lady's love. Ulick was soon established in her mind as 'a very
pretty behaved young gentleman.'
In the evenings, when Mr. Kendal read aloud, Ulick listened, and
enjoyed it from the corner where he sheltered his eyes from the
light. He was told that he ought to go to bed quickly, but after the
ladies were in their rooms, a long buzzing murmur was heard in the
passage, and judicious peeping revealed the two gentlemen, each,
candle in hand, the one with his back against the wall at the top of
the stairs, the other leaning upon the balusters three steps below,
and there they stayed, till the clock struck one, and Ulick's candle
'What could you be talking about?' asked the aggrieved Albinia.
'Prometheus Vinctus,' composedly returned Mr. Kendal.
Ulick's eagerness in collecting every crumb of scholarship was a
great bond of union; but there was still more in the bright, open,
demonstrative nature of the youth, which had a great attraction for
the reserved, serious Mr. Kendal, and scarcely a day had passed
before they were on terms of intimacy, almost like an elder and
younger brother. Admitted into the family as a connexion, Ulick at
once viewed the girls as cousins, and treated them with the same easy
grace of good-natured familiarity as if they had been any of the
nineteen Miss O'Mores around Ballymakilty.
'How is your head now?' asked Mr. Kendal. 'You are late this
'Yes,' said Ulick, entering the drawing-room, which was ruddy with
firelight, and fragrant with the breath of the conservatory, and
leaning over an arm-chair, as he tried to rub the aching out of his
brow; 'there were some accounts to finish up and my additions came
out different every time.'
'A sure sign that you ought to have left off.'
'I was just going to have told my uncle I was good for nothing to-day,
when I heard old Johns mumbling something to him about Mr. More
being unwell, and looking up, I saw that cold grey eye twinkling at
me, as much as to say he was proud to see how soon an Irishman could
be beaten. So what could I do but give him look for look, and go on
with eight and seven, and five and two, as unconcerned as he was.'
'Well,' said Mr. Kendal, 'you know I think that your uncle's apparent
indifference may be his fashion of being your best friend.'
'I'd take it like sunshine in May from a stranger, and be proud to
disappoint him,' said Ulick, 'but to call himself my uncle, and use
my mother's own eyes to look at me that way, that's the stroke! and
to think that I'm only striving to harden myself by force of habit to
be exactly like him! I'd rather enlist to-morrow, if that would not
be his greatest triumph!' he cried, pressing his hands hard on his
temple. 'It is very childish, but I could forgive him anything but
using my mother's eyes that way!'
'You will yet rejoice in the likeness,' said Mr. Kendal. 'You must
believe in more than you can trace, and when your perseverance has
conquered his esteem, the rest will follow.'
'Follow? The rest, as you call it, would go before at home,' sighed
Ulick, wearily. 'Esteem is like fame! what I want begins without it,
and lives as well with or without it!'
'Perhaps,' said his friend, 'Mr. Goldsmith would think it weakness to
show preference to a relation before it was earned.'
'Ah then,' cried Ulick, in a quaint Irish tone, 'Heaven have mercy on
the little children!'
'Yes, the doctrine can only be consistently held by a solitary man.'
'Where would we be but for inconsistency?' exclaimed Ulick.
'I do not like to hear you talk in that manner,' said Sophy.
'Inconsistency is mere weakness.'
'Ah! then you are the dangerous character,' said Ulick, with a droll
gesture of sheltering himself behind the chair.
'I did not call myself consistent, I wish I were,' she said, gravely.
'How she must love the French!' returned Ulick, confidentially
turning to her father.
'Not at all, I detest them.'
'Then you are inconsistent, for they're the very models of
'Yes, to bad principles,' said Sophy.
'Robespierre was a prime specimen of consistency to good principle!'
Sophy turned to her father, and with an odd dubious look, asked him,
'Is be teasing me?'
'He'd be proud to have the honour,' Ulick made answer, so that Mr.
Kendal's smile grew broad. It was the funniest thing to see Ulick
sporting with Sophy's gravity, constraining her to playfulness, with
something of the compulsion exercised by a large frolicsome puppy
upon a sober old dog of less size and strength.
'I do not like to see powers wasted on paradox,' she said, even as
the grave senior might roll up his lip and snarl.
'I'm in earnest, Sophy,' pursued Ulick, changing his note to
eagerness. 'La grande nation herself finds that logic was her bane.
Consistency was never made for man! Why where would this world be if
it did not go two ways at once?'
