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colonies, and is simply the public recognition of a private promise of

" Tou have forgotten two circumstances, Sir," said Hoare, whose
eyes never quitted Cashel's face.

" Which are they ?"

" One is, that this contract should be either fulfilled, or the forfeit
paid, within two years ; twenty-one months of which have already ex-

" True ! — and the other condition ?"

" That the acceptance or refusal of the forfeit is optional with Don
Pedro, who may, at his pleasure, select which clause he likes — the
marriage or the penalty."

" I never acknowledged this interpretation of the document," said
Cashel, reddening. " I know Don Pedro did, and there we were at
issue. Methinks it were somewhat hard to compel a marriage dis-
tasteful to both parties, and only to suit the speculations of a ruined

" I hope, Sir, the likelihood of future relationship will moderate the
warmth of your language."

" And is the man fool enough to fancy such a promise could be
legally enforced in this country?" said Tiernay.

"He is not without the opiuion of learned counsel," said Hoare;
" wlio are strongly of opiniou that the interpretations Columbian law
would put upon the document would be recognised by our own Courts,
and recognise the marriage as such."

" And does lie, or do you, suppose," said Cashel, indignantly,
" that I could expose her name, were I indifferent about my own, to
be bandied about your assize courts, and printed in newspapers, and
made the gossip of the town for a nine-days' wonder ?" He stopped,
for he saw by the elation of Hoare's features with what triumph this
avowal had been listened to. " And now, Sir, enough has been said
of this ; I come back to my former question — How came you by this

" I received it from Don Pedro, with whom I have had much busi-
ness intercourse, and who left it in my hands a few days back."

*' Then he is in the country ?" said Cashel, anxiously.

Hoare nodded an assent.

" Here, in Ireland ! and is Mari " He stopped suddenly, re-


membering to ■whom be was speaking ; but Hoare, as if eager to show
an intimacy with names and events, said,

" Yes, Sir, she is also here."

Cashel became silent ; his mind, a very chaos of confused thought ;
memories of his buccaneer life — its lawless habits — its wild com-
panionship — its adventures of love and war — of play — of heroism —
and of mad debauch. The Villa and Maritaiia were before him as last
he saw her at the fountain ; and from these he came to his fine and
lordly friendships, with all their fictitious warmth ; and he began to
fancy how would his present society — the very guests at that moment
beneath his roof — receive or recognise his old associates.

The deep preoccupation of his look suggested to Tiernay's mind the
notion that Cashel was overwhelmed by t!ie intelligence he had just
received, and drawing close to him, he said, in a whisper,

" That fellow is watching and enjoying your confusion ; put a bolder
face on the matter, and we'll see what is best to be done."

Eoland started, and then, as if by an efibrt chasing away an unplea-
sant thought, he said to Hoare,

" Our first business is Mr. Corrigan's. The sum due is "

" Three thousand seven hundred and forty."

" "Will you accept my bill for this ?"

" At what date. Sir?" said Hoare, cautiously.

" At whatever date you please ; a month or a week."

" A month be it."

" Does that release Mr. Corrigan from every claim so far as your
principal is concerned ?"

" All, up to this date."

" By which, probably, you would imply, that new liabilities may
begin again. Is that so ?"

" I think, from the nature of Mr. Leicester's claim, such an event
is not impossible."

" Never mind the threat," whispered Tiernay — " it is but a threat."

" As to the other affair," said Cashel, approaching Hoare, " I will
accompany you to town. I will see Don Pedro myself."

" That will be difficult. Sir. I am not at liberty to mention his
place of abode ; nor does he wisli his presence here to be known.".

" But to me,'' said Cashel, '' this objection cannot apply."

" His orders are positive, and without qualification ; but any pro-
position which you desire to submit '"

" Can come through Mr. Hoare?" said Cashel, sneeringly. " I
prefer doing these things in person, Sir."

" Leave this to mo," whispered Tiernay ; " I'll manage him better."

Cashel sqiicezed his friend's arm in assent, and turned away ; while
Hoare, reseating himself, proceeded to draw out the bill for Cashel's


" You are aware," said Tiernay, " that Corrigan can give you
nothing but personal security for this sum, and the lease of Tubber-
beg ?" But Cashel did not heed the remark, deep as he was in his
own reflections. " There is a small sum — a few thousand pounds —
of Mary's, settled at her mother's marriage. You are not attending
to me," said he, perceiving the preoccupation of Roland's look. " I
was mentioning that Mary Leicester "

" Yes," said Cashel, talking his thoughts aloud, " to many her
would, indeed, be the true solution of the difficulty."

