Part 8 out of 10
absolutely despatched Griffiths to Dublin to arrange it, though thereby
she was left two whole days in solitary misery at Grey Abbey; and had
to go to bed, and get up, she really hardly knew how, with such
assistance as Lady Selina's maid could give her.
When these things were all arranged, Selina told her cousin that
Adolphus was coming home, and that a house full of company had been
asked to meet him. She was afraid that Fanny would be annoyed and
offended at being forced to go into company so soon after her brother's
death, but such was not the case. She felt, herself, that her poor
brother was not the cause of the grief that was near her heart; and she
would not pretend what she didn't really feel.
"You were quite right, Selina," she said, smiling, "about the things
you said yesterday I should want from Dublin: now, I shall want them;
and, as I wouldn't accept of your good-natured offer, I must take the
trouble of writing myself."
"If you like it, Fanny, I'll write for you," said Selina.
"Oh no, I'm not quite so idle as that"--and she also began her
preparations for the expected festivities. Little did either of them
think that she, Fanny Wyndham, was the sole cause of all the trouble
which the household and neighbourhood were to undergo:--the fatigue of
the countess; Griffiths's journey; the arrival of the dread man cook;
Richards's indignation at being made subordinate to such authority; the
bishop's desertion of the Education Board; the colonel's dangerous and
precipitate consumption of colchicum; the quarrel between Lord and
Lady George as to staying or not staying; the new dresses of the Miss
O'Joscelyns, which their worthy father could so ill afford; and, above
all, the confusion, misery, rage, and astonishment which attended Lord
Kilcullen's unexpected retreat from London, in the middle of the
summer. And all in vain!
How proud and satisfied Lord Ballindine might have been, had he been
able to see all this, and could he have known how futile was every
effort Lord Cashel could make to drive from Fanny Wyndham's heart the
love she felt for him.
The invitations, however, were, generally speaking, accepted. The
bishop and his wife would be most happy; the colonel would come if the
gout would possibly allow; Lady George wrote a note to say they would
be very happy to stay a few days, and Lord George wrote another soon
after to say he was sorry, but that they must return the same evening.
The O'Joscelyns would be delighted; Mat Tierney would be very proud;
Captain Cokely would do himself the honour; and, last but not least,
Mr. Murray would preside below stairs--for a serious consideration.
What a pity so much trouble should have been taken! They might all have
stayed at home; for Fanny Wyndham will never become Lady Kilcullen.
XXX. LORD KILCULLEN OBEYS HIS FATHER
On the appointed day, or rather on the night of the appointed day, Lord
Kilcullen reached Grey Abbey; for it was about eleven o'clock when his
travelling-phaeton rattled up to the door. He had been expected to
dinner at seven, and the first attempts of Murray in the kitchens of
Grey Abbey had been kept waiting for him till half-past eight; but in
vain. At that hour the earl, black with ill-humour, ordered dinner;
and remarked that he considered it criminal in any man to make an
appointment, who was not sufficiently attached to veracity to keep it.
The evening was passed in moody silence. The countess was disappointed,
for she always contrived to persuade herself that she was very anxious
to see her son. Lady Selina was really vexed, and began to have her
doubts as to her brother's coming at all: what was to be done, if it
turned out that all the company had been invited for nothing? As to
Fanny, though very indifferent to the subject of her cousin's coming,
she was not at all in a state of mind to dissipate the sullenness which
prevailed. The ladies went to bed early, the countess grumbling at her
lot, in not being allowed to see her son, and her daughter and niece
marching off with their respective candlesticks in solemn silence. The
earl retired to his book-room soon afterwards; but he had not yet sat
down, when the quick rattle of the wheels was heard upon the gravel
before the house.
Lord Cashel walked out into the hall, prepared to meet his son in a
befitting manner; that is, with a dignified austerity that could not
fail to convey a rebuke even to his hardened heart. But he was balked
in his purpose, for he found that Lord Kilcullen was not alone; Mat
Tierney had come down with him. Kilcullen had met his friend in Dublin,
and on learning that he also was bound for Grey Abbey on the day but
one following, had persuaded him to accelerate his visit, had waited
for him, and brought him down in his own carriage. The truth was, that
Lord Kilcullen had thought that the shades of Grey Abbey would be too
much for him, without some genial spirit to enlighten them: he was
delighted to find that Mat Tierney was to be there, and was rejoiced
to be able to convey him with him, as a sort of protection from his
father's eloquence for the first two days of the visit.
"Lord Kilcullen, your mother and I--" began the father, intent on at
once commenting on the iniquity of the late arrival; when he saw the
figure of a very stout gentleman, amply wrapped up in travelling
habiliments, follow his son into the inner hall.
"Tierney, my lord," said the son, "was good enough to come down with
me. I found that he intended to be here to-morrow, and I told him you
and my mother would be delighted to see him to-day instead."
The earl shook Mr. Tierney's hand, and told him how very welcome he
was at all times, and especially at present--unexpected pleasures were
always the most agreeable; and then the earl bustled about, and ordered
supper and wine, and fussed about the bed-rooms, and performed the
necessary rites of hospitality, and then went to bed, without having
made one solemn speech to his son. So far, Lord Kilcullen had been
successful in his manoeuvre; and he trusted that by making judicious
use of Mat Tierney, he might be able to stave off the evil hour for at
any rate a couple of days.
But he was mistaken. Lord Cashel was now too much in earnest to be
put off his purpose; he had been made too painfully aware that his
son's position was desperate, and that he must at once be saved by a
desperate effort, or given over to utter ruin. And, to tell the truth,
so heavy were the new debts of which he heard from day to day, so
insurmountable seemed the difficulties, that he all but repented that
he had not left him to his fate. The attempt, however, must again be
made; he was there, in the house, and could not be turned out; but
Lord Cashel determined that at any rate no time should be lost.
The two new arrivals made their appearance the next morning, greatly
to Lady Cashel's delight; she was perfectly satisfied with her son's
apology, and delighted to find that at any rate one of her expected
guests would not fail her in her need. The breakfast went over
pleasantly enough, and Kilcullen was asking Mat to accompany him into
the stables, to see what novelties they should find there, when Lord
Cashel spoiled the arrangement by saying,
"Could you spare me half-an-hour in the bookroom first, Kilcullen?"
This request, of course, could not be refused; and the father and son
walked off, leaving Mat Tierney to the charity of the ladies.
There was much less of flippant overbearing impudence now, about Lord
Kilcullen, much less of arrogance and insult from the son towards the
father, than there had been in the previous interview which has been
recorded. He seemed to be somewhat in dread, to be cowed, and ill at
ease; he tried, however, to assume his usual manner, and followed his
father into the book-room with an affected air of indifference, which
very ill concealed his real feelings.
"Kilcullen," began the earl, "I was very sorry to see Tierney with you
last night. It would have been much better that we should have been
alone together, at any rate for one morning. I suppose you are aware
that there is a great deal to be talked over between us?"
"I suppose there is," said the son; "but I couldn't well help bringing
the man, when he told me he was coming here."
"He didn't ask you to bring him, I suppose?--but we will not talk about
that. Will you do me the favour to inform me what your present plans
"My present plans, my lord? Indeed, I've no plans!--It's a long time
since I had a plan of my own. I am, however, prepared to acquiesce
entirely in any which you may propose. I have come quite prepared to
throw at Miss Wyndham's feet myself and my fortune."
"And do you expect her to accept you?"
"You said she would, my lord: so I have taken that for granted. I, at
any rate, will ask her; if she refuses me, your lordship will perhaps
be able to persuade her to a measure so evidently beneficial to all
"The persuading must be with yourself; but if you suppose you can carry
her with a high hand, without giving yourself the trouble to try to
please her, you are very much mistaken. If you think she'll accept you
merely because you ask her, you might save yourself the trouble, and as
well return to London at once."
"Just as you please, my lord; but I thought I came in obedience to your
"So you did; but, to tell you the truth--your manner in coming is very
different from what I would wish it to be. Your--"
"Did you want me to crawl here on my hands and knees?"
"I wanted you to come, Kilcullen, with some sense of what you owe to
those who are endeavouring to rescue you from ruin: with some feeling
of, at any rate, sorrow for the mad extravagance of your past career.
Instead of that, you come gay, reckless, and unconcerned as ever; you
pick up the first jovial companion you meet, and with him disturb the
house at a most unseasonable hour. You are totally regardless of the
appointments you make; and plainly show, that as you come here solely
for your own pleasure, you consider it needless to consult my wishes
or my comfort. Are you aware that you kept your mother and myself two
hours waiting for dinner yesterday?"
The pathos with which Lord Cashel terminated his speech--and it was one
the thrilling effect of which he intended to be overwhelming--almost
restored Lord Kilcullen to his accustomed effrontery.
"My lord," he said, "I did not consider myself of sufficient importance
to have delayed your dinner ten minutes."
"I have always endeavoured, Kilcullen, to show the same respect to you
in my house, which my father showed to me in his; but you do not allow
me the opportunity. But let that pass; we have more important things to
speak of. When last we were here together why did you not tell me the
"What truth, my lord?"
"About your debts, Kilcullen: why did you conceal from me their full
amount? Why, at any rate, did you take pains to make me think them so
much less than they really are?"
"Conceal, my lord?--that is hardly fair, considering that I told you
expressly I could not give you any idea what was the amount I owed. I
concealed nothing; if you deceived yourself, the fault was not mine."
"You could not but have known that the claims against you were much
larger than I supposed them to be--double, I suppose. Good heaven!--why
in ten years more, at this rate, you would more than consume the fee
simple of the whole property! What can I say to you, Kilcullen, to make
you look on your own conduct in the proper light?"
"I think you have said enough for the purpose; you have told me to
marry, and I have consented to do so."
"Do you think, Kilcullen, you have spent the last eight years in a way
which it can please a father to contemplate? Do you think I can look
back on your conduct with satisfaction or content? And yet you have no
regret to express for the past--no promises to make for the future. I
fear it is all in vain. I fear that what I am doing what I am striving
to do, is now all in vain. I fear it is hopeless to attempt to recall
you from the horrid, reckless, wicked mode of life you have adopted."
