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that which attracted most of Linton's attention. On the contrary,
hi^ eye ranged more willingly over tlie wide woods which stretched
for miles along the river's side, and rose and fell in many a gentle
undulation inland. A common-place observer, had such been there
to mark him, would have pronounced him one passionately devoted to
scenery ; a man who loved to watch the passing cloud-shadows of a
landscape, enjoying with all a painter's delight the varying tints, the
graceful lines, the sharp-thrown shadows, and the brilliant lights of a
woodland picture ; a deeper physiognomist would, however, have seen
that tlie stern stare, and the compressed lip, the intense preoccupa-
tion which every feature exhibited, did not denote a mind bent upon
such themes.

" Tom Linton, of Tubbermore," said he, at length — and it seemed
as if uttering the words gave relief to his overburdened faculties, for
his face relaxed, and his habitual, easy smile returned to his mouth —
'• Linton, of Tubbermore ; it sounds well, too.

" And then the great game ! that game for which I have pined so
long and wished so ardently — which I have stood by and seen others
play and lose, where I could have won — ay, won rank, honour, station,
and fame. The heaviest curse that lies on men like me is to watch
those who rise to eminence in the world and know their utter shallow-
ness and incapacity. There will soon be an end to that now. Stand
by, gentlemen ; make way, my Lords Charles and Harry ; it is Tom
Linton's turn — not Linton the ' Adventurer,' as you were gracious
enougli to call him — not the bear-leader of a Marquis, or the hanger-
on of his Grace the Duke, but your equal in rank and fortune —
more than your equal in other things ; the man who knows you all
thoroughly, not fancying your deficiencies and speculating on your
short-comings, as your vulgar adversaries, your men of cotton consti-
tuencies, are wont to do, but the man who has seen you in your club
and your drawing-room, who has eaten, drunk, betted, played and
lived with you all ! who knows your tactics well, and can expound
your 'aristocratic prejudices better than ever a Quaker of them all !'
— Not but," said he, after a pause, " another line would satisfy me
equally. The Peerage, with such a fortune as this, is no inordinate
ambition ; a few years in the House, of that dogged, unmanageable
conduct Euglishmen call independence — a capriciousness in voting —
the repute of refusing office, and so on. There's no originality in the



86 KOLAND CA8HEL.

tliought, but it succeeds as well as if there were ! Besides, if liard
pressed, I cau be a Eomanist, and, as times go, witli every party ;
that is a strong claim. And why not Lord Linton? I have no
doubt" — and he laughed as he spoke this — " there is a Peerage in the
family already, if I only knew where to look for it !

" And now, sufficient of speculation ! to open the campaign !" So
saying, he descended the knoll, and took the path which led to the
cottage. As he drew uear the wicket, he saw a man lounging beside
it, in all that careless indifference which an Irish peasant can assume ,
and soon perceived it was Tom Keane, the gatekeeper.

" Good morrow, Tom ; how comes it you are up here so early?"
" 'Tis in throuble I am, your Honer," said he, taking off his hat,
and putting on that supplicating look so characteristic of his class.
" The master's going to turn me out of the little place beyant."
" What for ?"

" For nothing at all, yom: Honer : that's just it ; but ould Kenny-
feck put him up to it."

" Up to what ? That seems the whole question."
" Tour Honer may remimber, that when you came here first, the
cattle of the neighbours was used to come and pick a mouthful of
grass — and poor grass it was — bekase there was no way of keeping
them out. Well, when the master came down, and all the people,
by coorse the cows and pigs couldn't be let in as afore ; for, as the
af^int said, it was a disgrace to see them xinder the nose of the qua-
lity, running about as if it was Donnybrook fair ! ' Don't let them
appear here again, Tom Keane,' says he, ' or it will be worse for you,'
And sorra one ever I let in since that, till it was dark night. But
ould Mr. Kennyfeck, the other evening, takes it into his head to walk
into tho park, and comes right into a crowd of two-year-old bulls, and
didn't know a bit where he was, tiU a man called out, ' Lie down on
your face, for tho love of the Virgin, or you are a dead man. The
bullsheens is comin' !' And down he lay, sure enough, and hard
work they had to get him up afterwards, for the herd went over him
as the man drov' them off ; and what between bruises and fear, he
kept his bed two days ; but the worst of it was, the spalpeens said
that they paid tlu^eepence apiece for the bullsheens every night for
the grass, and it was to me they gave it."