" What did you say ?" whispered Tiernay, upon whose ear the
muttered words fell distinctly.

" She would refuse me," Eoland went on; "the more certainly
that I am rich. I know her well ; the rank, the station, the thousand
tiafcteries that wealth bestows, would be things for her mockery if
uuallied with power."

" You are wrong, quite wrong," said Tiernay ; " her ambition is of
a diflferent order. Mary Leicester "

" Mary Leicester !" echoed Cashel; and, in his suddenly awakened
look, Tiernay at once perceived that some mistake had occurred.
Hoare relieved the awkwardness of the moment as he said,

" This wants but your signature. Sir, and the matter is finished."

Cashel wrote his name on the bill and was turning away, when
Hoare said,

" These are the bills ; they are now your property. Sir."

" !For what purpose ?"

" They are vouchers for your claim on Mr. Corrigan," said Hoare.

" His Avord will sufl&ce," said Cashel ; and gathering them up, he
hurled them into the fire.

" A costly blaze that," said Hoare, as he watched the conflagration.

" Speak to him, Doctor; learn what you can of Eica for me; if
money will do it, I'll not quarrel Avith the price," said Cashel to
Tiernay, in a low tone. " Another point — I was nigh forgetting it —
you'll not tell Mr. Corrigan how the matter has been arranged-
Promise me this. Nay, I have a reason for it — a reason you shall
hear to-morrow or next day, and will acknowledge to be good. Keep
my secret for a month; I ask no longer."

" For a mouth, then, I am silent," said Tiernay.

" Let me see you to-morrow early," said Cashel. " Will you
breakfast with me ?"

" No : I'll not risk my character by going twice to your grand
house in the same week ; besides, I am going to Limerick."

" Good night, then," said Cashel; "good night, Sir." And with
a formal bow to Hoare, Eoland left the room, and took his way
homeward alone.



The Devil's back-parlour — a bachelor's room !


While Cashel coBtinued Lis way homeward, a very joyous party
had assembled in Lord Charles Frobisher's room, who were endea-
vouring, by the united merits of cigars, ecarte, hazard, and an excel-
lent supper, of which they partook at intervals, to compensate them-
selves for the unusual dulness of the drawing-room. It is well known
how often the least entertaining individuals in general society become
the most loquacious members of a party assembled in this fashion.
The restraints which had held them in check before are no longer
present. Their loud speech and empty laughter are not any longer
under ban, and they are tolerated by better men, pretty much as
children are endured, because at least they are natural.

At a round table in the middle of the room were a group engaged
at hazard. Upton was deep in ecarte with his brother officer, Jen-
nings, while Probisher lounged about, sipping weak negus, and
making his bets at either table as fancy or fortune suggested. The
supper-table had few votaries ; none, indeed, were seated at it save
Meek, who, with a newspaper on his knee, seemed singularly out of
place in the noisy gatlieriug.

" Eleven's the nick — eleven ! I say, Charley, have at you for a
pony," called out a boyish-looking Dragoon, from the middle table.

" You're under age, young gentleman," said Erobisher ; " I can't
afford to bet with you. Wait a moment, Upton, I'll back you this
time. Twenty sovereigns — will you have it?"

"Done !" said Jennings, and the game began.

" The King," cried Upton ; " I propose."

" To which of them?" said a sharp-looking Infantry Captain, be-
hind his chair.
_ " Olivia, of course," slipped in Jennings.

" I'd give fifty pounds to know if they have the money people
say," cried Upton.

" Meek can tell you — Tic knows everything. I say, Downie," said
Jennings, " come here for a moment, and enlighten us on a most in-
teresting point."

"Oh dear! what is it? This room is so very cold. Don't you
think, Erobislier, that a double door would be advisable?"

" A green one, with a centre pane of glass, would make it devilish
like a 'hell,'" said Upton; upon which the company all laughed


" What is it you want?" said Meek, approaching, glass in hand.

" Play out the game, and have your gossip afterwards," said Pro-
bisher, who felt far more anxious about the fate of his twenty
pounds than for the result of the conversation.

" A Queen of Hearts," said Upton, leading ; then, turning to
Meek, said, " These Kennyfeck girls — can you tell what the figure is?"

" Poor dear things," said Meek, piteously ; " they should be very
weU off."

