Part 9 out of 10
it trouble you to listen to me?"
"Won't to-morrow morning do?"
"I shall leave Grey Abbey early to-morrow, my lord; immediately after
"Good heavens, Kilcullen! what do you mean? You're not going to run off
to London again?"
"A little farther than that, I'm afraid, will be necessary," said the
son. "I have offered to Miss Wyndham--have been refused--and, having
finished my business at Grey Abbey, your lordship will probably think
that in leaving it I shall be acting with discretion."
"You have offered to Fanny and been refused!"
"Indeed I have; finally and peremptorily refused. Not only that: I have
pledged my word to my cousin that I will never renew my suit."
The earl sat speechless in his chair--so much worse was this
catastrophe even than his expectations. Lord Kilcullen continued.
"I hope, at any rate, you are satisfied with me. I have not only
implicitly obeyed your directions, but I have done everything in
my power to accomplish what you wished. Had my marriage with my
cousin been a project of my own, I could not have done more for its
accomplishment. Miss Wyndham's affections are engaged; and she will
never, I am sure, marry one man while she loves another."
"Loves another--psha!" roared the earl. "Is this to be the end of it
all? After your promises to me--after your engagement! After such an
engagement, sir, you come to me and talk about a girl loving another?
Loving another! Will her loving another pay your debts?"
"Exactly the reverse, my lord," said the son. "I fear it will
materially postpone their payment."
"Well, sir," said the earl. He did not exactly know how to commence the
thunder of indignation with which he intended to annihilate his son,
for certainly Kilcullen had done the best in his power to complete the
bargain. But still the storm could not be stayed, unreasonable as it
might be for the earl to be tempestuous on the occasion. "Well, sir,"
and he stood up from his chair, to face his victim, who was still
standing--and, thrusting his hands into his trowsers' pockets, frowned
awfully--"Well, sir; am I to be any further favoured with your plans?"
"I have none, my lord," said Kilcullen; "I am again ready to listen to
"My plans?--I have no further plans to offer for you. You are ruined,
utterly ruined: you have done your best to ruin me and your mother; I
have pointed out to you, I arranged for you, the only way in which your
affairs could be redeemed; I made every thing easy for you."
"No, my lord: you could not make it easy for me to get my cousin's
"Don't contradict me, sir. I say I did. I made every thing straight
and easy for you: and now you come to me with a whining story about a
girl's love! What's her love to me, sir? Where am I to get my thirty
thousand pounds, sir?--and my note of hand is passed for as much more,
at this time twelve-month! Where am I to raise that, sir? Do you
remember that you have engaged to repay me these sums?--do you remember
that, or have such trifles escaped your recollection?"
"I remember perfectly well, my lord, that if I married my cousin,
you were to repay yourself those sums out of her fortune. But I also
remember, and so must you, that I beforehand warned you that I thought
she would refuse me."
"Refuse you," said the earl, with a contortion of his nose and lips
intended to convey unutterable scorn; "of course she refused you, when
you asked her as a child would ask for an apple, or a cake! What else
could you expect?"
"I hardly think your lordship knows--"
"Don't you hardly think?--then I do know; and know well too. I know you
have deceived me, grossly deceived me--induced me to give you money--to
incur debts, with which I never would have burdened myself had I not
believed you were sincere in your promise. But you have deceived me,
sir--taken me in; for by heaven it's no better!--it's no better than
downright swindling--and that from a son to his father! But it's for
the last time; not a penny more do you get from me: you can ruin the
property; indeed, I believe you have; but, for your mother's and
sister's sake, I'll keep till I die what little you have left me."
Lord Cashel had worked himself up into a perfect frenzy, and was
stamping about the room as he uttered this speech; but, as he came to
the end of it, he threw himself into his chair again, and buried his
face in his hands.
Lord Kilcullen was standing with his back resting against the
mantel-piece, with a look of feigned indifference on his face, which
he tried hard to maintain. But his brow became clouded, and he bit his
lips when his father accused him of swindling; and he was just about to
break forth into a torrent of recrimination, when Lord Cashel turned
off into a pathetic strain, and Kilcullen thought it better to leave
"What I'm to do, I don't know; what I am to do, I do not know!" said
the earl, beating the table with one hand, and hiding his face with
the other. "Sixty thousand pounds in one year; and that after so many
drains!--And there's only my own life--there's only my own life!"--and
then there was a pause for four or five minutes, during which Lord
Kilcullen took snuff, poked the fire, and then picked up a newspaper,
as though he were going to read it. This last was too much for the
father, and he again roared out, "Well, sir, what are you standing
there for? If you've nothing else to say; why don't you go? I've done
with you--you can not get more out of me, I promise you!"
"I've a good deal to say before I go, my lord," said Kilcullen. "I was
waiting till you were disposed to listen to me. I've a good deal to
say, indeed, which you must hear; and I trust, therefore, you will
endeavour to be cool, whatever your opinions may be about my conduct."
"Cool?--no, sir, I will not be cool. You're too cool yourself!"
"Cool enough for both, you think, my lord."
"Kilcullen," said the earl, "you've neither heart nor principle: you
have done your worst to ruin me, and now you come to insult me in my
own room. Say what you want to say, and then leave me."
"As to insulting language, my lord, I think you need not complain, when
you remember that you have just called me a swindler, because I have
been unable to accomplish your wish and my own, by marrying my cousin.
However, I will let that pass. I have done the best I could to gain
that object. I did more than either of us thought it possible that I
should do, when I consented to attempt it. I offered her my hand, and
assured her of my affection, without falsehood or hypocrisy. My bargain
was that I should offer to her. I have done more than that, for I have
loved her. I have, however, been refused, and in such a manner as
to convince me that it would be useless for me to renew my suit. If
your lordship will allow me to advise you on such a subject, I would
suggest that you make no further objection to Fanny's union with Lord
Ballindine. For marry him she certainly will."
"What, sir?" again shouted Lord Cashel.
"I trust Fanny will receive no further annoyance on the subject. She
has convinced me that her own mind is thoroughly made up; and she is
not the person to change her mind on such a subject."
"And haven't you enough on hand in your own troubles, but what you must
lecture me about my ward?--Is it for that you have come to torment me
at this hour? Had not you better at once become her guardian yourself,
sir, and manage the matter in your own way?"
"I promised Fanny I would say as much to you. I will not again mention
her name unless you press me to do so."
"That's very kind," said the earl.
"And now, about myself. I think your lordship will agree with me that
it is better that I should at once leave Grey Abbey, when I tell you
that, if I remain here, I shall certainly be arrested before the
week is over, if I am found outside the house. I do not wish to have
bailiffs knocking at your lordship's door, and your servants instructed
to deny me."
"Upon my soul, you are too good."
"At any rate," said Kilcullen, "you'll agree with me that this is no
place for me to remain in."
"You're quite at liberty to go," said the earl. "You were never very
ceremonious with regard to me; pray don't begin to be so now. Pray
go--to-night if you like. Your mother's heart will be broken, that's
"I trust my mother will be able to copy your lordship's indifference."
"Indifference! Is sixty thousand pounds in one year, and more than
double within three or four, indifference? I have paid too much to be
indifferent. But it is hopeless to pay more. I have no hope for you;
you are ruined, and I couldn't redeem you even if I would. I could not
set you free and tell you to begin again, even were it wise to do so;
and therefore I tell you to go. And now, good night; I have not another
word to say to you," and the earl got up as if to leave the room.
"Stop, my lord, you must listen to me," said Kilcullen.
"Not a word further. I have heard enough;" and he put out the candles
on the book-room table, having lighted a bed candle which he held in
"Pardon me, my lord," continued the son, standing just before his
father, so as to prevent his leaving the room; "pardon me, but you must
listen to what I have to say."
"Not another word--not another word. Leave the door, sir, or I will
ring for the servants to open it."
"Do so," said Kilcullen, "and they also shall hear what I have to say.
I am going to leave you to-morrow, perhaps for ever; and you will not
listen to the last word I wish to speak to you?"
"I'll stay five minutes," said the earl, taking out his watch, "and
then I'll go; and if you attempt again to stop me, I'll ring the bell
for the servants."
"Thank you, my lord, for the five minutes; it will be time enough. I
purpose leaving Grey Abbey to-morrow, and I shall probably be in France
in three days' time. When there, I trust I shall cease to trouble you;
but I cannot, indeed I will not go, without funds to last me till I can
make some arrangement. Your lordship must give me five hundred pounds.
I have not the means even of carrying myself from hence to Calais."
"Not one penny. Not one penny--if it were to save you from the gaol
to-morrow! This is too bad!" and the earl again walked to the door,
against which Lord Kilcullen leaned his back. "By Heaven, sir, I'll
raise the house if you think to frighten me by violence!"
"I'll use no violence, but you must hear the alternative: if you please
it, the whole house shall hear it too. If you persist in refusing the
small sum I now ask--"
"I will not give you one penny to save you from gaol. Is that plain?"
"Perfectly plain, and very easy to believe. But you will give more than
a penny; you would even give more than I ask, to save yourself from the
annoyance you will have to undergo."
"Not on any account will I give you one single farthing."
"Very well. Then I have only to tell you what I must do. Of course, I
shall remain here. You cannot turn me out of your house, or refuse me a
seat at your table."
"By Heavens, though, I both can and will!"
"You cannot, my lord. If you think of it, you'll find you cannot,
without much disagreeable trouble. An eldest son would be a very
difficult tenant to eject summarily: and of my own accord I will not go
without the money I ask."
"By heavens, this exceeds all I ever heard. Would you rob your own
"I will not rob him, but I'll remain in his house. The sheriff's
officers, doubtless, will hang about the doors, and be rather
troublesome before the windows; but I shall not be the first Irish
gentleman that has remained at home upon his keeping. And, like other
Irish gentlemen, I will do so rather than fall into the hands of these
myrmidons. I have no wish to annoy you; I shall be most sorry to do so;
most sorry to subject my mother to the misery which must attend the
continual attempts which will be made to arrest me; but I will not put
my head into the lion's jaw."
"This is the return for what I have done for him!" ejaculated the earl,
in his misery. "Unfortunate reprobate! unfortunate reprobate!--that I
should be driven to wish that he was in gaol!"
"Your wishing so won't put me there, my lord. If it would I should not
be weak enough to ask you for this money. Do you mean to comply with my
"I do not, sir: not a penny shall you have--not one farthing more shall
you get from me."
