Charles James Lever.

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roTt> t.tft.


" ' Her ladyship has made a raid amongst the greeneries,' said Balfour.'









The Broadway, Ludgate









Mt dear Eose,

YoTJ HAVE ofte:t stopped me wuen ekdhavouring to express all


This volume was kot without interest for me as I wrote it, but it
yielded me ko such pleasure as i now feel in dedicating it to
tou ; and, with this assurance, believe mb,

Your affectionate Friend,


Spkzia, Oclohcr 20, 18GG.




I. After Mess ....

II. The Swan's Nest

III. A Difficult Patient .

IV. Home Diplomacies
V. The Picnic on Holt Island

VI. Waiting On .

VII. The Fountain of Honour

VIII. A Puzzling Commission

IX. A Breakfast at the Vicarage

X. Lendrick Recounts his Visit to Town

XI. Cave Consults Sir Brook .

XII. A Great Man's Schoolfellow

XIII. Last Days ....

XIV. Toji Cross-examines his Sister
XV. Mr. Haire's Mission .

XVI. Sorrows and Projects .

XVII. A Luncheon at the Priory.

XVIII. The First Letter Home

XIX. Official Mysteries . .

XX. In Court ....

XXI. A JIorning Call .

XXir. Coming-home Thoughts.

XX in. A Very Humble Dwelling .

XXIV. A Morning at the Priory .

XXV. An Unexpected Meeting

XXVI. Sir Brook in Confusion

XXVI r. The Two Lucys .































XXVIII. The Nest \mu Stranoe "Birds

XXIX. Sewell Visits Cave .

XXX. Thk Races on the Lawn

XXXI. Sewell Arrives in Dublin

XXXII. Morning at the Priory

XXXIII. Evening at the Prioky

XXXIV. Sewell's Troubles

XXXV. Beattie's Return. ,

XXXVI. An Exit


XXXVIII. A Lady's Letter .

XXXIX. Some Conjugal Courtesies

XL. Mr. Balfour's Office ,

XLI. The Priory in its Desertio

XLII. Necessities op State .

XLIII. Mr. Balfour's Mission

XLIV. After-dinner Thoughts

XLV. The Tideless Shores .

XLVI. A Levanter .

XLVII. By the Mine at Lavanna

XLVIII. Up at the Mine .

XLIX. Parting Counsels

L. On the Island

LI. How Changed !

LII. How TO Meet a Scandal

LIII. Two Men Well ]\rET .

LIV. A Surprise .

LV. The Chief and his Friend

LVI. A Leap in the Dark .

LVII. Some of Sewell's Opinions

LVIII. The Visit to the Jail

LIX. A Grand Dinner at the Priory

LX. Chief Secretary Balfour

LXI. A Starlit Night.

LXII. An Ungracious Adieu .

LXIII. A Pleasant Meeting .

LXIV. Man to Man

LXV. On the Door-steps at Night



LXYI. Goiyo Out 453

LXVII. At Howth 459

LXVIII. To Report 466

LXIX. A Moment of Confidence 475

LXX. The Telegram 4S2

LXXI. A Family Party 488

LXXII, Projects 495

LXXIII. The End of All 499




The mess was over, and tlie oflScers of H.M.'s — tli were grouped
in little knots and parties, sipping their coffee, and discussing
the arrangements for the evening. Their quarter was that plea-
sant city of Dublin, which, bating certain exorbitant demands in
the matter of field-day and guard-mounting, stands pre-emin-
ently first in military favour.

" Are you going to that great ball in Merrion Square ? " asked

" Not so lucky ; not invited."

"I got a card," cried a third ; " but I've just heard it's not
to come off. It seems that the lady's husband is a judge. He's
Chief something or other; and he has been called away."

" Nothing of the kind, Tomkins ; unless you call a summons
to the next world being called away. The man is dangerously
ilL He was seized with paralysis on the Bench yesterday, and,
lliey say, can't recover."

Tlierc now ensued an animated conversation as to whether,
on death vacancies, the men went up by seniority at the bar, or
whether a subaltern could at once spring up to the top of the

" Suppose," said one, " wo were to ask the Colonel's guest
liis opinion. The old cove has talked pretty nigh of everything
in tliis world during dinner; what if we were to ask him about
Barons of the Exchequer ? "

" Wlio is he ? what is he ? " asked another.