The sombre mantle of expostulatory eloquence had now descended on the
earl, and he continued, turning full upon his victim, and raising and
lowering his voice with monotonous propriety.--"I fear it is to no
good purpose that I am subjecting your mother and myself to privation,
restraint, and inconvenience; that I am straining every nerve to place
you again in a position of respectability, a position suitable to my
fortune and your own rank. I am endeavouring to retrieve the desperate
extravagance--the--I must say--though I do not wish to hurt your
feelings, yet I must say, disgraceful ruin of your past career. And how
do you help me? what regret do you show? what promises of amendment do
you afford? You drive up to my hall-door at midnight with your boon
companion; you disturb the whole household at most unseasonable hours,
and subject my family to the same disreputable irregularity in which
you have yourself so long indulged. Can such doings, Kilcullen, give me
any hopes for the future? Can--"
"My lord--I am extremely sorry for the dinner: what can I say more? And
as for Mat Tierney, he is your own guest or her ladyship's--not mine.
It is my misfortune to have come in the same carriage with him, but
that is the extent of my offence."
"Well, Kilcullen; if you think your conduct has always been such as it
ought to be, it is of little use for me to bring up arguments to the
"I don't think so, my lord. What can I say more? I have done
those things which I ought not to have done. Were I to confess my
transgressions for the hour together, I could not say more; except that
I have left undone the things which I ought to have done. Or, do you
want me to beat my breast and tear my hair?"
"I want you, Lord Kilcullen, to show some sense of decency--some filial
"Well, my lord, here I am, prepared to marry a wife of your own
choosing, and to set about the business this morning, if you please. I
thought you would have called that decent, filial, and respectable."
The earl could hardly gainsay this; but still he could not bring
himself to give over so soon the unusual pleasure of blowing up his
only son. It was so long since Lord Kilcullen had been regularly
in his power, and it might never occur again. So he returned from
consideration of the future to a further retrospect on the past.
"You certainly have played your cards most foolishly; you have thrown
away your money--rather, I should say, my money, in a manner which
nothing can excuse or palliate. You might have made the turf a source
of gratifying amusement; your income was amply sufficient to enable
you to do so; but you have possessed so little self-control, so little
judgment, so little discrimination, that you have allowed yourself
to be plundered by every blackleg, and robbed by every--everybody in
short, who chose to rob you. The same thing has been the case in all
your other amusements and pursuits--"
"Well, my lord, I confess it all; isn't that enough?"
"Enough, Kilcullen!" said the earl, in a voice of horrified
astonishment, "how enough?--how can anything be enough after such a
course--so wild, so mad, so ruinous!"
"For Heaven's sake, my lord, finish the list of my iniquities, or
you'll make me feel that I am utterly unfit to become my cousin's
"I fear you are--indeed I fear you are. Are the horses disposed of yet,
"Indeed they are not, my lord; nor can I dispose of them. There is more
owing for them than they are worth; you may say they belong to the
"Is the establishment in Curzon Street broken up?"
"To tell the truth, not exactly; but I've no thoughts of returning
there. I'm still under rent for the house."
The cross-examination was continued for a considerable time--till the
earl had literally nothing more to say, and Lord Kilcullen was so
irritated that he told his father he would not stand it any longer.
Then they went into money affairs, and the earl spoke despondingly
about ten thousands and twenty thousands, and the viscount somewhat
flippantly of fifty thousands and sixty thousands; and this was
continued till the earl felt that his son was too deep in the mire to
be pulled out, and the son thought that, deep as he was there, it would
be better to remain and wallow in it than undergo so disagreeable a
process as that to which his father subjected him in extricating him
from it. It was settled, however, that Mr. Jervis, Lord Cashel's
agent, should receive full authority to deal summarily in all matters
respecting the horses and their trainers, the house in Curzon Street,
and its inhabitants, and all other appendages and sources of expense
which Lord Kilcullen had left behind him; and that he, Kilcullen,
should at once commence his siege upon his cousin's fortune. And on
this point the son bargained that, as it would be essentially necessary
that his spirits should be light and easy, he was not, during
the operation, to be subjected to any of his father's book-room
conversations: for this he stipulated as an absolute _sine qua non_
in the negotiation, and the clause was at last agreed to, though not
without much difficulty.
Both father and son seemed to think that the offer should be made at
once. Lord Cashel really feared that his son would be arrested at Grey
Abbey, and he was determined to pay nothing further for him, unless
he felt secure of Fanny's fortune; and whatever were Lord Kilcullen's
hopes and fears as to his future lot, he was determined not to remain
long in suspense, as far as his projected marriage was concerned. He
was determined to do his best to accomplish it, for he would have done
anything to get the command of ready money; if he was not successful,
at any rate he need not remain in the purgatory of Grey Abbey. The
Queen's Bench would be preferable to that. He was not, however, very
doubtful; he felt but little confidence in the constancy of any woman's
affection, and a great deal in his own powers of fascination: he had
always been successful in his appeals to ladies' hearts, and did not
doubt of being so now, when the object of his adoration must, as he
thought, be so dreadfully in want of some excitement, something to
interest her. Any fool might have her now, thought he, and she can't
have any violent objection to being Lady Kilcullen for the present, and
Lady Cashel in due time. He felt, however, something like remorse at
the arrangement to which he was a party; it was not that he was about
to make a beautiful creature, his own cousin, miserable for life, by
uniting her to a spendthrift, a _roue_, and a gambler--such was the
natural lot of women in the higher ranks of life--but he felt that
he was robbing her of her money. He would have thought it to be no
disgrace to carry her off had another person been her guardian. She
would then have had fair play, and it would be the guardian's fault if
her fortune were not secure. But she had no friend now to protect her:
it was her guardian himself who was betraying her to ruin.
However, the money must be had, and Lord Kilcullen was not long in
quieting his conscience.
"Tierney," said Kilcullen, meeting his friend after his escape from the
book-room; "you are not troubled with a father now, I believe;--do you
recollect whether you ever had one?"
"Well, I can't say I remember just at present," said Mat; "but I
believe I had a sort of one, once."
"I'm a more dutiful son than you," said the other; "I never can forget
mine. I have no doubt an alligator on the banks of the Nile is a
fearful creature--a shark when one's bathing, or a jungle tiger when
one's out shooting, ought, I'm sure, to be avoided; but no creature
yet created, however hungry, or however savage, can equal in ferocity
a governor who has to shell out his cash! I've no wish for a
_tete-a-tete_ with any bloody-minded monster; but I'd sooner meet a
starved hyena, single-handed in the desert, than be shut up for another
hour with my Lord Cashel in that room of his on the right-hand side
of the hall. If you hear of my having beat a retreat from Grey Abbey,
without giving you or any one else warning of my intention, you will
know that I have lacked courage to comply with a second summons to
those gloomy realms. If I receive another invite such as that I got
this morning, I am off."
Lady Cashel's guests came on the day appointed; the carriages were
driven up, one after another, in quick succession, about an hour before
dinner-time; and, as her ladyship's mind became easy on the score of
disappointments, it was somewhat troubled as to the multitude of people
to be fed and entertained. Murray had not yet forgiven the injury
inflicted on him when the family dinner was kept waiting for Lord
Kilcullen, and Richards was still pouting at her own degraded position.
The countess had spent the morning pretending to make arrangements,
which were in fact all settled by Griffiths; and when she commenced
the operation of dressing herself, she declared she was so utterly
exhausted by what she had gone through during the last week, as to be
entirely unfit to entertain her company. Poor dear Lady Cashel! Was she
so ignorant of her own nature as to suppose it possible that she should
ever entertain anybody?
However, a glass of wine, and some mysterious drops, and a little
paint; a good deal of coaxing, the sight of her diamonds, and of a
large puce-coloured turban, somewhat revivified her; and she was in her
drawing-room in due time, supported by Lady Selina and Fanny, ready to
receive her visitors as soon as they should descend from their
Lady Cashel had already welcomed Lord George, and shaken hands with the
bishop: and was now deep in turnips and ten-pound freeholders with the
gouty colonel, who had hobbled into the room on a pair of crutches, and
was accommodated with two easy chairs in a corner--one for himself, and
the other for his feet.
"Now, my dear Lady George," said the countess, "you must not think of
returning to Mountains tonight: indeed, we made sure of you and Lord
George for a week."
"My dear Lady Cashel, it's impossible; indeed, we wished it of all
things, and tried it every way: but we couldn't manage it; Lord George
has so much to do: there's the Sessions to-morrow at Dunlavin, and he
has promised to meet Sir Glenmalure Aubrey, about a road, or a river,
or a bridge--I forget which it is; and they must attend to those
things, you know, or the tenants couldn't get their corn to market. But
you don't know how sorry we are, and such a charming set you have got
"Well, I know it's no use pressing you; but I can't tell you how vexed
I am, for I counted on you, above all, and Adolphus will be so sorry.
You know Lord Kilcullen's come home, Lady George?"
"Yes; I was very glad to hear we were to meet him."
"Oh, yes! He's come to stay here some time, I believe; he's got quite
fond of Grey Abbey lately. He and his father get on so well together,
it's quite a delight to me."
"Oh, it must be, I'm sure," said Lady George; and the countess sidled
off to the bishop's fat wife.
"Well, this is very kind of you and the bishop, to come at so short a
notice: indeed I hardly dared expect it. I know he has so much to do in
Dublin with those horrid boards and things."
"He is busy there, to be sure, Lady Cashel; but he couldn't deny
himself the pleasure of coming to Grey Abbey; he thinks so very much
of the earl. Indeed, he'd contrive to be able to come here, when he
couldn't think of going anywhere else."
"I'm sure Lord Cashel feels how kind he is; and so do I, and so does
Adolphus. Lord Kilcullen will be delighted to meet you and the bishop."
The bishop's wife assured the countess that nothing on earth, at the
present moment, would give the bishop so much pleasure as meeting Lord
"You know the bishop christened him, don't you?" said Lady Cashel.
"No! did he though?" said the bishop's wife; "how very interesting!"
"Isn't it? And Adolphus longs to meet him. He's so fond of everything
that's high-minded and talented, Adolphus is: a little sarcastic
perhaps--I don't mind saying so to you; but that's only to inferior
sort of people--not talented, you know: some people are stupid, and
Adolphus can't bear that."
"Indeed they are, my lady. I was dining last week at Mrs. Prijean's, in
Merrion Square; you know Mrs. Prijean?"
"I think I met her at Carton, four years ago."
"Well, she is very heavy: what do you think, Lady Cashel, she--"
"Adolphus can't bear people of that sort, but he'll be delighted with
the bishop: it's so delightful, his having christened him. Adolphus
means to live a good deal here now. Indeed, he and his father have so
much in common that they can't get on very well apart, and I really
hope he and the bishop'll see a good deal of each other;" and the
countess left the bishop's wife and sat herself down by old Mrs.
"My dear Mrs. Ellison, I am so delighted to see you once again at Grey
Abbey; it's such ages since you were here!"