"Then good night, my lord. I grieve that I should have to undergo a
siege in your lordship's house, more especially as it is likely to be a
long one. In a week's time there will be a '_ne exeat_'  issued
against me, and then it will be too late for me to think of France."
And so saying, the son retired to his own room, and left the father to
consider what he had better do in his distress.
[FOOTNOTE 48: ne exeat--(Latin) "let him not leave"; a legal
writ forbidding a person to leave the jurisdiction
of the court]
Lord Cashel was dreadfully embarrassed. What Lord Kilcullen said was
perfectly true; an eldest son was a most difficult tenant to eject; and
then, the ignominy of having his heir arrested in his own house, or
detained there by bailiffs lurking round the premises! He could not
determine whether it would be more painful to keep his son, or to give
him up. If he did the latter, he would be driven to effect it by a most
disagreeable process. He would have to assist the officers of the law
in their duty, and to authorise them to force the doors locked by his
son. The prospect, either way, was horrid. He would willingly give the
five hundred pounds to be rid of his heir, were it not for his word's
sake, or rather his pride's sake. He had said he would not, and, as he
walked up and down the room he buttoned up his breeches pocket, and
tried to resolve that, come what come might, he would not expedite his
son's departure by the outlay of one shilling.
The candles had been put out, and the gloom of the room was only
lightened by a single bed-room taper, which, as it stood near the door,
only served to render palpable the darkness of the further end of the
chamber. For half an hour Lord Cashel walked to and fro, anxious,
wretched, and in doubt, instead of going to his room. How he wished
that Lord Ballindine had married his ward, and taken her off six months
since!--all this trouble would not then have come upon him. And as he
thought of the thirty thousand pounds that he had spent, and the thirty
thousand more that he must spend, he hurried on with such rapidity that
in the darkness he struck his shin violently against some heavy piece
of furniture, and, limping back to the candlestick, swore through his
teeth--"No, not a penny, were it to save him from perdition! I'll see
the sheriff's officer. I'll see the sheriff himself, and tell him that
every door in the house--every closet--every cellar, shall be open to
him. My house shall enable no one to defy the law." And, with this
noble resolve, to which, by the bye, the blow on his shin greatly
contributed, Lord Cashel went to bed, and the house was at rest.
About nine o'clock on the following morning Lord Kilcullen was still in
bed, but awake. His servant had been ordered to bring him hot water,
and he was seriously thinking of getting up, and facing the troubles
of the day, when a very timid knock at the door announced to him that
some stranger was approaching. He adjusted his nightcap, brought the
bed-clothes up close to his neck, and on giving the usual answer to a
knock at the door, saw a large cap introduce itself, the head belonging
to which seemed afraid to follow.
"Who's that?" he called out.
"It's me, my lord," said the head, gradually following the cap.
"Griffiths, my lord."
"Lady Selina, my lord; her ladyship bids me give your lordship her
love, and would you see her ladyship for five minutes before you get
Lord Kilcullen having assented to this proposal, the cap and head
retired. A second knock at the door was soon given, and Lady Selina
entered the room, with a little bit of paper in her hand.
"Good morning, Adolphus," said the sister.
"Good morning, Selina," said the brother. "It must be something very
particular, which brings you here at this hour."
"It is indeed, something very particular. I have been with papa this
morning, Adolphus: he has told me of the interview between you last
"Oh, Adolphus! he is very angry--he's--"
"So am I, Selina. I am very angry, too;--so we're quits. We laid a plan
together, and we both failed, and each blames the other; so you need
not tell me anything further about his anger. Did he send any message
"He did. He told me I might give you this, if I would undertake that
you left Grey Abbey to-day:" and Lady Selina held up, but did not give
him, the bit of paper.
"What a dolt he is."
"Oh, Adolphus!" said Selina, "don't speak so of your father."
"So he is: how on earth can you undertake that I shall leave the
"I can ask you to give me your word that you will do so; and I can take
back the check if you refuse," said Lady Selina, conceiving it utterly
impossible that one of her own family could break his word.
"Well, Selina, I'll answer you fairly. If that bit of paper is a cheque
for five hundred pounds, I will leave this place in two hours. If it is
"It is," said Selina. "It is a cheque for five hundred pounds, and I
may then give it to you?"
"I thought as much," said Lord Kilcullen; "I thought he'd alter his
mind. Yes, you may give it me, and tell my father I'll dine in London
"He says, Adolphus, he'll not see you before you go."
"Well, there's comfort in that, anyhow."
"Oh, Adolphus! how can you speak in that manner now?--how can you speak
in that wicked, thoughtless, reckless manner?" said his sister.
"Because I'm a wicked, thoughtless, reckless man, I suppose. I didn't
mean to vex you, Selina; but my father is so pompous, so absurd, and so
tedious. In the whole of this affair I have endeavoured to do exactly
as he would have me; and he is more angry with me now, because his plan
has failed, than he ever was before, for any of my past misdoings.--But
let me get up now, there's a good girl; for I've no time to lose."
"Will you see your mother before you go, Adolphus?"
"Why, no; it'll be no use--only tormenting her. Tell her something, you
know; anything that won't vex her."
"But I cannot tell her anything about you that will not vex her."
"Well, then, say what will vex her least. Tell her--tell her. Oh, you
know what to tell her, and I'm sure I don't."
"And Fanny: will you see her again?"
"No," said Kilcullen. "I have bid her good bye. But give her my kindest
love, and tell her that I did what I told her I would do."
"She told me what took place between you yesterday."
"Why, Selina, everybody tells you everything! And now, I'll tell you
something. If you care for your cousin's happiness, do not attempt to
raise difficulties between her and Lord Ballindine. And now, I must say
good bye to you. I'll have my breakfast up here, and go directly down
to the yard. Good bye, Selina; when I'm settled I'll write to you, and
tell you where I am."
"Good bye, Adolphus; God bless you, and enable you yet to retrieve your
course. I'm afraid it is a bad one;" and she stooped down and kissed
He was as good as his word. In two hours' time he had left Grey Abbey.
He dined that day in Dublin, the next in London, and the third in
Boulogne; and the sub-sheriff of County Kildare in vain issued
half-a-dozen writs for his capture.
XXXIV. THE DOCTOR MAKES A CLEAN BREAST OF IT
We will now return for a while to Dunmore, and settle the affairs of
the Kellys and Lynches, which we left in rather a precarious state.
Barry's attempt on Doctor Colligan's virtue was very unsuccessful, for
Anty continued to mend under the treatment of that uncouth but safe son
of Galen. As Colligan told her brother, the fever had left her, though
for some time it was doubtful whether she had strength to recover from
its effects. This, however, she did gradually; and, about a fortnight
after the dinner at Dunmore House, the doctor told Mrs Kelly and Martin
that his patient was out of danger.
Martin had for some time made up his mind that Anty was to live for
many years in the character of Mrs Martin, and could not therefore be
said to be much affected by the communication. But if he was not, his
mother was. She had made up her mind that Anty was to die; that she
was to pay for the doctor--the wake, and the funeral, and that she
would have a hardship and grievance to boast of, and a subject of
self-commendation to enlarge on, which would have lasted her till her
death; and she consequently felt something like disappointment at being
ordered to administer to Anty a mutton chop and a glass of sherry every
day at one o'clock. Not that the widow was less assiduous, or less
attentive to Anty's wants now that she was convalescent; but she
certainly had not so much personal satisfaction, as when she was able
to speak despondingly of her patient to all her gossips.
"Poor cratur!" she used to say--"it's all up with her now; the Lord be
praised for all his mercies. She's all as one as gone, glory be to God
and the Blessed Virgin. Shure no good ever come of ill-got money;--not
that she was iver to blame. Thank the Lord, av' I have a penny saved at
all, it was honestly come by; not that I shall have when this is done
and paid for, not a stifle; (stiver  Mrs Kelly probably meant)--but
what's that!" and she snapped her fingers to show that the world's gear
was all dross in her estimation.--"She shall be dacently sthretched,
though she is a Lynch, and a Kelly has to pay for it. Whisper,
neighbour; in two years' time there'll not be one penny left on another
of all the dirthy money Sim Lynch scraped together out of the
[FOOTNOTE 49: stiver--a Dutch coin worth almost nothing]
There was a degree of triumph in these lamentations, a tone of
self-satisfied assurance in the truth of her melancholy predictions,
which showed that the widow was not ill at ease with herself. When Anty
was declared out of danger, her joy was expressed with much more
"Yes, thin," she said to Father Pat Geoghegan, "poor thing, she's
rallying a bit. The docthor says maybe she'll not go this time; but
he's much in dread of a re-claps--"
"Relapse, Mrs Kelly, I suppose?"
"Well, relapse, av' you will, Father Pat--relapse or reclaps, it's
pretty much the same I'm thinking; for she'd niver get through another
bout. God send we may be well out of the hobble this day twelvemonth.
Martin's my own son, and ain't above industhrying, as his father and
mother did afore him, and I won't say a word agin him; but he's brought
more throuble on me with them Lynches than iver I knew before. What has
a lone woman like me, Father Pat, to do wid sthrangers like them? jist
to turn their backs on me when I ain't no furder use, and to be gitting
the hights of insolence and abuse, as I did from that blagguard Barry.
He'd betther keep his toe in his pump and go asy, or he'll wake to a
sore morning yet, some day."
Doctor Colligan, also, was in trouble from his connection with the
Lynches: not that he had any dissatisfaction at the recovery of his
patient, for he rejoiced at it, both on her account and his own. He had
strongly that feeling of self-applause, which must always be enjoyed by
a doctor who brings a patient safely through a dangerous illness. But
Barry's iniquitous proposal to him weighed heavy on his conscience. It
was now a week since it had been made, and he had spoken of it to no
one. He had thought much and frequently of what he ought to do; whether
he should publicly charge Lynch with the fact; whether he should tell
it confidentially to some friend whom he could trust; or whether--by
far the easiest alternative, he should keep it in his own bosom, and
avoid the man in future as he would an incarnation of the devil. It
preyed much upon his spirits, for he lived in fear of Barry Lynch--in
fear lest he should determine to have the first word, and, in his
own defence, accuse him (Colligan) of the very iniquity which he had
himself committed. Nothing, the doctor felt, would be too bad or too
false for Barry Lynch; nothing could be more damnable than the proposal
he had made; and yet it would be impossible to convict him, impossible
to punish him. He would, of course, deny the truth of the accusation,
and probably return the charge on his accuser. And yet Colligan felt
that he would be compromising the matter, if he did not mention it to
some one; and that he would outrage his own feelings if he did not
express his horror at the murder which he had been asked to commit.