" Which, of course, was untrue ?" said Linton, smiling knowingly.

" By coorse it was !" said Tom, with a laugh, whose meaning there

was no mistaking ; '" and so, I'm to be turned out of ' the gate,' and

to lose my few acres of ground, and be thruu on the wide world, just

for sake of an attorney !"

" It is very hard — very hard indeed."
" Isn't it now, your Honer ?"



EOLAND CASHEL. 87

" A case of destitution, completely ; wliat the newspapers call ' ex-
termination.' "

" Exactly, Sir — tarnination, and nothing less."
" But how comes it that you are up here, on that account ?"
" I was thinking, Sir, if I saw Miss Mary, and could get her to
spake a word to the master — they say she can do what she plazes
with him."

" Indeed ! — who says so ?"

" The servants' liall says it ; and so does Mr. Corrigan's ould
butler. He towld me the other day that he hoped he'd be claning
the plate up at the big house before he died."

" How so ?" said Linton, affecting not to catch the intention of
the remark.

" Just that he was to be butler at the Hall when the master was
married to Miss Mary."

" And so, I suppose, this is very likely to happen ?"

" Sure yer Honer knows betther than ignorant craytures like us ;
but faix, if walking about in the moonlight there among the flowers,
and talking together like whisperin', is any sign, I wouldn't wonder
if it came about."

" Indeed ! and they have got that far ?"

" Ay, faith !" said Tom, with a significance of look only an Irish-
man or an Italian can call up.

" "Well, I had no suspicion of this," said Linton, with a frankness
meant to invite further confidence.

" An' why would yer Honer ? Sure wasn't it always on the even-
ings, when the company was all together in the great house, that Mr.
Cashel used to steal down here and tie his horse to the wicket, and
then gallop back again at full speed, so that the servants towld me he
was never missed out of the room."

" And does she like him— do they say she likes him ?'^

"Not like him wid a place such as this!" said Tom, waving his
hand towards the wide-spreading fields and woods of the demesne.
" Bathershin ! sure the Queen of England might be proud of it !"

" Very true," said Linton, affecting to be struck by the shrewdness
of the speaker,

" See now," said Tom, who began to feel a certain importance from
being listened to, "I know faymales weU, and so I ought ! but take
the nicest, quietest, and most innocent one among them, and by my
conscience ye'U see, 'tis money and money's worth she cares for more
nor the best man that ever stepped ! Tell her 'tis silk she'll be wearin',
and goold in her ears, and ye may be as ould and ugly as Tim Hogan
at the cross-roods !"

" You haven't a good opinion of the fair sex, Thomas," said Lin-



88 BOLAND CASHEL.

ton, carelessly, for he was far less interested in his speculations than
his facts. " "Well, as to your own case — leave that in my hands. I
may not have all the influence of Miss Leicester, but I suspect that .
I can do what you want on this occasion." And without waiting
for the profuse expressions of his gratitude, Linton passed on and
entered the garden, through which a little path led directly to the
door of the cottage.

" At breakfast, I suppose ?" said Linton to the servant who re-
ceived him.

" The master is. Sir ; but Miss Mary isn't well this morning."
" Nothing of consequence, I hope ?"

" Only a headache from fatigue, Sir." So saying, he ushered Lin-
ton, whose visits were admitted on the most intimate footing, into
the room where Mr. Corrigan sat by himself at the breakfast-table.

" Alone, Sir !" said Liuton, as he closed tlie door behind him, and
conveying in his look an air of surprise and alarm.

" Yes, Mr. Lintoo, almost the only time I remember to have been
so for many a year. My poor child has had a night of some anxiety,
which, although bearing well at the time, has exacted its penalty' at
last in a slight attack of fever. It will, I trust, pass over in a few
hours ; and you — where have you been — they said you had been
absent for a day or two ?"

" A very short ramble. Sir — one of business rather than pleasure.
I learned suddenly — by a newspaper paragraph, too — that a distant
relative of my mother's had died in the East, leaving a considerable
amount of property to myself; and so, setting out, I arrived at
Limerick, intending to sail for Liverpool, when, who should I meet,
almost the first person I saw, but my agent, just come in haste from
London, to confer witli me on the subject. The meeting was so far
agreeable, that it saved me a journey I had no fancy for, and also put
me in possession of the desired information regarding the property.
My agent, speaking of course from imperfect knowledge, calls it a
large — what a man like myself would style — a very large fortune."

