The Kellys and the O'Kellys
Part 3 out of 10
all hollow in selfishness, and utter brutal want of feeling, conscience,
X DOT BLAKE'S ADVICE
In hour or two after Martin Kelly had left Porto Bello in the Ballinasloe
fly-boat, our other hero, Lord Ballindine, and his friend Dot Blake,
started from Morrison's hotel, with post horses, for Handicap Lodge; and,
as they travelled in Blake's very comfortable barouche, they reached their
destination in time for a late dinner, without either adventure or
discomfort. Here they remained for some days, fully occupied with the
education of their horses, the attention necessary to the engagements for
which they were to run, and with their betting-books.
Lord Ballindine's horse, Brien Boru, was destined to give the Saxons a
dressing at Epsom, and put no one knows how many thousands into his owner's
hands, by winning the Derby; and arrangements had already been made for
sending him over to John Scott, the English trainer, at an expense, which,
if the horse should by chance fail to be successful, would be of very
serious consequence to his lordship. But Lord Ballindine had made up his
mind, or rather, Blake had made it up for him, and the thing was to be
done; the risk was to be run, and the preparations the sweats and the
gallops, the physicking, feeding, and coddling, kept Frank tolerably well
employed; though the whole process would have gone on quite as well, had he
It was not so, however, with Dot Blake. The turf, to him, was not an
expensive pleasure, but a very serious business, and one which, to give him
his due, he well understood. He himself, regulated the work, both of his
horses and his men, and saw that both did what was allotted to them. He
took very good care that he was never charged a guinea, where a guinea was
not necessary; and that he got a guinea's worth for every guinea he laid
out. In fact, he trained his own horses, and was thus able to assure
himself that his interests were never made subservient to those of others
who kept horses in the same stables. Dot was in his glory, and in his
element on the Curragh, and he was never quite happy anywhere else.
This, however, was not the case with his companion. For a couple of days
the excitement attending Brien Boru was sufficient to fill Lord
Ballindine's mind; but after that, he could not help recurring to other
things. He was much in want of money, and had been civilly told by is
agent's managing clerk, before he left town, that there was some difficulty
in the way of his immediately getting the sum required. This annoyed him,
for he could not carry on the game without money. And then, again, he was
unhappy to be so near Fanny Wyndham, from day to day, without seeing her.
He was truly and earnestly attached to her, and miserable at the threat
which had been all but made by her guardian, that the match should be
It was true that he had made up his mind not to go to Grey Abbey, as long
as he remained at Handicap Lodge, and, having made the resolution, he
thought he was wise in keeping it; but still, he continually felt that she
must be aware that he was in the neighbourhood, and could not but be hurt
at his apparent indifference. And then he knew that her guardian would make
use of his present employment his sojourn at such a den of sporting
characters as his friend Blake's habitation and his continued absence from
Grey Abbey though known to be in its vicinity, as additional arguments for
inducing his ward to declare the engagement at an end.
These troubles annoyed him, and though he daily stood by and saw Brien Boru
go through his manoeuvres, he was discontented and fidgety.
He had been at Handicap Lodge about a fortnight, and was beginning to feel
anything but happy. His horse was to go over in another week, money was not
plentiful with him, and tradesmen were becoming obdurate and persevering.
His host, Blake, was not a soothing or a comfortable friend, under these
circumstances: he gave him a good deal of practical advice, but he could
not sympathise with him. Blake was a sharp, hard, sensible man, who reduced
everything to pounds shillings and pence. Lord Ballindine was a man of
feeling, and for the time, at least, a man of pleasure; and, though they
were, or thought themselves friends, they did not pull well together; in
fact, they bored each other terribly.
One morning, Lord Ballindine was riding out from the training-ground, when
he met, if not an old, at any rate an intimate acquaintance, named Tierney.
Mr or, as he was commonly called, Mat Tierney, was a bachelor, about sixty
years of age, who usually inhabited a lodge near the Curragh; and who kept
a horse or two on the turf, more for the sake of the standing which it gave
him in the society he liked best, than from any intense love of the sport.
He was a fat, jolly fellow, always laughing, and usually in a good humour;
he was very fond of what he considered the world; and the world, at least
that part of it which knew him, returned the compliment.
'Well, my lord,' said he, after a few minutes of got-up enthusiasm
respecting Brien Boru, 'I congratulate you, sincerely.'
'What about?' said Lord Ballindine.
'Why, I find you've got a first-rate horse, and I hear you've got rid of a
first-rate lady. You're very lucky, no doubt, in both; but I think fortune
has stood to you most, in the latter.'
Lord Ballindine was petrified: he did not know what to reply. He was aware
that his engagement with Miss Wyndham was so public that Tierney could
allude to no other lady; but he could not conceive how any one could have
heard that his intended marriage was broken off at any rate how he could
have heard it spoken of so publicly, as to induce him to mention it in that
sort of way, to himself. His first impulse was to be very indignant; but he
felt that no one would dream of quarrelling with Mat Tierney; so he said,
as soon as he was able to collect his thoughts sufficiently,
'I was not aware of the second piece of luck, Mr Tierney. Pray who is the
'Why, Miss Wyndham,' said Mat, himself a little astonished at Lord
'I'm sure, Mr Tierney,' said Frank, 'you would say nothing, particularly in
connection with a lady's name, which you intended either to be impertinent,
or injurious. Were it not that I am quite certain of this, I must own that
what you have just said would appear to be both.'
'My dear lord,' said the other, surprised and grieved, 'I beg ten thousand
pardons, if I have unintentionally said anything, which you feel to be
either. But, surely, if I am not wrong in asking, the match between you and
Miss Wyndham is broken off?'
'May I ask you, Mr Tierney, who told you so?'
'Certainly Lord Kilcullen; and, as he is Miss Wyndham's cousin, and Lord
Cashel's son, I could not but think the report authentic.'
This overset Frank still more thoroughly. Lord Kilcullen would never have
spread the report publicly unless he had been authorised to do so by Lord
Cashel. Frank and Lord Kilcullen had never been intimate; and the former
was aware that the other had always been averse to the proposed marriage;
but still, he would never have openly declared that the marriage was broken
off, had he not had some authority for saying so.
'As you seem somewhat surprised,' continued Mat, seeing that Lord
Ballindine remained silent, and apparently at a loss for what he ought to
say, 'perhaps I ought to tell you, that Lord Kilcullen mentioned it last
night very publicly at a dinner-party, as an absolute fact. Indeed, from
his manner, I thought he wished it to be generally made known. I presumed,
therefore, that it had been mutually agreed between you, that the event was
not to come off that the match was not to be run; and, with my peculiar
views, you know, on the subject of matrimony, I thought it a fair point for
congratulation. If Lord Kilcullen had misled me, I heartily beg to
apologise; and at the same time, by giving you my authority, to show you
that I could not intend anything impertinent. If it suits you, you are
quite at liberty to tell Lord Kilcullen all I have told you; and, if you
wish me to contradict the report, which I must own I have spread, I will do
Frank felt that be could not be angry with Mat Tierney; he therefore
thanked him for his open explanation, and, merely muttering something about
private affairs not being worthy of public interest, rode off towards
It appeared very plain to him that the Grey Abbey family must have
discarded him that Fanny Wyndham, Lord and Lady Cashel, and the whole set,
must have made up their minds to drop him altogether; otherwise, one of the
family would not have openly declared the match at an end. And yet he was
at a loss to conceive how they could have done so how even Lord Cashel
could have reconciled it to himself to do so, without the common-place
courtesy of writing to him on the subject. And then, when he thought of
her, 'his own Fanny,' as he had so often called her, he was still more
bewildered: she, with whom he had sat for so many sweet hours talking of
the impossibility of their ever forgetting, deserting, or even slighting
each other; she, who had been so entirely devoted to him so much more than
engaged to him could she have lent her name to such a heartless mode of
breaking her faith?
'If I had merely proposed for her through her guardian,' thought Frank, to
himself 'if I had got Lord Cashel to make the engagement, as many men do, I
should not be surprised; but after all that has passed between us after all
her vows, and all her 'and then Lord Ballindine struck his horse with his
heel, and made a cut at the air with his whip, as he remembered certain
passages more binding even than promises, warmer even than vows, which
seemed to make him as miserable now as they had made him happy at the time
of their occurrence. 'I would not believe it,' he continued, meditating,
'if twenty Kilcullens said it, or if fifty Mat Tierneys swore to it!' and
then he rode on towards the lodge, in a state of mind for which I am quite
unable to account, if his disbelief in Fanny Wyndham's constancy was really
as strong as he had declared it to be. And, as he rode, many unusual
thoughts for, hitherto, Frank had not been a very deep-thinking man crowded
his mind, as to the baseness, falsehood, and iniquity of the human race,
especially of rich cautious old peers who had beautiful wards in their
By the time he had reached the lodge, he had determined that he must now do
something, and that, as he was quite unable to come to any satisfactory
conclusion on his own unassisted judgment, he must consult Blake, who, by
the bye, was nearly as sick of Fanny Wyndham as he would have been had he
himself been the person engaged to marry her.
As he rode round to the yard, he saw his friend standing at the door of one
of the stables, with a cigar in his mouth.
'Well, Frank, how does Brien go today? Not that he'll ever be the thing
till he gets to the other side of the water. They'll never be able to bring
a horse out as he should be, on the Curragh, till they've regular trained
gallops. The slightest frost in spring, or sun in summer, and the ground's
so hard, you might as well gallop your horse down the pavement of Grafton
Street.''Confound the horse,' answered Frank; 'come here, Dot, a minute.
I want to speak to you.'
'What the d l's the matter? he's not lame, is he?'
'Who? what? Brien Boru? Not that I know of. I wish the brute had never been
'And why so? What crotchet have you got in your head now? Something wrong
about Fanny, I suppose?'
'Why, did you hear anything?'
'Nothing but what you've told me.'
'I've just seen Mat Tierney, and he told me that Kilcullen had declared, at
a large dinner-party, yesterday, that the match between me and his cousin
was finally broken off.'
'You wouldn't believe what Mat Tierney would say? Mat was only taking a
rise out of you.'
'Not at all: he was not only speaking seriously, but he told me what I'm
very sure was the truth, as far as Lord Kilcullen was concerned. I mean,
I'm sure Kilcullen said it, and in the most public manner he could; and
now, the question is, what had I better do?'
'There's no doubt as to what you'd better do; the question is what you'd
'But what had I better do? call on Kilcullen for an explanation?'
'That's the last thing to think of. No; but declare what he reports to be
the truth; return Miss Wyndham the lock of hair you have in your desk, and
next your heart, or wherever you keep it; write her a pretty note, and
conclude by saying that the "Adriatic's free to wed another". That's what I
'It's very odd, Blake, that you won't speak seriously to a man for a
moment. You've as much heart in you as one of your own horses. I wish I'd
never come to this cursed lodge of yours. I'd be all right then.'
'As for my heart, Frank, if I have as much as my horses, I ought to be
contented for race-horses are usually considered to have a good deal; as
for my cursed lodge, I can assure you I have endeavoured, and, if you will
allow me, I will still endeavour, to make it as agreeable to you as I am
able; and as to my speaking seriously, upon my word, I never spoke more so.
You asked me what I thought you had better do and I began by telling you
there would be a great difference between that and what you'd rather do.'
'But, in heaven's name, why would you have me break off with Miss Wyndham,
when every one knows I'm engaged to her; and when you know that I wish to
'Firstly, to prevent her breaking off with you though I fear there's hardly
time for that; and secondly, in consequence as the newspapers say, of
incompatibility of temper.'