For one week these feelings quite destroyed poor Colligan's peace
of mind; during the second, he determined to make a clean breast
of it; and, on the first day of the third week, after turning in
his mind twenty different people--Martin Kelly--young Daly--the
widow--the parish priest--the parish parson--the nearest stipendiary
magistrate--and a brother doctor in Tuam, he at last determined on
going to Lord Ballindine, as being both a magistrate and a friend of
the Kellys. Doctor Colligan himself was not at all acquainted with Lord
Ballindine: he attended none of the family, who extensively patronised
his rival, and he had never been inside Kelly's Court house. He felt,
therefore, considerable embarrassment at his mission; but he made up
his mind to go, and, manfully setting himself in his antique rickety
gig, started early enough, to catch Lord Ballindine, as he thought,
before he left the house after breakfast.
Lord Ballindine had spent the last week or ten days restlessly enough.
Armstrong, his clerical ambassador, had not yet started on his mission
to Grey Abbey, and innumerable difficulties seemed to arise to prevent
his doing so. First of all, the black cloth was to be purchased, and
a tailor, sufficiently adept for making up the new suit, was to be
caught. This was a work of some time; for though there is in the West
of Ireland a very general complaint of the stagnation of trade, trade
itself is never so stagnant as are the tradesmen, when work, is to be
done; and it is useless for a poor wight to think of getting his coat
or his boots, till such time as absolute want shall have driven the
artisan to look for the price of his job--unless some private and
underhand influence be used, as was done in the case of Jerry Blake's
new leather breeches.
This cause of delay was, however, not mentioned to Lord Ballindine; but
when it was well got over, and a neighbouring parson procured to preach
on the next Sunday to Mrs O'Kelly and the three policemen who attended
Ballindine Church, Mrs Armstrong broke her thumb with the rolling-pin
while making a beef pudding for the family dinner, and her husband's
departure was again retarded. And then, on the next Sunday, the
neighbouring parson could not leave his own policemen, and the two
spinsters, who usually formed his audience.
All this tormented Lord Ballindine. and he was really thinking of
giving up the idea of sending Mr Armstrong altogether, when he received
the following letter from his friend Dot Blake.
Limmer's Hotel. April, 1847.
One cries out, "what are you at?" the other, "what are you after?"
Every one is saying what a fool you are! Kilcullen is at Grey Abbey,
with the evident intention of superseding you in possession of Miss
W----, and, what is much more to his taste, as it would be to mine,
of her fortune. Mr T. has written to me _from Grey Abbey_, where he
has been staying: he is a good-hearted fellow, and remembers how
warmly you contradicted the report that your match was broken off.
For heaven's sake, follow up your warmth of denial with some show of
positive action, a little less cool than your present quiescence, or
you cannot expect that any amount of love should be strong enough
to prevent your affianced from resenting your conduct. I am doubly
anxious; quite as anxious that Kilcullen, whom I detest, should not
get young Wyndham's money, as I am that you should. He is utterly,
_utterly_ smashed. If he got double the amount of Fanny Wyndham's
cash, it could not keep him above water for more than a year or so;
and then she must go down with him. I am sure the old fool, his
father, does not half know the amount of his son's liabilities, or
he could not be heartless enough to consent to sacrifice the poor
girl as she will be sacrificed, if Kilcullen gets her. I am not
usually very anxious about other people's concerns; but I do feel
anxious about this matter. I want to have a respectable house in the
country, in which I can show my face when I grow a little older, and
be allowed to sip my glass of claret, and talk about my horses, in
spite of my iniquitous propensities--and I expect to be allowed to
do so at Kelly's Court. But, if you let Miss Wyndham slip through
your fingers, you won't have a house over your head in a few years'
time, much less a shelter to offer a friend. For God's sake, start
for Grey Abbey at once. Why, man alive, the ogre can't eat you!
The whole town is in the devil of a ferment about Brien. Of course
you heard the rumour, last week, of his heels being cracked? Some
of the knowing boys want to get out of the trap they are in; and,
despairing of bringing the horse down in the betting by fair means,
got a boy out of Scott's stables to swear to the fact. I went down
at once to Yorkshire, and published a letter in _Bell's Life_ last
Saturday, stating that he is all right. This you have probably seen.
You will be astonished to hear it, but I believe Lord Tattenham
Corner got the report spread. For heaven's sake don't mention this,
particularly not as coming from me. They say that if Brien does the
trick, he will lose more than he has made these three years, and I
believe he will. He is nominally at 4 to 1; but you can't get 4 to
anything like a figure from a safe party.
For heaven's sake go to Grey Abbey, and at once.
This letter naturally increased Lord Ballindine's uneasiness, and he
wrote a note to Mr Armstrong, informing him that he would not trouble
him to go at all, unless he could start the next day. Indeed, that he
should then go himself, if Mr Armstrong did not do so.
This did not suit Mr Armstrong. He had made up his mind to go; he could
not well return the twenty pounds he had received, nor did he wish to
forego the advantage which might arise from the trip. So he told his
wife to be very careful about her thumb, made up his mind to leave
the three policemen for once without spiritual food, and wrote to
Lord Ballindine to say that he would be with him the next morning,
immediately after breakfast, on his road to catch the mail-coach at
He was as good as his word, or rather better; for he breakfasted at
Kelly's Court, and induced Lord Ballindine to get into his own gig, and
drive him as far as the mail-coach road.
"But you'll be four or five hours too soon," said Frank; "the coach
doesn't pass Ballyglass till three."
"I want to see those cattle of Rutledge's. I'll stay there, and maybe
get a bit of luncheon; it's not a bad thing to be provided for the
"I'll tell you what, though," said Frank. "I want to go to Tuam, so you
might as well get the coach there; and if there's time to spare, you
can pay your respects to the bishop."
It was all the same to Mr Armstrong, and the two therefore started
for Tuam together. They had not, however, got above half way down
the avenue, when they saw another gig coming towards them; and,
after sundry speculations as to whom it might contain, Mr Armstrong
pronounced the driver to be "that dirty gallipot, Colligan."
It was Colligan; and, as the two gigs met in the narrow road, the
dirty gallipot took off his hat, and was very sorry to trouble Lord
Ballindine, but had a few words to say to him on very important and
Lord Ballindine touched his hat, and intimated that he was ready to
listen, but gave no signs of getting out of his gig.
"My lord," said Colligan, "it's particularly important, and if you
could, as a magistrate, spare me five minutes."
"Oh, certainly, Mr Colligan," said Frank; "that is, I'm rather
hurried--I may say very much hurried just at present. But still--I
suppose there's no objection to Mr Armstrong hearing what you have to
"Why, my lord," said Colligan, "I don't know. Your lordship can judge
yourself afterwards; but I'd rather--"
"Oh, I'll get down," said the parson. "I'll just take a walk among the
trees: I suppose the doctor won't be long?"
"If you wouldn't mind getting into my buggy, and letting me into his
lordship's gig, you could be following us on, Mr Armstrong," suggested
This suggestion was complied with. The parson and the doctor changed
places; and the latter, awkwardly enough, but with perfect truth,
whispered his tale into Lord Ballindine's ear.
At first, Frank had been annoyed at the interruption; but, as he
learned the cause of it, he gave his full attention to the matter, and
only interrupted the narrator by exclamations of horror and disgust.
When Doctor Colligan had finished, Lord Ballindine insisted on
repeating the whole affair to Mr Armstrong. "I could not take upon
myself," said he, "to advise you what to do; much less to tell you what
you should do. There is only one thing clear; you cannot let things
rest as they are. Armstrong is a man of the world, and will know what
to do; you cannot object to talking the matter over with him."
Colligan consented: and Armstrong, having been summoned, drove the
doctor's buggy up alongside of Lord Ballindine's gig.
"Armstrong," said Frank, "I have just heard the most horrid story that
ever came to my ears. That wretch, Barry Lynch, has tried to induce
Doctor Colligan to poison his sister!"
"What!" shouted Armstrong; "to poison his sister?"
"Gently, Mr Armstrong; pray don't speak so loud, or it'll be all
through the country in no time."
"Poison his sister!" repeated Armstrong. "Oh, it'll hang him! There's
no doubt it'll hang him! Of course you'll take the doctor's
"But the doctor hasn't tendered me any information," said Frank,
stopping his horse, so that Armstrong was able to get close up to his
"But I presume it is his intention to do so?" said the parson.
"I should choose to have another magistrate present then," said Frank.
"Really, Doctor Colligan, I think the best thing you can do is to come
before myself and the stipendiary magistrate at Tuam. We shall be sure
to find Brew at home to-day."
"But, my lord," said Colligan, "I really had no intention of doing
that. I have no witnesses. I can prove nothing. Indeed, I can't say he
ever asked me to do the deed: he didn't say anything I could charge him
with as a crime: he only offered me the farm if his sister should die.
But I knew what he meant; there was no mistaking it: I saw it in his
"And what did you do, Doctor Colligan, at the time?" said the parson.
"I hardly remember," said the doctor; "I was so flurried. But I know I
knocked him down, and then I rushed out of the room. I believe I
threatened I'd have him hung."
"But you did knock him down?"
"Oh, I did. He was sprawling on the ground when I left him."
"You're quite sure you knocked him down?" repeated the parson.
"The divil a doubt on earth about that!" replied Colligan. "I tell you,
when I left the room he was on his back among the chairs."
"And you did not hear a word from him since?"
"Not a word."
"Then there can't be any mistake about it, my lord," said Armstrong.
"If he did not feel that his life was in the doctor's hands, he would
not put up with being knocked down. And I'll tell you what's more--if
you tax him with the murder, he'll deny it and defy you; but tax him
with having been knocked down, and he'll swear his foot slipped, or
that he'd have done as much for the doctor if he hadn't run away. And
then ask him why the doctor knocked him down?--you'll have him on the
"There's something in that," said Frank; "but the question is, what is
Doctor Colligan to do? He says he can't swear any information on which
a magistrate could commit him."
"Unless he does, my lord," said Armstrong, "I don't think you should
listen to him at all; at least, not as a magistrate."