" I give you joy, with all my heart," cried Corrigan, grasping his
hand in both his, and shaking it cordially. " When wealtli descends
to men who have shown their ability to maintain an honourable sta-
tion without it, the chances are greatly in favour of its being nobly
and generously employed."

*' How I hope that I may not disgrace your theory," said Linton,
*' for I am not ashamed to assert that I have fulfilled the first con-
dition of the category. "With little else but good birth and a fair
education, I had to start in the race against others with every aid of
fortune, and if I have not reached a more elevated position, I can say
that the obstacle lay rather in my own scruples than my incapacity.
I declined Parliamentary life because I would not be a nominee ; I



EOLANJ) CASUEL, 89

Lad a glancing suspicion that my time would come, too, when, with-
out other check upon my motives than the voice of conscience, I
should stand in the British Senate a free and independent member.
If I have waited patiently for this hour, I hope I have not abused
the leisure interval, and that I may bring to the public service some-
thing besides the zeal of one who feels the importance of his trust."

" There is no failure with intentions pure and honourable as
these," said Corrigan, warmly. " It does not need your talents,
Mr. Linton, to ensure success in such a path ; one-half of your
ability, so nobly backed, would reach the goal. And now tell me, if
I be not indiscreet in asking some of your plans, what place do you
mean to stand for?"

" Our good borough of Derraheeny," said Linton, half smiling.
" I am in a measure committed to continue my canvass there, and,
indeed, have already entered into securities to keep my pledge. I
see these words sound a little' mysteriously, but I intend to explain
them ; only I must ask one favour of you. I hope, before I leave
the room, to show that I have, if not a claim upon your generosity,
at least a plea to warrant my request. My entreaty is this, that you
will never divulge to any one what I shall now tell you."

" Pray, my dear friend, consider for a moment what you are ask-
ing. Why make me the depositary of a secret ? An old man, whose
very years are like ' fissures in the strong keep,' where mysteries
should be imprisoned."

" Could I participate in your reasonings, my dear Sir, there is yet
enough in the present instance to make it an exception. This is a
matter you ought to know iovyow sake, and to keep secret for mine.''

" Then you have my promise," said Corrigan, frankly.

" I'll be brief with my explanation," said Linton. " When there
was a design, some time back, of my accepting the representation of
the borough, Cashel offered me his property of Tubber-beg, on
terms wliicli very nearly approached a gift. This — though at tlie
time our relations were those of the closest friendsliip — I refused ;
but, as I had made some progress in my canvass of the borough,
there was a difficulty in abandoning the position ; and so tlie matter
hung, each hoping that the other would suggest some arrangement
that miglit satisfy both. This fortunate device, however, was not to
be discovered, and as, for some time back, our intercourse had be-
come gradually less intimate, the chance of such a solution di-
minished daily.

" In this way the affair stood, when, a couple of mornings since, I
felt it my duty, as one who really felt an interest in him, to remon-
strate with Eoland on a circumstance which, without any affectation
of prudery, would have gravely compromised himself, and, worse still,
another person. It was a case — I know not exactlv how to touch



90 DOLAND CASHEL.

upon a matter of such delicacy — enougli if I say it was one where a
persistence in his conduct must have ended in disgrace to him, ruin
and misery to another. Poor thing ! she is, indeed, to be pitied ; and
if there be extenuation for such cases, hers is one to claim it. I knew
her as Laura Gardiner, the handsomest creature I ever beheld. Well,
well, it is a theme I must not linger on. Cashel, so far from receiving
my counsel as I hoped, and indeed expected, resented it with anger
and rudeness, and even questioned the degree of intimacy on which I
presumed to give my unasked advice.

" I am fortunately a man of cool temper, and so I bore this un-
generous return better than most others might ; and seeing that it
"would possibly be the last occasion I should ever have of giving even
unwilling counsel, I spoke to him freely and openly. I told him that
his mode of living, while derogatory to the hopes conceived of him,
was one that must end at last in ruin ; that no fortune could stand
his losses at play, and the wasteful extravagance of his caprices. I
pressed the matter as strongly as I was able, and represented that his
habits bore no reference whatever to his income.

" ' It is quite true,' said he, with a sneering tone ; ' I cannot
readily forget I am chargeable with all these wasteful ways you speak
of, nor do I feel that I make any the slightest defence of myself, in
regard to habits, where my generosity has been as lavish as it has
been ill bestowed. '

" ' I wish I knew if I understand you aright ?' said I.