"The Colonel called him Sir Brook Eossbrookc ; that's all 1
% know."


" Colonel Cave told mc," whispered the Major, "that ho was
the fastest man on town some forty years ago."

" I think he must have kept over the wardrobe of that bril-
liant period," said another. "I never saw a really swallow-
tailed coat before."

" His ring- amused vie. It is a small smoothing-iron, with a
coat-of-arms on it. Hush ! here he comes."

The man who now joined the group was a tall, gaunt figure,
with a high narrow head, from which the hair was brushed
rigidly back to fall behind in something like an old-fashioned
queue. His eyes were black, and surmounted with massive and
much-arched eyebrows ; a strongly-marked mouth, stern, deter-
mined, and, except in speaking, almost cruel in expression, and
a thin-pointed projecting chin, gave an air of severity and
strong will to features which, when he convei'scd, displayed a
look of courteous deference, and that peculiar desire to please
that we associate with a bygone school of breeding. He was one
of those men, and very distinctive are they, >vith whom even the
least cautious take no liberties, nor venture upon any familiarity.
The ecentricities of determined men arc very often indications
of some deep spirit beneath, and not, as in weaker natures,
mere emanations of vanity or offsprings of self-indulgence.

If be was, beyond question, a gentleman, there were also signs
about him of narrow fortune : his scrupulously white shirt was
not fine, and the seams of his well-brushed coat showed both
care and wear.

He had joined the group, who were talking of the coming
Derby when the Colonel came np. " I have sent for the man
we want, Fossbrooke. I'm not a fisherman myself; but they
tell me he knows every lake, river, and rivulet in the island.
He has sat down to whist, but we'll have him here presently."

" On no account; don't disturb his game for me."

" Here he comes. Trafford, I want to present you to a very
old friend of mine. Sir Brook Fossbrooke— as enthusiastic an
angler as yourself. He has the ambition to hook an Iritsh
salmon. I don't suppose any one can more readily help him on
the road to it."

The young man thus addressed was a large, strongly, almost
heavily built young fellow, but with that looseness of limb and
freedom that showed activity had not been sacrificed to mere
power. He had a fine frank handsome face, blue-eyed, and
bold-looking ; and as he stood to receive the Colonel's orders
there was in his air that blending of deference and good-
humoured carelessness that ziaade up bis whole nature.


It was plain to see in him one easy to pei-suade — impossible
to coerce ; a fellow with whom the man he liked could do any-
thing, but one perfectly unmanageable if thrown into the wrong
hands. He was the second son of a very rich baronet, but made
the mistake of believing he had as much right to extravagance
as his elder brother, and having persisted in this error during
two years in the Life Guards, had been sent to do the double
penance of an infantry regiment and an Irish station ; twointiic-
tions which, it was believed, would have sufficed to calm down
the ardour of the most impassioned spendthrift. He looked at
Fosibrooke from head to foot. It was not exactly the stamp of
man he would have selected for companionship, but he saw at
once that he was distinctively a gentleman, and then the pros-
pect of a few days away from regimental duty was not to be
despised, and he quickly replied that both he and his tackle were
at Sir Brook's disposal. " If we could run down to Killaloe,
sir," added he, turning to the Colonel, " we might be almost
sure of some sport."

" Which means that you want two days' leave, TrafFord."
" No, rfir, four. It will take a day at least to get over there ;
another will be lost in exploring ; all these late rains have sent
such a ii-esh into the Shannon there's no knowing where to try."
" You see, Fossbrooke, what a casuistical companion I've
given you. I'll wager you a five-pound note that if you come
back without a rise he'll have an explanation that will perfectly
explain it was the best thing could have happened."

" I am charmed to travel in such company," said Sir Brook,
bowing. " The gentleman has already established a claim to
my respect for him."

Traftord bowed too, and looked not at all displeased at the
compliment. " Are you an early riser, sir? " asked he.

" 1 am anything, sir, the occasion exacts ; but when I have
an early start before me, I usually sit up all night."

" My own plan too," cried Tralibrd. " And there's Aubrey
quite ready to join us. Are you a whister. Sir Brook?"
" At your service. I play all games."

" Is he a whister ? " repeated the Colonel. " Ask Harry
Greville, ask Tom Newenham, what tliey say of liim at Grahams ?
Tratlbrd, my boy, you may possibly give him a hint about grey
hackles, but I'll be shot if you do about the odd trick."

