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Lord. CobouLj-e, XpL'oteiJt!" ex;clrii Tiled ,i tV;n;)lr 
vau-e; and M"." W;iftarfv at t)u.s- iiistaut Mj^pearrd 
;it tilt-' opfiL dooL-. " Lord C'olain lu-t^'." ' rcpo^^ tcmI 
nil pi-.-.ciii. ill dilfrt-.Mil t(Mics. 



LUNLuN- .-rnvrPKIN. MAKSHALL fc Cr ATTD 0T1r\1£P. ¥H.OV\<^Y-' '•".- 



THE ABSENTEEo 

TALES 




luia looked ai^ei- tin* 'num. ' ... 



IL.ONBON9 HISTPKIN <, MAK-SMALili. 8& C<t 



TALES AND NOVELS 



MARIA EDGEWORTH. 



IN NINE VOLUMES. 



VOL. VL 

THE ABSENTEE ; 
(a tale of fashionable life.) 

MADAME DE FLEURY ; EMILIE DE COULANGES ; 

AND 

THE MODERN GRISELDA. 



LONDON: 

WHITTAKEB AND CO.; 8IMPKIN, MARSHALL, AND CO.; H. W ASHBOURNE; 
H. G. BOHN ; E. HODGSON ; H. RENSHAW ; J. BAIN ; HOULSTON AND 
STONEMAN ; J. HURRAY ; R. MACKIE ; ORR AND CO.; SMITH, ELDER, 
AND CO. ; ROUTLEDGE AND CO. ; TEGG AND CO. ; R. S. PARRY ; AND 
O. AND J. ROBINSON, LIVERPOOL. 

1848. 



LONDON : 

GILBERT AND RIVINGTON, PRINTERS 

8T. JOHN'S SQUARE. 




THE ABSENTEE. 



CHAPTER I. 



you to be at Lady Qonbrony's gala next week V* said 
Langdale to Mrs. Dareville, whilst they were waiting for 
carriages in the crush-room, of the opera-house. 
>h, yes ! every body's to be there, I hear," replied Mrs. 
nlle. " Your ladyship, of course ?" 

rhy, I don't know; if I possibly can. Lady Clonbrony 
3 it such a point with me, that I believe I must look in 
her for a few minutes. They are going to a prodigious 
ise on this occasion. Soho tells me the reception rooms 
ill to be new furnished, and in the most magnificent 

it what a famous rate those Clonbronies are dashing on," 

solonel Heathcock. "Up to any thing." 

Vho are they? — these Clonbronies, that one hears of so 

. of late?" said her grace of Torcaster. " Irish absentees, 

►w. But how do they support all this enormous expense ?" 

^e son wiU have a prodigiously fine estate when some Mr. 

dies," said Mrs. Dareville. 

fes, every body who comes from Ireland ivUl have a fine 

J when somebody dies," said her grace. "But what have 

at present?" 

Twenty thousand a year, they say," replied Mrs. Dareville. 

Ten thousand, I believe," cried Lady Langdale. 

Ten thousand, have they? — possibly," said her grace. " I 

' nothing about them — ^have no acquaintance among the 

. Torcaster knows something of Lady Clonbrony ; she has 

led herself by some means upon him ; but I charge ViVxa 

shumable Life, ^ 



2 THE ABSENTEE. 

not to commit me. Positively, I could not for any body, a 
much less for that sort of person, extend the circle of my ( 
quaintance." 

" Now that is so cruel of your grace," said Mrs. Darevil 
laughing, " when poor Lady Clonbrony works so hard, and pa 
so high to get into certain circles." 

" If you knew all she endures, to look, speak, move, bread 
like an Englishwoman, you would pity her," said Lady Lar 
dale. 

" Yes, and you caumt conceive the peens she teekes to talk 
the teebles and cheers, and to thank Q, and with so much tee 
to speak pure English," said Mrs. Dareville. 

" Pure cockney, you mean," said Lady Langdale. 

"But does Lady Clonbrony expect to pass for English ?" si 
the duchess. 

" Oh, yes ! because she is not quite Irish hred and horn — or 
bred, not bom," said Mrs. Dareville. " And she could not 
five minutes in your grace's company, before she would tell y 
that she was Henglish, bom in Hoxfordshire," 

" She must be a vastly amusing personage — I should like 
meet her if one could see and hear her incog.," said the duche 
"And Lord Clonbrony, what is he?" 

"Nothing, nobody," said Mrs. Dareville: "one never e\ 
hears of him." 

" A tribe of daughters, too, I suppose ?" 

"No, no," said Lady Langdale; "daughters would be p 
all endurance." 

" There's a cousin, though, a Miss Nugent," said Mrs. Da 
ville, " that Lady Clonbrony has with her." 

" Best part of her, too," said Colonel Heathcock — " d — 
fine girl ! — never saw her look better than at the op 
to-night!" 

" Fine complexion ! as Lady Clonbrony says, when she me; 
a high colour," said Lady Langdale. 

" Miss Nugent is not a lady's beauty," said Mrs. Darevi 
" Has she any fortune, colonel ?" 

" Ton honour, don't know," said the colonel. 

"There's a son, somewhere, is not there?" said Lady Lai 
dale. 



THE ABSENTEE. 3 

"Don't know, *pon honour," replied the colonel. 

"Yes — at Camhridge — not of age yet," said Mrs. Dareville. 
" Bless me ! here is Lady Clonbrony come back. I thought she 
was gone half an hour ago !" 

i" Mamma," whispered one of Lady Langdale's daughters, 
leaning between her mother and Mrs. Dareville, " who is that 
gentleman that passed us just now?" 
?j "Which way?" 

I " Towards the door. — There now, mamma, you can see him. 
^ He is speaking to Lady Clonbrony — to Miss Nugent — ^now 
^, Lady Clonbrony is introducing him to Miss Broadhurst." 

"I see him now," said Lady Langdale, examining him 
through her glass ; " " a very gentlemanlike looking young man 
i indeed." 

"Not an Irishman, I am siure, by his manner," said her 
i grace. 

^ " Heathcock !" said Lady Langdale, " who is Miss Broadhurst 
t, talking to?" 

* "Eh! now really — 'pon honour— don't know," replied 
0} Heathcock. 

i' "And yet he certainly looks like somebody one should know," 
i pursued Lady Langdale, " though I don't recollect seeing him 
B{ My where before." 

"Really now!" was all the satisfaction she could gain from 
; the insensible, immovable colonel. However, her ladyship, 
si after sending a whisper along the line, gained the desired 
hiformation, that the young gentleman was Lord Colambre, son, 
«• only SOD, of Lord and Lady Clonbrony — that he was just come 
! from Cambridge — that he was not yet of age — that he would be 
•^\ of age within a year ; that he would then, after the death of 
t» aomebody, come into possession of a fine estate by the mother's 
f ride; "and therefore, Cat'rine, my dear," said she, turning 
\i\ round to the daughter who had first pointed him out, " you un- 
' derstand we should never talk about other people's affairs." 
•. "No, mamma, never. I hope to goodness, mamma, Lord 
I Cdambre did not hear what you and Mrs. Dareville were 
I wying!" 

" How could he, child ? — He was quite at the other end of the 
I world." 

b2 



4 THE ABSENTEE. 

"I beg your pardon, ma'am — ^he was at my elbow, cl 
bebind us ; but I never tbougbt about him till I heard sor 
body say * my lord ' " 

" Good heavens ! — I hope he didn't hear." 

" But, for my part, I said nothing," cried Lady Langdale. 

" And for my part, I said nothing but what every body know 
cried Mrs. Dareville. 

"And for my part, I am guilty only of hearing," said i 
duchess. " Do, pray. Colonel Heathcock, have the goodness 
see what my people are about, and what chance we have 
getting away to-night." 

"The Duchess of Torcaster's carriage stops the way!"- 
joyful sound to Colonel Heathcock and to her grace, and i 
less agreeable, at this instant, to Lady Langdale, who, 
moment she was disembarrassed of the duchess, pressed throu 
the crowd to Lady Clonbrony, and addressing her with smi 
and complacency, was charmed to have a little moment to sp( 
to her — could not sooner get through the crowd — would certaii 
do herself the honour to be at her ladyship's gala. While La 
Langdale spoke, she never seemed to see or think of any be 
but Lady Clonbrony, though,' all the time, she Vas intent uf 
every motion of Lord Colambre ; and whilst she was obliged 
listen with a face of sympathy to a long complaint of La 
Clonbrony's, about Mr. Soho's want of taste in ottomans, s 
was vexed to perceive that his lordship showed no desire to 
introduced to her or to her daughters ; but, on the contrary, v 
standing talking to Miss Nugent. His mother, at the end 
her speech, looked round for " Colambre" — called him tw 
before he heard — ^introduced him to Lady Langdale, and 

Lady Cat'rine, and Lady Anne , and to Mrs. Dareville ; 

all of whom he bowed with an air of proud coldness, which ga 
them reason to regret that their remarks upon his mother a 
his family had not been made sotto voce, 

" Lady Langdale's carriage stops the way !" Lord Colaml 
made no offer of his services, notwithstanding a look from '. 
mother. Incapable of the meanness of voluntarily listening t( 
conversation not intended for him to hear, he had, however, be 
compelled, by the pressure of the crowd, to remain a few minu 
stationary, where he could not avoid hearing the remarks of 1 



THE ABSENTEE. d 

fiuMonable friends : disdaining dissimulation, he made no 
attempt to conceal his displeasure. Perhaps his vexation was 
increased by his consciousness that there was some mixture of 
tnith in their sarcasms. He was sensible that his mother, in 
some points — ^her manners, for instance — was obvious to ridicule 
and satire. In Lady Clonbrony's address there was a mixture 
of constraint, affectation, and indecision, unusual in a person of 
her birth, rank, and knowledge of the world. A natural and 
unnatural manner seemed struggling in aU her gestures, and in 
every syllable that she articulated — a naturally free, familiar, 
good-natured, precipitate, Irish manner, had been schooled, and 
Bchooled late in life, into a sober, cold, still, stiff deportment, 
Dj which she mistook for English. A strong Hibernian accent she 
tls had, with infinite difficulty, changed into an English tone. 
ig. Mistaking reverse of wrong for right, she caricatured the Eng- 
^ Hsh pronunciation; and the extraordinary precision of her 
I^mdon phraseology betrayed her not to be a Londoner, as the 
Dum who strove to pass for an Athenian was detected by his 
Attic dialect. Not aware of her real danger. Lady Clonbrony 
^ on the opposite side, in continual apprehension every time 
*he opened her lips, lest some treacherous a or e, some strong r, 
wme puzzling aspirate or non-aspirate, some unguarded note, 
interrogative, or expostulatory, should betray her to be an Irish- 
woman. Mrs. Dareville had, in her mimicry, perhaps, a little 
^^gerated, as to the teehles and cheerSj but still the general 
likeness of the representation of Lady Clonbrony was strong 
enough to strike and vex her son. He had now, for the first 
time, an opportunity of judging of the estimation in which his 
mother and his family were held by certain leaders of the ton, 
<^whom, in her letters, she had spoken so much, and into 
whose society, or rather into whose parties, she had been ad- 
■ ttitted. He saw that the renegado cowardice with which she 
wnied, abjured, and reviled her own country, gained nothing 
hut ridicule and contempt He loved his mother ; and, whilst 
he endeavoured to conceal her faults and foibles as much as 
Poirible from his own heart, he could not endure those who 
^ged them to light and ridicule. The next morning, the first 
fting that occurred to Lord Colambre's remembrance, when he 
*w<^, was the sound of the contemptuous emphasis which had 



6 THE ABSENTEE. 

been laid on the words Irish absentees ! — ^This led to recol 
lections of his native country, to comparisons of past and pre- 
sent scenes, to future plans of life. Young and careless as he 
seemed, Lord Colambre was capable of serious reflection. 01 
naturally quick and strong capacity, ardent affections, impe- 
tuous temper, the early years of his childhood passed at his 
father's castle in Ireland, where, from the lowest servant to the 
well-dressed dependent of the family, every body had conspired 
to wait upon, to fondle, to flatter, to worship, this darling of 
their lord. Yet he was not spoiled — ^not rendered selfish ; for in 
the midst of this flattery and servility, some strokes of genuuie 
generous affection had gone home to his little heart : and though 
unqualified submission had increased the natural impetuosity 
of his temper, and though visions of his future grandeur had 
touched his infant thought, yet, fortunately, before he acquired 
any fixed habits of insolence or tyranny, he was carried far away 
from all that were bound or willing to submit to his commands, 
far away from all signs of hereditary grandeur — ^plunged into 
one of our great public schools — ^into a new world. Forced to 
struggle, mind and body, with his equals, his rivals, the little 
lord became a spirited school-boy, and in time, a man. For- 
tunately for him, science and literature happened to be the 
fashion among a set of clever young men with whom he was at 
Cambridge. His ambition for intellectual superiority was raised, 
his views were enlarged, his tastes and his manners formed. The 
sobriety of English good sense mixed most advantageously with 
Irish vivacity : English prudence governed, but did not extin- 
guish, his Irish entibusiasm. But, in fact, English and Irish had 
not been invidiously contrasted in his mind : he had been so 
long resident in England, and so intimately connected with 
Englishmen, that he was not obvious to any of the common- 
place ridicule thrown upon Hibernians ; and he had lived with 
men who were too well informed and liberal to misjudge or de- 
preciate a sister country. He had found, from experience, that, 
however reserved the English may be in manner, they are warm 
at heart ; that, however averse they may be from forming new 
acquaintance, their esteem and confidence once gained, they 
make the most solid friends. He had formed friendships in 
England; he was fully sensible of the superior comforts, refine- 



THE ABSENTEE. 7 

ment, and information, of English sdciety ; but his own country 
was endeared to him by early association, and a sense of duty 
and patriotism attached him to Ireland.—" And shall I too be 
an absentee?" was a question which resulted from these re- 
flections — a question which he was not yet prepared to answer 
decidedly. 

In the mean time, the first business of the morning was to 
execute a commission for a Cambridge friend. Mr. Berryl had 
bought from Mr. Mordicai, a famous London coachmaker, a 
curricle, warranted sounds for which he had paid a sound price, 
upon express condition that Mr. Mordicai should be answerable 
for all repairs of the curricle for six months. In three, both the 
carriage and body were found to be good for nothing — the 
curricle had been returned to Mordicai — nothing had since been 
heard of it, or from him ; and Lord Colambre had undertaken to 
pay him and it a visit, and to make all proper inquiries. 
Accordingly, he went to the coachmaker's ; and, obtaining no 
satisfaction from the underlings, desired to see the head of the 
house. He was answered that Mr. Mordicai was not at home. 
His lordship had never seen Mr. Mordicai ; but just then he 
saw, walking across the yard, a man who looked something like 
a Bond-street coxcomb, but not the least like a gentleman, who 
called, in the tone of a master, for " Mr. Mordicai *s barouche !" 

It appeared; and he was stepping into it, when Lord 

Colambre took the liberty of stopping him ; and, pointing to the 
wreck of Mr. Berryl's curricle, now standing in the yard, began 
a statement of his friend's grievances, and an appeal to common 
justice and conscience, which he, unknowing the nature of the 
man with whom he had to deal, imagined must be irresistible. 
Mr. Mordicai stood without moving a muscle of his dark wooden 
face — ^indeed, in his face there appeared to be no muscles, or 
none which could move; so that, though he had what are 
generally called handsome features, there was, altogether, some- 
thing unnatural and shocking in his countenance. When, at 
last, his eyes turned and his lips opened, this seemed to be done 
by machinery, and not by the will of a living creature, or from 
the impulse of a rational soul. Lord Colambre was so much 
struck with this strange physiognomy, that he actually forgot 
much he had to say of springs and wheels — But it was no 



8 THE ABSENTEE. 

matter — Whatever he had said, it would have come to the same 
thing ; and Mordicai would have answered as he now did ; 
" Sir, it was my partner made that hargain, not myself; and I 
don't hold myself bound by it, for he is the sleeping partner 
only, and not empowered to act in the way of business. Had 
Mr. Berryl bargained with me, I should have told him that he 
should have looked to these things before his carriage went out 
of our yard." 

The indignation of Lord Colambre kindled at these words— « 
but in vain : to all that indignation could by word or look urge 
against Mordicai, he replied, " May be so, sir : the law is open 
to your friend — ^the law is open, to all men, who can pay for it*' 

Lord Colambre turned in despair from the callous coach- 
maker, and listened to one of his more compassionate-looking 
workmen, who was reviewing the disabled curricle ; and, whilst 
he was waiting to know the sum of his friend's misfortune, a fat, 
jolly, Falstaff-looking personage came into the yard, and accosted 
Mordicai with a degree of familiarity which, from a gentleman, 
appeared to Lord Colambre to be almost impossible. 

" How are you, Mordicai, my good fellow ?" cried he, speak- 
ing with a strong Irish accent. 

" Who is this ?*' whispered Lord Colambre to the foreman, 
who was examining the curricle. 

"Sir Terence O'Fay, sir— —There must be entire new 
wheels." 

"Now tell me, my tight fellow," continued Sir Terence, hold- 
ing Mordicai fast, " when, in the name of all the saints, good 
or bad, in the calendar, do you reckon to let us sport the 
suicide ?" 

" Will you be so good, sir, to finish making out this estimate 
for me V ' interrupted Lord Colambre. 

Mordicai forcibly drew his mouth into what he meant for a 
smile, and answered, " As soon as possible. Sir Terence." 

Sir Terence, in a tone of jocose, wheedling expostulation, 
entreated him to have the carriage finished out of hand: "Ah, 
now ! Mordy, my precious ! let us have it by the birthday, and 
come and dine with us o' Monday at the Hibernian Hotel — 
there's a rare one — ^will you ?" 

Mordicai accepted the invitation, and promised faithfully that 



THE ABSENTEB. 9 

the smcide should he finished hy the hirthday. Sir Terence 
shook hands upon this promise, and, after telling a good story, 
which made one of the workmen in the yard — an Irishman — 
grin with delight, walked off. . Mordicai, first waiting till the 
knight was out of hearing, called aloud, ** You grinning rascal ! 
mind, at your peril, and don't let that there carriage he touched, 
d'ye see, till farther orders." 

One of Mr. Mordicai's clerks, with a huge long feathered pen 
behind his ear, observed that Mr. Mordicai was right in that 
caution, for that, to the best of his comprehension. Sir Terence 
O'Fay, and his principal too, were over head and ears in debt. 

Mordicai coolly answered, that he was well aware of that, but 
that the estate could afford to dip farther ; that, for his part, he 
was under no apprehension ; he knew how to look sharp, and to 
bite before he was bit: that he knew Sir Terence and his 
principal were leagued together to give the creditors the go hy ; 
but that, clever as they were both at that work, he trusted he 
was their match. 

" Immediately, sir — Sixty-nine pound four, and the perc h 

Let us see Mr. Mordicai, ask him, ask Paddy, about Sir 

Terence," said the foreman, pointing back over his shoulder to 
the Irish workman, who was at this moment pretending to be 
wondrous hard at work. However, when Mr. Mordicai defied 
him to tell him any thing he did not know, Paddy, parting with 
an untasted bit of tobacco, began and recounted some of Sir 
Terence O'Fay's exploits in evading duns, replevying cattle, 
fighting sherifis, bribing stibs^ managing cants, tricking custodeea, 
in language so strange, and with a countenance and gestures so 
full of enjoyment of the jest, that, whilst Mordicai stood for a 
moment aghast with astonishment. Lord Colambre could not 
help laughing, partly at, and partly with, his countryman. All 
the yard were in a roar of laughter, though they did not under- 
stand half of what they heard; but their risible muscles 
were acted upon mechanically, or maliciously, merely by the 
sound of the Irish brogue. 

Mordicai, waiting till the laugh was over, dryly observed, that 
" the law is executed in another guess sort of way in England 
from what it is in Ireland ;" therefore, for his part, he desired 



10 THE ABSENTEE. 

nothing better than to set his wits fairly against such 
that there was a pleasure in doing up a debtor, which : 
a creditor could know. 

. " In a moment, sir ; if you'll have a moment's patieni 
you please," said the slow foreman to Lord Colambre ; 
go down the pounds once more, and then Til let you ha 

"I'll tell you what, Smithfield," continued Mr. J 
coming close beside his foreman, and speaking very 
with a voice trembling with anger, for he was pique 
foreman's doubts ofhis capacity to cope with Sir Terence 
" I'll tell you what, Smithfield, I'll be cursed if I don't | 
inch of them into my power — you know how." 

"You are the best judge, sir," replied the foreman 
would not undertake Sir Terence ; and the question is, 
the estate will answer the tote of the debts, and whei 
know them all for certain—" 

" I do, sir, I tell you : there's Green — there's Blai 
there's Gray — there's Soho" — naming several more — 
my knowledge, Lord Clonbrony— ^ — " 

"Stop, sir," cried Lord Colambre, in a voice whii 
Mordicai and every body present start; — " I am his son 

"The devil!" said Mordicai. 

" God bless every bone in his body, then, he's an Irij 
cried Paddy; "and there was the rason my heart wa 
him from the first minute he come into the yard, though 
know it till now." 

" What, sir ! are you my Lord Colambre ?" said Mr. ]^ 
recovering, but not clearly recovering, his intellects : 
pardon, but I did not know you was Lord Colambre — I 
you told me you was the friend of Mr. Berry 1." 

" I do not see the incompatibility of the asserti( 
replied Lord Colambre, taking from the bewildered f( 
Unresisting hand the account which he had been so 1 
nishinff, 

" Give me leave, my lord," said Mordicai — " I b 
pardon, my lord ; perhaps we can compromise that bus 
your friend Mr. Berryl; since he is your lordship's 
perhaps we can contrive to compromise and split the diffi 



THE ABSENTEE. 11 

To compromise, and split the difference, Mordicai thought were 
favourite phrases, and approved Hibernian modes of doing 
business, which would conciliate this young Irish nobleman, and 
dissipate the proud tempest, which had gathered, and now swelled 
in his breast. 

''No, sir, no !" cried Lord Colambre, holding firm the paper: 
: " I want no favour from you. I will accept of none for my friend 
or for myself." 

" Favour ! No, my lord, I should not presume to offer—— 
But I should wish, if you'll allow me, to do your friend justice." 
Lord Colambre, recollecting that he had no right, in his pride, 
to fling away his friend's money, let Mr. Mordicai look at the 
i account ; and his impetuous temper in a few moments recovered 
1 hy good sense, he considered, that, as his person was utterly un- 
»\ k&own to Mr. Mordicai, no offence could have been intended to 
ium, and that, perhaps, in what had been said of his father's 
debts and distress, there might be more truth than he was aware 
of. Prudently, therefore, controlling his feelings, and com- 
manding himself, he suffered Mr. Mordicai to show him into a 
parlour to settle his friend's business. In a few minutes the 
account was reduced to a reasonable form, and, in consideration 
of the partner's having made the bargain, by which Mr. Mordicai 
felt himself influenced in honour, though not bound in law, he 
[ III undertook to have the curricle made better than new again, for 
^ Mr. Berryl, for twenty guineas. Then came awkward apologies 
to Lord Colambre, which he ill endured. " Between ourselves, 

ict my lord," continued Mordicai 

]k( But the familiarity of the phrase, "Between ourselves" — this 
1^ implication of equality — Lord Colambre could not admit: he 
moved hastily towards the door, and departed. 

u'i 



CHAPTER II. 



^oiL of what he had heard, and impatient to obtain farther 
irfonnation respecting the state of his father's affairs, Lord 
C(^bre hastened home ; but his father was out, aTid\si%xMi'Ojv«t 



12 THE ABSENTEE. 

was engaged with Mr. Soho, directing, or rather heing directe( 
how her apartments should be fitted up for her gala. As Lor 
Colambre entered the room, he saw his mother, Miss Nugeni 
and Mr. Soho, standing at a large table, which was covered wit! 
rolls of paper, patterns, and drawings of furniture : Mr. Sob 
was speaking in a conceited, dictatorial tone, asserting that then 
was no ^* colour in nature for that room equal to the helly-o'-th 
fawn /" which belly-o'-the fawn he so pronounced, that Lad] 
Clonbrony understood it to be la belle uniformed and, under thi; 
mistake, repeated and assented to the assertion, till it was set t( 
rights, with condescending superiority; by the upholsterer. Thi 
first architectural upholsterer of the age, as he styled himself, anc 
was universally admitted to be by all the world of fashion, then 
with full powers given to him, spoke en maitre. The whole faci 
of things must be changed. There must be new hangings, ne^ 
draperies, new cornices, new candelabras, new every thing!— 

" The upholsterer's eye, in fine firenzy rolling, 
Glances from ceiling to floor, from floor to ceiling; 
And, as imagination bodies forth 
The form of things unknown, the upholsterer's pencil 
Turns them to shape, and gives to airy nothing 
A local habitation and a name." 

Of the value of a name no one could be more sensible than 
Mr. Soho. 

" Yoiu: la'ship sees — this is merely a scratch of my pencil. 
Your la'ship's sensible — just to give you an idea of the shape, 
the form of the thing. You fill up your angles here with 
encoinieres — round your walls with the Turkish tent drapery^-^ 
fancy of my own — ^in apricot cloth, or crimson velvet, suppose, 
or, en flute J in crimson satin draperies, fanned and riched with 

gold fringes, en suite ^intermediate spaces, Apollo's head 

with gold rays and here, ma'am, you place four chanceliereh 

with chimeras at the corners, covered with blue silk and silver 
fringe, elegantly fanciful with my Statira canopy here- 
light blue silk draperies — aerial tint, with silver balls and 

for seats here, the seraglio ottomans, superfine scarlet— 
your paws — griflin — golden— and golden tripods, here, with 
antique cranes — and oriental alabaster tables here and there— 
quite appropriate, your la'ship feels. 



THE ABSENTEE. 13 

" And let me reflect For the next apartment, it strikes me 
— as your la'ship don't value expense — the AUiambra hangingt — 

my own tliought entirely Now, before I unrol them, Lady 

Clonbrony, I must beg you'll not mention I've shown them. I 
give you my sacred honour, not a soul has set eye upon the 
Alhambra hangings except Mrs. Dareville, who stole a peep ; I 
refused, absolutely refused, the Duchess of Torcaster — but I 

can't refuse your la'ship So see, ma'am — (unrolling them) — 

scagliola porphyry columns supporting the grand dome — 
entablature, silvered and decorated with imitative 'bronze 
ornaments: under the entablature, a valence in pelmets, of 
puffed scarlet silk, would have an unparalleled grand effect, 
seen through the arches — with the trebisond trellice paper, 
would make a tout ensemble, novel beyond example. On that 
trebisond trellice paper, I confess, ladies, I do pique myself. 

" Then, for the little room, I recommend turning it temporarily 
into a Chinese pagoda, with this Chinese pagoda paper, with the 
porcelain border, and josses, and jars, and beakers, to match ; 
and I can venture to promise one vase of pre-eminent size and 

beauty. Oh, indubitably! if your la'ship prefers it, you can 

have the Egyptian hieroglyphic paper, with the ibis border to 
match ! — The only objection is, one sees it every where — quite 
antediluvian — gone to the hotels even ; but, to be sure, if your 

la'ship has a fancy at all events, I humbly recommend, what 

her grace of Torcaster longs to patronise, my moon curtains, 
with candlelight draperies. A demi-saison elegance this — I hit 
off yesterday — and — True, your la'ship 's quite correct— out of 
the common completely. And, of course, you'd have the sphynx 

candeUibras, and the phoenix argands Oh! nothing else 

lights now, ma'am! Expense! — Expense of the whole! — 

Impossible to calculate here on the spot ! — ^but nothing at all 
worth your ladyship's consideration !" 

At another moment. Lord Colambre might have been 
amused with all this rhodomontade, and with the airs and 
voluble conceit of the orator; but, after what he had heard 
at Mr. Mordicai's, this whole scene struck him more with 
melancholy than with mirth. He was alarmed by the prospect 
of new and unbounded expense ; provoked, almost past 
enduring, by the jargon and impertinence of thia upVioV&tetet •, 



14 THE ABSENTEE. 

mortified and vexed to the heart, to see his mother the dupe, 
the sport of such a coxcomb. 

"Prince of puppies! — Insufferable! — My own mother!" Lord 
Colambre repeated to himself, as he walked hastily up and down 
the room. 

"Colambre, won't you let us have your judgment — your 
teeate V said his. mother. 

" Excuse me, ma'am — I have no taste, no judgment in these 
thmgs." 

He sometimes paused, and looked at Mr. Soho, with a strong 
inclination to — , But knowing that he should say too much 
if he said any thing, he was silent ; never dared to approach 
the council table — but continued walking up and down 'the 
room, till he heard a voice which at once arrested his attention 
and soothed his ire. He approached the table instantly, and 
listened, whilst Miss Nugent said every thing he wished to have, 
said, and with all the propriety and delicacy with which he 
thought he could not have spoken. He leaned on the table, 
and fixed his eyes upon her — years ago he had seen his cousin — 
last night he had thought her handsome, pleasing, graceful — ^but 
now he saw a new person, or he saw her in a new light. He 
marked the superior intelligence, the animation, the eloquence 
of her countenance, its variety, whilst alternately, with arch 
raillery, or grave humour, she played off Mr. Soho, and made 
him magnify the ridicule, till it was apparent even to Lady 
Clonbrony. He observed the anxiety lest his mother should 
expose her own foibles; he was touched by the respectful, 
earnest kindness — the soft tones of persuasion with which she 
addressed her — the care not to presume upon her own influence 
— the good sense, the taste, she showed, yet not displaying her 
superiority — the address, temper, and patience, with which she 
at last accomplished her purpose, and prevented Lady Clonbrony 
from doing any thing preposterously absurd, or exorbitantly 
extravagant. 

Lord Colambre was actually sorry when the business was 
ended — when Mr. Soho departed — ^for Miss Nugent was then 
silent; and it was necessary to remove his eyes from that 
***/iitenance on which he had gazed unobserved. Beautiful 
^ ^raceiv^, yet so unconscious was she of her charms, that the 



I THE ABSENTEE. 15 

' eye of admiration could rest upon her without her perceiving it 
I —she seemed so intent upon others as totally to forget herself. 
I The whole train of Lord Colambre's thoughts was so completely 
deranged, that, although he was sensible there was something 
of importance he had to say to his mother, yet when Mr. Soho's 
departure left him opportunity to speak, he stood silent, unable 

. to recollect any thing but Grace Nugent. 

When Miss Nugent left the room, after some minutes' silence, 
and some effort, Lord Colambre said to his mother, *' Pray, madam, 
do you know any thing of Sir Terence O'Fay ?" 

"I!" said Lady Clonbrony, drawing up her head proudly; 
'' I know he is a person I cannot endure. He is no friend of 
mine, I can assure you — ^nor any such sort of person." 

"I thought it was impossible!" cried Lord Colambre, with 
exultation. 

^ " I only wish your father, Colambre, could say as much," added 
*Lady Clonbrony. 

Lord Colambre's countenance fell again ; and again he was 
silent for some time. 
" Does my father dine at home, ma'am?" 
" I suppose not; he seldom dines at home." 
''Perhaps, ma'am, my father may have some cause to be 

uneasy about " 

"About?" said Lady Clonbrony, in a tone, and with a look of 

curiosity, which convinced her son that she knew nothing of his 

debts or distresses, if he had any. " About what?" repeated her 

I ladyship. 

P Here was no receding, and Lord Colambre never had recourse 

I to artifice. 
" About his affairs, I was going to say, madam. But, since 
you know nothing of any difficulties or embarrassments, I am 
persuaded that none exist." 

** Nay, I caumt tell you that, Colambre. There are difficulties 
for ready money, I confess, when I ask for it, which surprise 
me often. I know nothing of affairs — ^ladies of a certain rank 
seldom do, you know. But, considering your father's estate, 
and the fortune I brought him," added her ladyship, proudly, 
*( I caumt conceive it at all. Grace Nugent, indeed, often t8i^% 
fc to me of embarrassmento and economy ; but that, poor t\ttj\g\ \a 



16 THE ABSENTEE. 

very natural for her, because her fortune is not particularly 
large, and she has left it all, or almost all, in her uncle and 
guardian's hands. I know she's often distressed for odd money 
to lend me, and that makes her anxious." 

"Is not Miss Nugent verj' much admired, ma'am, in 
London ?" 

" Of course — ^in the company she is in, you know, she has 
every advantage. And she has a natural family air of fashion — 
Not but what she would have got on much better, if, when she 
first appeared in Lon'on, she had taken my advice, and wrote 
herself on her cards Miss de Nogent, which would have taken 
off the prejudice against the Iricism of Nugent, you know ; and 
there is a Count de Nogent." 