"Indeed it is, Lady Cashel, a very long time; but the poor colonel
suffers so much, it's rarely he's fit to be moved; and, indeed, I'm not
much better myself. I was not able to move my left shoulder from a week
before Christmas-day till a few days since!"
"You don't say so! Rheumatism, I suppose?"
"Oh, yes--all rheumatism: no one knows what I suffer."
"And what do you use for it?"
"Oh, there's nothing any use. I know the very nature of rheumatism now,
I've had it so long--and it minds nothing at all: there's no preventing
it, and no curing it. It's like a bad husband, Lady Cashel; the best
way is to put up with it."
"And how is the dear colonel, Mrs. Ellison?"
"Why, he was just able to come here, and that was all; but he was dying
to see Lord Cashel. He thinks the ministers'll be shaken about this
business of O'Connell's; and if so, that there'll be a general
election, and then what'll they do about the county?"
"I'm sure Lord Cashel wanted to see the colonel on that very subject;
so does Adolphus--Lord Kilcullen, you know. I never meddle with
those things; but I really think Adolphus is thinking of going into
Parliament. You know he's living here at present: his father's views
and his own are so exactly the same on all those sort of things, that
it's quite delightful. He's taking a deal of interest about the county
lately, is Adolphus, and about Grey Abbey too: he's just the same his
father used to be, and that kind of thing is so pleasant, isn't it, Mrs
Mrs Ellison said it was, and at the same moment groaned, for her
shoulder gave her a twinge.
The subject of these eulogiums, in the meantime, did not make his
appearance till immediately before dinner was announced, and certainly
did not evince very strongly the delight which his mother had assured
her friends he would feel at meeting them, for he paid but very little
attention to any one but Mat Tierney and his cousin Fanny; he shook
hands with all the old gentlemen, bowed to all the old ladies, and
nodded at the young ones. But if he really felt that strong desire,
which his mother had imputed to him, of opening his heart to the bishop
and the colonel respecting things temporal and spiritual, he certainly
very successfully suppressed his anxiety.
He had, during the last two or three days, applied himself to the task
of ingratiating himself with Fanny. He well knew how to suit himself to
different characters, and to make himself agreeable when he pleased;
and Fanny, though she had never much admired her dissipated cousin,
certainly found his conversation a relief after the usual oppressive
tedium of Grey Abbey society.
He had not begun by making love to her, or expressing admiration, or
by doing or saying anything which could at all lead her to suspect his
purpose, or put her on her guard. He had certainly been much more
attentive to her, much more intimate with her, than he usually had been
in his flying visits to Grey Abbey; but then he was now making his
first appearance as a reformed rake; and besides, he was her first
cousin, and she therefore felt no inclination to repel his advances.
He was obliged, in performance of a domestic duty, to walk out to
dinner with one of Lady George's daughters, but he contrived to sit
next to Fanny--and, much to his father's satisfaction, talked to her
during the whole ceremony.
"And where have you hidden yourself all the morning, Fanny," said he,
"that nobody has seen anything of you since breakfast?"
"Whither have _you_ taken yourself all the day, rather, that you had
not a moment to come and look after us? The Miss O'Joscelyns have been
expecting you to ride with them, walk with them, talk with them, and
play _la grace_ with them. They didn't give up the sticks till it was
quite dark, in the hope of you and Mr Tierney making your appearance."
"Well, Fanny, don't tell my mother, and I'll tell you the truth:--
"Oh, I'm no tell-tale."
"Well then," and he whispered into her ear--"I was running away from
the Miss O'Joscelyns."
"But that won't do at all; don't you know they were asked here for your
especial edification and amusement?"
"Oh, I know they were. So were the bishop, and the colonel, and Lord
George, and their respective wives, and Mr Hill. My dear mamma asked
them all here for my amusement; but, you know, one man may lead a horse
to water--a hundred can't make him drink. I cannot, cannot drink of the
Miss O'Joscelyns, and the Bishop of Maryborough."
"For shame, Adolphus! you ought at any rate to do something to amuse
"Amuse them! My dear Fanny, who ever heard of amusing a bishop? But
it's very easy to find fault; what have you done, yourself, for their
"I didn't run away from them; though, had I done so, there would have
been more excuse for me than for you."
"So there would, Fanny," said Kilcullen, feeling that she had alluded
to her brother's death; "and I'm very, very sorry all these people are
here to bore you at such a time, and doubly sorry that they should have
been asked on my account. They mistake me greatly, here. They know that
I've thought Grey Abbey dull, and have avoided it; and now that I've
determined to get over the feeling, because I think it right to do so,
they make it ten times more unbearable than ever, for my gratification!
It's like giving a child physic mixed in sugar; the sugar's sure to be
the nastiest part of the dose. Indeed I have no dislike to Grey Abbey
at present; though I own I have no taste for the sugar in which my kind
mother has tried to conceal its proper flavour."
"Well, make the best of it; they'll all be gone in ten days."
"Ten days! Are they to stay ten days? Will you tell me, Fanny, what was
the object in asking Mat Tierney to meet such a party?"
"To help you to amuse the young ladies."
"Gracious heavens! Does Lady Cashel really expect Mat Tierney to play
_la grace_ with the Miss O'Joscelyns?--Well, the time will come to an
end, I suppose. But in truth I'm more sorry for you than for any one.
It was very ill-judged, their getting such a crowd to bore you at such
a time," and Lord Kilcullen contrived to give his voice a tone of
"Kilcullen," said the earl, across the table, "you don't hear the
bishop. His lordship is asking you to drink wine with him."
"I shall be most proud of the honour," said the son, and bobbed his
head at the bishop across the table.
Fanny was on the point of saying something respecting her brother to
Lord Kilcullen, which would have created a kind of confidence between
them, but the bishop's glass of wine broke it off, and from that time
Lord Kilcullen was forced by his father into a general conversation
with his guests.
In the evening there was music and singing. The Miss O'Joscelyns, and
Miss Fitzgeralds, and Mr Hill, performed: even Mat Tierney condescended
to amuse the company by singing the "Coronation", first begging the
bishop to excuse the peculiar allusions to the "_clargy_", contained
in one of the verses; and then Fanny was asked to sing. She had again
become silent, dull, and unhappy, was brooding over her miseries and
disappointments, and she declined. Lord Kilcullen was behind her chair,
and when they pressed her, he whispered to her, "Don't sing for them,
Fanny; it's a shame that they should tease you at such a time; I wonder
how my mother can have been so thoughtless."
Fanny persisted in declining to sing--and Lord Kilcullen again sat
down beside her. "Don't trouble yourself about them, Fanny," said he,
"they're just fit to sing to each other; it's very good work for them."
"I should think it very good work, as you call it, for myself, too,
another time; only I'm hardly in singing humour at present, and,
therefore, obliged to you for your assistance and protection."
"Your most devoted knight as long as this fearful invasion lasts!--your
Amadis de Gaul--your Bertrand du Guesclin ! And no paladin of old
ever attempted to defend a damsel from more formidable foes."
[FOOTNOTE 45: Amadis . . . du Guesclin--mediaeval heroes. Amadis
de Gaul was the title hero of a 14th century
romantic novel, probably first written in Spanish,
which was popular throughout Europe. Bertrand du
Guesclin was a historical figure, a fourteenth
century French soldier and Marshall of France.]
"Indeed, Adolphus, I don't think them so formidable. Many of them are
my own friends."
"Is Mrs Ellison your own friend?--or Mrs Moore?"
"Not exactly those two, in particular."
"Who then? Is it Miss Judith O'Joscelyn? or is the Reverend Mr Hill one
of those to whom you give that sweetest of all names?"
"Yes; to both of them. It was only this morning I had a long
"What, with Mr Hill?"
"No, not with Mr Hill though it wouldn't be the first even with him,
but with Judith O'Joscelyn. I lent her a pattern for worsted work."
"And does that make her your friend? Do you give your friendship so
"You forget that I've known her for years."
"Well, now, I've not. I've seen her about three times in my life,
and spoken two words to her perhaps twice; and yet I'll describe her
character to you; and if you can say that the description is incorrect,
I will permit you to call her your friend."
"Well, let's hear the character."
"It wouldn't be kind in me, though, to laugh at your _friend_."
"Oh, she's not so especially and particularly my friend that you need
"Then you'll promise not to be angry?"
"Oh no, I won't be angry."
"Well, then; she has two passions: they are for worsted and hymn-books.
She has a moral objection to waltzing. Theoretically she disapproves of
flirtations: she encourages correspondence between young ladies; always
crosses her letters, and never finished one for the last ten years
without expressing entire resignation to the will of God,--as if she
couldn't be resigned without so often saying so. She speaks to her
confidential friends of young men as a very worthless, insignificant
race of beings; she is, however, prepared to take the very first that
may be unfortunate enough to come in her way; she has no ideas of
her own, but is quick enough at borrowing those of other people; she
considers herself a profound theologian; dotes on a converted papist,
and looks on a Puseyite  as something one shade blacker than the
devil. Now isn't that sufficiently like for a portrait?"
[FOOTNOTE 46: Puseyite--a follower of Edward Pusey (1800-1882),
one of three scholars at Oxford who started a
movement critical of the Church of England. One
of the three, John Henry Newman, converted to
Catholicism, and Pusey and his followers were
accused of advocating Catholic practices.]
"It's the portrait of a set, I fear, rather than an individual. I don't
know that it's particularly like Miss O'Joscelyn, except as to the
worsted and hymn-books."
"What, not as to the waltzing, resignation, and worthless young men?
Come, are they not exactly her traits? Does she waltz?"
"No, she does not."
"And haven't you heard her express a moral objection to it?"
"Well, I believe I have."
"Did you ever get a letter from her, or see a letter of hers?"
"I don't remember; yes, I did once, a long time ago."
"And wasn't she very resigned in it?"
"Well, I declare I believe she was; and it's very proper too; people
ought to be resigned."
"Oh, of course. And now doesn't she love a convert and hate a
"All Irish clergyman's daughters do that."
"Well, Fanny, you can't say but that it was a good portrait; and after
that, will you pretend to say you call Miss O'Joscelyn your friend?"
"Not my very friend of friends; but, as friends go, she's as good as
"And who is the friend of friends, Fanny?"
"Come, you're not my father confessor. I'm not to tell you all. If I
told you that, you'd make another portrait."
"I'm sure I couldn't draw a disparaging picture of anybody you would
really call your friend. But indeed I pity you, living among so many
such people. There can be nobody here who understands you."
"Oh, I'm not very unintelligible."
"Much more so than Miss O'Joscelyn. I shouldn't wish to have to draw
"Pray don't; if it were frightful I should think you uncivil; and if
you made it handsome, I should know you were flattering. Besides, you
don't know enough of me to tell me my character."