'Why, you don't even know her!'
'But I know you, and I know what your joint income would be, and I know
that there would be great incompatibility between you, as Lord Ballindine,
with a wife and family and fifteen hundred a year, or so. But mind, I'm
only telling you what I think you'd better do.'
'Well, I shan't do that. If I was once settled down, I could live as well
on fifteen hundred a year as any country gentleman in Ireland. It's only
the interference of Lord Cashel that makes me determined not to pull in
till I am married. If he had let me have my own way, I shouldn't, by this
time, have had a horse in the world, except one or two hunters or so, down
in the country.'
'Well, Frank, if you're determined to get yourself married, I'll give you
the best advice in my power as to the means of doing it. Isn't that what
'I want to know what you think I ought to do, just at this minute.'
'With matrimony as the winning-post?'
'You know I wish to marry Fanny Wyndham.'
'And the sooner the better is that it?''Of course. She'll be of age now,
in a few days,' replied Lord Ballindine.
'Then I advise you to order a new blue coat, and to buy a wedding-ring.'
'Confusion!' cried Frank, stamping his foot; and turning away in a passion;
and then he took up his hat, to rush out of the room, in which the latter
part of the conversation had taken place.
'Stop a minute, Frank,' said Blake, 'and don't he in a passion. What I said
was only meant to show you how easy I think it is for you to marry Miss
Wyndham if you choose.'
'Easy! and every soul at Grey Abbey turned against me, in consequence of my
owning that brute of a horse! I'll go over there at once, and I'll show
Lord Cashel that at any rate he shall not treat me like a child. As for
Kilcullen, if he interferes with me or my name in any way, I'll '
'You'll what? thrash him?'
'Indeed, I'd like nothing better!'
'And then shoot him be tried by your peers and perhaps hung; is that it?'
'Oh, that's nonsense. I don't wish to fight any one, but I am not going to
'I don't think you are: I don't think there's the least chance of Kilcullen
insulting you; he has too much worldly wisdom. But to come back to Miss
Wyndham: if you really mean to marry her, and if, as I believe, she is
really fond of you, Lord Cashel and all the family can't prevent it. She is
probably angry that you have not been over there; he is probably irate at
your staying here, and, not unlikely, has made use of her own anger to make
her think that she has quarrelled with you; and hence Kilcullen's report.'
'And what shall I do now?'
'Nothing today, but eat your dinner, and drink your wine. Ride over
tomorrow, see Lord Cashel, and tell him but do it quite coolly, if you
can exactly what you have heard, and how you have heard it, and beg him to
assure Lord Kilcullen that he is mistaken in his notion that the match is
off; and beg also that the report may not be repeated. Do this; and do it
as if you were Lord Cashel's equal, not as if you were his son, or his
servant. If you are co1lected and steady with him for ten minutes, you'll
soon find that he will become bothered and unsteady.'
'That's very easy to say here, but it's not so easy to do there. You don't
know him as I do: he's so sedate, and so slow, and so dull especially
sitting alone, as he does of a morning, in that large, dingy,
uncomfortable, dusty-looking book-room of his. He measures his words like
senna and salts, and their tone is as disagreeable.'
'Then do you drop out yours like prussic acid, and you'll beat him at his
own game. Those are all externals, my dear fellow. When a man knows he has
nothing within his head to trust to when he has neither sense nor genius,
he puts on a wig, ties up his neck in a white choker, sits in a big chair,
and frightens the world with his silence. Remember, if you were not a baby,
he would not be a bugbear.'
'And should I not ask to see Fanny?'
'By all means. Don't leave Grey Abbey without seeing and making your peace
with Miss Wyndham. That'll be easy with you, because it's your métier. I
own that with myself it would be the most difficult part of the morning's
work. But don't ask to see her as a favour. When you've done with the lord
(and don't let your conference be very long) when you've done with the
lord, tell him you'll say a word to the lady; and, whatever may have been
his pre-determination, you'll find that, if you're cool, he'll be bothered,
and he won't know how to refuse; and if he doesn't prevent you, I'm sure
Miss Wyndham won't.'
'And if he asks about these wretched horses of mine?'
'Don't let him talk more about your affairs than you can help; but, if he
presses you and he won't if you play your game well tell him that you're
quite aware your income won't allow you to keep up an establishment at the
Curragh after you're married.'
'But about Brien Boru, and the Derby?'
'Brien Boru! You might as well talk to him about your washing-bills! Don't
go into particulars-stick to generals. He'll never ask you those questions
unless he sees you shiver and shake like a half-whipped school-boy.'
After a great deal of confabulation, in which Dot Blake often repeated his
opinion of Lord Ballindine's folly in not rejoicing at an opportunity of
breaking oft the match, it was determined that Frank should ride over the
next morning, and do exactly what his friend proposed. If, however, one
might judge from his apparent dread of the interview with Lord Cashel,
there was but little chance of his conducting it with the coolness or
assurance insisted on by Dot. The probability was, that when the time did
come, he would, as Blake said, shiver and shake like a half-whipped school-
'And what will you do when you're married, Frank?' said Blake; 'for I'm
beginning to think the symptoms are strong, and you'll hardly get out of it
'Do! why, I suppose I'll do much the same as others have two children, and
live happy ever afterwards.'
'I dare say you're right about the two children, only you might say two
dozen; but as to the living happy, that's more problematical. What do you
mean to eat and drink?'
'Eggs potatoes and bacon buttermilk, and potheen. It's odd if I can't get
plenty of them in Mayo, if I've nothing better.'
'I suppose you will, Frank; but bacon won't go down well after venison; and
a course of claret is a bad preparative for potheen punch. You're not the
man to live, with a family, on a small income, and what the d----l you'll
do I don't know. You'll fortify Kelly's Court that'll be the first step.'
'Is it against the Repealers?'
'Faith, no; you'll join them, of course: but against the sub-sheriff, and
his officers an army much more likely to crown their enterprises with
'You seem to forget, Dot, that, after all, I'm marrying a girl with quite
as large a fortune as I had any right to expect.'
'The limit to your expectations was only in your own modesty; the less you
had a right in the common parlance to expect, the more you wanted, and the
more you ought to have looked for. Say that Miss Wyndham's fortune clears a
thousand a year of your property, you would never be able to get along on
what you'd have. No; I'll tell you what you'll do. You'll shut up Kelly's
Court, raise the rents, take a moderate house in London; and Lord Cashel,
when his party are in, will get you made a court stick of, and you'll lead
just such a life as your grandfather. If it's not very glorious, at any
rate it's a useful kind of life. I hope Miss Wyndham will like it. You'll
have to christen your children Ernest and Albert, and that sort of thing;
that's the worst of it; and you'll never be let to sit down, and that's a
bore. But you've strong legs. It would never do for me. I could never stand
out a long tragedy in Drury Lane, with my neck in a stiff white choker, and
my toes screwed into tight dress boots. I'd sooner be a porter myself, for
he can go to bed when the day's over.'
'You're very witty, Dot; but you know I'm the last man in Ireland, not
excepting yourself, to put up with that kind of thing. Whatever I may have
to live on, I shall live in my own country, and on my own property.'
'Very well; if you won't be a gold stick, there's the other alternative:
fortify Kelly's Court, and prepare for the sheriff's officers. Of the two,
there's certainly more fun in it; and you can go out with the harriers on a
Sunday afternoon, and live like a "ra'al O'Kelly of the ould times" only
the punch'll kill you in about ten years.'
'Go on, Dot, go on. You want to provoke me, but you won't. I wonder whether
you'd bear it as well, if I told you you'd die a broken-down black-leg,
without a friend or a shilling to bless you.'
'I don't think I should, because I should know that you were threatening me
with a fate which my conduct and line of life would not warrant any one in
'Upon my word, then, I think there's quite as much chance of that as there
is of my getting shut up by bailiffs in Kelly's Court, and dying drunk.
I'll bet you fifty pounds I've a better account at my bankers than you have
in ten years.'
'Faith, I'll not take it. It'll be hard work getting fifty pounds out of
you, then! In the meantime, come and play a game of billiards before
To this Lord Ballindine consented, and they adjourned to the billiard-room;
but, before they commenced playing, Blake declared that if the names of
Lord Cashel or Miss Wyndham were mentioned again that evening, he should
retreat to his own room, and spend the hours by himself; so, for the rest
of that day, Lord Ballindine was again driven back upon Brien Boru and the
Derby for conversation, as Dot was too close about his own stable to talk
much of his own horses and their performances, except when he was doing so
with an eye to business.
XI THE EARL OF CASHEL
About two o'clock on the following morning, Lord Ballindine set off for
Grey Abbey, on horseback, dressed with something more than ordinary care,
and with a considerable palpitation about his heart. He hardly knew,
himself, what or whom he feared, but he knew that he was afraid of
something. He had a cold, sinking sensation within him, and he felt
absolutely certain that he should be signally defeated in his present
mission. He had plenty of what is usually called courage; had his friend
recommended him instantly to call out Lord Kilcullen and shoot him, and
afterwards any number of other young men who might express a thought in
opposition to his claim on Miss Wyndham's hand, he would have set about it
with the greatest readiness and aptitude; but he knew he could not baffle
the appalling solemnity of Lord Cashel, in his own study. Frank was not so
very weak a man as he would appear to be when in the society of Blake. He
unfortunately allowed Blake to think for him in many things, and he found a
convenience in having some one to tell him what to do; but he was, in most
respects, a better, and in some, even a wiser man than his friend. He often
felt that the kind of life he was leading contracting debts which he could
not pay, and spending his time in pursuits which were not really congenial
to him, was unsatisfactory and discreditable: and it was this very feeling,
and the inability to defend that which he knew to be wrong sand foolish,
which made him so certain that he would not be able successfully to persist
in his claim to Miss Wyndham's hand in opposition to the trite and well-
weighed objections, which he knew her guardian would put forward. He
consoled himself, however, with thinking that, at any rate, they could not
prevent his seeing her; and he was quite sanguine as to her forgiveness, if
he but got a fair opportunity of asking it. And when that was obtained, why
should the care for any one? Fanny would be of age, and her own mistress,
in a few days, and all the solemn earls in England, and Ireland too, could
not then prevent her marrying whom and when she liked.
He thought a great deal on all his friend had said to his future poverty;
but then, his ideas and Blake's were very different about life. Blake's
idea of happiness was, the concentrating of every thing into a focus for
his own enjoyment; whereas he, Frank had only had recourse to dissipation
and extravagance, because he had nothing to make home pleasant to him. If
he once had Fanny Wyndham installed as Lady Ballindine, at Kelly's Court,
he was sure he could do his duty as a country gentleman, and live on his
income, be it what it might, not only without grumbling, but without
wishing for anything more. He was fond of his country, his name, and his
countrymen: he was fully convinced of his folly in buying race-horses, and
in allowing himself to be dragged on the turf: he would sell Brien Boru,
and the other two Irish chieftains, for what they would fetch, and show
Fanny and her guardian that he was in earnest in his intention of
reforming. Blake might laugh at him if he liked; but he would not stay to
be laughed at. He felt that Handicap Lodge was no place for him; and
besides, why should he bear Dot's disagreeable sarcasms? It was not the
part of a real friend to say such cutting things as he continually did.