" I did not know there was any such prejudice, ma'am. There 
may be among a certain set ; but, I should think, not among 
well-informed, well-bred people." 

" I big your pawdon, Colambre ; surely I, that was bom in 
England, an Henglishwoman baton, must be well infatvmed on 
this pint, any way." 

Lord Colambre was respectfully silent. 

" Mother," resumed he, " I wonder that Miss Nugent is not 
married." 

" That is her own fau't entirely ; she has refused very good 
offers — establishments that I own I think, as Lady Langdale 
says, I was to blame to allow her to let pass : but young ledies, 
till- they are twenty, always think they can do better. Mr. Mar- 
tingale, of Martingale, proposed for her, but she objected to him 
on account oihe'es being on the turf; and Mr. St. Albans' 7000Z. 
a-year, because — I reelly forget what — I believe only because 
she did not like him — and something about principles. Now 
there is Colonel Heathcock, one of the most fashionable young 
men you see, always with the Duchess of Torcaster and that set — 
Heathcock takes a vast deal of notice of her, for him ; and yet, 
I'm persuaded, she would not have him to-morrow if he came 
to the pint, and for no reason, reeUy now, that she can give me, 
but because she says he's a coxcomb. Grace has a tincture of 
Irish pride. But, for my part, I rejoice that she is so difficult ; 
for I don't know what I should do without her." 

**Miss Nugent is indeed— very much attached to you, 



THE ABSENTEE. 17 

mother, I am convinced," said Lord Colambre, beginning his 
lentence with great enthusiasm, and ending it with great so- 
briety. 

" Indeed, then, she's a sweet girl, and I am very partial to 
her, there's the truth," cried Lady Clonbrony, in an undisguised 
Irish accent, and with her natural warm manner. But, a 
moment afterwards, her features and whole form resumed their 
constrained stillness and stifihess, and in her English accent she 
continued, ''Before you put niy idears out of my head, 

Colambre, I had something to say to you Oh ! I know what 

it was — we were talking of embarrassments — and I wish to do 
your father the justice to mention to you, that he has been un- 
common liberal to me about this gala, and has reelly given me 
carte blanche ; and I've a notion — indeed I know, — that it is 
you, Colambre, I am to thank for this." 

"Me, ma'am!" 

" Yes : did not your father give you any hint?" 

" No, ma'am ; I have seen my father but for half an hour 
since I came to town, and in that time he said nothing to m e 
of his affairs." 

"But what I allude to is more your affair." 

" He did not speak to me of any affairs, ma'am — he spoke 
only of my horses." 

" Then I suppose my lord leaves it to me to open the matter 
to you. I have the pleasure to tell you, that we have in view 
for you — and, I think I may say, with more than the approbation 
of all her family — an alliance " 

"Oh, my dear mother! you cannot be serious," cried Lord 
Colambre ; " you know I am not of years of discretion yet — I 
shall not think of marrying these ten years, at least." 

" Why not? Nay, my dear Colambre, don't go, I beg — I am 
serious, I assure you — and, to convince you of it, I shall tell you 
candidly, at once, all your father told me : that now you've done 
with Cambridge, and are come to Lon'on, he agrees with me in 
wishing that you should make the figure you ought to make, 
Colambre, as sole heir apparent to the Clonbrony estate, and all 
that sort of thing ; but, on the other hand, living in Lon'on, and 
making you the handsome allowance you ought to have, 9X^y 

Fashionable Life. c 



18 THE AB8ENTBB. 

both together, more than your father can afford, without incon- 
venience, he tells me." 

** I assure you, mother, I shall be content " 

** No, no ; you must not be content, child, and you must hear 
me: you must live in a becoming style, and make a proper 
appearance. I could not present you to my friends here, nor be 
happy, if you did not, Colambre. Now the way is clear before 
you : you have birth and title, here is fortune ready made — ^you 
will have a noble estate of your own when old Quin dies, and 
you will not be any encumbrance or inconvenience to your 
father or any body. Marrying an heiress accomplishes all this 
at once — and the young lady is every thing we could wish 
besides — you will meet again at the gala. Indeed, between 
ourselves, she is the grand object of the gala — all her friendi 
will come en masse, and one should wish that they should set 
things in proper style. You have seen the young lady in 

question, Colambre — Miss Broadhurst Don't you recollecl 

the young lady I introduced you to last night after the opera ?" 

" The little plain girl, covered with diamonds, who wai 
standing beside Miss Nugent V* 

" In di'monds, yes — But you won't think her plain when 
you see more of her — ^that wears off— I thought her plain, at 
first — I hope " 

"I hope," said Lord Colambre, "that you will not take it 
unkindly of me, my dear mother, if I tell you, at once, that I 
have no thoughts of marrying at present — and that I never will 
marry for money : marrying an heiress is not even a new way o£ 
paying old debts — at all events, it is one to which no distresi 
could persuade me to have recourse ; and as I must, if I outlive 
old Mr. Quin, have an independent fortune, there is no occasion 
to purchase one by marriage." • 

"There is no distress that I know of in the cajse," cried 
Lady Qonbrony. "Where is your imagination running, 
Colambre? But merely for your establishment, your ind»> 
pendence." 

" Establishment, I want none — ^independence I do desire, and 
will preserve. Assure my father, my dear mother, that I wiD 
not be an expense to him — I will live within the allowance hfl 



fa 



THE ABSENTEE. 19 

ade me at Cambridge — I will give up half of it — I will do any 
ling for his convenience — ^but marry for money, that I cannot 
)." 

" Then, Colambre, you are very disobliging," said Lady 
lonbrony, with an expression of disappointment and displeasure; 
for your father says if you don't marry Miss Broadhurst, we 
.n't live in Lon'on another winter." 

This said — which had she been at the moment mistress of 
irself, she would not have betrayed — Lady Clonbrony abruptly 
dtted the room. Her son stood motionless, saying to himself, 

Is this my mother? How altered!" 

The next morning he seized an opportunity of speaking to 
3 father, whom he caught with difficulty just when he was 
ing out, as usual, for the day. Lord Colambre, with all the 
spect due to his father, and with that affectionate manner by 
lich he always knew how to soften the strength of his ex- 
essions, made nearly the same declarations of his resolution, 
which his mother had been so much surprised and offended. 
>rd Clonbrony seemed more embarrassed, but not so much 
{pleased. When Lord Colambre adverted, as delicately as he 
uld, to the selfishness of desiring from him the sacrifice of 
»erty for life, to say nothing of his affections, merely to enable 
i family to make a splendid figure in London, Lord Clonbrony 
claimed, "That's all nonsense! — cursed nonsense! That's 
e way we are obliged to state the thing to your mother, my 
ar boy, because I might talk her deaf before she would under- 
md or listen to any thing else ; but, for my own share, I don't 
re a rush if London was sunk in the salt sea. Little Dublin 
r my money, as Sir Terence O'Fay says." 
« Who is Sir Terence O'Fay, may I ask, sir?" 
"Why, don't you know Terry? — Ay, you've been so long 
Cambridge — I forgot. And did you never see Terry?" 
" I have seen him, sir. — I met him yesterday at Mr. Mordicai's, 
e coachmaker's." 

" Mordicai's !" exclaimed Lord Clonbrony, with a sudden blush, 
lich he endeavoured to hide, by taking snuff. " He is a 
mned rascal, that Mordicai! I hope you didn't believe a 
>rd he said — nobody does that knows him." 
"I am glad, sir, that you seem to know him so well, and to be 
c 2 



20 THE ABSENTEE. , 

upon your guard against him," replied Lord Colambre; <M 
from what I heard of his conversation, when he was not awi 
who I was, I am convinced he would do you any injury in '. 
power." 

** He shall never have me in his power, I promise him. \ 
shall take care of that But what did he say ?" 

Lord Colambre repeated the substance of what Mordicai b 
said, and Lord Clonbrony reiterated, *' Damned rascal !^-danm 
rascal ! — I'll get out of his hands — I'll have no more to do wi 
him." But, as be spoke, he exhibited evident symptoms of u 
easiness, moving continually, and shifting from leg to leg, like 
foimdered horse. 

He could not bring himself positively to deny that he h\ 
debts and difficulties ; but he would by no means open the sta 
of his affairs to his son : " No father is called upon to do that 
said he to himself; " none but a fool would do it." 

Lord Colambre, perceiving his father's embarrassment, wit 
drew his eyes, respectfully refrained from all further inquiric 
and simply repeated the assurance he had made to his moth( 
that he would put his family to no additional expense ; ai 
that, if it was necessary, he would willingly give up half 1 
allowance. 

"Not at all, not at all, my dear boy," said his father: * 
would rather cramp myself than that you should be cramped, 
thousand times over. But it is all my Lady Clonbron] 
nonsense. If people would but, as they ought, stay in their o^ 
country, live on their own estates, and kill their own mutto 
money need never be wanting." 

For killing their own mutton. Lord Colambre did not see tl 
indispensable necessity ; but he rejoiced to bear his father asse 
that people should reside in their own country. 

** Ay," cried Lord Clonbrony, to strengthen his assertion, i 
he always thought it necessary to do, by quoting some oth( 
person's opinion — " so Sir Terence O'Fay always says, an 
that's the reason your mother can't endure poor Terry — Yo 
don't know Terry ? No, you have only seen him ; but, indeec 
to see him is to know him ; for he is the most ofi^hand, goo 
fellow in Europe." 

"I don't pretend to know him yet," said Lord Colambre 



THE ABSENTEE. 21 

«I am not so presumptuous as to form my opinion at first 
sight." 

"Oh, curse your modesty!" interrupted Lord Clonbrony; 
" you mean, you don't pretend to like him yet ; but Terry will 
make you like him. I defy you not — V\\ introduce you to him 
— ^him to you, I mean — ^most warm-hearted, generous dog upon 
earth — convivial — jovial — with wit and humour enough, in his 
own way, to split you — split me if he has not. You need not 
cast down your eyes, Colambre. What's your objection ?" 

" I have made none, sir — ^but, if you urge me, I can only say, 
that, if he has all these good qualities, it is to be regretted that 
he does not look and speak a little more like a gentleman." 

** A gentleman ! — he is as much a gentleman as any of your 

formal prigs — ^not the exact Cambridge cut, maybe Curse your 

English education ! 'twas none of my advice 1 suppose you 

mean to take after your mother in the notion, that nothing can 
be good or genteel but what's English." 

*' Far from it, sir ; I assure you I am as warm a friend to 
Ireland as your heart could wish. You will have no reason, in 
that respect, at least, nor, I hope, in any other, to curse my 
English education — and, if my gratitude and affection can avail, 
you shall never regret the kindness and liberality with which 
you have, I fear, distressed yourself to afford me the means of 
becoming all that a British nobleman ought to be." 

"Gad! you distress me now," said Lord Clonbrony, "and I 
didn't expect it, or I wouldn't make a fool of myself this way," 
added he, ashamed of his emotion, and whiffling it off. " You 
have an Irish heart, that I see, which no education can spoil. 
But you must like Terry — I'll give you time, as he said to me, 
when first he taught me to like usquebaugh— —Good morning 
to you." 

Whilst Lady Clonbrony, in consequence of her. residence in 
London, had become more of a fine lady. Lord Clonbrony, since 
he left Ireland, had become less of a gentleman. Lady Clon- 
htcfay, bom an Englishwoman, disclaiming and disencumbering 
hertelf of all the Irish in town, had, by giving splendid enter- 
tainments, at an enormous expense, made her way into a certain 
set of fashionable company. But Lord Clonbrony, who was 
•omebody in Ireland, who was a great person in D\x\]!^ik, toxoA 



22 THE AB8ENTBB. 

himself nobody in England, a mere cipher in London. -Looked 
down upon by the fine people with whom his lady associated, 
and heartily weary of them, he retreated from them altogether, 
and sought entertainment and self-complacency in society 
beneath him, indeed, both in rank and education, but in which 
he had the satisfaction of feeling himself the first person in 
company. Of these associates, the first in talents, and in jovial 
profligacy, was Sir Terence O'Fay — a man of low extraction) 
who had been knighted by an Irish lord-lieutenant in some 
convivial frolic. No one could tell a good story, or sing a good 
song, better than Sir Terence ; he exaggerated his native 
brogue, and his natural propensity to blunder, caring litde 
whether the company laughed at him or with him, provided they 
laughed — "Live and laugh — ^laugh and live," was his motto; 
and certainly he lived on laughing, as well as many better men 
can contrive to live on a thousand a-year. 

Lord Clonbrony brought Sir Terence home with him next 
day, to introduce him to Lord Colambre ; and it happened that, 
on this occasion, Terence appeared to peculiar disadvantage, 
because, like many other people, " II gatoit I'esprit qu'il avoil^ 
en voulant avoir celui qu'LL n'avoit pas." 

Having been apprised that Lord Colambre was a fine 
scholar, fresh from Cambridge, and being conscious of his om 
deficiencies of literature, instead of trusting to his natund 
talents, he summoned to his aid, with no small efiTort, all the 
scraps of learning he had acquired in early days, and even 
brought before the company all the gods and goddesses with 
whom he had formed an acquaintance at school. Though 
embarrassed by this unusual encumbrance of learning, he 
endeavoured to make all subservient to his immediate design, of 
paying his court to Lady Clonbrony, by forwarding the object 
she had most anxiously in view — the match between her son and 
Miss Broadhurst. 

" And so. Miss Nugent," said he, not daring, with all his 
assurance, to address himself directly to Lady Clonbrony, '' and 
so. Miss Nugent, you are going to have great doings, Tm told, 
and a wonderful grand gala. There's nothing in the wide world 
equal to being in a good handsome crowd. No later now than 
the last ball at the Castle, that was before I left Dublin, Miss 






THE ABSENTEE. 23 

the apartments, owing to the popularity of my lady 
t, was so throng — so throng — ^that I remember very 
the doorway, a lady — and a very genteel woman she 
—though a stranger to me, saying to me, * Sir, your 
n my ear.* — * I know it, madam,' says I ; *but I can't 
it till the crowd give me elbow-room.' 
it's the gala I'm thinking of now — I hear you are to 
golden Venus, my Lady Clonbrony, won't you?" 

freezing monosyllable notwithstanding, Sir Terence 
his course fluently. " The golden Venus ! — sure, Miss 
you that are so quick, can't but know I would apostro- 
iss Broadhurst that is — ^but that won't be long so, I 
y Lord Colambre, have you seen much yet of .that young 

sir." 

1 I hope you won't be long so. I hear great talk now 
enus of Medici, and the Venus of this and that, with 
!nce Venus, and the sable Venus, and that other Venus, 
shing of her hair, and a hundred other Venuses, some 
ne bad. But, be that as it will, my lord, trust a fool — 
when he tells you truth — the golden Venus is the 
on earth that can stand, or that will stand, through all 
temperatures ; for gold rules the court, gold rules the 
id men below, and heaven above." 
iren above ! — Take care, Terry I Do you know what you 
g?" interrupted Lord Clonbrony. 
I? — Don't I?" replied. Terry. "Deny, if you please, 
that it was for a golden pippin that the three goddesses 
that the Hippomenes was about golden apples — and did 
ules rob a garden for golden apples? — and did not the 
leas himself take a golden branch with him to make 
jrelcome to his father in hell ?" said Sir Terence, winking 
[Colambre. 

', Terry, you know more about books than I should have 
1," said Lord Clonbrony. 

you would not have suspected me to have such a great 
mce among the goddesses neither, would you, my lord? 



24 THE ABSENTEE. 

But, apropos, before we quit, of what material, think ye, was 
that same Venus's famous girdle, now, that made roses and lilies 
so quickly appear ? Why, what was it but a girdle of sterling 
gold, I'll engage? — for gold is the only true thing for a young 
man to look after in a wife." 

Sir Terence paused, but no applause ensued. 

" Let them talk of Cupids and darts, and the mother of the 
Loves and Graces — Minerva may sing odes and dythamhricsy or 
whatsoever her wisdomship pleases. Let her sing, or let her 
say, she'll never get a husband, in this world or the other, 
without she had a good thumping fortiriy and then she'd go off 
like wildfire." 

" No, no, Terry, there you're out : Minerva has too bad a 
character for learning to be a favourite with gentlemen," said 
Lord Clonbrony. 

" Tut — Don't tell me ! — I'd get her off before you could say 
Jack Robinson, and thank you too, if she had 50,000/. down, or 
1,000/. a-year in land. Would you have a man so d — d nice as 

to balk, when house and land is a going a going a going! 

— ^because of the incumbrance of a little learning? But, after 
all, I never heard that Miss Broadhurst was any thing of a 
learned lady." 

" Miss Broadhurst!" said Miss Nugent: "how did you get 
round to Miss Broadhurst?" 

" Oh ! by the way of Tipperary," said Lord Colambre. 

" I beg yoiur pardon, my lord, it was apropos to good fortune, 
which, I hope, will not be out of your way, even if you went by 
Tipperary. She has, besides 100,000/. in the funds, a clear 
landed property of 10,000/. per annum. Well! some people talk 
of morality^ and some of religion^ hut give me a little snug pro- 
perty. But, my lord, I've a little business to transact this 

morning, and must not be idling and indulging myself here." 
So, bowing to the ladies, he departed. 

"Really, I am glad that man is gone," said Lady Clonbrony. 
" What a relief to one's ears I I am sure I wonder, my lord, how 
you can bear to carry that strange creature always about with 
you — so vulgar as he is." 

" He diverts me," said Lord Clonbrony ; " while many of your 



THE ABSENTEE. 25 

rect-mannered fine ladies or gentlemen put me to sleep. 

at signifies vihat accent people speak in, that have nothing 

ay, hey, Colamhre?" 

iord Colambre, from respect to his father, did not express his 

lion ; hut his aversion to Sir Terence O'Fay was stronger 

n than his mother's, though Lady Clonbrony's detestation 

dm was much increased by perceiving that his coarse hints 

ut Miss Broadhurst had operated against her favourite 

erne. 

lie next morning, at breakfast. Lord Clonbrony talked of 

iging Sir Terence with him that night to her gala — she abso- 

ily grew pale with horror. 

' Good Heavens ! — Lady Langdale, Mrs. Dareville, Lady 

:ocke, Lady Chatterton, Lady D , Lady G , His 

ice of V ; what would they think of him ! And Miss 

adhurst, to see him going about with my Lord Clonbrony !" 
-It could not he. No— her ladyship made the most solemn 
. desperate protestation, that she would sooner give up her 
ii altogether — tie up the knocker — say she was sick — ^rather 
uck, or be dead, than be obliged to have such a creature as 
Terence O'Fay at her gala. 

• Have it your own way, my dear, as you have every thing 
," cried Lord Clonbrony, taking up his hat, and preparing 
decamp; "but, take notice, if you won't receive him, you 
d not expect me. So a good morning to you, my Lady 
nbrony. You may find a worse friend in need yet, than that 
le Sir Terence O'Fay." 

' I trust I shall never be in need, my lord," replied her lady- 
). " It would be strange indeed if I were, with the fortime 
rought." 

' Oh, that fortune of hers !" cried Lord Gonbrony, stopping 
li his ears as he ran out of his room : " shall I never hear the 
. of that fortune, when I've seen the end of it long ago?" 
)uring this matrimonial dialogue, Miss Nugent and Lord 
ambre never once looked at each other. She was very dili- 
tly trying the changes that could be made in the positions of 
hina-mouse, a cat, a dog, a cup, and a brahmin, on the 
atel-piece; Lord Colambre as diligently reading the news- 
ier. 



26 THE ABSENTEE. 

"Now, my dear Colambre," said Lady Clonbrony, "put 
down the paper, and listen to me. Let me entreat you not to 
neglect Miss Broadhurst to-night, as I know that the family come 
here chiefly on your account." 

"My dear mother, I never can neglect any one of your 
guests ; but I shall be careful not to show any particular atten- 
tion to Miss Broadhurst, for I never will pretend what I do not 
feel." 

" But, my dear Colambre, Miss Broadhurst is every thing you 
could wish, except being a beauty." 

"Perhaps, madam," said Lord Colambre, fixing his eyes on 
Miss Nugent, "you think that I can see no farther than a hand- 
some face?" 

The unconscious Grace Nugent now made a warm eulogium 
of Miss Broadhurst's sense, and wit, and independence of cha- 
racter. 

" I did not know that Miss Broadhurst was a friend of yours, 
Miss Nugent?" 

" She is, I assure you, a friend of mine ; and, as a proof, I 
will not praise her at this moment. I will go farther still — I 
will promise that I never will praise her to you till you begin to 
praise her to me." 

Lord Colambre smiled, and now listened as if he wished that 
she should go on speaking, even of Miss Broadhurst. 

"That's my sweet Grace!" cried Lady Clonbrony. "Oh! 
she knows how to manage these men — not one of them can 
resist her!" 

Lord Colambre, for his part, did not deny the truth of this 
assertion. 

" Grace," added Lady Clonbrony, " make him promise to do 
as we would have him." 

"No — ^promises are dangerous things to ask or to give," said 
Grace. "Men and naughty children never make promises, 
especially promises to be good, without longing to break them 
the next minute." 

" Well, at least, child, persuade him, I charge you, to make 
my gala go off well. That's the first thing we ought to think of 
now. Ring the bell ! — And all heads and hands I put in requi- 
sition for the gala." 



THE ABSENTEE. 27 



CHAPTER III. 



I The opening of her gala, the display of her splendid reception 
I noms, the Turkisli tent, the Alhamhra, the pagoda, formed a 
I ]fRNid moment to Lady Clonhrony. Much did she enjoy, and 
1 nmch too naturally, notwithstanding all her efforts to be stiff and 
I itatdy, mucb too naturally did she show her enjoyment of the 
nrprise excited in some and affected by others on their first 
entrance. 

One young, very young lady expressed her astonishment so 
indibly as to attract the notice of all the bystanders. Lady 
Qonbrony, delighted, seized both her hands, shook them, and 
laughed heartily ; then, as the young lady with her party passed 
OD, her ladyship recovered herself, drew up her head, and said 
to the company near her, " Poor thing ! I hope I covered her 
little nmvete properly. How new she must be !" 

Then with well practised dignity, and half subdued self-com- 
placency of aspect, her ladyship went gliding about — most 
importantly busy, introducing my lady this to the sphynx cande- 
Itlna, and my lady thett to the Trebisond trellice ; placing some 
delightfully for the perspective of the Alhambra ; establishing 
others quite to her satisfaction on seraglio ottomans; and 
lumouring others with a seat under the Statira canopy. Receiv- 
ing and answering compliments from successive crowds of select 
friends, imagining herself the mirror of fashion, and the admira- 
tion of the whole world. Lady Clonhrony was, for her hour, as 
happy certainly as ever woman was in similar circumstances. 

Her son looked at her, and wished that this happiness could 
last Naturally inclined to sympathy. Lord Colambre reproached 
himself for not feeling as gay at this instant as the occasion 
required. But the festive scene, the blazing lights, the " uni- 
versal hubbub," failed to raise his spirits. As a dead weight 
apon them hung the remembrance of Mordicai's denunciations ; 
and, through the midst of this eastern magnificence, this un- 
bounded profusion, he thought he saw future domestic misery 
and ruin to those he loved best in the world. 

The only object present on which his eye rested with pleasure 
was Grace Nugent Beautiful— in elegant and digni&ed CAm- 



28 THE ABSENTEE. 

plicity — thoughtless of herself— yet with a look of thought, 8i 
with an air of melancholy, which accorded exactly with his 01 
feelings, and which he helieved to arise from the same reflectlo 
that had passed in his own mind. 

" Miss Broadhurst, Colamhre ! all the Broadhursts !" said 1 
mother, wakening him as she passed hy to receive them as tl 
entered. Miss Broadhurst appeared, plainly dressed— plaii 
even to singularity — without any diamonds or ornament. 

" Brought Philippa to you, my dear Lady Clonhrony, \ 
figure, rather than not hring her at all," said puffing I 
Broadhurst, *' and had all the difficulty in the world to get 
out at all, and now I've promised she shall stay hut hall 
hour. Sore throat — terrible cold she took in the morning, 
swear for her, she'd not have come for any one but you." 

The young lady did not seem inclined to swear, or even t( 
this for herself ; she stood wonderfully unconcerned and pas 
with an expression of humour lurking in her eyes, and abou 
comers of her mouth ; whilst Lady Clonhrony was " shod 
and "gratified," and "concerned," and "flattered;" and 1? 
every body was hoping, and fearing, and busying thems 
about her, " Miss Broadhurst, you'd better sit her« !" — " 01 
heaven's sake! Miss Broadhurst, not there!" "Miss Broadl 
if you'll take my opinion," and " Miss Broadhurst, if I 
a^se. ■" 

"Grace Nugent!" cried Lady Clonhrony. "Miss B 
hurst always listens to you. Do, my dear, persuade 
Broadhurst to take care of herself, and let us take her U 
inner little pagoda, where she can be so warm and so n 

— the very thing for an invalid Colamhre ! pioneer the 

for us, for the crowd's immense." 

Lady Anne and Lady Catherine H , Lady Langc 

daughters, were at this time leaning on Miss Nugent's arm, 
moved along with this party to the inner pagoda. There 
to be cards in one room, music in another, dancing in a 1 
and in this little room there were prints and chess-bo 
&c. 

"Here you will be quite to yourselves," said Lady ( 
brony ; " let me establish you comfortably in this, which I 
my sanctuary — ^my snuggery — Colamhre, that little table ! — 



I THE ABSENTEE. 29 

d BroadhuTst, you play chess? — G>lambre, you'll play with Miss 
BhMidhurst ■" 

"I thank your ladyship," said Miss Broadhurst, "but I know 
nothing of chess but the moves : Lady Catherine, you will play, 
and I will look on." 
J Miss Broadhurst drew her seat to the fire ; Lady Catherine 
5 lat down to play with Lord Colambre: Lady Clonbrony 
withdrew, again recommending Miss Broadhurst to Grace 
Nngent's care. After some commonplace conversation. Lady 
Anne H- , looking at the company in the adjoining apart- 
ment, asked her sister how old Miss Somebody was who passed 
D by. This led to reflections upon the comparative age and 
[] youthful appearance of several of their acquaintance, and upon 
I the care with which mothers concealed the age of their 
daughters. Glances passed between Lady Catherine and Lady 
Anne. 

"For my part," said Miss Broadhurst, "my mother would 
labour that point of secrecy in vain for me ; for I am willing to 
tell my age, even if my face did not tell it for me, to all whom it 

may concern 1 am passed three-and-twenty — shall be four- 

and-twenty the fifth of next July." 

"Three-and-twenty! — Bless me! — I thought you were not 
twenty !" cried Lady Anne. 

" Four-and-twenty next July! — impossible!" cried Lady 
Catherine. 

"Very possible," said Miss Broadhurst, quite unconcerned. 

"Now, Lord Colambre, would you believe it? Can you 
believe it?" a«ked Lady Catherine. 

"Yes, he can," said Miss Broadhurst. "Don't you see that 
be believes it as firmly as you and I do ? Why should you force 
bis lordship to pay a compliment contrary to his better judg- 
ment, or extort a smile from him under false pretences ? I am 
wre he sees that you, and I trust he perceives that I, do not 
think the worse of him for this." 

Lord Colambre smiled now without any false pretence ; and, 
relieved at once from all apprehension of her joining in his 
mother's views, or of her expecting particular attention from 
him, he became at ease with Miss Broadhurst, showed a desire 



30 THE ABSENTEE. 

to converse with her, and listened eagerly to what she sai 
recollected that Miss Nugent had told him, that this youi 
had no common character ; and, neglecting his move at 
he looked up at Miss Nugent, as much as to say, •* D\ 
out, pray." 

But Grace was too good a friend to comply with that r 
she left Miss Broadhurst to unfold her own character. 

" It is your move, my lord," said Lady Catherine. 

" I beg your ladyship's pardon " 

"Are not these rooms beautiful. Miss Broadhurst?" sa 
Catherine, determined, if possible, to turn the conversati 
a commonplace, safe channel ; for she had just felt, wh 
of Miss Broadhurst's acquaintance had in their turn f( 
she had an odd way of startling people, by setting th 
secret little motives suddenly before them. 

" Are not these rooms beautiful ?" 

" Beautiful !— Certainly." 

The beauty of the rooms would have answered 
Catherine's purpose for some time, had not Lad} 
imprudently brought the conversation back again t< 
Broadhurst. 

"Do you know. Miss Broadhurst," said she, " that i 
fifty sore throats, I could not have refrained from my di 
on this GALA night ; and such diamonds as you have ! 
really, I could not believe you to be the same person 
blazing at the opera the other night!" 

" Really ! could not you. Lady Anne ? That is tl 
thing that entertains me. I only wish that I could lay a: 
fortune sometimes, as well as my diamonds, and see hi 
people would know me then. Might not I, Grace, 
golden rule, which, next to practice, is the best rule 
world, calculate and answer that question?" 

"I am persuaded," said Lord Colambre, "that Miss 
hurst has friends on whom the experiment would m; 
difference." 

" I am convinced of it," said Miss Broadhurst ; " and 
what makes me tolerably happy, though I have the mis] 
to be an heiress." 



THE ABSENTEE. 31 

"That is the oddest speech," said Lady Anne. "Now I 
tboold so like to be a great heiress, and to have, like you, such 
thousands and thousands at command." 

" And what can the thousands upon thousands do for me ? 

Hearts, you know, Lady Anne, are to be won only by radiant 

eyes. Bought hearts your ladyship certainly would not recom- 

1 mend. They're such poor things — no wear at all. Turn them 

I which way you will, you can make nothing of them." 

I "You've tried, then, have you?" said Lady Catherine. 

I "To my cost — Very nearly taken in by them half a dozen 

f times ; for they are brought to me by dozens ; and they are so 

I made up for sale, and the people do so swear to you that it's 

I real, real love, and it looks so like it : and, if you stoop to 

examine it, you hear it pressed upon you by such elegant oaths. 

—By all that's lovely ! — By all my hopes of happiness ! — By 

your own charming self! Why, what can one do but look like 

a fool, and believe? for these men, at the time, all look so like 

gentlemen, that one cannot bring oneself flatly to tell them that 

they are cheats and swindlers, that they are perjuring their 

precious souls. Besides, to call a lover a perjured creature is to 

encourage him. He would have a right to complain if you went 

back after that" 

"Odear! what a move was there!" cried Lady Catherine. 
" Hiss Broadhurst is so entertaining to-night, notwithstanding 
her sore throat, that one can positively attend to nothing else. 
And she talks of love and lovers too with such connoissance de 
fait — counts her lovers by dozens, tied up in true lovers' 
bots !" 

" Lovers ! — no, no ! Did I say lovers ? — suitors I should 
bave said. There's nothing less like a lover, a true lover, than 
t suitor, as all the world knows, ever since the days of Penelope. 
Dozens! — ^never had a lover in my life ! — A.nd fear, with much 
reason, I never shall have one to my mind." 

" My lord, you've given up the game," cried Lady Catherine ; 
"but you make no battle." 

" It would be so vain to combat against your ladyship," said 
Lord Colambre, rising, and bowing politely to Lady Catherine, 
but taming the next instant to converse with Miss Broad- 
burst 



32 THE ABSENTEE. 

"But when I talked of liking to be an heiress," said Lady 
Anne, "I was not thinking of lovers." 

" Certainly. — One is not always thinking of lovers, you know,"' 
added Lady Catherine. 

"Not always," replied Miss Broadhurst. "Well, lovers ool 
of the question on all sides, what would your ladyship buy widi 
the thousands upon thousands?" 

" Oh, every thing, if I were you," said Lady Anne. 

" Rank, to begin with," said Lady Catherine. 

"Still my old objection — bought rank is but a shabby 
thing." 

" But there is so little difference made between bought and 
hereditary rank in these days," said Lady Catherine. 

" I see a great deal still," said Miss Broadhurst; "so much, 
that I would never buy a title." 

" A title, without birth, to be sure," said Lady Anne, " wouM 
not be so well worth buying ; and as birth certainly is not to be 
bought " 

" And even birth, were it to be bought, I would not buy/* 
said Miss Broadhurst, " unless I could be sure to have it with aH 
the politeness, all the noble sentiments, all the magnanimity, in 
short, all that should grace and dignify high birth." 

" Admirable !" said Lord Colambre. Grace Nugent smiled. 

" Lord Colambre, will you have the goodness to put my mother 
in mind, I must go away?" 

