Charles James Lever.

Roland Cashel (Volume 2) online

. (page 1 of 32)
Online LibraryCharles James LeverRoland Cashel (Volume 2) → online text (page 1 of 32)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


~ J3


~ ^

3 =

- O

- ^

? 1

— — CD

^ ^

7 =

^^= ID

R =

^■^^ -r^

1 ^


1^^^ -^





'RiT '






i I !;j

n H

I . 1


iniiiiuiiiiiiiiiii tiii iiii

Mjtilllljllhlli intjilifaii!?;*




li, (

! 4 ),i ),





&C. &C.

• > > » ' > ,' ■ , ' > '

i f






I • « * • ,

*• • • • , »

• ,•••• •-• •»

> . •



" After Luncheon — The Start" — Frontispiece.


A Phcenix 48

Aunt Fanny's Benediction 60

A LITTLE Bit op Scandal 63

The Wager 83

Preparations for Departure 101

"No" IS the Feminine or "Yes" 114

The Chess-Players 128

The Temptation - 148

Picturesque, but not Pleasant . . . . . . . 164

A Family Party . . 172

The Masquerade 182

The Suspicion 195

Friends. (" Ever faithfully yours") 214

Guilt and Innocence . . . . . . ... . . 220

La Ninetta 254

Linton's last Visit to Maritana 275

The Arrest 282



My dear James,

You, once upon a time, dedicated to me a tale of deep and
thrilling interest. Let me now inscribe to you this volume on
the plea of that classic authority who, in the interchange of
annour, " gave Brass for Gold."

It is, however, far less to repay the obligation of a debt by
giving you a " Roland" — not for your " Oliver," but your
" Stepmother" — than for the pleasure of recording one " Fact "
in a bulky tome of Fiction, that I now write your name at the
head of this page — that fact being, the warm memory I cherish
of all our pleasant hours of intercourse, and the sincere value I
place u]inii the honour of your friendship.

Yours, in all esteem and affecticni,

Charles Lever.

Palazzo Xiraenes, Florence,
October 20, 1849.



I'll make her brew the beverage herself,
With her own fingers stir the cup,
And know 'tis poison as she drinks it.


Had Linton been about to renew an acquaintance with one lie had
scarcely known before, and who might possibly have ceased to re-
member hira, his manner could not have been more studiously diffi-
dent and respectful.

" I rejoice to see your Ladyship here," said he, in a low, deliberate
voice; "where, on the last time we spoke together, you seemed un-
certain of coming."

" Very true, Mr. Linton," said she, not looking up from her work ;
" my Lord had not fully made up his mind."

"Say, rather, your Ladyship had changed yours," said he, with a
cold smile ; " a privilege you are not wont to deny yourself."

" I might have exercised it oftener in life with advantage," replied
she, still holding her head bent over the embroidery frame.

" Don't you think that your Ladyship and I are old friends enough
to speak without innuendo ?*'

" If we speak at all," said she, with a low but calm accent.

" True, that is to be thought of," rejoined he, with an unmoved
quietude of voice. " Being in a manner prepared for a change in your
Ladyship's sentiments towards me "

" Sir !" said she, interrupting, and as suddenly raising her face,
which was now covered with a deep blush.

"I trust I have said nothing to provoke reproof," said Linton,
coldly. " Your Ladyship is well aware if my words be not true. I
repeat it, then — your sentiments are changed towards me, or — the
alteration is not of my choosing — I was deceived in the expression of
them when last we met."

" It may suit your purpose, Sir, but it can scarcely conform to the

VOL. ir. B


generosity of a gentleman, to taunt me with acceding to your request
for a meeting. If any other weakness can be alleged against me, pray
let me hear it."

*• "When we last met," said Linton, in a voice of lower and deeper
meaning tliau before, "we did so that I might speak, and you hear,
the avowal of a passion which for years has filled my heart — against
which I have struggled and fought in vain — to stifle which I have
plunged into dissipation that I detested, and followed ambitions I
despised — to obliterate all memory of which I would stoop to crime
itself, rather than sufter on in the hopeless misery I must do."

" I will hear no more of this," said she, pushing back the work-
table, and preparing to rise.

" You must, and you shall hear me, Madam," said he, replacing the
table and afiectiug to arrange it for her. " I conclude you do not
wish this amiable company to arbitrate between us."

