Charles James Lever.

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the carriage, as if to conceal his chagrin, but in reality to hide the
exuberance of his joy ; " and this is your candid opinion of the case ?"

" I am willing to stake my fame as a lawyer on the issue ; for, re-
member, the whole history of the suit is familiar to me ; I recollect
well the flaws in the course of proofs adduced, and I see how this
discovery reconciles each discrepancy, and supplies every missing link
of the chain."

38 EOLAlfID CA.snEL.

" Poor fellow — it will be a sad blow for bim," said Linton, with
admirably feigned emotion.

" But it need not, Mr. Linton. The church can tie a knot not
even an equity suit can open. Let him marry."

" Ay, if be will."

" Tell bim be must ; tell bim wbat I now tell you, that this girl is
the greatest heiress in the laud, and tbat be is a beggar. Plain speak-
ing, jMr. Linton, but time is short. Grood-by."

" One word more. Is the document of such a nature tbat leaves
bim no case whatever? Is all tbe ground cut away beneatb bis
feet ?"

" Every incb of it. Once more, go'od-by. Here is your parcb-
ment ; keep it safely ; there are few men in this city bold in their
bands a paper of such moment."

"I'll take good care of it," said Linton, sententiously ; ''and so
good-by, and a safe journey to you. I'll not forget our conversation
of this morning. Meek shall bear of it before I sleep to-nigbt.

" Tbe richest beiress in the land, and Casbel a beggar," repeated
Linton, slowly to himself, as tbe carriage drove off. " Charley Fro-
bisher would say, ' Hedge on the double event,' but I'll keep my
book." And, with this slang reflection, be sauntered into tbe inn
to wait for his borses.


-His counsel, like his physic,

If hard to take, was good when taken.

Village Worthies.

Long before tbe guests of Tubbennore were astir, Casbel sat in
liis library awaiting the arrival of Dr. Tiernay. In obedience to
Rolaud's reciuest, ]Mr. Kennyfeck was present, and aff'ected to look
over books or out of windows — to scan over prints or inspect maps
— anything, in short, whicli sboidd pass the time and shorten tbe
interval of waiting — doubly awkward from being the first moment
be bad been alone with Casbel since bis arrival. Casbel was silent
and absorbed, and, more intent upon follo^viug out the train of his
own thoughts, never noticed tbe various arts by which Kcnnyfeck
affected to interest himself. The Solicitor, too, bent from time to
time a stealthy look on tbe joung man, on whose features be bad
rarely seen the same traces of deep reflection.


At last, with a half start, as if sviddenlj awaking, Casbel sat up in
his chair, and said :

" Have I explained to you what Dr. Tiernay's business is here
this morning ? It is to make a proposition from Mr. Corrigan for
the sale of his interest in Tubber-beg. He wishes to leave the
country and go abroad."

" His interest, Sir," replied Kennyfeck, calmly, " although more
valuable to you than to any one else, must "he a matter of small
amount ; for years back, he has done little more than vegetate on
the property, without capital or skill to improve it."

'• I'm not asking you to appraise it just yet," said Eoland, snap-
pishly ; " I was simply informing you of the object of the gentle-
man's visit. It is the advantage of this purchase that I wished you
to consider, not its cost."

" The cost will define the advantage, Sir," rejoined Kennyfeck,
'• particularly as the demand may be high, and the payment incon-

" How do you mean, inconvenient ?"

Kennyfeck hesitated. There was something in the hurried ab-
ruptness of tlie question, as well as in the excited expression of the
questioner's face, that confased him ; so that Cashel had time to
repeat the words before he could reply.

" Is it that I am straitened for money ?" said he, passionately,

" Not quite — that — Sir," replied Kennyfeck, stopping between
every word. " Tou have resources — very great resources — un-
touched, and you have considerable sums in foreign securities, in-
tact "

" Never mind these," broke in Eoland, hurriedly. " How do we
stand with those London fellows ?"

Kennyfeck shook his head gravely, but without speaking.

'' I pray you. Sir," said Eoland, in a voice of hardly suppressed
passion, " keep pantomime for another moment, or a keener inter-
preter of it, and condescend, in plain English, to answer me my last

" There is no difficulty with Bigger and Swain, Sir," said Kenny-
feck, as his cheek grew slightly red. " They will neither be press-
ing for a settlement, nor exacting when making it ; besides, you have
not overdrawn very heavily after all."

" Overdrawn, said you ? — did you say overdrawn, Mr. Kennyfeck?"