"I am bound to obey, but I am very sorry for it," said hii 
lordship. 

"Are we to have any dancing to-night, I wonder?" said 
Lady Anne. " Miss Nugent, I am afraid we have made Wm 
Broadhurst talk so much, in spite of her hoarseness, that Ladf . 
Clonbrony will be quite angry with us. And here she come% 
Lady Catherine." 

My Lady Clonbrony came to hope, to beg, that Miss Broad- 
hurst would not think of running away ; but Miss Broadhunt 
could not be prevailed upon to stay. Lady Clonbrony was 
delighted to see that her son assisted Grace Nugent most 
carefully in shawling the young heiress — ^his lordship conducted 
her to her carriage, and his mother drew many happy augaiieB 
from the gallantry of his manner, and from the young lady*i 






THE ABSENTEE. 33 

Uving stayed ihree quarters, instead of half an hour — a circum- 
stance whicYi Liody Catherine did not fail to remark. 

The dancing, which, under various pretences, Lady Clonhrony 
bad delayed till liord Colamhre was at liberty, began immediately 
after Miss Broadliurst's departure ; and the chalked mosaic 
pavement of the Alhambra was, in a few minutes, effaced 
by the dancers' feet. How transient are all human joys, 

1'^ especially tliose of vanity ! Even on this long meditated, diis 
long desired, this gala night, Lady Clonhrony foimd her triumph 
mcomplete — ^inadequate to her expectations. For the first hour 
.. all had been compliment, success, and smiles ; presently came 
I the buts, and the hesitated objections, and the '< damning with 
faint praise " — all that could be borne — every body has his taste 
— and one person's taste is as good as another's ; and while she 
ihad Mr. Soho to cite, Lady Clonhrony thought she might be well 
satisfied. But she could not be satisfied with Colonel Heath- 
cock, who, dressed in black, had stretched his " fashionable 
length of limb " under the Statira canopy, upon the snow-white 
iwandown couch. When, after having monopolized attention, 
and been the subject of much bad wit, about black swans and 
_^ rare birds, and swans being geese and geese being swans, 
the colonel condescended to rise, and, as Mrs. Dareville said, 
to vacate his couch — that couch was no longer white — the black 
impression of the colonel remained on the sullied snow. 

"Eh, now ! really didn't recollect I was in black," was all the 
apology he made. Lady Clonhrony was particularly vexed that 
the appearance of the Statira canopy should be spoiled before the 
effect had been seen by Lady Pococke, and Lady Chatterton, 

and Lady G , Lady P , and the Duke of V , and a 

party of superlative fashionables, who had promised to look in 
vpon her, but who, late as it was, had not yet arrived. They 
came in at last. But Lady Clonhrony had no reason to regret 
for their sake the Statira couch. It would have been lost upon 
Aem, as was every thing else which she had prepared with 
10 much pains and cost to excite their admiration. They came 
resolute not to admire. Skilled in the art of making others 
unhappy, they just looked round with an air of apathy. — " Ah ! 
you've had Soho ! — Soho has done wonders for you here ! — 
Vastly well ! — Vastly well ! — Sobo's very clever in hia v?ay V* 
Patkionalflfi Zt/e, d 



/ 



34 THE ABSENTEE. 

Others of great importance came in, full of some slight accident 
that had happened to themselves, or their horses, or their 
carriages ; and, with privileged selfishness, engrossed the atttn- 
tion of all within their sphere of conversation. Well, Lady 
Clonhrony got over all this, and got over the history of a letter 
about a chimney that was on fire, a week ago, at the Duke <^ 

V 's old house, in Brecknockslure. In gratitude for the 

smiling patience with which she listened to him, his Grace of 

V fixed his glass to look at the Alhamhra, and had just 

pronounced it to be "Well! — very well!" when the Dowager 
Lady Chatterton made a terrible discovery — a discovery that 
filled Lady Clonhrony with astonishment and indignation — Mr. 
Soho had played her false ! What was her mortification, when 
the dowager assured her that these identical Alhambra hang- 
ings had not only been shown by Mr. Soho to the Duchess 
of Torcaster, but that her grace had had the refusal of them, and 
had actually criticised them, in consequence of Sir Horace 
Grant, the great traveller's objecting to some of the proportions 
of the pillars — Soho had engaged to make a new set, vastly 
improved, by Sir Horace's suggestions, for her Grace of T<»- 
caster. 

Now Lady Chatterton was the greatest talker extant ; and she 
went about the rooms telling every body of her acquaintance 
— and she was acquainted with every body — how shamefully 
Soho had imposed upon poor Lady Clonhrony, protesting she 
could not forgive the man. "For," said she, "though the 
Duchess of Torcaster had been his constant customer for a^es, 
and his patroness, and all that, yet this does not excuse him-> 
and Lady Clonbrony's being a stranger, and from Ireland, 
makes the thing worse." From Ireland ! — that was the un- 
kindest cut of all — ^but there was no remedy. 

In vain poor Lady Clonhrony followed the dowager about the 
rooms to correct this mistake, and to represent, in justice to Mi. 
Soho, though he had used her so ill, that he knew she was afl 
Englishwoman. The dowager was deaf, and no whisper could 
reach her ear. And when Lady Clonhrony was obliged to 
bawl an explanation in her ear, the dowager only repeated, 
" In justice to Mr. Soho ! — No, no ; he has not done you 
justice, my dear Lady Clonhrony! and I'll expose him to 



THE ABSENTEE. 35 

?€ty body. Exiglisb woman I — no, no, no !— Soho could not take 
roufoT an Englishwoman!" 

AU wbo secretly envied or ridiculed Lady Clonbrony enjoyed 
iiis scene. The Alhambra liangings, which had been in one 
short hour before the admiration of the world, were now regarded 
by every eye with contempt, as cast hangings, and every tongue 
vasbusy declaiming against Mr. Soho; every body declared, 
that from the first, the want of proportion " struck them, but 
that they would not mention it till others found it out." 

People usually revenge themselves for having admired too 
much, by afterwards despising and depreciating without mercy 
—in all great assemblies the perception of ridicule is quickly 
caught, and quickly too revealed. Lady Clonbrony, even in her 
own house, on her gala night, became an object of ridicule, — 
decently masked, indeed, under the appearance of condolence 
with her ladyship, and of indignation against " that abominable 
Mr. Soho!" 
' Lady Langdale, who was now, for reasons of her own, upon 
her good behaviour, did penance, as she said, for her former 
imprudence, by abstaining even from whispered sarcasms. She 
looked on with penitential gravity, said nothing herself, and 
endeavoured to keep Mrs. Dareville in order ; but that was no 
easy task. Mrs. Dareville had no daughters, had nothing to 
gain from the acquaintance of my Lady Clonbrony ; and con- 
scious that her ladyship would bear a vast deal from her 
presence, rather than forego the honour of her sanction, Mrs. 
Dareville, without any motives of interest, or good-nature of 
sufficient power to restrain her talent and habit of ridicule, 
free from hope or fear, gave full scope to all the malice of 
mockery, and all the insolence of fashion. Her slings and 
arrows, numerous as they were and outrageous, were directed 
against such petty objects, and the mischief was so quick in its 
aim and its operation, that, felt but not seen, it is scarcely 
possible to register the hits, or to describe the nature of the 
womids. 

Some hits, sufficiently palpable, however, are recorded for the 

advantage of posterity. When Lady Clonbrony led her to look 

at the Chinese pagoda, the lady paused, with her foot on the 

threshold, as if afraid to enter this porcelain Elysium, a» ^^ 

d2 



36 THE ABSENTEE. 

called it — Fool's Paradise, she would have said ; and, by he 
hesitation, and by the half pronounced word, suggested the idea 
— '' None but belles without petticoats can enter here," said she 
drawing her clothes tight round her ; " fortunately, I have bu 
two, and Lady Langdale has but one." Prevailed upon to ventun 
in, she walked on with prodigious care and trepidation, affectin§ 
to be alarmed at the crowd of strange forms and monsters b) 
which she was surrounded. 

"Not a creature here that I ever saw before in natural- 
Well, now I may boast I've been in a real Chinese pagoda!" 

" Why, yes, every thing is appropriate here, I flatter myself" 
said Lady Clonbrony. 

" And how good of you, my dear Lady Clonbrony, in defiance 
of bulls and blunders, to allow us a comfortable English fire-place 
and plenty of Newcastle coal in China I — And a white marble- 
no ! white velvet hearthrug painted with beautiful flowers — Oh! 
the delicate, the useful thing !" 

Vexed by the emphasis on the word useful. Lady Clonbrony 
endeavoured to turn off the attention of the company. " Lady 
Langdale, your ladyship's a judge of china — this vase is an 
unique, I am told." 

" I am told," interrupted Mrs. Dareville, " this is the very 

vase in which B , the nabob's father, who was, you know, a 

China captain, smuggled his dear little Chinese wife and all her 
fortune out of Canton — positively, actually put the lid on, packed 
her up, and sent her off on shipboard ! — True ! true ! upon my 
veracity ! I'll tell you my authority !" 

With this story, Mrs. Dareville drew all attention from the jar, 
to Lady Clonbrony's infinite mortification. 

Lady Langdale at length turned to look at a vast range of 
china jars. 

" Ali Baba and the forty thieves !" exclaimed Mrs. Dareville: 
" I hope you have boiling oil ready !" 

Lady Clonbrony was obliged to laugh, and to vow that Mrs. 

Dareville was uncommon pleasant to-night " But now," said 

her ladyship, "let me take you to the Turkish tent." 

Having with great difficulty got the malicious wit out of the 
pagoda and into the Turkish tent. Lady Clonbrony began to 
breathe more freely ; for here she thought she was upon safts 



THE ABSENTEE. 37 

ground: — " Every thing, I flatter myself," said she, " is correct, 
and appropriate, and quite picturesque" — ^The company, dis- 
persed in happy groups, or reposing on seraglio ottomans, 
drinking lemonade and sherbet — beautiful Fatimas admiring, or 
being admired — " Every thing here quite correct, appropriate, and 
picturesque,*' repeated Mrs. Dareville. 

This lady's powers as a mimic were extraordinary, and she 
found them irresistible. Hitherto she had imitated Lady Clon- 
brony's air and accent only behind her back ; but, bolder grown, 
she now ventured, in spite of Lady Langdale's warning pinches, 
to mimic her kind hostess before her face, and to her face. Now, 
whenever Lady Clonbrony saw any thing that struck her fancy 
in the dress of her fashionable friends, she had a way of hanging 
ber head aside, and sa3ring, with a peculiarly sentimental draw], 
" How pretty ! — How elegant ! — Now that quite suits my teeste .'" 
this pbrase, precisely in the same accent, and with the head set 
to the same angle of affectation, Mrs. Dareville had the assiurance 
to address to her ladyship, apropos to something which she pre- 
tended to admire in Lady Clonbrony's costume — a costume, 
which, excessively fashionable in each of its parts, was, altogether, 
80 extraordinarily unbecoming, as to be fit for a print-shop. The 
perception of this, added to the effect of Mrs. Dareville's 
municry, was almost too much for Lady Langdale ; she could 
not possibly have stood it, but for the appearance of Miss 
Nugent at this instant behind Lady Clonbrony. Grace gave one 
glance of indignation, which seemed suddenly to strike Mrs. 
Dareville. Silence for a moment ensued, and afterwards the 
tone of the conversation was changed. 

"Salisbury! — explain this to me," said a lady, drawing Mr. 
Salisbury aside. '* If you are in the secret, do explain this to 
me ; for imless I had seen it, I could not have believed it. Nay, 
though I have seen it,. I do not believe it. How was that daring 
spirit laid ? By what spell ?" 

** By the spell which superior minds always cast on inferior 
spirits." 

"Very fine," said the lady, laughing, "but as old as the days 
of Leonora de Galigai, quoted a million times. Now tell me 
wmething new and to the purpose, and better suited to modem 
days." 



38 THE ABSENTEE. 

" Well, then, since you will not allow me to talk of superior 
minds in the present day, let me ask you if you have never ob- 
served that a wit, once conquered in company by a wit of 
higher, order, is thenceforward in complete subjection to the 
conqueror, whenever and wherever they meet." 

" You would not persuade me that yonder gentle-looking girl 
could ever be a match for the veteran Mrs. Dareville ? She may 
have the wit, but has she the courage?" 

" Yes ; no one has more courage, more civil courage, where 
her own dignity, or the interests of her friends are concerned^ — I 
will tell you an instance or two to-morrow." 

** To-morrow ! — ^To-night !— tell it me now." 

" Not a safe place." 

*' The safest in the world, in such a crowd as this— -^Follow 
my example. Take a jg;lasB of orgeat — sip from time to time, 
thus — speak low, looking innocent all the while straight forward, 
or now and then up at the lamps — keep on in an even tone-^use 
no names — and you may tell any thing." 

" Well, then, when Miss Nugent first came to London, Mrs. 
Dareville " 

** Two names already — did not I warn ye?" 

" But how can I make myself intelligible ?" 

"Initials — can't you use — or genealogy? — What stops you? 
—It is only Lord Colambre, a very safe person, I have a notion, 
wbeu the eulogium is of Miss Nugent." 

Lord Colambre, who had now performed his arduous duties as 
a dancer, and had disemban-assed himself of all his partners, came 
into the Turkish tent just at this moment to refresh himself, and 
just in time to hear Mr. Salisbury's anecdotes. 

"Now go on." 

"Mrs. Dareville, you remember, some years ago, went to 
Ireland, with some lady lieutenant, to whom she was related— 
there she was most hospitably received by Lord and Lady Clon- 
brony — went to their country house — was as intimate with Lady 
Clonbrony and with Miss Nugent as possible — stayed atClonbrony 
Castle for a month ; and yet, when Lady Clonbrony came to Lon- 
don, never took the least notice of her. At last, meeting at the house 
of a common friend, Mrs. Dareville could not avoid recognizing 
her ladyship ; but, even then, did it in the least civil manner 



THE ABSENTEE. 39 

and most cinsory style possible — * Ho ! Lady Clonbrony ! — didn't 
know you were in England ! — ^When did you come ? — How long 
AaH you stay in town ? — Hope, before you leave England, your 
ladysbip and Miss Nugent will give us a day V — A day ! — Lady 
Clonbrony was so astonisbed by this impudence of ingratitude, 
that sbe hesitated how to take it ; but Miss Nugent, quite coolly, 
and with a smile, answered, * A day ! — Certainly — ^to you, who 
gave us a month !* *' 

" Admirable ! — Now I comprehend perfectly why Mrs. 
Dareville declines insulting Miss Nugent's friends in her 
presence." 

Lord Colambre said nothing, but thought much. ** How I wish 
my mother," thought he, " had some of Grace Nugent 's proper 
pride ! She would not then waste her fortune, spirits, health, 
and life, in courting such people as these." 

He had not seen — ^he could not have home to have beheld — 
the manner in which his mother had been treated by some of 
her guests ; but he observed that she now looked harassed and 
vexed; and he was provoked and mortified, by hearing her 
begging and beseeching some of the saucy leaders of the ton to 
oblige her, to do her the favour, to do her the honour, to stay 
to supper. It was just ready — actually announced. " No, they 
would not, they could not ; they were obliged to run away : 
engaged to the Duchess of Torcaster." 

"Lord Colambre, what is the matter?" said Miss Nugent, 

going up to him, as he stood aloof and indignant : " Don't look 

80 like a chafed lion ; others may perhaps read your countenance, 

as well as I do." 

" None can read my mind so well," replied he. " Oh, my 

dear Grace ! " 

"Supper! — Supper!" cried she: "your duty to your neigh- 
bour, your hand to your partner." 

The supper room, fitted up at great expense, with scenery 
to indtate Vauxhall, opened into a superb greenhouse, lighted 
with coloured lamps, a band of music at a distance — every deli- 
cacy, every luxury that could gratify the senses, appeared in 
profusion. The company ate and drank— enjoyed themselves — 
went away — and laughed at their hostess. Some, indeed, who 
thought they had been neglected, were in too had humoAM \.o 



CHAPTER IV. 



Ladt Clonbrony was taken ill the day after her gala ; she had 
caught cold by standing, when much overheated, in a violent 
draught of wind, paying her parting compliments to the Duke of 

y. , who thought her a bore, and wished her in heaven all 

the time for keeping his horses standing. Her ladyship's illness 
was severe and long ; she was confined to her room for some 
weeks by a rheumatic fever, and an inflammation in her eyes. 
Every day, when Lord Colambre went to see his mother, he 
found Miss Nugent in her apartment, and every hour he found 
fresh reason to admire this charming girl. The affectionate 
tenderness, the indefatigable patience, the strong attachment she 
showed for her aunt, actually raised Lady Clonbrony in her son's 
opinion. He was persuaded she must surely have some good or 
great qualities, or she could not have excited such strong 
affection. A few foibles out of the question, such as her love of 
fine people, her affectation of being English, and other affectar 
tions too tedious to mention, Lady Clonbrony was really a good 
woman, had good principles, moral and religious, and, selfish- 
ness not immediately interfering, she was good-natured ; and. 



40 THE ABSENTEE. 

laugh, but abused her in sober earnest ; for Lady Qonbrony had ^ 

offended half, nay, three quarters of her guests, by what they ,. 

termed her exclusive attention to those very leaders of the ton, . 

from whom she had suffered so much, and who had made it «J 

obvious to all that they thought they did her too much honour ^ 

in appearing at her gala. So ended the gala for which she had ^ 

lavished such sums ; for which she had laboured so indefatigably ; T 
and from which she had expected such triumph. 

" Colambre, bid the musicians stop — they are playing to ^ 
empty benches," said Lady Clonbrony. "Grace, my dear, will 

you see that these lamps are safely put out ? I am so tired, so ^ 
worn out, I must go to bed ; and I am sure I have caught cold, 
too. What a nervous business it is to manage these things ! I 

wonder how one gets through it, or why one does it !" . 



THE ABSENTEE. 41 

though her whole soul and attention were so completely absorbed 
in the duties of acquaintanceship that she did not know it, she 
leally had affections — they were concentrated upon a few near 
relations. She was extremely fond and extremely proud of her 
•ion. Next to her son, she was fonder of her niece than of any 
odier creature. She had received Grace Nugent into her family 
when she was left an orphan, and deserted by some of her other 
relations. She had bred her up, and had treated her with 
.. constant kindness. This kindness and these obligations had 
raised the warmest gratitude in Miss Nugent's heart ; and it was 
the strong principle of gratitude which rendered her capable of 
endurance and exertions seemingly far above her strength. 
This young lady was not of a robust appearance, though she 
now underwent extraordinary fatigue. Her aunt could scarcely 
bear that she should leave her for a moment : she could not 
close her eyes, unless Grace sat up with her many hours every 
night. Night after night she bore this fatigue ; and yet, with 
little sleep or rest, she preserved her health, at least, supported 
her spirits ; and every morning when Lord Colambre came into 
his mother's room, he saw Miss Nugent look as blooming as if 
she had enjoyed the most refreshing sleep. The bloom was, as 
he observed, not permanent; it came and went with every 
emotion of her feeling heart ; and he soon learned to fancy her 
almost as handsome when she was pale as when she had a 
colour. He had thought her beautiful when he beheld her in all 
the radiance of light, and with all the advantages of dress at the 
gala, but he found her infinitely more lovely and interesting 
now, when he saw her in a sick-room — a half-darkened chamber 
— where often he could but just discern her form, or distinguish 
her, except by her gracefid motion as she passed, or when, but 
for a moment, a window-curtain drawn aside let the sun shine 
upon her face, or on the ringlets of her hair. 

Much must be allowed for an inflammation in the eyes, and 
something for a rheumatic fever ; yet it may seem strange that 
Lady Oonbrony should be so blind and deaf as neither to see 
nor hear all this time ; that having lived so long in the world, it 
should never occur to her that it was rather imprudent to have a 
young lady, not eighteen, nursing her — and such a young lady I 
—-when her son, not one-and-tweuty — and such a son ! — came 



42 THE ABSENTEE. 

to visit her daily. But, so it was, Lady Clonbrony knew 
nothing of love — she liad read of it, indeed, in novels, which 
sometimes for fashion's sake she had looked at, and over which 
she had been obliged to dose ; but this was only love in book^-- 
love in real life she had never met with — in the life she led, how 
should she ? She had heard of its making young people, and 
old people even, do foolish things; but those were foolish 
people; and if they were worse than foolish, why it was 
shocking, and nobody visited them. But Lady Clonbrony had 
not, for her own part, the slightest notion how people coidd be 
brought to this pass, nor how any body out of Bedlam could 
prefer, to a good house, a decent equipage, and a proper 
establishment, what is called love in a cottage. As to Colambre, 
she had too good an opinion of his understanding — to say 
nothing of his duty to his family, his pride, his rank, and his 
being her son — to let such an idea cross her imagination. As 
to her niece ; in the first place, she was her niece, and first 
cousins should never marry, because they form no new con- 
nexions to strengthen the family interest, or raise its conse- 
quence. This doctrine her ladyship had repeated for years so 
often and so dogmatically, that she conceived it to be incontro- 
vertible, and of as full force as any law of the land, or as any 
moral or religious obligation. She would as soon have sus- 
pected her niece of an intention of stealing her diamond neck- 
lace as of purloining Colambre's heart, or marrying this heir of 
the house of Clonbrony. 

Miss Nugent was so well apprized, and so thoroughly 
convinced of all this, that she never for one moment allowed 
herself to think of Lord Colambre as a lover. Duty, honour, 
and gratitude — gratitude, the strong feeling and principle of her 
mind — forbade it ; she had so prepared and accustomed herself 
to consider him as a person with whom she could not possibly 
be united, that, with perfect ease and simplicity, she behaved 
towards him exactly as if he were her brother — not in the 
equivocating sentimental romance style in which ladies talk of 
treating men as their brothers, whom they are all the time 
secretly thinking of and endeavouring to please as lovers — ^not 
using this phrase, as a convenient pretence, a safe mode of 
securing herself from suspicion or scandal, and of enjoying the 



THB AMENTBK. 43 

adraniages of confidence and the intimacy of friendship, till the 
propitiouB moment, when it should be time to declare or avow 
the iecret of the heart. No : this young lady was quite above 
all double dealiug ; she had no mental reservation — no meta- 
physical subtleties — but, with plain, unsophisticated morality, in 
good faitb and simple truth, acted as she professed, thought 
what she said, and was that which she seemed to be. 

As soon as Lady Clonbrony was able to see any body, her 
niece sent to Mrs. Broadhurst, who was very intimate with the 
family ; she used to come frequently, almost every evening, to 
sit with the invalid. Miss Broadhurst accompanied her mother, 
for she did not like to go out with any other chaperon^-it was 
disagreeable to spend her time alone at home, and most agree- 
able to spend it with her friend Miss Nugent In this she had 
no design ; Miss Broadhurst had too lofty and independent a 
spirit to stoop to coquetry : she thought that, in their interview 
at the gala, she understood Lord Colambre, and that he under- 
stood her — that he was not inclined to court her for her fortune 
— that she would not be content with any suitor who was not a 
lover. She was two or three years older than Lord Colambre, 
perfectly aware of her want of beauty, yet with a just sense of 
her own merit, and of what was becoming and due to the dignity 
of her sex. This, she trusted, was visible in her manners, and 
established in Lord Colambre 's mind ; so that she ran no risk of 
being misunderstood by him ; and as to what the rest of the 
world thought, she was so well used to hear weekly and daily 
reports of her going to be married to fifty different people, that 
she cared little for what was said on this subject. Indeed, con- 
scious of rectitude, and with an utter contempt for mean and 
commonplace gossiping, she was, for a woman, and a young 
woman, rather too disdainful of the opinion of the world. Mrs. 
Broadhurst, though her daughter had fully explained herself 
respecting Lord Colambre, before she began this course of visit- 
mg, yet rejoiced that even on this footing there should be con- 
itant intercourse between them. It was Mrs. Broadhurst's 
warmest wish that her daughter should obtain rank, and connect 
herself with an ancient family ; she was sensible that the young 
lady's being older than the gentleman might be an obstacle ; 
and very sorry slie was to find that her daughter had fio im^TU-- 



^ 



44 THE ABSENTEE. ; 

dently, so unnecessarily, declared her age : but still this little ^ 
obstacle might be overcome, much greater difficulties in the ^ 
marriage of inferior heiresses being every day got over, and ^ 
thought nothing of. Then, as to the young lady's own senti- 
ments, her mother knew them better than she did herself: she 
understood her daughter's pride, that she dreaded to be made an ^ 
object of bargain and sale ; but Mrs. Broadhurst, who, with all ^ 
her coarseness of mind, had rather a better notion of love matters 
than Lady Clonbrony, perceived, through her daughter's horror \^ 
of being offered to Lord Colambre, through her anxiety that .. 
nothing approaching to an advance on the part of her family 
should be made, that if Lord Colambre should himself advance, ^ 
he would stand a better chance of being accepted than any other ^ 
of the numerous persons who had yet aspired to the favour of , 
this heiress. The very circumstance of his having paid no court ^ 
to her at first operated in his favour ; for it proved that he was 
not mercenary, and that, whatever attention he might after- ,; 
wards show, she must be sure would be sincere and disinterested. J 

"And now, let them but see one another in this easy, inti- ^ 
mate, kind of way ; and you will find, my dear Lady Clonbrony, ' 
things will go on of their own accord, all the better for our — , 
minding our cards — and never minding any thing else. I re- ^ 
member, when I was young — but let that pass — let the young . 
people see one another, and manage their own affairs their own 
way — let them be together — that's all I say. Ask half the ^ 
men you are acquainted with why they married, and their - 
answer, if they speak truth, will be — * because I met Miss Such- n 
arone at such a place, and we were continually together.* Pro- 
pinquity ! — Propinquity ! — as my father used to say — And he 
was married five times, and twice to heiresses." 

In consequence of this plan of leaving things to themselves, 
every evening Lady Clonbrony made out her own little card- 
table with Mrs. Broadhurst, and a Mr. and Miss Pratt, a brother 
and sister, who were the most obliging, convenient neighbours 
imaginable. From time to time, as Lady Clonbrony gathered 
up her cards, she would direct an inquiring glance to the group 
of young people at the other table ; whilst the more prudent 
Mrs. Broadhurst sat plump with her back to them, pursing up 
her lips, and contracting her brows in token of deep calculation, 



THE ABSENTEE. 4I| 

down impenetrable at her cards, never even noticing 
lonbrony's glances, but inquiring from her partner, 
lany they were by honours V 

roung party generally consisted of Miss Broadhurst, 
lambre, Miss Nugent, and her admirer, Mr. Salisbury, 
jbury was a middle-aged gentleman, very agreeable, and 
»rmed ; he had travelled ; had seen a great deal of the 
lad lived in the best company ; had acquired what is 
ood tact ; was full of anecdote, not mere gossiping 
is that lead to nothing, but characteristic of national 
, of human nature in general, or of those illustrious 
als who excite public curiosity and interest. Miss Nu- 
ll seen him always in large companies, where he was 

for his s9avoir-vivre, and for his entertaining anecdotes, 
re he had no opportunity of producing any of the higher 
>f his understanding, or showing character. She found 
. Salisbury appeared to her quite a different person when 
ng with Lord Colambre. Lord Colambre, with that 
thirst for knowledge which it is always agreeable to 
had an air of openness and generosity, a frankness, a 
of manner, which, with good breeding, but with some- 
yond it and superior to its established forms, irresistibly 
! confidence and attracted the affection of those with 
e conversed. His manners were peculiarly agreeable to 
I like Mr. Salisbury, tired of the sameness and egotism of 
the world. 

Nugent had seldom till now had the advantage of 
much conversation on literary subjects. In the life she 
n compelled to lead she had acquired accomplishments, 
rcised her understanding upon every thing that passed 
ler, and from circumstances had formed her judgment 
taste by observations on real life ; but the ample page 
ledge had never been unrolled to her eyes. She had 
id opportunities of acquiring a taste for literature herself, 

admired it in others, particularly in her friend Miss 
irst. Miss Broadhurst had received all the advantages 
tion which money could procure, and had benefited by 
a manner uncommon among those for whom they are 
id in such abundance : she not only had bad. luwi^ 



46 TBE AB8KNTKS. | 

masters, and read many books, bnt had thought of wbtt ib 
read, and had supplied, by the strength and energy (^ her oM i 
mind, what cannot be acquired by the assbtance of m art e 
Miss Nugent, perhaps overvaluing the information that skt ii 'i 
not possess, and free from all idea of envy, looked op to h* 
friend as to a superior being, with a sort of enthusiastic adn 
tion ; and now, with ** charmed attention," listened, by tunu^ti { 
her, to Mr. Salisbiury, and to Lord Colambre, whilst thif 
conversed on literary subjects — ^listened, with a conntenance * 
full of intelligence, of animation, so expressive of eveiy p^ 
and kind affection, that the gentlemen did not always know ikrt 
they were saying. 

<'Pray go on," said she, once, to Mr. Salisbury: "youstifi 
perhaps, from politeness to me — ^from compassion to my ignoraDCii 
but though I am ignorant, you do not tire me, I assure ycSi 
Did you ever condescend to read the Arabian Tales? Likebtt 
whose eyes were touched by the magical application from ^ 
dervise, I am enabled at once to see the riches of a new worid* 
Oh ! how unlike, how superior to that in which I have lived- 
the GREAT world, as it is called !" 

Lord Colambre brought down a beautiful edition of the Arsliiii 
Tales, looked for the story to which Miss Nugent had alluW 
and showed it to Miss Broadhurst, who was also searching for it 
in another volume. 

Lady Clonbrony, from her card-table, saw the young peopk 
thus engaged 

" I profess not to understand these things so well as you say 
you do, my dear Mrs. Broadhurst," whispered she ; "but look 
there now ; they are at their books ! What do you expect ctf 
come of that sort of thing? So ill bred, and downright rude rf 
Colambre, I must give him a hint." 

" No, no, for mercy's sake ! my dear Lady Clonbrony,* W 
hints, no hints, no remarks! What would you have?— eb* 
reading, and my lord at the back of her chair leaning over— «nd 
allowed, mind, to lean over to read the same thing. Can't be 
better! — Never saw any man yet allowed to come so neir 

her ! Now, Lady Clonbrony, not a word, not a look, I 

beseech." 

« Well, well !— but if they had a little music." 



THE ABSENTEE. 47 

" My daughter's tired of music. How much do I owe your 
ladyship now? — three ruhhers, I think. Now, though you 
would not helieve it of a young girl," continued Mrs. Broadhurst, 
** I can assure your ladyship, my daughter would often rather 
go to a book than a ball." 

" Well, now, that's very extraordinary, in the style in which 
she has been brought up ; yet books and all that are so fashionable 
now, that it's very natural," said Lady Clonbrony. 

About this time, Mr. Berry 1, Lord Colambre's Cambridge 
friqnd, for whom his lordship had fought the battle of the 
curricle with Mordicai, came to town. Lord Colambre introduced 
him to his mother, by whom he was graciously received ; for 
Mr. Berryl was a young gentleman of good figure, good address, 
good family, heir to a good fortune, and in every respect a fit 
match for Miss Nugent Lady Clonbrony thought that it would 
be wise to secure him for her niece before he should make his 
appearance in the London world, where mothers and daughters 
would soon make him feel his own consequence. Mr. Berry], as 
Lord Colambre's intimate friend, was admitted to the private 
evening parties at Lady Clonbrony's; and he contributed to 
render them still more agreeable. His information, his habits of 
thinking, and his views, were all totally different from Mr. 
Salisbury's ; and their collision continually struck out that 
sparkling novelty which pleases peculiarly in conversation. 
Mr. Berryl's education, disposition, and tastes, fitted him exactly 
for the station which he was destined to fill in society — that of a 
country gentleman; not meaning by that expression a mere 
eating, drinking, hunting, shooting, ignorant, country squire of 
the old race, which is now nearly extinct ; but a cultivated, 
enlightened, independent English country gentleman — the 
happiest, perhaps, of human beings. On the comparative 
felicity of the town and country life; on the dignity, utility, 
elegance, and interesting nature of their different occupations, 
d I and general scheme of passing their time, Mr. Berryl and Mr. 
< I Salisbury had one evening a playful, entertaining, and, perhaps, 
inrtructive conversation ; each party, at the end, remaining, as 
frequently happens, of their own opinion. It was observed, that 
Miss Broadhurst ably and warmly defended Mr. Berry V a a\Ae oi 
*^« question ; and in their views, plans, and estimates oi\\?e,^ctfe 



/ 



48 THE ABSENTEE. 

appeared a remarkable and, as Lord Colambre thought, a happy 
coincidence. When she was at last called upon to give her decisive 
judgment between a town and a country life, she declared that if 
she were condemned to the extremes of either, she should prefer , 
a country life, as much as she should prefer Robinson Crusoe's 
•diary to the journal of the idle man in the Spectator. 

