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Cashel, however, walked at his liead, and so tliey stood, while he ar-
ranged the curb-chain, exactly beneath the window where Olivia was

She opened the sash noiselessly, and, bending down, listened.

" I assure you," said Lady Kilgoff, " I'll not continue my ride if


you don't come. I have no confidence in these fine gentlemen cava-
liers ; and as for Miss Meek, she'd risk her life to see me run a\s ay

" I pledge myself to follow in ten minutes — nay, in five, if pos-
sible. I told Mr. Kennyfeck I should make my obeisances to the
ladies to-day."

" Would to-morrow not serve ?" said she, smiling.

" I believe it might — but, a promise ! Besides, I have been sadly
deficient in attentions there."

" Sir Harvey and his brother Hussar have made the amende for
your short-comings ; but go, make haste and overtake us. I see
' my Lord ' trying to understand Lady Janet, and I must not delay

"Eide slowly," cried Eoland, "and don't get run away with till
I'm of the party."

She nodded archly in reply to this speech, and joining the group,
who were all awaiting her, rode ofi", while Cashel entered the house,
and soon was heard ascending the stairs at a hurried pace.

Olivia could only close the window and resume her place, when a
tap was given at the door, and the same instant Cashel entered the
room. He stopped suddenly, and looked around, for at first he did
not perceive Olivia, who, deep in her book, afiected not to hear the
noise of his approach.

The rich coronet of brown hair, on which an evening sun was
throwing one brilliant gleam, caught his eye, and he advanced near
enough to see and be struck by that graceful attitude of which we
gave our reader a glimpse at the opening of this chapter.

She was reading some old English ballad ; and, as she closed the
volume, murmured, half aloud, the lines of the concluding verse :

" And ye varlete, bounde upon a carte,
Was draggede to ye gallows high,
While ye knighte that stole ye ladye's hearte
(And was not his ye gravere parte ?)
Kode oute to see him die."

" A sad moral, indeed," said Cashel, in a low, soft voice.

" Oh dear ! oh, Mr. Cashel !" cried she, starting, and letting fall
the book, " how you have terrified me."

" Pray forgive me," said he, drawing his chair near, '• but when I
entered the room I saw no one. I had come thus far ere I dis-
covered that I was so fortunate."

" Sliall I ring for Mamma and Cary ? they are dressing, I know,
but will be quite annoyed if you go before they come down."

" You must not inconvenience them on my account," said Eoland,
eagerly. "I'm certain," added he, smiling, "you are not afraid to
receive me alone."


She hung down her head, and partly averting it, murmured a
scarcely audible " No."

Cashel, who had evidently never calculated on his careless remark
being taken thus seriously, looked silly and uncomfortable for a few
seconds. There is a terrible perversity sometimes in our natures ; we
are disposed to laugh occasionally at times when nothing could be
more ill-timed or unsuitable; and so, at moments when we would
give anything in the world for some common-place theme to hang
phrases on, we cannot, for the life of us, originate one.

" Tou've not ridden out, I think, since we came ?" said Eoland, at
last, but with an air of sudden despair at his own stupidity.

" No. "We have driven out once or twice ; but — but "

" Pray finish," said he, with a persuasive look as he spoke.

" I was going to say that your horses are so spirited, that I was
really afraid to trust myself, and the more so as Miss Meek is so wild
and so reckless."

" Never think of riding with 7ier. Let me be your cliwperon — shall
we say to-morrow ? I've got the gentlest creature that was ever

" Oh, I know her ; that sweet white Arab I saw the groom exer-
cising yesterday ?"

" No ; not she," said Eoland, blushing and confused, " a spotted
barb, fully as handsome — some say handsomer. "Will you do me the
favour to ride her to-morrow, and, if she be fortunate enough to please
you, to accept her ?"

Olivia hung down her head full a second, and a deep scarlet covered
her cheek, and rose even to her temples, and it was with a voice
broken and interrupted she said, " Oh, I cannot— I must not." Then,
turning on him a look, where the tearful eyes, swimming in a softened
lustre, conveyed a whole story of deep suffering, she said rapidly :
" You are too kind and too good ever to give pain ; you are too gene-
rous to believe others capable of it ; but were I to accept your beau-
tiful gift — were I even to ride out with you alone — there is nothing
that would not be said of me."