"Well, Doctor Colligan, what do you say?"
"I don't know what to say, my lord. I came to your lordship for advice,
both as a magistrate and as a friend of the young man who is to marry
Lynch's sister. Of course, if you cannot advise me, I will go away
"You won't come before me and Mr Brew, then?"
"I don't say I won't," said Colligan; "but I don't see the use. I'm not
able to prove anything."
"I'll tell you what, Ballindine," said the parson; "only I don't know
whether it mayn't be tampering with justice--suppose we were to go to
this hell-hound, you and I together, and, telling him what we know,
give him his option to stand his trial or quit the country? Take my
word for it, he'd go; and that would be the best way to be rid of him.
He'd leave his sister in peace and quiet then, to enjoy her fortune."
"That's true," said Frank; "and it would be a great thing to rid the
country of him. Do you remember the way he rode a-top of that poor
bitch of mine the other day--Goneaway, you know; the best bitch in the
"Indeed I do," said the parson; "but for all that, she wasn't the best
bitch in the pack: she hadn't half the nose of Gaylass."
"But, as I was saying, Armstrong, it would be a great thing to rid the
country of Barry Lynch."
"Indeed it would."
"And there'd be nothing then to prevent young Kelly marrying Anty at
"Make him give his consent in writing before you let him go," said
"I'll tell you what, Doctor Colligan," said Frank; "do you get into
your own gig, and follow us on, and I'll talk the matter over with Mr
The doctor again returned to his buggy, and the parson to his own seat,
and Lord Ballindine drove off at a pace which made it difficult enough
for Doctor Colligan to keep him in sight.
"I don't know how far we can trust that apothecary," said Frank to his
"He's an honest man, I believe," said Armstrong, "though he's a dirty,
"Maybe he was drunk this evening, at Lynch's?"
"I was wrong to call him a drunkard. I believe he doesn't get drunk,
though he's always drinking. But you may take my word for it, what he's
telling you now is as true as gospel. If he was telling a lie from
malice, he'd be louder, and more urgent about it: you see he's half
afraid to speak, as it is. He would not have come near you at all, only
his conscience makes him afraid to keep the matter to himself. You may
take my word for it, Ballindine, Barry Lynch did propose to him to
murder his sister. Indeed, it doesn't surprise me. He is so utterly
"But murder, Armstrong! downright murder; of the worst kind;
studied--premeditated. He must have been thinking of it, and planning
it, for days. A man may be worthless, and yet not such a wretch as that
would make him. Can you really think he meant Colligan to murder his
"I can, and do think so," said the parson. "The temptation was great:
he had been waiting for his sister's death; and he could not bring
himself to bear disappointment. I do not think he could do it with his
own hand, for he is a coward; but I can quite believe that he could
instigate another person to do it."
"Then I'd hang him. I wouldn't raise my hand to save him from the
"Nor would I: but we can't hang him. We can do nothing to him, if he
defies us; but, if he's well handled, we can drive him from the
The lord and the parson talked the matter over till they reached
Dunmore, and agreed that they would go, with Colligan, to Barry Lynch;
tell him of the charge which was brought against him, and give him
his option of standing his trial, or of leaving the country, under a
written promise that he would never return to it. In this case, he was
also to write a note to Anty, signifying his consent that she should
marry Martin Kelly, and also execute some deed by which all control
over the property should be taken out of his own hands; and that he
should agree to receive his income, whatever it might be, through the
hands of an agent.
There were sundry matters connected with the subject, which were rather
difficult of arrangement. In the, first place, Frank was obliged, very
unwillingly, to consent that Mr Armstrong should remain, at any rate
one day longer, in the country. It was, however, at last settled that
he should return that night and sleep at Kelly's Court. Then Lord
Ballindine insisted that they should tell young Kelly what they were
about, before they went to Barry's house, as it would be necessary to
consult him as to the disposition he would wish to have made of the
property. Armstrong was strongly against this measure,--but it was, at
last, decided on; and then they had to induce Colligan to go with them.
He much wished them to manage the business without him. He had had
quite enough of Dunmore House; and, in spite of the valiant manner in
which he had knocked its owner down the last time he was there, seemed
now quite afraid to face him. But Mr Armstrong informed him that he
must go on now, as he had said so much, and at last frightened him into
an unwilling compliance.
The three of them went up into the little parlour of the inn, and
summoned Martin to the conference, and various were the conjectures
made by the family as to the nature of the business which brought three
such persons to the inn together. But the widow settled them all by
asserting that "a Kelly needn't be afeared, thank God, to see his own
landlord in his own house, nor though he brought an attorney wid him as
well as a parson and a docther." And so, Martin was sent for, and soon
heard the horrid story. Not long after he had joined them, the four
sallied out together, and Meg remarked that something very bad was
going to happen, for the lord never passed her before without a kind
word or a nod; and now he took no more notice of her than if it had
been only Sally herself that met him on the stairs.
XXXV. MR LYNCH BIDS FAREWELL TO DUNMORE
Poor Martin was dreadfully shocked; and not only shocked, but
grieved and astonished. He had never thought well of his intended
brother-in-law, but he had not judged him so severely as Mr Armstrong
had done. He listened to all Lord Ballindine said to him, and agreed as
to the propriety of the measures he proposed. But there was nothing of
elation about him at the downfall of the man whom he could not but look
on as his enemy: indeed, he was not only subdued and modest in his
demeanour, but he appeared so reserved that he could hardly be got to
express any interest in the steps which were to be taken respecting the
property. It was only when Lord Ballindine pointed out to him that it
was his duty to guard Anty's interests, that he would consent to go to
Dunmore House with them, and to state, when called upon to do so, what
measures he would wish to have adopted with regard to the property.
"Suppose he denies himself to us?" said Frank, as the four walked
across the street together, to the great astonishment of the whole
"If he's in the house, I'll go bail we won't go away without seeing
him," said the parson. "Will he be at home, Kelly, do you think?"
"Indeed he will, Mr Armstrong," said Martin; "he'll be in bed and
asleep. He's never out of bed, I believe, much before one or two in the
day. It's a bad life he's leading since the ould man died."
"You may say that," said the doctor:--"cursing and drinking; drinking
and cursing; nothing else. You'll find him curse at you dreadful, Mr
Armstrong, I'm afraid."
"I can bear that, doctor; it's part of my own trade, you know; but I
think we'll find him quiet enough. I think you'll find the difficulty
is to make him speak at all. You'd better be spokesman, my lord, as
you're a magistrate."
"No, Armstrong, I will not. You're much more able, and more fitting: if
it's necessary for me to act as a magistrate, I'll do so--but at first
we'll leave him to you."
"Very well," said the parson; "and I'll do my best. But I'll tell you
what I am afraid of: if we find him in bed we must wait for him, and
when the servant tells him who we are, and mentions the doctor's name
along with yours, my lord, he'll guess what we're come about, and
he'll be out of the window, or into the cellar, and then there'd be
no catching him without the police. We must make our way up into his
"I don't think we could well do that," said the doctor.
"No, Armstrong," said Lord Ballindine. "I don't think we ought to force
ourselves upstairs: we might as well tell all the servants what we'd
"And so we must," said Armstrong, "if it's necessary. The more
determined we are--in fact, the rougher we are with him, the more
likely we are to bring him on his knees. I tell you, you must have no
scruples in dealing with such a fellow; but leave him to me;" and so
saying, the parson gave a thundering rap at the hail door, and in about
one minute repeated it, which brought Biddy running to the door without
shoes or stockings, with her hair streaming behind her head, and, in
her hand, the comb with which she had been disentangling it.
"Is your master at home?" said Armstrong.
"Begorra, he is," said the girl out of breath. "That is, he's not up
yet, nor awake, yer honer," and she held the door in her hand, as
though this answer was final.
"But I want to see him on especial and immediate business," said the
parson, pushing back the door and the girl together, and walking into
the hall. "I must see him at once. Mr Lynch will excuse me: we've known
each other a long time."
"Begorra, I don't know," said the girl, "only he's in bed and fast.
Couldn't yer honer call agin about four or five o'clock? That's the
time the masther's most fittest to be talking to the likes of yer
"These gentlemen could not wait," said the parson.
"Shure the docther there, and Mr Martin, knows well enough I'm not
telling you a bit of a lie, Misther Armstrong," said the girl.
"I know you're not, my good girl; I know you're not telling a
lie;--but, nevertheless, I must see Mr Lynch. Just step up and wake
him, and tell him I'm waiting to say two words to him."
"Faix, yer honer, he's very bitther intirely, when he's waked this
early. But in course I'll be led by yer honers. I'll say then, that the
lord, and Parson Armstrong, and the docther, and Mr Martin, is waiting
to spake two words to him. Is that it?"
"That'll do as well as anything," said Armstrong; and then, when the
girl went upstairs, he continued, "You see she knew us all, and of
course will tell him who we are; but I'll not let him escape, for I'll
go up with her," and, as the girl slowly opened her master's bed-room
door, Mr Armstrong stood close outside it in the passage.
After considerable efforts, Biddy succeeded in awaking her master
sufficiently to make him understand that Lord Ballindine, and Doctor
Colligan were downstairs, and that Parson Armstrong was just outside
the bed-room door. The poor girl tried hard to communicate her tidings
in such a whisper as would be inaudible to the parson; but this was
impossible, for Barry only swore at her, and asked her "what the
d---- she meant by jabbering there in that manner?" When, however, he
did comprehend who his visitors were, and where they were, he gnashed
his teeth and clenched his fist at the poor girl, in sign of his anger
against her for having admitted so unwelcome a party; but he was too
frightened to speak.
Mr Armstrong soon put an end to this dumb show, by walking into the
bed-room, when the girl escaped, and he shut the door. Barry sat up in
his bed, rubbed his eyes, and stared at him, but he said nothing.
"Mr Lynch," said the parson, "I had better at once explain the
circumstances which have induced me to make so very strange a visit."
"Confounded strange, I must say! to come up to a man's room in this
way, and him in bed!"
"Doctor Colligan is downstairs--"
"D---- Doctor Colligan! He's at his lies again, I suppose? Much I care
for Doctor Colligan."
"Doctor Colligan is downstairs," continued Mr Armstrong, "and Lord
Ballindine, who, you are aware, is a magistrate. They wish to speak to
you, Mr Lynch, and that at once."
"I suppose they can wait till a man's dressed?"