" Lord bless me ! — Mrs. Broadhurst, do you hear what your 
daughter is saying ?" cried Lady Clonbrony, who, from the card- 
table, lent an attentive ear to all that was going forward. ** Is 
it possible that Miss Broadhurst, with her fortune, and pretensions, 
and sense, can really be serious in saying she would be content 
to live in the country ?" 

"What's that you say, child, about living in the country?" 
said Mrs. Broadhurst. 

Miss Broadhurst repeated what she had said. 

" Girls always think so who have lived in town," said Mrs. 
Broadhurst : " they are always dreaming of sheep and sheep- 
hooks ; but the first winter in the country cures them : a shep- i 
herdess in winter is a sad and sorry sort of personage, except at 
a masquerade. " ■ 

"Colambre," said Lady Clonbrony, " I am sure Miss Broad- m 
hurst's sentiments about town life, and all that, must delight 
you For do you know, ma'am, he is always trying to per- 
suade me to give up living in town? Colambre and Miss 
Broadhurst perfectly agree." 

"Mind your cards, my dear Lady Clonbrony," interrupted 
Mrs. Broadhurst, "in pity to your partner. Mr. Pratt has 
certainly the patience of Job — ^your ladyship has revoked twice 
this hand." ' • 

Lady Clonbrony begged a thousand pardons, fixed her eyes 
and endeavoured to fix her mind on the cards ; but there was 
something said at the other end of the room, about an estate in 
Cambridgeshire, which soon distracted her attention again. 
Mr. Pratt certainly had the patience of Job. She revoked 
again, and lost the game, though they had four by honours. 

As soon as she rose from the card-table, and could speak to 
Mrs. Broadhurst apart, she communicated her apprehensions. 
" Seriously, my dear madam," said she, " I believe I have done 
very wrong to admit Mr. Berry 1 just now, though it was op 



THE ABSENTEE. 49 

's account I did it. But, ma'am, I did not know Miss 
hurst had an estate in Cambridgeshire ; their two estates 
lose to one another, I heard them say — Lord bless me, 
I ! there's the danger of propinquity indeed !" 
danger, no danger," persisted Mrs. Broadhurst. " I 
my girl better than you do, begging your ladyship's par- 
No one thinks less of estates than she does." 
ell, I only know I heard her talking of them, and earnestly 

es, very likely ; but don't you know that girls never think 
it they are talking about, or rather never talk of what 
are thinking about? And they have always ten times 
to say to the man they don't care for than to him they 

ery extraordinary !" said Lady Clonbrony : "I only hope 

e right." 

am sure of it," said Mrs. Broadhurst. "Only let things 

and mind your cards, I beseech you, to-morrow night 
than you did to-night ; and you will see that things will 
ut just as I prophesied. Lord Colambre will come to a 
blank proposal before the end of the week, and will be 
ed, or my name's not Broadhurst. Why, in plain English, 
clear my girl likes him ; and when that's the case, you 

can you doubt how the thing will end ?" 
. Broadhurst was perfectly right in every point of her 
ing but one. From long habit of seeing and considering 
ich an heiress as her daughter might marry whom she 
d, — ^from constantly seeing that she was the person to 

and to reject, — Mrs. Broadhurst had literally taken it for 
d that every thing was to depend upon her daughter's 
itions : she was not mistaken, in the present case, in opin- 
at the young lady would not be averse to Lord Colambre, 
:ame to what she called a point-blank proposal. It really 

occurred to Mrs. Broadhurst, that any man whom her 
ter was the least inclined to favour, could think of any 
ilse. Quick-sighted in these afiairs as the matron thought 
f, she saw but one side of the question : blind and dull of 
ehension as she thought Lady Clonbrony on VYvV& %\]X)\^V 
^Toadbutvt was herself so completely blinded "b^ Vet wi'a. 
umable Zi/e, & 



50 THE ABSENTEE. 

prejudices, as to be incapable of discerning the plain thing that 
was before her eyes ; videlicet^ that Lord Colambre preferred 
Grace Nugent Lord Colambre made no proposal before the 
end of the week ; but this Mrs. Broadhurst attributed to an 
unexpected occurrence, which prevented things from going on 
in the train in which they had been proceeding so smoothly. 
Sir John Berry 1, Mr. Berryl's father, was suddenly seized with 
a dangerous illness. The news was brought to Mr. Berryl one 
evening whilst he was at Lady Clonbrony's. The circumstances 
of domestic distress which afterwards occurred in the family of 
his friend, entirely occupied Lord Colambre 's time and atten- 
tion. All thoughts of love were suspended, and his whole mind 
was given up to the active services of friendship. The sudden 
illness of Sir John Berryl spread an alarm among his creditors, 
which brought to light at once the disorder of his affairs, of which 
his son had no knowledge or suspicion. Lady Berryl had been a 
very expensive woman, especially in equipages; and Mordicai, the 
coachmaker, appeared at this time the foremost and the most 
inexorable of their creditors. Conscious that the charges in his 
account were exorbitant, and that they would not be allowed if 
examined by a court of justice ; that it was a debt which only 
ignorance and extravagance could have in the first instance 
incurred, swelled afterwards to an amazing amount by interest, 
and interest upon interest; Mordicai was impatient to obtain 
payment, whilst Sir John yet lived, or at least to obtain legal 
security for the whole sum from the heir. Mr. Berryl offered 
his bond for the amount of the reasonable charges in his account; 
but this Mordicai absolutely refused, declaring that now he had 
the power in his own hands, he would use it to obtain the 
utmost penny of his debt ; that he would not let the thing slip 
through his fingers ; that a debtor never yet escaped hhn, and 
never should; that a man's lying upon his deathbed was no 
excuse to a creditor ; that he was not a whiffler to stand upon 
ceremony about disturbing a gentleman in his last moments ; 
that he was not to be cheated out of his due by such niceties ; 
that he was prepared to go all lengths the law would allow ; for 
that, as to what people said of him, he did not care a doit— 
" Cover your face with your hands, if you like it, Mr. Berryl; 
you may be ashamed for me, but I feel no shame for myself— I 



THE ABSENTEE. 51 



am not so wealc.*' Mordicai's countenance said more than his 
words ; livid with malice, and with atrocious determination in 
his eyes, he stood. " Yes, sir," said he, " you may look at me 
as you please — ^it is possible — I am in earnest. Consult what 
you'll do now behind my back, or before my face, it comes to 
the same thing ; for nothing will do but my money or your 
hond, Mr. Berryl. The arrest is made on the person of* your 

father, luckily made while the breath is still in the body Yes 

—start forward to strike me, if you dare — Your father. Sir John 
Berryl, sick or well, is my prisoner." 

Lady Berryl and Mr. Berryrs sisters, in an agony of grief, 
nished into the room. 

"It's all useless," cried Mordicai, turning his back upon the 
ladies : " these tricks upon creditors won't do with me ; I'm used 
to these scenes ; I'm not made of such stuff as you think. Leave 
a gentleman in peace in his last moments — No ! he ought not, 
nor sha'n't die in peace, if he don't pay his debts ; and if you 

r are all so mighty sorry, ladies, there's the gentleman you may 

' kneel to : if tenderness is the order of the day, it's for the son to 
show it, not me. Ay, now, Mr. Berryl," cried he, as Mr. 
Berryl took up the bond to sign it, " you're beginning to know 

, I'm not a fool to be trifled with. Stop your hand, if you choose 
it, sir, — ^it's all the same to me : the person, or the money, I'll 

. carry with me out of this house." 

/ Mr. Berryl signed the bond, and threw it to him. 
"There, monster ! — quit the house !" 

"Monster is not actionable — I wish you had called me knaves" 
said Mordicai, grinning a horrible smile; and taking up the 

I hond deliberately, returned it to Mr. Berryl : " This paper is 
worth nothing to me, sir — it is not witnessed." 

I Mr. Berryl hastily left the room, and returned with Lord Co- 

j lambre. Mordicai changed countenance and grew pale, for a ^ 

I moment, at sight of Lord Colambre. 

"Well, my lord, since it so happens, I am not sorry that you 

\ should be witness to this paper," said he; " and indeed not sorry 

f that you should witness the whole proceedings ; for I trust I 
shall be able to explain to you my conduct." 
"I do not come here, sir," interrupted Lord Colambre, "to 

\ listen to any explanations oiyour conduct, which I pexfecViY uxi- 

e2 



52 THE ABSENTEE. 

derstand ; — I come to witness a bond for my friend Mr. Berryl. 
if you think proper to extort from him such a bond." 

** I extort nothing, my lord. Mr. Berryl, it is quite a volun- 
tary act, take notice, on your part ; sign or not, witness or not 
as you please, gentlemen," said Mordicai, sticking his hands 
in his pockets, and recovering his look of black and fixed deter- 
mination. 

"Witness it, witness it, my dear lord," said Mr. Berryl, look- 
ing at his mother and weeping sisters; " witness it, quick !" 

"Mr. Berryl must just run over his name again in youi 
presence, my lord, with a dry pen," said Mordicai, putting the 
pen into Mr. Berryl's hand. 

"No, sir," said Lord Colambre, "my friend shall never sign 
it." 

" As you please, my lord — the bond or the body, before I quit 
this house," said Mordicai. 

"Neither, sir, shall you have: and you quit this house 
directly." 

" How ! how !— my lord, how's this ?" 

"Sir, the arrest you have made is as illegal as it is inhur 
man." 

"Illegal, my lord!" said Mordicai, startled. 

" Illegal, sir. I came into this house at the moment when 
your bailiff asked and was refused admittance. Afterwards, in 
the confusion of the family above stairs, he forced open the 
house-door with an iron bar — I saw him — I am ready to give 
evidence of the fact. Now proceed at your peril." 

Mordicai, without reply, snatched up his hat, and walked 
towards the door ; but Lord Colambre held the door open — it 
was immediately at the head of the stairs — ^and Mordicai, seeing 
his indignant look and proud form, hesitated to pass ; for he had 
always heard that Irishmen are " quick in the executive part of 
justice." 

"Pass on, sir," repeated Lord Colambre, with an air of 
ineffable contempt : " I am a gentieman — you have nothing to 
fear!" 

Mordicai ran down stairs; Lord Colambre, before he went 
back into the room, waited to see him and his bailiff out of the 
house. When Mordicai was fairly at the bottom of the stairs, 



TBE ABSENTEE. 53 

Qed, and, white with rage, looked up at Lord Co- 

arity hegins at home, my lord," said he. " Look at home 
shall pay for this," added he, standing half-shielded by 
ise-door, for Lord Colambre moved forward as he spoke 
t words ; "and I give you this warning, because I know it 

of no use to you Your most obedient, my lord." The 

loor closed after him. 

tank Heaven," thought Lord Colambre, "that I did not 
hip that mean wretch ! — This warning shall be of use to 
3ut it is not time to think of that yet." 
i Colambre turned from his own affairs to those of his 
to offer all the assistance and consolation in his power, 
in Berryl died that night. His daughters, who had lived 
highest style in London, were left totally unprovided for. 
idow had mortgaged her jointure. Mr. Berryl had an 
now left to him, but without any income. He could not 
lishonest as to refuse to pay his father's just debts ; he 
lot let his mother and sisters starve. The scene of distress 
:h Lord Colambre was witness in this family made a still 
: impression upon him than had been made by the 
g or the threats of Mordicai. The similarity between 
cumstances of his friend's family and of his own struck 
rcibly. 

this evil had arisen from Lady Berryl's passion for living 
don and at watering places. She had made her husband 
ENTEE — an absentee from his home, his affairs, his duties, 
is estate. The sea, the Irish Channel, did not, indeed, 
itween him and his estate ; but it was of little impor^nce 
;r the separation was effected by land or water — the con- 
ces, the negligence, the extravagance, were the same." 
he few people of his age who are capable of benefiting by 
)erience of others, Lord Colambre was one. " Experience," 
ilegant writer has observed, " is an article that may be 
ed with safety, and is often dearly bought." 



54 THE ABSENTEE. 



CHAPTER V. 



In the mean time, Lady Clonbrony had been occupied with 
thoughts very different from those which passed in the mind of 
her son. Though she had never completely recovered from her 
rheimiatic pains, she had become inordinately impatient of con- 
finement to her own house, and weary of those dull evenings at 
home, which had, in her son*s absence, become insupportable. 
She told over her visiting tickets regularly twice a day, and gave 
to every card of invitation a heartfelt sigh. Miss Pratt alarmed 
her ladyship, by bringing intelligence of some parties given by 
persons of consequence, to which she was not invited. She 
feared that she should be forgotten in the world, well knowing 
how soon the world forgets those they do not see every day and 
every where. How miserable is the fine lady's lot, who cannot 
forget, and who is forgotten by the world in a moment ! How 
much more miserable still is the condition of a woiddrbe fine 
lady, working her way up in the world with care and pains ! By 
her, every the slightest failure of attention, from persons of rank 
and fashion, is marked and felt with a jealous anxiety, and with 
a sense of mortification the most acute — an invitation omitted is 
a matter of the most serious consequence, not only as it regards 
the present but the future ; for if she be not invited by Lady A, 
it will lower her in the eyes of Lady B, and of all the ladies in 
the alphabet. It will form a precedent of the most dangerous 
and inevitable application. If she have nine invitations, and 
the tenth be wanting, the nine have no power to make her 
happy. This was precisely Lady Clonbrony 's case — there was to 
be a party at Lady St James's, for which Lady Clonbrony had 
no card. 

" So ungrateful, so monstrous, of Lady St. James ! — What ! 
was the gala so soon forgotten, and all the marked attentions 
paid that night to Lady St. James ! — attentions, you know, 
Pratt, which were looked upon with a jealous eye, and made me 
enemies enough, I am told, in another quarter ! — Of all people, 
I did not expect to be slighted by Lady St. James !" 

Miss Pratt, who was ever ready to undertake the defence of 
any person who had a title, pleaded, in mitigation of censure 



THE ABSENTEE. 55 

that perhaps Lady St. James might not he aware that her lady- 
ship was yet well enough to venture out. 

" Oh, my dear Miss Pratt, that cannot he the thing ; for, in 
spite of my rheumatism, which really was had enough last 
Sunday, I went on purpose to the Royal Chapel, to show myself 
in the closet, and knelt close to her ladyship. — And, my dear, 
we curtsied, and she congratulated me, after church, upon my 
being ahroad again, and was so happy to see me look so well, 
and all that — Oh ! it is something very extraordinary and unac- 
countable I** 
" But, I dare say, a card will come yet," said Miss Pratt 
Upon this hint. Lady Clonbrony's hope revived ; and, staying 
her anger, she began to consider how she could manage to get 
herself invited. Refreshing tickets were left next morning at 
Lady St. James's with their comers properly turned up ; to do 
the thing better, separate tickets from herself and Miss Nugent 
were left for each member of the family ; and her civil messages, 
left with the footmen, extended to the utmost possibility of 
remainder. It had occurred to her ladyship, that for Miss 
Somebody, the companion, of whom she had never in her life 
thought before, she had omitted to leave a card last time, and 
she now left a note of explanation ; she farther, with her rheu. 
matic head and arm out of the coach-window, sat, the wind 
blowing keen upon her, explaining to the porter and the footman, 
to discover whether her former tickets had gone safely up to 
Lady St. James ; and on the present occasion, to make assu- 
rance doubly sure, she slid handsome expedition money into the 
servant's hand — " Sir, you will be sure to remember" — " Oh, 
CQtainly, your ladyship." 

She well knew what dire offence has frequently been taken, 
what sad disasters have occurred in the fashionable world, from 
the neglect of a porter in delivering, or of a footman in carrying 
19, oiie of those talismanic cards. But, in spite of all her 
nuwoeuvres, no invitation to the party arrived next day. Pratt 
was next 'Set to work. Miss Pratt was a most convenient go- 
Wtween, who^ in consequence of doing a thousand little services, 
to which few others of her rank in life would stoop, had obtained 
tbe entree to a number of great houses, and was behind the 



56 THE ABSENTEE. 

scenes in many fashionable families. Pratt could find out, and 
Pratt could hint, and Pratt could manage to get things done 
cleverly — and hints were given, in all directions, to work round 
to Lady St. James. But still they did not take effect. At last 
Pratt suggested, that perhaps, though every thing else had 
failed, dried salmon might he tried with success. Lord Clon- 
brony had just had some imcommonly good from Ireland, which 
Pratt knew Lady St. James would like to have at her supper, 
because a certain personage, whom she would not name, was 
particularly fond of it — Wheel within wheel in the fine world, as 
well as in the political world ! — Bribes for all occasions and for 
all ranks ! — The timely present was sent, accepted with many 
thanks, and understood as it was meant. Per favour of this pro- 
pitiatory offering, and of a promise of half a dozen pair of real 
Limerick gloves to Miss Pratt — a promise which Pratt clearly 
comprehended to be a conditional promise — the grand object 
was at length accomplished. The very day before the party 
was to take place came cards of invitation to Lady Clonbrony 
and to Miss Nugent, with Lady St. James's apologies : her ladyr 
ship was concerned to find that, by some negligence of her 
servants, these cards were not sent in proper time. " How slight 
an apology will do from some people!" thought Miss Nugent; 
" how eager to forgive, when it is for our interest or our plea- 
sure ! how well people act the being deceived, even when all 
parties know that they see the whole truth ! and how low pride 
will stoop to gain its object!" 

Ashamed of the whole transaction. Miss Nugent earnestly 
wished that a refusal should be sent, and reminded her aunt of 
her rheumatism ; but rheumatism and all other objections were 
overruled — Lady Clonbrony would go. It was just when this 
afiair was thus, in her opinion, successfully settled, that Lord 
Colambre came in, with a countenance of unusual seriousness, 
his mind full of the melancholy scenes he had witnessed in his 
friend's family. 

"What is the matter, Colambre?" 

He related what had passed ; he described the brutal conduct 
of Mordicai ; the anguish of the mother and sisters ; the distress 
of Mr. Berryl. Tears rolled down Miss Nugent's cheeks — Lady 



THE ABSENTEE. 57 

Clonbrony declared it waa very shocking ; listened with attention 
to all the particulars ; but never failed to correct her son, when- 
ever he said Mr. Berryl — 

"Sir Arthur Berryl, you mean." 

She was, however, really touched with compassion when he 
spoke of Lady Berryl's destitute condition; and her son was 
goiog on to repeat what M ordicai had said to him, but Lady 
Clonbrony interrupted, "Oh, my dear Colambre! don't repeat 
that detestable man's impertinent speeches to me. If there is 
any thing really about business, speak to your father. At any 
rate don't tell us of it now, because I've a hundred things to 
do," said her ladyship, hurrying out of the room " Grace, 
Grace Nugent! I want you!" 

Lord Colambre sighed deeply. 

"Don't despair," said Miss Nugent, as she followed to obey 
her aunt's summons. " Don't despair ; don't attempt to speak 
to her again till to-morrow morning. Her head is now full of 
Lady St. James's party. When it is emptied of that, you will 
have a better chance. Never despair." 

" Never, while you encourage me to hope that any good 

can be done." 

Lady Clonbrony was particularly glad that she had carried 
her point about this party at Lady St. James's ; because, from 
the first private intimation that the Duchess of Torcaster was to 
he there, her ladyship flattered herself that the long-desired 
introduction might then be accomplished. But of this hope 
Lady St James had likewise received intimation from the 
double-dealing Miss Pratt ; and a warning note was despatched 
to the duchess to let her grace know that circumstances had 
occurred which had rendered it impossible not to ask the 
Ckmbronies. An excuse, of course, for not going to this party, 
was sent by the duchess — ^her grace did not like large parties — 
she would have the pleasure of accepting Lady St. James's 
invitation for her select party on Wednesday, the 10th. Into 
these select parties Lady Clonbrony had never been admitted. 
In return for great entertainments she was invited to great 
entertainments, to large parties; but further she could never 
penetrate. 

At Lady St. James's, and with her set, Lady C\oti\)xoTV>f 



58 THE ABSENTEE. 

suffered a different kind of mortification from that which Lady 
Langdale and Mrs. Dareville made her endure. She was safe 
from the witty raillery, the sly inuendo, the insolent mimicry ; but 
she was kept at a cold, impassable distance, by ceremony — " So 
far shalt thou go, and no further," was expressed in every look, 
in every word, and in a thousand different ways. 

By the most punctilious respect and nice regard to precedency, 
even by words of courtesy — " Your ladyship does me honour," 
&c. — Lady St. James contrived to mortify and to mark the 
difference between those with whom she was, and with whom 
she was not, upon terms of intimacy and equality. Thus the 
ancient grandees of Spain di^ew a line of demarcation between 
themselves and the newly created nobility. "Whenever or 
wherever they met, they treated the new nobles with the utmost 
respect, never addressed them but with all their titles, with low 
bows, and with all the appearance of being, with the most 
perfect consideration, anything but their equals ; whilst towards 
one another the grandees laid aside their state, and omitting 
their titles, it was " Alcala — Medina Sidonia — Infantado," and 
a freedom and familiarity which marked equality. Entrenched 
in etiquette in this manner, and mocked with marks of respect, 
it was impossible either to intrude or to complain of being 
excluded. 

At supper at Lady St. James's, Lady Clonbrony's present 
was pronounced by some gentlemen to be remarkably high 
flavoured. This observation turned the conversation to Irish 
commodities and Ireland. Lady Clonbrony, possessed by the 
idea that it was disadvantageous to appear as an Irishwoman or 
as a favourer of Ireland, began to be embarrassed by Lady St. 
James's repeated thanks. Had it been in her power to offer 
any thing else with propriety, she would not have thought of 
sending her ladyship any thing from Ireland. Vexed by the 
questions that were asked her about her country, Lady Clonbrony, 
as usual, denied it to be her country, and went on to depreciate 
and abuse every thing Irish; to declare that there was no 
possibility of living in Ireland ; and that, for her own part, she 
was resolved never to return thither. Lady St. James, preserving 
perfect silence, let her go on. Lady Clonbrony imagining that 
this silence arose fh>m coincidence of opinion, proceeded with 



TBE ABSENTEE. fiQ 

all the eloquence she possessed, which was very little, repeating 
the same exclamatioDs, and reiterating her vow of perpetual 
expatriation ; till at last an elderly lady, who was a stranger to 
her, and whom she had till this moment scarcely notice<^ took 
up the defence of Ireland with much warmth and energy : the 
eloquence with which she spoke, and the respect with which she 
was heard, astonished Lady Clonbrony. 

" Who is she ?" whispered her ladyship. 

" Does not your ladyship know Lady Oranmore — the Irish 
Lady Oranmore V* 

" Lord bless me ! — what have I said ! — what have I done ! — 
Oh ! why did you not give me a hint. Lady St James V 

" I was not aware that your ladyship was not acquainted 
with Lady Oranmore,*' replied Lady St James, unmoved by her 
distress. 

Every body Sjrmpathized with Lady Oranmore, and admired 
the honest zeal with which she abided by her country, and 
defended it against unjust aspersions and affected execrations. 
Every one present enjoyed Lady Clonbrony's confusion, except 
Miss Nugent, who sat with her eyes bowed down by penetrative 
shame during the whole of this scene : she was glad that Lord 
Colambre was not witness to it ; and comforted herself with the 
hope that, upon the whole. Lady Clonbrony would be benefited 
by the pain she had felt This instance might convince her 
that it was not necessary to deny her country to be received in 
any company in England ; and that those who have the courage 
and steadiness to be themselves, and to support what they 
feel and believe to be the truth, must command respect Miss 
Nugent hoped that in consequence of this conviction Lady 
Clonbrony would lay aside the little affectations by which her 
manners were painfully constrained and ridiculous ; and, above 
all, she hoped that what Lady Oranmore had said of Ireland 
might dispose her aimt to listen with patience to all Lord 
Colambre might urge in favour of returning to her home. But 
Miss Nugent hoped in vain. Lady Clonbrony never in her life 
generalized any observations, or drew any but a partial conclu- 
sion from the most striking facts. 

"Lord! my dear Grace!" said she, as soon as they were 
seated in their carriage, " what a scrape I got into to-Tv\^\il ^t 



60 THE ABSENTEE. 

supper, and what disgrace I came to ! — and all this becaiue I 
did not know Lady Oranmore. Now you see the inconceiyaUe 
disadvantage of not knowing every body-s— every body of a 
certain rank, of course, I mean." 

Miss Nugent endeavoured to slide in her own moral on the 
occasion, but it would not do. 

" Yes, my dear, Lady Oranmore may talk in that kind of 
st}'le of Ireland, because, on the other hand, she is so higUy 
connected in England ; and, besides, she is an old lady, and 
may take liberties ; in short, she is Lady Oranmpre, and that's 
enough." 

The next morning, when they all met at breakfast, Lady 
Clonbrony complained bitterly of her increased rheumatism, d 
the disagreeable, stupid party they had had the preceding 
night, and of the necessity of going to another formal party 
to-morrow night, and the next, and the next night, and, in the 
true fine lady style, deplored her situation, and the impossibility 
of avoiding those things, 

" Which felt they curse, yet covet still to feel." 

Miss Nugent determined to retire as soon as she could from 
the breakfast-room, to leave Lord Colambre an opportunity of 
talking over his family affairs at full liberty. She knew by the 
seriousness of his countenance that his mind was intent upon 
doing so, and she hoped that his influence with his father and 
mother would not be exerted in vain. But just as she wai 
rising from the breakfast-table, in came Sir Terence O'Fay, and 
seating himself quite at his ease, in spite of Lady Clonbrony'i 
repulsive looks, his awe of Lord Colambre having now worn off 
" I'm tired," said he, " and have a right to be tired ; for it's n( 
small walk I've taken for the good of this noble family thii 
morning. And, Miss Nugent, before I say more, I'll take a cnj 
of /a from you, if you please." 

Lady Clonbrony rose, with great stateliness, and walked t« 
the farthest end of the room, where she established herself at he 
writing-table, and began to write notes. 

Sir Terence wiped his forehead deliberately. — " Then I*v( 
had a fine nm — Miss Nugent, I believe you never saw me run 
but I can nm, I promise you, when it's to serve a friend — And 



THE ABSENTEE. 61 

my lord (turning to Lord Clonbrony), what do you think I run 
?br this morning — to buy a bargain — and of what ? — a bargain 
>f a bad debt — a debt of yours, which I bargained for, and up 
jxist in time — and Mordicai's ready to hang himself this minute 

For what do you think that rascal was bringing upon you 

— ^but an execution? — he was." 

** An execution !*' repeated every body present, except Lord 
Colambre. 

"And how has this been prevented, sir?" said Lord 
Colambre. 

** Oh ! let me alone for that," said Sir Terence. " I got a 
hint from my little friend, Paddy Brady, who would not be paid 
for it either, though he's as poor as a rat. Well ! as soon as I 
got the hint, I dropped the thing I had in my hand, which was 
the Dublin Evening, and ran for the bare life — for there wasn't 
a coach — in my slippers, as I was, to get into the prior creditor's 
shoes, who is the little solicitor that lives in Crutched Friars, 
which Mordicai never dreamt of, luckily; so he was very 
genteel, though he was taken on a sudden, and from his 
breakfast, which an Englishman don't like particularly— I 
popped him a douceur of a draft, at thirty-one days, on Gar- 
raghty, the agent ; of which he must get notice ; but I won't 
descant on the law before the ladies — he handed me over his 
debt and execution, and he made me prior creditor in a trice. 
Then I took coach in state, the first I met, and away with me to 
Long Acre — saw Mordicai. * Sir,' says I, * I hear 3 ou're medi- 
tating an execution on a friend of mine.' — * Am I V said the 
rascal; * who told you so?' — * No matter,' said I; * but I just 
called in to let you know there's no use in life of your execution ; 
for there's a prior creditor with his execution to be satisfied 
first.' So he made a great many black faces, and said a great 
deal, which I never listened to, but came off here clean to tell 
you all the story." 

"Not one word of which do I understand," said Lady Clon- 
brony. 

" Then, my dear, you are very ungrateful," said Lord Clon- 
brony. 

Lord Colambre said nothing, for he wished to learn mote oi 
Sir Terence O'Fa/'s character, of the state of Yi\a ^a\!^'et'^ 



63 THE ABSBMTBB. 

affiiirs, and of the family methods of proceeding in i 
business. 

''Faith! Terry, I know I'm yery thankful to you 
execution's an ugly thing, — and I hope there's no dan| 

" Never fear !" said Sir Terence : " hay'n't I been a: 
ends for myself or my friends ever since I come to ms 
—to years of discretion, I should say, for the deuce 
estate have I ! But use has sharpened my wits prett; 
your service ; so never be in dread, my good lord ; for 
cried the reckless knight, sticking his arms akimbo, 
here ! in Sir Terence O'Fay stands a host that desires 
than to encounter, single-witted, all the duns in t 
kingdoms, Mordicai the Jew inclusive." 

" Ah ! that's the devil, that Mordicai," said Lord CI 
"that's the only man on earth I dread." 

"Why, he is only a coachmaker, is not he?" said L 
brony : " I can't think how you can talk, my lord, of 
such a low man. Tell him, if he's troublesome, we 
speak any more carriages ; and, I'm sure, I wish you ' 
be so silly, my lord, to employ him any more, when 
he disappointed me the last birthday about the landau 
have not got yet." 

"Nonsense, my dear," said Lord Clonbrony ; "j 
know what you are talking o f Terry, I say, even ; 
execution is an ugly thing." 

" Phoo ! phoo ! — an ugly thing ! — So is a fit of the ^ 
one's all the better for it after. 'Tis just a renewal o 
lord, for which one must pay a bit of a fine, you kno' 
patience, and leave me to manage all properly — ^you 1 
used to these things : only you recollect, if you plea.* 

managed my friend Lord it's bad to be m 

names — ^but Lord Ev€ry-bodi^know9-ioho~~^dn*t I bi 
through cleverly, when there was that rascally attemp 
the family plate ? I had notice, and what did I do, b 
open a partition between that lord's house and my 
which I had taken next door ; and so, when the sheriff 
were searching below on the ground floor, I just sh 
plate easy through to my bedchamber at a moment's 
and then bid the gentlemen walk in, for they couldn't t 



THE ABSENTEE. 63 

in my paradise, the devils ! — So they stood looking at it through 
the wall, and cursing me, and I holding both my sides with 
laughter at their fallen faces." 

Sir Terence and Lord Clonbrony laughed in concert. 

"This is a good story," said Miss Nugent, smiling; "but 
rarely. Sir Terence, such things are never done in real life?" 

" Done ! ay, are they ; and I could tell you a hundred better 
strokes, my dear Miss Nugent." 

"Grace!" cried Lady Clonbrony, "do pray have the good- 
ness to seal and send these. notes ; for really," whispered she, as 
her niece came to the table, " I caumt stee, I cawnt bear that 
man's vicey his accent grows horrider and horrider !" 

Her ladyship rose, and left the room. 

" Why, then," continued Sir Terence, following Miss Nugent 
to the table, where she was sealing letters — " I must tell you 
how I carved that same man on another occasion, and got the 
victory, too." 

No general officer could talk of his victories, or fight his 
battles o'er again, with more complacency than Sir Terence 
O'Fay recounted his civil exploits. 

"Now ril tell you. Miss Nugent. There was a footman in 
the family, not an Irishman, but one of your powdered English 
Konndrels that ladies are so fond of having hanging to the backs 
of their carriages ; one Fleming he was, that turned spy, and 
traitor, and informer, went privately and gave notice to the cre- 
ditors where the plate was hid in the thickness of the chimney ; 
but if he did, what happened ? Why, I had my counter-spy, an 
honest little Irish boy, in the creditor's shop, that I had secured 
with a little douceur of usquebaugh ; and he outwitted, as was 
natural, the English l3ring valet, and gave us notice just in the 
nick, and I got ready for their reception ; and. Miss Nugent, I 
only wish you'd seen the excellent sport we had, letting them 
follow the scent they got; and when they were sure of their 
game, what did they find ? — Ha ! ha ! ha ! — dragged out, after a 
world of labour, a heavy box o f a load of brick-bats ; not an 
item of my friend's plate, that was all snug in the coal-hole, 
where them dunces never thought of looking for it — Ha ! ha ! 
ha!" 