After all, Lord Cashel would be a safer friend, or, at any rate, adviser;
and, instead of trying to defeat him by coolness or insolence, he would at
once tell him of all his intentions, explain to him exactly how matters
stood, and prove his good resolutions by offering to take whatever steps
the earl might recommend about the horses. This final determination made
him easier in this mind, and, as he entered the gates of Grey Abbey Park,
he was tolerably comfortable, trusting to his own good resolutions, and the
effect which he felt certain the expression of them must have on Lord
Grey Abbey is one of the largest but by no means one of the most
picturesque demesnes in Ireland. It is situated in the county of Kildare,
about two miles from the little town of Kilcullen, in a flat,
uninteresting, and not very fertile country. The park itself is extensive
and tolerably well wooded, but it wants water and undulation, and is
deficient of any object of attraction, except that of size and not very
magnificent timber. I suppose, years ago, there was an Abbey here, or near
the spot, but there is now no vestige of it remaining. In a corner of the
demesne there are standing the remains of one of those strong, square, ugly
castles, which, two centuries since, were the real habitations of the
landed proprietors of the country, and many of which have been inhabited
even to a much later date. They now afford the strongest record of the
apparently miserable state of life which even the favoured of the land then
endured, and of the numberless domestic comforts which years and skill have
given us, apt as we are to look back with fond regret to the happy, by-gone
days of past periods.
This old castle, now used as a cow-shed, is the only record of antiquity at
Grey Abbey; and yet the ancient family of the Greys have lived there for
centuries. The first of them who possessed property in Ireland, obtained in
the reign of Henry Il, grants of immense tracts of land, stretching through
Wicklow, Kildare, and the Queen's and King's Counties; and, although his
descendants have been unable to retain, through the various successive
convulsions which have taken place in the interior of Ireland since that
time, anything like an eighth of what the family once pretended to claim,
the Earl of Cashel, their present representative, has enough left to enable
him to consider himself a very great man. The present mansion, built on the
site of that in which the family had lived till about seventy years since,
is, like the grounds, large, commodious, and uninteresting. It is built of
stone, which appears as if it had been plastered over, is three stories
high, and the windows are all of the same size, and at regular intervals.
The body of the house looks like a huge, square, Dutch old lady, and the
two wings might be taken for her two equally fat, square, Dutch daughters.
Inside, the furniture is good, strong, and plain. There are plenty of
drawing-rooms, sitting-rooms, bed-rooms, and offices; a small gallery of
very indifferent paintings, and a kitchen, with an excellent kitchen-range,
and patent boilers of every shape.
Considering the nature of the attractions, it is somewhat strange that Lord
Cashel should have considered it necessary to make it generally known that
the park might be seen any day between the hours of nine and six, and the
house, on Tuesdays and Fridays between the hours of eleven and four. Yet
such is the case, and the strangeness of this proceeding on his part is a
good deal diminished by the fact that persons, either induced by Lord
Cashel's good nature, or thinking that any big house must be worth seeing,
very frequently pay half-a-crown to the housekeeper for the privilege of
being dragged through every room in the mansion.
There is a bed there, in which the Regent slept when in Ireland, and a room
which was tenanted by Lord Normanby, when Lord Lieutenant. There is,
moreover, a satin counterpane, which was made by the lord's aunt, and a
snuff-box which was given to the lord's grandfather by Frederick the Great.
These are the lions of the place, and the gratification experienced by
those who see them is, no doubt, great; but I doubt if it equals the
annoyance and misery to which they are subjected in being obliged to pass
one unopened door that of the private room of Lady Selina, the only
daughter of the earl at present unmarried.
It contains only a bed, and the usual instruments of a lady's toilet; but
Lady Selina does not choose to have it shown, and it has become invested,
in the eyes of the visitors, with no ordinary mystery. Many a petitionary
whisper is addressed to the housekeeper on the subject, but in vain; and,
consequently, the public too often leave Grey Abbey dissatisfied.
As Lord Ballindine rode through the gates, and up the long approach to the
house, he was so satisfied of the wisdom of his own final resolution, and
of the successful termination of his embassy under such circumstances, that
he felt relieved of the uncomfortable sensation of fear which had oppressed
him; and it was only when the six-foot high, powdered servant told him,
with a very solemn face, that the earl was alone in the book-room the
odious room he hated so much that he began again to feel a little
misgiving. However, there was nothing left for him now, so he gave up his
horse to the groom, and followed the sober-faced servant into the book-
Lord Cashel was a man about sixty-three, with considerable external dignity
of appearance, though without any personal advantage, either in face,
figure, or manner. He had been an earl, with a large income, for thirty
years; and in that time he had learned to look collected, even when his
ideas were confused; to keep his eye steady, and to make a few words go a
long way. He had never been intemperate, and was, therefore, strong and
hale for his years, he had not done many glaringly foolish things, and,
therefore, had a character for wisdom and judgment. He had run away with no
man's wife, and, since his marriage, had seduced no man's daughter; he was,
therefore, considered a moral man. He was not so deeply in debt as to have
his affairs known to every one; and hence was thought prudent. And, as he
lived in his own house, with his own wife, paid his servants and labourers
their wages regularly, and nodded in church for two hours every Sunday, he
was thought a good man. Such were his virtues; and by these negative
qualities this vis inertiae, he had acquired, and maintained, a
considerable influence in the country.
When Lord Ballindine's name was announced, he slowly rose, and, just
touching the tip of Frank's fingers, by way of shaking hands with him,
hoped he had the pleasure of seeing him well.
The viscount hoped the same of the earl and of the ladies. This included
the countess and Lady Selina, as well as Fanny, and was, therefore, not a
particular question; but, having hoped this, and the earl remaining silent,
he got confused, turned red, hummed and hawed a little, sat down, and then,
endeavouring to drown his confusion in volubility, began talking quickly
about his anxiety to make final arrangements concerning matters, which, of
course, he had most deeply at heart; and, at last, ran himself fairly
aground, from not knowing whether, under the present circumstances, he
ought to speak of his affianced to her guardian as 'Fanny', or 'Miss
When he had quite done, and was dead silent, and had paused sufficiently
long to assure the earl that he was going to say nothing further just at
present, the great man commenced his answer.
'This is a painful subject, my lord most peculiarly painful at the present
time; but, surely, after all that has passed but especially after what has
not passed' Lord Cashel thought this was a dead hit 'you cannot consider
your engagement with Miss Wyndham to be still in force?'
'Good gracious! and why not, my lord? I am ready to do anything her
friends in fact I came solely, this morning, to consult yourself, about I'm
sure Fanny herself can't conceive the engagement to be broken off. Of
course, if Miss Wyndham wishes it but I can't believe I can't believe if
it's about the horses, Lord Cashel, upon my word, I'm ready to sell them
This was not very dignified in poor Frank, and to tell the truth, he was
completely bothered. Lord Cashel looked so more than ordinarily glum; had
he been going to put on a black cap and pass sentence of death, or
disinherit his eldest son, he could not have looked more stern or more
important. Frank's lack of dignity added to his, and made him feel
immeasurably superior to any little difficulty which another person might
have felt in making the communication he was going to make. He was really
quite in a solemn good humour. Lord Ballindine's confusion was so
'I can assure you, my lord, Miss Wyndham calls for no such sacrifice, nor
do I. There was a time when, as her guardian, I ventured to hint and I own
I was taking a liberty, a fruitless liberty, in doing so that I thought
your remaining on the turf was hardly prudent. But I can assure you, with
all kindly feeling with no approach to animosity that I will not offend in
a similar way again. I hear, by mere rumour, that you have extended your
operations to the other kingdom. I hope I have not been the means of
inducing you to do so; but, advice, if not complied with, often gives a
bias in an opposite direction. With regard to Miss Wyndham, I must
express and I really had thought it was unnecessary to do so, though it was
certainly my intention, as it was Miss Wyndham's wish, that I should have
written to you formally on the subject but your own conduct excuse me, Lord
Ballindine your own evident indifference, and continued, I fear I must call
it, dissipation and your, as I considered, unfortunate selection of
acquaintance, combined with the necessary diminution of that attachment
which I presume Miss Wyndham once felt for you necessary, inasmuch as it
was, as far as I understand, never of a sufficiently ardent nature to
outlive the slights indeed, my lord, I don't wish to offend you, or hurt
your feelings but, I must say, the slights which it encountered.' Here the
earl felt that his sentence was a little confused, but the viscount looked
more so; and, therefore, not at all abashed by the want of a finish to his
original proposition, he continued glibly enough:
'In short, in considering all the features of the case, I thought the
proposed marriage a most imprudent one; and, on questioning Miss Wyndham as
to her feelings, I was, I must own, gratified to learn that she agreed with
me; indeed, she conceived that your conduct gave ample proof, my lord, of
your readiness to be absolved from your engagement; pardon me a moment, my
lord as I said before, I still deemed it incumbent on me, and on my ward,
that I, as her guardian, should give you an absolute and written
explanation of her feelings that would have been done yesterday, and this
most unpleasant meeting would have been spared to both of us, but for the
unexpected Did you hear of the occurrence which has happened in Miss
Wyndham's family, my lord?'
'Occurrence? No, Lord Cashel; I did not hear of any especial occurrence.'
There had been a peculiarly solemn air about Lord Cashel during the whole
of the interview, which deepened into quite funereal gloom as he asked the
last question; but he was so uniformly solemn, that this had not struck
Lord Ballindine. Besides, an appearance of solemnity agreed so well with
Lord Cashel's cast of features and tone of voice, that a visage more
lengthened, and a speech somewhat slower than usual, served only to show
him off as so much the more clearly identified by his own characteristics.
Thus a man who always wears a green coat does not become remarkable by a
new green coat; he is only so much the more than ever, the man in the green
Lord Ballindine, therefore, answered the question without the appearance of
that surprise which Lord Cashel expected he would feel, if he had really
not yet heard of the occurrence about to be related to him. The earl,
therefore, made up his mind, as indeed he had nearly done before, that
Frank knew well what was going to be told him, though it suited his purpose
to conceal his knowledge. He could not, however, give his young brother
nobleman the lie; and he was, therefore, constrained to tell his tale, as
if to one to whom it was unknown. He was determined, however, though he
could not speak out plainly, to let Frank see that he was not deceived by
his hypocrisy, and that he, Lord Cashel, was well aware, not only that the
event about to be told had been known at Handicap Lodge, but that the
viscount's present visit to Grey Abbey had arisen out of that knowledge.
Lord Ballindine, up to this moment, was perfectly ignorant of this event,
and it is only doing justice to him to say that, had he heard of it, it
would at least have induced him to postpone his visit for some time. Lord
Cashel paused for a few moments, looking at Frank in a most diplomatic
manner, and then proceeded to unfold his budget.
'I am much surprised that you should not have heard of it. The distressing
news reached Grey Abbey yesterday, and must have been well known in
different circles in Dublin yesterday morning. Considering the great
intercourse between Dublin and the Curragh, I wonder you can have been left
so long in ignorance of a circumstance so likely to be widely discussed,
and which at one time might have so strongly affected your own interests.'
Lord Cashel again paused, and looked hard at Frank. He flattered himself
that he was reading his thoughts; but he looked as if he had detected a
spot on the other's collar, and wanted to see whether it was ink or soot.
Lord Ballindine was, however, confounded. When the earl spoke of 'a
circumstance so likely to be widely discussed', Mat Tierney's conversation
recurred to him, and Lord Kilcullen's public declaration that Fanny
Wyndham's match was off. It was certainly odd for Lord Cashel to call this
an occurrence in Miss Wyndham's family, but then, he had a round-about way
of saying everything.