" If you'll come over to my room, Sir Brook, we'll have a.
rubber, and I'll give orders to have my tax-cart ready for us by
daybreak," said Truffbrd ; and Fossbrooke promising to bo with
him so soon as he had given his servant his orders, they parted


"And avc you as equul to this sitting up all niglit as you used
to be, Fossbrooke?" asked the Colonel.

" I dou't smoke as many cigars as formei'ly, and I am a little
more choice about my tobacco. I avoid mulled port, and take
weak brandy-and-water ; and I believe in all other respects I'm
pretty much where I was when we met last — I think it was at
Ceylon ? "

" I wish I could say as much for myself. You are talking of
thirty- four years ago."

•' My secret against growing old is to do a little of everything.
It keeps the sympathies wider, makes a man more accessible to
other men, and keeps him from dwelling too much ou himself.
But tell me about my young companion ; is he one of Sir
Hugh's family ? "

" His second son ; not unlike to be his eldest, for George has
gone to Madeira with very little prospect of recovery. This is
a fine lad ; a little wild, a little careless of money, but the very
soul of honour and right-mindedness. They sent him to me as
a sort of incurable, but I have nothing but good to say of him."

" There's great promise in a fellow when he can be a scamj)
and a man of honour. When dissipations do not degrade and
excesses do not corrupt a man, there is a grand nature ever

" Don't tell him that, Fossbvooke," said the Colonel, laughing.

" I am not likely to do so," said he, with a grim smile. " I
am glad, too, to meet his father's son ; we were at Christ Church
together ; and now I see he has the family good looks. ' Le
beau Trafford ' was a proverb in Paris once."

" Do you ever forget a mau ? " asked the Colonel, in some

'* I believe not. I forget books, places, dates occasionally,
but never people. I met an old schoolfellow t'other day at
Dover whom 1 never saw since we were boys. He had gone
down in the world, and was acting as one of the ' commission-
naires ' they call them, who take your keys to the Custom-house
to have vour luo'easre examined: and when he came to ask me
to employ him, I said, 'What! ain t you Jemmy Harper .^^
' And who the devil are you ? ' said he. ' Fossbrooke,' said I.
* Not " Wart " ? ' said he. That was my school nickname, from
a wart I once had on my chin. ' Ay, to be sure,' said I, ' Wart.'
I wish you saw the delight of the old dog. I made him dine
with us. Lord Brackiugton was with me, and enjoyed it all

" And what had brou"ht him so low ? "


" He was cursed, he said, with a strong constitution ; all the
other fellows of his set had so timed it, that when they had
nothing to live on they ceased to live ; but Jemmy told us he never
had such an appetite as now ; that he passed from fourteen to
sixteen hours a day on the pier in all weathei'S ; and as to gout
he firmly believed it all came of the adulterated wines of the
great wine-merchants. British gin he maintained to be tho
wholesomest liquor in existence."

"I wonder how fellows bear up under such revei'ses as that,"
said the Colonel.

" My astonishment is rather,'" cried Fossbrooke, " how men
can live on in a monotony of wellbeing, getting fatter, older,
and more unwieldy, and with only such experiences of life as a
well-fed fowl might have in a hencoop."

" I know that's your theory," said the othei% laughing.

" AVell, no man can say that I have not lived up to my con-
victions ; and for myself, I can aver I have thoroughly enjoyed
my intercourse with the world, and like it as well to-day as on
the first morning I made my bow to it."

"Listen to this, young gentlemen," said the Colonel, turning
to his ofiicers, who now gathered around them. " ISTow and
then I hear some of you complaining of being bored or wearied
— sick of this, tired of that; here's my friend, who knows the
whole thing better than any of us, and he declares that the
world is the best of all possible worlds, and that so far from
familiarity with it inspiring disgust with life, his enjoyment of
it is as racy as when first he knew it."

" It is i-ather hard to ask these gentlemen to take me as a
guide on trust," said Fossbrooke ; " but I have known the
fathers of most of those I see around me, and could call many
of them as witnesses to character. Major Aylmer, your father
and I went up the Nile together, when people talked of it as a
journey. Captain Harris, I'm sure I am not wrong in saying
you are the son of Godfrey Harris, of Harrisburg. Your father
was my friend on the day I wounded Lord Ecclesmore. I see
lour or five others too^ — so like old companions that I find it
hard to believe I am not back again in the old days when 1 was
as young as themselves ; and yet I'm not very certain if I would
like to exchange my present quiet enjoyment as a looker-on for
all that active share I once took in life and its pleasures."