"But come, Terry," cried Lord Clonbrony, " TW ^viV\ ^o^^ 



64 THE ABSENTEE. 

your pride. — How finely, another time, your job of the £ili< 
ceiling answered in the hall. IVe heard that story, and hsn 
been told how the sheriff's fellow thrust bis bayonet up throogl 
your false plaster, and down came tumbling the family plate- 

hey ! Terry ? That hit cost your friend, Lord Every-bodj 

knows-who, more than your head's worth, Terry." 

" I ask your pardon, my lord, it never cost bim a farthing." 

" When he paid 7000/. for the plate, to redeem it?" 

'* Well ! and did not I make up for that at the races of 

The creditors learned that my lord's horse, Naboclish, was t 

run at races ; and, as the sherifi^s officer knew be dare no 

touch him on the race-groimd, what does be do, but he c<Hnfi 
down early in the morning on the mail-coach, and walks straigli 
down to the livery stables. He had an exact description of di 
stables, and the stall, and the horse's body clothes. 

" I was there, seeing the horse taken care of; and, knowim 
the cut of the fellow's jib, what does I do, but whips the bod) 
clothes off Naboclish, and claps them upon a garrone, that thi 
priest would not ride. 

"In comes the bailiff— 'Good morrow to you, sir,' says I 
leading out of the stable my lord's horse, with an ould saddk 
and bridle on. 

" *Tim Neal,' says I to the groom, who was rubbing downthf 
garrone's heels, ' mind your hits to-day, and wee^l wet the platf 
to-night' 

" * Not so fast, neither,' says the bailiff — * here's my writ fo 
seizing the horse.' 

" * Och,' says I, *you wouldn't be so cruel.' 

" 'That's all my eye,' says he, seizing the garrone, while 1 
moimted Naboclish, and rode him off deliberately." 

" Ha ! ha ! ha ! — ^That was neat, I grant you, Terry," laM 
Lord Clonbrony. " But what a dolt of a bom ignoramus mv 
that sheriffs fellow have been, not to know Naboclish when b 
saw him I" 

"But stay, my lord — stay. Miss Nugent — I have morefo 
you," following her wherever she moved " I did not let bim (A 
so, even. At the cant, I bid and bid against them for the pre 
tended Naboclish, till I left him on their hands for 500 guinei/ 
— ^ha ! ha ! ha ! — was not that famous ?" 



THE ABSENTEE. 05 

"But," said Miss Nugent, ** I cannot belieye you are in earnest. 
Sir Terence Surely this would be—" 

" What?— out with it, my dear Miss Nugent." 

" I am afraid of offending you." 

" You can't, my dear, I defy you — say the word that came to 
the tongue's end ; it's always the best" 

"I was going to say, swindling," said the young lady, colour- 
ing deeply. 

"Oh, you was going to say wrong, then! It's not called 
swindling amongst gentlemen who know the world — it's only 
jocke3ring — fine sport — and very honourable to help a friend at 
a dead lift. Any thing to help a friend out of a present pressing 
difficulty." 

" And when the present difficulty is over, do your friends never 
think of the future ?" 

"The future! leave the future to posterity," said Sir Terence; 
" I'm counsel only for the present ; and when the evil comes, 
it's time enough to think of it. I can't bring the guns of my wits 
to bear till the enemy's alongside of me, or within sight of me at 
the least. And besides, there never was a good commander yet, 
by sea or land, that would tell his little expedients beforehand, 
or before the verj' day of battle." 

"It must be a sad thing," said Miss Nugent, sighing deeply, 
"to be reduced to live by little expedients — daily expedients." 

Lord Colambre struck his forehead, but said nothing. 

" But if you are beating your brains about your own affairs, my 
Lord Colambre, my dear," said Sir Terence, "there's an easy 
way of settling your family affairs at once ; and since you don't 
like little daily expedients, Miss Nugent, there's one great expe- 
dient, and an expedient for life, that will settle it all to your 
satisfaction — and ours. I hinted it delicately to you before ; but, 
betwean friends, delicacy is impertinent ; so I tell you, in plain 
English, you've nothing to do but go and propose yourself, just 

as you stand, to the heiress Miss B , that desires no 

better " 

"Sir !" cried Lord Colambre, stepping forward, red with sudden 
anger. 

Miss Nugent laid her hand upon his arm. ** Oh, my lord !" 
Fashionable Life, T 



66 THE ABSENTEE. 

"Sir Terence O'Fay," continued Lord Colambre, in a mode- 
rated tone, " you are wrong to mention that young lady's name 
in such a manner." 

" Why then I said only Miss B , and there are a whole 

hive of bees. But I'll engage she'd thank me for what I sug- 
gested, and think herself the queen bee if my expedient was 
adopted by you." 

"Sir Terence," said his lordship, smiling, "if my father 
thinks proper that you should manage his affairs, and devise 
expedients for him, I have nothing to say on that point ; but 1 
must beg you will not trouble yourself to suggest expedients for 
me, and that you will have the goodness to leave me to settle 
my own affairs," 

Sir Terence made a low bow, and was silent for five seconds ; 
then turning to Lord Clonbrony, who looked much more abashed 
than he did, " By the wise one, my good lord, I believe there 
are some men — noblemen, too — that don't know their friends 
from their enemies. It's my firm persuasion, now, that if I had 
served you as I served my friend I was talking of, your son there 
would, ten to one, think I had done him an injury by saving the 
family plate." 

" I certainly should, sir. The family plate, sir, is not the first 
object in my mind," replied Lord Colambre; "family honour 

i Nay, Miss Nugent, I must speak," continued his lordship ; 

perceiving, by her countenance, that she was alarmed. 

"Never fear. Miss Nugent, dear," said Sir Terence ; " I'm as 
cool as a cucumber. — Faith ! then, my Lord Colambre, I agree with 
you, that family honour's a mighty fine thing, only troublesome to 
one's self and one's friends, and expensive to keep up with all 
the other expenses and debts a gentleman has now-a-days. So I, 
that am under no natural obligations to it by birth or otherwise, 
have just stood by it through life, and asked myself, before I 
would volunteer being bound to it, what could this same family 
honour do for a man in this world ? And, first and foremost, 1 
never remember to see family honour stand a man in much stead 
in a court of law — never saw family honour stand against an 

execution, or a custodiam, or an injunction even. 'Tis a rare 

thing, this same family honour, and a very fine thing ; but I 



M 



I THE ABSENTEE. 67 

Q^ neVerknewit ye^ at a pinch, pay for a pair of boots even," 
J added Sir Terence, drawing up his own with much complacency. 
I At this moment, Sir Terence was called out of the room by one 
■)^; who wanted to speak to him on particular business. • ■ • , s 
si " My dear father," cried Lord Colambre, " do not follow him ; 
li stay, for one moment, and hear your son, your true friend." 

[ Miss Nugent left the room. 
itin " Hear your natural friend for one moment," cried Lord 
?tJ Colambre. '* Let me beseech you, father, not to have recourse 
)q:| to any of these paltry expedients, but trust your son with 

the state of your affairs, and we shall find some honourable 

means—" 
J " Yes, yes, yes, very true ; when you're of age, Colambre, 
DQ^ we'll talk of it; but nothing can be done till then. We shall get on, 
itiL ve shall get through, very well, till then, with Terry's assistance; 
be> and I must beg you will not say a word more against Terry — I 
U can't bear it — I can't bear it — I can't do without him. Pray 
b^^ don't detain me — I can say no more — except," added he, re- 
erl turning to his usual concluding sentence, " that there need, at 
a- J all events, be none of this, if people would but live upon their 

own estates, and kill their own mutton." He stole out of the 
«" romn, glad to escape, however shabbily, from present expla- 
r nation and present pain. There are persons without resource, 

who, in difficulties, return always to the same point, and usually 

to the same words. 
While Lord Colambre was walking up and down the room, 

much vexed and disappointed at finding that he could make bo 
1 impression on his father's mind, nor obtain his confidence, Lady 

1 Qonbrony's woman, Mrs. Petito, knocked at the door, with a 
message from her lady, to beg, if Lord Colambre was by himself f 
he would go to her dressing-room, as she wished to have a con- 

2 ference with him. He obeyed her summons. 

I " Sit down, my dear Colambre — " And she began precisely 

I with her ol<l sentence — " With the fortune I brought your father, 
1^ and with my lord's estate, I caivnt understand the meaning of 
[ all these pecimiary difficulties ; and all that strange creature Sir 
Terence says is algebra to me, who speak English. And I am 
particularly sorry he was let in this morning — ^but he's such a 
> brute that he does not think any thing of forcing oue'« doox^^xvl 

p2 



68 ^ THE ABSENTEE. 

he tells my footman he does not mind not at home a pinch of 
snuff. Now what can you do with a man who could say that 
sort of thing, you know? — the world's at an end." 

" I wish my father had nothing to do with him, ma'am, as 
much as you can wish it," said Lord Colambre; "but I have 
said all that a son can say, and without effect." 

"What particularly provokes me against him," continued 
Lady Clonbrony, "is what I have just heard from Grace, who ' 
was really hurt by it, too, for she is the warmest friend in the I 
world : I allude to the creature's indelicate way of touching 
upon a tender jpt^^, and mentioning an amiable yoimg heiress's , 
name. My dear Colambre, I trust you have given me credit 
for my inviolable silence all this time, upon the pint nearest my 
heart. I am rejoiced to hear you was so warm when she was 
mentioned inadvertently by that brute, and I trust you now see 
the advantages of the projected union in as strong and agreeable 
a pint of view as I do, my own Colambre ; and I should leave 
things to themselves, and let you prolong the dees of courtship 
as you please, only for what I now hear incidentally from my 
lord and the brute, about pecuniary embarrassments, and the 
necessity of something being done before next winter. And, 
indeed, I think now, in propriety, the proposal cannot be delayed 
much longer; for the world begins to talk of the thing as 
done ; and even Mrs. Broadhurst, I know, had no doubt that, if 
this contretemps about the poor Berryls had not occurred, your 
proposal would have been made before the end of last week." 

Our hero was not a man to make a proposal because Mrs. 
Broadhurst expected it, or to marry because the world said he 
was going to be married. He steadily said, that, from the first 
moment the subject had been mentioned, he had explained 
himself distinctly; that the young lady's friends could not, 
therefore, be under any doubt as to his intentions ; that, if they 
had voluntarily deceived themselves, or exposed the lady in 
situations from which the world was led to make false conclusions, 
he was not answerable : he felt his conscience at ease — entirely 
so, as he was convinced that the young lady herself, for whose 
merit, talents, independence, and generosity of character he 
professed high respect, esteem, and admiration, had no doubts 
eithet of the extent or the nature of his regard. 



THE ABSENTEE. 69 

" Regard, respect, esteem, admiration ! — Why, my dearest 
Colambre ! this is saying all I want ; satisfies me, and I am 
sure would satbfy Mrs. Broadhurst, and Miss Broadhurst 
too." 

'' No doubt it will, ma*am : but not if I aspired to the honour 
of Miss Broadhurst's hand, or professed myself her lover." 

" My dear, you are mistaken : Miss Broadhurst is too sensible 
a g^l, a vast deal, to look for love, and a dying lover, and all 
that sort of stuff: I am persuaded — ^indeed I have it from good, 
from the best authority, that the young lady — you know one 
must be delicate in these cases, where a young lady of such 
fortune, and no despicable family too, is concerned ; therefore I 
cannot speak quite plainly — ^but I say I have it from the best 
authority, that you would be preferred to any other suitor, and, 
in short, that '* 

"I beg your pardon, madam, for interrupting you," cried 
Lord Colambre, colouring a good deal ; " but you must excuse 
me if I say, that the only authority on which I could believe this 
is one from which I am morally certain I shall never hear it — 
from Miss Broadhurst herself." 

*' Lord, child ! if you only ask her the question, she would 
tell you it is truth, I dare say." 

" But as I have no curiosity on the subject, ma'am " 

" Lord bless me ! I thought everybody had curiosity. But 
still, without curiosity, I am sure it would gratify you when you 
did hear it; and can't you just put the simple question?" 

" Impossible!" 

'< Impossible ! — now that is so very provoking when the 
thing is all but done. Well, take your own time ; all I will ask 
of you then is, to let things go on as they are going — smoothly 
and pleasantly ; and I'll not press you further on the subject at 
present Let things go on smoothly, that's all I ask, and say 
nothing." 

" I wish I could oblige you, mother ; but I cannot do this. 
Since you tell me that the world and Miss Broadhurst's friends 
have already misunderstood my intentions, it becomes necessary, 
in justice to the yoimg lady and to myself, that I should make 
all further doubt impossible — I shall, therefore, put an end to it 
at once, by leaving town to-morrow." 



70 THfi ABSENTEE. 

Lady Clonbrony, breathless for a moment with surprise, 
exclaimed, " Bless me ! leave town to-morrow \ Just at the 
beginning of the season! Impossible! — I never saw such^a 
precipitate rash young man. But stay only a few weeks, 
Colambre; the physicians advise Buxton for my rheumatism, 
and you shall take us to Buxton early in the season — you cannot 
refuse me that. Why, if Miss Broadhurst was a dragon, you 
could not be in a greater hurry to run away from her. What 
are you afraid of?" 

" Of doing what is wrong — the only thing, I trust, of which I 
shall ever be afraid." 

Lady Clonbrony tried persuasion and argument — such argu- 
ment as she could use — but all in vain — Lord Colambre was firm 
in his resolution ; at last, she cametotears ; and her son, in much 
agitation, said, " I cannot bear this, mother ! — I would do 
any thing you ask, that I could do with honour; but this is 
impossible." 

'' Why impossible ? I will take all blame upon myself; and 
you are sure that Miss Broadhurst does not misunderstand you, 
and you esteem her, and admire her, and all that ; and all I ask 
is, that you'll go on as you are, and see more of her ; and how 
do you know but you may fall in love with her, as you call it, 
to-morrow?" 

** Because, madam, since you press me so far, my affections 
are engaged to another person. Do not look so dreadfully 
shocked, my dear mother — I have told you truly, that I think 
myself too young, much too young, yet to marry. In the 
circumstances in which I know my family are, it is probable that 
I shall not for some years be able to marry as I wish. You may 
depend upon it that I shall not take any step, I shall not even 
declare my attachment to the object of my affection, without 
your knowledge; and, far from being inclined headlong to 
follow my own passions — strong as they are — ^be assured that 
the honour of my family, your happiness, my mother, my 
father's, are my first objects : I shall never think of my own till 
these are secured." 

Of the conclusion of this speech, Lady Clonbrony heard only 
the sound of the words ; from the moment her son had pro- 
nounced that his affections were engaged, she had been running 



I THE ABSENTEE. 71 

o?er in her head every probable and improbable person sbe 
could think of; at last, suddenly starting up, she opened one of 
the folding-doors into the next apartment, and called, ** Grace ! 
—Grace Nugent ! — ^put down your pencil, Grace, this minute, 
and come here !" 

Miss Nugent obeyed with her usual alacrity ; and the moment 
the entered the room, Lady Clonbrony, fixing her eyes full upon 
her, said, " There's your cousin Colambre tells me bis affections 
are engaged.*' 

" Yes, to Miss Broadhurst, no doubt," said Miss Nugent, 
smiling, with a simplicity and openness of countenance, which 
assured Lady Clonbrony that all was safe in that quarter : a 
suspicion which had darted into her mind was dispelled. 

"No doubt — Ay, do you hear that no doubt, Colambre? — 
Grace, you see, has no doubt ; nobody has any doubt but your- 
self, Colambre." 

" And are your affections engaged, and not to Miss Broad- 
hunt ?" said Miss Nugent, approaching Lord Colambre. 

" There now ! you see how you surprise and disappoint every 
body, Colambre." 

"I am sorry that Miss Nugent should be disappointed," said 
Lord Colambre. 

" But because I am disappointed, pray do not call me Miss 
Nugent, or turn away from me, as if you were displeased." 

"It must, then, be some Cambridgeshire lady," said Lady 
Clonbrony. "I am sure I am very sorry he ever went to 
Cambridge — Oxford I advised : one of the Miss Berryls, I 
presume, who have nothing. I'll have no more to do with those 
Berryls — there was the reason of the son's vast intimacy. 
Grace, you may give up all thoughts of Sir Arthur." 

" I have no thoughts to give up, ma'am," said Miss Nugent, 
smiling. " Miss Broadhurst," continued she, going on eagerly 
with what she was saying to Lord Colambre, " Miss Broadhurst 
is my friend, a friend I love and admire ; but you will allow that 
I strictly kept my promise, never to praise her to you, till you 
should begin to praise her to me. Now recollect, last night, 
you did praise her to me, so justly, that I thought you liked her, 
I confess ; so that it is natural I should feel a little disappointed. 
Now you know the whole of my mind; I have no intention to 



71 n 

eaanmA on jour confidence ; dierefore^ diere is no occaaon to 
look so embarrasMd. I gire joa mj word^ I will nererspeak 
to jon again upon the snbjecty" said ahey. holding cot her hand 
to him, **■ pfTOTided joa wili nerer again call me Miss Nugent 
Am I not jonr own coasin Grace ? — Do not be dis^eaaed with 
her." 

** Ton are my own dear coasin Grace ; and nodiing can 
finther from m j mind than an j thought of being displeased 
with her; espedallj jnst at dus moment, when I am gomg 
awaj, probabijy for a cona^erable time." 

« Away !^when ?— where V 

** To-morrow monm^, for Ireland." 

""Ireland! of all places," cried Ladj OonbronT. ""What 
i^on earth pots it into jonr head to go to Ireland ? You do 
Terj well to go oat of the way of &lling in lore ridicoloosly, 
sinee diat is the reason of yoor going ; bat what pat Irdand into 
yoar head, child r 

'" I win not presame to ask my modier what pat Ireland oat 
of her head," said Lord CoUmbre, smiling; "^bat she will 
teeoQect diat it is my natire country." 

"" That was yoor father's ftnlt, not mine," said Lady Qon- 
brony ; "" for I wished to hare been confined in England : but 
he would have it to say that his son and heir was bom at 
Clonbrony Castle — and there was a great argument between him 
and my uncle, and something about the Prince of Wales and 
Caemarron Castle was thrown in, and that turned the scale, 
mnch against my will ; for it was my wish that my son should 
be an Englishman bom — like mysdf. But, after all, I don't see 
that baring the misfortune to be bom in a coimtzT should tie 
one to it in any sort of way ; and I should hare hoped your 
English edieatum, Colambre, would have given you too liberal 
idemn for that — so I reeUf don't see why you should go to 
Ireland merely because it*s yoor natiTe country." 

*< Not merdy because it is my native coantry — but I wish to 
go diither — \ desire to become acquainted with it — because it is 
the country in which my hJ^bnaz property lies, and from which 
we dimw our subsistence.** 

■"Sobsistenoe! Lord bleaa me, what a word! fitter for a 
mi > aoMcma a iub s irt i tn ce ! TVen, if you are going 



ith U 
^1 



THE ABSENTEE. 73 

fter your father's property, I hope you will make the 
their duty, and send us remittances. And pray bow 

ou mean to stay ?" 

'. am of age, madam, if you have no objection. I will 

! ensuing months in travelling in Ireland ; and I will 

re by the time I am of age, unless you and my father 

jfore that time, be in Ireland." 

be least chance of that, if I can prevent it, I promise 

I Lady Clonbrony. 

olambre and Miss Nugent sighed. 

[ am sure I shall take it very unkindly of you, Co- 
you go and turn out a partisan for Ireland, after all, 

e Nugent." 

tisan ! no ; — I hope not a partisan, but a friend," said 

ent. 

jnse, child ! — I hate to hear people, women especially, 

g ladies particularly, talk of being friends to this 

r that country. What can they know about countries? 

ak of being 'friends to themselves, and friends to their 

wrong," said Miss Nugent, "to call myself a friend 
; I meant to say, that Ireland had been a friend to 
I found Irish friends, when I had no others ; an Irish 
len I had no other; that my earliest and happiest 
ler your kind care, had been spent there ; and I can 
;et thatf my dear aimt — I hope you do not wish that I 

2n forbid, my sweet Grace !" said Lady Clonbrony, 
y her voice and manner ; " Heaven forbid ! I don't 
:o do or be any thing but what you are ; for I am 

there's nothing I could ask you would not do for me : 
L tell you, there's few things you could ask, love, I 

do for you." 

was instantly expressed in the eyes of her niece. 

lonbrony, though not usually quick at interpreting the 

others, understood and answered before she ventured 

er request in words. 

ny thing but that, Grace — ^Return to Clonbrony, while 

to live in London ? That I never can ox "vUl ^o l<(st 



74 THE ABSENTEE. 

you or any body !" looking at her son in all the pride of obsti- 
nacy : " so there is an end of the matter. Go yqu where you 
please, Colambre ; and I shall stay where I please : — I suppose, 
as your mother, I have a right to say this much?" 

Her son, with the utmost respect, assured her that he had no 
design to infringe upon her undoubted liberty of judging for 
herself; that he bad never interfered, except so far as to teU her 
circumstances of her affairs with which she seemed to be totally 
unacquainted, and of which it might be dangerous to her to con- 
tinue in ignorance. 

"Don't talk to me about affairs," cried she, drawing her 
hand away from her son. "Talk to my lord, or my lord's 
agents, since you are going to Ireland about business — I know 
nothing about business ; but this I know, I shall stay in Eng- 
land, and be in London, every season, as long as I can afford it; 
and when I cannot afford to live here, I hope I shall not live 
any where. That's my notion of life ; and that's my determina- 
tion, once for all; for, if none of the rest of the Clonbrony 
family have any, I thank Heaven I have some spirit." Saying 
this, in her most stately manner she walked out of the room. 
Lord Colambre instantly followed her : for after the resolution 
and the promise he had made, he did not dare to trust himself 
at this moment with Miss Nugent. 

There was to be a concert this night at Lady Clonbrony's, at 
which Mrs. and Miss Broadhurst were of course expected. That 
they might not be quite unprepared for the event of her son's 
going to Ireland, Lady Clonbrony wrote a note to Mrs. Broad- 
hiurst, begging her to come half an hour earlier than the* time 
mentioned in the cards, "that she might talk over something 
particular that had just occurred." 

What passed at this cabinet council, as it seems to have had 
no immediate influence on affairs, we need not record. Suffice 
it to observe, that a great deal was said, and nothing done. 
Miss Broadhurst, however, was not a young lady who could 
easily be deceived, even where her passions were concerned. 
The moment her mother told her of Lord Colambre 's intended 
departure, she saw the whole truth. She had a strong mind, 
capable of looking steadily at truth. Surrounded as she had 
been from her childhood by every means of self-indulgence 



THE ABSENTEE. 75 

vrbich wealth and flattery could bestow, she had discovered early 
what few persons hi her situation discover till late in life, that 
selfish gratifications may render us incapable of other happiness, 
but can never, of themselves, make us happy. Despising 
flatterers, she had determined to make herself friends — to make 
them in the only possible way — ^by deserving them. Her father 
realized his immense fortune by the power and habit of constant, 
bold, and just calculation. The power and habit which she had 
learned from him she applied on a far larger scale : with him 
it was confined to speculations for the acquisition of money ; 
with her, it extended to the attainment of happiness. He was 
calculating and mercenary : she was estimative and generous. 

Miss Nugent was dressing for the concert, or rather was 
sitting half-dressed before her glass, reflecting, when Miss 
Broadhurst came into her room. Miss Nugent immediately 
sent her maid out of the room. 

*' Grace," said Miss Broadhurst, looking at Grace with an air 
of open deliberate composure, *' you and I are thinking of the 
same thing — of the same person." 

<'Yes, of Lord Colambre," said Miss Nugent, ingenuously 
and sorrowfully. 

** Then I can put your mind at ease, at once, my dear friend, 
by assuring you that I shall think of him no more. That I 
have thought of him, I do not deny — I have thought, that if, 
notwithstanding the difference in our ages and other difierences, 
he had preferred me, I should have preferred him to any person 
who has ever yet addressed me. On our first acquaintance, I 
clearly saw that he was not disposed to pay court to my fortune; 
and I had also then coolness of judgment sufficient to perceive 
that it was not probable be should fall in love with my person. 
But I was too proud in my humility, too strong in my honesty, 
too brave, too ignorant ; in short, I knew nothing of the matter. 
We are all of us, more or less, subject to the delusions of vanity, 
or hope, or love— I — even I ! — ^who thought myself so clear- 
sighted, did not know how, with one flutter of his wings, Cupid 
can set the whole atmosphere in motion ; change the proportions, 
size, colour, value, of every object; lead us into a mirage, and 
leave us in a dismal desert." 



76 THB ABSENTEE. 

'* My dearest friend !" said Miss Nugent in a tone of true 
sympathy. 

** But none but a coward or a fool would sit down in the 
desert and weep, instead of tr^dng to make his way back before 
the storm rises, obliterates the track, and overwhelms every thing. 
Poetry apart, my dear Grace, you may be assured that I shall 
think no more of Lord Colambre." 

" I believe you are right. But I am sorry, very sorry, it must 
be 80." 

" Oh, spare me your sorrow !" 

"My sorrow is for Lord Colambre," said Miss Nugent 
" Where will he find such a wife ? — Not in Miss Berryl, I am 

sure, pretty as she is ; a mere fine lady ! Is it possible that 

Lord Colambre should prefer such a girl Lord Colambre!" 

Miss Broadhiurst looked at her friend as she spoke, and saw 
truth in her eyes ; saw that she had no suspicion that she was 
herself the person beloved. 

" Tell me, Grace, are you sorry that Lord Colambre is going 
away V* 

" No, I am glad. I was sorry when I first heard it ; but now 
I am glad, very glad : it may save him from a marriage unworthy 
of him, restore him to himself, and reserve him for — , the 
only woman I ever saw who is suited to him, who is equal to him, 
who would value and love him as he deserves to be valued and 
loved." 

" Stop, my dear ; if you mean me, I am not, and I never can 
be, that woman. Therefore, as you are my friend, and wish my 
happiness, as I sincerely believe you do, never, I conjure you, 
present such an idea before my mind again — it is out of my 
mind, I hope, for ever. It is important to me that you should 
know and believe this. At least I will preserve my friends. 
Now let this subject never be mentioned or alluded to again 
between us, my dear. We have subjects enough of conversation ; 
we need not have recourse to pernicious sentimental gossipings. 
There is great difference between wanting a confidante, and 
treating a friend with confidence. My confidence you possess ; 
all that ought, all that is to be Iq;|own of my mind, you know, 
and Now I will leave you in peace to dress for the concert" 



THE ABSENTEE. 77 

"Oh, don't go! you don't interrupt me. I shall be dressed 
in a few minutes ; stay with me, and you may be assured, that 
neither now, nor at any other time, shall I ever speak to you on 
the subject you desire me to avoid. I entirely agree with you 
about confidantes and sentimental gossipipings : I love you for 
not loving them." 

A loud knock at the door announced the arrival of company. 

"Think no more of love, but as much as you please of admira- 
tion — dress yourself as fast as you can," said Miss Broadhiurst. 
" Dress, dress, is the order of the day." 

" Order of the day and order of the night, and all for people 
I don't care for in the least," said Grace. '^ So life passes !" 

" Dear me, Miss Nugent," cried Petito, Lady Clonbrony's 
woman, coming in with a face of alarm, "not dressed yet ! My 
lady is gone down, and Mrs. Broadhurst and my Lady Pococke's 
come, and the Honourable Mrs. Trembleham ; and signor, the 
Italian singing gentleman, has been walking up and down the 
apartments there by himself, disconsolate, this half hour. Oh, 
merciful ! Miss Nugent, if you could stand still for one single 
particle of a second. So then I thought of stepping in Xo Miss 
Nugent; for the young ladies are talking so fast, says I to 
myself, at the door, they will never know how time goes, unless 
I give *em a hint. But now my lady is below, there's no need, 
to be sure, to be nervous, so we may take the thing quietly, 
without being in a flustrum. Dear ladies, is not this now a very 
sudden motion of our young lord's for Ireland ? Lud a mercy ! 
Miss Nugent, I'm sure your motions is sudden enough ; and 
your dress behind is all, I'm sure, I can't tell how." 

•* Oh, never mind," said the young lady, escaping from her; 
" it will do very well, thank you, Petito." 

** It will do very well, never mind," repeated Petito, muttering 
to herself, as she looked after the ladies, whilst they ran down 
stairs. " I can't abide to dress any young lady who says never 
mind, and it will do very well. That, and her never talking to 
one confi(iantially, or trusting one with the least bit of her 
secrets, is the thing I can't put up with from Miss Nugent ; and 
Miss Broadhurst holding the pins to me, as much as to say, do 
your business, Petito, and don't talk. Now, that's so imperti- 
nent, as if one wasn't the same flesh and blood, aivd.Yi'Qh.^ xi^X. «& 



78 THE ABSENTEE. 

good a right to talk of every thing, and hear of every thing, as 
themselves. And Mrs. Broadhurst, too, cabinet-councilling with 
my lady, and pursing up her city mouth, when I come in, and 
turning off the discourse to snuff, forsooth ; as if I was an igno- 
ramus, to think they closeted themselves to talk of snuiF. Now, 
I think a lady of quality's woman has as good a right to be 
trusted with her lady's secrets as with her jewels ; and if my 
Lady Clonbrony was a real lady of quality, she'd know that, and 
consider the one as much my paraphernalia as the other. So I 
shall tell my lady to-night, as I always do when she vexes me, 
that I never lived in an Irish family before, and don't know the 
ways of it — then she'll tell me she was bom in Hoxfordshire — 
then I shall say, with my saucy look, * Oh, was you, my lady— 
I always forget that you was an Englishwoman :' then may be 
she'll say, 'Forget! you forget yourself strangely, Petito.' Then 
I shall say, with a great deal of dignity, * If your ladyship thinks 
80, my lady, I'd better go.* And I'd desire no better than that 
she would take me at my word ; for my Lady Dashfort's is a 
much better place, I'm told, and she's dying to have me, I 
know." 

And having formed this resolution, Petito concluded her appa- 
rently interminable soliloquy, and went with my lord's gentle- 
man into the antechamber, to hear the concert, and give her 
judgment on every thing : as she peeped in through the vista of 
heads into the Apollo saloon — for to-night the Alhambra was 
transformed into the Apollo saloon — she saw that whilst the 
company, rank behind rank, in close semicircles, had crowded 
round the performers to hear a favourite singer. Miss Broadhurst 
and Lord Colambre were standing in the outer semicircle, talking 
to one another earnestly. Now would Petito have given up her 
reversionary chance of the three nearly new gowns she expected 
from Lady Clonbrony, in case she stayed ; or, in case she went, 
the reversionary chance of any dress of Lady Dashfort's, except 
her scarlet velvet, nierely to hear what Miss Broadhurst and 
Lord Colambre were saying. Alas ! she could only see their 
lips move ; and of what they were talking, whether of music or 
love, and whether fhe match was to be on or off, she could only 
conjecture. But the diplomatic style having now descended to 
waiting-maids, Mrs. Petito talked to her friends in the ante^ 



THE ABSENTEE. 79 

chamber with as mysterious and consequential an air and tone 
as a charg^ d*afiaires, or as the lady of a charg^ d'affaires, could 
have assumed. She spoke of her private belief; of the impres- 
sion left upon her mind; and her confidential reasons for 
thinking as she did ; of her " having had it from the fountain's 
bead ;'* and of " her fear of any committal of her authorities." 

Notwithstanding all these authorities, Lord Colambre left 
London next day, and pursued his way to Ireland, determined 
that he would see and judge of that coimtry for himself, and de- 
cide whether his mother's dislike to residing there was founded 
on caprice or on reasonable causes. 

In the mean time, it was reported in London that his lordship 
was gone to Ireland to make out the title to some estate, which 
would be necessary for his marriage settlement with the great 
heiress, Miss Broadhurst. Whether Mrs. Petito or Sir Terence 
O'Fay had the greater share in raising and spreading this 
report, it would he difficult to determine ; but it is certain, how- 
ever or by whomsoever raised, it was most useful to Lord 
Clonbrony, by keeping his creditors quiet 



CHAPTER VI. 