'I say,' continued the earl, after a short pause, 'that I cannot but be
surprised that an event of so much importance, of so painful a nature, and,
doubtless, already so publicly known, should not before this have reached
the ears of one to whom, I presume, Miss Wyndham's name was not always
wholly indifferent. But, as you have not heard it, my lord, I will
communicate it to you,' and again he paused, as though expecting another
assurance of Lord Ballindine's ignorance.
'Why, my lord,' said Frank, 'I did hear a rumour, which surprised me very
much, but I could not suppose it to be true. To tell the truth, it was very
much in consequence of what I heard that I came to Grey Abbey today.'
It was now Lord Cashel's turn to be confounded. First, to deny that he had
heard anything about it and then immediately to own that he had heard it,
and had been induced to renew his visits to Grey Abbey in consequence! Just
what he, in his wisdom, had suspected was the case. But how could Lord
Ballindine have the face to own it?
I must, however, tell the reader the event of which Frank was ignorant, and
which, it appears, Lord Cashel is determined not to communicate to him.
Fanny Wyndham's father had held a governorship, or some golden appointment
in the golden days of India, and consequently had died rich. He left eighty
thousand pounds to his son, who was younger than Fanny, and twenty to his
daughter. His son had lately been put into the Guards, but he was not long
spared to enjoy his sword and his uniform. He died, and his death had put
his sister in possession of his money; and Lord Cashel thought that, though
Frank might slight twenty thousand pounds, he would be too glad to be
allowed to remain the accepted admirer of a hundred thousand.
'I thought you must have heard it, my lord,' resumed the senior, as soon as
be had collected his shreds of dignity, which Frank's open avowal had
somewhat scattered, 'I felt certain you must have heard it, and you will, I
am sure, perceive that this is no time for you excuse me if I use a word
which may appear harsh it is no time for any one, not intimately connected
with Miss Wyndham by ties of family, to intrude upon her sorrow.'
Frank was completely bothered. He thought that if she were so sorrowful, if
she grieved so deeply at the match being broken off, that was just the
reason why he should see her. After all, it was rather flattering to
himself to hear of her sorrows; dear Fanny! was she so grieved that she was
forced to part from him?
'But, Lord Cashel,' he said, 'I am ready to do whatever you please. I'll
take any steps you'll advise. But I really cannot see why I'm to be told
that the engagement between me and Miss Wyndham is off, without hearing any
reason from herself. I'll make any sacrifice you please, or she requires;
I'm sure she was attached to me, and she cannot have overcome that
affection so soon.'
'I have already said that we require Miss Wyndham requires no sacrifice
from you. The time for sacrifice is past; and I do not think her affection
was of such a nature as will long prey on her spirits.'
'My affection for her is, I can assure you '
'Pray excuse me but I think this is hardly the time either to talk of, or
to show, your affection. Had it been proved to be of a lasting, I fear I
must say, a sincere nature, it would now have been most valued. I will
leave yourself to say whether this was the case.'
'And so you mean to say, Lord Cashel, that I cannot see Miss Wyndham?'
'Assuredly, Lord Ballindine. And I must own, that I hardly appreciate your
delicacy in asking to do so at the present moment.'
There was something very hard in this. The match was to be broken off
without any notice to him; and when he requested, at any rate, to hear this
decision from the mouth of the only person competent to make it, he was
told that it was indelicate for him to wish to do so. This put his back up.
'Well, my lord,' he said with some spirit, Miss Wyndham is at present your
ward, and in your house, and I am obliged to postpone the exercise of the
right, to which, at least, I am entitled, of hearing her decision from her
own mouth. I cannot think that she expects I should be satisfied with such
an answer as I have now received. I shall write to her this evening, and
shall expect at any rate the courtesy of an answer from herself.'
'My advice to my ward will be, not to write to you; at any rate for the
present. I presume, my lord, you cannot doubt my word that Miss Wyndham
chooses to be released from an engagement, which I must say your own
conduct renders it highly inexpedient for her to keep.'
'I don't doubt your word, of course, Lord Cashel; but such being the case,
I think Miss Wyndham might at least tell me so herself.'
'I should have thought, Lord Ballindine, that you would have felt that the
sudden news of a dearly loved brother's death, was more than sufficient to
excuse Miss Wyndham from undergoing an interview which, even under ordinary
circumstances, would be of very doubtful expediency.'
'Her brother's death! Good gracious! Is Harry Wyndham dead!'
Frank was so truly surprised so effectually startled by the news, which he
now for the first time heard, that, had his companion possessed any real
knowledge of human nature, he would at once have seen that his astonishment
was not affected. But he had none, and, therefore, went on blundering in
his own pompous manner.
'Yes, my lord, he is dead. I understood you to say that you had already
heard it; and, unless my ears deceived me, you explained that his demise
was the immediate cause of your present visit. I cannot, however, go so far
as to say that I think you have exercised a sound discretion in the matter.
In expressing such an opinion, however, I am far from wishing to utter
anything which may be irritating or offensive to your feelings.'
'Upon my word then, I never heard a word about it till this moment! Poor
Harry! And is Fanny much cut up?'
'Miss Wyndham is much afflicted.'
'I wouldn't for worlds annoy her, or press on her at such a moment. Pray
tell her, Lord Cashel, how deeply I feel her sorrows: pray tell her this,
with my kindest best compliments.' This termination was very cold but so
was Lord Cashel's face. His lordship had also risen from his chair; and
Frank saw it was intended that the interview should end. But he would now
have been glad to stay. He wanted to ask a hundred questions how the poor
lad had died? whether he had been long ill? whether it had been expected?
But he saw that he must go; so he rose and putting out his hand which Lord
Cashel just touched, he said,
'Good bye, my lord. I trust, after a few months are gone by, you may see
reason to alter the opinion you have expressed respecting your ward. Should
I not hear from you before then, I shall again do myself the honour of
calling at Grey Abbey; but will write to Miss Wyndham before I do so.'
Lord Cashel had the honour of wishing Lord Ballindine a very good morning,
and of bowing him to the door; and so the interview ended.
XII FANNY WYNDHAM
When Lord Cashel had seen Frank over the mat which lay outside his study
door, and that there was a six foot servitor to open any other door through
which he might have to pass, he returned to his seat, and, drawing his
chair close to the fire, began to speculate on Fanny and her discarded
He was very well satisfied with himself, and with hi own judgment and
firmness in the late conversation. It was very evident that Frank had heard
of Harry Wyndham's death, and of Fanny's great accession of wealth; that he
had immediately determined that the heiress was no longer to be neglected,
and that he ought to strike while the iron was hot: hence his visit to Grey
Abbey. His pretended ignorance of the young man's death, when he found he
could not see Miss Wyndham, was a ruse; but an old bird like Lord Cashel
was not to be caught with chaff. And then, how indelicate of him to come
and press his suit immediately after news of so distressing a nature had
reached Miss Wyndham! How very impolitic, thought Lord Cashel, to show such
a hurry to take possession of the fortune! How completely he had destroyed
his own game. And then, other thoughts passed through his mind. His ward
had now one hundred thousand pounds clear, which was, certainly, a great
deal of ready money. Lord Cashel had no younger sons; but his heir, Lord
Kilcullen, was an expensive man, and owed, he did not exactly know, and was
always afraid to ask, how much. He must marry soon, or he would be sure to
go to the devil. He had been living with actresses and opera-dancers quite
long enough for his own respectability; and, if he ever intended to be such
a pattern to the country as his father, it was now time for him to settle
down. And Lord Cashel bethought himself that if he could persuade his son
to marry Fanny Wyndham and pay his debts with her fortune (surely he
couldn't owe more than a hundred thousand pounds?) he would be able to give
them a very handsome allowance to live on.
To do Lord Cashel justice, we must say that he had fully determined that it
was his duty to break off the match between Frank and his ward, before he
heard of the accident which had so enriched her. And Fanny herself, feeling
slighted and neglected knowing how near to her her lover was, and that
nevertheless he never came to see her hearing his name constantly mentioned
in connection merely with horses and jockeys had been induced to express
her acquiescence in her guardian's views, and to throw poor Frank
overboard. In all this the earl had been actuated by no mercenary views, as
far as his own immediate family was concerned. He had truly and justly
thought that Lord Ballindine, with his limited fortune and dissipated
habits, was a bad match for his ward; and he had, consequently, done his
best to break the engagement. There could, therefore, he thought, be
nothing unfair in his taking advantage of the prudence which he had
exercised on her behalf. He did not know, when he was persuading her to
renounce Lord Ballindine, that, at that moment, her young, rich, and only
brother, was lying at the point of death. He had not done it for his own
sake, or Lord Kilcullen's; there could, therefore, be nothing unjust or
ungenerous in their turning to their own account the two losses, that of
her lover and her brother, which had fallen on Miss Wyndham at the same
time. If he, as her guardian, would have been wrong to allow Lord
Ballindine to squander her twenty thousands, he would be so much the more
wrong to let him make ducks and drakes of five times as much. In this
manner he quieted his conscience as to his premeditated absorption of his
ward's fortune. It was true that Lord Kilcullen was a heartless roué,
whereas Lord Ballindine was only a thoughtless rake; but then, Lord
Kilcullen would be an earl, and a peer of parliament, and Lord Ballindine
was only an Irish viscount. It was true that, in spite of her present
anger, Fanny dearly loved Lord Ballindine, and was dearly loved by him; and
that Lord Kilcullen was not a man to love or be loved; but then, the
Kelly's Court rents what were they to the Grey Abbey rents? Not a twentieth
part of them! And, above all, Lord Kilcullen's vices were filtered through
the cleansing medium of his father's partiality, and Lord Ballindine's
faults were magnified by the cautious scruples of Fanny's guardian.
The old man settled, therefore, in his own mind, that Fanny should be his
dear daughter, and the only difficulty he expected to encounter was with
his hopeful son. It did not occur to him that Fanny might object, or that
she could be other than pleased with the arrangement. He determined,
however, to wait a little before the tidings of her future destiny should
be conveyed to her, although no time was to be lost in talking over the
matter with Lord Kilcullen. In the meantime, it would be necessary for him
to tell Fanny of Lord Ballindine's visit; and the wily peer was glad to
think that she could not but be further disgusted at the hurry which her
former lover had shown to renew his protestations of affection, as soon as
the tidings of her wealth had reached him. However, he would say nothing on
that head: he would merely tell her that Lord Ballindine had called, had
asked to see her, and had been informed of her determination to see him no
He sat, for a considerable time, musing over the fire, and strengthening
his resolution; and then he stalked and strutted into the drawing-room,
where the ladies were sitting, to make his communication to Miss Wyndham.
Miss Wyndham, and her cousin, Lady Selina Grey, the only unmarried daughter
left on the earl's hands, were together. Lady Selina was not in her
première jeunesse, and, in manner, face, and disposition, was something
like her father: she was not, therefore, very charming; but his faults were
softened down in her; and what was pretence in him, was, to a certain
degree, real in her. She had a most exaggerated conception of her own
station and dignity, and of what was due to her, and expected from her.
Because her rank enabled her to walk out of a room before other women, she
fancied herself better than them, and entitled to be thought better. She
was plain, red-haired, and in no ways attractive; but she had refused the
offer of a respectable country gentleman, because he was only a country
gentleman, and then flattered herself that she owned the continuance of her
maiden condition to her high station, which made her a fit match only for
the most exalted magnates of the land. But she was true, industrious, and
charitable; she worked hard to bring her acquirements to that pitch which
she considered necessary to render her fit for her position; she truly
loved her family, and tried hard to love her neighbours, in which she might
have succeeded but for the immeasurable height from which she looked down
on them. She listened, complacently, to all those serious cautions against
pride, which her religion taught her, and considered that she was obeying
its warnings, when she spoke condescendingly to those around her. She
thought that condescension was humility, and that her self-exaltation was
not pride, but a proper feeling of her own and her family's dignity.