It was Cashel's turn for a slight blush now ; and, to do him justice,
he felt the sensation a most disagreeable one. It had not indeed oc-
curred to him to make the proposal as the young lady took it, but he
was far too long schooled in gallantry to imdeeeive her, and so he said,
" I really cannot see this in the light you do. It is a very natural
wish on my part, that I should show my guests whatever my poor
grounds afford of the picturesque ; and remember, we are not friends
of yesterday." This he said in his very kindest tone.

" I do remember it," said she, with a slow but most meaning sigh.

" That memory is, I trust, not so associated with sorrow," added


lie, leaning down, and speaking in a deep, earnest voice, " that you
recal it with a sigh?"

"Oh no; but I was thinking — I must not say of what I was thinking."

" Nay, but you must," said he, gently, and drawing his chair closer.

" I dare not — I cannot — besides, you" — and there was on the pro-
noun the very softest of all-dwelling intonation — " you might be angry
— might never forgive me."

"Jfow I must insist on your telling me," saidEoland, passionately,
■' if but to show how unfairly you judge me."

■' "Well," said she, drawing a long breath — " but shall I trust you ?"
There was a most winning archness in the way she said this, that
thrilled through Cashel as he listened. " JSTo, I will not," added she,
suddenly, and as if carried away by a passionate impulse ; " you are
too "

" Too what ?" cried he, impatiently.

" Too fickle," said she ; and then, as if terrified at her own bold-
ness, she added, in a tremidous voice, " Oh, do forgive me."

" There is really nothing to forgive," said Eoland, " unless you
persist in keeping from me an avowal that I almost fancy I have a
right to ask for. And now, of what were you thinking ?"

" I'll tell you," said she, in a low, earnest accent, "though it may
lose me your esteem. I was thinking" — her voice here fell so low,
that Cashel, to hear her words, was obliged to draw his chair closer,
and bend down his head till it actually brushed against the leaves she
wore in her hair — " I was thinking that, when we knew you first,
before you had made acquaintance with others — when you sat and
read to us — when we walked and rode together — when, in short, the
day was one bright dream of pleasure to us, who had never known a
brother "

Pardon us, dear reader, if, at so critical a moment, we occupy the
pause which here ensued — and there was a pause — by referring to
our Aunt Panny, only premising that we do so advisedly. It was one
of that excellent lady's firmest convictions that every one in the world
required some discreet friend, who should, at eventful passages in life,
be ready to aid, by presence of mind, a wavering resolve, or confirm
a half-formed determination. Now, she had waited for two mortal
hours on that day for Cashel's coming, in a state of impatience little
short of fever. She opened and shut her window, looked up one
avenue and down another ; she had watched on the landing, and stood
sentinel on the stairs ; she had seen Mrs. Kennyfeck and her elder
daughter pass out into the garden, weary of long waiting ; when, at
last, she heard Eoland' s hasty step as he traversed the hall, and,
hurrying up-stairs, enter the drawing-room.

Drawn by an attraction there is no explaining, she left her room,


and took up her position in a small boudoir which adjoined the
drawing-room. Here she sat, persuading herself she was at her
work ; but, in reality, in a state of suspense not very inferior to some
prisoner while a jury is deliberating on his fate.

The conversation, at first conducted in an ordinary tone, had gra-
dually subsided, till it dropped into the low, undistinguishable manner
vre have mentioned.

Aunt Eanny's inventive mind had suggested every step of the
interview. She kept muttering to herself: " He is explaining him-
self — she is incredulous — and he tries to reassure her — she believes
that his heart was given to another — he vows and swears it was
always hers — she cannot credit the happiness — she is too unworthy."

It was just as our Aiuit had got thus far in her running com-
mentary that both voices ceased, and a stillness, unbroken by a
murmur, succeeded. '' "What could it mean ?" was the sudden ques-
tioji that flashed across her mind ; and JSTapoleon's own dread anxiet}^,
as he gazed on the wood, and hesitated whether Ihe dark masses
emerging from the shade were his own legions or the Prussians, was
not much more intense than hers. At last — we are sorry to record
it — but, alas ! Aunt Fanny was only mortal, and an old maid to boot
— she approached the door and peeped through the keyhole. The
sight which met her eyes needed no second glance ; slie saw both
heads bent down together, the dark waving hair of Cashel close to the
nut-brown silky braids of Olivia. Neither spoke. " It was then con-

This was the moment in which mutual avowals, meeting like two
rivers, form one broad and sweeping flood. It was the moment, too,
in which, according to her theory, a friend was all essential. Accord-
ing to her phrase, the "nail should be clinched."