The tide did not permit the packet to reach the Pigeon-house, 
and the impatient Lord Colambre stepped into a boat, and was 
rowed across the Bay of Dublin. It was a fine summer morning. 
The sun shone bright on the Wicklow mountains. He admired,* 
he exulted in the beauty of the prospect; and all the early 
associations of his childhood, and the patriotic hopes of his riper 
years, swelled his heart as he approached the shores of his native 
land. But scarcely had he touched his mother earth, when the 
whole course of his ideas was changed ; and if his heart swelled, 
it swelled no more with pleasurable sensations, for instantly he 
found himself surrounded and attacked by a swarm of beggars 
and harpies, with strange figures and stranger tones; some 
craving his charity, some snatching away his luggage, and at 
the same time bidding him ** never trouble himself," axvd** i\«s^t 



80 THE ABSENTEE. 

fear." A scramlile in the boat and on shore for bags and 
parcels began, and an amphibious fight betwixt men, who had 
one foot on sea and one on land, was seen ; and long and loud 
the battle of trunks and portmanteaus raged ! The vanquished 
departed, clinching their empty hands at their opponents, and 
swearing inextinguishable hatred ; while the smiling victors 
stood at ease, each grasping his booty — ^bag, basket, parcel, or port- 
manteau : * * And, your honour, where tviU these go ? — Where wiU we 
carry *em all to for your honour?" was now the question. With- 
out waiting for an answer, most of the goods were carried at the 
discretion of the porters to the custom-house, where, to his 
lordship's astonishment, after this scene of confusion, he found 
that he had lost nothing but his patience ; all his goods were 
safe, and a few tinpennies made his officious porters happy men 
and boys ; blessings were showered upon his honour, and he was 

left in peace at an excellent hotel, in street, Dublin. He 

rested, refreshed himself, recovered his good-humour, and walked 
into the coffee-house, where he found several officers, English, 
Irish, and Scotch. One English officer, a very gentlemanlike, 
sensible-looking man, of middle age, was sitting reading a little 
pamphlet, when Lord Colambre entered : he looked up from time 
to time, and in a few minutes rose and joined the conversation; 
it turned upon the beauties and defects of the city of Dublin. Sir 
James Brooke (for that was the name of the gentleman) showed 
one of his brother officers the book which he had been reading, 
observing that, in his opinion, it contained one of the best views 
of Dublin which he had ever seen, evidently drawn by the hand 
of a master, though in a slight, playful, and ironical style : it 
was *'An intercepted Letter from China." The conversation 
extended from Dublin to various parts of Ireland, with all which 
Sir James Brooke showed that he was well acquainted. Observing 
that this conversation was particularly interesting to Lord 
Colambre, and quickly perceiving that he was speaking to one 
not ignorant of books, Sir James spoke of different representa- 
tions and misrepresentations of Ireland. In answer to Lord 
Colambre 's inquiries, he named the works which had afforded 
him the most satisfaction ; and with discriminative, not superficial 
celerity, touched on all ancient and modem authors on this 
subject, from Spenser and Davies to Young and Beaufort 



THE ABSENTEE. 81 

Lord Colambre became anxious to cultivate the acquaintance of 
a gentleman who appeared so able and willing to afford him in- 
formation. Sir James Brooke, on his part, was flattered by this 
eagerness of attention, and pleased by our hero's manners and 
conversation : so that, to their mutual satisfaction, they spent 
much of their time together whilst they were at this hotel ; and 
meeting frequently in society in Dublin, their acquaintance 
every day increased and grew into intimacy ; an intimacy which 
was highly advantageous to Lord Colambre's views of obtaining 
a just idea of the state of manners in Ireland. Sir James Brooke 
had at different periods been quartered in various parts of the 
country — ^had resided long enough in each to become familiar 
with the people, and had varied his residence sufficiently to 
form comparisons between different counties, their habits, and 
characteristics. Hence he had it in his power to direct the 
attention of our young observer at once to the points most 
worthy of his examination, and to save him from the common 
error of travellers — the deducing general conclusions from a few 
particular cases, or arguing from exceptions, as if they were 
rules. Lord Colambre, from his family connexions, had of course 
immediate introduction into the best society in Dublin, or 
rather into all the good society of Dublin. In DubUn there is 
positively good company, and positively bad; but not, as in 
London, many degrees of comparison : not innumerable lumi- 
naries of the polite world, moving in different orbits of fashion ; 
but all the bright planets of note and name move and revolve in 
the same narrow limits. Lord Colambre did not find that either 
his father's or his mother's representations of society resembled the 
reality which he now beheld. Lady Gonbrony had, in terms of 
detestation, described Dublin such as it appeared to her soon after 
the Union ; Lord Clonbronr had painted it with convivial en- 
thusiasm, such as he saw it long and long before the Union, 
when first he drank claret at the fashionable clubs. This 
picture, unchanged in his memory, and unchangeable by his 
imagination, had remained, and ever would remain, the same. 
The hospitality of which the father boasted, the son found in all 
its warmth, but meliorated and refined ; less convivial, more 
social ; the fashion of hospitality had improved. To make the 
stranger eat or drink to excess, to set before him old '^nVel^ «xl^ 
Fashswrnile Zi/e, q 



82 THE ABSENTEE. 

pld plate, was no longer the sum of good breeding. The guest 
now escaped the pomp of grand entertainments ; was allowed to 
enjoy ease and conversation, and to taste some of that feast cf 
reason ^nd that flow of soul so often talked of, and so seldom 
enjoyed* Lord Colambre found a spirit of improvement, a 
desire for knowledge, and a taste for science and literature, in 
inost companies, particularly among gentlemen belonging to the 
Irish bar : nor did he in Dublin society see any of that confii- 
pion of ranks or predominance of vulgarity, of which his mother 
Jiad complained. Lady Clonbrony had assured him, that, the 
last time she had been at the drawing-room at the Castle, a lady, 
whom she afterwards found to be a grocer's wife, had turned 
angrily when her ladyship had accidentally tr9dden on her train, 
and had exclaimed with a strong brogue, ''111 thank you, 
ma'am, for the rest of my tail." 

• Sir James Brooke, to whom Lord Colambre, without gimng up 
his authority J mentioned the fact, declared that he had no doubt 
the thing had happened precisely as it was stated ; but that this 
^as one. of the extraordinary cases which ought not to pass into 
a general rule, — that it was a slight instance of that influence ol 
temporary causes, from which no conclusions, as to national 
manners, should be drawn. 

"I happened," continued Sir James, "to be quartered in 
Dublin soon after the Union took place ; and I remember the 
great but transient change that appeared from the removal of 
both houses of parliament : most of the nobility and many of the 
principal families among the Irish commoners, either hurried m 
high hopes to London, or retired disgusted and in despair to 
their houses in the country. Immediately, in Dublin, commerce 
rose into the vacated seats of rank ; wealth rose into the place 
of birth. New faces and new equipages appeared : people, who 
had never been heard of before, started into notice, pushed 
themselves forward, not scrupling to elbow their way even at the 
castle ; and they were presented to my lord-lieutenant and to 
my lady-lieutenant; for their excellencies might have played 
their vice-regal parts to empty benches, had they not admitted 
such persons for the moment to fill their court. Those of former 
times, of hereditary pretensions and high-bred minds and man- 
ners, were scandalized at all this; and they complained with 



THE ABSENTEE. 83 

justice, that the whole tone of society was altered ; that the 
decorum, elegance, polish, and charm of society was gone. And ' 
I, among the rest," said Sir James, "felt and deplored their 
change. But, now it's all over, we may acknowledge, that, per- 
haps, even those things which we felt most disagreeable at the 
time were productive of eventual benefit. 

** Formerly, a few families had set the fashion. ' From time 
immemorial every thing had, in Dublin, been submitted to their 
hereditary authority ; and conversation, though it had been ren- 
dered polite by their example, was, at the same time, limited 
within narrow bounds. Young people, educated upon a more 
enlarged plan, in time grew up ; and, no authority or fashion 
forbidding it, necessarily rose to their just place, and enjoyed 
their due influence in society. The want of manners, joined to 
the want of knowledge, in the nouveaux riches, created universal 
disgust : they were compelled, some by ridicule, some by bank- 
ruptcies, to fall back into their former places, from which they 
could never more emerge. In the mean time, some of the Irish 
nobility and gentry, who had been living at an unusual expense 
in London — an expense beyond their incomes — were glad to 
return home to refit ; and they brought with them a new stock 
of ideas, and some taste for science and literature, which, within 
these latter years, have become fashionable, indeed indispen- 
sable, in London. That part of the Irish aristocracy, who, im- 
mediately upon the first incursions of the vulgarians, had fled in 
despair to their fastnesses in the country, hearing of the improve- 
ments which had gradually taken place in society, and assured 
of the final explosion of the barbarians, ventured from their 
retreats, and returned to their posts in town. So that now," 
concluded Sir. James, " you find a society in Dublin composed 
of a most agreeable and salutary mixture of birth and education, 
gentility and knowledge, manner and matter ; and you see, per- 
vading the whole, new life and energy, new talent, new ambi- 
tion, a desire and a determination to improve and be improved 
— a perception that higher distinction can now be obtained in 
almost all company, by genius and merit, than by airs and 
address .... So much for the higher order. Now, among 
the class of tradesmen and shopkeepers, you may amuse your- 

a2 



84 THE ABSENTEE. 

self, my lord, with marking the difference between them and 
persons of the same rank in London." 

Lord Colambre had several commissions to execute for his 
English friends, and he made it his amusement in every shop to 
observe the manners and habits of the people. He remarked 
that there are in Dublin two classes of tradespeople : one, who 
go into business with intent to make it their occupation for life, 
and as a slow but sure means of providing for themselves and their 
families ; another class, who take up trade merely as a temporary 
resource, to which they condescend for a few years; trusting 
that they shall, in that time, make a fortune, retire^ and 
commence or re-commence gentlemen. The Irish regular men 
of business are like all other men of business — punctual, frugal, 
careful, and so forth; with the addition of more intelligence^ 
invention, and enterprise, than are usually found in Englishmen 
of the same rank. But the Dublin tradesmen pro tempore are a 
class by themselves : they begin without capital, buy stock upon 
credit, in hopes of making large profits, and, in the same hopes, 
sell upon credit. 

Now, if the credit they can obtain is longer than that which 
they are forced to give, they: go on and prosper; if not, tiiey 
break, become bankrupts, and sometimes; as bankrupts, thrive. 
By such men, of course, every short cut to fortune is followed: 
whilst every habit, which requires time to prove its advantage, 
is disregarded; nor, with such views, can a character for 
punctuality have its just value. In the head of a man, who 
intends to be a tradesman to-day, and a gentleman to-morrow, 
the ideas of the honesty and the duties of a tradesman, and of 
the honour and the accomplishments of a gentleman, are oddly 
jumbled together, and the characteristics of both are lost in the 
compound. 

He will oblige you, but he will not obey you ; he will do you 
a favour, but he will not do you justice; he will do anything to 
serve you, but the particular thing you order he neglects ; he 
asks your pardon, for he would not, for all the goods in his 
warehouse, disobUge you ; not for the sake of your custom, but 
he has a particular regard for your family. Economy, in the 
eyes of such a tradesman, is, if not a mean vice, at least • 



THE ABSENTEE. 85 

shabby virtue, of which he is too polite to suspect his customers, 
and to which he is proud of proving himself superior. Many 
London tradesmen, after making their thousands and their tens 
of thousands, feel pride in still continuing to live like plain men 
of business ; but from the moment a Dublin tradesman of this 
style has made a few hundreds, he sets up his gig, and then his 
head is in his carriage, and not in his business ; and when he 
has made a few thousands, he buys or builds a country house 
— and, then, and thenceforward, his head, heart, and soul, are 
in his country-house, and only his body in the shop with his 
customers. 

Whilst he is making money, his wife, or rather his lady, is 
spending twice as much out of town as he makes in it. At the 
word coimtry-house, let no one figure to himself a snug little box 
like that in which a warm London citizen, after long years of 
toil, indulges himself, one day out of seven, in repose — enjoying, 
from his gazabo, the smell of the dust, and the view of passing 
coaches on the London road : no, these Hibernian villas are on 
a much more magnificent scale ; some of them formerly belonged 
to Irish members of parliament, who were at a distance from 
their country-seats. After the Union these were bought by 
citizens and tradesmen, who spoiled, by the mixture of their 
own fancies, what had originally been designed by men of good 
taste. 

Some time after Lord Colambre's arrival in Dublin, he had 
an opportunity of seeing one of these villas, which belonged to 
Mrs. Raffarty, a grocer's lady, and sister to one of Lord Gon- 
brony's agents, Mr. Nicholas Garraghty. Lord Colambre was 
surprised to find that his father's agent resided in Dublin : he 
had been used to see agents, or stewards, as they are called in 
England, live in the country, and usually on the estate of which 
they have the management. Mr. Nicholas Garraghty, however, 
had a handsome house in a fashionable part of Dublin. Lord 
Colambre called several times to see him, but he was out of town, 
receiving rents for some other gentlemen, as he was agent for 
more than one property. 

Though our hero had not the honour of seeing Mr. Garraghty, 
he had the pleasure of finding Mrs. Rafiarty one day at her 
brother's house. Just as his lordship came to the door, she was 



86 THE ABSENTEE. 

going, on her jaunting-car, to ber villa, called Tusculuih, situate 
near Bray. She spoke much of the beauties of the vicinity of 
Dublin ; found his lordship was going with Sir James Brooke, 
and a party of gentlemen, to see the county of Wicklow ; and 
his lordship and party were entreated to do her the honour of 
taking in their way a little collation at Tusculum. 

Our hero was glad to have an opportunity of seeing more of a 
species of fine lady with which he was unacquainted. 

The invitation was verbally made, and verbally accepted ; but 
the lady afterwards thought it necessary to send a written 
invitation in due form, and the note she sent directed to the 
Most Right Honourable the Lord Viscount Colambre. On open- 
ing it he perceived that it could not have been intended for him. 
It ran as follows : 

''my dear JULIANA o'lEARIT, 

" I have got a promise from Colambre, that he will be with 
us at Tusculum on Friday, the 20th, in his way from the county 
of Wicklow, for the collation I mentioned ; and expect a large 
party of officers : so pray come early, with your house, or as 
many as the jaunting-car can bring. And pray, my dear, be 
elegant. You need not let it transpire to Mrs. O'G— ; but 

make my apologies to Miss O'G , if she says any thing, and 

tell her I'm quite concerned I can't ask her for that day; 
because, tell her, I'm so crowded, and am to have none that day 
but real quality. 

" Yours ever and ever, 

'' Anastasia Raffartt. 

''P.S. And I hope to make the gentlemen stop the night 
with me : so will not have beds. Excuse haste and compli- 
ments, &c. 

« Tusculum, Sunday 15." 

After a charming tour in the county of Wicklow, where the 
beauty of the natural scenery, and the taste with which those 
natural beauties had been cultivated, far surpassed the sanguine 
expectations Lord Colambre had formed, his lordship and his 



THE ABSENTEE. 87 

companions arrived at Tusculimii where he found Mrs. Raffartj, 
and Miss Juliana O'Leary, very elegant, with a large party of 
the ladies and gentlemen of Bray, assembled in a drawing-room, 
fine with bad pictures and gaudy gilding ; the windows were all 
shut, and the company were playing cards with all their might 
This was the fashion of the neighbourhood. In compliment to 
Lord Colambre and the officers, the ladies left the card-tables ; 
and Mrs. Raffarty, observing that his lordship seemed partial to 
walking, took him out, as she said, " to do the honours of nature 
and art" 

His lordship was much amused by the mixture, which was 
now exhibited to him, of taste and incongruity, ingenuity and 
absurdity, genius and blunder; by the contrast be|ween the 
finery and vulgarity, the affectation and ignorance, of the lady of 
the villa. We should be obliged to stop too long at Tusculum 
were we to attempt to detail all the odd circumstances of this 
visit ; but we may record an example or two, which may give a 
sufficient idea of the whole. 

In the first place, before they left the drawing-room. Miss 
Juliana O'Leary pointed out to his lordship's attention a picture 
over the drawing-room chimney-piece. " Is not it a fine piece, 
my lord?" said she, naming the price Mrs. Raffarty had lately 
paid for it at an auction. " It has a right to be a fine piece, 
indeed; for it cost a fine price !" Nevertheless this fine piece 
was a vile daub; and our hero could only avoid the sin of 
flattery, or the danger of offending the lady, by protesting that 
he had no judgment in pictures. 

" Indeed ! I don't pretend to be a connoisseur or conoscenti 
myself; but I'm told the style is undeniably modem. And was 
not I lucky, Juliana, not to let that Medona be knocked down to 
me? I was just going to bid, when I heard such smart 
bidding; but, fortunately, the auctioneer let out that it was 
done by a very old master — a hundred years old. Oh ! your 
most obedient, thinks I! — if that's the case, it's not for my 
money : so I bought this, in lieu of the smoke-dried thing, and 
had it a bargain." 

In architecture, Mrs. Raffarty had as good a taste and as 
much skill as in painting. There had been a handsome por- 
tico in front of the house : but this interfering mt\i \\i«\8AY^ 



88 , THE ABSENTEE. 

desire to have a viranda, which she said could not be dispensed 
with, she had raised the whole portico to the second story, 
where it stood, or seemed to stand, upon a tarpaulin roof. But 
Mrs. Raffarty explained, that the pillars, though they looked so 
properly substantial, were really hollow and as light as feathers, 
and were supported with cramps, without disobliging the front 
wall of the house at all to signify. 

Before she showed the company any farther, she said, she 
must premise to his lordship, that she had been originally 
stinted in room for her improvements, so that she could not 
follow her genius liberally ; she had been reduced to have some 
things on a confined scale, and occasionally to consult her 
pocket-compass; but she prided herself upon having put as 
much into a tight pattern as could well be ; that had been her 
whole ambition, study, and problem ; for she was determined to 
have at least the honour of having a little taste of every thing at 
% Tusculum. 

So she led the way to a little conservatory, and a little pinery, 
and a little grapery, and a little aviary, and a little pheasantry, 
and a little dairy for show, and a little cottage for ditto, with a 
grotto full of shells, and a little hermitage full of earwigs, and a 
little ruin full of looking-glass, *•' to enlarge and multiply the 
effect of the Gothic." — "But you could only put your head in, 
because it was just fresh painted, and though there had been a 
fire ordered in the ruin all night, it had only smoked." 

In all Mrs. Raffarty's buildings, whether ancient or modem, 
there was a studied crookedness. 

Yes, she said, she hated every thing straight, it was so formal 
and unpieturetque, "Uniformity and conformity," she ob- 
served, " had their day ; but now, thank the stars of the present 
day, irregularity and deformity bear the bell, and have the 
majority." 

As they proceeded and walked through the grounds, from 
which Mrs. Raffarty, though she had done her best, could not 
take that which nature had given, she pointed out to my lord 
" a happy moving termination," consisting of a Chinese bridge, 
with a fisherman leaning over the rails. On a sudden, the 
fisherman was seen to tumble over the bridge into the water. 
The gentlemen ran to extricate the poor fellow, while they 



THE ABSENTEE. 09 

heard Mrs. Raffarty bawling to his lordship to beg he would 
never mind, and not trouble himself. 

When they arrived at the bridge, they saw the man hanging 
from part of the bridge, and apparently struggling in the water ; 
but when they attempted to pull him up, they found it was only 
a stuffed figure, which had been pulled into the stream by a real 
fish, which had seized hold of the bait. 

Mrs. Raffarty, vexed by the fisherman's fall, and by the 
laughter it occasioned, did not recover herself sufficiently to be 
bappily ridiculous during the remainder of the walk, nor till 
dinner was announced, when she apologized for having changed 
the collation, at first intended, into a dinner, which she hoped 
would be found no bad substitute, and which she flattered 
berself might prevail on my lord and the gentlemen to sleep, as 
there was no moon. 

The dinner had two great faults — ^profusion and pretension. 
There was, in fact, ten times more on the table than was 
necessary ; and the entertainment was far above the circum- 
stances of the person by whom it was given : for instance, the 
dish of fish at the head of the table had been brought across the 
island from Sligo, and had cost five guineas ; as the lady of the 
house failed not to make known. But, after all, things were not 
of a piece ; there was a disparity between the entertainment and 
the attendants ; there was no proportion or fitness of things ; a 
painful endeavour at what could not be attained, and a toiling in 
vain to conceal and repair deficiencies and blunders. Had the 
mistress of the house been quiet ; had she, as Mrs. Broadhurst 
would say, but let things alone, let things take their course, all 
would have passed off with well-bred people ; but she was inces- 
santly apologizing, and fussing, and fretting inwardly and 
outwardly, and directing and calling to her servants — striving to 
make a butler who was deaf, and a boy who was harebrained, do 
the business of five accomplished footmen of parts and figure. 
The mistress of the house called for " plates, clean plates !— — 
plates!" 

^ Bat none did come, when she did call." 
Mrs. Raffarty called ** Lanty ! Lanty ! My lord's plate, there ! 



90 THE ABSENTEE. 

— James ! bread to Captain Bowles ! — James 1 port wine to the 
major ! — James ! James Kenuy ! James !" 

*^ And panting Jamsi toiled after her in Ttin.** 

At length one course was fairly got through, and after a to^ 
turing half hour, the second course appeared, and James Kenny 
was intent upon one thing, and Lanty upon another, so that the 
wine-sauce for the hare was spilt by their collision ; but, what 
was worse, there seemed little chance that the whole of this 
second course should ever be placed altogether rightly upon the 
table. Mrs. Raffarty cleared her thioat, and nodded, and 
pointed, and sighed, and sent Lanty after Kenny, and Kenny 
after Lanty ; for what one did, the other undid; and at last the 
lady's anger kindled, and she spoke : " Kenny ! James Kenny ! 
set the sea-cale at this comer, and put down the grass cross- 
comers ; and match your maccaroni yonder with them puddens, 
set — Ogh ! James ! the pyramid in the middle, can't ye ?" 

The pyramid, in changing places, was overturned. Then it 
was that the mistress of the feast, falling back in her seat, and 
lifting up her hands and eyes in despair, ejaculated, " Oh, James! 
James !" 

The pyramid was raised by the assistance of the military engi- 
neers, and stood trembling again on its base ; but the lady's 
temper could not be so easily restored to its equilibrium. She 
rented her ill humour on her unfortunate husband, who hap- 
pening not to hear her order to help my lord to some hare, she 
exclaimed loud, that all the world might hear, *< Corny Rafiarty ! 
Corny Raffarty ! you're no more g%id at the fut of my table 
than a stick of celery !" 

The comedy of errors, which this day's visit exhibited, amused 
all the spectators. But Lord Colambre, after he had smiled, 
sometimes sighed. — Similar foibles and f6llies in persons of 
different rank, fortune, and manner, appear to common observers 
so unlike that they laugh without scruples of conscience in one 
case, at what in another ought to touch themselves most nearly. 
It was the same desire to appear what they were not, the same 
vain ambition to vie with superior rank and fortune, or fashion, 
which actuated Lady Clonbrony and Mrs. Raffarty ; and whilst 



THE ABSENTEE. 91 

this ridiculous grocer's wife made herself the sport of some of her 
guests, Lord Colamhre sighed, from the reflection that what she 
was to them, his mother was to persons in a higher rank of 
fashion. — He sighed still more deeply, when he considered, that, 
in whatever station or with whatever fortune, extravagance, that 
is, the living heyond our income, must lead to distress and 
meanness, and end in shame and ruin. In the nioming as they 
were riding away from Tusculum and talking over their visit, the 
officers laughed heartily, and rallying Lord Colambre upon his 
ser i e wu n a esi, aecmed him of having fallen in love with Mrs. 
Raffarty, or with the elegant Miss Juliana. Our hero, who 
wished never to be nice over much, or serious out of season, 
laughed with those that laughed, and endeavoured to catch the 
spirit of the jest. But Sir James Brooke, who now was well ac- 
quamted with his countenance, and who knew something of the 
history of his family, imderstood his real feelings, and, sympa- 
thizing in them, endeavoured to give the conversation a new 
turn. 

'< Look there, Bowles,*' said he, as they were just riding into 
the town of Bray ; '^ look at the barouche standing at that green 
door, at the farthest end of the town. Is not that Lady Dash- 
fort's barouche V* 

** It looks like what she sported in Dublin last year," said 
Bowles ; " but you don't think she'd give us the same two 
seasons. Besides, she is not in Ireland, is she ? I did not hear 
of her intending to come over again." 

"I beg your pardon," said another officer; "she will come 
again to so good a market, to marry her other daughter. I 
hear she said or swore that she will marry the young widow, 
Lady Isabel, to an Irish nobleman." 

** Whatever she says, she swears, and whatever she swears, 
she'll do," replied Bowles. 

** Have a care, my Lord Colambre ; if she sets her heart 
upon you for Lady Isabel, she has you. Nothing can save you. 
Heart she has none, so there you're safe, my lord," said the 
other officer ; " but if Lady Isabel sets her eye upon you, no 
basilisk's is surer." 

" But if Lady Dashfort had landed I am sure we should have 
heard of it, for she makes noise enough whexe^et %\i^ %^^\ 



92 THE ABSENTEE. 

especially in Dublin, where all she said and did was echoed and 
magnified, till one could hear of nothing else. I don't think she 
has landed." 

"I hope to Heaven they may never land again in Ireland!'' 
cried Sir James Brooke : ** one worthless woman, especially one 
worthless Englishwoman of rank, does incalculable mischief ins 
country like this, which looks up to the sister country for fashion. 
For my own part, as a warm friend to Ireland, I would rather 
see all the toads and serpents, and venomous reptiles, that St 
Patrick carried off in his bag, come back to this island, than 
these two dashers. Why, they would bite half the women and 
girls in the kingdom with the rage for mischief, before half the 
husbands and fathers could turn their -heads about. And, 
once bit, there's no cure in nature or art." 

*' No horses to this barouche !" cried Captain Bowles. — " Fray, 
sir, whose carriage is this ?" said the captain to a servant, who 
vas standing beside it. 

" My Lady Dashfort, sir, it belongs to," answered the servant, 
in rather a surly English tone ; and turning to a boy who was 
lounging at the door, *' Pat, bid them bring out the horses, for 
my ladies is in a hurry to get home." 

Captain Bowles stopped to make his servant alter the girths of 
his horse, and to satisfy his curiosity; and the whole party 
halted. Captain Bowles beckoned to the landlord of the inn, 
who was standing at his door. 

" So, Lady Dashfort is here again ? — ^This is her barouche, is 
not it?" 

" Yes, sir, she is — it is." 

" And has she sold her fine horses V* 

" Oh, no, sir — ^this is not her carriage at all — she is not here. 
That Is, she is here, in Ireland; but down in the county of 
Wicklow, on a visit. And this is not her own carriage at all ; 
— that is to say, riot that which she has with herself, driving; 
but only just the cast barouche like, as she keeps for the lady's 
maids." 

" For the lady's maids ! that is good ! that is new, faith ! Sir 
James, do you hear that?" 

" Indeed, then, and it's true, and not a word of a lie !" said 
the honest landlord. "And this minute, we've got a directory 



THE ABSENTEE. 93 

>f them Abigails, sitting within our house ; as fine ladies, 

dashers too, every bit, as their principals ; and kicking 
uch dust on the road, every grain ! — Think of them, now I 
es of them, that must have four horses, and would not 
ot with one less ! — As the gentleman's gentleman there 
ing and boasting to me about now, when the barouche 
]ered for them there at the lady's house, where Lady 
t is on a visit — they said they would not get in till they'd 

horses ; and their ladies backed them ; and so the four 
ras got ; and they just drove out here to see the points 
for fashion's sake, like their betters ; and up with their 
like their ladies ; and then out with their watches, and 
t time to lunch?' So there they have been lunching 
Dn what they brought with them ; for nothing in our 
)uld they touch of course I They brought themselves a 
i lunch, with Madeira and Champagne to wash it down, 
mtlemen, what do you think, but a set of them, as they 
igging to me, turned out of a boarding-house at Chelten- 
it year, because they had not peach pies to their lunch I 
lere they come ! shawls, and veils, and all I — streamers 

But mum is my cue ! — Captain, are these girths to your 
>w ?" said the landlord, aloud : then, as he stooped to 
tuckle, he said in a voice meant to be heard only by 

Bowles, ** If there's a tongue, male or female, in the 
igdoms, it's in that foremost woman, Mrs. Petito." 
. Petito !" repeated Lord Colambre, as the name caught 

and, approaching the barouche, in which the five Abi- 
;re now seated, he saw the identical Mrs. Petito, who, 
I left London, had been in his mother's service, 
^cognized his lordship with very gracious intimacy ; and, 
le had time to ask any questions, she answered all she 
!d he was going to ask, and with a volubility which 

the landlord's eulogium of her tongue. 
, my lord ! I left my Lady Cloubrony some time back 
ly after you left town ; and both her ladyship and Miss 
was charmingly, and would have sent their loves to your 
, I'm sure, if they'd any notion I should have met you, 
, so soon. And I was very sorry to part with them ; but 
was, my lord^" said Mrs. Petito, laying a de\«Axv\xi%\axL\ 



94 THE ABSENTEE. 

upon Lord Colambre's whip, one end of which he unwittingly v 
trusted within her reach, " I and my lady had a little difference, r, 
which the best friends, you know, sometimes have : so my Lady 
Clonbrony was so condescending to give me up to my Lady 
Dashfort — ^and I knew no more than the child unborn that ker 
ladyship had it in contemplation to cross the seas. But, to oblige tr 
my lady, and as Colonel Heathcock, with his regiment of militia, % 
was coming for purtection in the packet at the same time, and «• 
to have the government-yacht, I waived my objections to Ireland. ^ 
And, indeed, though I was greatly frighted at first, having heaid ii 
all we've heard, you know, my lord, from Lady Clonbrony, rf 
there being no living in Ireland, and expecting to see no trees, 
nor accommodation, nor any thing but bogs all along; yet 
I declare, I was very agreeably surprised; for, as far as 
I've seen at Dublin and in the vicinity, the accommodations, 
and every thing of that nature now, is vastly put-up-able 
with!" 

" My lord," said Sir James Brooke, "we shall be late." 

Lord Colambre, withdrawing his whip from Mrs. Petito, 
turned his horse away. She, stretching over the back of the 
barouche as he rode off, bawled to him, " My lord, we're at 
Stephen's Green, when we're at Dublin." But as he did not 
choose to hear, she raised her voice to its highest pitch, adding, 
"And where are you, my lord, to be found? — as I have a parcel 
of Miss Nugent's for you." 

Lord Colambre instantly turned back, and gave his direction. 

" Cleverly done, faith !" said the major. 

"I did not hear her say when Lady Dashfort is to be in 
town," said Captain Bowles. 

" What, Bowles ! have you a mind to lose more of your 
guineas to Lady Dashfort,' and to be jockeyed' out of another 
horse by Lady Isabel?" 

" Oh, confound^it— no ! I'll keep out of the way of thafr— I 
have had enough," said Captain Bowles ; " it is my Lord Co- 
lambre's turn now ; you hear that Lady Dashfort would be very 
proud to see him. His lordship is in for it, and with such an 
auxiliary as Mrs. Petito, Lady Dashfort has him for Lady Isabel, 
as sure as he has a heart or hand." 

" My compliments to the ladies, but my heart is engaged," 



THE ABSEHTBE. 95 

said Lord Colambre ; ** and my hand shall go with my heart, or 
not at all." 

** Engaged ! engaged to a very amiahle, charming woman, no 
doubt," said Sir James Brooke. " I have an excellent opinion 
of your taste; and if you can return the compliment to my 
judgment, take my advice: don't trust to your heart's being 
engaged, much less plead that engagement; for it would be 
j^ady Dashfort's sport, and Lady Isabel's joy, to make you break 
your engagement, and break your mistress's heart ; the fairer, 
the more amiable, the more beloved, the greater the triumph, 
the greater the delight in giving pain. All the time love would 
be out of the question ; neither mother nor daughter would care 
if you were hanged, or, as Lady Dashfort would herself have 
expressed it, if you were d — d." 

" With such women I should think a man's heart could be 
in no great danger," said Lord Colambre. 

" There you might be mistaken, my lord ; there's a way to 
every man's heart, which no man in his own case is aware of, 
but which every woman knows right well, and none better than 
these ladies — ^by his vanity." 

"True," said Captain Bowles. 

**I am not so vain as to think myself without vanity," said 
Lord Colambre; ''but love, I should imagine, is a stronger 
passion than vanity." 

"You should imagine! Stay till you are tried, my lord. 
Excuse me," said Captain Bowles, laughing. 