Fanny Wyndham was a very different creature. She, too, was proud, but her
pride was of another, if not of a less innocent cast; she was proud of her
own position; but it was as Fanny Wyndham, not as Lord Cashel's niece, or
anybody's daughter. She had been brought out in the fashionable world, and
liked, and was liked by, it; but she felt that she owed the character which
three years had given her, to herself, and not to those around her. She
stood as high as Lady Selina, though on very different grounds. Any undue
familiarity would have been quite as impossible with one as with the other.
Lady Selina chilled intruders to a distance; Fanny Wyndham's light burned
with so warm a flame, that butterflies were afraid to trust their wings
within its reach. She was neither so well read, nor so thoughtful on what
she did read, as her friend; but she could turn what she learned to more
account, for the benefit of others. The one, in fact, could please, and the
other could not.
Fanny Wyndham was above the usual height; but she did not look tall, for
her figure was well-formed and round, and her bust full. She had dark-brown
hair, which was never curled, but worn in plain braids, fastened at the
back of her head, together with the long rich folds which were collected
there under a simple comb. Her forehead was high, and beautifully formed,
and when she spoke, showed the animation of her character. Her eyes were
full and round, of a hazel colour, bright and soft when she was pleased,
but full of pride and displeasure when her temper was ruffled, or her
dignity offended. Her nose was slightly retroussé, but not so much so as to
give to her that pertness, of which it is usually the index. The line of
her cheeks and chin was very lovely: it was this which encouraged her to
comb back that luxuriant hair, and which gave the greatest charm to her
face. Her mouth was large, too large for a beauty, and therefore she was
not a regular beauty; but, were she talking to you, and willing to please
you, you could hardly wish it to be less. I cannot describe the shade of
her complexion, but it was rich and glowing; and, though she was not a
brunette, I believe that in painting her portrait, an artist would have
mixed more brown than other colours.
At the time of which I am now speaking, she was sitting, or rather lying,
on a sofa, with her face turned towards her cousin, but her eyes fixed on
vacancy. As might have been expected, she was thinking of her brother, and
his sudden death; but other subjects crowded with that into her mind, and
another figure shared with him her thoughts. She had been induced to give
her guardian an unqualified permission to reject, in her name, any further
intercourse with Frank; and though she had doubtless been induced to do so
by the distressing consciousness that she had been slighted by him, she had
cheated herself into the belief that prudence had induced her to do so. She
felt that she was not fitted to be a poor man's wife, and that Lord
Ballindine was as ill suited for matrimonial poverty. She had, therefore,
induced herself to give him up; maybe she was afraid that if she delayed
doing so, she might herself be given up. Now, however, the case was
altered; though she sincerely grieved for her brother, she could not but
recollect the difference which his death made in her own position; she was
now a great heiress, and, were she to marry Lord Ballindine, if she did not
make him a rich man, she would, at any rate, free him from all
Besides, could she give him up now? now that she was rich? He would first
hear of her brother's death and her wealth, and then would immediately be
told that she had resolved to reject him. Could she bear that she should be
subjected to the construction which would fairly be put upon her conduct,
if she acted in this manner? And then, again, she felt that she loved him;
and she did love him, more dearly than she was herself aware. She began to
repent of her easy submission to her guardian's advice, and to think how
she could best unsay what she had already said. She had lost her brother;
could she afford also to lose her lover? She had had none she could really
love but those two. And the tears again came to her eyes, and Lady Selina
saw her, for the twentieth time that morning, turn her face to the back of
the sofa, and heard her sob.
Lady Selina was sitting at one of the windows, over her carpet-work frame.
She had talked a great deal of sound sense to Fanny that morning, about her
brother, and now prepared to talk some more. Preparatory to this, she threw
back her long red curls from her face, and wiped her red nose, for it was
'Fanny, you should occupy yourself, indeed you should, my dear. It's no use
your attempting your embroidery, for your mind would still wander to him
that is no more. You should read; indeed you should. Do go on with Gibbon.
I'll fetch it for you, only tell me where you were.'
'I could not read, Selina; I could not think about what I read, more than
about the work.'
'But you should try, Fanny the very attempt would be work to your mind:
besides, you would be doing your duty. Could all your tears bring him back
to you? Can all your sorrow again restore him to his friends? No! and you
have great consolation, Fanny, in reflecting that your remembrance of your
brother is mixed with no alloy. He had not lived to be contaminated by the
heartless vices of that portion of the world into which he would probably
have been thrown; he had not become dissipated extravagant and sensual.
This should be a great consolation to you.' It might be thought that Lady
Selina was making sarcastic allusions to her own brother and to Fanny's
lover; but she meant nothing of the kind. Her remarks were intended to be
sensible, true, and consolatory; and they at any rate did no harm, for
Fanny was thinking of something else before she had half finished her
They had both again been silent for a short time, when the door opened, and
in came the earl. His usual pomposity of demeanour was somewhat softened by
a lachrymose air, which, in respect to his ward's grief, he put on as he
turned the handle of the door; and he walked somewhat more gently than
usual into the room.
'Well, Fanny, how are you now?' he said, as he crept up to her. 'You
shouldn't brood over these sad thoughts. Your poor brother has gone to a
better world; we shall always think of him as one who had felt no sorrow,
and been guilty of but few faults. He died before he had wasted his fortune
and health, as he might have done this will always be a consolation.'
It was singular how nearly alike were the platitudes of the daughter and
the father. The young man had not injured his name, or character, in the
world, and had left his money behind him: and, therefore, his death was
Fanny did not answer, but she sat upright on the sofa as he came up to
her and he then sat down beside her.
'Perhaps I'm wrong, Fanny, to speak to you on other subjects so soon after
the sad event of which we heard last night; but, on the whole, I think it
better to do so. It is good for you to rouse yourself, to exert yourself to
think of other things; besides it will be a comfort to you to know that I
have already done, what I am sure you strongly wished to have executed at
It was not necessary for the guardian to say anything further to induce his
ward to listen. She knew that he was going to speak about Lord Ballindine,
and she was all attention.
'I shall not trouble, you, Fanny, by speaking to you now, I hope?'
'No;' said Fanny, with her heart palpitating. 'If it's anything I ought to
hear, it will be no trouble to me.'
'Why, my dear, I do think you ought to know, without loss of time that Lord
Ballindine has been with me this morning.'
Fanny blushed up to her hair not with shame, but with emotion as to what
was coming next.
'I have had a long conversation with him,' continued the earl, 'in the
book-room, and I think I have convinced him that it is for your mutual
happiness' he paused, for he couldn't condescend to tell a lie; but in his
glib, speechifying manner, he was nearly falling into one 'mutual
happiness' was such an appropriate prudential phrase that he could not
resist the temptation; but he corrected himself 'at least, I think I have
convinced him that it is impossible that he should any longer look upon
Miss Wyndham as his future wife.'
Lord Cashel paused for some mark of approbation. Fanny saw that she was
expected to speak, and, therefore, asked whether Lord Ballindine was still
in the house. She listened tremulously for his answer; for she felt that if
her lover were to be rejected, he had a right, after what had passed
between them, to expect that she should, in person, express her resolution
to him. And yet, if she had to see him now, could she reject him? could she
tell him that all the vows that had been made between them were to be as
nothing? No! she could only fall on his shoulder, and weep in his arms. But
Lord Cashel had managed better than that.
'No, Fanny; neither he nor I, at the present moment, could expect you could
reasonably expect you, to subject yourself to anything so painful as an
interview must now have been. Lord Ballindine has left the house I hope,
for the last time at least, for many months.'
These words fell cold upon Fanny's ears, 'Did he leave any any message for
'Nothing of any moment; nothing which it can avail to communicate to you:
he expressed his grief for your brother's death, and desired I should tell
you how grieved he was that you should be so afflicted.'
'Poor Harry!' sobbed Fanny, for it was a relief to cry again, though her
tears were more for her lover than her brother. 'Poor Harry! they were very
fond of each other. I'm sure he must have been sorry I'm sure he'd feel
it' and she paused, and sobbed again 'He had heard of Harry's death, then?'
When she said this, she had in her mind none of the dirty suspicion that
had actuated Lord Cashel; but he guessed at her feelings by his own, and
'At first I understood him to say he had; but then, he seemed to wish to
express that he had not. My impression, I own, is, that he must have heard
of it; the sad news must have reached him.'
Fanny still did not understand the earl. The idea of her lover coming after
her money immediately on her obtaining possession of it, never entered her
mind; she thought of her wealth as far as it might have affected him, but
did not dream of its altering his conduct towards her.
'And did he seem unhappy about it?' she continued. 'I am sure it would make
him very unhappy. He could not have loved Harry better if he had been his
brother,' and then she blushed again through her tears, as she remembered
that she had intended that they should be brothers.
Lord Cashel did not say anything more on this head; he was fully convinced
that Lord Ballindine only looked on the young man's death as a windfall
which he might turn to his own advantage; but he thought it would he a
little too strong to say so outright, just at present.
'It will be a comfort for you to know that this matter is now settled,'
continued the earl, 'and that no one can attach the slightest blame to you
in the matter. Lord Ballindine has shown himself so very imprudent, so very
unfit, in every way, for the honour you once intended him, that no other
line of conduct was open to you than that which you have wisely pursued.'
This treading on the fallen was too much for Fanny. 'I have no right either
to speak or to think ill of him,' said she, through her tears; 'and if any
one is ill-treated in the matter it is he. But did be not ask to see me?
'Surely, Fanny, you would not, at the present moment, have wished to see
'Oh, no; it is a great relief, under all the circumstances, not having to
do so. But was he contented?'
I should be glad that he were satisfied that he shouldn't think I had
treated him harshly, or rudely. Did he appear as if he wished to see me
'Why, he certainly did ask for a last interview which, anticipating your
wishes, I have refused.'
'But was he satisfied? Did he appear to think that he had been badly
'Rejected lovers,' answered the earl with a stately smile, 'seldom express
much satisfaction with the terms of their rejection; but I cannot say that
Lord Ballindine testified any strong emotion.' He rose from the sofa as he
said this, and then, intending to clinch the nail, added as he went to the
door ' to tell the truth, Fanny, I think Lord Ballindine is much more eager
for an alliance with your fair self now, than he was a few days back, when
he could never find a moment's time to leave his horses, and his friend Mr
Blake, either to see his intended wife, or to pay Lady Cashel the usual
courtesy of a morning visit.' He then opened the door, and, again closing
it, added ' I think, however, Fanny, that what has now passed between us
will secure you from any further annoyance from him.'
Lord Cashel, in this last speech, had greatly overshot his mark; his object
had been to make the separation between his ward and her lover permanent;
and, hitherto, he had successfully appealed to her pride and her judgment.
Fanny had felt Lord Cashel to be right, when he told her that she was
neglected, and that Frank was dissipated, and in debt. She knew she should
be unhappy as the wife of a poor nobleman, and she felt that it would break
her proud heart to be jilted herself. She had, therefore, though
unwillingly, still entirely agreed with her, guardian as to the expediency
of breaking off, the match; and, had Lord Cashel been judicious, he might
have confirmed her in this resolution; but his last thunderbolt, which had
been intended to crush Lord Ballindine, had completely recoiled upon
himself. Fanny now instantly understood the allusion, and, raising her
face, which was again resting on her hands, looked at him with an indignant
glance through her tears.