"That depends on how long you're dressing, Mr Lynch."
"Upon my word, this is cool enough, in a man's own house!" said Barry.
"Well, you don't expect me to get up while you're there, I suppose?"
"Indeed I do, Mr Lynch: never mind me; just wash and dress yourself as
though I wasn't here. I'll wait here till we go down together."
"I'm d----d if I do," said Barry. "I'll not stir while you remain
there!" and he threw himself back in the bed, and wrapped the
bedclothes round him.
"Very well," said Mr Armstrong; and then going out on to the
landing-place, called out over the banisters--"Doctor--Doctor Colligan!
tell his lordship Mr Lynch objects to a private interview: he had
better just step down to the Court-house, and issue his warrant. You
might as well tell Constable Nelligan to be in the way."
"D----n!" exclaimed Barry, sitting bolt upright in his bed. "Who says I
object to see anybody? Mr Armstrong, what do you go and say that for?"
Mr Armstrong returned into the room. "It's not true. I only want to
have my bed-room to myself, while I get up."
"For once in the way, Mr Lynch, you must manage to get up although your
privacy be intruded on. To tell you the plain truth, I will not leave
you till you come downstairs with me, unless it be in the custody of a
policeman. If you will quietly dress and come downstairs with me, I
trust we may be saved the necessity of troubling the police at all."
Barry, at last, gave way, and, gradually extricating himself from the
bedclothes, put his feet down on the floor, and remained sitting on
the side of his bed. He leaned his head down on his hands, and groaned
inwardly; for he was very sick, and the fumes of last night's punch
still disturbed his brain. His stockings and drawers were on; for
Terry, when he put him to bed, considered it only waste of time to pull
them off, for "shure wouldn't they have jist to go on agin the next
"Don't be particular, Mr Lynch: never mind washing or shaving till
we're gone. We won't keep you long, I hope."
"You're very kind, I must say," said Barry. "I suppose you won't object
to my having a bottle of soda water?"--and he gave a terrible tug at
"Not at all--nor a glass of brandy in it, if you like it. Indeed, Mr
Lynch, I think that, just at present, it will be the better thing for
Barry got his bottle of soda water, and swallowed about two glasses of
whiskey in it, for brandy was beginning to be scarce with him; and then
commenced his toilet. He took Parson Armstrong's hint, and wasn't very
particular about it. He huddled on his clothes, smoothed his hair with
his brush, and muttering something about it's being their own fault,
descended into the parlour, followed by Mr Armstrong. He made a kind of
bow to Lord Ballindine; took no notice of Martin, but, turning round
sharp on the doctor, said:
"Of all the false ruffians, I ever met, Colligan--by heavens, you're
the worst! There's one comfort, no man in Dunmore will believe a word
you say." He then threw himself back into the easy chair, and said,
"Well, gentlemen--well, my lord--here I am. You can't say I'm ashamed
to show my face, though I must say your visit is not made in the
"Mr Lynch," said the parson, "do you remember the night Doctor Colligan
knocked you down in this room? In this room, wasn't it, doctor?"
"Yes; in this room," said the doctor, rather _sotto voce_.
"Do you remember the circumstance, Mr Lynch?"
"It's a lie!" said Barry.
"No it's not," said the parson. "If you forget it, I can call in the
servant to remember so much as that for me; but you'll find it better,
Mr Lynch, to let us finish this business among ourselves. Come, think
about it. I'm sure you remember being knocked down by the doctor."
"I remember a scrimmage there was between us. I don't care what the
girl says, she didn't see it. Colligan, I suppose, has given her
half-a-crown, and she'd swear anything for that."
"Well, you remember the night of the scrimmage?"
"I do: Colligan got drunk here one night. He wanted me to give him a
farm, and said cursed queer things about my sister. I hardly know what
he said; but I know I had to turn him out of the house, and there was a
scrimmage between us."
"I see you're so far prepared, Mr Lynch: now, I'll tell you my version
of the story.--Martin Kelly, just see that the door is shut. You
endeavoured to bribe Doctor Colligan to murder your own sister."
"It's a most infernal lie!" said Barry. "Where's your
evidence?--where's your evidence? What's the good of your all coming
here with such a story as that? Where's your evidence?"
"You'd better be quiet, Mr Lynch, or we'll adjourn at once from here to
the open Court-house."
"Adjourn when you like; it's all one to me. Who'll believe such a
drunken ruffian as that Colligan, I'd like to know? Such a story as
"My lord," said Armstrong, "I'm afraid we must go on with this business
at the Court-house. Martin, I believe I must trouble you to go down to
the police barrack." And the whole party, except Barry, rose from their
"What the devil are you going to drag me down to the Court-house for,
gentlemen?" said he. "I'll give you any satisfaction, but you can't
expect I'll own to such a lie as this about my sister. I suppose my
word's as good as Colligan's, gentlemen? I suppose my character as a
Protestant gentleman stands higher than his--a dirty Papist apothecary.
He tells one story; I tell another; only he's got the first word of me,
that's all. I suppose, gentlemen, I'm not to be condemned on the word
of such a man as that?"
"I think, Mr Lynch," said Armstrong, "if you'll listen to me, you'll
save yourself and us a great deal of trouble. You asked me who my
witness was: my witness is in this house. I would not charge you with
so horrid, so damnable a crime, had I not thoroughly convinced myself
you were guilty--now, do hold your tongue, Mr Lynch, or I will have you
down to the Court-house. We all know you are guilty, you know it
"I'm--" began Barry.
"Stop, Mr Lynch; not one word till I've done; or what I have to say,
shall be said in public. We all know you are guilty, but we probably
mayn't be able to prove it--"
"No, I should think not!" shouted Barry.
"We mayn't be able to prove it in such a way as to enable a jury to
hang you, or, upon my word, I wouldn't interfere to prevent it: the law
should have its course. I'd hang you with as little respite as I would
Barry grinned horribly at this suggestion, but said nothing, and the
"It is not the want of evidence that stands in the way of so desirable
a proceeding, but that Doctor Colligan, thoroughly disgusted and
shocked at the iniquity of your proposal--"
"Oh, go on, Mr Armstrong!--go on; I see you are determined to have it
all your own way, but my turn'll come soon."
"I say that Doctor Colligan interrupted you before you fully committed
"Fully committed myself, indeed! Why, Colligan knows well enough, that
when he got up in such a fluster, there'd not been a word at all said
"Hadn't there, Mr Lynch?--just now you said you turned the doctor out
of your house for speaking about your sister. You're only committing
yourself. I say, therefore, the evidence, though quite strong enough
to put you into the dock as a murderer in intention, might not be
sufficient to induce a jury to find you guilty. But guilty you would
be esteemed in the mind of every man, woman, and child in this county:
guilty of the wilful, deliberate murder of your own sister."
"By heavens I'll not stand this!" exclaimed Barry.--"I'll not stand
this! I didn't do it, Mr Armstrong. I didn't do it. He's a liar, Lord
Ballindine: upon my sacred word and honour as a gentleman, he's a
liar. Why do you believe him, when you won't believe me? Ain't I a
Protestant, Mr Armstrong, and ain't you a Protestant clergyman? Don't
you know that such men as he will tell any lie; will do any dirty job?
On my sacred word of honour as a gentleman, Lord Ballindine, he offered
to poison Anty, on condition he got the farm round the house for
nothing!--He knows it's true, and why should you believe him sooner
than me, Mr Armstrong?"
Barry had got up from his seat, and was walking up and down the room,
now standing opposite Lord Ballindine, and appealing to him, and then
doing the same thing to Mr Armstrong. He was a horrid figure: he had no
collar round his neck, and his handkerchief was put on in such a way
as to look like a hangman's knot: his face was blotched, and red, and
greasy, for he had neither shaved nor washed himself since his last
night's debauch; he had neither waistcoat nor braces on, and his
trousers fell on his hips; his long hair hung over his eyes, which were
bleared and bloodshot; he was suffering dreadfully from terror, and an
intense anxiety to shift the guilt from himself to Doctor Colligan. He
was a most pitiable object--so wretched, so unmanned, so low in the
scale of creation. Lord Ballindine did pity his misery, and suggested
to Mr Armstrong whether by any possibility there could be any mistake
in the matter--whether it was possible Doctor Colligan could have
mistaken Lynch's object?--The poor wretch jumped at this loop-hole, and
doubly condemned himself by doing so.
"He did, then," said Barry; "he must have done so. As I hope for
heaven, Lord Ballindine, I never had the idea of getting him to--to
do anything to Anty. I wouldn't have done it for worlds--indeed I
wouldn't. There must be some mistake, indeed there must. He'd been
drinking, Mr Armstrong--drinking a good deal that night--isn't that
true, Doctor Colligan? Come, man, speak the truth--don't go and try and
hang a fellow out of mistake! His lordship sees it's all a mistake, and
of course he's the best able to judge of the lot here; a magistrate,
and a nobleman and all. I know you won't see me wronged, Lord
Ballindine, I know you won't. I give you my sacred word of honour as a
gentleman, it all came from mistake when we were both drunk, or nearly
drunk. Come, Doctor Colligan, speak man--isn't that the truth? I tell
you, Mr Armstrong, Lord Ballindine's in the right of it. There is some
mistake in all this."
"As sure as the Lord's in heaven," said the doctor, now becoming a
little uneasy at the idea that Lord Ballindine should think he had told
so strange a story without proper foundation--"as sure as the Lord's in
heaven, he offered me the farm for a reward, should I manage to prevent
his sister's recovery."
"What do you think, Mr Armstrong?" said Lord Ballindine.
"Think!" said the parson--"There's no possibility of thinking at all.
The truth becomes clearer every moment. Why, you wretched creature,
it's not ten minutes since you yourself accused Doctor Colligan
of offering to murder your sister! According to your own showing,
therefore, there was a deliberate conversation between you; and your
own evasion now would prove which of you were the murderer, were any
additional proof wanted. But it is not. Barry Lynch, as sure as you now
stand in the presence of your Creator, whose name you so constantly
blaspheme, you endeavoured to instigate that man to murder your own
"Oh, Lord Ballindine!--oh, Lord Ballindine!" shrieked Barry, in his
agony, "don't desert me! pray, pray don't desert me! I didn't do it--I
never thought of doing it. We were at school together, weren't we?--And
you won't see me put upon this way. You mayn't think much of me in
other things, but you won't believe that a school-fellow of your own
ever--ever--ever--" Barry couldn't bring himself to use the words with
which his sentence should be finished, and so he flung himself back
into his armchair and burst into tears.