"I think I do; but I'll study it a little more before I put it on the
canvass. Some likenesses are very hard to catch."
Fanny felt, when she went to bed, that she had spent a pleasanter
evening than she usually did, and that it was a much less nuisance
to talk to her cousin Adolphus than to either his father, mother, or
sister; and as she sat before her fire, while her maid was brushing
her hair, she began to think that she had mistaken his character, and
that he couldn't be the hard, sensual, selfish man for which she had
taken him. Her ideas naturally fell back to Frank and her love, her
difficulties and sorrows; and, before she went to sleep, she had almost
taught herself to think that she might make Lord Kilcullen the means of
bringing Lord Ballindine back to Grey Abbey.
She had, to be sure, been told that her cousin had spoken ill of Frank;
that it was he who had been foremost in decrying Lord Ballindine's
folly and extravagance; but she had never heard him do so; she had
only heard of it through Lord Cashel; and she quite ceased to believe
anything her guardian might say respecting her discarded lover. At any
rate she would try. Some step she was determined to take about Lord
Ballindine; and, if her cousin refused to act like a cousin and a
friend, she would only be exactly where she was before.
XXXI. THE TWO FRIENDS
The next three days passed slowly and tediously for most of the guests
assembled at Grey Abbey. Captain Cokely, and a Mr Battersby, came over
from Newbridge barracks, but they did not add much to the general
enjoyment of the party, though their arrival was hailed with delight
by some of the young ladies. At any rate they made the rooms look less
forlorn in the evenings, and made it worth the girls' while to put on
their best bibs and tuckers.
"But what's the use of it at all?" said Matilda Fitzgerald to little
Letty O'Joscelyn, when she had spent three-quarters of an hour in
adjusting her curls, and setting her flounces properly, on the evening
before the arrival of the two cavalry officers; "not a soul to look at
us but a crusty old colonel, a musty old bishop, and a fusty old beau!"
"Who's the old beau?" said Letty.
"Why, that Mr Tierney. I can't conceive how Lady Cashel can have asked
us to meet such a set," and Matilda descended, pouting, and out of
But on the next day she went through her work much more willingly, if
not more carefully.
"That Captain Cokely's a very nice fellow," said Matilda; "the best of
that Newbridge set, out and out."
"Well now, I really think he's not so nice as Mr Battersby," said
Letty. "I'm sure he's not so good-looking."
"Oh, Battersby's only a boy. After all, Letty, I don't know whether I
like officers so much better than other men,"--and she twisted her neck
round to get a look at her back in the pier-glass, and gave her dress a
little pull just above her bustle.
"I'm sure I do," said Letty; "they've so much more to say for
themselves, and they're so much smarter."
"Why, yes, they are smarter," said Matilda; "and there's nothing on
earth so dowdy as an old black coat, But, then, officers are always
going away: you no sooner get to know one or two of a set, and to
feel that one of them is really a darling fellow, but there, they are
off--to Jamaica, China, Hounslow barracks, or somewhere; and then it's
all to do over again."
"Well, I do wish they wouldn't move them about quite so much."
"But let's go down. I think I'll do now, won't I?" and they descended,
to begin the evening campaign.
"Wasn't Miss Wyndham engaged to some one?" said old Mrs Ellison to Mrs
Moore. "I'm sure some one told me so."
"Oh, yes, she was," said Mrs Moore; "the affair was settled, and
everything arranged; but the man was very poor, and a gambler,--Lord
Ballindine: he has the name of a property down in Mayo somewhere; but
when she got all her brother's money, Lord Cashel thought it a pity to
sacrifice it,--so he got her out of the scrape. A very good thing for
the poor girl, for they say he's a desperate scamp."
"Well, I declare I think," said Mrs Ellison, "she'll not have far to
look for another."
"What, you think there's something between her and Lord Kilcullen?"
said Mrs Moore.
"It looks like it, at any rate, don't it?" said Mrs Ellison.
"Well, I really think it does," said Mrs Moore; "I'm sure I'd be very
glad of it. I know he wants money desperately, and it would be such a
capital thing for the earl."
"At any rate, the lady does not look a bit unwilling," said Mrs
Ellison. "I suppose she's fond of rakish young men. You say Lord
Ballindine was of that set; and I'm sure Lord Kilcullen's the
same,--he has the reputation, at any rate. They say he and his father
never speak, except just in public, to avoid the show of the thing."
And the two old ladies set to work to a good dish of scandal.
"Miss Wyndham's an exceedingly fine girl," said Captain Cokely to
Mat Tierney, as they were playing a game of piquet in the little
"Yes," said Mat; "and she's a hundred thousand exceedingly fine charms
too, independently of her fine face."
"So I hear," said Cokely; "but I only believe half of what I hear about
"She has more than that; I know it."
"Has she though? Faith, do you know I think Kilcullen has a mind to
keep it in the family. He's very soft on her, and she's just as sweet
to him. I shouldn't be surprised if he were to marry now, and turn
"Not at all; there are two reasons against it. In the first place, he's
too much dipped for even Fanny's fortune to be any good to him; and
secondly, she's engaged."
"What, to Ballindine?" said Cokely.
"Exactly so," said Mat.
"Ah, my dear fellow, that's all off long since. I heard Kilcullen say
so myself. I'll back Kilcullen to marry her against Ballindine for a
"Done," said Mat; and the bet was booked.
The same evening, Tierney wrote to Dot Blake, and said in a postscript,
"I know you care for Ballindine; so do I, but I don't write to him.
If he really wants to secure his turtle-dove, he should see that she
doesn't get bagged in his absence. Kilcullen is here, and I tell you
he's a keen sportsman. They say it's quite up with him in London, and
I should be sorry she were sacrificed: she seems a nice girl."
Lord Kilcullen had ample opportunities of forwarding his intimacy with
Fanny, and he did not neglect them. To give him his due, he played his
cards as well as his father could wish him. He first of all overcame
the dislike with which she was prepared to regard him; he then
interested her about himself; and, before he had been a week at Grey
Abbey, she felt that she had a sort of cousinly affection for him. He
got her to talk with a degree of interest about himself; and when he
could do that, there was no wonder that Tierney should have fears for
his friend's interests. Not that there was any real occasion for them.
Fanny Wyndham was not the girl to be talked out of, or into, a real
passion, by anyone.
"Now, tell me the truth, Fanny," said Kilcullen, as they were sitting
over the fire together in the library, one dark afternoon, before they
went to dress for dinner; "hadn't you been taught to look on me as a
kind of ogre--a monster of iniquity, who spoke nothing but oaths, and
did nothing but sin?"
"Not exactly that: but I won't say I thought you were exactly just what
you ought to be."
"But didn't you think I was exactly what I ought not to have been?
Didn't you imagine, now, that I habitually sat up all night, gambling,
and drinking buckets of champagne and brandy-and-water? And that I lay
in bed all day, devising iniquity in my dreams? Come now, tell the
truth, and shame the devil; if I am the devil, I know people have made
me out to be."
"Why, really, Adolphus, I never calculated how your days and nights
were spent. But if I am to tell the truth, I fear some of them might
have been passed to better advantage."
"Which of us, Fanny, mightn't, with truth, say the same of ourselves?"
"Of course, none of us," said Fanny; "don't think I'm judging you; you
asked me the question,--and I suppose you wanted an answer."
"I did; I wanted a true one--for though you may never have given
yourself much trouble to form an opinion about me, I am anxious that
you should do so now. I don't want to trouble you with what is done and
past; I don't want to make it appear that I have not been thoughtless
and imprudent--wicked and iniquitous, if you are fond of strong terms;
neither do I want to trouble you with confessing all my improprieties,
that I may regularly receive absolution. But I do wish you to believe
that I have done nothing which should exclude me from your future good
opinion; from your friendship and esteem."
"I am not of an unforgiving temperament, even had you done anything for
me to forgive: but I am not aware that you have."
"No; nothing for you to forgive, in the light of an offence to
yourself; but much, perhaps, to prevent your being willing to regard
me as a personal friend. We're not only first cousins, Fanny, but are
placed more closely together than cousins usually are. You have neither
father nor mother; now, also, you have no brother," and he took her
hands in his own as he said so. "Who should be a brother to you, if I
am not? who, at any rate, should you look on as a friend, if not on me?
Nobody could be better, I believe, than Selina; but she is stiff, and
cold--unlike you in everything. I should be so happy if I could be the
friend--the friend of friends you spoke of the other evening; if I
could fill the place which must be empty near your heart. I can never
be this to you, if you believe that anything in my past life has been
really disgraceful. It is for this reason that I want to know what you
truly think of me. I won't deny that I am anxious you should think well
of me:--well, at any rate for the present, and the future, and
charitably as regards the past."
Fanny had been taken much by surprise by the turn her cousin had given
to the conversation; and was so much affected, that, before he had
finished, she was in tears. She had taken her hand out of his, to put
her handkerchief to her eyes, and as she did not immediately answer, he
"I shall probably be much here for some time to come--such, at least,
are my present plans; and I hope that while I am, we shall become
friends: not such friends, Fanny, as you and Judith O'Joscelyn--friends
only of circumstance, who have neither tastes, habits, or feelings
in common--friends whose friendship consists in living in the same
parish, and meeting each other once or twice a week; but friends in
reality--friends in confidence--friends in mutual dependence--friends
in love--friends, dear Fanny, as cousins situated as we are should be
to each other."
Fanny's heart was very full, for she felt how much, how desperately,
she wanted such a friend as Kilcullen described. How delightful it
would be to have such a friend, and to find him in her own cousin! The
whole family, hitherto, were so cold to her--so uncongenial. The earl
she absolutely disliked; she loved her aunt, but it was only because
she was her aunt--she couldn't like her; and though she loved Lady
Selina, and, to a degree, admired her, it was like loving a marble
figure. There was more true feeling in what Kilcullen had now said to
her, than in all that had fallen from the whole family for the four
years she had lived at Grey Abbey, and she could not therefore but
close on the offer of his affection.
"Shall we be such friends, then?" said he; "or, after all, am I too
bad? Have I too much of the taint of the wicked world to be the friend
of so pure a creature as you?"
"Oh no, Adolphus; I'm sure I never thought so," said she. "I never
judged you, and indeed I am not disposed to do so now. I'm too much in
want of kindness to reject yours,--even were I disposed to do so, which
I am not."
"Then, Fanny, we are to be friends--true, loving, trusting friends?"