" Oh, Sir ! is it thus you threaten me ?"

*' Tou should say compromise, Madam. There can be no threat
where a common ruin impends on all concerned."

" To what end all this, Mr. Linton ?" said she. " Tou surely can-
not expect from me any return to a feeling which, once existed,
you yourself were tlie means of uprooting for ever. Even you could
scarcely be ungenerous enough to persecute one for whose misery you
have done already too much."

" "Will you accept my arm for half an hour ?" cried he, interrupt-
ing. '' I pledge myself it shall be the last time I cither make such a
request, or even allude to this topic between us. On the pretence of
showing you the house, I may be able — if not to justify myself — nay,
I see how little you care for that — well, at least to assure you that I
have no other wish, no other hope, than to see you happy."

" I cannot trust you," said she, in a tone of agitation ; " already
we arc remarked." .

" So I perceive," said he, in an under tone ; then added, in a voice
audible enough to be heard by the rest, " I am too vain of my archi-
tectural merits to leave their discovery to chance, and as you are good
enough to say you would like to see the house, pray will your Lady-
ship accept my arm, while I perform the cicerone on myself?"

Tlic '■ coup " succeeded ; and, to avoid tlie difficulty and embarrass-
ment a refusal would have created, Lady Ivilgoft' arose, and prepared
to accompany him.

"Eh, what — what is't, my Lady?" said Lord Kilgofi", suddenly
awaking from a kind of lethargic slumber, as she whispered some
words in his ear.

" Her Ladyship is telling you not to be jealous, my Lord, while she
is making the tour of the house with Mr. Linton," said Lady Janet,
with a malicious sparkle of her green eyes.


"Why not make it a royal progress?" said Sir Harvey; "her
Majesty the Queen might like it well."

" Her Majesty likes everything that promises amusement," said the
wild romp ; " come, Charley, give us your arm."

"No, I've got a letter or two to write," said he, rudely; " there's
Upton or Jennings quite ready for any foolery."

" This is too bad !" cried she ; and through all the pantomime of
mock royalty, a real tear rose to her eyes, and rolled heavily down
her cheek ; then, witli a svxdden change of humour, she said, " Mr.
Oashel, will you take me ?"

The request was too late, for already he had given his arm to Lady
Janet ; an act of devotion he was performing with the expression of
a saint under martyrdom.

" Sir Harvey — there's no help for it — we are reduced to you^'

But Sir Harvey was leaving the room with Olivia Kennyfeck. In
fact, couples paired off in every direction ; the ojily disengaged cavalier
being Sir Andrew MacFarliue, who, with a sardonic grin on his
features, came hobbling forward, as he said,

" Ye maunna tak' sich long strides. Missy, if ye ga wi' me, for I've
got a couple o' ounces of Langredge shot in my left knee — forbye the
gout in both ankles."

" I say, Jim," called out Lord Charles, as she moved away, " if you
like to ride Princepino this afternoon, he's ready for you."

" Are yov, going ?" said she, turning her head.


''Then TU not go." And so saying, she left the room.

When Linton, accompanied by Lady Kil go ff, issued from the draw-
ing-room, instead of proceeding through the billiard-room towards
the suite which formed the " show " part of the mansion, he turned
abruptly to his left, and passing througli a narrow corridor, came out
upon a terrace, at the end of which stood a large conservatory, open-
ing into the garden.

" I ask pardon," said he, " if I reverse the order of our geography,
and show you the frontiers of the realm before we visit the capital,
but otherwise we shall only be the advance-guard of that interesting
company, who have nothing more at heart than to overhear us."

Lady Kilgoff walked along without speaking, at his side, having re-
linquished the support of his arm with a stiff, frigid courtesy. Had
any one been there to mark the two figures, as side by side they went,
each deep in thought, and not even venturing a glance at tlje other,
he might well have wondered what strange link could connect them.
It was thus they entered the conservatory, where two rows of orange-
trees formed a lane of foliage almost impenetrable to the eye.

"As this may be the last time we shall ever speak together in

secret "



" Tou baA'C promised as much, Sir," said she, interrupting ; and tbe
vcrv rapidity of her utterance betrayed tlie eagerness of her wish.