"You appeal to me, Mr Lynch," said Lord Ballindine, "and I must say
I most firmly believe you to be guilty. My only doubt is whether you
should not at once be committed for trial at the next assizes."
"Oh, my G----!" exclaimed Barry, and for some time he continued
blaspheming most horribly--swearing that there was a conspiracy against
him--accusing Mr Armstrong, in the most bitter terms, of joining with
Doctor Colligan and Martin Kelly to rob and murder him.
"Now, Mr Lynch," continued the parson, as soon as the unfortunate man
would listen to him, "as I before told you, I am in doubt--we are all
in doubt--whether or not a jury would hang you; and we think that we
shall do more good to the community by getting you out of the way,
than by letting you loose again after a trial which will only serve to
let everyone know how great a wretch there is in the county. We will,
therefore, give you your option either to stand your trial, or to leave
the country at once--and for ever."
"And my property?--what's to become of my property?" said Barry.
"Your property's safe, Mr Lynch; we can't touch that. We're not
prescribing any punishment to you. We fear, indeed we know, you're
beyond the reach of the law, or we shouldn't make the proposal." Barry
breathed freely again as he heard this avowal. "But you're not beyond
the reach of public opinion--of public execration--of general hatred,
and of a general curse. For your sister's sake--for the sake of Martin
Kelly, who is going to marry the sister whom you wished to murder,
and not for your own sake, you shall be allowed to leave the country
without this public brand being put upon your name. If you remain, no
one shall speak to you but as to a man who would have murdered his
sister: murder shall be everlastingly muttered in your ears; nor will
your going then avail you, for your character shall go with you, and
the very blackguards with whom you delight to assort, shall avoid
you as being too bad even for their society. Go now, Mr Lynch--go at
once;--leave your sister to happiness which you cannot prevent; and she
at least shall know nothing of your iniquity, and you shall enjoy the
proceeds of your property anywhere you will--anywhere, that is, but in
Ireland. Do you agree to this?"
"I'm an innocent man, Mr Armstrong. I am indeed."
"Very well," said the parson, "then we may as well go away, and leave
you to your fate. Come, Lord Ballindine, we can have nothing further to
say," and they again all rose from their seats.
"Stop, Mr Armstrong; stop," said Barry.
"Well," said the parson; for Barry repressed the words which were in
his mouth, when he found that his visitors did stop as he desired them.
"Well, Mr Lynch, what have you further to say."
"Indeed I am not guilty." Mr Armstrong put on his hat and rushed to the
door--"but--" continued Barry.
"I will have no 'buts,' Mr Lynch; will you at once and unconditionally
agree to the terms I have proposed?"
"I don't want to live in the country," said Barry; "the country's
nothing to me."
"You will go then, immediately?" said the parson.
"As soon as I have arranged about the property, I will," said Barry.
"That won't do," said the parson. "You must go at once, and leave your
property to the care of others. You must leave Dunmore _to-day_, for
"To-day!" shouted Barry.
"Yes, to-day. You can easily get as far as Roscommon. You have your
own horse and car. And, what is more, before you go, you must write to
your sister, telling her that you have made up your mind to leave the
country, and expressing your consent to her marrying whom she pleases."
"I can't go to-day," said Barry, sulkily. "Who's to receive my rents?
who'll send me my money?--besides--besides. Oh, come--that's nonsense.
I ain't going to be turned out in that style."
"You ain't in earnest, are you, about his going to-day?" whispered
Frank to the parson.
"I am, and you'll find he'll go, too," said Armstrong. "It must be
to-day--this very day, Mr Lynch. Martin Kelly will manage for you about
"Or you can send for Mr Daly, to meet you at Roscommon," suggested
"Thank you for nothing," said Barry; "you'd better wait till you're
spoken to. I don't know what business you have here at all."
"The business that all honest men have to look after all rogues," said
Mr Armstrong. "Come, Mr Lynch, you'd better make up your mind to
prepare for your journey."
"Well, I won't--and there's an end of it," said Barry. "It's all
nonsense. You can't do anything to me: you said so yourself. I'm not
going to be made a fool of that way--I'm not going to give up my
property and everything."
"Don't you know, Mr Lynch," said the parson, "that if you are kept in
jail till April next, as will be your fate if you persist in staying
at Dunmore tonight, your creditors will do much more damage to your
property, than your own immediate absence will do? If Mr Daly is your
lawyer, send for him, as Martin Kelly suggests. I'm not afraid that he
will recommend you to remain in the country, even should you dare to
tell him of the horrid accusation which is brought against you. But at
any rate make up your mind, for if you do stay in Dunmore tonight it
shall be in the Bridewell, and your next move shall be to Galway."
Barry sat silent for a while, trying to think. The parson was like an
incubus upon him, which he was totally unable to shake off. He knew
neither how to resist nor how to give way. Misty ideas got into his
head of escaping to his bed-room and blowing his own brains out.
Different schemes of retaliation and revenge flitted before him, but
he could decide on nothing. There he sat, silent, stupidly gazing at
nothing, while Lord Ballindine and Mr Armstrong stood whispering over
"I'm afraid we're in the wrong: I really think we are," said Frank.
"We must go through with it now, any way," said the parson. "Come, Mr
Lynch, I will give you five minutes more, and then I go;" and he pulled
out his watch, and stood with his back to the fire, looking at it. Lord
Ballindine walked to the window, and Martin Kelly and Doctor Colligan
sat in distant parts of the room, with long faces, silent and solemn,
breathing heavily. How long those five minutes appeared to them, and
how short to Barry! The time was not long enough to enable him to come
to any decision: at the end of the five minutes he was still gazing
vacantly before him: he was still turning over in his brain, one after
another, the same crowd of undigested schemes.
"The time is out, Mr Lynch: will you go?" said the parson.
"I've no money," hoarsely croaked Barry.
"If that's the only difficulty, we'll raise money for him," said Frank.
"I'll advance him money," said Martin.
"Do you mean you've no money at all?" said the parson.
"Don't you hear me say so?" said Barry.
"And you'll go if you get money--say ten pounds?" said the parson.
"Ten pounds! I can go nowhere with ten pounds. You know that well
"I'll give him twenty-five," said Martin. "I'm sure his sister'll do
that for him."
"Say fifty," said Barry, "and I'm off at once."
"I haven't got it," said Martin.
"No," said the parson; "I'll not see you bribed to go: take the
twenty-five--that will last you till you make arrangements about your
property. We are not going to pay you for going, Mr Lynch."
"You seem very anxious about it, any way."
"I am anxious about it," rejoined the parson. "I am anxious to save
your sister from knowing what it was that her brother wished to
Barry scowled at him as though he would like, if possible, to try his
hand at murdering him; but he did not answer him again. Arrangements
were at last made for Barry's departure, and off he went, that very
day--not to Roscommon, but to Tuam; and there, at the instigation of
Martin, Daly the attorney took upon himself the division and temporary
management of the property. From thence, with Martin's, or rather with
his sister's twenty-five pounds in his pocket, he started to that
Elysium for which he had for some time so ardently longed, and soon
landed at Boulogne, regardless alike of his sister, his future brother,
Lord Ballindine, or Mr Armstrong. The parson had found it quite
impossible to carry out one point on which he had insisted. He could
not induce Barry Lynch to write to his sister: no, not a line; not a
word. Had it been to save him from hanging he could hardly have induced
himself to write those common words, "_dear sister_".
"Oh! you can tell her what you like," said he. "It's you're making me
go away at once in this manner. Tell her whatever confounded lies you
like; tell her I'm gone because I didn't choose to stay and see her
make a fool of herself--and that's the truth, too. If it wasn't for
that I wouldn't move a step for any of you."
He went, however, as I have before said, and troubled the people of
Dunmore no longer, nor shall he again trouble us.
"Oh! but Martin, what nonsense!" said the widow, coaxingly to her son,
that night before she went to bed. "The lord wouldn't be going up there
just to wish him good bye--and Parson Armstrong too. What the dickens
could they be at there so long? Come, Martin--you're safe with me, you
know; tell us something about it now."
"Nonsense, mother; I've nothing to tell: Barry Lynch has left the place
for good and all, that's all about it."
"God bless the back of him, thin; he'd my lave for going long since.
But you might be telling us what made him be starting this way all of a
"Don't you know, mother, he was head and ears in debt?"
"Don't tell me," said the widow. "Parson Armstrong's not a sheriff's
officer, that he should be looking after folks in debt."
"No, mother, he's not, that I know of; but he don't like, for all that,
to see his tithes walking out of the country."
"Don't be coming over me that way, Martin. Barry Lynch, nor his father
before him, never held any land in Ballindine parish."
"Didn't they--well thin, you know more than I, mother, so it's no use
my telling you," and Martin walked off to bed.
"I'll even you, yet, my lad," said she, "close as you are; you see
else. Wait awhile, till the money's wanting, and then let's see who'll
know all about it!" And the widow slapped herself powerfully on that
part where her pocket depended, in sign of the great confidence she had
in the strength of her purse.
"Did I manage that well?" said the parson, as Lord Ballindine drove him
home to Kelly's Court, as soon as the long interview was over. "If I
can do as well at Grey Abbey, you'll employ me again, I think!"
"Upon my word, then, Armstrong," said Frank, "I never was in such hot
water as I have been all this day: and, now it's over, to tell you the
truth, I'm sorry we interfered. We did what we had no possible right to
"Nonsense, man. You don't suppose I'd have dreamed of letting him off,
if the law could have touched him? But it couldn't. No magistrates in
the county could have committed him; for he had done, and, as far as
I can judge, had said, literally nothing. It's true we know what he
intended; but a score of magistrates could have done nothing with him:
as it is, we've got him out of the country: he'll never come back
"What I mean is, we had no business to drive him out of the country
"Oh, Ballindine, that's nonsense. One can keep no common terms with
such a blackguard as that. However, it's done now; and I must say I
think it was well done."
"There's no doubt of your talent in the matter, Armstrong: upon my soul
I never saw anything so cool. What a wretch--what an absolute fiend the
"Bad enough," said the parson. "I've seen bad men before, but I think
he's the worst I ever saw. What'll Mrs O'Kelly say of my coming in this
way, without notice?"