" Tes, Sir. In the account last forwarded, your debit was eleven
thousand four hundred and forty pounds ; since that you have drawn
— but not for any large amount."

" Overdrawn !" repeated Cashel, as though his thoughts had never
wandered beyond the first shock of that fact ; then rallying into


sometliing like liis habitual easy humour, he said, " I am, I need uot
tell you, the stupidest man of business that ever breathed, so pray
forgive me if I ask you once more if I understood you aright that I
have not only expended all the money I owned in these people's
hands, but actually had contracted a debt to them ?"

*' That is the case, Sir," said Kenuyfeck, gravely.

A deep groan broke from Cashel, and he sat silent and still.

" I would wish to observe, Sir," said Kenny feck, who was shocked
at the alteration a few moments had made in the young man's coun-
tenance — " I would wish to observe, Sir, that if you desire a sum of
money for any purpose "

" Stay — let me interrupt you here," said Cashel, laying his hand
on Kennyfeck's arm, and using a tone Avhose earnest distinctness
thrilled through his hearer's heart ; " I should deceive you, were you
to suppose that it is the want of money gives me the pain I am now
suifering. That I had believed myself rich a few moments back, and
now found myself a beggar, could not give one-thousandth part of
that suffering which I feel here. I have braved poverty in every form,
and I could brave it again ; but I'll tell you what it is that now cuts
me to the soul, and lowers me to myself It is that, in a senseless,
heartless career, I should h.ave squandered the wealth by which I
once imagined I was to bless and succour hundreds. It is to think,
that of all the gold I have wasted, not one memory has been pur-
chased of a sick-bed consoled, a suffering lessened, a sinking spirit
encouraged — I have done nothing, actually nothing, save pamper vice
and sensual heartlessness. I came to this kingdom a few months
back, my very dreams filled with schemes of benevolence. I felt as if
this wealth were given to me that I miglit show the world how much
of good may be done br one who, having experienced narrow fortune,
should best know how to relieve it in othei-s ; and now, here am I,
the wealth and the higli aspirations alike departed, with no tradition
to carry away, save of a life passed in debauch, the friendship of
worthless, the pitying contempt of good men ! Hear me out. I was
nurtured in no school of sentiment ; I belonged to a class who had
too little time or taste to indulge in scruples. "We were reckless,
passionate — cruel, if you will — but we were not bad in cold blood ;
we seldom hated lou" ; we never could turn oji a benefactor. These
are not the lessons I've lived to learn here ! It is over, however — it
is past now! I'll go back to the old haunts, and the old comrades.
It will go hard with mc if I quarrel with their rude speech and rough
demeanour. I'll think o^ rjentlcmen ! and be grateful."

The rapid utterance in which he poured forth these words, and tlie
fervid excitement of his manner, abashed Kennyfeck, and deterred
him from reply. Cashel was the first to speak.


" This arrangement, however, must be provided for; whatever Mr.
Corrigan's interest be worth — or, rather, whatever he will accept in
lieu of it — I insist upon his having. But I see Dr. Tiernay coming
up to the door ; we can talk of these things at another time."

When Tiernay entered the library he was heated with his walk, and
his face betrayed unmistakable signs of recent irritation ; indeed, he
did not long conceal the reason.

" Is it true, Mr. Cashel, that Mr. Linton is your nominee for the
borough of Derraheeny ?"

" Yes ; what of that ?"

" "Why, that he canvasses the constituency in a fashion we have
not yet been accustomed to ; at least your tenants, of whom I am
one, are told that our votes are the condition on which our leases will
receive renewal ; that you will not brook opposition in any one who
holds under you. Are these your sentiments, Mr. Cashel, or only
his ?"

" Not mine, assuredly," replied Cashel, gravely.

" I said as much. I told several of my neighbours that if this mode
of canvass had your sanction, it was from not knowing the privileges
of an elector."

" I neither sanctioned nor knew of it," rejoined Cashel, eagerly.

" So much the better — at least for me," said Tiernay, seating him-
self at the breakfast-table, " for I shall not lose a good breakfast, as
I should have been forced to do had these been your intentions."

" I would observe, Doctor Tiernay," interposed Kennyfeck, mildly,
" that the borough, being entirely the property of Mr. Cashel, its
charities maintained by his bounty, and its schools supported at his
cost, he has a fair claim on the gratitude of those who benefit by his

" Let him stand himself for the borough, and we'll not deny the
debt," said Tiernay, roughly ; " but if for every ten he should expend
a hundred, ay. Sir, or a thousand, on the village, I'd not vote for Mr.