"Oh, yes!" said Fanny. "I am really, truly grateful for your affection
and kindness. I know how precious they are, and I will value them
Again Lord Kilcullen took her hand, and pressed it in his; and then he
kissed it, and told her she was his own dear cousin Fanny; and then
recommended her to go and dress, which she did. He sat himself down for
a quarter of an hour, ruminating, and then also went off to dress; but,
during that quarter of an hour, very different ideas passed through his
mind, than such as those who knew him best would have given him credit
In the first place, he thought that he really began to feel an
affection for his cousin Fanny, and to speculate whether it were
absolutely within the verge of possibility that he should marry
her--retrieve his circumstances--treat her well, and live happily for
the rest of his life as a respectable nobleman.
For two or three minutes the illusion remained, till it was banished by
retrospection. It was certainly possible that he should marry her: it
was his full intention to do so: but as to retrieving his circumstances
and treating her well!--the first was absolutely impossible--the other
nearly so; and as to his living happily at Grey Abbey as a family man,
he yawned as he felt how impossible it would be that he should spend a
month in such a way, let alone a life. But then Fanny Wyndham was so
beautiful, so lively, so affectionate, so exactly what a cousin and a
wife ought to be: he could not bear to think that all his protestations
of friendship and love had been hypocritical; that he could only look
upon her as a gudgeon, and himself as a bigger fish, determined to
swallow her! Yet such must be his views regarding her. He departed to
dress, absolutely troubled in his conscience.
And what were Fanny's thoughts about her cousin? She was much surprised
and gratified, but at the same time somewhat flustered and overwhelmed,
by the warmth and novelty of his affection. However, she never for a
moment doubted his truth towards her, or had the slightest suspicion of
his real object. Her chief thought was whether she could induce him to
be a mediator for her, between Lord Cashel and Lord Ballindine.
During the next two days he spoke to her a good deal about her
brother--of whom, by-the-bye, he had really known nothing. He
contrived, however, to praise him as a young man of much spirit and
great promise; then he spoke of her own large fortune, asked her what
her wishes were about its investment, and told her how happy he would
be to express those wishes at once to Lord Cashel, and to see that they
were carried out. Once or twice she had gradually attempted to lead the
conversation to Lord Ballindine, but Kilcullen was too crafty, and had
prevented her; and she had not yet sufficient courage to tell him at
once what was so near her heart.
"Fanny," said Lady Selina, one morning, about a week after the general
arrival of the company at Grey Abbey, and when some of them had taken
their departure, "I am very glad to see you have recovered your
spirits: I know you have made a great effort, and I appreciate and
"Indeed, Selina, I fear you are admiring me too soon. I own I have
been amused this week past, and, to a certain degree, pleased; but I
fear you'll find I shall relapse. There's been no radical reform; my
thoughts are all in the same direction as they were."
"But the great trial in this world is to behave well and becomingly
in spite of oppressive thoughts: and it always takes a struggle to do
that, and that struggle you've made. I hope it may lead you to feel
that you may be contented and in comfort without having everything
which you think necessary to your happiness. I'm sure I looked forward
to this week as one of unmixed trouble and torment; but I was very
wrong to do so. It has given me a great deal of unmixed satisfaction."
"I'm very glad of that, Selina, but what was it? I'm sure it could not
have come from poor Mrs Ellison, or the bishop's wife; and you seemed
to me to spend all your time in talking to them. Virtue, they say, is
its own reward: I don't know what other satisfaction you can have had
"In the first place, it has given me great pleasure to see that you
were able to exert yourself in company, and that the crowd of people
did not annoy you: but I have chiefly been delighted by seeing that you
and Adolphus are such good friends. You must think, Fanny, that I am
anxious about an only brother--especially when we have all had so much
cause to be anxious about him; and don't you think it must be a delight
to me to find that he is able to take pleasure in your society? I
should be doubly pleased, doubly delighted, if I could please him
myself. But I have not the vivacity to amuse him."
"What nonsense, Selina! Don't say that."
"But it's true, Fanny; I have not; and Grey Abbey has become
distasteful to him because we are all sedate, steady people. Perhaps
some would call us dull, and heavy; and I have grieved that it should
be so, though I cannot alter my nature; but you are so much the
contrary--there is so much in your character like his own, before he
became fond of the world, that I feel he can become attached to and
fond of you; and I am delighted to see that he thinks so himself. What
do you think of him, now that you have seen more of him than you ever
"Indeed," said Fanny, "I like him very much."
"He is very clever, isn't he? He might have been anything if he had
given himself fair play. He seems to have taken greatly to you."
"Oh yes; we are great friends:" and then Fanny paused--"so great
friends," she continued, looking somewhat gravely in Lady Selina's
face, "that I mean to ask the greatest favour of him that I could ask
of anyone: one I am sure I little dreamed I should ever ask of him."
"What is it, Fanny? Is it a secret?"
"Indeed it is, Selina; but it's a secret I will tell you. I mean to
tell him all I feel about Lord Ballindine, and I mean to ask him to see
him for me. Adolphus has offered to be a brother to me, and I mean to
take him at his word."
Lady Selina turned very pale, and looked very grave as she replied,
"That is not giving him a brother's work, Fanny. A brother should
protect you from importunity and insult, from injury and wrong; and
that, I am sure, Adolphus would do: but no brother would consent to
offer your hand to a man who had neglected you and been refused, and
who, in all probability, would now reject you with scorn if he has the
opportunity--or if not that, will take you for your money's sake. That,
Fanny, is not a brother's work; and it is an embassy which I am sure
Adolphus will not undertake. If you take my advice you will not ask
As Lady Selina finished speaking she walked to the door, as if
determined to hear no reply from her cousin; but, as she was leaving
the room, she fancied that she heard her sobbing, and her heart
softened, and she again turned towards her and said, "God knows, Fanny,
I do not wish to be severe or ill-natured to you; I would do anything
for your comfort and happiness, but I cannot bear to think that
you should"--Lady Selina was puzzled for a word to express her
meaning--"that you should forget yourself," and she attempted to put
her arm round Fanny's waist.
But she was mistaken; Fanny was not sobbing, but was angry; and what
Selina now said about her forgetting herself, did not make her less so.
"No," she said, withdrawing herself from her cousin's embrace and
standing erect, while her bosom was swelling with indignation: "I
want no affection from you, Selina, that is accompanied by so much
disapprobation. You don't wish to be severe, only you say that I am
likely to forget myself. Forget myself!" and Fanny threw back her
beautiful head, and clenched her little fists by her side: "The other
day you said 'disgrace myself', and I bore it calmly then; but I will
not any longer bear such imputations. I tell you plainly, Selina, I
will not forget myself, nor will I be forgotten. Nor will I submit to
whatever fate cold, unfeeling people may doom me, merely because I am a
woman and alone. I will not give up Lord Ballindine, if I have to walk
to his door and tell him so. And were I to do so, I should never think
that I had forgotten myself."
"Listen to me, Fanny," said Selina.
"Wait a moment," continued Fanny, "I have listened enough: it is
my turn to speak now. For one thing I have to thank you: you have
dispelled the idea that I could look for help to anyone in this family.
I will not ask your brother to do anything for me which you think so
disgraceful. I will not subject him to the scorn with which you choose
to think my love will be treated by him who loved me so well. That you
should dare to tell me that he who did so much for my love should now
scorn it!--Oh, Selina, that I may live to forget that you said those
words!" and Fanny, for a moment, put her handkerchief to her eyes--but
it was but for a moment. "However," she continued, "I will now act for
myself. As you think I might forget myself, I tell you I will do it in
no clandestine way. I will write to Lord Ballindine, and I will show
my letter to my uncle. The whole house shall read it if they please. I
will tell Lord Ballindine all the truth--and if Lord Cashel turns me
from his house, I shall probably find some friend to receive me, who
may still believe that I have not forgotten myself." And Fanny Wyndham
sailed out of the room.
Lady Selina, when she saw that she was gone, sat down on the sofa and
took her book. She tried to make herself believe that she was going to
read; but it was no use: the tears dimmed her eyes, and she put the
The same evening the countess sent for Selina into her boudoir, and,
with a fidgety mixture of delight and surprise, told her that she had a
wonderful piece of good news to communicate to her.
"I declare, my dear," she said, "it's the most delightful thing I've
heard for years and years; and it's just exactly what I had planned
myself, only I never told anybody. Dear me; it makes me so happy!"
"What is it, mamma?"
"Your papa has been talking to me since dinner, my love, and he tells
me Adolphus is going to marry Fanny Wyndham."
"Going to marry whom?" said Lady Selina, almost with a shout.
"Fanny, I say: it's the most delightful match in the world: it's just
what ought to be done. I suppose they won't have the wedding before
summer; though May is a very nice month. Let me see; it only wants
three weeks to May."
"Mamma, what are you talking about?--you're dreaming."
"Dreaming, my dear? I'm not dreaming at all: it's a fact. Who'd've
thought of all this happening so soon, out of this party, which gave
us so much trouble! However, I knew your father was right. I said all
along that he was in the right to ask the people."
"Mamma," said Lady Selina, gravely, "listen to me: calmly now, and
attentively. I don't know what papa has told you; but I tell you Fanny
does not dream of marrying Adolphus. He has never asked her, and if he
did she would never accept him. Fanny is more than ever in love with
The countess opened her eyes wide, and looked up into her daughter's
face, but said nothing.
"Tell me, mamma, as nearly as you can recollect, what it is papa has
said to you, that, if possible, we may prevent mischief and misery.
Papa couldn't have said that Fanny had accepted Adolphus?"
"He didn't say exactly that, my dear; but he said that it was his wish
they should be married; that Adolphus was very eager for it, and that
Fanny had received his attentions and admiration with evident pleasure
and satisfaction. And so she has, my dear; you couldn't but have seen
"Well, mamma, what else did papa say?"
"Why, he said just what I'm telling you: that I wasn't to be surprised
if we were called on to be ready for the wedding at a short notice;
or at any rate to be ready to congratulate Fanny. He certainly didn't
say she had accepted him. But he said he had no doubt about it; and
I'm sure, from what was going on last week, I couldn't have any
doubt either. But he told me not to speak to anyone about it yet;
particularly not to Fanny; only, my dear, I couldn't help, you know,
talking it over with you;" and the countess leaned back in her chair,
very much exhausted with the history she had narrated.
"Now, mamma, listen to me. It is not many hours since Fanny told me she
was unalterably determined to throw herself at Lord Ballindine's feet."
"Goodness gracious me, how shocking!" said the countess.
"She even said that she would ask Adolphus to be the means of bringing
Lord Ballindine back to Grey Abbey."
"Lord have mercy!" said the countess.