The parson enjoyed his claret at Kelly's Court that evening, after his
hard day's work, and the next morning he started for Grey Abbey.
XXXVI. MR ARMSTRONG VISITS GREY ABBEY ON A DELICATE MISSION
Lord Cashel certainly felt a considerable degree of relief when his
daughter told him that Lord Kilcullen had left the house, and was on
his way to Dublin, though he had been forced to pay so dearly for the
satisfaction, had had to falsify his solemn assurance that he would
not give his son another penny, and to break through his resolution of
acting the Roman father . He consoled himself with the idea that he had
been actuated by affection for his profligate son; but such had not
been the case. Could he have handed him over to the sheriff's officer
silently and secretly, he would have done so; but his pride could not
endure the reflection that all the world should know that bailiffs had
forced an entry into Grey Abbey.
[FOOTNOTE 50: Roman father--Lucius Junius Brutus, legendary
founder of the Roman republic, was said to have
passed sentence of death on his two sons for
participating in a rebellion.]
He closely questioned Lady Selina, with regard to all that had passed
between her and her brother.
"Did he say anything?" at last he said--"did he say anything
"Not much, papa; but what he did say, he said with kindness and
affection," replied her ladyship, glad to repeat anything in favour of
"Affection--pooh!" said the earl. "He has no affection; no affection
for any one; he has no affection even for me.--What did he say about
"He seemed to wish she should marry Lord Ballindine."
"She may marry whom she pleases, now," said the earl. "I wash my hands
of her. I have done my best to prevent what I thought a disgraceful
match for her--"
"It would not have been disgraceful, papa, had she married him six
"A gambler and a _roue_!" said the earl, forgetting, it is to be
supposed, for the moment, his own son's character. "She'll marry him
now, I suppose, and repent at her leisure. I'll give myself no further
trouble about it."
The earl thought upon the subject, however, a good deal; and before Mr
Armstrong's arrival he had all but made up his mind that he must again
swallow his word, and ask his ward's lover back to his house. He had at
any rate become assured that if he did not do so, some one else would
do it for him.
Mr Armstrong was, happily, possessed of a considerable stock of
self-confidence, and during his first day's journey, felt no want of it
with regard to the delicate mission with which he was entrusted. But
when he had deposited his carpet-bag at the little hotel at Kilcullen
bridge, and found himself seated on a hack car, and proceeding to Grey
Abbey, he began to feel that he had rather a difficult part to play;
and by the time that the house was in sight, he felt himself completely
puzzled as to the manner in which he should open his negotiation.
He had, however, desired the man to drive to the house, and he could
not well stop the car in the middle of the demesne, to mature his
plans; and when he was at the door he could not stay there without
applying for admission. So he got his card-case in his hand, and rang
the bell. After a due interval, which to the parson did not seem a bit
too long, the heavy-looking, powdered footman appeared, and announced
that Lord Cashel was at home; and, in another minute Mr Armstrong found
himself in the book-room.
It was the morning after Lord Kilcullen's departure, and Lord Cashel
was still anything but comfortable. Her ladyship had been bothering him
about the poor boy, as she called her son, now that she learned he was
in distress; and had been beseeching him to increase his allowance.
The earl had not told his wife the extent of their son's pecuniary
delinquencies, and consequently she was greatly dismayed when her
husband very solemnly said,
"My lady, Lord Kilcullen has no longer any allowance from me."
"Good gracious!" screamed her ladyship; "no allowance?--how is the poor
boy to live?"
"That I really cannot tell. I cannot even guess; but, let him live how
he may, I will not absolutely ruin myself for his sake."
The interview was not a comfortable one, either to the father or
mother. Lady Cashel cried a great deal, and was very strongly of
opinion that her son would die of cold and starvation: "How could
he get shelter or food, any more than a common person, if he had no
allowance? Mightn't he, at any rate, come back, and live at Grey
Abbey?--That wouldn't cost his father anything." And then the countess
remembered how she had praised her son to Mrs Ellison, and the bishop's
wife; and she cried worse than ever, and was obliged to be left to
Griffiths and her drops.
This happened on the evening of Lord Kilcullen's departure, and on the
next morning her ladyship did not appear at breakfast. She was weak
and nervous, and had her tea in her own sitting-room. There was no one
sitting at breakfast but the earl, Fanny, and Lady Selina, and they
were all alike, stiff, cold, and silent. The earl felt as if he were
not at home even in his own breakfast-parlour; he felt afraid of his
ward, as though he were conscious that she knew how he had intended
to injure her: and, as soon as he had swallowed his eggs, he muttered
something which was inaudible to both the girls, and retreated to his
He had not been there long before the servant brought in our friend's
name. "The Rev. George Armstrong", written on a plain card. The parson
had not put the name of his parish, fearing that the earl, knowing
from whence he came, might guess his business, and decline seeing him.
As it was, no difficulty was made, and the parson soon found himself
_tete-a-tete_ with the earl.
"I have taken the liberty of calling on you, Lord Cashel," said Mr
Armstrong, having accepted the offer of a chair, "on a rather delicate
The earl bowed, and rubbed his hands, and felt more comfortable than he
had done for the last week. He liked delicate missions coming to him,
for he flattered himself that he knew how to receive them in a delicate
manner; he liked, also, displaying his dignity to strangers, for he
felt that strangers stood rather in awe of him: he also felt, though he
did not own it to himself, that his manner was not so effective with
people who had known him some time.
"I may say, a very delicate mission," said the parson; "and one I would
not have undertaken had I not known your lordship's character for
candour and honesty."
Lord Cashel again bowed and rubbed his hands.
"I am, my lord, a friend of Lord Ballindine; and as such I have taken
the liberty of calling on your lordship."
"A friend of Lord Ballindine?" said the earl, arching his eyebrows, and
assuming a look of great surprise.
"A very old friend, my lord; the clergyman of his parish, and for many
years an intimate friend of his father. I have known Lord Ballindine
since he was a child."
"Lord Ballindine is lucky in having such a friend: few young men now,
I am sorry to say, care much for their father's friends. Is there
anything, Mr Armstrong, in which I can assist either you or his
"My lord," said the parson, "I need not tell you that before I took the
perhaps unwarrantable liberty of troubling you, I was made acquainted
with Lord Ballindine's engagement with your ward, and with the manner
in which that engagement was broken off."
"And your object is, Mr Armstrong--?"
"My object is to remove, if possible, the unfortunate misunderstanding
between your lordship and my friend."
"Misunderstanding, Mr Armstrong?--There was no misunderstanding between
us. I really think we perfectly understood each other. Lord Ballindine
was engaged to my ward; his engagement, however, being contingent on
his adoption of a certain line of conduct. This line of conduct his
lordship did not adopt; perhaps, he used a wise discretion; however, I
thought not. I thought the mode of life which he pursued--"
"Pardon me a moment, Mr Armstrong, and I shall have said all which
appears to me to be necessary on the occasion; perhaps more than is
necessary; more probably than I should have allowed myself to say, had
not Lord Ballindine sent as his ambassador the clergyman of his parish
and the friend of his father," and Lord Cashel again bowed and rubbed
his hands. "I thought, Mr Armstrong, that your young friend appeared
wedded to a style of life quite incompatible with his income--with
his own income as a single man, and the income which he would have
possessed had he married my ward. I thought that their marriage would
only lead to poverty and distress, and I felt that I was only doing my
duty to my ward in expressing this opinion to her. I found that she
was herself of the same opinion; that she feared a union with Lord
Ballindine would not ensure happiness either to him or to herself. His
habits were too evidently those of extravagance, and hers had not been
such as to render a life of privation anything but a life of misery."
"I had thought--"
"One moment more, Mr Armstrong, and I shall have done. After
mature consideration, Miss Wyndham commissioned me to express her
sentiments,--and I must say they fully coincided with my own,--to Lord
Ballindine, and to explain to him, that she found herself obliged
to--to--to retrace the steps which she had taken in the matter. I did
this in a manner as little painful to Lord Ballindine as I was able.
It is difficult, Mr Armstrong, to make a disagreeable communication
palatable; it is very difficult to persuade a young man who is in love,
to give up the object of his idolatry; but I trust Lord Ballindine
will do me the justice to own that, on the occasion alluded to, I said
nothing unnecessarily harsh--nothing calculated to harass his feelings.
I appreciate and esteem Lord Ballindine's good qualities, and I much
regretted that prudence forbad me to sanction the near alliance he was
anxious to do me the honour of making with me."
Lord Cashel finished his harangue, and felt once more on good terms
with himself. He by no means intended offering any further vehement
resistance to his ward's marriage. He was, indeed, rejoiced to have
an opportunity of giving way decently. But he could not resist the
temptation of explaining his conduct, and making a speech.
"My lord," said the parson, "what you tell me is only a repetition of
what I heard from my young friend."
"I am glad to hear it. I trust, then, I may have the pleasure of
feeling that Lord Ballindine attributes to me no personal unkindness?"
"Not in the least, Lord Cashel; very far from it. Though Lord
Ballindine may not be--may not hitherto have been, free from the
follies of his age, he has had quite sense enough to appreciate your
"I endeavoured, at any rate, that it should be such as to render me
liable to no just imputation of fickleness or cruelty."
"No one would for a moment accuse your lordship of either. It is my
knowledge of your lordship's character in this particular which has
induced me to undertake the task of begging you to reconsider the
subject. Lord Ballindine has, you are aware, sold his race-horses."
"I had heard so, Mr Armstrong; though, perhaps, not on good authority."
"He has; and is now living among his own tenantry and friends at
Kelly's Court. He is passionately, devotedly attached to your ward,
Lord Cashel; and with a young man's vanity he still thinks that she may
not be quite indifferent to him."
"It was at her own instance, Mr Armstrong, that his suit was rejected."
"I am well aware of that, my lord. But ladies, you know, do sometimes
mistake their own feelings. Miss Wyndham must have been attached to my
friend, or she would not have received him as her lover. Will you, my
lord, allow me to see Miss Wyndham? If she still expresses indifference
to Lord Ballindine, I will assure her that she shall be no further
persecuted by his suit. If such be not the case, surely prudence need
not further interfere to prevent a marriage desired by both the persons
most concerned. Lord Ballindine is not now a spendthrift, whatever he
may formerly have been; and Miss Wyndham's princely fortune, though it
alone would never have induced my friend to seek her hand, will make
the match all that it should be. You will not object, my lord, to my
seeing Miss Wyndham?"