Lord Cashel, however, had left the room without observing the indignation
expressed in Fanny's eyes; but she was indignant; she knew Frank well
enough to be sure that he had come to Grey Abbey that morning with no such
base motives as those ascribed to him. He might have heard of Harry's
death, and come there to express his sorrow, and offer that consolation
which she felt she could accept from him sooner than from any living
creature or, he might have been ignorant of it altogether; but that he
should come there to press his suit because her brother was
dead immediately after his death was not only impossible; but the person
who could say it was possible, must be false and untrue to her. Her uncle
could not have believed it himself: he had basely pretended to believe it,
that he might widen the breach which he had made.
Fanny was alone, in the drawing-room for her cousin had left it as soon as
her father began to talk about Lord Ballindine, and she sat there glowering
through her tears for a long time. Had Lord Ballindine been able to know
all her thoughts at this moment, he would have felt little doubt as to the
ultimate success of his suit.
XIII FATHER AND SON
Lord Cashel firmly believed, when he left the room, that he had shown great
tact in discovering Frank's mercenary schemes, and in laying them open
before Fanny; and that she had firmly and finally made up her mind to have
nothing more to do with him. He had not long been re-seated in his
customary chair in the book-room, before he began to feel a certain degree
of horror at the young lord's baseness, and to think how worthily he had
executed his duty as a guardian, in saving Miss Wyndham from so sordid a
suitor. From thinking of his duties as a guardian, his mind, not
unnaturally, recurred to those which were incumbent on him as a father, and
here nothing disturbed his serenity. It is true that, from an appreciation
of the lustre which would reflect back upon himself from allowing his son
to become a decidedly fashionable young man, he had encouraged him in
extravagance, dissipation, and heartless worldliness; he had brought him up
to be supercilious, expensive, unprincipled, and useless. But then, he was
gentlemanlike, dignified, and sought after; and now, the father reflected,
with satisfaction, that, if he could accomplish his well-conceived scheme,
he would pay his son's debts with his ward's fortune, and, at the same
time, tie him down to some degree of propriety and decorum, by a wife. Lord
Kilcullen, when about to marry, would be obliged to cashier his opera-
dancers and their expensive crews; and, though he might not leave the turf
altogether, when married he would gradually he drawn out of turf society,
and would doubtless become a good steady family nobleman, like his father.
Why, he Lord Cashel himself wise, prudent, and respectable as he
was example as he knew himself to be to all peers, English, Irish, and
Scotch, had had his horses, and his indiscretions, when he was young. And
then he stroked the calves of his legs, and smiled grimly; for the memory
of his juvenile vices was pleasant to him.
Lord Cashel thought, as he continued to reflect on the matter, that Lord
Ballindine was certainly a sordid schemer; but that his son was a young man
of whom he had just reason to be proud, and who was worthy of a wife in the
shape of a hundred thousand pounds. And then, he congratulated himself on
being the most anxious of guardians and the best of fathers; and, with
these comfortable reflections, the worthy peer strutted off, through his
ample doors, up his lofty stairs, and away through his long corridors, to
dress for dinner. You might have heard his boots creaking till he got
inside his dressing-room, but you must have owned that they did so with a
most dignified cadence.
It was pleasant enough, certainly, planning all these things; but there
would be some little trouble in executing them. In the first place, Lord
Kilcullen though a very good son, on the whole, as the father frequently
remarked to himself was a little fond of having a will of his own, and
maybe, might object to dispense with his dancing-girls. And though there
was, unfortunately, but little doubt that the money was indispensably
necessary to him, it was just possible that he might insist on having the
cash without his cousin. However, the proposal must be made, and, as the
operations necessary to perfect the marriage would cause some delay, and
the money would certainly be wanted as soon as possible, no time was to be
lost. Lord Kilcullen was, accordingly, summoned to Grey Abbey; and, as he
presumed his attendance was required for the purpose of talking over some
method of raising the wind, he obeyed the summons. I should rather have
said of raising a storm, for no gentle puff would serve to watt him through
his present necessities.
Down he came, to the great delight of his mother, who thought him by far
the finest young man of the day, though he usually slighted, snubbed, and
ridiculed her and of his sister, who always hailed with dignified joy the
return of the eldest scion of her proud family to the ancestral roof. The
earl was also glad to find that no previous engagement detained him; that
is, that he so far sacrificed his own comfort as to leave Tattersall's and
the Figuranti of the Opera-House, to come all the way to Grey Abbey, in the
county of Kildare. But, though the earl was glad to see his son, he was
still a little consternated: the business interview could not be postponed,
as it was not to be supposed that Lord Kilcullen would stay long at Grey
Abbey during the London season; and the father had yet hardly sufficiently
crammed himself for the occasion. Besides, the pressure from without must
have been very strong to have produced so immediate a compliance with a
behest not uttered in a very peremptory manner, or, generally speaking, to
a very obedient child.
On the morning after his arrival, the earl was a little uneasy in his chair
during breakfast. It was rather a sombre meal, for Fanny had by no means
recovered her spirits, nor did she appear to be it the way to do so. The
countess tried to chat a little to her son, but he hardly answered her; and
Lady Selina, though she was often profound, was never amusing. Lord Cashel
made sundry attempts at general conversation, but as often failed. It was,
at last, however, over; and the father requested the son to come with him
into the book-room.
When the fire was poked, and the chairs were drawn together over the rug,
there were no further preliminaries which could be decently introduced and
the earl was therefore forced to commence.
'Well, Kilcullen, I'm glad you're come to Grey Abbey. I'm afraid, however,
we shan't induce you to stay with us long, so it's as well perhaps to
settle our business at once. You would, however, greatly oblige your
mother, and I'm sure I need not add, myself, if you could make your
arrangements so as to stay with us till after Easter. We could then return
'Till after Easter, my lord! I should be in the Hue and Cry before that
time, if I was so long absent from my accustomed haunts. Besides I should
only put out your own arrangements, or rather, those of Lady Cashel. There
would probably be no room for me in the family coach.'.
'The family coach won't go, Lord Kilcullen. I am sorry to say, that the
state of my affairs at present renders it advisable that the family should
remain at Grey Abbey this season. I shall attend my parliamentary duties
This was intended as a hit the first at the prodigal son, but Kilcullen was
too crafty to allow it to tell. He merely bowed his head, and opened his
eyes, to betoken his surprise at such a decision, and remained quiet.
'Indeed,' continued Lord Cashel, 'I did not even intend to have gone
myself, but the unexpected death of Harry Wyndham renders it necessary. I
must put Fanny's affairs in a right train. Poor Harry! did you see much of
him during his illness?'
'Why, no I can't say I did. I'm not a very good hand at doctoring or
nursing. I saw him once since he got his commission, glittering with his
gold lace like a new weather-cock on a Town Hall. He hadn't time to polish
the shine off.'
'His death will make a great difference, as far as Fanny is concerned eh?'
'Indeed it will: her fortune now is considerable; a deuced pretty thing,
remembering that it's all ready money, and that she can touch it the moment
she's of age. She's entirely off with Ballindine, isn't she?'
'Oh, entirely,' said the earl, with considerable self-complacency; 'that
affair is entirely over.'
'I've stated so everywhere publicly; but I dare say, she'll give him her
money, nevertheless. She's not the girl to give over a man, if she's really
fond of him.'
'But, my dear Kilcullen, she has authorised me to give him a final answer,
and I have done so. After that, you know, it would be quite impossible for
her to to '
'You'll see she'll marry Lord Ballindine. Had Harry lived, it might have
been different; but now she's got all her brother's money, she'll think it
a point of honour to marry her poor lover. Besides, her staying this year
in the country will be in his favour: she'll see no one here and she'll
want something to think of. I understand he has altogether thrown himself
into Blake's hands the keenest fellow in Ireland, with as much mercy as a
foxhound. He's a positive fool, is Ballindine.'
'I'm afraid he is I'm afraid he is. And you may be sure I'm too fond of
Fanny that is, I have too much regard for the trust reposed in me, to allow
her to throw herself away upon him.'
'That 's all very well; but what can you do?'
'Why, not allow him to see her; and I've another plan in my head for her.'
'Ah! but the thing is to put the plan into her head. I'd be sorry to hear
of a fine girl like Fanny Wyndham breaking her heart in a half-ruined
barrack in Connaught, without money to pay a schoolmaster to teach her
children to spell. But I've too many troubles of my own to think of just at
present, to care much about hers;' and the son and heir got up, and stood
with his back to the fire, and put his arms under his coat-laps. 'Upon my
soul, my lord, I never was so hard up in my life!'
Lord Cashel now prepared himself for action. The first shot was fired, and
he must go on with the battle.
'So I hear, Kilcullen; and yet, during the last four years, you've had
nearly double your allowance; and, before that, I paid every farthing you
owed. Within the last five years, you've had nearly forty thousand pounds!
Supposing you'd had younger brothers, Lord Kilcullen supposing that I had
had six or eight sons instead of only one; what would you have done? How
then would you have paid your debts?'
'Fate having exempted me and your lordship from so severe a curse, I have
never turned my mind to reflect what I might have done under such an
'Or, supposing I had chosen, myself, to indulge in those expensive habits,
which would have absorbed my income, and left me unable to do more for you,
than many other noblemen in my position do for their sons do you ever
reflect how impossible it would then have been for me to have helped you
out of your difficulties?'
'I feel as truly grateful for your self-denial in this respect, as I do in
that of my non-begotten brethren.'
Lord Cashel saw that he was laughed at, and he looked angry; but he did not
want to quarrel with his son, so he continued:
'Jervis writes me word that it is absolutely necessary that thirty thousand
pounds should be paid for you at once; or, that your remaining in
London or, in fact, in the country at all, is quite out of the question.'
'Indeed, my lord, I'm afraid Jervis is right.'
'Thirty thousand pounds! Are you aware what your income is?'
'Why, hardly. I know Jervis takes care that I never see much of it.'
'Do you mean that you don't receive it?'
'Oh, I do not at all doubt its accurate payment. I mean to say, that I
don't often have the satisfaction of seeing much of it at the right side of
my banker's book.'
'Thirty thousand pounds! And will that sum set you completely free in the
'I am sorry to say it will not nor nearly.'
'Then, Lord Kilcullen,' said the earl, with most severe, but still most
courteous dignity, 'may I trouble you to be good enough to tell me what, at
the present moment, you do owe?'
'I'm afraid I could not do so with any accuracy; but it is more than double
the sum you have named.'
'Do you mean, that you have no schedule of your debts? no means of
acquainting me with the amount? How can you expect that I can assist you,
when you think it too much trouble to make yourself thoroughly acquainted
with the state of your own affairs?'
'A list could certainly be made out, if I had any prospect of being able to
settle the amount. If your lordship can undertake to do so at once, I will
undertake to hand you a correct list of the sums due, before I leave Grey
Abbey. I presume you would not require to know exactly to whom all the
items were owing.'
This effrontery was too much, and Lord Cashel was very near to losing his
'Upon my honour, Kilcullen, you're cool, very cool. You come upon me to
pay, Heaven knows how many thousands more money, I know, than I'm able to
raise; and you condescendingly tell me that you will trouble yourself so
far as to let me know how much money I am to give you but that I am not to
know what is done with it! No; if I am to pay your debts again, I will do
it through Jervis.'