Lord Colambre felt the good sense of this, and determined to 
have nothing to do with these dangerous ladies : indeed, though 
he had talked, he had scarcely yet thought of them ; for his 
imagination was intent upon that packet from Miss Nugent, 
which Mrs. Petito said she had for him. He heard nothing of 
it, or of her, for some days. He sent his servant every day to 
Stephen's Green, to inquire if Lady Dashfort had returned to 
town. Her ladyship at last returned; but Mrs. Petito could 
not deliver the parcel to any hand but Lord Colambre 's own, 
and she would not stir out, because her lady was indisposed. 
No longer able to restrain his impatience. Lord Colambre went 
himself— knocked at Lady Dashfort's door — inquired for Mrs. 
Petito— was shown into her parlour. The '^«iQe\ ^«& ^^s^r 



96 THE ABSENTEE. 

livered to him ; but, to his utter disappointment, it wais a paicd 
fwy not from Miss Nugent. It contained merely an odd volume 
of some book of Miss Nugent's which Mrs. Petito said she had 
put up along with her things tn a mUtake, and she thought it 
her duty to return it by the first opportunity of a safe convey- 
ance. 

Whilst Lord Colambre, to comfort himself for his disappoint- 
ment, was fixing his eyes upon Miss Nugent's name, written by 
her own hand, in the first leaf of the book, the door opened, and 
the figure of an interesting-looking lady, in deep mourning, 
appeared — appeared for one moment, and retired. 

'* Only my Lord Colambre, about a parcel I was bringing (at 
him from England, my lady — my Lady Isabel, my lord," said 
Mrs. Petito. 

Whilst Mrs. Petito was saying this, the entrance and retreat ^ 
had been made, and made with such dignity, grace, and mo- 
desty : with such innocence, dove-like eyes had been raised upon 
him, fixed and withdrawn ; with such a gracious bend the Lady 
Isabel had bowed to him as she retired ; with such a smile, and 
with so soft a voice, had repeated <*Lord Colambre!" that his 
lordship, though well aware that all this was mere acting, could 
not help saying to himself, as he left the house, <* It is a pity it 
is only acting. There is certainly something very engaging in 
this woman. It is a pity she is an actress. And so young I A 
much younger woman than I expected. A widow before most 
women are wives. So young, surely she cannot be* such a fiend 
as they described her to be !" 

A few nights afterwards Lord Colambre was with some of his 
acquaintance at the theatre, when Lady Isabel and her mother 
came into the box, where seats had been reserved for them, and 
where their appearance instantly made that sensation, which is 
usually created by the entrance of persons of the first notoriety 
in the fashionable world. Lord Colambre was not a man to be 
dazzled by fashion, or to mistake notoriety for deference paid 
to merit, and for the admiration commanded by beauty or 
talents. Lady Dashfort's coarse person, loud voice, daring 
manners, and indelicate wit, disgusted him almost past endu- 
rance. He saw Sir James Brooke in the box opposite to him ; 
and twice determined to go round to him. His lordship bad 



THE ABSENTEE. 97 

crossed the benches, and once his hand was upon the lock of 
the door ; but, attracted as much by the daughter as repelled by 
the mother, he could move no farther. The mother's masculine 
boldness heightened, by contrast, the charms of the daughter's 
soft sentimentality. The Lady Isabel seemed to shrink from 
the indelicacy of her mother's manners, and appeared peculiarly 
distressed by the strange efforts Lady Dashfort made, from time 
to time, to drag her forward, and to fix upon her the attention 
of gentlemen. Cdlonel Heathcock, who, as Mrs. Petito had in- 
formed Lord Colambre, had come over with his regiment to 
Ireland, was beckoned into their box by Lady Dashfort, by her 
squeezed into a seat next to Lady Isabel; but Lady Isabel 
seemed to feel sovereign contempt, properly repressed by 
politeness, for what, in a low whisper to a female friend on the 
other side of her, she called, ** the self-sufHcient inanity of this 
sad coxcomb." Other coxcombs, of a more vivacious style, who 
stationed themselves round her mother, or to whom her mother 
stretched from box to box to talk, seemed to engage no more of 
Lady Isabel's attention than just what she was compelled to 
give by Lady Dashfort 's repeated calls of, " Isabel ! Isabel ! 

Colonel G . Isabel ! Lord D bowing to you. Bell ! 

Bell ! Sir Harry B Isabel, child, with your eyes on the 

stage? Did you never see a play before? Novice! Major 

p— waiting to catch your eye this quarter of an hour ; and 

now her eyes gone down to her play-bill ! Sir Harry, do take it 

from her. 

* "Were eyes so radiant only made to read ?' ** 

Lady Isabel appeared to suffer so exquisitely and so natiurally 
from this persecution, that Lord Colambre said to himself, " If 
this be acting, it is the best acting I ever saw. If this be art, it 
deserves to be nature." 

And with this sentiment, he did himself the honour of hand- 
ing Lady Isabel to her carriage this night, and with this sentiment 
he awoke next morning ; and by the time he had dressed and 
breakfasted, he determined that it was impossible all that he 
had seen could be acting. "No woman, no young woman, 
could have such art." Sir James Brooke had been unwarrant- 
ably severe ; he would go and tell him so. 

But Sir James Brooke this day received orders fox l\\s t«^- 
Fashionabh Life. B 



98 THE ABSENTEE. 

ment to march to quarters in a distant part of Ireland. His 
head was full of arms, and ammunition, and knapsacks, and 
billets, and routes ; and there was no possibility, even in the 
present chivalrous disposition of our hero, to enter upon the 
defence of the Lady Isabel. Indeed, in the regret he felt for 
the approaching and unexpected departure of liis friend, Lord 
Colambre forgot the fair lady. But just when Sir James had 
his foot in the stirrup, he stopped. 

" By-the-bye, my dear lord, I saw you at the play last nigbt. 
You seemed to be much interested. Don't think me impertinent 
if I remind you of our conversation when we were riding home 
from Tusculum ; and if I warn you," said he, mounting his horse, 
"to beware of counterfeits — for such are abroad." Reining in 
his impatient steed. Sir James turned again, and added *' Deedsj 
not tcordSf is my motto. Remember, we can judge better by tbe 
conduct of people towards others than by their manner towards 
ourselves." 



CHAPTER VIL 



Our hero was quite convinced of the good sense of his friend's 
last remark, that it is safer to judge of people by their conduct 
to others than by their manners towards ourselves ; but as yet, 
he felt scarcely any interest on the subject of Lady Dashfort'sor 
Lady Isabel's characters : however, he inquired and listened to 
all the evidence he could obtain respecting this mother and 
daughter. 

He heard terrible reports of the mischief they had done in 
families ; the extravagance into which they had led men ; the 
imprudence, to say no worse, into which they had betrayed 
women. Matches broken off, reputations ruined, husbands 
alienated from their wives, and wives made jealous of their hus- 
bands. But in some of these stories he discovered exaggeration 
so flagrant as to make him doubt the whole ; in others, it. could 
not be positively determined whether ilie mother or daughter 
had been the person most to blame. 

Lord Colambre always followed the charitable role of be- 



THE ABSENTEE. 99 

lieving only half what the world says, and here he thought it 
to to believe which half he pleased. He farther observed, that, 
though all joined in abusing these ladies in their absence, when 
present they seemed universally admired. Though every body 
cried " shame ! " and " shocking ! " yet every body visited them. 
No parties so crowded as Lady Dashfort's ; no party deemed 
pleasant or fashionable where Lady Dashfort or Lady Isabel was 
not. The bon-mots of the mother were every where repeated ; the 
dress and air of the daughter every where imitated. Yet Lord 
Colambre could not help being surprised at their popularity in 
Dublin, because, independently of all moral objections, there 
were causes of a different sort, sufficient, he thought, to prevent 
Lady Dashfort from being liked by the Irish, indeed by any 
society. She in general affected to be ill-bred, and inattentive 
to the feelings and opinions of others ; careless whom she of- 
fended by her wit or by her decided tone. There are some 
persons in so high a region of fashion, that they imagine them- 
selves above the thunder of vulgar censure. Lady Dashfort felt 
berself in this exalted situation, and fancied she might 

*' Hear the innocuous thunder roll below.*' 

Her rank was so high that none could dare to call her vulgar : 
what would have been gross in any one of meaner note, in her 
was freedom or originality, or Lady Dashfort's way. It was 
Lady Dashfort's pleasure and pride to show her power in 
perverting the public taste. She often said to those English 
companions with whom she was intimate, " Now see what follies 
I can lead these fools into. Hear the nonsense I can make 
them repeat as wit." Upon some occasion, one of her friends 
ventured to fear that something she had said was too strong, 
" Too strong, was it ? Well, I like to be strong — woe be to the 
weak !" On another occasion she was told that certain visitors 
had seen her ladyship yawning. " Yawn, did I ?— glad of it — 
the yawn sent them away, or I should have snored ;— rude, was 
I ? they woi^'t complain. To say I was 'rude to them, would be 
to say, that I did not think it worth my while to be otherwise. 
Barbarians! are not we the civilized English, come to teach 
them manners and fashions ? Whoever does not conform, and 
iwear allegiance too, we shall keep out of the English ]jale," 
h2 



100 THE ABSENTEE. 

Lady Dashfort forced her way, and she set the fashion; 
fashion, which converts the ugliest dress into what is beautiful 
and charming, governs the public mode in morals and in 
manners ; and thus, when great talents and high rank combine, 
they can debase or elevate the public taste. 

With Lord Colambre she played more artfully : she drew him 
out in defence of his beloved country, and gave him oppor- 
tunities of appearing to advantage; this he could not help 
feeling, especially when the Lady Isabel was present. Lady 
Dashfort had dealt long enough with hiunan nature to know, 
that to make any man pleased with her, she should begin by 
making him pleased with himself. 

Insensibly the antipathy that Lord Colambre had originally 
felt to Lady Dashfort wore off; her faults, he began to think, 
were assiuned; he pardoned her defiance of good-breeding, 
when he observed that she could, when she chose it, be most 
engagingly polite. It was not that she did not know what was 
right, but that she did not think it always for her interest to 
practise it. 

The party opposed to Lady Dashfort affirmed that her wit 
depended merely on unexpectedness; a characteristic which 
may be applied to any impropriety of speech, manner, or 
conduct. In some of her ladyship's repartees, however, Lord 
Colambre now acknowledged there was more than unexpected- 
ness ; there was real wit ; but it was of a sort utterly unfit for a 
woman^ and he was sorry that Lady Isabel should hear it In 
short, exceptionable as it was altogether. Lady Dashfort's 
conversation had become entertaining to him ; and though he 
could never esteem, or feel in the least interested about her, he 
began to allow that she could be agreeable. 

"Ay, I knew how it would be," said she, when some of her 
friends told her this. ** He began by detesting me, and did I 
not tell you that, if I thought it worth my while to make him 
like me, he must, sooner or later ? I delight in seeing people 
begin with me as they do with olives, making all manner of 
horrid faces, and siUy protestations that they will n^ver touch an 
olive again as long as they live ; but, after a little time, these 
very folk grow so desperately fond of olives, that there is no 
dessert without them. Isabel, child, you are in the sweet line— 



THE ABSENTEE. 101 

but sweets cloy. \ oii never heard of auy body living on mar- 
malade, did ye?'* 

Lady Isabel answered by a sweet smile. 

** To do you justice, you play Lydia Languish vastly well," 
pursued the mother ; '' but Lydia, by herself, would soon tire ; 
somebody must keep up the spirit and bustle, and carry on the 
plot of the piece , and I am that somebody — as you shall see. 
Is not that our hero's voice which I hear on the stairs?" 

It was Lord Colambre. His lordship had by this time become 
a constant visitor at Lady Dashfort's. Not that he had forgotten, 
or that he meant to disregard his friend Sir James Brooke's 
parting words. He promised himself faithfully, that if any 
thing should occur to give him reason to suspect designs, such 
as those to which the warning pointed, he would be on his 
guard, and would prove his generalship by an able retreat But 
to imagine attacks where none were attempted, to suspect 
ambuscades in the open country, would be ridiculous and 
cowardly. 

" No," thought our hero ; " Heaven forefend I should be such 
a coxcomb as to fancy every woman who speaks to me has 
designs upon my precious heart, or on my more precious estate !" 
As he walked from his hotel to Lady Dashfort's house, inge- 
niously wrong, he came to this conclusion, just as he ascended 
the stairs, and just as her ladyship had settled her future plan of 
operations. 

After talking over the nothings of the day, and after having 
given two or three cuts at the society of Dublin, with two or 
three compliments to individuals, who she knew were favourites 
with his lordship, she suddenly turned to him. '* My lord, I 
think you told me, or my own sagacity discovered, that you 
want to see something of Ireland, and that you don't intend, like 
most travellers, to turn round, see nothing, and go home con- 
tent." 

Lord Colambre assured her ladyship that she had judged him 
rightly, for that nothing would content him but seeing all that 
was possible to be seen of his native country. It was for this 
special purpose he came to Ireland. 

" Ah ! — well — very good purpose — can't be better ; but now 
how to accomplish it. You know the Portugvieae ^xoN«\i «v^v 



102 THE ABSENTEE* 

* Yoli go to hell for the good things you intend to do, and to 
heaven for those you do.* Now let us see what you wOl do. 
Duhlin, I suppose, you've seen enough of by this time ; through 
and through — round and round — ^this makes me first giddy, and 
then sick. Let me show you the country — not the face of it, but 
the body of it — the people. — Not Castle this, or Newtown thai, 
but their inhabitants. I know them ; I have the key, or the 
pick-lock to their minds. An Irishman is as different an 
animal on his guard and off his guard, as a miss in school from 
a miss out of school. A fine country for game. 111 show you; 
and if you are a good marksman, you may have plenty of shots 
•at folly as it flies.'" 

Lord Colambre smiled. 

" As to Isabel," pursued her ladyship, ** I shall put her Id 
charge of Heathcock, who is going with us. She won't thank 
me for that, but you will. Nay, no fibs, man ; you know, I 
know, as who does not that has seen the world ? that, though a 
pretty woman is a mighty pretty thing, yet she is confoundedly 
in one's way, when any thing else is to be seen, heard,-M)r 
understood." 

Every objection anticipated and removed, and 80 iar a, pros- 
pect held out of attaining all the information he desired, with 
more than all the amusement he could have expected, Lord 
Colambre seemed much tempted to accept the invitation ; but he 
hesitated, because, as he said, her ladyship might be going to 
pay visits where he was not acquainted. 

" Bless you ! don't let that be a stumbling-block in the way of 
your tender conscience. I am going to Killpatricks-town, where 
you'll be as welcome as light. You know them, they know you; 
at least you shall have a proper letter of invitation from my Lord 
and my Lady Killpatrick, and all that. And as to the rest, 
you know a young man is always welcome every where, a young 
nobleman kindly welcome — I won't say such a young man, and 
such a young nobleman, for that might put you to your bows or 
your blushes — ^but nobiliteu by itself, nobility is virtue enough in 
all parties, in all families, where there are girls, and of course 
balls, as there are always at Killpatricks-town. Don't be 
alarmed ; you shall not be forced to dance, or asked to marry. 
I'll be your security. You shall be at full liberty ; and it u a 



THE ABSENTEE. 103 

house where you can do just what you will. Indeed^ I go to no 
others. These Killpatricks are the best creatures in the world ; 
they think nothing good or grand enough for me. If I'd 
let them, they would lay down cloth of gold over their bogs for 
me to walk upon. Good-hearted beings !" added Lady Dash- 
fort, marking a cloud gathering on Lord Colambre's counte- 
nance. '< I laugh at them, because I love them. I could not 
love any thing I might not laugh at — your lordship excepted. 
So you'll come — that's settled." 

And so it was settled. Our hero went to Killpatricks-town. 

" Every thing here sumptuous and unfinished, you see," said 
Lady Dashfort to Lord Colambre, the day after their arrival. 
** All begun as if the projectors thought they had the command 
of the mines of Peru, and ended as if the possessors had not six- 
pence. Luxuries enough for an English prince of the blood : 
comforts not enough for an English yeoman. And you may be 
sure that great repairs and alterations have gone on to fit this 
house for oiu* reception, and for our English eyes! — Poor 
people ! — English visitors, in this point of view, are horribly 
expensive to the Irish. Did you ever hear, that in the last 
century, or in the century before the last, to put my story far 
enough back, so that it shall not touch any body living ; when a 

certain English nobleman, Lord Blank A , sent to let his 

Irish friend. Lord Blank B , know that he and all his train 

were coming over to pay him a visit; the Irish nobleman. 
Blank B , knowing the deplorable condition of his castle, sat 
down fairly to calculate whether it would cost him most to put 
the building in good and sufficient repair, fit to receive these 
English visitors, or to bum it to the ground. He found the 
balance to be in favour of burning, which was wisely accom- 
plished next day *. Perhaps Killpatrick woidd have done well 
to follow this example. Resolve me which is worst, to be burnt 
out of house and home, or to be eaten out of house and home. 
In this house, above and below stairs, including first and second 
table, housekeeper's room, lady's maids' room, butler's room, and 
gentleman's, one hundred and four people sit down to dinner 
every day, as Petito informs me, besides kitchen boys, and what 

» Fact. 



104 THE ABSENTEE. 

they call c^ar- women, who never sit down, but who do not eat or 
waste the less for that ; and retainers and friends, friends to the 
fifth and sixth generation, who * must get their bit and their 
sup ;' for ' sure, it's only Biddy,* they say ;" continued Lady Dash- 
fort, imitating their Irish brogue. "And *sure, 'tis nothing at all, 
out of all his honour my lord has. How could he feel it ' ?— Long 
life to him ! — He's not that way : not a couple in all Ireland, and . 
that's saying a great dale, looks less after their own, nor is more 
off-handeder, or open-hearteder, or greater openhouse-keeper, 
nor^ my Lord and my Lady Killpatrick.' Now there's encourage- 
ment for a lord and a lady to ruin themselves." 

Lady Dashfort imitated the Irish brogue in perfection ; boasted 
that " she was mistress of fourteen different brogues, and had 
brogues for all occasions." By her mixture of mimicry, sarcasm, 
exaggeration, and truth, she succeeded continually in making 
Lord Colambre laugh at every thing at which she wished to 
make him laugh ; at every thing, but not at every body: when- 
ever she became personal, he became serious, or at least 
endeavoured to become serious ; and if he could not instantly 
resume the command of his risible muscles, he reproached 
himself. 

" It is shameful to laugh at these people, indeed, Lady 
Dashfort, in their own house — these hospitable people, who are 
entertaining us." 

" Entertaining us ! true, and if we are entertained^ how can 
we help laughing ?" 

All expostulation was thus turned off by a jest, as it was her 
pride to make Lord Colambre laugh in spite of his better feelings 
and principles. This he saw, and this seemed to him to be her 
sole object; but there he was mistaken. Off-handed as she 
pretended to be, none dealt more in the impromptu ftUt a hitir; 
and, mentally short-sighted as she affected to be, none had more 
longanimity for their own interest 

It was her settled purpose to make the Irish and Ireland 
ridiculous and contemptible to Lord Colambre ; to disgust hun 
with his native country; to make him abandon the wish of 
residing on his own estate. To confirm him an absentee was 

2 Feel it, become sensible of it, know It. a ^^^^ tKim^ 



TBE ABSENTEE. 105 

her object, previously to her ultimate plan of marrying him to 
her daughter. Her daughter was poor, she would therefore be 
glad to get an Irish peer for her ; but would be very sorry, she 
said, to see Isabel banished to Ireland ; and the young widow 
declared she could never bring herself to be buried alive in 
Clonbrony Castle. 

In addition to these considerations. Lady Dashfort received 
certain hints from Mrs. Petito, which worked all to the same 
point. 

<* Why, yes, my lady ; I heard a great deal about all that, 
when I was at Lady Clonbrony 's," said Petito, one day, as she 
was attending at her lady's toilette, and encouraged to begin 
chattering. <* And I own I was originally under the universal 
error that my Lord Colambre was to be married to the great 
heiress. Miss Broadhurst ; but I have been converted and 
reformed on that score, and am at present quite in another way 
of thinking." 

Petito paused, in hopes that her lady would ask what was h^r 
present way of thinking ? But Lady Dashfort, certain that she 
would tell her without being asked, did not take the trouble to 
speak, particularly as she did not choose to appear violently 
interested on the subject. 

" My present way of thinking," resumed Petito, " is in 
consequence of my having, with my own eyes and ears, witnessed 
and overheard his lordship's behaviour and words, the morning 
he was coming away from Lunnun for Ireland ; when he was 
morally certain nobody was up, nor overhearing nor overseeing 
him, there did I notice him, my lady, stopping in the ante- 
chamber, ejaculating over one of Miss Nugent 's gloves, which 
be had picked up. 'Limerick!' said he, quite loud enough to 
bimself ; for it was a Limerick glove, my lady — * Limerick ! — 
iear Ireland ! she loves you as well as I do !' — or words to that 
effect ; and then a sigh, and down stairs and off. So, thinks I, 
aow the cat's out of the bag. And I wouldn't give much 
cnyself for Miss Broadhurst's chance of that young lord, with all 
ber Bank stock, scrip, and omnum. Now, I see how the land 
lies, and I'm sorry for it ; for she's no fartin ; and she's so 
proud, she never said a hint to me of the matter : but my Lord 
Colambre is a sweet gentleman ; and — -" 



106 THE ABBBMTEE. 

** Petito ! don't nm on so ; you must not meddle with wiufc 
you don't understand: the Miss Killpatricksy to be nm, an 
sweet girls, particularly the youngest" 

Her ladyship's toilette was finished; and she left Petito togs 
down to my Lady Killpatrick's woman, to tell, as a very gmt 
secret, the schemes that were in contemplation, among the hig^ 
powers, in favour of the youngest of the Miss Killpatricks. 

*^ So Ireland is at the bottom of his heart, is it?" repeated Lady 
Dashfort to herself: " it shall not be long so.** 

From this time forward, not a day, scarcely an hour passed, 
but her ladyship did or said something to depreciate the countxj, 
or its inhabitants, in our hero's estimation. With treacherooi 
ability, she knew and followed all the arts of misrepresentation ; 
all those injurious arts which his friend. Sir James Brooke, btd, 
with such honest indignation, reprobated. She knew how, not 
only to seize the ridiculous points, to make the most respect- 
able people ridiculous, but she knew how to select the wont 
instances, the worst exceptions; and to produce them as 
examples, as precedents, from which to condemn whole dassei, 
and establish general false conclusions respecting a nation. 

In the neighbourhood of Killpatrick*s-town, Lady Dashfort 
said, there were several squireens j or little squires ; a race of men 
who have succeeded to the buckeens, described by Young and 
Crumpe. Squireens are persons who, with good long leases, or 
valuable farms, possess incomes from three to eight hundred a 
year, who keep a pack of hounds ; tcike out a commission of the 
peace, sometimes before they can spell (as her ladyship said), 
and almost always before they know any thing of law or justice. 
Busy and loud about small matters ; jobbers at auixes ; com- 
bining with one another, and trying upon every occasion, public 
t)r private, to push themselves forward, to the annoyance of their 
superiors, and the terror of those below them. 

In the usual course of things, these men are not often to be 
found in the society of gentry except, perhaps, among those 
gentlemen or noblemen who like to see hangers-on at their 
tables : or who find it for their convenience to have underling 
magistrates, to protect their favourites, or to propose and carry 
jobs for them on grand juries. At election times, however, 
these persons rise into sudden importance with all who 



THE ABWNTBE. lOT 

have views upon the county. Lady Dashfort hinted to Lord 
Killpatrick, that her private letters from England spoke of an 
approaching disaohxtion of parliament : she knew that, upon 
this hint, a round of invitations would be sent to the squireens ; 
nid she was morally certain that they would be more disagreeable 
to Lord Colamhre, and give him a worse idea of the country, 
I tluin any other people who could be produced. Day after day 
' lome of these personages made their appearance ; and Lady Dash- 
fort took care to draw them out upon the subjects on which she 
knew that they would show the most self-sufficient ignorance, 
and the most illiberal spirit. They succeeded beyond her most 
sanguine expectations. 

"Lord Colamhre! how I pity you, for being compelled to 
these permanent sittings after dinner!" said Lady Isabel to him 
one night, when he came late to the ladies from the dining-room. 
" Lord Killpatrick insisted upon my staying to help him to 
' push about that never-ending, still-beginning electioneering 
I bottle," said Lord Colamhre. 

" Oh ! if that were all ; if these gentlemen would only drink : 
j —but their conversation !" 

, "I don't wonder my mother dreads returning to Clonbrony 
C&stle, if my father must have such company as this. But, surely, 
it cannot be necessary." 

"Oh, indispensable! positively indispensable!" cried Lady 
Dashfort ; " no living in Ireland without it. You know, in every 
f country in the world, you must live with the people of the 

(country, or be torn to pieces : for my part, I should prefer being 
torn to pieces." 

I Lady Dashfort and Lady Isabel knew how to take advantage 
of the contrast between their own conversation, and that of the 
persons by whom Lord Colamhre was so justly disgusted : they 

f happily relieved his fatigue with wit, satire, poetry, and senti- 
ment ; so that he every day became more exclusively fond of 
their company ; for Lady Killpatrick and the Miss Killpatricks were 
mere commonplace people. In the mornings, he rode or walked 
with Lady Dashfort and Lady Isabel : Lady Dashfort, by way 
of fulfilling her promise of showing him the people, used fre- 
quently to take him into the cabins, and talk to their inhabitants. 
Lord and Lady Killpatrick, who bad lived always for t\ie iasXvvoxi- 



108 THE ABSENTEE. 

able world, had taken little pains to improve the condition d 
their tenants : the few attempts they had made were injudicious. 
They had built ornamented, picturesque cottages, vrithin view 
of their park; and favourite followers of the family, people 
with half a century's habit of indolence and dirt, were promoted 
to these fine dwellings. The consequences were such as Lady 
Dashfort delighted to point out : every thing let to go to rain 
for the want of a moment's care, or pulled to pieces for the sake 
of the most surreptitious profit : the people most assisted alwayi 
appearing proportionally wretched and discontented. No one 
could, with more ease and more knowledge of her ground, than 
Lady Dashfort, do the dishonours of a country. In every ctbio 
that she entered, by the first glance of her eye at the head, 
kerchiefed in no comely guise, or by the drawnndown corners fi 
the mouth, or by the bit of a broken pipe, which in Ireland 
never characterizes stout labour, or by the first sound of the 
voice, the drawling accent on " your honour," or, "my lady," 
she could distinguish the proper objects of her charitable designs, 
that is to say, those of the old uneducated race, whom no one 
can help, because they will never help themselves. To these she 
constantly addressed herself, making them give, in all their 
despairing tones, a history of their complaints and grievances; 
then asking them questions, aptly contrived to expose their 
habits of self-contradiction, their servility and flattery one 
moment, and their litigious and encroaching spirit the next: thus 
giving Lord Colambre the most unfavourable idea of the dis- 
position and character of the lower class of the Irish people. 
Lady Isabel the while standing by, with the most amiable air of 
pity, with expressions of the finest moral sensibility, softening 
all her mother said, finding ever some excuse for the poor 
creatures, and following, with angelic sweetness, to heal the 
wounds her mother inflicted. 

When Lady Dashfort thought she had sufficiently worked | 
upon Lord Colambre 's mind to weaken his enthusiasm for his ' 
native country ; and when Lady Isabel had, by the appearance 
of every virtue, added to a delicate preference, if not partiality ' 
for our hero, ingratiated herself into his good opinion, and 
obtained an interest in his mind, the wily mother ventured an 
attack of a more decisive nature ; and so contrived it was, that, 



THE ABSENTEE. 109 

if it failed, it should appear to have been made without design 
to injure, and in total ignorance. 

• One day, Lady Dashfort, who, in fact, was not proud of her 
family, though she pretended to be so, was herself prevailed on, 
though with much difficulty, by Lady Killpatrick, to do the very 
thing she wanted to do, to show her genealogy, which had been 
beautifully blazoned, and which was to be produced in evidence 
in the lawsuit that brought her to Ireland. Lord Colambre 
stood politely looking on and listening, while her ladyship 
explained the splendid intermarriages of her family, pointing to 
each medallion that was filled gloriously with noble, and even 
with royal names, till at last she stopped short, and covering one 
medallion with her finger, she said, " Pass over that, dear Lady 
Killpatrick. You are not to see that, Lord Colambre — that's a 
little blot in our scutcheon. You know, Isabel, we never talk of 
that prudent match of great uncle John's : what could he expect 
by marrying into that family, where, you know, all the men 
were not sanspeur, and none of the women sans reproche ?" 

"Oh, mamma!" cried Lady Isabel, **not one exception !" 

"Not one, Isabel," persisted Lady Dashfort: 'Hhere was 

Lady , and the other sister, that married the man with the 

long nose ; and the daughter again, of whom they contrived to 
make an honest woman, by getting her married in time to a blue 
rUtand, and who contrived to get herself into Doctors' Commons 
the very next year." 

" Well, dear mamma, that is enough, and too much. Oh I 
pray don't go on," cried Lady Isabel, who had appeared very 
much distressed during her mother's speech. " You don't know 
what you are saying : indeed, ma'am, you don't." 

" Very likely, child ; but that compliment I can return to you 
on the spot, and with inter^t; for you seem to me, at this 
instant, not to know either what you are saying, or what you 
aie doing. Come, come, explain." 

" Oh, no, ma'am — Pray say no more ; I will explain myself 
another time." 

" Nay, there you are wrong, Isabel ; in point of good- 
breeding, any thing is better than hints and mystery. Since I 
have been so unlucky as to touch upon the subject, better go 
tfmnigh with it, and, with all the boldness of innocenee, \ &<^ 



110 THE ABSENTEE. 

the question, Are you, my Lord Colambre, or are you oo^ 
related to or connected with any of the St Omars ?" 

**Not that I know of," said Lord Colambre ; *< but I really 
am so bad a genealogist, that I cannot answer positively." 

*' Then 1 must put the substance of my question into a new 
form. Have you, or have you not, a cousiu of the name<tf 
Nugent?" 

" Miss Nugent ! — Grace Nugent ! — Yes," said Lord Colambre, 
with as much firmness of voice as he could command, and with 
as little change of countenance as possible ; but, as the question 
came upon him so unexpectedly, it was not in his power to 
answer with an air of absolute indifference and composure. 

" And her mother was " said Lady Dashfort. 

*' My aunt, by marriage ; her maiden name was Reynoldiy I 
think. But she died when I was quite a child. I know veiy 
little about her. 1 never saw her in my life ; but 1 am certain 
she was a Reynolds." 

"Oh, my dear lord," continued Lady Dashfort; "I am 
perfectly aware that she did take and bear the name of 
Reynolds ; but that was not her maiden name — ^her maiden 

name was ; but perhaps it is a family secret that has been 

kept, for some good reason, from you, and from the poor giii 
herself; the maiden name was St. Omar, depend upon it. Nay, 
1 would not have told this to you, my lord, if I could have con- 
ceived that it would affect you so violently," pursued Lady 
Dashfort, in a tone of raillery ; " you see you are no worse off 
than we are. We have an intermarriage with the St Oman. 
I did not think you would be so much shocked at a discovery, 
which proves that 6va family and yours have some littie 
connexion." 

Lord Colambre endeavoured to answer, and mechanically said 
something about " happy to have the honour." Lady Dashfort, 
truly happy to see that her blow had hit the mark so well, 
turned from his lordship without seeming to observe how 
seriously he was affected ; and Lady Isabel sighed, and looked 
with compassion on Lord Colambre, and then reproachfully at 
her mother. But Lord Colambre heeded not her looks, and 
heard none of her sighs ; he heard nothing, saw nothing, though 
his eyes were intently fixed on the genealogy, on which Lady 



THE ABSENTEE. ll| 

Dashfort was still descanting to Lady Killpatrick. He took the 
first opportunity he could of quitting the room, and went out to 
take a solitary walk. 

" There he is, departed, hut not in peace, to reflect upon what 
has been said,'' whispered Lady Dashfort to her daughter. " I 
hope it will do him a vast deal of good." 

" None of the women sans reproche ! None ! — without one 
exception/' said Lord Colambre to himself; "and Grace 
Nogent's mother a St. Omar ! — Is it possible ? Lady Dashfort 
leems certain. She could not assert a positive falsehood — ^no 
motive. She does not know that Miss Nugent is the person to 
whom I am attached — she spoke at random. And I have heard 
it first from a stranger, — ^not from my mother. Why was it kept 
secret from me ? Now I understand the reason why my mother 
eyidendy never wished that I should think of Miss Nugent — 
why she always spoke so vehemently against the marriages of 
relations, of cousins. Why not tell me the truth ? It would 
have had the strongest efiect, had she known my mind." 