Now, Aunt Fanny had been cruelly handled by the family for all
the blunders she had committed. Her skill had been impugned ; her
shrewdness sneered at ; her prognostications derided. Here was an
opportunity to refute all at once ; and, in the language of the con-
queror, " to cover herself with glory."

Gently opening the door she entered the room, and stealing tiptoe
over, till she stood behind their chairs, she placed, with all the solem-
nity of an archbishop, a hand on cither head, and, in a voice of touch-
ing fervour, said :

" Bless ye both, my darlings ; may ye be as happy as "

As what ? The history is unable to record ; for a shrill cry from
her niece, and an exclamation nearly as loud, and we fear far less
polite, from Eolaud, cut short the speech.

Shriek followed shrielc from Olivia, who, partly from the shock, and
still more from shame, was thrown into an attack of hysterics.

" What the " he was very nigh saying something else — "what





have you done, Madam ?" said Eoland, in a state of mingled anger
and terror.

" It's only your Aunt Fanny. It's me, my pet. Livy, darling,
don't be frightened ; and here, too, is Mr. Cashel."

In this, however, the good lady was mistaken ; for Eoland had
hastened up-stairs to Mrs. Kennyfeck's room, which finding locked,
he flew down to the great drawing-room, thence to the library, and
was making for the garden, when he saw that lady and her daughter
crossing the hall.

" I'm afraid, Madam," said he, with all the composure he could
summon, " Miss Olivia Kennyfeck is not well ; nothing serious, I
trust ; but a sudden fright — a shock — Miss O'Hara somewhat im-
prudently "

■' Oh, Fanny again !" screamed Mrs. Kennyfeck ; and without
waiting for more, rushed up-stairs, followed by her daughter, while
Eoland, in a state of mind we dare not dwell upon, hastened from the
house, and mounting his horse, galloped off into the wood.

There were times when Cashel would have laughed, and laughed
heartily, at the absurdity of this adventure. He would have even
treasured up the "tableau" as a thing for future ridicule among his
friends; but his better feelings, born of a more manly pride, rejected
this now ; he was sorry, deeply, sincerely sorry, that one, with so
much to fascinate and charm about her, could lend herself to a mere
game like this ! "Where are these deceptions to end ?" said he, in
passionate warmth. "Have candour, good faith, and. honesty fled the
world ? or, are they only to be found among those whose vices make
the foil to such humble virtues ?"

Nor were these his only painful reflections. He was obliged to see
himself — the thing, of all others, he despised — " a Dupe." The mark
for every mean artifice and every ignoble scheme.' The gambler — the
flirt — the adventurer in every walk — regarded him as a prey. Wealth
had done this for him — and it had done no more! None cared for
him as a friend or companion. Even as a lover, his addresses were
heralded by his gold, not enhanced by qualities of his own. What
humiliation !

Mary Leicester alone seemed unimpressed by his great fortune, and
regardless of his wealth. She alone had never evinced towards him
any show of preference above others less endowed by Eate. Nay, he
fancied he could trace something of reserve in her manner whenever
he stepped by chance out of his character of careless, buoyant youth,
and dwelt upon the plans that mere money accomplishes. In these
she showed no interest, and took no pleasure ; while, to the adven-
tures of his former life, she listened with eager attention. It was
easy to see she thought more of the Cahallero than the Millionnaire.

What a happiness had it been to have befriended her grand lather


and lierself ; how different had been his reflections at this hour ; what
lessons in the true wisdom of life might he not hare learned from one
who had seen the world, not as the play-table for the rolling dice of
fortune, but as the battle-ground where good and evil strive for
victory ; where a higher philosophy is taught than the lifeless, soul-
less dictates of mere fashionable existence !


But where are they alle, I do not see,
One half of our goodlie compauie?


That day was destined to be one of contrarieties to the household
of Tubbermore. Of the Kennyfeck family, none appeared at dinner.
Lady Kilgoff, angry at Eoland's breach of engagement — for, although
he rode at top-speed in every direction, he never overtook her — also
kept her room. The carriage sent for Miss- Leicester had retiimed
without her, a somewhat formal note of apology stating that Mr.
Corrigau was indisposed, and his granddaughter unwilling to leave
him. ; while Linton, usually a main feature in all the social success of
a dinner, was still absent.

