sharp Irishman.
"Very well," said Lord Tathenham; and the bet was booked.
"You didn't know, I suppose," said the successful viscount, "that Dot
Blake has bought Brien Boru?"
"And who the devil's Dot Blake?" said Lord Tathenham.
"Oh! you'll know before May's over," said the viscount.
XVII. MARTIN KELLY'S COURTSHIP
It will be remembered that the Tuam attorney, Daly, dined with Barry
Lynch, at Dunmore House, on the same evening that Martin Kelly reached
home after his Dublin excursion; and that, on that occasion, a good
deal of interesting conversation took place after dinner. Barry,
however, was hardly amenable to reason at that social hour, and it was
not till the following morning that he became thoroughly convinced that
it would be perfectly impossible for him to make his sister out a
lunatic to the satisfaction of the Chancellor.
He then agreed to abandon the idea, and, in lieu of it, to indict,
or at any rate to threaten to indict, the widow Kelly and her son
for a conspiracy, and an attempt to inveigle his sister Anty into a
disgraceful marriage, with the object of swindling her out of her
"I'll see Moylan, Mr Lynch," said Daly; "and if I can talk him over, I
think we might succeed in frightening the whole set of them, so far as
to prevent the marriage. Moylan must know that if your sister was to
marry young Kelly, there'd be an end to his agency; but we must promise
him something, Mr Lynch."
"Yes; I suppose we must pay him, before we get anything out of him."
"No, not before--but he must understand that he will get something, if
he makes himself useful. You must let me explain to him that if the
marriage is prevented, you will make no objection to his continuing to
act as Miss Lynch's agent; and I might hint the possibility of his
receiving the rents on the whole property."
"Hint what you like, Daly, but don't tie me down to the infernal
ruffian. I suppose we can throw him overboard afterwards, can't we?"
"Why, not altogether, Mr Lynch. If I make him a definite promise, I
shall expect you to keep to it."
"Confound him!--but tell me, Daly; what is it he's to do?--and what is
it we're to do?"
"Why, Mr Lynch, it's more than probable, I think, that this plan of
Martin Kelly's marrying your sisther may have been talked over between
the ould woman, Moylan, and the young man; and if so, that's something
like a conspiracy. If I could worm that out of him, I think I'd manage
to frighten them."
"And what the deuce had I better do? You see, there was a bit of a row
between us. That is, Anty got frightened when I spoke to her of this
rascal, and then she left the house. Couldn't you make her understand
that she'd be all right if she'd come to the house again?"
While Barry Lynch had been sleeping off the effects of the punch, Daly
had been inquiring into the circumstances under which Anty had left the
house, and he had pretty nearly learned the truth; he knew, therefore,
how much belief to give to his client's representation.
"I don't think," said he, "that your sister will be likely to come back
at present; she will probably find herself quieter and easier at the
inn. You see, she has been used to a quiet life."
"But, if she remains there, she can marry that young ruffian any moment
she takes it into her head to do so. There's always some rogue of a
priest ready to do a job of that sort."
"Exactly so, Mr Lynch. Of course your sister can marry whom she
pleases, and when she pleases, and neither you nor any one else can
prevent her; but still--"
"Then what the devil's the use of my paying you to come here and tell
"That's your affair: I didn't come without being sent for. But I was
going to tell you that, though we can't prevent her from marrying if
she pleases, we may make her afraid to do so. You had better write her
a kind, affectionate note, regretting what has taken place between
you, and promising to give her no molestation of any kind, if she will
return to her own house,--and keep a copy of this letter. Then I will
see Moylan; and, if I can do anything with him, it will be necessary
that you should also see him. You could come over to Tuam, and meet
him in my office; and then I will try and force an entrance into the
widow's castle, and, if possible, see your sister, and humbug the
ould woman into a belief that she has laid herself open to criminal
indictment. We might even go so far as to have notices served on them;
but, if they snap their fingers at us, we can do nothing further. My
advice in that case would be, that you should make the best terms in
your power with Martin Kelly."
"And let the whole thing go! I'd sooner--Why, Daly, I believe you're as
bad as Blake! You're afraid of these huxtering thieves!"
"If you go on in that way, Mr Lynch, you'll get no professional
gentleman to act with you. I give you my best advice; it you don't like
it, you needn't follow it; but you won't get a solicitor in Connaught
to do better for you than what I'm proposing."
"Confusion!" muttered Barry, and he struck the hot turf in the grate a
desperate blow with the tongs which he had in his hands, and sent the
sparks and bits of fire flying about the hearth.
"The truth is, you see, your sister's in her full senses; there's the
divil a doubt of that; the money's her own, and she can marry whom she
pleases. All that we can do is to try and make the Kellys think they
have got into a scrape."
"But this letter--What on earth am I to say to her?"