" I score two !" said Upton. " "Well, have they twenty thousand

" I should say more. Oh dear me ! they must have more ! Ken-
nyfeck holds a heavy mortgage on Kilgoff's estate, and has a great
deal of other property."

" Then it would be a good thing, Meek, eh ?" said Jennings.

" Game !" cried Upton, showing his cards upon the table.

"There is so much chaffing about girls and their fortunes, one
can't play his game here," said Jennings, as he threw down a handful
of gold on the board.

" "Who was it ordered the post-horses for to-morrow ?" said a youth
at the supper-table. " The MacEarlines ?"

"No; LordKilgoff."

" I assure you," cried a third, " it was the Kennyfecks. There has
been a ' flare-up' about money between Cashel and him, and it is said
he'll lose the agency. "Who'll get it, I wonder?"

" Tom Linton, of course," said the former speaker. " I'd wager
he is gone off to Dublin to furbish up securities, or something of
that kind."

" Who'd give Tom trust, or go bail for him ?" said Probisher.

A very general laugh did not soxind like a contradiction of the sen-

" I heard a week ago," said the Cornet, " that Ealgoff would stand
security to any amount for him."

" Ah, that comes of my Lady's good opinion of him !" cried Jen-

" Nay, don't say that, it looks so ill-natured," sighed Meek ; " and
there is really nothing in it. Tou know she and Tom were old friends.
Oh dear, it was so sad !"

" AVhere does Cashel get such execrable champagne?" said an
Infantry man, with a very -^Yry expression of face.

"It's dry wine, that's all," said Frobisher, "and about the best
ever imported."

" We'd be very sorry to drink it at our mess, my Lord, I know
that," said the other, evidently nettled at tlie correction.
" Tours is the Fifty-third?" said a Guardsman.
" No ; the Thirty-fifth."


" Aw ! same thing," sighed he ; and he stooped to select a cigar.

" I wish the Kenuyfecks were not going," said Upton, drawing
his chair closer to Meek's ; " there are so few houses one meets
them at."

" You should speak to Linton about that," whispered Meek.

" Here's Jim's health — hip, hip, hurrah !" cried out a white mous-
tached boy, Avho had joined a Hussar regiment a few weeks before,
and was now excessively tipsy.

The laughter at this toast was increased by Meek's holding out his
glass to be filled, as he asked, " Of course — whose health is it?"

" One of Frobisher's trainers," said Upton, readily.

" No, it's no such thing," hiccupped the Hussar. " I was pro-
posing a bumper to the lightest snaffle hand from this to Doncaster
— the best judge of a line of country in the kingdom "

" That's me," said a jolly voice ; and at the same instant the door
was flung wide, and Tom Linton, splaahed from the road, and travel-
stained, entered.

" I must say, gentlemen, you are no churls of your wit and plea-
santry, for, as I came up the stairs, I could hear every word you
were saying."

" Oh dear, how dreadful! and we were talking of you. too," said
Meek, witli a piteous air, that made every one laugh.

A thousand questions as to where he liad been — whom with — and
what for? all burst upon Linton, who only escaped importunity by
declaring that he was half dead with hunger, and would answer no-
thing till he had eaten.

" So," said he, at length, after having devoted twenty minutes to
a grouse pie of most cunning architecture, " you never guessed where
I had been?"

" Oh ! we had guesses enough, if that served any purpose."

" I thought it was a bolt, Tom," said Upton ; " but as she ap-
peared at breakfast, as usual, I saw my mistake."

" Meek heard that you had gone over to Dowuiug-street to ask
for the Irish Secretaryship," said Jennings.

" I said you had been to have a talk with Scott about ' Eegulator ;'
was I far off the mark ?"

" ]\rrs. AVhite suggested an uncle's death," said Frobisher ; '' but
uncles don't die now-a-days."

" Did you buy the colt ? — Have you backed ' Eunjeet Singh ?' —
Are you to have the agency ? — How goes on the borough canvass ?"
and twenty similar queries now poured in on him.

" "Well, I see," cried he, laugliing, " I shall sadly disappoint all tlie
calculations founded on my slirewdness and dexterity, for the whole
object of my journey was to secure a wardrobe for our fancy ball,
which I suddenly heard of as being at Limerick ; and so, not trust-


iug the mission to another, I started off myself, and here I am, with
materials for more Turks, Monks, Sailors, AVatchmen, Greeks, Jug-
glers, and Tyrolese, than ever travelled in anything save a caravan
with one horse."

" Are your theatrical intentions all abandoned ?" cried Jennings.