*• Be it so, Madam," replied he, coldly, and with a tone of sternness
very different from that he had used at first. " I have ever preferred
your wishes to my own. I shall never prove false to that allegiance.
As we are now about to speak on terms which never can be resumed,
let us at least be frank. Let us use candour wath each other. Even
unpleasing truth is better at such a moment than smooth-tongued

" This preamble does not promise well," said Lady Kilgoff, witii .a
cold smile.

" Not, perhaps, for the agreeability of our interview, but it may
save us both much time and much temper. I have said that you are
changed towards me."

" Oh, Sir ! if I had suspected that this was to be the theme "

She stopped, and seemed uncertain, when he finished the speech for

" Tou would never have accorded me this meeting. Do be frank,
IMadam, and spare me the pain of self-inflicted severity. Well, 1 will
not impose upon your kindness, nor indeed was such my intention,
if you had but heard me out. Yes, IMadam, I should have told you
that while I deplore that alteration, I no more make you chargeable
with it, than i/ou can call me to account for cherishing a passion with-
out a hope. Both one and the other are independent of us. That
one should forget and the other remember is beyond mere volition."

He waited for some token of assent — some slight evidence of con-
currence — but none came, and he resumed :

" When first I had the happiness of being distinguished by some
slight sliow of your preference, there were many others who souglit
with eagerness for that position I was supposed to occupy in your
favour. It was the first access of vanity in my heart, and it cost me
dearly. Some, envied me — some, scoffed — some, predicted that my
triumph would be a brief one — some, were rude enough to say that I
was only placed like a buoy, to show^ the passage, and that I should
lie fast at anchor while others sailed on with prosperous gale and
favouring fortune. Tou, Madam,, best know which of these were
right. I see that I weary you. I can conceive how distasteful all
these memories must be, nor should I evoke them without absolute
necessity. To be brief, then, you are now about to plaj^ over with
another the very game by which you once deceived me. It is your
caprice to sacrifice another to your vanity ; but know. Madam, the
liberties which the world smiled at in Miss Gardiner will be keenly
criticised in the Lady Kilgoff". In the former case, the most malevo-
lent could but liint at a mesalliance ; in the latter, evil tongues can


take a wider latitude. To be sure, tlie fasclnatlug qualities of tlie
suitor, his wealth, his enviable position, will plead with some ; my
Lord's age and decrepitude will weigh with others ; but even these
charitable persons will not spare you. Tour own sex are seldom over-
merciful in their judgments. Men are unscrupulous enough to hint
that there was no secret in the matter ; some will go further, and
affect to say that they themselves were not unfavourably looked on."

" Will you give me a chair. Sir," said she, in a voice which, though
barely above a whisper, vibrated with intense passion. Linton has-
tened to fetch a seat, his whole features glowing with the elation of
his vengeance. This passed rapidly away, and as he placed the chair
for her to sit down, his face had resumed its former cold, almost
melancholy expression.

" I hope you are not ill ?" said he, with an air of feeling.

A glance of the most ineffable scorn was her only reply.

" It is with sincere sorrow that I inflict this pain upon yo;i ; in-
deed, when I heard of that unhappy yacht excursion, my mind was
made up to see Lord Kilgoff the very moment of his arrival, and, on
any pretence, to induce him to leave this. This hope, however, was
taken from me, when I beheld the sad state into which he had fallen,
leaving me no other alternative than to address yourself. I will not
hurt your ears by repeating the inventions, each full of falsehood,
that heralded your arrival here. The insulting discussions how you
should be met^-whether your conduct had already precluded your
acceptance amongst the circle of your equals — or, that you were only
a subject of avoidance to mothers of marriageable daughters, and
maiden ladies of excessive virtue. Tou have mixed in the world,
and therefore can well imagine every ingenious turn of this peculiar
eloquence. How was I — I who have known — I who — nay. Madam,
not a word shall pass my lips in reference to that theme — I would
only ask, could I hear these things, could I see your foot nearing the
cliff and not cry out. Stop ? — Another step and you are lost ! There
are women who can play this dangerous game with cool heads and
cooler hearts ; schooled iu all the frigid indifference that would seem
the bii'thright of a certain class, the secrets of their affections die
with them — but you are not one of these. Born in what they would
call an humbler, but I should call a far higher, sphere, Avliere the
feelings are fresher and the emotions purer, yoxi might chance to —
fall in love!"