Sophy did laugh at this Irish version of the centripetal and
centrifugal forces, but she held out. 'The earth describes a circle;
I like straight lines.'
'Much we shall have of the right direction, unless we are content to
turn right about face,' said Ulick. 'The best path of life is but a
'What does he know of herring-boning?' asked Mrs. Kendal, coming in
at the moment, with a white cashmere cloak folded picturesquely over
her delicate blue silk. Ulick in a moment assumed a less careless
attitude, as he answered -
'I found my poetical illustration on the motion of the earth too much
for her, so I descended to the herring-bone as more suited to her
'There he is, mamma,' said Sophy, 'pleading that consistency is the
most ruinous thing in the world.'
'I thought as much,' said Albinia. 'Prometheus and his kin do most
abound when Ulick's head is worst, and papa is in greatest danger of
Mr. Kendal turned round, looked at the time-piece, and marched off.
'But mamma!' continued Sophy, driving straight at her point, 'what do
you think of consistency?'
'Oh, mamma!' cried Lucy, coming into the room in a flutter of white;
'there you are in your beautiful blue! Have you really put it on for
Sophy bit her lip, neither pleased at the interruption, nor at the
'Have you a graduated scale of dresses for all your friends, Lucy?
'Everybody has, I suppose,' said Lucy.
'Ah! then I shall know how to judge how I stand in your favour. I
never knew so well what the garb of friendship meant.'
'You must know which way her scale goes,' said Albinia, laughing at
Sophy's evident affront at the frivolous turn the conversation had
'That needs no asking,' quoth Ulick, 'Unadorned, adorned the most for
the nearest the hearth.'
'That's all conceit,' said Lucy. 'Maybe familiarity breeds
'No, no, when young ladies despise, they use a precision that says,
"'Tis myself I care for, and not you."'
'What an observer!' cried Lucy. 'Now then, interpret my dress to-night!'
'How can you, Lucy!' muttered the scandalized Sophy.
'Well, Sophy, as you will have him to torment with philosophy this
whole evening, I think you might give him a little respite,' said
Lucy, good-humouredly. 'I want to know what my dress reveals to
him!' and drawing up her head, where two coral pins contrasted with
her dark braids, and spreading out her full white skirts and cerise
trimmings, she threw her figure into an attitude, and darted a merry
challenge from her lively black eyes, while Ulick availed himself of
the permission to look critically, and Sophy sank back disgusted.
'Miss Kendal can, when she is inclined, produce as much effect with
her beams of the second order as with all her splendours displayed.'
'Stuff,' said Lucy.
'Stuff indeed,' more sincerely murmured Sophy.
'Say something in earnest,' said Lucy. 'You professed to tell what I
thought of the people.'
'I hope you'll never put on such new white gloves where I'm the party
'What do you mean?'
'They are a great deal too unexceptionable.'
If there were something coquettish in the manner of these two, it did
not give Albinia much concern. It was in him 'only Irish;' and Fred
Ferrars had made her believe that it was rather a sign of the absence
of love than of its presence. She saw much more respect and interest
in his mischievous attacks on Sophy's gravity, and though Lucy both
pitied him and liked chattering with him, it was all the while under
the secret protest that he was only a banker's clerk.
Sophy was glad of the presence of a third person to obviate the
perils of her evenings with grandmamma, and she beheld the trio set
off to their dinner-party, without the usual dread of being betrayed
into wrangling. Mr. O'More devoted himself to the old lady's
entertainment, he amused her with droll stories, and played
backgammon with her. Then she composed herself to her knitting, and
desired them not to mind her, she liked to hear young people talk
cheerfully; whereupon Sophy, by way of light and cheerful
conversation, renewed the battle of consistency with a whole
broadside of heavy metal.
When the diners-out came home, they found the war raging as hotly as
ever; a great many historical facts and wise sayings having been
fired off on both sides, and neither having found out that each meant
the same thing.
However, the hours had gone imperceptibly past them, which could not
be said for the others. The half-yearly dinners at Mr. Drury's were
Albinia's dread nearly as much as Mr. Kendal's aversion. He was
certain, whatever he might intend, to fall into a fit of absence, and
she was almost equally sure to hear something unpleasant, and to
regret her own reply. On the whole, however, Mr. Kendal came away on
this evening the least dissatisfied, for Mr. Goldsmith had asked him
with some solicitude, whether he thought 'that lad, young More,'
positively unwell; and had gone the length of expressing that he
seemed to be fairly sharp, and stuck to his work. Mr. Kendal seized
the moment for telling his opinion, of Ulick, and though Mr.