"Mr Armstrong--really--you must be aware such a request is rather
"So are the circumstances," replied the parson. "They also are unusual.
I do not doubt Miss Wyndham's wisdom in rejecting Lord Ballindine,
when, as you say, he appeared to be wedded to a life of extravagance.
I have no doubt she put a violent restraint on her own feelings;
exercised, in fact, a self-denial which shows a very high tone of
character, and should elicit nothing but admiration; but circumstances
are much altered."
Lord Cashel continued to raise objections to the parson's request,
though it was, throughout the interview, his intention to accede to it.
At last, he gave up the point, with much grace, and in such a manner
as he thought should entitle him to the eternal gratitude of his ward,
Lord Ballindine, and the parson. He consequently rang the bell, and
desired the servant to give his compliments to Miss Wyndham and tell
her that the Rev. Mr Armstrong wished to see her, alone, upon business
Mr Armstrong felt that his success was much greater than he had had any
reason to expect, from Lord Ballindine's description of his last visit
at Grey Abbey. He had, in fact, overcome the only difficulty. If Miss
Wyndham really disliked his friend, and objected to the marriage, Mr
Armstrong was well aware that he had only to return, and tell his
friend so in the best way he could. If, however, she still had a true
regard for him, if she were the Fanny Wyndham Ballindine had described
her to be, if she had ever really been devoted to him, if she had at
all a wish in her heart to see him again at her feet, the parson felt
that he would have good news to send back to Kelly's Court; and that he
would have done the lovers a service which they never could forget.
"At any rate, Mr Armstrong," said Lord Cashel, as the parson was bowing
himself backwards out of the room, "you will join our family circle
while you are in the neighbourhood. Whatever may be the success of your
mission--and I assure you I hope it may be such as will be gratifying
to you, I am happy to make the acquaintance of any friend of Lord
Ballindine's, when Lord Ballindine chooses his friends so well." (This
was meant as a slap at Dot Blake.) "You will give me leave to send down
to the town for your luggage." Mr Armstrong made no objection to this
proposal, and the luggage was sent for.
The powder-haired servant again took him in tow, and ushered him out of
the book-room, across the hall through the billiard-room, and into the
library; gave him a chair, and then brought him a newspaper, giving him
to understand that Miss Wyndham would soon be with him.
The parson took the paper in his hands, but he did not trouble himself
much with the contents of it. What was he to say to Miss Wyndham?--how
was he to commence? He had never gone love-making for another in his
life; and now, at his advanced age, it really did come rather strange
to him. And then he began to think whether she were short or tall, dark
or fair, stout or slender. It certainly was very odd, but, in all their
conversations on the subject, Lord Ballindine had never given him any
description of his inamorata. Mr Armstrong, however, had not much time
to make up his mind on any of these points, for the door opened, and
Miss Wyndham entered.
She was dressed in black, for she was, of course, still in mourning for
her brother; but, in spite of her sable habiliments, she startled the
parson by the brilliance of her beauty. There was a quiet dignity of
demeanour natural to Fanny Wyndham; a well-balanced pose, and a grace
of motion, which saved her from ever looking awkward or confused. She
never appeared to lose her self-possession. Though never arrogant, she
seemed always to know what was due to herself. No insignificant puppy
could ever have attempted to flirt with her.
When summoned by the servant to meet a strange clergyman alone in the
library, at the request of Lord Cashel, she felt that his visit must
have some reference to her lover; indeed, her thoughts for the last few
days had run on little else. She had made up her mind to talk to her
cousin about him; then, her cousin had matured that determination
by making love to her himself: then, she had talked to him of Lord
Ballindine, and he had promised to talk to his father on the same
subject; and she had since been endeavouring to bring herself to make
one other last appeal to her uncle's feelings. Her mind was therefore,
full of Lord Ballindine, when she walked into the library. But her face
was no tell-tale; her gait and demeanour were as dignified as though
she had no anxious love within her heart--no one grand desire, to
disturb the even current of her blood. She bowed her beautiful head to
Mr Armstrong as she walked into the room, and, sitting down herself,
begged him to take a chair.
The parson had by no means made up his mind as to what he was to say to
the young lady, so he shut his eyes, and rushed at once into the middle
of his subject. "Miss Wyndham," he said, "I have come a long way to
call on you, at the request of a friend of yours--a very dear and old
friend of mine--at the request of Lord Ballindine."
Fanny's countenance became deeply suffused at her lover's name, but the
parson did not observe it; indeed he hardly ventured to look in her
face. She merely said, in a voice which seemed to him to be anything
but promising, "Well, sir?" The truth was, she did not know what to
say. Had she dared, she would have fallen on her knees before her
lover's friend, and sworn to him how well she loved him.
"When Lord Ballindine was last at Grey Abbey, Miss Wyndham, he had not
the honour of an interview with you."
"No, sir," said Fanny. Her voice, look, and manner were still sedate
and courtly; her heart, however, was beating so violently that she
hardly knew what she said.
"Circumstances, I believe, prevented it," said the parson. "My
friend, however, received, through Lord Cashel, a message from you,
which--which--which has been very fatal to his happiness."
Fanny tried to say something, but she was not able.
"The very decided tone in which your uncle then spoke to him, has made
Lord Ballindine feel that any further visit to Grey Abbey on his own
part would be an intrusion."
"I never--" said Fanny, "I never--"
"You never authorised so harsh a message, you would say. It is not the
harshness of the language, but the certainty of the fact, that has
destroyed my friend's happiness. If such were to be the case--if it
were absolutely necessary that the engagement between you and Lord
Ballindine should be broken off, the more decided the manner in which
it were done, the better. Lord Ballindine now wishes--I am a bad
messenger in such a case as this, Miss Wyndham: it is, perhaps, better
to tell you at once a plain tale. Frank has desired me to tell you that
he loves you well and truly; that he cannot believe you are indifferent
to him; that your vows, to him so precious, are still ringing in his
ears; that he is, as far as his heart is concerned, unchanged; and
he has commissioned me to ascertain from yourself, whether you--have
really changed your mind since he last had the pleasure of seeing
you." The parson waited a moment for an answer, and then added, "Lord
Ballindine by no means wishes to persecute you on the subject; nor
would I do so, if he did wish it. You have only to tell me that you do
not intend to renew your acquaintance with Lord Ballindine, and I will
leave Grey Abbey." Fanny still remained silent. "Say the one word 'go',
Miss Wyndham, and you need not pain yourself by any further speech. I
will at once be gone."
Fanny strove hard to keep her composure, and to make some fitting reply
to Mr Armstrong, but she was unable. Her heart was too full; she was
too happy. She had, openly, and in spite of rebuke, avowed her love to
her uncle, her aunt, to Lady Selina, and her cousin. But she could not
bring herself to confess it to Mr Armstrong. At last she said:
"I am much obliged to you for your kindness, Mr Armstrong. Perhaps I
owe it to Lord Ballindine to--to . . . I will ask my uncle, sir, to
write to him."
"I shall write to Lord Ballindine this evening, Miss Wyndham; will you
intrust me with no message? I came from him, to see you, with no other
purpose. I must give him some news: I must tell him I have seen you.
May I tell him not to despair?"
"Tell him--tell him--" said Fanny,--and she paused to make up her mind
as to the words of her message,--"tell him to come himself." And,
hurrying from the room, she left the parson alone, to meditate on the
singular success of his mission. He stood for about half an hour,
thinking over what had occurred, and rejoicing greatly in his mind that
he had undertaken the business. "What fools men are about women!" he
said at last, to himself. "They know their nature so well when they are
thinking and speaking of them with reference to others; but as soon as
a man is in love with one himself, he is cowed! He thinks the nature
of one woman is different from that of all others, and he is afraid to
act on his general knowledge. Well; I might as well write to him! for,
thank God, I can send him good news"--and he rang the bell, and asked
if his bag had come. It had, and was in his bed-room. "Could the
servant get him pen, ink, and paper?" The servant did so; and, within
two hours of his entering the doors of Grey Abbey, he was informing his
friend of the success of his mission.
XXXVII. VENI; VIDI; VICI 
[FOOTNOTE 51: Veni; vidi; vici--(Latin) Julius Caesar's terse
message to the Senate announcing his victory over
King Pharnaces II of Pontus in 47 B.C.: "I came,
I saw, I conquered."]
The two following letters for Lord Ballindine were sent off, in the
Grey Abbey post-bag, on the evening of the day on which Mr Armstrong
had arrived there. They were from Mr Armstrong and Lord Cashel. That
from the former was first opened.
Grey Abbey, April, 1844
You will own I have not lost much time. I left Kelly's Court the day
before yesterday and I am already able to send you good news. I have
seen Lord Cashel, and have found him anything but uncourteous. I
have also seen Miss Wyndham, and though she said but little to me,
that little was just what you would have wished her to say. She
bade me tell you to come yourself. In obedience to her commands, I
do hereby require you to pack yourself up, and proceed forthwith
to Grey Abbey. His lordship has signified to me that it is his
intention, in his own and Lady Cashel's name, to request the renewed
pleasure of an immediate, and, he hopes, a prolonged visit from your
lordship. You will not, my dear Frank, I am sure, be such a fool as
to allow your dislike to such an empty butter-firkin as this earl,
to stand in the way of your love or your fortune. You can't expect
Miss Wyndham to go to you, so pocket your resentment like a sensible
fellow, and accept Lord Cashel's invitation as though there had been
no difference between you.
I have also received an invite, and intend staying here a day or
two. I can't say that, judging from the master of the house, I think
that a prolonged sojourn would be very agreeable. I have, as yet,
seen none of the ladies, except my embryo Lady Ballindine.
I think I have done my business a little in the _veni vidi vici_
style. What has effected the change in Lord Cashel's views, I need
not trouble myself to guess. You will soon learn all about it from
I will not, in a letter, express my admiration, &c., &c., &c. But I
will proclaim in Connaught, on my return, that so worthy a bride was
never yet brought down to the far west. Lord Cashel will, of course,
have some pet bishop or dean to marry you; but, after what has
passed, I shall certainly demand the privilege of christening the
Believe me, dear Frank,
Your affectionate friend,
Lord Cashel's letter was as follows. It cost his lordship three hours
to compose, and was twice copied. I trust, therefore, it is a fair
specimen of what a nobleman ought to write on such an occasion.