'Pray remember,' replied Lord Kilcullen, not at all disturbed from his
equanimity, 'that I have not proposed that you should pay my debts without
knowing where the money went; and also that I have not yet asked you to pay
them at all.'
'Who, then, do you expect will pay them? I can assure you I should be glad
to be relieved from the honour.'
'I merely said that I had not yet made any proposition respecting them. Of
course, I expect your assistance. Failing you, I have no resource but the
Jews. I should regret to put the property into their hands; especially as,
hitherto, I have not raised money on post obits.'
'At any rate, I'm glad of that,' said the father, willing to admit any
excuse for returning to his good humour. 'That would be ruin; and I hope
that anything short of that may be may be may be done something with.'
The expression was not dignified, and it pained the earl to make it; but it
was expressive, and he didn't wish at once to say that he had a proposal
for paying off his son's debts. 'But now, Kilcullen, tell me fairly, in
round figures, what do you think you owe? as near as you can guess, without
going to pen and paper, you know?'
'Well, my lord, if you will allow me, I will make a proposition to you. If
you will hand over to Mr Jervis fifty thousand pounds, for him to pay such
claims as have already been made upon him as your agent, and such other
debts as I may have sent in to him: and if you will give myself thirty
thousand, to pay such debts as I do not choose to have paid by an agent, I
will undertake to have everything settled.'
'Eighty thousand pounds in four years! Why, Kilcullen, what have you done
with it? where has it gone? You have five thousand a-year, no house to keep
up, no property to support, no tenants to satisfy, no rates to pay five
thousand a-year for your own personal expenses and, in four years, you have
got eighty thousand in debt! The property never can stand that, you know.
It never can stand at that rate. Why, Kilcullen, what have you done with
'Mr Crockford has a portion of it, and John Scott has some of it. A great
deal of it is scattered rather widely so widely that it would be difficult
now to trace it. But, my lord, it has gone. I won't deny that the greater
portion of it has been lost at play, or on the turf. I trust I may, in
future, be more fortunate and more cautious.'
'I trust so. I trust so, indeed. Eighty thousand pounds! And do you think I
can raise such a sum as that at a week's warning?'
'Indeed, I have no doubt as to your being able to do so: it may be another
question whether you are willing.'
'I am not I am not able,' said the libelled father. 'As you know well
enough, the incumbrances on the property take more than a quarter of my
'There can, nevertheless, be no doubt of your being able to have the money,
and that at once, if you chose to go into the market for it. I have no
doubt but that Mr Jervis could get it for you at once at five per cent.'
'Four thousand a-year gone for ever from the property! and what security am
I to have that the same sacrifice will not be again incurred, after another
lapse of four years?'
'You can have no security, my lord, against my being in debt. You can,
however, have every security that you will not again pay my debts, in your
own resolution. I trust, however, that I have some experience to prevent my
again falling into so disagreeable a predicament. I think I have heard your
Lordship say that you incurred some unnecessary expenses yourself in
London, before your marriage!'
'I wish, Kilcullen, that you had never exceeded your income more than I did
mine. But it is no use talking any further on this subject. I cannot, and I
will not I cannot in justice either to myself or to you, borrow this money
for you; nor, if I could, should I think it right to do so.'
'Then what the devil's the use of talking about it so long?' said the
dutiful son, hastily jumping up from the chair in which he had again sat
down. 'Did you bring me down to Grey Abbey merely to tell me that you knew
of my difficulties, and that you could do nothing to assist me?'
'Now, don't put yourself into a passion pray don't!' said the father, a
little frightened by the sudden ebullition. 'If you'll sit down, and listen
to me, I'll tell you what I propose. I did not send for you here without
intending to point out to you some method of extricating yourself from your
present pecuniary embarrassment; and, if you have any wish to give up your
course, of I must say, reckless profusion, and commence that upright and
distinguished career, which I still hope to see you take, you will, I
think, own that my plan is both a safer and a more expedient one than that
which you have proposed. It is quite time for you now to abandon the
expensive follies of youth; and,' Lord Cashel was getting into a
delightfully dignified tone, and felt himself prepared for a good burst of
common-place eloquence; but his son looked impatient, and as he could not
take such liberty with him as he could with Lord Ballindine, he came to the
point at once, and ended abruptly by saying, 'and get married.'
'For the purpose of allowing my wife to pay my debts?'
'Why, not exactly that; but as, of course, you could not marry any woman
but a woman with a large fortune, that would follow as a matter of
'Your lordship proposes the fortune not as the first object of my
affection, but merely as a corollary. But, perhaps, it will be as well that
you should finish your proposition, before I make any remarks on the
subject.' And Lord Kilcullen, sat down, with a well-feigned look of
'Well, Kilcullen, I have latterly been thinking much about you, and so has
your poor mother. She is very uneasy that you should still still be
unmarried; and Jervis has written to me very strongly. You see it is quite
necessary that something should be done or we shall both be ruined. Now, if
I did raise this sum and I really could not do it I don't think I could
manage it, just at present; but, even if I did, it would only be
encouraging you to go on just in the same way again. Now, if you were to
marry, your whole course of life would be altered, and you would become, at
the same time, more respectable and more happy.'
'That would depend a good deal upon circumstances, I should think.'
'Oh! I am sure you would. You are just the same sort of fellow I was when
at your age, and I was much happier after I was married, so I know it. Now,
you see, your cousin has a hundred thousand pounds; in fact something more
'What? Fanny! Poor Ballindine! So that's the way with him is it! When I was
contradicting the rumour of his marriage with Fanny, I little thought that
I was to be his rival! At any rate, I shall have to shoot him first.'
'You might, at any rate, confine yourself to sense, Lord Kilcullen, when I
am taking so much pains to talk sensibly to you, on a subject which, I
presume, cannot but interest you.'
'Indeed, my lord, I'm all attention; and I do intend to talk sensibly when
I say that I think you are proposing to treat Ballindine very ill. The
world will think well of your turning him adrift on the score of the match
being an imprudent one; but it won't speak so leniently of you if you expel
him, as soon as your ward becomes an heiress, to make way for your own
'You know that I'm not thinking of doing so. I've long seen that Lord
Ballindine would not make a fitting husband for Fanny long before Harry
'And you think that I shall?'
'Indeed I do. I think she will be lucky to get you.'
'I'm flattered into silence: pray go on.'
'You will be an earl a peer and a man of property. What would she become if
she married Lord Ballindine?'
'Oh, you are quite right! Go on. I wonder it never occurred to her before
to set her cap at me.'
'Now do be serious. I wonder how you can joke on such a subject, with all
your debts. I'm sure I feel them heavy enough, if you don't. You see Lord
Ballindine was refused I may say he was refused before we heard about that
poor boy's unfortunate death. It was the very morning we heard of it, three
or four hours before the messenger came, that Fanny had expressed her
resolution to declare it off, and commissioned me to tell him so. And,
therefore, of course, the two things can't have the remotest reference to
'I see. There are, or have been, two Fanny Wyndhams separate persons,
though both wards of your lordship. Lord Ballindine was engaged to the girl
who had a brother; but he can have no possible concern with Fanny Wyndham,
the heiress, who has no brother.'
'How can you he so unfeeling? but you may pay your debts in your own way.
You won't ever listen to what I have to say! I should have thought that, as
your father, I might have considered myself entitled to more respect from
'Indeed, my lord, I'm all respect and attention, and I won't say one more
word till you've finished.'
'Well you must see, there can be no objection on the score of Lord
'Oh, none at all.'
'And then, where could Fanny wish for a better match than yourself? it
would be a great thing for her, and the match would be, in all things,
so so respectable, and just what it ought to be; and your mother would be
so delighted, and so should I, and '
'Her fortune would so nicely pay all my debts.'
'Exactly. Of course, I should take care to have your present income five
thousand a year settled on her, in the shape of jointure; and I'm sure that
would he treating her handsomely. The interest of her fortune would not be
more than that.'
'And what should we live on?'
'Why, of course, I should continue your present allowance.'
'And you think that that which I have found so insufficient for myself,
would be enough for both of us?'
'You must make it enough, Kilcullen in order that there may be something
left to enable you to keep up your title when I am gone.'
By this time, Lord Kilcullen appeared to be as serious, and nearly as
solemn, as his father, and he sat, for a considerable time, musing, till
his father said, 'Well, Kilcullen, will you take my advice?'
'It's impracticable, my lord. In the first place, the money must be paid
immediately, and considerable delay must occur before I could even offer to
Miss Wyndham; and, in the next place, were I to do so, I am sure she would
'Why; there must be some delay, of course. But I suppose, if I passed my
word, through Jervis, for so much of the debts as are immediate, that a
settlement might be made whereby they might stand over for twelve months,
with interest, of course. As to refusing you, it 's not at all likely:
where would she look for a better offer?'
'I don't know much of my cousin; but I don't think she's exactly the girl
to take a man because he's a good match for her.'
'Perhaps not. But then, you know, you understand women so well, and would
have such opportunities; you would be sure to make yourself agreeable to
her, with very little effort on your part.'
'Yes, poor thing she would be delivered over, ready bound, into the lion's
den.' And then the young man sat silent again, for some time, turning the
matter over in his mind. At last, he said 'Well, my lord; I am a
considerate and a dutiful son, and I will agree to your proposition: but I
must saddle it with conditions. I have no doubt that the sum which I
suggested should be paid through your agent, could be arranged to be paid
in a year, or eighteen months, by your making yourself responsible for it,
and I would undertake to indemnify you. But the thirty thousand pounds I
must have at once. I must return to London, with the power of raising it
there, without delay. This, also, I would repay you out of Fanny's fortune.
I would then undertake to use my best endeavours to effect a union with
your ward. But I most positively will not agree to this nor have any hand
in the matter, unless I am put in immediate possession of the sum I have
named, and unless you will agree to double my income as soon as I am
To both these propositions the earl, at first, refused to accede; but his
son was firm. Then, Lord Cashel agreed to put him in immediate possession
of the sum of money he required, but would not hear of increasing his
income. They argued, discussed, and quarrelled over the matter, for a long
time; till, at last, the anxious father, in his passion, told his son that
he might go his own way, and that he would take no further trouble to help
so unconscionable a child. Lord Kilcullen rejoined by threatening
immediately to throw the whole of the property, which was entailed on
himself, into the hands of the Jews.
Long they argued and bargained, till each was surprised at the obstinacy of
the other. They ended, however, by splitting the difference, and it was
agreed, that Lord Cashel was at once to hand over thirty thousand pounds,
and to take his son's bond for the amount; that the other debts were to
stand over till Fanny's money was forthcoming; and that the income of the
newly married pair was to be seven thousand five hundred a-year.
'At least,' thought Lord Kilcullen to himself, as he good-humouredly shook
hands with his father at the termination of the interview 'I have not done
so badly, for those infernal dogs will be silenced, and I shall get the
money. I could not have gone back without that. I can go on with the
marriage, or not, as I may choose, hereafter. It won't be a bad
To do Lord Cashel justice, he did not intend cheating his son, not did he
suspect his son of an intention to cheat him. But the generation was
XIV THE COUNTESS
It was delightful to see on what good terms the earl and his son met that
evening at dinner. The latter even went so far as to be decently civil to
his mother, and was quite attentive to Fanny. She, however, did not seem to
appreciate the compliment. It was now a fortnight since she had heard of
her brother's death, and during the whole of that time she had been silent,
unhappy, and fretful. Not a word more had been said to her about Lord
Ballindine, nor had she, as yet, spoken about him to any one; but she had
been thinking about little else, and had ascertained at least, so she
thought that she could never be happy, unless she were reconciled to him.