Goldsmith coughed and looked dry and almost contemptuous, he was
perceptibly gratified, and replied with a maxim evidently intended
both as an excuse for himself and as a warning to the Kendals, that
young men were always spoilt by being made too much of - in his
younger days - &c.
Lucy, meantime, was undergoing the broad banter of her unrefined
cousins on the subject of the Irish clerk. A very little grace in
the perpetration would have made it grateful to her vanity, but this
was far too broad raillery, and made her hold up her head with
protestations of her perfect indifference, to which her cousins
manifested incredulity, visiting on her with some petty spite their
small jealousies of her higher pretensions, and of the attention
which had been paid to her by Mr. Cavendish Dusautoy.
'Not that he will ever look at you again, Lucy, you need not flatter
yourself,' said the amiable Sarah Anne. 'Harry Wolfe writes that he
was flirting with a beautiful young lady who came to see Oxford, and
that he is spending quantities of money.'
'It is nothing to me, I am sure,' retorted Lucy. 'Besides, Gilbert
says no such thing.'
'Gilbert! oh, no!' exclaimed Miss Drury; 'why, he is just as bad
himself. Papa said, from what Mrs. Wolfe told him, he would not take
500 pounds to pay Mr. Gilbert's bills.'
Albinia had been hearing much the same story from Mrs. Drury, though
not so much exaggerated, and administered with more condolence. She
did not absolutely believe, and yet she could not utterly disbelieve,
so the result was a letter to Gilbert, with an anxious exhortation to
be careful, and not to be deluded into foolish expenditure in
imitation of the Polysyllable; and as no special answer was returned,
she dismissed the whole from her mind as a Drury allegation.
The horse chanced to be lame, so that Gilbert could not be met at
Hadminster on his return from Oxford, but much earlier than the
omnibus usually lumbered into Bayford, he astonished Sophy, who was
lying on the sofa in the morning-room, by marching in with a free and
easy step, and a loose coat of the most novel device.
'No one else at home?' he asked.
'Only grandmamma. We did not think the omnibus would come in so
soon, but I suppose you took a fly, as there were three of you.'
'As if we were going to stand six miles of bus with the Wolfe cub!
No, Dusautoy brought his horse down with him, and I took a fly!' said
Gilbert. 'Well, and what's the matter with Captain; has the Irishman
been riding him?'
Sophy bit her lip to prevent an angry answer, and was glad that
Maurice rushed in, fall of uproarious joy. 'Hollo! boy, how you
grow! What have you got there?'
'It's my new pop-gun, that Ulick made me, I'll shoot you,' cried
Maurice, retiring to a suitable distance.
'I declare the child has caught the brogue! Is the fellow here
'What fellow?' coldly asked Sophy.
'Why, this pet of my father's.'
'Bang!' cried Maurice, and a pellet passed perilously close to
'Don't, child. Pray is this banker's clerk one of our fixtures,
'I don't know why you despise him, unless it is because it is what
you ought to be yourself,' Sophy was provoked into retorting.
'Apparently my father has a monomania for the article.' Gilbert
intended to speak with provoking coolness; but another fraternal
pellet hit him fall in the nose, and the accompanying shout of glee
was too much for an already irritated temper. With passion most
unusual in him, he caught hold of the child, and exclaiming, 'You
little imp, what do you mean by it?' he wrenched the weapon out of
his hand, and dashed it into the fire, in the midst of an energetic
'For shame!' from his sister. Maurice, with a furious 'Naughty
Gilbert,' struck at him with both his little fists clenched, and then
precipitated himself over the fender to snatch his treasure from the
grate, but was instantly captured and pulled back, struggling,
kicking, and fighting with all his might, till, to the equal relief
of both brothers, Sophy held up the pop-gun in the tongs, one end
still tinged with a red glow, smoky, blackened, and perfumed.
Maurice made one bound, she lowered it into his grasp as the last red
spark died out, and he clasped it as Siegfried did the magic sword!
'There, Maurice, I didn't mean it,' said Gilbert, heartily ashamed
and sorry; 'kiss and make it up, and then put on your hat, and we'll
come up to old Smith's and get such a jolly one!'
The forgiving child had already given the kiss, glad to atone for his
aggressions, but then was absorbed in rubbing the charred wood,
amazed that while so much black came off on his fingers, the effect
on the weapon was not proportionate, and then tried another shot in a
safer direction. 'Come,' said Gilbert, 'put that black affair into
the fire, and come along.'