"I'll just put down what I would say, were I you; and if you like you
can copy it." Daly then wrote the following letter--
My Dear Anty,
Before taking other steps, which could not fail of being very
disagreeable to you and to others, I wish to point out to you how
injudiciously you are acting in leaving your own house; and to try
to induce you to do that which will be most beneficial to yourself,
and most conducive to your happiness and respectability. If you
will return to Dunmore House, I most solemnly promise to leave you
unmolested. I much regret that my violence on Thursday should have
annoyed you, but I can assure you it was attributable merely to my
anxiety on your account. Nothing, however, shall induce me to repeat
it. But you must be aware that a little inn is not a fit place for
you to be stopping at; and I am obliged to tell you that I have
conclusive evidence of a conspiracy having been formed, by the
family with whom you are staying, to get possession of your money;
and that this conspiracy was entered into very shortly after the
contents of my father's will had been made public. I _must_ have
this fact proved at the Assizes, and the disreputable parties to it
punished, unless you will consent, at any rate for a time, to put
yourself under the protection of your brother.
In the meantime pray believe me, dear Anty, in spite of
Your affectionate brother,
It was then agreed that this letter should be copied and signed by
Barry, and delivered by Terry on the following morning, which was
Sunday. Daly then returned to Tuam, with no warm admiration for his
In the meantime the excitement at the inn, arising from Anty's arrival
and Martin's return, was gradually subsiding. These two important
events, both happening on the same day, sadly upset the domestic
economy of Mrs Kelly's establishment. Sally had indulged in tea almost
to stupefaction, and Kattie's elfin locks became more than ordinarily
disordered. On the following morning, however, things seemed to fall
a little more into their places: the widow was, as usual, behind her
counter; and if her girls did not give her as much assistance as she
desired of them, and as much as was usual with them, they were perhaps
excusable, for they could not well leave their new guest alone on the
day after her coming to them.
Martin went out early to Toneroe; doubtless the necessary labours of
the incipient spring required him at the farm but I believe that if his
motives were analysed, he hardly felt himself up to a _tete-a-tete_
with his mistress, before he had enjoyed a cool day's consideration of
the extraordinary circumstances which had brought her into the inn as
his mother's guest. He, moreover, wished to have a little undisturbed
conversation with Meg, and to learn from her how Anty might be inclined
towards him just at present. So Martin spent his morning among his
lambs and his ploughs; and was walking home, towards dusk, tired
enough, when he met Barry Lynch, on horseback, that hero having come
out, as usual, for his solitary ride, to indulge in useless dreams of
the happy times he would have, were his sister only removed from her
tribulations in this world. Though Martin had never been on friendly
terms with his more ambitious neighbour, there had never, up to this
time, been any quarrel between them, and he therefore just muttered
"Good morning, Mr Lynch," as he passed him on the road.
Barry said nothing, and did not appear to see him as he passed; but
some idea struck him as soon as he had passed, and he pulled in his
horse and hallooed out "Kelly!"--and, as Martin stopped, he added,
"Come here a moment--I want to speak to you."
"Well, Mr Barry, what is it?" said the other, returning. Lynch paused,
and evidently did not know whether to speak or let it alone. At last he
said, "Never mind--I'll get somebody else to say what I was going to
say. But you'd better look sharp what you're about, my lad, or you'll
find yourself in a scrape that you don't dream of."
"And is that all you called me back for?" said Martin.
"That's all I mean to say to you at present."
"Well then, Mr Lynch, I must say you're very good, and I'm shure I will
look sharp enough. But, to my thinking, d'you know, you want looking
afther yourself a precious dale more than I do," and then he turned to
proceed homewards, but said, as he was going--"Have you any message for
your sisther, Mr Lynch?"
"By--! my young man, I'll make you pay for what you're doing," answered
"I know you'll be glad to hear she's pretty well: she's coming round
from the thratement she got the other night; though, by all accounts,
it's a wondher she's alive this moment to tell of it."
Barry did not attempt any further reply, but rode on, sorry enough that
he had commenced the conversation. Martin got home in time for a snug
tea with Anty and his sisters, and succeeded in prevailing on the three
to take each a glass of punch; and, before Anty went to bed he began
to find himself more at his ease with her, and able to call her by her
Christian name without any disagreeable emotion. He certainly had a
most able coadjutor in Meg. She made room on the sofa for him between
herself and his mistress, and then contrived that the room should be
barely sufficient, so that Anty was rather closely hemmed up in one
corner: moreover, she made Anty give her opinion as to Martin's looks
after his metropolitan excursion, and tried hard to make Martin pay
some compliments to Anty's appearance. But in this she failed, although
she gave him numerous opportunities.
However, they passed the evening very comfortably,--quite sufficiently
so to make Anty feel that the kindly, humble friendship of the inn was
infinitely preferable to the miserable grandeur of Dunmore House; and
it is probable that all the lovemaking in the world would not have
operated so strongly in Martin's favour as this feeling. Meg, however,
was not satisfied, for as soon as she had seen Jane and Anty into the
bed-room she returned to her brother, and lectured him as to his
lukewarm manifestations of affection.
"Martin," said she, returning into the little sitting-room, and
carefully shutting the door after her, "you're the biggest bosthoon of
a gandher I ever see, to be losing your opportunities with Anty this
way! I b'lieve it's waiting you are for herself to come forward to you.