"I only tell you this, mamma, to show you how impossible it is that
papa should be right."
"What are we to do, my dear? Oh, dear, there'll be such a piece of
work! What a nasty thing Fanny is. I'm sure she's been making love to
Adolphus all the week!"
"No, mamma, she has not. Don't be unfair to Fanny. If there is anyone
in fault it is Adolphus; but, as you say, what shall we do to prevent
further misunderstanding? I think I had better tell papa the whole."
And so she did, on the following morning. But she was too late; she did
not do it till after Lord Kilcullen had offered and had been refused.
XXXII. HOW LORD KILCULLEN FARES IN HIS WOOING
About twelve o'clock the same night, Lord Kilcullen and Mat Tierney
were playing billiards, and were just finishing their last game: the
bed-candles were lighted ready for them, and Tierney was on the point
of making the final hazard.
"So you're determined to go to-morrow, Mat?" said Kilcullen.
"Oh, yes, I'll go to-morrow: your mother'll take me for a second Paddy
Rea, else," said Mat.
"Who the deuce was Paddy Rea?"
"Didn't you ever hear of Paddy Rea?--Michael French of Glare
Abbey--he's dead now, but he was alive enough at the time I'm telling
you of, and kept the best house in county Clare--well, he was coming
down on the Limerick coach, and met a deuced pleasant, good-looking,
talkative sort of a fellow a-top of it. They dined and got a tumbler
of punch together at Roscrea; and when French got down at Bird Hill,
he told his acquaintance that if he ever found himself anywhere near
Ennis, he'd be glad to see him at Glare Abbey. He was a hospitable sort
of a fellow, and had got into a kind of way of saying the same thing
to everybody, without meaning anything except to be civil--just as
I'd wish a man good morning. Well, French thought no more about the
man, whose name he didn't even know; but about a fortnight afterwards,
a hack car from Ennis made its appearance at Glare Abbey, and the
talkative traveller, and a small portmanteau, had soon found their
way into the hail. French was a good deal annoyed, for he had some
fashionables in the house, but he couldn't turn the man out; so he
asked his name, and introduced Paddy Rea to the company. How long do
you think he stayed at Glare Abbey?"
"Heaven only knows!--Three months."
"Seventeen years!" said Mat. "They did everything to turn him out, and
couldn't do it. It killed old French; and at last his son pulled the
house down, and Paddy Rea went then, because there wasn't a roof to
cover him. Now I don't want to drive your father to pull down this
house, so I'll go to-morrow."
"The place is so ugly, that if you could make him do so, it would be an
advantage; but I'm afraid the plan wouldn't succeed, so I won't press
you. But if you go, I shan't remain long. If it was to save my life and
theirs, I can't get up small talk for the rector and his curate."
"Well, good night," said Mat; and the two turned off towards their
As they passed from the billiard-room through the hall, Lord Cashel
shuffled out of his room, in his slippers and dressing-gown.
"Kilcullen," said he, with a great deal of unconcerned good humour
affected in his tone, "just give me one moment--I've a word to say to
you. Goodnight, Mr Tierney, goodnight; I'm sorry to hear we're to lose
Lord Kilcullen shrugged his shoulders, winked at his friend and then
turned round and followed his father.
"It's only one word, Kilcullen," said the father, who was afraid of
angering or irritating his son, now that he thought he was in so fair a
way to obtain the heiress and her fortune. "I'll not detain you half a
minute;" and then he said in a whisper, "take my advice, Kilcullen, and
strike when the iron's hot."
"I don't quite understand you, my lord," said his son, affecting
ignorance of his father's meaning.
"I mean, you can't stand better than you do with Fanny: you've
certainly played your cards admirably, and she's a charming girl, a
very charming girl, and I long to know that she's your own. Take my
advice and ask her at once."
"My lord," said the dutiful son, "if I'm to carry on this affair, I
must be allowed to do it in my own way. You, I dare say, have more
experience than I can boast, and if you choose to make the proposal
yourself to Miss Wyndham on my behalf, I shall be delighted to leave
the matter in your hands; but in that case, I shall choose to be absent
from Grey Abbey. If you wish me to do it, you must let me do it when I
please and how I please."
"Oh, certainly, certainly, Kilcullen," said the earl; "I only want to
point out that I think you'll gain nothing by delay."
"Very well, my lord. Good night." And Lord Kilcullen went to bed, and
the father shuffled back to his study. He had had three different
letters that day from Lord Kilcullen's creditors, all threatening
immediate arrest unless he would make himself responsible for his son's
debts. No wonder that he was in a hurry, poor man!
And Lord Kilcullen, though he had spoken so coolly on the subject,
and had snubbed his father, was equally in a hurry. He also received
letters, and threats, and warnings, and understood, even better than
his father did, the perils which awaited him. He knew that he couldn't
remain at Grey Abbey another week; that in a day or two it wouldn't be
safe for him to leave the house; and that his only chance was at once
to obtain the promise of his cousin's hand, and then betake himself to
some place of security, till he could make her fortune available.
When Fanny came into the breakfast-room next morning, he asked her
to walk with him in the demesne after breakfast. During the whole
of the previous evening she had sat silent and alone, pretending to
read, although he had made two or three efforts to engage her in
conversation. She could not, however, refuse to walk with him, nor
could she quite forgive herself for wishing to do so. She felt that
her sudden attachment for him was damped by what had passed between
her and Lady Selina; but she knew, at the same time, that she was very
unreasonable for quarrelling with one cousin for what another had said.
She accepted his invitation, and shortly after breakfast went upstairs
to get ready. It was a fine, bright, April morning, though the air was
cold, and the ground somewhat damp; so she put on her boa and strong
boots, and sallied forth with Lord Kilcullen; not exactly in a good
humour, but still feeling that she could not justly be out of humour
with him. At the same moment, Lady Selina knocked at her father's door,
with the intention of explaining to him how impossible it was that
Fanny should be persuaded to marry her brother. Poor Lord Cashel! his
life, at that time, was certainly not a happy one.
The two cousins walked some way, nearly in silence. Fanny felt very
little inclined to talk, and even Kilcullen, with all his knowledge of
womankind--with all his assurance, had some difficulty in commencing
what he had to get said and done that morning.
"So Grey Abbey will once more sink into its accustomed dullness," said
he. "Cokely went yesterday, and Tierney and the Ellisons go to-day.
Don't you dread it, Fanny?"
"Oh, I'm used to it: besides, I'm one of the component elements of the
dullness, you know. I'm a portion of the thing itself: it's you that
must feel it."
"I feel it? I suppose I shall. But, as I told you before, the physic to
me was not nearly so nauseous as the sugar. I'm at any rate glad to get
rid of such sweetmeats as the bishop and Mrs Ellison;" and they were
both silent again for a while.
"But you're not a portion of the heaviness of Grey Abbey, Fanny," said
he, referring to what she had said. "You're not an element of its
dullness. I don't say this in flattery--I trust nothing so vile as
flattery will ever take place between us; but you know yourself that
your nature is intended for other things; that you were not born to
pass your life in such a house as this, without society, without
excitement, without something to fill your mind. Fanny, you can't be
happy here, at Grey Abbey."
Happy! thought Fanny to herself. No, indeed, I'm not happy! She didn't
say so, however; and Kilcullen, after a little while, went on speaking.
"I'm sure you can't be comfortable here. You don't feel it, I dare say,
so intolerable as I do; but still you have been out enough, enough in
the world, to feel strongly the everlasting do-nothingness of this
horrid place. I wonder what possesses my father, that he does not go
to London--for your sake if for no one else's. It's not just of him to
coop you up here."
"Indeed it is, Adolphus," said she. "You mistake my character. I'm not
at all anxious for London parties and gaiety. Stupid as you may think
me, I'm quite as well contented to stay here as I should be to go to
"Do you mean me to believe," said Kilcullen, with a gentle laugh,
"that you are contented to live and die in single blessedness at Grey
Abbey?--that your ambition does not soar higher than the interchange of
worsted-work patterns with Miss O'Joscelyn?"
"I did not say so, Adolphus."
"What is your ambition then? what kind and style of life would you
choose to live? Come, Fanny, I wish I could get you to talk with me
about yourself. I wish I could teach you to believe how anxious I am
that your future life should be happy and contented, and at the same
time splendid and noble, as it should be. I'm sure you must have
ambition. I have studied Lavater  well enough to know that such
a head and face as yours never belonged to a mind that could satisfy
itself with worsted-work."
[FOOTNOTE 47: Lavater--Johann Kaspar Lavater (1741-1801),
Swiss writer whose only widely read book was a
tract on physiognomy (Physiognomische Fragmente
zur Befoerderung der Menschenkenntnis und
Menschenliebe). The Victorians put much stock in
"You are very severe on the poor worsted-work."
"But am I not in the right?"
"Decidedly not. Lavater, and my head and face, have misled you."
"Nonsense, Fanny. Do you mean to tell me that you have no aspiration
for a kind of life different from this you are leading?--If so, I am
much disappointed in you; much, very much astray in my judgment of your
character." Then he walked on a few yards, looking on the ground, and
said, "Come, Fanny, I am talking very earnestly to you, and you answer
me only in joke. You don't think me impertinent, do you, to talk about
"Impertinent, Adolphus--of course I don't."
"Why won't you talk to me then, in the spirit in which I am talking to
you? If you knew, Fanny, how interested I am about you, how anxious
that you should be happy, how confidently I look forward to the
distinguished position I expect you to fill--if you could guess how
proud I mean to be of you, when you are the cynosure of all eyes--the
admired of all admirers--admired not more for your beauty than your
talent--if I could make you believe, Fanny, how much I expect from you,
and how fully I trust that my expectations will be realised, you would
not, at any rate, answer me lightly."
"Adolphus," said Fanny, "I thought there was to be no flattering
"And do you think I would flatter you? Do you think I would stoop to
flatter you? Oh! Fanny, you don't understand me yet; you don't at all
understand, how thoroughly from the heart I'm speaking--how much in
earnest I am; and, so far from flattering you, I am quite as anxious
to find fault with you as I am to praise you, could I feel that I had
liberty to do so."
"Pray do," said Fanny: "anything but flattery; for a friend never
But Kilcullen had intended to flatter his fair cousin, and he had been
successful. She was gratified and pleased by his warmth of affection.
"Pray do," repeated Fanny; "I have more faults than virtues to be told
of, and so I'm afraid you'll find out, when you know me better."