Of the assembled guests, too, few were in their wonted spirits. Sir
Andrew and Lady Janet had quarrelled in the morning about the
mode of preparing dandelion tea, and kept up the dispute all the day.
Upton was sulky, dark, aud reserved. Meek more than usually
lachrymose. Frobisher's best mare had been staked in taking a leap,
and Miss Meek had never discovered it till half an hour after, so that
the lameness was greatly aggravated. Mrs. White had had a "tiff"
with the author, for his not belie^dng the Irish to be of Phoenician
origin, and wouldn't speak to him at dinner ; so that Cashel himself,
constrained, absent, and ill at ease, found his company anything rather
than a relief to his own distracted thoughts.

Among his other guests he found the same reserve and coldness of
manner, so that no sooner liad they assembled in the drawing-room,
after dinner, than he left the house and set off to inquire for Mr.
Corrigau at the cottage.

" We had nine vacant places to-day at table," said Lady Janet, as
soon as she had arranged her special table next the fire, with a shade
in front aud a sci'een behind her, and was quite satisfied that, in
regard to cushions and footstools, slie had monopolised the most com-
fortable in the room.

"I thought— aw — tliat we — aw — were somewhat slow," said Cap-
tain Jennings, with hia habitually tiresome, pompous intonation.






" What's the matter with Upton ?" said a junior officer of hia regi-
ment, in a whisper ; " he looks so confoundedly put out."

" I'm sure I don't know," yawned out Lord Charles ; " he has a
very safe hook on the Oaks."

" He's backing Dido at very long odds," interposed Miss Meek,
" and she's weak before, they say."

" Not staked, I hope," said Frobisher, looking maliciously at her.

" I don't care what you say, Charley," rejoined she ; " I defy any
one to know whether a horse goes tender, while galloping in deep
ground. Tou are always unjust." And she moved away in anger.

" She is so careless," said Frobisher, listlessly.

" Tell me about these Kennyfecks. What is it all about ?" said
Mrs. White, bustling up, as if she was resolved on a long confidence.

" They hedged against themselves, I hear," said Frobisher.

" Indeed ! poor things ; and are they much hurt ?"

" Not seriously, I fancy," drawled he. " Lady Janet knows it all."

Mrs. White did not neglect the suggestion, but at once repaired
to that part of the room where Lady Janet was sitting, surrounded
by a select circle, eagerly discussing the very question she had asked
to be informed upon^

" I had it from Yerthinia," said Mrs. Mai one, with her peculiar,
thick enunciation, " Lady Kilgoff's maid. She said that not a day
passes without some such scene between the mother and daughters.
Mrs. Kennyfeck had, it seems, forbithen Cashel to call there in her
ab thence."

"I must most respectfully interrupt you, Madam," said a large
old lady, with blonde false hair, and a great deal of rouge, " but the
affair was quite different. Miss Olivia, that is the second girl, was
detected by her aunt, Miss O'Hara, packing up for an elopement."

" Fudge," said Lady Janet ; " she'd have helped her, if that were
the case ! I believe the true version of the matter is yet to come
out. My woman, Stubbs, saw the apothecary coming down stairs,
after bleeding Livy, and called him into her room ; not, indeed, to
speak of this matter" — here Lady Jauet caused her voice to be
heard by Sir Andrew, who sat, in moody sulk, right opposite — " it
was to ask, if there should not be two pods of capsicum in every pint
of dandelion tea."

" There may be twa horns o' the de'il in it," ejaculated Sir An-
drew, " but I'll na pit it to my mouth agen. I hae a throat like the
fiery furnace that roasted the three chaps in the Bible."

" It suits your tongue all the better," muttered Lady Janet, and
turned round to the others. " Stubbs, as I was saying, called the
man in, and after some conversation about the dandelion, asked, in a
cursory way, you know, " How the lady was, up-stairs ?" He shook
his head, and said nothing.


" ' It will not be tedious, I hope ?' said Stubbs.

" ' These are most uncertain cases,' said he ; ' sometimes they last
a day, sometimes eight or nine.'

" ' I think you're very mysterious, doctor,' said Stubbs.

" He muttered something about honour, and, seiziug his hat, went
off, as Stubbs says, ' as if lie was shot !' "

" Honour !" cried one of the licarers.

"Honour !" ejaculated another, with an expression of pure horror.

" Didn't he say. Madam," said the blonde old lady, " that it wasn't
his branch of the profession ?"

" Oh ! oh !" broke in the company togetlier, while the younger
ladies held up their fans and giggled behind them.

" I'm thorry for the poor mother!" s'ghed Mrs. Malone, who had
seven daughters, each uglier tlian the other.