" I trust not," said Linton ; " but I heard that Miss Meek had
decided on the ball to come off first."

" Hip ! liip ! hip !" was moaned out, in very lachrymose tone, from
a sofa where the boy Hussar, very sick and very tipsy, lay stretched
on his back.

" "Who is that yonder ?" asked Linton.

" A young fellow of ours," said Jennings, indolently.

" I thought they made their heads better at Sandhurst."

" They used in my time," said Upton ; " but you have no idea bow
the thing has gone down."

" Quite true," chimed in another ; " and I don't think we've seen
the worst of it yet. Do you know, they talk of an examination for
all candidates for commissions f "

" Well, I must say," lisped the Gruardsraan, " I believe it would
be an improvement for the ' Line.' "

" The Household Brigade can dispense with information," said an
Infantry Captain.

" I demur to the system altogether," said Linton. " Physicians
tell us that the intellectual development is always made at the ex-
pense of the physical, and as one of the duties of a British army is to
suffer yellow fever in the AVest Indies and cholera in the East, I vote
for leaving them strong in constitution and intact in strength as
vacant heads and thoughtless skulls can make them."

" Oh dear me ! yes," sighed Meek, who, by one of his mock con-
currences, effectually blinded the less astute portion of the audience
from seeing Linton's impertinence.

" What has been doing here in my absence ?" said Linton ; " have
you no event worth recording for me ?"

" There is a story," said Upton, " that Cashel and Kennyfeck have
quarrelled — a serious rupture, they say, and not to be repaired."

" How did it originate ? — Something about the management of
the property ?"

"No, no — it was a row among the women. They laid some
scheme for making Cashel propose for one of the girls."

" Not Olivia, I hope ?" said Upton, as he lighted a new cigar.

" I rather suspect it was," interposed another.

" In any case, Linton," cried Jennings, " you are to be the gainer,
for the rumour says, Cashel will give you tlie agenc}', with his house
to live in, and a very jolly thing to spend, while he goes abroad to

VOL. ir. a


"If this news be true, Tom," said Frobislier, "I'll quarter my
yearlings on you ; there is a capital run for young horses in those
flats along the river."

" The house is cold at this season," said Meek, with a sad smile;
" but I think it would be very endurable in the autumn months. I
sbouldn't say but you may see us here again at that time."

"I hope 'ours' may be quartered at Limerick," said an Infantry
man, with a most suggestive look at the comforts of the apart-
ment, which were a pleasing contrast to barrack-room accommoda-

" Make yourselves perfectly at home here, gentlemen, when that
good time comes," said Linton, with one of his careless laughs. " I
tell you frankly, that if Cashel does make me such a proposal — a step
which, from his knowledge of my indolent, lazy habits, is far from
likely — I only accept on one condition."

""What is that?" cried a dozen voices.

" That you will come and pass your next Christmas here."

" Agreed — agreed !" was chorused on every side.

" I suspect, from that bit of spontaneous hospitality," whispered
Frobisher to Meek, " that the event is something below doubtful."

Meek nodded.

" What is Charley saying ?" cried Linton, whose quick eye caught
the glance interchanged between the two.

"I was telling Meek," said Frobisher, "that I don't put faith
enough in the condition to accept the invitation."

" Indeed !" said Linton, while he turned to the table and filled his
glass, to hide a passing sign of mortification.

"Tom Linton, for a man's agent, seems pretty like what old
Frederick used to call, keeping a Goat for a Gardener."
' " You are fond of giving the odds, Frobisher," said Linton, who,
for some minutes, continued to take glass after glass of champagne;
" now, what's your bet that I don't do tlie honours here next Christ-
mas-day ?"

" I can't say what you mean," said Frobisher, languidly. " I've
Been you do 'the honours' at more than one table where you- were
the guest."

" This, I suppose, is meant for a pleasantry, my Lord ?" said
Linton, while his face became flushed with passion.

" It is meant for fact," said Frobisher, with a steady coolness in his
air and accent.

"A fact ! and not in jest, then !" said he, approaching where the
other sat, and speaking in a low voice.

" That's very quarrelsome wine, that dry champagne," said Fro-
bisher, lazily ; " don't drink any more of it."

Linton tried to smile ; the effort, at first not very successful, be-



came easier after a moment, and it was witli a resamption of lais old
manner he said,

" I'll take you two to one in fifties that I act the host here this
day twelvemonth."

" Tou hear that offer, gentlemen ?" said Frobisher, addressing the
party. " Of course it is meant without any reservation, and so I
take it."