" ' Tour comprehension is of the quickest where there is question
of a favour to be received.'

" I did not trust myself with any answer to this speech, which I
well knew was a trait of his old buccaneer life. I withdrew, and has-
tening to his law-agent, Kennyfeck, I at once arranged for the pur-
chase of this small property. The moment for me was propitious.
They were in want of ready money, and the treaty was completed
the same day. There is the title."

As he spoke, he threw down tlie parchment deed upon the table,
and lay back in his chair, watching with intense delight the expres-
sion of sadness and disappointment on Corrigan's features.

" Good Heavens !" exclaimed the old man at last, " how deceived I
have been in him !"

"I confess that is what wounds me most in the whole transaction,"
said Linton, with a mock emotion in his manner. " One is well ac-
customed through life to meet sordid motives in mere men of the
world, and who deem their low-bom subtlety cleverness ; but to find
a young fellow, beginning life with an ample fortune and a fair
position, [surrounded by all the blandishments' that wealth charms
up "'

'' Hold !" cried Corrigan, laying his hand on Linton's arm ; " I



EOLAND CASHEL. 91

cannot bear this. It is not at my age, Sir, that disappointments like
these can be borne easily. I have too short a time before me here to
hope to recover from such shocks."

" I would not williugly give you pain, my dear Sir ; nor, indeed,
is this the topic on which I am most anxious to address you. An-
other and a very diiFerent interest led me hither this morning ; and,
although I have thought long and maturely on the subject, I am as
far as ever from knowing how to approach it. My own unworthiness
to what I aspire recoils upon me at every instant, and nothing but
the indulgent kindness with which you have always regarded me
could give me coui'age. Forgive me this prolixity ; I am like one
who fears to plunge, lest he should never rise again."

" If my estimate of you be correct," said the old man, laying his
hand upon Linton's, " the goal must needs be high to which you dare
not aspire."

" It is indeed so !" cried Linton, as if carried away by an irresistible
emotion. " To me it means station, hope, worldly success, happi-
ness, — ay, life itself. I cannot longer tamper with your feelings, nor
my own. The ambition of which I speak, is to be your son ; not
alone in the aliectionate love which already I bear you, but by the
closest and dearest ties, to be bound to you in the same chain by
which she is, who owns all my heart and all my destiny."

He stopped as if overcome ; and Corrigan, compassionating the
agitation he seemed to suffer, said,

" Be calm, my dear friend ; this takes me by surprise. I was not
in any way prepared for such an announcement ; nor have I courage
to look at its consequences ; poor, old, companionless as I should
be "

" Nay, such cruelty was not in my thoughts. It was with far other
intentions I became possessed of the property. It was in the glorious
hope that it would be our home — yours and mine together ; not to
render your hearth desolate, but to give it another guest, whose duty
would be his title to be there."

" Let me think, — ^let me reflect on this, — let me separate my own
selfish thoughts from the higher ones that should guide me. You
have not spoken to- my daughter ?"

" No, Sir ; I deemed the more honourable course to have your
sanction ; or, if not that, to bury my sorrows in silence for ever."

" There is so much to consider, and I am so weak and infirm, so
inadequate to decide. Tour proposal is a 'proud one for any girl, I
know it ; and we are proud, although poor. Ay, Mr. Linton, poor
to very necessity ! If her affections were engaged by you, if I saw
that your high qualities had made the impression upon her that they
have on me, I own this offer would delight me ; but can you say this
is the case ?"



92 EOLAND CASUEL.

" I hope, Sir, I am not indifferent to Miss Leicester. The liumble
fortune which has restrained me hitherto, and prevented my prose-
cuting an attachment to which I felt I had no claim, exists no longer.
I am independent in means, as iu opinion ; and, however conscious of
my personal unworthiness in all that regards station and condition,
I'm in a position to satisfy you. I only ask your sanction to address
Miss Leicester — to know, in fact, that if I should prove acceptable
to her, that you will not look unfavourably upon me."

" This appears most candid and fair on your part ; aud it is a time
when we must both use candour and fairness. Is^ow, Mr. Linton,
there are circumstances which at this moment involve me in con-
siderable diflBculty ; I cannot enter into them just yet ; but they may
offer grave obstacles to what you propose. I will, therefore, beg of
you not to press me for my answer. I see this delay is dis-
pleasing "

" Nay, Sir, I am ready to yield to anything you suggest ; but is it
not possible that my assistance and advice might be of service in these
difficulties you speak of?"