The more she brooded over the subject, the more she felt convinced that
such was the case; she could not think how she had ever been induced to
sanction, by her name, such an unwarrantable proceeding as the
unceremonious dismissal of a man to whom her troth had been plighted,
merely because he had not called to see her. As for his not writing, she
was aware that Lord Cashel had recommended that, till she was of age, they
should not correspond. As she thought the matter over in her own room, long
hour after hour, she became angry with herself for having been talked into
a feeling of anger for him. What right had she to be angry because he kept
horses? She could not expect him to put himself into Lord Cashel's leading-
strings. Indeed, she thought she would have liked him less if he had done
so. And now, to reject him just when circumstances put it in her power to
enable her to free him from his embarrassments, and live a manner becoming
his station! What must Frank think of her? For he could not but suppose
that her rejection had been caused by her unexpected inheritance.
In the course of the fortnight, she made up her mind that all Lord Cashel
had said to Lord Ballindine should be unsaid but who was to do it? It would
be a most unpleasant task to perform; and one which, she was aware, her
guardian would be most unwilling to undertake. She fully resolved that she
would do it herself, if she could find no fitting ambassador to undertake
the task, though that would be a step to which she would fain not be
driven. At one time, she absolutely thought of asking her cousin,
Kilcullen, about it this was just before his leaving Grey Abbey; he seemed
so much more civil and kind than usual. But then, she knew so little of
him, and so little liked what she did know: that scheme, therefore, was
given up. Lady Selina was so cold, and prudent would talk to her so much
about propriety, self-respect, and self-control, that she could not make a
confidante of her. No one could talk to Selina on any subject more
immediately interesting than a Roman Emperor, or a pattern for worsted-
work. Fanny felt that she would not be equal, herself, to going boldly to
Lord Cashel, and desiring him to inform Lord Ballindine that he had been
mistaken in the view he had taken of his ward's wishes: no that was
impossible; such a proceeding would probably bring on a fit of apoplexy.
There was no one else to whom she could apply, but her aunt. Lady Cashel
was a very good-natured old woman, who slept the greatest portion of her
time, and knitted through the rest of her existence. She did not take a
prominent part in any of the important doings of Grey Abbey; and, though
Lord Cashel constantly referred to her, for he thought it respectable to do
so, no one regarded her much. Fanny felt, however, that she would neither
scold her, ridicule her, nor refuse to listen: to Lady Cashel, therefore,
at last, she went for assistance.
Her ladyship always passed the morning after breakfast, in a room adjoining
her own bed-room, in which she daily held deep debate with Griffiths, her
factotum, respecting household affairs, knitting-needles, and her own
little ailments and cossetings. Griffiths, luckily, was a woman of much the
same tastes as her ladyship, only somewhat of a more active temperament;
and they were most stedfast friends. It was such a comfort to Lady Cashel
to have some one to whom she could twaddle!
The morning after Lord Kilcullen's departure Fanny knocked at her door, and
was asked to come in. The countess, as usual, was in her easy chair, with
the knitting-apparatus in her lap, and Griffiths was seated at the table,
pulling about threads, and keeping her ladyship awake by small talk.
'I'm afraid I'm disturbing you, aunt,' said Fanny, 'but I wanted to speak
to you for a minute or two. Good morning, Mrs Griffiths.'
'Oh, no! you won't disturb me, Fanny. I was a little busy this morning, for
I wanted to finish this side of the You see what a deal I've done,' and the
countess lugged up a whole heap of miscellaneous worsted from a basket just
under her arm 'and I must finish it by lady-day, or I shan't get the other
done, I don't know when. But still, I've plenty of time to attend to you.'
'Then I'll go down, my lady, and see about getting the syrup boiled,' said
Griffiths. 'Good morning, Miss Wyndham.'
'Do; but mind you come up again immediately I'll ring the bell when Miss
Wyndham is going; and pray don't leave me alone, now.'
'No, my lady not a moment,' and Griffiths escaped to the syrup.
Fanny's heart beat quick and hard, as she sat down on the sofa, opposite to
her aunt. It was impossible for any one to be afraid of Lady Cashel, there
was so very little about her that could inspire awe; but then, what she had
to say was so very disagreeable to say! If she had had to tell her tale out
loud, merely to the empty easy chair, it would have been a dreadful
'Well, Fanny, what can I do for you? I'm sure you look very nice in your
bombazine; and it 's very nicely made up. Who was it made it for you?'
'I got it down from Dublin, aunt; from Foley's.'
'Oh, I remember; so you told me. Griffiths has a niece makes those things
up very well; but then she lives at Namptwich, and one couldn't send to
England for it. I had such a quantity of mourning by me, I didn't get any
made up new; else, I think I must have sent for her.'
'My dear aunt, I am very unhappy about something, and I want you to help
me. I'm afraid, though, it will give you a great deal of trouble.'
'Good gracious, Fanny! what is it? Is it about poor Harry? I'm sure I
grieved about him more than I can tell.'
'No, aunt: he's gone now, and time is the only cure for that grief. I know
I must bear that without complaining. But, aunt, I feel I think, that is,
that I've used Lord Ballindine very ill.'
'Good gracious me, my love! I thought Lord Cashel had managed all that I
thought that was all settled. You know, he would keep those horrid horses,
and all that kind of thing; and what more could you do than just let Lord
Cashel settle it?'
'Yes, but aunt you see, I had engaged myself to Lord Ballindine, and I
don't think in fact oh, aunt! I did not wish to break my word to Lord
Ballindine, and I am very very sorry for what has been done,' and Fanny was
again in tears.
'But, my dear Fanny,' said the countess, so far excited as to commence
rising from her seat the attempt, however, was abandoned, when she felt the
ill effects of the labour to which she was exposing herself 'but, my dear
Fanny what would you have? It's done, now, you know; and, really, it's for
'Oh, but, dear aunt, I must get somebody to see him. I've been thinking
about it ever since he was here with. my uncle. I wouldn't let him think
that I broke it all off, merely because because of poor Harry's money,' and
Fanny sobbed away dreadfully.
'But you don't want to marry him!' said the naïve countess.
Now, Fanny did want to marry him, though she hardly liked saying so, even
to Lady Cashel.
'You know, I promised him I would,' said she; 'and what will he think of
me? what must he think of me, to throw him off so cruelly, so harshly,
after all that's past? Oh, aunt! I must see him again.'
'I know something of human nature,' replied the aunt, 'and if you do, I
tell you, it will end in your being engaged to him again. You know it's off
now. Come, my dear; don't think so much about it: I'm sure Lord Cashel
wouldn't do anything cruel or harsh.'
'Oh, I must see him again, whatever comes of it;' and then she paused for a
considerable time, during which the bewildered old lady was thinking what
she could do to relieve her sensitive niece. 'Dear, dear aunt, I don't want
to deceive you!' and Fanny, springing up, knelt at her aunt's feet, and
looked up into her face. 'I do love him I always loved him, and I cannot,
cannot quarrel with him.' And then she burst out crying vehemently, hiding
her face in the countess's lap.
Lady Cashel was quite overwhelmed. Fanny was usually so much more collected
than herself, that her present prostration, both of feeling and body, was
dreadful to see. Suppose she was to go into hysterics there they would be
alone, and Lady Cashel felt that she had not strength to ring the bell.
'But, my dear Fanny! oh dear, oh dear, this is very dreadful! but,
Fanny he's gone away now. Lift up your face, Fanny, for you frighten me.
Well, I'm sure I'll do anything for you. Perhaps he wouldn't mind coming
back again he always was very good-natured. I'm sure I always liked Lord
Ballindine very much only he would have all those horses. But I'm sure, if
you wish it, I should be very glad to see him marry you; only, you know,
you must wait some time, because of poor Harry; and I'm sure I don't know
how you'll manage with Lord Cashel.'
'Dear aunt I want you to speak to Lord Cashel. When I was angry because I
thought Frank didn't come here as he might have done, I consented that my
uncle should break off the match: besides, then, you know, we should have
had so little between us. But I didn't know then how well I loved him.
Indeed, indeed, aunt, I cannot bring my heart to quarrel with him; and I am
quite, quite sure he would never wish to quarrel with me. Will you go to my
uncle tell him that I've changed my mind; tell him that I was a foolish
girl, and did not know my mind. But tell him I must be friends with Frank
'Well, of course I'll do what you wish me indeed, I would do anything for
you, Fanny, as if you were one of my own; but really, I don't know Good
gracious! What am I to say to him? Wouldn't it be better, Fanny, if you
were to go to him yourself?'
'Oh, no, aunt; pray do you tell him first. I couldn't go to him; besides,
he would do anything for you, you know. I want you to go to him do, now,
dear aunt and tell him not from me, but from yourself how very, very much
I that is, how very very but you will know what to say; only Frank must,
must come back again.'
'Well, Fanny, dear, I'll go to Lord Cashel; or, perhaps, he wouldn't mind
coming here. Ring the bell for me, dear. But I'm sure he'll be very angry.
I'd just write a line and ask Lord Ballindine to come and dine here, and
let him settle it all himself, only I don't think Lord Cashel would like
Griffiths answered the summons, and was despatched to the book-room to tell
his lordship that her ladyship would be greatly obliged if he would step
upstairs to her for a minute or two; and, as soon as Griffiths was gone on
her errand, Fanny fled to her own apartment, leaving her aunt in a very
bewilder and pitiable state of mind: and there she waited, with palpitating
heart and weeping eyes, the effects of the interview.
She was dreadfully nervous, for she felt certain that she would be summoned
before her uncle. Hitherto, she alone, in all the house, had held him in no
kind of awe; indeed, her respect for her uncle had not been of the most
exalted kind; but now she felt she was afraid of him.
She remained in her room much longer than she thought it would have taken
her aunt to explain what she had to say. At last, however, she heard
footsteps in the corridor, and Griffiths knocked at the door. Her aunt
would be obliged by her stepping into her room. She tried not to look
disconcerted, and asked if Lord Cashel were still there. She was told that
he was; and she felt that she had to muster up all her courage to encounter
When she went into the room, Lady Cashel was still in her easy-chair, but
the chair seemed to lend none of its easiness to its owner. She was sitting
upright, with her hands on her two knees, and she looked perplexed,
distressed, and unhappy. Lord Cashel was standing with his back to the
fire-place, and Fanny had never seen his face look so black. He really
seemed, for the time, to have given over acting, to have thrown aside his
dignity, and to be natural and in earnest.
Lady Cashel began the conversation.
'Oh, Fanny,' she said, 'you must really overcome all this sensitiveness;
you really must. I've spoken to your uncle, and it's quite impossible, and
very unwise; and, indeed, it can't be done at all. In fact, Lord Ballindine
isn't, by any means, the sort of person I supposed.'
Fanny knit her brows a little at this, and felt somewhat less humble than
she did before. She knew she should get indignant if her uncle abused her
lover, and that, if she did, her courage would rise in proportion. Her aunt
continued 'Your uncle's very kind about it, and says he can, of course,
forgive your feeling a little out of sorts just at present; and, I'm sure,
so can I, and I'm sure I'd do anything to make you happy; but as for making
it all up with Lord Ballindine again, indeed it cannot be thought of,
Fanny; and so your uncle will tell you.'
And then Lord Cashel opened his oracular mouth, for the purpose of doing
'Really, Fanny, this is the most unaccountable thing I ever heard of. But
you'd better sit down, while I speak to you,' and Fanny sat down on the
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