"Most certainly, Doctor; I'd never seek to coerce you," said
Cashel, smiling.

" Labour lost. Sir. I am your tenant for a holding of twenty-two
pounds a year. I have never been in arrear ; you, consequently, have
not granted me any favour, save that of extending your acquaintance
to me. Now, Sir, except that you are a rich man and I a poor one,
how is even that condescension on your part a fiivour ? and how could
you purpose, upon it, to ask me to surrender my right of judgment
on an important point, to you, who, from your high station, your rank
and influence, have a thousand prerogatives, while / have but this
one ?"


" I never licard the just influence of the landed proprietor disputed
before," said Kennyfeck, ■who felt outraged at the Doctor's hardi-

" It is only ^"m^ influence, Sir," said Tiemay, " when he who wields
it is an example, as much by his life, as by the exercise of an ability
that commands respect. Show me a man at the head of a large pro-
perty extending the happiness of his tenantry, succouring the sick,
assisting the needy, spreading the blessings of his own knowledge
among those who have neither leisure nor opportunity to acquire it
for themselves. Let me see him, while enjoying to the fullest the
bounteous gifts that are but the portion of few in this world, not for-
getful of those ■whose life is toil, and wliose struggle is for mere
existence. Let me not know the landlord only by his liveries and
his equipage, his fox-hounds, his plate, his racers, and his syco-

'■ Hard hitting. Doctor !" cried Cashel, interrupting.

" Not if you can tak-e it so good-humouredly," said Tiemay ; " not
if it only lose me the honour of ever entering here, and teach you to
reflect on these things."

" You mistake me much," said Cashel, "if you judge mo so nar-

" I did not think thus meanly of you ; nor, if I did, would it have
stopped me. I often promised myself, that if I could but eat of a
rich man's salt, I'd tell him my mind, while under the protection of
his hospitality. I have paid my debt now ; and so, no more of it.
Kennyfeck could tell you better than I, if it be not, in part at least,
deserved. All this splendour that dazzles our eyes — all this luxury,
that makes the contrast of our poverty the colder — all this reckless
■waste, that is like an unfeeling jest upon our small thrift, is hard to
bear when we see it, not the pastime of an idle hom*, but the business
of a life. Ton can do far better things than these, and be happier as
well as better for doing them ! And now. Sir, are you in the mood
to discuss my friend's project ?"

" Perfectly so, Doctor ; you have only to speak your sentiments on
the matter before Mr. Kennyfeck ; my concurrence is already with

" We want you to buy our interest in Tubber-beg," said the
Doctor, drawing las chair in front of Kenny feclc ; '• and tliough you
tell us that flower-plats and hollies, laurustinus and geraniums, are
not wealth, we'll insist on your remunerating us for some share of the
cost. Tlie spot is a sweet one, and will improve your demesne. Now,
what's it worth ?"

" There are diliiculties which may preclude any arrangement," said
Kennyfeck, gravely. " There was a deed of gift of this very property
made out, and only awaiting Mr. Cashel's signature."


" To whom ?" said Tiernay, gasping "vritli anxiety.

" To Mr. Linton."

" The' very thing I feared," said the old man, dropping his head
sorrowfully. •

" It is easily remedied, I fancy," said Cashel. " It was a hasty
promise given to afford him qualification for Parliament. I'll give
him something of larger value. I know he'll not stand in oiu* w^ay

" How you talk of giving, Sir ! You should have heen the Good
Fairy of a nursery tale, and not a mere man of acres and bank-notes.
But have your own way. It's only anticipating the crash a month
or so : ruined vou must be !"

"Is that so certain," said Cashel, half smiling, half seriously.

" Ask ]\Ir. Kennyfeck, there, whose highest ambition half a year
ago was to be your agent, and now he'd scarcely take you for a son-
in-law ! Don't look so angry, man ; what I said is but an illustra-
tion. It will be with your property as it was with your pleasure-boat
t'other day; you'll never know you've struck till you're sinking."

" Ton affect to have a very intimate knowledge of IMr. Cashel' s
affairs, Sir," said Kennyfeck, who was driven beyond all farther

" Somewhat more than you possess, Mr. Kennyfeck ; for I know
his tenantry. jSTot as you know them, from answering to their names
at rent-day, but from seeing them in seasons of distress and famine,
— from hearing their half-uttered hopes that better days were coming
when the' new landlord himself was about to visit them, — ^from listen-
ing to their sanguine expectations of benefits, — and now, within some
few days, from hearing the low mntterings of their discontent — the
prelude of worse than that."