"To begin, then," said Kilcullen, "are you not wrong--but no, Fanny, I
will not torment you now with a catalogue of faults. I did not ask you
to come out with me for that object. You are now in grief for the death
of poor Harry"--Fanny blushed as she reflected how much more poignant
a sorrow weighed upon her heart--"and are therefore unable to exert
yourself; but, as soon as you are able--when you have recovered from
this severe blow, I trust you will not be content to loiter and dawdle
away your existence at Grey Abbey."
"Not the whole of it," said Fanny.
"None of it," replied her cousin. "Every month, every day, should
have its purpose. My father has got into a dull, heartless, apathetic
mode of life, which suits my mother and Selina, but which will never
suit you. Grey Abbey is like the Dead Sea, of which the waters are
always bitter as well as stagnant. It makes me miserable, dearest
Fanny, to see you stifled in such a pool. Your beauty, talents, and
energies--your disposition to enjoy life, and power of making it
enjoyable for others, are all thrown away. Oh, Fanny, if I could rescue
you from this!"
"You are inventing imaginary evils," said she; "at any rate they are
not palpable to my eyes."
"That's it; that's just what I fear," said the other, "that time,
habit, and endurance may teach you to think that nothing further is
to be looked for in this world than vegetation at Grey Abbey, or some
other place of the kind, to which you may be transplanted. I want to
wake you from such a torpor; to save you from such ignominy. I wish to
restore you to the world."
"There's time enough, Adolphus; you'll see me yet the gayest of the gay
"Ah! but to please me, Fanny, it must be as one of the leaders, not one
of the led."
"Oh, that'll be in years to come: in twenty years' time; when I come
forth glorious in a jewelled turban, and yards upon yards of yellow
satin--fat, fair, and forty. I've certainly no ambition to be one of
the leaders yet."
Lord Kilcullen walked on silent for a considerable time, during which
Fanny went on talking about London, Almack's, and the miserable life
of lady patronesses, till at last she also became silent, and began
thinking of Lord Ballindine. She had, some little time since, fully
made up her mind to open her heart to Lord Kilcullen about him, and she
had as fully determined not to do so after what Selina had said upon
the subject; but now she again wavered. His manner was so kind and
affectionate, his interest in her future happiness appeared to be so
true and unaffected: at any rate he would not speak harshly or cruelly
to her, if she convinced him how completely her happiness depended
on her being reconciled to Lord Ballindine. She had all but brought
herself to the point; she had almost determined to tell him everything,
when he stopped rather abruptly, and said,
"I also am leaving Grey Abbey again, Fanny."
"Leaving Grey Abbey?" said Fanny. "You told me the other day you were
going to live here,"
"So I intended; so I do intend; but still I must leave it for a while.
I'm going about business, and I don't know how long I may be away. I go
"I hope, Adolphus, you haven't quarrelled with your father," said she.
"Oh, no," said he: "it is on his advice that I am going. I believe
there is no fear of our quarrelling now. I should rather say I trust
there is none. He not only approves of my going, but approves of what I
am about to do before I go."
"And what is that?"
"I had not intended, Fanny, to say what I have to say to you for some
time, for I feel that different circumstances make it premature. But I
cannot bring myself to leave you without doing so;" and again he paused
and walked on a little way in silence--"and yet," he continued, "I
hardly know how to utter what I wish to say; or rather what I would
wish to have said, were it not that I dread so much the answer you may
make me. Stop, Fanny, stop a moment; the seat is quite dry; sit down
Fanny sat down in a little alcove which they had reached, considerably
embarrassed and surprised. She had not, however, the most remote idea
of what he was about to say to her. Had any other man in the world,
almost, spoken to her in the same language, she would have expected an
offer; but from the way in which she had always regarded her cousin,
both heretofore, when she hardly knew him, and now, when she was on
such affectionate terms with him, she would as soon have thought of
receiving an offer from Lord Cashel as from his son.
"Fanny," he said, "I told you before that I have my father's warmest
and most entire approval for what I am now going to do. Should I be
successful in what I ask, he will be delighted; but I have no words to
tell you what my own feelings will be. Fanny, dearest Fanny," and he
sat down close beside her--"I love you better--ah! how much better,
than all the world holds beside. Dearest, dearest Fanny, will you, can
you, return my love?"
"Adolphus," said Fanny, rising suddenly from her seat, more for the
sake of turning round so as to look at him, than with the object of
getting from him, "Adolphus, you are joking with me."
"No, by heavens then," said he, following her, and catching her
hand; "no man in Ireland is this moment more in earnest: no man more
anxiously, painfully in earnest. Oh, Fanny! why should you suppose that
I am not so? How can you think I would joke on such a subject? No: hear
me," he said, interrupting her, as she prepared to answer him, "hear me
out, and then you will know how truly I am in earnest."
"No, not a word further!" almost shrieked Fanny--"Not a word more,
Adolphus--not a syllable; at any rate till you have heard me. Oh, you
have made me so miserable!" and Fanny burst into tears.
"I have spoken too suddenly to you, Fanny; I should have given you more
time--I should have waited till--"
"No, no, no," said Fanny, "it is not that--but yes; what you say is
true: had you waited but one hour--but ten minutes--I should have told
you that which would for ever have prevented all this. I should have
told you, Adolphus, how dearly, how unutterably I love another." And
Fanny again sat down, hid her face in her handkerchief against the
corner of the summer-house, and sobbed and cried as though she were
broken-hearted: during which time Kilcullen stood by, rather perplexed
as to what he was to say next, and beginning to be very doubtful as to
his ultimate success.
"Dear Fanny!" he said, "for both our sakes, pray try to be collected:
all my future happiness is at this moment at stake. I did not bring
you here to listen to what I have told you, without having become too
painfully sure that your hand, your heart, your love, are necessary
to my happiness. All my hopes are now at stake; but I would not, if I
could, secure my own happiness at the expense of yours. Pray believe
me, Fanny, when I say that I love you completely, unalterably,
devotedly: it is necessary now for my own sake that I should say as
much as that. Having told you so much of my own heart, let me hear what
you wish to tell me of yours. Oh, that I might have the most distant
gleam of hope, that it would ever return the love which fills my own!"
"It cannot, Adolphus--it never can," said she, still trying to hide
her tears. "Oh, why should this bitter misery have been added!" She
then rose quickly from her seat, wiped her eyes, and, pushing back her
hair, continued, "I will no longer continue to live such a life as I
have done--miserable to myself, and the cause of misery to others.
Adolphus,--I love Lord Ballindine. I love him with, I believe, as true
and devoted a love as woman ever felt for a man. I valued, appreciated,
gloried in your friendship; but I can never return your, love. My heart
is wholly, utterly, given away; and I would not for worlds receive it
back, till I learn from his own mouth that he has ceased to love me."
"Oh, Fanny! my poor Fanny!" said Kilcullen; "if such is the case, you
are really to be pitied. If this be true, your condition is nearly as
unhappy as my own."
"I am unhappy, very unhappy in your love," said Fanny, drawing herself
up proudly; "but not unhappy in my own. My misery is that I should be
the cause of trouble and unhappiness to others. I have nothing to
regret in my own choice."
"You are harsh, Fanny. It may be well that you should be decided, but
it cannot become you also to be unfeeling. I have offered to you all
that a man can offer; my name, my fortune, my life, my heart; though
you may refuse me, you have no right to be offended with me."
"Oh, Adolphus!" said she, now in her turn offering him her hand: "pray
forgive me: pray do not be angry. Heaven knows I feel no offence: and
how strongly, how sincerely, I feel the compliment you have offered me.
But I want you to see how vain it would be in me to leave you--leave
you in any doubt. I only spoke as I did to show you I could not think
twice, when my heart was given to one whom I so entirely love,
Lord Kilcullen's face became thoughtful, and his brow grew black: he
stood for some time irresolute what to say or do.
"Let us walk on, Fanny, for this is cold and damp," he said, at last.
"Let us go back to the house, then."
"As you like, Fanny. Oh, how painful all this is! how doubly painful to
know that ray own love is hopeless, and that yours is no less so. Did
you not refuse Lord Ballindine?"
"If I did, is it not sufficient that I tell you I love him? If he were
gone past all redemption, you would not have me encourage you while I
"I never dreamed of this! What, Fanny, what are your hopes? what is it
you wish or intend? Supposing me, as I wish I were, fathoms deep below
the earth, what would you do? You cannot marry Lord Ballindine."
"Then I will marry no one," said Fanny, striving hard to suppress her
tears, and barely succeeding.
"Good heavens!" exclaimed Kilcullen; "what an infatuation is
this!"--and then again he walked on silent a little way. "Have you told
any one of this, Fanny?--do they know of it at Grey Abbey? Come, Fanny,
speak to me: forget, if you will, that I would be your lover: remember
me only as your cousin and your friend, and speak to me openly. Do they
know that you have repented of the refusal you gave Lord Ballindine?"
"They all know that I love him: your father, your mother, and Selina."
"You don't say my father?"
"Yes," said Fanny, stopping on the path, and speaking with energy, as
she confronted her cousin. "Yes, Lord Cashel. He, above all others,
knows it. I have told him so almost on my knees. I have implored
him, as a child may implore her father, to bring back to me the only
man I ever loved. I have besought him not to sacrifice me. Oh! how
I have implored him to spare me the dreadful punishment of my own
folly--wretchedness rather--in rejecting the man I loved. But he has
not listened to me; he will never listen to me, and I will never ask
again. He shall find that I am not a tree or a stone, to be planted
or placed as he chooses. I will not again be subjected to what I have
to-day suffered. I will not--I will not--" But Fanny was out of breath;
and could not complete the catalogue of what she would not do.
"And did you intend to tell me all this, had I not spoken to you as I
have done?" said Kilcullen.
"I did," said she. "I was on the point of telling you everything: twice
I had intended to do so. I intended to implore you, as you loved me as
your cousin, to use your exertions to reconcile my uncle and Lord
Ballindine--and now instead of that--"
"You find I love you too well myself?"
"Oh, forget, Adolphus, forget that the words ever passed your lips.
You have not loved me long, and therefore will not continue to love
me, when you know I never can be yours: forget your short-lived
love; won't you, Adolphus?"--and she put her clasped hands upon his
breast--"forget,--let us both forget that the words were ever spoken.
Be still my cousin, my friend, my brother; and we shall still both be
Different feelings were disturbing Lord Kilcullen's breast--different
from each other, and some of them very different from those which
usually found a place there. He had sought Fanny's hand not only with
most sordid, but also with most dishonest views: he not only intended
to marry her for her fortune, but also to rob her of her money; to
defraud her, that he might enable himself once more to enter the world
of pleasure, with the slight encumbrance of a wretched wife. But, in
carrying out his plan, he had disturbed it by his own weakness: he had
absolutely allowed himself to fall in love with his cousin; and when,
as he had just done, he offered her his hand, he was quite as anxious
that she should accept him for her own sake as for that of her money.