'No!' said Maurice; 'it is my dear gun that Ulick made me, and it
shan't be burnt.'
'What, not if I give you a famous one - like a real one, with a stock
and barrel?' said Gilbert, anxious to be freed from the tokens of his
'No! no!' still stoutly said the constant Maurice. 'I don't want new
guns; I've got my dear old one, and I'll keep him to the end of his
days and mine!' and he crossed his arms over it.
'That's right, Maurice,' said Sophy; 'stick to old friends that have
borne wounds in your service!'
'Well, it's his concern if he likes such a trumpery old thing,' said
Gilbert. 'Come here, boy; you don't bear malice! Come and have a
ride on my back.'
The practical lesson, 'don't shoot at your brother's nose,' would
never have been impressed, had not mamma, on coming in, found Maurice
and his pop-gun nearly equally black, and by gradual unfolding of
cause and effect, learnt his forgotten offence. She reminded him of
ancient promises never to aim at human creatures, assured him that
Gilbert was very kind not to have burnt it outright; and to the great
displeasure, and temporary relief of all the family, sequestrated the
weapon for the rest of the evening.
Sophy told her in confidence that Gilbert had been the most to blame,
which she took as merely an instance of Sophy's blindness to
Maurice's errors; for the explosion had so completely worked off the
Oxford dash, that he was perfectly meek and amiable. Considering the
antecedents, such a contrast to himself as young O'More could hardly
fail to be an eyesore, walking tame about the home, and specially
recommended to his friendship; but so good-natured was he, and so
attractive was the Irishman, that it took much influence from
Algernon Dusautoy to keep up a thriving aversion. Albinia marvelled
at the power exercised over Gilbert by one whose intellect and
pretensions he openly contemned, but perceived that obstinacy and
undoubting self-satisfaction overmastered his superior intelligence
and principle, and that while perceiving all the follies of the
Polysyllable, Gilbert had a strange propensity for his company, and
therein always resumed the fast man, disdainful of the clerk. He did
not like Ulick better for being the immediate cause of the removal of
the last traces of the Belmarche family from their old abode, which
had been renovated by pretty shamrock chintz furniture, the pride of
the two Irish hearts. Indeed it was to be feared that Bridget would
assist in the perpetuation of those rolling R's which caused Mr.
Goldsmith's brow to contract whenever his nephew careered along upon
His departure from Willow Lawn was to take place at Christmas. The
Ferrars party were coming to keep the two consecutive birthdays of
Sophy and Maurice at Bayford, would take him back for Christmas-day
to Fairmead, and on his return he would take possession of his new
Maurice's fete was to serve as the occasion of paying off civilities
to a miscellaneous young party; but as grandmamma's feelings would
have been hurt, had not Sophy's been equally distinguished, it was
arranged that Mrs. Nugent should then bring her eldest girl to meet
the Ferrarses at an early tea.
Just as Albinia had descended to await her guests, Gilbert came down,
and presently said, with would-be indifference, 'Oh, by-the-by,
Dusautoy said he would look in.'
'The Polysyllable!' cried Albinia, thunderstruck; 'what possessed you
to ask him, when you knew I sacrificed Mr. Dusautoy rather than have
him to spoil it all?'
'I didn't ask him exactly,' replied Gilbert; 'it was old Bowles, who
met us, and tried to nail us to eat our mutton with him, as he called
it. I had my answer, and Dusautoy got off by saying he was engaged
to us, and desired me to tell you he would make his excuses in
'He can make no excuse for downright falsehood.'
'Hem!' quoth Gilbert. 'You wouldn't have him done into drinking old
Bowles's surgery champagne.'
'One comfort is that he wont get any dinner,' said Albinia,
vindictively. 'I hope he'll be ravenously hungry.'
'He may not come after all,' said Gilbert; and Albinia, laying hold
of that hope, had nearly forgotten the threatened disaster, as her
party appeared by instalments, and Winifred owned to her that Sophy
had grown better-looking than could have been expected. Her eyes had
brightened, the cloudy brown of her cheeks was enlivened, she held
herself better, and the less childish dress was much to her
advantage. But above all, the moody look of suffering was gone, and
her face had something of the grave sweetness and regular beauty of
that of her father.
'Seventeen,' said Mrs. Ferrars; 'by the time she is seventy, she may
be a remarkably handsome woman!'