A faint smile, so faint that it conveyed no expression to her eyes,
was Lady Kilgoff's acknowledgment of these last words.

"Have you finished, Sir?" said she, as, after a pause of some
seconds, he stood still.

" jN'ot yet. Madam," replied he, dryly.


" In that case, Sir, -would it not be as well to tell tlie man who is
lingering yonder to leave this ? except, perhaps, it may be your desire
to have a witness to your words,"

Linton started, and grew deadly pale ; for he now perceived that
the man must have been in the conservatory during the entire inter-
view. Hastening round to where he stood, his fears were at once
dispelled ; for it was the Italian sailor, Giovanni, who, in the niidti-
plicity of his accomplishments, was now assisting the gardener among
the plants.

'' It is of no consequence, Madam," said he, returning; " the man
is an Italian, who understands nothing of English."

" Toil, are always fortunate, J\ir. Linton," said she, with a deep
emphasis on the pronoun.

" I have ceased to boast of my good luck, for many a day."

"Having, doubtless, so many other qualities to be proud of," said
filie, with a malicious sparkle of her dark eyes.

" The question is now, Madam, of one far more interesting than

" Can that be possible, Sir ? Is any one's welfare of such moment
to his friends — to the world at large — as the high-minded, the ho-
nourable, the open-hearted Mr. Linton, who condescends, for the
sake of a warning to liis young friends, to turn gambler, and ruin
them ; while he has the daring courage to single out a poor unpro-
tected woman, without one who coidd rightfully defeud her, and,
under the miserable mask of interest, to insult her?"

" Is it thus you read my conduct, Madam ?" said he, with an air
at once sad and reproachful.

" Not altogether, Mr. Linton. Besides the ineffable pleasure of
giving pain, I perceive that you are acquitting a debt — the debt of

hate you owe me ; because but I cannot descend to occupy the

same level with you in this business. I\Iy reply to you is a veiy short
one. Tour insult to me must go unpunished ; for, as you well know,
I have not one to resent it. You have, however, introduced another
name in this discussion ; to that gentleman I will reveal all that you
have said this day. The consequences may be what they will, I care
not ; I never provoked them. Tou best know, Sir, how the reckoning
will fare with you."

Linton grew pale, almost lividly so, while lie bit his lip till the very
blood came ; then, suddenly recovering himself, he said : " I am not
aware of having mentioned a name. I think your Ladyship must
have been mistaken ; but" — and here he laughed slightly — " yoii will
scarce succeed in sowing discord between me and my old friend Lord
Charles Frobisher."

"Lord Charles Frobisher!" echoed she, almost stunned with the


"Tou seem surprised, Madam. I trust your Ladyship meant no
other." The insolence of his manner, as he said this, left her unable
for some minutes to reply, and when she did speak, it was "with evi-
dent effort.

" I trust now, Sir, that we liave spoken for the last time together.
I own — and it is, indeed, humiliation enough to own it — your words
have deeply insulted me. I cannot deny you the satisfaction of
knowing this ; and yet, with all these things before me, I do not hate
— I only despise you."

So saying, she moved towards the door, but Linton stepped for-
ward, and said : " One instant. Madam. You seem to forget that
we are pledged to walk through the rooms ; our amiable friends are
doubtless looking for us."

" I will ask Mr. Cashel to be my chaperon another time," said she,
carelessly ; and drawing her shawl ai'ound her, passed out, leaving
Linton alone in the conservatory.

"Ay, by St. Paul ! the work goes bravely on," cried he, as soon as
she had disappeared. " If she ruin not him and herself to boot, now,
I am sore mistaken. The game is full of interest, and, if I had not
so much in hand, would delight me."

With this brief soliloquy, he turned to where the Italian was stand-
ing, pruning an orange-tree.

^' Have you learned any English yet, Giovanni ?"

A slight but significant gesture of one finger gave the negative.

" K'o matter, your own soft vowels are in more request here. The
dress I told yon of is now come ; my servant will give it to you ; so,
be ready with your guitar, if the ladies wish for it, this evening."

Griovanni bowed respectfully, and went on with his work, and soon
after Linton strolled into the garden to muse over the late scene.