" I have seen nothing else than the same scenes for forty years, but
I never remember the people more regular in their payments," said
the Attorney.

" AVell, don't venture among the Drumcoologhan boys alone ; that,
at least, I would recommend you," said the Doctor, menacingly.

" Why not ? — who are they ? — where are these fellows ?" cried
Cashel, for danger was a theme that never failed to stir his heart.

" It's a bad barony. Sir," said Kennj'feck, solemnly.

" A district that has supplied the gallows and the convict-ship for
many a year ; but we are w^andering away from the theme we ought
to discuss," interposed Tiernay, "and the question narrows itself to
this : if this property is still yours — if you have not already consigned
it to another — what is my friend's interest worth ?"

"That will require calculation and reflection."

" ISTeither, Mr. Kennyfeck," broke in Cashel. " Learn Mr. Cor-
rigan's expectations, and see that they are complied with."


"My friend desired a small annuity on the life of Ins grand-

" Be it an annuity, then," replied Cashel.

"By Heaven!" exclaimed Tiemay, as if he could not restrain the
impulse that worked within him, "you are a fine-hearted fellow.
Here, Sir," said he, taking a paper from his pocket — " here is a docu-
ment, which my poor friend sat up half the night to write, but which
I'd half made up my mind never to give you. You'd never guess what
it is, nor your keen friend either, but I'll spare you the trouble of
spelling it over. It's a renunciation of Cornelius Corrigan, Esq., for
himself and his heirs for ever, of all right, direct or contingent, to the
estate of Tubbermore, once the family property of his ancestors for
eleven generations. You never heard of such a claim," said Tiernay,
turning to Cashel, " but jMr. Kennyfeck did ; he knows well the im-
portance of that piece of paper he affects to treat with such indif-

" And do you suppose, Sir, that if this claim you speak of be a good
and valid one, I could, as a man of honour, maintain a possession to
which I had no right ? No ; let Mr. Corrigan take back tliat paper ;
let him try his right, as the laws enable him. If I stand not here as
the just owner of tliis house, I am ready to leave it at this instant ;
but I am neither to be intimidated by a threat nor conciliated by a

" Mr. Corrigan's claim has nothing to go upon, I assure you,"
broke in Kennyfeck, " If we accept the paper, it is by courtesy — to
show that we respect the feeling that suggested it — nothing more."

"While these words were addressed to Tiernay, Cashel, who had
walked towards one of the windows, did not hear them.

" Well," cried Tiernay, after an awkward pause, " the devil a worse
negotiator ever accepted a mission than myself! When I desire to
be frank, the only trutlis that occur to me are sure to be ofiensive, and
I never am so certain to insult as when I fancy I'm doing a favoiu*.
Good-by, Sir ; pardon the liberties of an old man, whose profession
has taught him to believe that remedies are seldom painless, and who,
although a poor man, would rather any day lose the fee than the
patient ! You'll not treat Con Corrigan the less kindly because he
has an imprudent friend. I'm sorry to think that I leave an un-
favourable impression behind me ; but I'm glad, heartily glad, I came
here to breakfast, for I go away convinced of two things, that I was
far from believing so certain when I entcred"^ — he paused for a second
or two, and then said—" that a spendthrift could have an unblemished
sense of honour, and that an attorney could appreciate it !"

"With these words he departed, while Cashel, after staring for a few
moments at Kennyfeck, threw himself back in his chair, and laughed
long and heartily.


"An original, Sir — quite an original!" said Kennyfeck, who, not
exactly knowing whether to accept the Doctor's parting speech as a
compliment, or the reverse, contented himself with this very vague

" He's a fine old fellow, although he does lay on his salve in Indian
fashion,' with a scalping-knife ; but I wish he'd not have said anything
of that confounded paper."

" Pardon me. Sir," interposed Kennyfeck, taking it from his pocket,
"but it might prove of inestimable value, in the event of any future

" AVhat ! you kept it, then ?" cried Cashel.

" Of course I did. Sir. It is a document scarce inferior to a deed
of title; for, although Mr. Corrigan has nothing to substantiate a
claim at law, it is incontestable that his family were the original
owners of this estate."

Cashel took the paper from Kennyfeck's hand, and seemed to
peruse it for some minutes, and then approaching the fire, he threw
it into the blaze, and pressed it down with a poker till it was con-
sumed ; while Kennyfeck, too much consternated to utter a word,
stood the personification of terror-struck astonishment.

" You have burnt it, Sir !" said he at last, in a whisper.