Something in the fact that their fathers had lived in his inti-
macy, something in his manner- — a very courteous manner it
was — and something in the bold, almost defiant bearing of the
old man, vouching for great energy and dignity together, won


gfrefitly upon tlie young men, and they gathered around him.
He was, howevei', surainoned away by a message from Trail'ord
to say that the whist-party waited for him, and he took hia
leave with a stately courtesy and withdrew.

" Thei'e goes cue of the strangest fellows in Christendom,"
said the Colonel, as the other left tlie room. " He has already
gone through three fortunes ; he dissipated the first — speculated
and lost the second — and the third he, I might say, gave away
in acts of benevolence and kindness — leaving himself so ill off
that I actually heard the other day that some friend had asked
for the place of barrack-master at Athlonc for him; but on
coming over to see the place, he found a poor fellow with a wife
and five children a candidate for it ; so he retired in his favour,
and is content as you see, to go out on the world, and take his
chance with it."

Innumerable questions pressed on the Colonel to tell more of
his strange friend ; he had, however, little beyond hearsay to
give them. Of his own experiences, he could only say that
when first he met him it was at Ceylon, where he had come in
a yacht like a sloop of war to hunt elephants — the splendour of
his retinue and magnificence of his suite giving him the air of
a royal personage — and indeed the gorgeous profusion of his
pT'esents to the King and the chief personages of the court
went far to impress this notion. " I never met him since,"
said the Colonel, "till this morning, when he walked into my
room, dusty and travel-stained, to say, 'I just heard your name,
and thought I'd ask you to give me my dinner to-day.' I owe
him a great many — not to say innumerable other attentions ;
and his last act on leaving Trincomalee was to present me with
an Arab charger, the most perfect animal I ever mounted. It
is therefore a real pleasure to me to receive him. He is a
thoroughly fine-hearted fellow, and, with all his eccentricities,
one of the noblest natures I ever met. The only flaw in his
frankness is as to his age ; nobody has ever been able to get it
from him. Tou heard him talk of your fathers — he might talk
of your grandfathers ; and he would too, if we had only the
opportunity to lead him on to it. I know of my own know-
ledge that he lived in the Carlton House coterie, not a man of
which except himself survives, and I have heard him give imita-
tions of Burke, Sheridan, Gavin Hamilton, and Pitt, that none
but one who had seen them could have accomplished. And
now that I have told you all this, will one of you step over to
Tralford's rooms, and whisper him a hint to make his whist-
points as low as he can ; and, what is even of more importance,


■fco talce care lest any strange story Sir Brook may tell — and lie
is full of them — meet a sign of incredulity — still less provoke
any quizzing; the slightest shade of such a provocation w^ould
render him like a madman ? "

The Major volunteei'ed to go on this mission, which indeed
any of the others would as willingly have accepted, for the old
man had interested them deeply, and they longed to hear more
about him.



As the Shannon draws near Killaloe, the wild character of the
mountain scenery, the dreary wastes and desolate islands which
marked Lough Derg, disappeai', and give way to gently-sloping
lawns, dotted over with well-grown timber, well-kept demesnes,
spacious cou try-houses, and a country which, in general, almost
recalls the wealth and comfort of England.

About a mile above the town, in a little bend of the river
forming a small bay, stands a small but pretty house, with a
skirt of rich wood projecting at the back, while the lawn in
front descends by an easy slope to the river.

Originally a mere farmhouse, the taste of an ingenious owner
had taken every advantage of its irregular outline, and con-
verted it into something Elizabethan in character, a style admir-
ably adapted to the site, where all the features of rich-coloured
landscape abounded, and where varied foliage, heathy mountain,
and eddying river, all lent themselves to make up a scene of
fresh and joyous beauty.

In the marvellous fertility of the soil, too, was found an ally
to every prospect of embellishment. Sheltered from north and
cast winds, plants grew here in the open air, which in less
favoured spots needed the protection of the conservatniy ; and
thus in the neatly shaven lawn were seen groups of blo.-,soming
shrubs or flowers of rare excellence, and tlie camellia and the


salvia and the oleander blended with the tulip, the moss-rose,
and the carnation, to stud the grass with their gorgeous

Over the front of the cottage, for cottage it really was, a
South American creeper, a sort of acanthus, grew, its crimson
flowers hanging in rich profusion over cornice and architrave ;
while a passion-tree of great age covered the entire porch,
relieving with its softened tints the almost over-brilliancy of
the southern plant.