Had any one been there to mark the signs of triumphant elation
on his features, they would have seen the man in all the sincerity of
his bold, bad heart. His success was perfect. Knowing well the
proud nature of the young, high-spirited woman, thoroughly ac-
quainted with her impatient temper and haughty character, he rightly
foresaw that to tell her she had become the subject of a calumny, was
to rouse her pride to confront it openly. To whisper that the world
would not admit of this or that, was to make her brave that world, or
sink under the effort.

To sting her to such resistance was his wily game, and who knew
better how to play it ? The insinuated sneers at the class to which
she had once belonged, as one not " patented" to assume the vices of
their betters, was a deep and most telling hit ; and he saw, when they
separated, that her mind was made up, at any cost and every risk, to
live down the slander by utter contempt of it. Linton asked for no
more. " Let her," said he to hiniself, " but enter the lists with the


world for an adversary ! I'll give her all the benefit of the best
motives — as much purity of lieart, and so forth, as she cares for —
but, ' I'll name the winner,' after all."

Too true. The worthy people who fancy that an innate honesty
of purpose can compensate for all the breaches of conventional use,
are like the volunteers of an army who refuse to wear its uniform,
and are as often picked down by their allies as by their enemies.


* Such a concourse ne'er was seen

Of coaches, noddies, cars, and jingles,
" Chars-a-bancs" — to hold sixteen,
And " Sulkies" meant to carry singles.

The Pic-Nic : a Lay.

It is an old remark that nothing is so stupid as love-letters ; and,
pretty much in the same spirit, we may affirm that there are few
duller topics than festivities. The scenes in which the actor is most
interested are, out of compensation, perhaps, those least worthy to
record ; the very inability of description to render them is dishearten-
ing too. One must eterually resort to the effects produced, as evi-
dences of the cause, just as, when we would characterise a climate, we
find ourselves obliged to fall back upon the vegetable productions,
the fruits and flowers of the seasons, to conve}^ even anything of what
we desire. So is it Pleasure has its own atmosphere — we may
breathe, but hardly chronicle it.

These prosings of ours have reference to the gaieties of Tubber-
more, which certainly were all that a merry party and an unbounded
expenditure could compass. The style of living was princely in its
splendour: luxuries fetched from every land — the rarest wines of
every country, the most exquisite flowers— all that taste can suggest,
and gold can buy, were there; and Avhile the order of each day was
maintained with undiminished splendour, every little fancy of the
guests was studied with a watchful politeness that marks the highest
delicacy of hospitality.

If a bachelor's house bo wanting in the gracefulness which is the
charm of a family reception, there is a freedom, a degree of liberty in
all the movements of the guests, which some would accept as a fair
compromise ; for, while the men assume a full equality with their host,
the ladies are supreme in all sucli establishments. Roland Casliel
was, indeed, not the man to dislike this kind of democracy ; it spared


him trouble ; it inflicted no tiresome routine of attentions ; he was
free as the others to follow the bent of his humour, and he asked for
no more.

It was without one particle of vulgar pride of wealth that he de-
lighted in the pleasure he saw around him ; it was the mere buoyancy
of a high-spirited nature. The cost no more entered into his calcu-
lations in a personal than a pecuniary sense. A consciousness that
he was the source of all that splendid festivity — that his will was the
motive-power of all that complex machinery of pleasure — increased,
but did not constitute, his enjoyment. To see his guests happy, in
the various modes they preferred, was his great delight, and, for once,
he felt inclined to think that wealth had great privileges.

The display of all, which gratified him most, was that which usually
took place each day after luncheon ; when the great space before the
house was thronged with equipages of various kinds and degrees, with
saddle-horses and mounted grooms, and amid all the bustle of discuss-
ing where to, and with whom, the party issued forth to spend the
hours before dinner.

A looker-on would have been amused to watch all the little devices
in request, to join this party, to avoid that, to secure a seat in a cer-
tain carriage, or to escape from some other ; Linton's chief amusement
being to thwart as many of these plans as he could, and while he
packed a sleepy Chief Justice into the same barouche with the gay
Eenuyfeck girls, to commit Lady Janet to the care of some dashing
drafToon, who did not dare decline the wife of a " Commander of the

Cashel always joined the party on horseback, so long as Lady Kil-
goff kept the house, which she did for the first week of her stay ; but
when she announced her intention of driving out, he ofiered his ser-
vices to accompany her. By the merest accident it chanced that the

Online LibraryCharles James LeverRoland Cashel (Volume 2) → online text (page 1 of 32)