" Why not, Sir ?" cried Cashel, rudely. " Should I have made use
of it against the man who wrote it, or against his heirs, if by chance
they should seek one day to dispute my right ?"

A deep sigh was all the'reply Kennyfeck could make.

" I understand your compassion well," said Cashel, scornfully.
" Tou are right, Sir. It was the buccaneer, not the gentleman, spoke
there ; but I'm sick of masquerading, and I long for a little reality."

Without waiting for a reply, Eoland left the room, and wandered
out into the park.


" Like Dido's self," she said, "I'm free!
Trojan or Tyrian are alike to me."

Theee was but one species of tyranny Mr. Kennyfeck ever at-
tempted in his family : this was, to shroud with a solemn mystery
every little event in his professional career which he saw excited any
curiosity with his wife and daughters. It was true that on such oc-
casions he became a mark for most sneering insinuations and derisive
commentaries, but he rose with the dignity of a martyr above all their
taunts, and doubtless felt in his heart the supporting energy of a high-
priest standing watch over the gate of the Temple.


The few pencilled Hues by Cashel, which had summoned him to
the meeting recorded in the last chapter, he threw into the fire as
soon as he had read, and then arising from the breakfast-table, dryly-

" Don't wait breakfast, JMrs. Kennyfeck ; I shall not be back for
some time."

" Another secret, Mr. Kennyfeck," said his wife, scoffingly.

He only smiled in reply.

'• It ought to be a duel, at least. Pa," said his eldest daughter,
" from the urgent haste of your departure."

" Or a runaway couple, who wish to have the settlements "

" Is that all you know of the matter, Livy ?" said her sister, laugh-
ing heartily ; '■ why, child, your Gretna Green folks never have
settlements — never think of them till six months later, when they are
wanting to separate."

"Is there any occasion for mystery in this case?" rejoined Mrs.
Kennyfeck, haughtily.

" To be sure there may, my dear," broke in Aunt Fanny ; " there's
many a dirty thing the lawyers have to do they'd be ashamed to own
before their families."

Even this did not move Mr. Kennyfeck, and although from the way
he nestled his chin behind the folds of his white cravat, and a certain
scarcely perceptible shake of the head, it was clear he longed to refute
the foul aspersion.

" I suppose you will appear at dinner, Sir ?" said Mrs. Kennyfeck.
with lier grandest air.

" I hope so, Mrs. Kennyfeck," was the mild answer.

"Without you should take it into your head. Pa, to enter into
rivalry with Mr. Linton, and stay away, Heaven knows where or how
long," said Miss Kenuvfeck.

Mr. Kennyfeck did not wait for more, but left the room with an
air M'hose solemnity well suited any amount of secrecy,

" Is there a carriage at the door ?" said Mrs. Kennyfeck,

" No, Mamma ; there are three saddle-horses — one with a side-
saddle. That odious Miss Meek !" exclaimed Miss Kennyfeck ;
" what Lord Charles can see in her I cannot conceive. To be sure,
she saves a stable-bov the more, and that to him is somethiucf."

" Has your father gone out by the back terrace ?" resumed Mrs.
Kennyfeck, one only theme occupying her thoughts.

Olivia retired into an adjoining room, and soon returned, saying,

" No, Ma ; there's no one there, except Sir Andrew and Lady
Janet, taking their morning walk."

'• Their run, rather, my dear," chimed in Miss Kennyfeck, " for
she chases the poor old man up and down with a cup of camomile tea,


wliicli either scalds or sets him a-coughing. I'm sure that tiresoDie
old couple have awaked me every day the last week with their

" Step dow-n into the library, my love," said Mrs. Kennj^eck to
her younger daughter, " and bring me up the Fost or the St. James's

-' And if you meet Phillis, just ask if he saw your father, for he
forgot his gloves." And, suiting the action to the word, Aunt Fanny
dived into a cavern of an apron-pocket, and drew out a pair of knitted
things without fingers, which she offered to Olivia.

"Do no such thing. Miss Olivia Kennyfeck," said her Mamma,
with an air of imposing grandeur.

" Ma wants the newspaper, Olivia, and is not thinking of Papa,"
said Miss Kennyfeck ; and her eyes sparkled with a malicious fun
she well knew how to enjoy.

As Miss Olivia Kennyfeck left the room, her sister approached the
fireplace, where a small charred portion of the note thrown down by
her father was yet lying. She took it, and walking towards the
window, examined it carefully.

And while we leave her thus occupied, let us, for the reader's in-

Online LibraryCharles James LeverRoland Cashel (Volume 2) → online text (page 5 of 32)