" I pity tlie elder girl," said Lady Janet ; " she had a far better
tone about her than the rest."

" ^nd that dear, kind, old creature, the aunt. It is said that but
for her core this would have happened long ago," said Mrs. Malone.

" She was, to my tliinking, tlie best of them," echoed the blonde
lady ; " so discreet, so quiet, and so unobtrusive."

" What could come of their pretension ?" said a colonel's widow,
with a very large nose and a very small pension ; " they attempted a
style of living quite unsuited to them ! The house always full of
young men, too."

" You wouldn't have had them invite old ones. Madam," said Lady
Janet, with the air of rebuke the wife of a commander-in-chief can
assume to the colonel's relict.

" It's a very sad affair, indeed," summed up Mrs. "White, who, if
she hadn't quarrelled with Mr. Howie, would have given him the
whole narrative for the " Satanist."

" "What a house to be sure ! There's Lady Kilgofi' on one
side "

" "What of her, my Lady ?" said the blonde.

" Tou didn't hear of Lord KilgofF overlahing her to-day in the
wood with Sir Harvey Upton ? — hush ! or he'll hear us. The poor
old mail — you know iiis state of mind — snatched the whip from the
coachman, and struck Sir Harvey across the face. They say there's
a great welt over the clieek !"

Mrs. "White immediately arose, and, under pretence of loolting for
a book, made a circuit of the room in tliat part where Sir Harvey
Upton was lounging, with his head on his liand.

" Quite true," said she, returning to the party. " It is so painful,
he can't keep his hand from tlie spot."

" Has any one discovered who the strange-looking man was that
was received by Mr. Cashel this morning in his own study ?" asked


the blonde. "My maid said lie was for all the world like a sheriff''s
officer. It seems, too, he was very violeut in his language ; and but
for Mr. Kennyfeck, he would not have left the house."

" Too true, I fear, Ma'am," said Mrs. Malone ; " my husbaiid, the
Thief" — this was Mrs. Malone's mode of abbreviating and pro-
nounciug the words Chief Justice — " told me it was impothible for
Mr. Cashel to continue his extravaganth much longer."

" It's shameful — it's disgraceful," said Lady Janet ; '"the kitchen
is a scene of waste and recklessness, such as no fortune could stand."

" Indeed, so the ' Thief said," resumed Mrs. Malone; " he said
that robbery went on, on every thide, and that Mr. Phillith, I think
his name is, was the worst of all."

"Tour husband was quite correct, Ma'am," said Lady Janet; "no
one should know it better." And then she whispered in her neigh-
bour's ear, " If the adage be true, ' Set a Thief to catch a Thief.' "

The party entrusted with this could not restrain her laughter, and
for a space, a species of distrust seemed to pervade the circle.

We are certain that no apology will be required, if we ask of our
reader to quit this amiable society — although seated at a comfortable
fire, in the very easiest of chairs, with the softest carpet beneath his
feet — and accompany Eolaud Cashel, who now, with hasty step, trod
the little path that led to Tubber-beg Cottage.

However inhospitable the confession, we are bound to acknowledge
Cashel was growing marvellously weary of his character as a host.
The hundred little contrarieties which dailv arose, and which he knew
not how to smooth down or conciliate, made him appear, in his own
estimation at least, deficient in worldly tact, and left him open to the
belief that others would judge him even less mercifully. The un-
bridled freedom of his household, besides, stimulated all the selfish-
ness of those who, in a better arranged establishment, had kept
" watch and ward" over their egotism ; and'thus, instead of present-
ing the features of a society where the elements of agreeability were
not deficient, they resembled rather the company in a packet-ship,
each bent upon securing his own comfort, and only intent how to
make his neighbour subsidiary to himself.

Prosperity, too, was teaching him one of its least gracious lessons
— " Distrust." The mean and selfish natures by which be was sur-
rounded were gradually unfolding themselves to his view, and he was
ever on the verge of that dangerous frontier where scepticism holds
sway. One conclusion — and it was not the least wise — he formed
was, that he was ill suited to such companionship, and that he had
been happier, far happier, on some humble fortune, than as the rich
proprietor of a great estate.

It was, while thus ruminating, Cashel found himself at the little
space which intervened between one front of the cottage and the

Yoi. II. r


lake, and was struck by the rapid movement of lights tliat glanced
from window to window, appearing and disappearing at every instant.

Tlie dread that the old man was taken seriously ill at once came

Online LibraryCharles James LeverRoland Cashel (Volume 2) → online text (page 7 of 32)