Do you think a young woman don't expect something more from a lover
than jist for you to sit by her, and go on all as one as though she
was one of your own sisthers? Av' once she gets out of this before the
priest has made one of the two of you, mind, I tell you, it'll be all
up with you. I wondher, Martin, you haven't got more pluck in you!"
"Oh! bother, Meg. You're thinking of nothing but kissing and
slobbhering.--Anty's not the same as you and Jane, and doesn't be all
agog for such nonsense!"
"I tell you, Martin, Anty's a woman; and, take my word for it, what
another girl likes won't come amiss to her. Besides, why don't you
spake to her?"
"Spake?--why, what would you have me spake?"
"Well, Martin, you're a fool. Have you, or have you not, made up your
mind to marry Anty?"
"To be shure I will, av' she'll have me."
"And do you expect her to have you without asking?"
"Shure, you know, didn't I ask her often enough?"
"Ah, but you must do more than jist ask her that way. She'll never make
up her mind to go before the priest, unless you say something sthronger
to her. Jist tell her, plump out, you're ready and willing, and get the
thing done before Lent. What's to hindher you?--shure, you know," she
added, in a whisper, "you'll not get sich a fortune as Anty's in your
way every day. Spake out, man, and don't be afraid of her: take my word
she won't like you a bit the worse for a few kisses."
Martin promised to comply with his sister's advice, and to sound Anty
touching their marriage on the following morning after mass.
On the Sunday morning, at breakfast, the widow proposed to Anty that
she should go to mass with herself and her daughters; but Anty trembled
so violently at the idea of showing herself in public, after her escape
from Dunmore House, that the widow did not press her to do so, although
afterwards she expressed her disapprobation of Anty's conduct to her
"I don't see what she has to be afeard of," said she, "in going to
get mass from her own clergyman in her own chapel. She don't think, I
suppose, that Barry Lynch'd dare come in there to pull her out, before
the blessed altar, glory be to God."
"Ah but, mother, you know, she has been so frighted."
"Frighted, indeed! She'll get over these tantrums, I hope, before
Sunday next, or I know where I'll wish her again."
So Anty was left at home, and the rest of the family went to mass. When
the women returned, Meg manoeuvred greatly, and, in fine, successfully,
that no one should enter the little parlour to interrupt the wooing she
intended should take place there. She had no difficulty with Jane, for
she told her what her plans were; and though her less energetic sister
did not quite agree in the wisdom of her designs, and pronounced an
opinion that it would be "better to let things settle down a bit,"
still she did not presume to run counter to Meg's views; but Meg had
some work to dispose of her mother. It would not have answered at all,
as Meg had very well learned herself, to caution her mother not to
interrupt Martin in his love-making, for the widow had no charity for
such follies. She certainly expected her daughters to get married, and
wished them to be well and speedily settled; but she watched anything
like a flirtation on their part as closely as a cat does a mouse.
If any young man were in the house, she'd listen to the fall of his
footsteps with the utmost care; and when she had reason to fear that
there was anything like a lengthened _tete-a-tete_ upstairs, she would
steal on the pair, if possible, unawares, and interrupt, without the
least reserve, any billing and cooing which might be going on, sending
the delinquent daughter to her work, and giving a glower at the swain,
which she expected might be sufficient to deter him from similar
offences for some little time.
The girls, consequently, were taught to be on the alert--to steal about
on tiptoe, to elude their mother's watchful ear, to have recourse to a
thousand little methods of deceiving her, and to baffle her with her
own weapons. The mother, if she suspected that any prohibited frolic
was likely to be carried on, at a late hour, would tell her daughters
that she was going to bed, and would shut herself up for a couple of
hours in her bed-room, and then steal out eavesdropping, peeping
through key-holes and listening at door-handles; and the daughters,
knowing their mother's practice, would not come forth till the
listening and peeping had been completed, and till they had
ascertained, by some infallible means, that the old woman was between
Each party knew the tricks of the other; and yet, taking it all in all,
the widow got on very well with her children, and everybody said what
a good mother she had been: she was accustomed to use deceit, and was
therefore not disgusted by it in others. Whether the system of domestic
manners which I have described is one likely to induce to sound
restraint and good morals is a question which I will leave to be
discussed by writers on educational points.
However Meg managed it, she did contrive that her mother should not go
near the little parlour this Sunday morning, and Anty was left alone,
to receive her lover's visit. I regret to say that he was long in
paying it. He loitered about the chapel gates before he came home; and
seemed more than usually willing to talk to anyone about anything. At
last, however, just as Meg was getting furious, he entered the inn.
"Why, Martin, you born ideot--av' she ain't waiting for you this hour
"Thim that's long waited for is always welcome when they do come,"
"Well afther all I've done for you! Are you going in now?--cause, av'
you don't, I'll go and tell her not to be tasing herself about you.
I'll neither be art or part in any such schaming."
"Schaming, is it, Meg? Faith, it'd be a clever fellow'd beat you at
that," and, without waiting for his sister's sharp reply, he walked
into the little room where Anty was sitting.