" There is another point, Mr. Linton — and I know you will think
better of me for all my frankness. Are your friends — your family I
mean — aware of this step of yours ; are you certain of their concur-
rence in it ?"

" I have few relatives living. Sir," said Linton, reddening ; "but I
can answer for their participation in all that so nearly concerns my
happiness."

" This evening, then ; come to me this evening-, then," said Mr.
Corrigan, " aud you shall hear my sentiments."

"This is most kind; I can ask for nothing more," said Linton;
and with a most affectionate pressure of the old man's hand, departed.



CHAPTER XIV.

Be grateful too ! you ask, " for what ?"
Simply, for that you never got ;
And you'll get something yet.
, Machiavblli Travestied.

Me. Linton, like a large majority of the cunning people in this
world, made the mistake of supposing that every one had an " after-
tliought" — some secret mental reservation in all he said; that, in
fact, no one told " the whole truth" on any subject. Now, judging
Mr. Corrigan by this rule, he came to tlic conclusion that the old
gentleman had not received his addresses with all the warmth that



i



110LA>"D CASIIEL. 93

might be expected ; — possibly, in the hope of a more advantageous
offer — possibly, because, in his old Irish pride of family, he had got
to learn who this Mr. Linton was, what his connexions, and what
position they held in the society of their own country.

In this way did Linton read the old man's inquiry as to the " con-
currence of his relatives." It was, to his thinking, a mere subtle
attempt to ascertain who and what these same relatives were. " A
clever stroke in its way," thought Tom, " but I am not to be drawn
out of my entrenchment so' easily. Still, the theme will linger in
his mind, and must be got rid of."

Linton knew well how the influence of rank and title can smooth
down difficulties of this kind, and ran over in his mind the names of
at least a dozen Peers, any one of whom, in such an emergency, would
have owned him for a half-brother, or a cousin, at least.

It was provoking to think how many there were, at that dull
season, listless and unemployed, who could, were he only able to
summon them, stand sponsors to his rank and condition. Measuring
Corrigan by what he had witnessed in other men of small fortune and
retired lives, he deemed "a Lord" was all-essential. Linton had seen
a great deal of life, and a great deal of that submissive homage so
readily conceded to nobility. A Lord, at a wedding, is like a Cap-
tain, in a duel. They are the great ingredients which warrant that
these events '* come off," properly. They place beyond all cavil or
question whatever may occur ; and they are the recognisances one
enters into with the world that he is " spliced" or shot like a gentle-
man. It is quite true Linton was above this vulgarity; but he was
not above the vulgarity of attributing it to another.

The more he reflected on this, the more did he believe it to be the
solution of the whole difficulty. " My kingdom for a Lord !" ex-
claimed he, laughing aloud at the easy gullibility of that world which
he had duped so often.

The reader is aware that of the pleasant company of Tubbermore,
Lord Kilgoff was the only representative of the Peerage ; and to him
Linton's thoughts at once resorted, as tlie last hope in his emergency.
Of late his Lordship had been gradually mending : clear intervals
broke through the mist of his clouded faculties, and displayed him,
for tlie time, in all his wonted self-importance, irritability, and perti-
nacity. To catch him in one of these fortunate moments was tlie ob-
ject, and so induce him to pay a visit to the cottage.

Could he but succeed in this, none better than the old Peer to play
the part assigned to him. The very qualities to make his society in-
tolerable would be, here, the earnest of success. The imperturbable
conceit, the pompous distance of his manner, would repel inquiry,
and Linton saw that his oracle would not utter one word moie than
he ought.



94 EOLAND CASnEL.

" He will Bot — I dare not ask him — to call me his relative," said
he ; " but I can easily throw a hazy indistinctness over our intimacy.
He can be a friend of ' my poor father' " — Tom laughed at the con-
ceit — '' one who knew me from the cradle. "With him for a fore-
ground figure, I'll soon paint an imaginary group around him, not one
of whom shall be less than a Marquis.

" With Mary this will not succeed. Laura, indeed, might do me
good service in that quarter, but I cannot trust her. Were she more



Online LibraryCharles James LeverRoland Cashel (Volume 2) → online text (page 10 of 32)