The tea-drinking was in lively operation, when after a thundering
knock, Mr. Cavendish Dusautoy was ushered in, with the air of a
prince honouring the banquet of his vassals, saying, 'I told Kendal I
should presume on your hospitality, I beg you will make no difference
on my account.'
Of which gracious permission Albinia was resolved to avail herself.
She left all the insincerity to her husband, and would by no means
allow grandmamma to abdicate the warm corner. She suspected that he
wanted an introduction to Mrs. Nugent, and was resolved to defeat
this object, unless he should condescend to make the request, so she
was well satisfied to see him wedged in between papa and Sophy, while
a prodigious quantity of Irish talk was going on between Mrs. Nugent
and Mr. O'More, with contributions of satire from Mr. Ferrars which
kept every one laughing except little Nora Nugent and Mary Ferrars,
who were deep in the preliminaries of an eternal friendship, and held
the ends of each other's crackers like a pair of doves. Lucy,
however, was ill at ease at the obscurity which shrouded the
illustrious guest, and in her anxiety, gave so little attention to
her two neighbours, that Willie Ferrars, affronted at some neglect,
exclaimed, 'Why, Lucy, what makes you screw your eyes about so! you
can't attend to any one.'
'It is because Polly Silly is there,' shouted Master Maurice from his
throne beside his mamma.
To the infinite relief of the half-choked Albinia, little Mary
Ferrars, with whom her cousin had been carrying on a direful warfare
all day, fitted on the cap, shook her head gravely at him, and after
an appealing look of indignation, first at his mamma, then at her
own, was overheard confiding to Nora Nugent that Maurice was a very
naughty boy - she was sorry to say, a regular spoilt child.
'But how should you hinder Miss Kendal from attending?'
'I'll tell you, darling. Poor Lucy! she is very fond of me, and I
dare say she wanted me to sit next to her, but you know she will have
me for three days, and I have you only this one evening. I'll go and
speak to her after tea, when we go into the drawing-room, and then
she wont mind.'
Lucy, after an agony of blushes, had somewhat recovered on finding
that no one seemed to apply her brother's speech, and when the
benevolent Mary made her way to her, and thrust a hand into hers,
only a feeble pressure replied to these romantic blandishments, so
anxious was she to carry to Mrs. Kendal the information that Mr.
Cavendish Dusautoy had been so obliging as to desire his servant to
bring his guitar and key-bugle.
'We are much obliged,' said Albinia, 'but look at that face!' and she
turned Lucy towards Willie's open-mouthed, dismayed countenance. You
must tell him the company are not sufficiently advanced in musical
'But mamma, it would gratify him!'
'Very likely' - and without listening further, Albinia turned to
Willie, who had all day been insisting that papa should introduce her
to the new game of the Showman.
Infinitely delighted to be relieved from the fear of the guitar,
Willie hunted all who would play into another room; whence they were
to be summoned, one by one, back to the drawing-room by the showman,
Mr. Ferrars, who shrugged his shoulders at the task, but undertook
it, and first called for Mrs. Kendal.
She found him stationed before the red curtains, which were closely
drawn, and her husband and the three elder ladies sitting by as
'Pray, madam, may I ask what animal you would desire to have
exhibited to you, out of the vast resources that my menagerie
contains. Choose freely, I undertake that whatever you may select,
you shall not be disappointed.'
'What, not if I were to ask for a black spider monkey?' said Albinia,
to whom it was very charming to be playing with Maurice again.
Mr. Kendal looked up in entertained curiosity, Mrs. Nugent smiled as
if she thought the showman's task impossible, and Winifred stretched
out to gain a full view.
'A black spider monkey,' he said, slowly. 'Allow me to ask, madam,
if you are acquainted with the character of the beast?'
'It doesn't scratch, does it?' said she, quickly.
'That is for you to answer.'
'I never knew it do so. It does chatter a great deal, but it never
scratched that I knew of.'
'Nor I,' said the showman, 'since it was young. Do you think age
renders it graver and steadier?'
'Not a bit. It is always frisky and troublesome, and I never knew it
get a bit better as it grew older.'
Winifred laughed outright. Mr. Kendal's lips were parted by his
smile. 'I wonder what sort of a mother it would make?' said the
'All animals are good mothers, of course.'
'I meant, is it a good disciplinarian?'
'If you mean cuffing its young one for playing exactly the same
tricks as itself.'
'Exactly; and what would be the effect of letting it and its young