Seen from the water — and it came suddenly into view on
rounding a little headland — few could forbear from an exclama-
tion of wonder and admiration at this lovely spot ; nor could
all the pi-etentious grandeur of the rich-wooded parks, nor all
the more imposing architecture of the great houses, detract
from the marvellous chai'm of this simple home.

A tradition of a swan carried away by some rising of the
river from the Castle of Portumna, and swept down the lake
till it found refuge in the little bay, had given the name to the
place, and for more than a hundred years was it known as the
Swan's Nest. The Swan, however, no longer existed, though
a little thatched edifice at the water-side marked the spot it had
once inhabited, and sustained the truth of the legend.

The owner of the place was a Dr. Lendrick : he had come to
it about twenty years before the time at which our story opens
— a widower with two children, a son and a daughter. He was
a perfect stranger to all the neighbourhood, though by name
well known as the son of a distinguished judge, Baron Len-
drick of the Court of Exchequer.

It was rumoured about, that, having displeased his father,
first by adopting medicine instead of law as his profession, and
subsequently by mai'rying a portionless girl of humble family,
the Baron had ceased to recognize him in any way. Making a
settlement of a few hundreds a-year on him, he resolved to
leave the bulk of his fortune to a step-son, the child of his
second wife, a Colonel Sewell, then in India.

It was with no thought of practising his profession that Dr.
Lendrick had settled in the neighbourhood ; but as he was
always ready to assist the poor by his advice and skill, and as
the reputation of his great ability gradually got currency, he
found himself constrained to yield to the insistance of his
neighbours, and consent to practise generally. There were
many things which made this course unpalatable to him. He
was by nature shy, timid, and retiring ; he was fastidiously
averse to J^ new acquaintanceship ; he had desired, besides, to


live estranged from the world, devoting himself entirely to the
education of his children ; and he neither liked the forced
publicity he became exposed to, nor that life of servitude which
leaves the doctor at the hourly mercy of the world around him.

If he yielded, therefore, to the professional calls upon him,
he resisted totally all social claims : he went nowhere but as the

No persuasion, no inducement, could prevail on him to dine
out ; no exigency of time or season prevent him returning to
his home at night. There were in his neighbourhood one or
two persons whose rank might have, it was supposed, influenced
him in some degree to comply with their requests — and, cer-
tainly, whose desire for his society would have left nothing
undone to secui'e it; but he was as obdurate to them as to
others, and the Earl of Drumcarran and Sir Reginald Lac3-,
of Lacy Alanor, were not a whit more successful in their
blandishments than the Vicar of Killaloe — old Bob Mills, as he
was irreverently called — or Lendrick's own colleague. Dr. Tohin,
who, while he respected his superior ability and admitted his
knowledge, secretly hated him as only a rival doctor knows how
to hate a brother practitioner.

For the first time for many years had Dr. Lendrick gone up
to Dublin. A few lines from an old family physician. Dr.
Beattie, had, however, called him up to town. The Chief
Bai'on had been taken ill in Court, and was conveyed home in
a state of insensibility. It was declared that he had rallied
and passed a favourable night ; but as he was a man of very
advanced age, at no time strong, and ever unsparing of himself
in the arduous labours of his office, grave doubts were felt that
lie would ever again resume his seat on the Bench. Dr. Beattie
well knev/ the long estrangement that had separated the father
from the son ; and although, perhaps, the most intimate friend
tlie judge liad in the world, he never had dared to interpose a
v.oi'd or drop a hint as to the advisability of reconciliation.

Sir William Lendrick was, indeed, a man whom no amount
of intimacy could render his friends familiar with. Ho was
jiositively charming to mere acquaintanceship — his manner was
a happy blending of deference with a most polished wit. Full
of bygone experiences and reminiscences of interesting people
and events, he never overlaid conversation by their mention,
but made them merely serve to illustrate the present, either by
contrast or resemblance. All this to the world and society was

Online LibraryCharles James Lever[Charles Lever's novels (Volume 33) → online text (page 1 of 50)