He produced a betting-book as he said this, and began to write in
it with his pencil.

" "Would you prefer it in hundreds ?" said Linton,

Frobisher nodded an assent.

" Or shall we do the thing sportingly, and say two thousand to
one ?" continued he.

" Two thousand to one be it," said Probisher, while the least pos-
sible smile might be detected on his usually immovable features.
" There is no knowing how to word this bet," said he, at last, after
two or three efforts, followed by as many erasures ; " you must write
it yourself."

Linton took the pencil, and wrote rapidly for a few seconds.

"Will that do?" said he.

And Frobisher read to himself — " ' Mr. Linton, two thousand to
one with Lord C. Erobisher, that he, T. L., on the anniversary of this
day, shall preside as master of the house Tubbermore, by due right
and title, and not by any favour, grace, or sanction of any one what-
soever.' "

"Tes; that will do, perfectly," said Frobisher, as he closed the
book, and restored it to his pocket.

" Was the champagne so strong as you expected ?" whispered
Upton, as he passed behind Frobisher's chair.

A very knowing nod of acquiescence was the only reply.

Indeed, it did not require the practised shrewdness of Lord Charles,
or his similarly sharp-eyed friends, to see that Linton's manner was
very different from his habitual calm collectedness, while he continued
to drink on, with the air of a man that was resolved on burying his
faculties in the excitement of wine.

Meek slipped away soon after, and, at Linton's suggestion, a rouge-
et-noir bank was formed, at which the play became high, and bis own
losses very considerable.

It was already daylight, and the servants were stirring in the house
ere tlie party broke up.

" Master Tom has had a squeeze to-night," said Jennings, as he
was bidding Upton good-by at his door.

*' I can't understand it at all," replied the other. " He played
without judgment, and betted rashly on every side. It was far more
like Eoland Cashel than Tom Linton."



" Well, you remember he said — to be sure, it was after drinking- a
quantity of wine — 'Master Eoland and I may change characters yet.
Let us see if he can play " Linton," as well as I can " Cashel." ' "

" He's so deep, that I wouldn't say but there is something under
all this." And so they parted, sadly puzzled what interpretation to
put on conduct, the mere result of a passing intemperance ; for so it
is, "yoiu* cunning men" are never reputed to be so deep by the world
as when by some accident they have forgotten their craft.


With a bright lie upon liis hook,

He played niankiud, as anglers play a fish.


An hour's sleep and a cold bath restored Linton to himself, and ere
the guests of Tubbermore were stirring, he was up and ready for the
day. He dressed with more than usual care, and having ordered a
horse to be saddled and a groom to follow him, he sauntered out into
the park, taking the road that led to the village.

The groom rapidly overtook him; and then, mounting, he rode at
a brisk- trot down the road, and drew up at the door of the Doctor's
house. To his question, " If Mr. Tiernay were at home ?" he received
for answer, that " He had set out for Limerick that morning," nor did
the servant know when he might be expected back.

For a moment this intelligence appeared to derange his plans, but
he rallied soon, and turning his horse's head towards Tubbermore,
muttered to himself: " As well — perhaps better as it is." He rode
fast till he gained the wood, and then dismounting, he gave the horse
to the groom, with directions to go home, as he would return on foot.

He stood looking after the horses as they retired, and it seemed as
if his thoughts were following them, so intent was his gaze ; but, long
after they had disappeared, he remained standing in the same place,
his features still wearing the same expression of highly-wrought occu-
pation. The spot where he stood was a little eminence, from which
the view stretched, upon one side, over the waving woods of the
demesne ; and, on the other, showed glimpses of the Shannon, as, in
its sweeping ciures, it indented the margin of the grounds. Perhaps
not another point could be found which displayed so happily the extent
and importance of the demesne, and yet concealed so well whatever
detracted from its picturesque effect. The neighbouring village of
Derraheeny — a poor, straggling, ruinous street of thatched hovels,
like most Irish villages— was altogether hidden from view, while of


the great house itself, an object with few pretensions to architectural
elegance, only so much was visible as indicated its size and extent.
The little cottage of Tubber-beg, however, could be seen, entire,
glittering in the morning's sun like a gem, its bright-leaved liollies
and dark laurels forming a little grove of foliage in the midst of
winter's barrenness.

If tliis was by far the most striking object of the picture, it was not

Online LibraryCharles James LeverRoland Cashel (Volume 2) → online text (page 9 of 32)