He had taught himself to believe that she would accept him, and many
misgivings had haunted him as to the ruined state to which he should
bring her as his wife. But these feelings, though strong enough to
disturb him, were not strong enough to make him pause: he tried to
persuade himself that he could yet make her happy, and hurried on to
the consummation of his hopes. He now felt strongly tempted to act a
generous part; to give her up, and to bring Lord Ballindine back to her
feet; to deserve at any rate well of her, and leave all other things to
chance. But Lord Kilcullen was not accustomed to make such sacrifices:
he had never learned to disregard himself; and again and again he
turned it over in his mind--"how could he get her fortune?--was there
any way left in which he might be successful?"
"This is child's play, Fanny," he said. "You may reject me: to that I
have nothing further to say, for I am but an indifferent wooer; but you
can never marry Lord Ballindine."
"Oh, Adolphus, for mercy's sake don't say so!"
"But I do say so, Fanny. God knows, not to wound you, or for any
unworthy purpose, but because it is so. He was your lover, and you sent
him away; you cannot whistle him back as you would a dog."
Fanny made no answer to this, but walked on towards the house, anxious
to find herself alone in her own room, that she might compose her mind
and think over all that she had heard and said; nor did Lord Kilcullen
renew the conversation till he got to the house. He could not determine
what to do. Under other circumstances it might, he felt, have been wise
for him to wait till time had weakened Fanny's regret for her lost
lover; but in his case this was impracticable; if he waited anywhere it
would be in the Queen's Bench. And yet, he could not but feel that, at
present, it was hopeless for him to push his suit.
They reached the steps together, and as he opened the front door, Fanny
turned round to wish him good morning, as she was hurrying in; but he
stopped her, and said,
"One word more, Fanny, before we part. You must not refuse me; nor must
we part in this way. Step in here; I will not keep you a minute;" and
he took her into a room off the hall--"do not let us be children,
Fanny; do not let us deceive each other, or ourselves: do not let us
persist in being irrational if we ourselves see that we are so;" and he
paused for a reply.
"Well, Adolphus?" was all she said.
"If I could avoid it," continued he, "I would not hurt your feelings;
but you must see, you must know, that you cannot marry Lord
Ballindine."--Fanny, who was now sitting, bit her lips and clenched her
hands, but she said nothing; "If this is so--if you feel that so far
your fate is fixed, are you mad enough to give yourself up to a vain
and wicked passion--for wicked it will be? Will you not rather strive
to forget him who has forgotten you?"
"That is not true," interposed Fanny.
"His conduct, unfortunately, proves that it is too true," continued
Kilcullen. "He has forgotten you, and you cannot blame him that he
should do so, now that you have rejected him; but he neglected you even
before you did so. Is it wise, is it decorous, is it maidenly in you,
to indulge any longer in so vain a passion? Think of this, Fanny. As
to myself, Heaven knows with what perfect truth, with what true love,
I offered you, this morning, all that a man can offer: how ardently
I hoped for an answer different from that you have now given me.
You cannot give me your heart now; love cannot, at a moment, be
transferred. But think, Fanny, think whether it is not better for
you to accept an offer which your friends will all approve, and which
I trust will never make you unhappy, than to give yourself up to a
lasting regret,--to tears, misery, and grief."
"And would you take my hand without my heart?" said she.
"Not for worlds," replied the other, "were I not certain that your
heart would follow your hand. Whoever may be your husband, you will
love him. But ask my mother, talk to her, ask her advice; she at any
rate will only tell you that which must be best for your own happiness.
Go to her, Fanny; if her advice be different from mine, I will not say
a word farther to urge my suit."
"I will go to no one," said Fanny, rising. "I have gone to too many
with a piteous story on my lips. I have no friend, now, in this house.
I had still hoped to find one in you, but that hope is over. I am, of
course, proud of the honour your declaration has conveyed; but I should
be wicked indeed if I did not make you perfectly understand that it
is one which I cannot accept. Whatever may be your views, your ideas,
I will never marry unless I thoroughly love, and feel that I am
thoroughly loved by my future husband. Had you not made this ill-timed
declaration--had you not even persisted in repeating it after I had
opened my whole heart to you, I could have loved and cherished you as
a brother; under no circumstances could I ever have accepted you as a
husband. Good morning." And she left him alone, feeling that he could
have but little chance of success, should he again renew the attempt.
He did not see her again till dinner-time, when she appeared silent
and reserved, but still collected and at her ease; nor did he speak to
her at dinner or during the evening, till the moment the ladies were
retiring for the night. He then came up to her as she was standing
alone turning over some things on a side-table, and said, "Fanny, I
probably leave Grey Abbey to-morrow. I will say good bye to you
"Good bye, Adolphus; may we both be happier when next we meet," said
"My happiness, I fear, is doubtful: but I will not speak of that now.
If I can do anything for yours before I go, I will. Fanny, I will ask
my father to invite Lord Ballindine here. He has been anxious that we
should be married: when I tell him that that is impossible, he may
perhaps be induced to do so."
"Do that," said Fanny, "and you will be a friend to me. Do that, and
you will be more than a brother to me."
"I will; and in doing so I shall crush every hope that I have had left
"Do not say so, Adolphus:--do not--"
"You'll understand what I mean in a short time. I cannot explain
everything to you now. But this will I do; I will make Lord Cashel
understand that we never can be more to each other than we are now, and
I will advise him to seek a reconciliation with Lord Ballindine. And
now, good bye," and he held out his hand.
"But I shall see you to-morrow."
"Probably not; and if you do, it will be but for a moment, when I shall
have other adieux to make."
"Good bye, then, Adolphus; and may God bless you; and may we yet live
to have many happy days together," and she shook hands with him, and
went to her room.
XXXIII. LORD KILCULLEN MAKES ANOTHER VISIT TO THE BOOK-ROOM
Lord Cashel's plans were certainly not lucky. It was not that
sufficient care was not used in laying them, nor sufficient caution
displayed in maturing them. He passed his time in care and caution;
he spared no pains in seeing that the whole machinery was right; he
was indefatigable in deliberation, diligent in manoeuvring, constant
in attention. But, somehow, he was unlucky; his schemes were never
successful. In the present instance he was peculiarly unfortunate, for
everything went wrong with him. He had got rid of an obnoxious lover,
he had coaxed over his son, he had spent an immensity of money, he had
undergone worlds of trouble and self-restraint;--and then, when he
really began to think that his ward's fortune would compensate him for
this, his own family came to him, one after another, to assure him that
he was completely mistaken--that it was utterly impossible that such
a thing as a family marriage between the two cousins could never take
place, and indeed, ought not to be thought of.
Lady Selina gave him the first check. On the morning on which Lord
Kilcullen made his offer, she paid her father a solemn visit in his
book-room, and told him exactly what she had before told her mother;
assured him that Fanny could not be induced, at any rate at present,
to receive her cousin as her lover; whispered to him, with unfeigned
sorrow and shame, that Fanny was still madly in love with Lord
Ballindine; and begged him to induce her brother to postpone his offer,
at any rate for some months.
"I hate Lord Ballindine's very name," said the earl, petulant with
"We none of us approve of him, papa: we don't think of supposing
that he could now be a fitting husband for Fanny, or that they could
possibly ever be married. Of course it's not to be thought of. But if
you would advise Adolphus not to be premature, he might, in the end,
be more successful."
"Kilcullen has made his own bed and he must lie in it; I won't
interfere between them," said the angry father.
"But if you were only to recommend delay," suggested the daughter; "a
few months' delay; think how short a time Harry Wyndham has been dead!"
Lord Cashel knew that delay was death in this case, so he pished, and
hummed, and hawed; quite lost the dignity on which he piqued himself,
and ended by declaring that he would not interfere; that they might do
as they liked; that young people would not be guided, and that he would
not make himself unhappy about them. And so, Lady Selina, crestfallen
and disappointed, went away.
Then, Lady Cashel, reflecting on what her daughter had told her, and
yet anxious that the marriage should, if possible, take place at some
time or other, sent Griffiths down to her lord, with a message--"Would
his lordship be kind enough to step up-stairs to her ladyship?" Lord
Cashel went up, and again had all the difficulties of the case opened
out before him.
"But you see," said her ladyship, "poor Fanny--she's become so
unreasonable--I don't know what's come to her--I'm sure I do everything
I can to make her happy: but I suppose if she don't like to marry,
nobody can make her."
"Make her?--who's talking of making her?" said the earl.
"No, of course not," continued the countess; "that's just what Selina
says; no one can make her do anything, she's got so obstinate, of late:
but it's all that horrid Lord Ballindine, and those odious horses. I'm
sure I don't know what business gentlemen have to have horses at all;
there's never any good comes of it. There's Adolphus--he's had the good
sense to get rid of his, and yet Fanny's so foolish, she'd sooner have
that other horrid man--and I'm sure he's not half so good-looking, nor
a quarter so agreeable as Adolphus."
All these encomiums on his son, and animadversions on Lord Ballindine,
were not calculated to put the earl into a good humour; he was heartily
sick of the subject; thoroughly repented that he had not allowed his
son to ruin himself in his own way; detested the very name of Lord
Ballindine, and felt no very strong affection for his poor innocent
ward. He accordingly made his wife nearly the same answer he had made
his daughter, and left her anything but comforted by the visit.
It was about eleven o'clock on the same evening, that Lord Kilcullen,
after parting with Fanny, opened the book-room door. He had been quite
sincere in what he had told her. He had made up his mind entirely to
give over all hopes of marrying her himself, and to tell his father
that the field was again open for Lord Ballindine, as far as he was
There is no doubt that he would not have been noble enough to do this,
had he thought he had himself any chance of being successful; but still
there was something chivalrous in his resolve, something magnanimous in
his determination to do all he could for the happiness of her he really
loved, when everything in his own prospects was gloomy, dark, and
desperate. As he entered his father's room, feeling that it would
probably be very long before he should be closeted with him again, he
determined that he would not quietly bear reproaches, and even felt a
source of satisfaction in the prospect of telling his father that their
joint plans were overturned--their schemes completely at an end.
"I'm disturbing you, my lord, I'm afraid," said the son, walking into
the room, not at all with the manner of one who had any hesitation at
causing the disturbance.
"Who's that?" said the earl--"Adolphus?--no--yes. That is, I'm just
going to bed; what is it you want?" The earl had been dozing after all
the vexations of the day.
"To tell the truth, my lord, I've a good deal that I wish to say: will