Lord Colambre had the greatest dread of marrying any woman 
whose mother had conducted herself ill. His reason, his pre- 
judices, his pride, his delicacy, and even his limited experience 
were all against it. All his hopes, his plans of future happiness, 
were shaken to their very foundation ; he felt as if he had 
received a blow that stunned his mind, and from which he could 
not recover his facilities. The whole of that day he was like 
one in a dream. At night the painful idea continually recurred 
to him ; and whenever he was fallen asleep, the sound of Lady 
Dashfort'fl voice returned upon his ear, saying the words, " What 
eorid he expect when he married one of the St. Omars ? None 
ef Ae women sans reproche," 

In the morning he rose early ; and the first thing he did was 

to write a letter to his mother, requesting (unless there was 

* some important reason for her declining to answer the question) 

' ^at she would immediately relieve his mind from a great uneasi- 

iness (he altered tlie word four times, but at last left it uneasiness). 
He stated what he had heard, and besought his mother to tell 
inm the whole truth without reserve. 



113 THE ABSENTEE. 



CHAPTER VIII. 



One morning Lady Dashfort bad formed an ingenious scheme 
for leaving Lady Isabel and Lord Colambre tete-a-tete ; but the 
sudden entrance of Heathcock disconcerted her intentions. He 
came to beg Lady Dasbfort's, interest with Count O'HalloraD, 
for permission to hunt and shoot on his grounds next season.-- 
" Not for myself, 'pon honour, but for two officers who are 
quartered at the next toton here, who will indubitably hang or 
drown themselves if they are debarred from sporting." 

"Who is this Count O'Halloran ?" said Lord Colambre. 

Miss White, Lady Killpatrick's companion, said, '* he was i 
great oddity;" Lady Dashfort, "that he was singular;" and 
the clergyman of the parish, who was at breakfast, dedaied 
" that he was a man of uncommon knowledge, merit, and polite- 
ness." 

" All I know of him," said Heathcock, " is, that he is a great 
sportsman, with a long queue, a gold-laced hat, and long skirts 
to a laced waistcoat" 

Lord Colambre expressed a wish to see this extraordinatj 
personage ; and Lady Dashfort, to cover her former design, and, 
perhaps thinking absence might be as effectual as too much 
propinquity, immediately offered to call upon the officers in 
their way, and carry them with Heathcock and Lord Colambre 
tfi Halloran Castle. 

Lady Isabel retired with much mortification, but with becom* 
ing grace; and Major Benson and Captain Williamson were 
taken to the count's. Major Benson, who was a famous «^, 
took his seat on the box of the barouche ; and the rest of the 
party had the pleasure of her ladyship's conversation for three 
or four miles : of her ladyship's conversation — ^for Lord Co- 
lambre's thoughts were far distant ; Captain Williamson had not 
any thing to say ; and Heathcock nothing but '< Eh ! relly 
now ! — 'pon honour !" 

They arrived at Halloran Castle — a fine old building, part of 
it in ruins, and part repaired with great judgment and taste. 
When the carriage stopped, a respectable-looking man-servant 
appeared on the steps, at the open hall-door. 



THE ABSENTEE. 113 

Count O'Halloran was out fishing ; but his servant said that 
he would be at home immediately, if Lady Dashfort and the 
5;entlemen would be pleased to walk in. 

On one side of the lofty and spacious hall stood the skeleton of 
m elk ; on the other side, the perfect skeleton of a moose-deer, 
nrhich, as the servant said, his master had made out, with great 
zare, from the different bones of many of this curious species of 
leer, found in the lakes in the neighbourhood. The leash of 
>fficer8 witnessed their wonder with sundry strange oaths and 
exclamations. — "Eh! *pon honour — re'lly now!" said Heath- 
sock ; and, too genteel to wonder at or admire any thing in the 
:reation, dragged out his watch with some difficulty, saying, " I 
vronder now whether they are likely to think of giving us any 
hing to eat in this place ?" And, turning his back upon the 
noose-deer, he straight walked out again upon the steps, called 
o his groom, and began to make some inquiry about his led 
lorse. Lord Colambre surveyed the prodigious skeletons with 
ational curiosity, and with that sense of awe and admiration, by 
khich a superior mind is always struck on beholding any of the 
^eat works of Providence. 

"Ck)me, my dear lord!" said Lady Dashfort; "with our 
ublime sensations, we are keeping my old friend, Mr. Ulick 
kady, this venerable person, waiting to show us into the recep- 
ion-room." 

The servant bowed respectfully — more respectfully than 
ervants of modem date. 

" My lady, the reception-room has been lately painted, — the 
mell of paint may be disagreeable ; with your leave, I will take 
lie liberty of showing you into my master's study." 

He opened the door, went in before her, and stood holding up 
is finger, as if making a signal of silence to some one within. 
ler ladyship entered, and found herself in the midst of an odd 
ssembly : an eagle, a goat, a dog, an otter, several gold and 
liver fish in a glass globe, and a white mouse in a cage. The 
agle, quick of eye but quiet of demeanour, was perched upon 
is stand ; the otter lay under the table, perfectly harmless ; the 
ingora goat, a beautiful and remarkably little creature of its 
ind, with long, curling, silky hair, was walking about the room 

Fashionable Life, i 



114 THE AfiSENTBB. 

with the air of a beauty and a favourite ; the dog, a t^ Ituh 
greyhound— one of the few of that fine race, which it now 
almost extinct — had been given to Count O'Halloran by a 
Irish nobleman, a relation of Lady Dashfort's. This do^ vho 
had formerly known her ladyship, looked at her with ean end^ 
recognized her, and went to meet her the moment the entered. 
The servant answered for the peaceable behaviour of all the rat 
of the company of animals, and retired. Lady Dashfort b^an 
to feed the eagle from a silver plate on his stand ; Lord Co- 
lambre examined the inscription on his collar ; the other men 
stood in amaze. Heathcock, who came in last, astonished out 
of his constant " Eh ! re*lly now !" ^e moment he put himseif 
in at the door, exclaimed, *' Zounds I what's all this lire 
lumber?" and he stumbled over the goat, who was at thst 
moment crossing the way. The colonel's spur caught in the 
goat's curly beard ; the colonel shook his foot, and entangled 
the spur worse and worse ; the goat struggled and butted ; the 
colonel skated forward on the polished oak floor, balancing him' 
self with outstretched arms. 

The indignant eagle screamed, and, passing by, perched on 
Heathcock 's shoulders. Too well bred to have recoune to the 
terrors of his beak, he scrupled not to scream, and flap hit 
wings about the colonel's ears. Lady Dashfort, the while, 
threw herself back in her chair, laughing, and begging Heath- 
cock's pardon. '<0h, take care of the dog, my dear colonel!" 
cried she ; *' for this kind of dog seizes his enemy by the back, 
and shakes him to death." The officers, holding their sides, 
laughed and begged — ^no pardon ; while Lord Colambre, the 
only person who was not absolutely incapacitated, tried to 
disentangle the spur, and to liberate the colonel from the goat, 
and the goat from the colonel ; an attempt in which he at last 
succeeded, at the expense of a considerable portion of the goat's 
beard. The eagle, however, still kept his place ; and, yet 
mindful of the wrongs of his insulted friend the goat, had 
stretched his wings to give another bufiet. Count O'HallofiB 
entered ; and the bird, quitting his prey, flew down to greet hit i 
master. The count was a fine old miHtary-looking gentbman, 
fresh from fishing : his fishing accoutrements hanging carelevly | 



THK AB8BNTBB. 115 

about him, he advanced, unembarrassed, to Lady Dashfort ; and 
received his other guests with a mixture of ndlitary ease and 
gentlemanlike dignity. 

Without adverting to the awkward and ridiculous situation in 
which he had found poor Heathcock, he apologized in general 
for his troublesome favourites. " For one of them," said he, 
patting the head of the dog, which lay quiet at Lady Dashfort's 
feet, << I see I have no need to apologize ; he is where he ought 
to be. Poor fellow I he has never lost his taste for the good 
company to which he was early accustomed. As to the rest," 
said he, turning to Lady Dashfort, **a, mouse, a bird, and a 
fish, are, you know, tribute from earth, air, and water, to a 
conqueror — " 

'< But from no barbarous Scythian !" said Lord Colambre, 
smiling. The count looked at Lord Colambre, as at a person 
worthy his attention ; but his first care was to keep the peace 
between his loving subjects and his foreign visitors. It was 
difficult to dislodge the old settlers, to make room for the new 
comers : but he adjusted these things with admirable facility ; 
and, with a master's hand and master's eye, compelled each 
favourite to retreat into the back settlements. With becoming 
attention, he stroked and kept quiet old Victor}', his eagle, who 
eyed Colonel Heathcock still, as if he did not like him ; and 
whom the colonel eyed as if he wished his neck fairly wrung off. 
The little goat had nestled himself close up to his liberator. Lord 
Colambre, and lay perfectly quiet, with his eyes closed, going 
very wisely to sleep, and submitting philosophically to the loss 
of one half of his beard. Conversation now commenced, and 
was carried on by Count O'Halloran with much ability and 
spirit, and with such quickness of discrimination and delicacy of 
taste, as quite surprised and delighted our hero. To the lady 
the count's attention was first directed : he listened to her as she 
spoke, bending with an air of deference and devotion. She 
made her request for permission for Major Benson and Captain 
Williamson to hunt and shoot in his grounds next season : this 
was instantly granted. 

Her ladyship's requests were to him commands, the coimt 
said.--^His gamekeeper should be instructed to give the gentle- 
Qien, her Mends, every liberty, and all possible assistance^- 

I 2 



116 TBS ABSSSTBB. 

nmi, tammg to die officen, be nid, he had jnrt heard tluit 
MTeral regiments of Engliih militiA had lately landed in Ireland; 
that one regiment was arrired at Killpatfick'a-town. He rejoieed 
in the advantages Ireland, and he hoped he might be permitted 
to add, England, would probablj deriTe from the exchange of 
the militia of both countries : habits would be improyed, ideii 
enlarged. The two countries have the same interest ; and, from 
the inhabitants discovering more of each other's good qualities^ 
and interchanging little good offices in common life, their esteem 
and affection for each other would increaaCy and rest upon die 
firm basis of mutual utility. 

To all this Major Benson answered only, ** We are not militia 
officers." 

'* The major looks so like a stnfl^ man of straw," whispered 
Lady Dashfort to Lord Colambre, " and the <^p«^'n so like die 
king of spades, putting forth one manly 1^." 

Count O'Halloran now turned the conversation to field sportSi 
and then the captain and major opened at once. 

"Pray now, sir," said Ae major, "you fox-hunt. in this 
country, I suppose ; and now do you manage the thing here as 
we do ? Over night, you know, before the hunt, when the fox 
is out, stopping up the earths of the cover we inean to draw, and 
all the rest for four miles round. Next morning we assemble at 
the cover's side, and the huntsman throws in the hounds. Hie 
gossip here is no small part of the entertainment : but aa soon 
aa we hear the hounds give tongue " 

"The favourite hounds,*' interposed Williamson. 

"The favourite hounds, to be sure," continued Benson: 
" there is a dead silence till pug is well out of cover, and the 
whole pack well in : then cheer the hounds with tally-ho ! till 
your lungs crack. Away he goes in gallant style, and the whole 
field is hard up, till pug takes a stiff country : then they who 
haven't pluck lag, see no more of him, and, with a fine blaiiDg 
scent, there are but few of us in at the death." 

" Well, we are fairly in at the death, I hope," said Lady 
Dashfort: "I was thrown out sadly at one time in die 
chase." 

Lord Colambre, with the count's permission, took np a book 
in which the count's pencQ lay, " Pasley on the Military Folicy 



I 



THE ABSENTEE. 117 

Britain ;" it was marked with many notes of admiration, 
t hands pointing to remarkable passages, 
t is a book that leaves a strong impression on the mind/' 
count. 

Colambre read one of the marked passages, beginning 
Ul that distinguishes a soldier in outward appearance 
itizen is so trifling ** but at this instant our hero's 

I was distracted by seeing in a black-letter book this title 
)ter : " Burial-place of the Nugents." 

r now, sir," said Captain Williamson, " if I don't inter- 
, as you are a fisherman too ; now in Ireland do you, 

rt pinch on his elbow from his major, who stood behind 
>ped the captain short, as he pronounced the word Mr, 
awkward people, he turned directly to ask, by his looks, 
i the matter. 

ajor took advantage of his discomfiture, and, stepping 
ni, determined to have the fishing to himself, and went 
** Count O'Halloran, I presume you understand fishing, 
ell as hunting?" 

►unt bowed : " I do not presume to say that, sir." 
prky, count, in this country, do you arm your hook this 
jive me leave;" taking the whip from Williamson's 
hand, ** this ways, laying the outermost part of your 
his fashion next to your hook, and the point next to 
nk, this wise, and that wise ; and then, sir, — count, you 
hackle of a cock's neck " 
over's topping's better," said Williamson, 
work your gold and silver thread," pursued Benson, 
our wings, and when your head's made, you fasten all." 
you never showed how your head's made," interrupted 
on. 

gentleman knows how a head's made ; any man can 
ead, I suppose : so, sir, you fasten all." 

II never get your head fast on that way, while the 
nds," cried Williamson. 

enough for all purposes; I'll bet you a rump and 
iptain : and then, sir,— count, you divide yoiu: wings 
edle." 



118 



THE ABSSNTBB. 



" A pin's point will do," said Williamson. 

The count, to reconcile matters, produced from an Indiu 
cabinet, which he had opened for Lady Dashfort'a inspection, a 
little basket containing a variety of artificial flies of curious con- 
struction, which, as he spread them on the table, made William- 
Bon and Benson's eyes almost sparkle with delight. Hiere was 
the dun-fly y for the month of March ; and the Hone-fly^ much in 
vogue for April ; and the ruddy-fliyy of red wool, black silk, and 
red capon's feathers. 

Lord Colambre, whose head was in the burial-place of the 
Nugents, wished them all at the bottom of the sea. 

"And the green-fly, and the moorishrfly !'* cried Benson, 
snatching them up with transport ; " and, chief, the sad-yeUmp- 
fly^ in which the fish delight in June ; the sad-yeUow-flyf made 
with the buzzard's wings, bound with black braked hemp, and 
the shellfly, for the middle of July, made of greenish wool, 
wrapped about with the herle of a peacock's tail, famous for 
creating excellent sport." All these and more were spread iqpon 
the table before the sportsmen's wondering eyes. 

" Capital flies ! capital, faith I" cried Williamson. 

"Treasures, faith, real treasures, by G — I" cried Ben- 
son. 

"Eh I *pon honour! re'lly now," were the first words which 
Hcathcock had uttered since his battle ¥dth the goat. 

"My dear Heathcock, are you alive still?" said Lady Dash- 
fort : " I had really forgotten your existence.*' 

So had Count O'Halloran, but he did not say so. 

" Your ladyship has the advantage of me there," said Heath- 
cock, stretching himself; "I wish I could forget my existence, 
for, in my mind, existence is a horrible bore.*' 

" I thought you was a sportsman,'* said Williamsom 

"Well, sir?" 

" And a fisherman ?" 

" Well, sir ?" 

" Why look you there, sir," pointing to the flies, " and teU a 
body life's a bore." 

"One can't always fish or shoot, I apprehend^ sir," said 
Heathcock. 

"Not always — ^but sometimes," said Williamson, laughing; 



THB AB8ENTBE. 119 

for I suspeet shrewdly you've forgot some of your sporting in 
k>nd-8treet." 

** Eh ! 'pon honour! re*lly now!" said the colonel, retreating 
gain to his safe entrenchment of affectation, from which he 
ever could venture without imminent danger. 

** 'Pon honour," cried Lady Dashfort, " I can swear for 
leathcock, that I have eaten excellent hares and ducks of his 
hooting, which, to my knowledge," added she, in a loud whis- 
•erj "he bought in the market." 

'*Emptum aprumT said Lord Colambre to the count, without 
langer of being understood by those whom it concerned. 

The count smiled a second time; but politely turning the 
ttention of the company from the unfortunate colonel, by ad- 
iressing himself to the laughing sportsmen, " Gentlemen, you 
eem to value these," said he, sweeping the artificial flies from 
he table into the little basket from which they had been taken ; 
^ would you do me the honour to accept of them ? They are all 
f my own making, and consequently of Irish manufacture." 
Then, ringing the bell, he asked Lady Dashfort's permission to 
lave the basket put into her carriage. 

Benson and Williamson followed the servant, to prevent them 
rom being tossed into the boot Heathcock stood still in the 
fiiddle of the room, taking snuff*. 

Count O'Halloran turned from him to Lord Colambre, who 
ad just got happily to the burial-place of the Nttgents, when 
iddy Dashfort, coming between them, and spying the title of 
he chapter, exclaimed, " What have you there ? — ^Antiquities ! 
ly delight !— ^but I never look at engravings when I can see 
ealities." 

Lord Colambre was then compelled to follow, as she led the 
ray, into the hall, where the count took down golden ornaments, 
nd brass-headed spears, and jointed horns of curious workman- 
liip, that had been found on his estate ; and he told of sperma^ 
eti wrapped in carpets, and he showed small urns, enclosing 
shes ; and from among these urns he selected one, which he 
ut into the hands of Lord Colambre, telling him, that it had 
een lately found in an old abbey-ground in his neighboiurhood, 
hich had been the burial-place of some of the Nugent family. 

<' I was just looking at the account of it, in the book which 



120 THE ABSBMTEB. 

you saw open on my table. — And as you seem to take an intereit 
in that family, my lord, perhaps," said the count, ''yon may 
think this urn worth your acceptance." 

Lord Colambre said, " It would be bighly valuable to him— as 
the Nugents were his near relations." 

Lady Dashfort little expected this blow; she, howcTer, 
carried him off to the moose-deer, and from moose-deer to round- 
towers, to various architectural antiquities, and to the real and 
fabulous history of Ireland, on all which the count spoke with 
learning and enthusiasm. But now, to Colonel Heathcock's 
great joy and relief, a handsome collation appeared in the 
dining-room, of which Ulick opened the folding-doors. 

*' Count, you have made an excellent house of your castle," 
said Lady Dashfort. 

" It will be, when it is finished," said the count. '' I am 
afraid," added he, smiling, " I live like many other Irish gentle- 
men, who never are, but always to be, blessed with a good house. 
I began on too large a scale, and can never hope to live to finish 
it" 

" Ton honour ! here's a good thing, which I hope we shall 
live to finish," said Heathcock, sitting down before the collation ,* 
and heartily did he eat of eel-pie, and of Irish ortolans \ which, 
as Lady Dashfort observed, *'afibrded him indenmity for the 
past, and security for the future." 



^ As it may be satisfactory to a large portion of the public, and to all 
men of taste, the editor subjoins the following account of the Irish ortolan, 
which will convince the world that this bird is not in the claas of tabtdons 
animals : 

"There is a small bird, which is said to be pecnliar to the Blasqnrt 
Islands, called by the Irish, Gonrder, the English name of which I am at a 
loss for, nor do I find it mentioned by naturalists. It is somewhat larger 
than a sparrow ; the feathers of the back are dark, and those of the belly are 
white ; the bill is straight, short, and thick ; and it is web-footed : they are 
almost one lump of fat ; when roasted, of a most delicious taste, and are 
reckoned to exceed an ortolan ; for which reason the gentry hereaboats call 
them the Irish Ortolan, These birds are worthy of being transmitted a 
great way to market; for ortolans, it is well known, are brought from 
France to supply the markets of London.**— See Smithes Account of the 
County of Kerry, p. 186. 



THB AB8BNTBB. 121 

[ "Ebl re'lly nowl your Irish ortolans are famous good 
■ eating," said Heathcock. 

" Worth being quartered in Ireland, faith ! to taste 'em," said 
Benson. 

The count recommended to Lady Dashfort some of *<that 
delicate sweetmeat, the Irish plum." 

" Bless me, sir, — count 1" cried Williamson, " it's by far the best 
thing of the kind I ever tasted in all my life : where could you 
get this ?" 

*' In Dublin, at my dear Mrs. Godey's ; where on/y, in his 
majesty's dominions, it is to be had," said the count 

The whole vanished in a few seconds. 

" 'Pon honour ! I do believe this is the thing the queen's so 
fond of," said Heathcock. 

Then heartily did he drink of the count's excellent Hungarian 
wines ; and, by the common bond of sympathy between those 
who have no other tastes but eating and drinking, the colonel, 
the major, and the captain, were now all the best companions 
possible for one another. 

Whilst "they prolonged the rich repast," Lady Dashfort and 
Lord Colambre went to the window to admire the prospect: 
Lady Dashfort asked the count the name of some distant hill. 

** Ah !" said the count, " that hill was once covered with fine 
wood ; but it was all cut down two years ago." 

" Who could have been so cruel ?" said her ladyship. 

"I forget the present proprietor's name," said the count; 
*' but he is one of those who, according to the clause of distress in 
their leases, lead, drive^ and carry away, but never enter their 
lands ; one of those enemies to Ireland — those cruel absentees !" 

Lady Dashfort looked through her glass at the mountain : — 
Lord Colambre sighed, and, endeavouring to pass it off with a 
smile, said frankly to the count, " You are not aware, I am sure, 
count, that you are speaking to the son of an Irish absentee 
family. Nay, do not be shocked, my dear sir ; I tell you only 
because I thought it fair to do so : but let me assure you, that 
nothing you could say on that subject could hurt me personally, 
because I feel that I am not, that I never can be, an enemy to 
Ireland. An absentee, voluntarily, I never yet have been ; and 
as to the future, I declare " 



122 TBI A»»IITB|B« 

"I declare yon know nothing of the -future," intempted 
Lady Dashfort, in a half peremptory, half playful tone— *' jo^ 
know nothing : make no rash vovrs, and you will break none." 

llie undamited assurance of Lady Dashfort's genius fiff 
intrigue gave her an air of frank imprudence, which prevented 
Lord Colambre from suspecting that more was meant than met 
the ear. The count and he took leave of one another widi 
mutual regard ; and Lady Dashfort rejoiced to have got our boo 
out of Halloran CasUe. 



CHAPTER IX. 



Lord Colambre had waited with great impatience for aa 
answer to the letter of inquiry which he had written about Mill 
Nugent's mother. A letter from Lady Clonbrony arrived : he 
opened it with the greatest eagerness — ^passed over ** Rheumatism 
-—warm weather — warm bath — Buxton balls — Miss Broadhurst 
-^yova friend, Sir Arthur Berry 1, very assiduous I" The name of 
Grace Nugent he found at last, and read as follows :— 

** Her mother's maiden name was St. Omar; and there was s 
finixpas, certainly. She was, I am told, (for it was before my time,) 
educated at a convent abroad ; and there was an a£bir with s 
Captain Reynolds, a young officer, which her friends were 
obliged to hush up. She brought an infant to England with 
her, and took the name of Reynolds— but none of that family 
would acknowledge her : and she lived in great obscurity, till 
your Uncle Nugent saw, fell in love with her, and (knowing 
her whole history) married her. He adopted the child, 
gave her his name, and, after some years, the whole story was 
forgotten. Nothing could be more disadvantageous to Grace 
than to have it revived : this is the reason we kept it secret." 

Lord Colambre tore the letter to bits. 

From the perturbation which Lady Dashfort saw in his 
countenance, she guessed the nature of the letter which ht had 



TBB ABSENTEE, 123 

■twen reading, and for the arrival of which he had heen so im« 

apstient 

s "It has worked!'* said she to herself. ** Pour k coup Phi^ 

Uppejetetierur 

Lord Colamhre appeared this day more sensihle than he had 
ifirer yet seemed to the channs of the fair Isabel. 

** Many a tennis-ball, and many a heart, is caught at the re- 
lx>iind," said Lady Dashfort. " Isabel ! now is your time I" 

And so it was — or so, perhaps, it would have been, but for a 
eireumstance which her ladyship, with all her genius for intrigue, 
had never taken into her consideration. Count O'Halloran 
same to return the visit which had been paid to him ; and, in 
the course of conversation, he spoke of the officers who had 
yeen introduced to him, and told Lady Dashfort that he had 
leard a report which shocked him much — ^he hoped it could 
lot be true — that one of these officers had introduced his 
mstress as his wife to Lady Onuunore, who lived in the neigh- 
bourhood. This officer, it was said, had let Lady Oranmore 
tend her carriage for this woman ; and that she had dined at 
!>ranmore with her ladyship and her daughters. " But I cannot 
relieve it I I cannot believe it to be possible, that any gentle- 
nan, that any officer could do such a thing !" said the count. 

<< And is this all?" exclaimed Lady Dashfort ** Is this all the 
errible affair, my good count, which has brought your face to 
his prodigious length?" 
The count looked at Lady Dashfort with astonishment 

** Such a look of virtuous indignation," continued she, <'did I 
leTer behold on or off the stage. Forgive me for laughing, count ; 
juty believe me, comedy goes through the world better than 
tragedy, and, take it all in all, does rather less mischief. As to 
the thing in question, I know nothing about it ; I dare say it is 
not true : but, now, suppose it were — ^it is only a silly quiz of a 
raw young officer upon a prudish old dowager. I know nothing 
about it, for my part : but, after all, what irreparable mischief 
bas been done ? Laugh at the thing, and then it is a jest — a 
bad one, perhaps, but still only a jest — and there's an end of it : 
)ut take it seriously, and there is no knowing where it might 
md — in this poor man's being broke, and in half a dozen duels, 
nay be." 



124 THE ABSBITTEB. I 

<< Of that, madam," said the count, ''Lady Oranmon's pnh l 1 
dence and presence of mind have prevented all danger. Htflkn 
ladyship would not understand the insult She said, or she acteda I \t 
if she said, * Je ne vetuc rien votr, rien Scouter, rien savoir,* l^ j ki 
Oranmore is one of the most respectahle^— — " li^ 

"Count, I heg your pardon I" interrupted Lady Dasblioiiilf 
** but I must tell you, that your favourite. Lady Oranmore, liai i \ 
behaved very ill to me ; purposely omitted to invite Isabel tD ' -> 
her ball; offended and insulted me: — ^her praises, therefore, I 
cannot be the most agreeable subject of conversation you cid I 
choose for my amusement ; and as to the rest, you, who have | 
such variety and so much politeness, will, I am sure, have tiie 
goodness to indulge my caprice in this instance." 

** I shall obey your ladyship, and be silent, whatever pleaame 
it might give me to speak on that subject," said the count; "and 
I trust Lady Dashfort will reward me by the assurance, that, 
however playfully she may have just now spoken, she seriooalj 
disapproves, and is shocked." 

** Oh, shocked ! shocked to death ! if that will satisfy yon, 
my dear count." 

The count, obviously, was not satisfied : he had civil, as well 
as military courage, and his sense uf right and wrong could stand 
against the raillery and ridicule of a fine lady. 

The conversation ended : Lady Dashfort thought it would 
have no farther consequences ; and she did not regret the lo« 
of a man like Count O'Halloran, who lived retired in his castle, 
and who could not have any influence upon the opinion of the 
fashionable world. However, upon turning from the count to 
Lord Colambre, who she thought had been occupied with Lady 
Isabel, and to whom she imagined all this dispute was unin- 
teresting, she perceived, by his countenance, that she had made 
a great mistake. Still she trusted that her power over Loid 
Colambre was sufficient easily to efface whatever unfavourable 
impression this conversation had made upon his mind. He had 
no personal interest in the affair ; and she had generally found 
that people are easily satisfied about any wrong or insult, public 
or private, in which they have no immediate concern. But all 
the charms of her conversation were now tried in vain to reclaim 
him from the reverie into which he had fallen. 



THE ABSENTEE. 125 

His friend Sir James Brooke's parting advice occurred to our 
hero : his eyes began to open to Lady Dashfort's character ; and 
he was, from this moment, freed from her power. Lady Isabel, 
however, had taken no part in all this — she was blameless ; and, 
independently of her mother, and in pretended opposition of 
sentiment, she might have continued to retain the influence she 
had gained over Lord Colambre, but that a slight accident re- 
vealed to him her real disposition. 

It happened, on the evening of this day, that Lady Isabel 
came into the library with one of the young ladies of the house, 
talking very eagerly, without perceiving Lord Colambre, who 
was sitting in one of the recesses reading. 

** My dear creature, you are quite mistaken," said Lady 
Isabel, "he was never a favourite of mine; I always detested 
him ; I only flirted with him to plague his wife. Oh, that wife I 
my dear Elizabeth, I do hate," cried she, clasping her hands, 
and expressing hatred with all her soul, and with all her strength. 
** I detest that Lady de Cressy to such a degree, that, to 
purchase the pleasure of making her feel the pangs of jealousy 
for one hour, look, I would this moment lay down this finger and 
let it be cut ofi*." 

The face, the whole figure of Lady Isabel, at this moment, 
appeared to Lord Colambre suddenly metamorphosed ; instead 
of the soft, gentle, amiable female, all sweet charity and tender 
sympathy, formed to love ^and to be loved, he beheld one 
possessed and convulsed by an evil spirit — ^her beauty, if beauty 
it could be called, the beauty of a fiend. Some ejaculation, 
which he unconsciously uttered, made Lady Isabel start. She 
saw him — saw the expression of his countenance, and knew that 
all was over. 

Lord Colambre, to the utter astonishment and disappointment 
of Lady Dashfort, and to the still greater mortification of Lady 
Isabel, announced this night that it was necessary he should 
immediately pursue his tour in Ireland. We pass over all the 
castles in the air which the yoimg ladies of the family had built, 
and which now fell to the grbund. We pass all the civil speeches 
of Lord and Lady Killpatrick ; all the vehement remonstrances 
of Lady Dashfort ; and the vain sighs of Lady Isabel. To the 
last moment Lady Dashfort said, " He will not go." 



126 THE ABSBMTEB* 

But be went ; and, when he was gone. Lady Dashfort t 
claimed, " That man has escaped from me." After a paui 
turning to her daughter, she, in the most taunting and co 
temptuous terms, reproached her as the cause of tiiis failu 
concluding by a declaration, that she must in future manage h 
own affairs, and bad best settle her mind to marry Heathcoc 
since every one else was too wise to think of her. 

Lady Isabel of course retorted. But we leave this amial 
mother and daughter to recriminate in appropriate temis, a 
we follow our hero, rejoiced that he has been disentangled fn 
their snares. Those who have never been in similar peril v 
wonder much that he did not escape sooner ; those who ha 
ever been in like danger will wonder more that he escaped 
all. They who are best acquainted with the heart or imaginati 
of man will be most ready to acknowledge that the combin 
charms of wit, beauty, and flattery, may, for a time, si 
pend the action of right reason in the mind of the greab 
philosopher, or operate against the resolutions of the greatest 
heroes. 

Lord Colambre pursued his way to Halloran Castle, desiroi 
before he quitted this part of the country, to take leave of ti 
count, who had shown him much civQity, and for who 
honourable conduct and generous character he had conceiri 
a high esteem, which no little peculiarities of antiquated dre 
or manner could diminish. Indeed, the old-fhshioned politene 
of what was formerly called a well-bred gentleman pleased hi 
better than the indolent or insolent selfishness of modem men 
the ton. Perhaps, notwithstanding our hero's determination 
turn his mind from every thing connected with the idea of Mi 
Nugent, some latent curiosity about the burial-place of tl 
Nugents might have operated to make him call upon the com 
In this hope he was disappointed ; for a cross miller, to who 
the abbey-groimd was let, on which the burial-place was fonn 
had taken it into his head to refisse admittance, and none cou 
enter his ground. 

Count O 'Halloran was much pleased by Lord Colambre 

visit The very day of his arrival at Halloran Castle, the coui 

was going to Oranmore; he was dresaed, aivd hia carriage wi 

waiting : therefore Lord Colambte \>es^^ ^'^^ '^ Tuc^gox. \ 



THE ABSENTEE. 127 

detain liixn, and the count requested his lordship to accompany 
him. 

" Let me have the honour of introducing you, my lord, to a 
family, with whom, I am persuaded, you will be pleased; by 
whom you will be appreciated; and at whose house you will 
have an opportunity of seeing the best manner of living of the 
Irish nobility." 

Lord Colambre accepted the invitation, and was introduced at 
Oranmore. The dignified appearance and respectable character 
of Lady Oranmore ; the charming unaffected manners of her 
daughters; the air of domestic happiness and comfort in her 
family; the becoming magnificence, free from ostentation, in 
her whole establishment ; the respect and affection with which 
she was treated by all who approached her, delighted and 
touched Lord Colambre; the more, perhaps, because he had 
heard this family so unjustly abused ; and because he saw Lady 
Oranmore and her daughter in immediate contrast with Lady 
Dashfort and Lady Isabel. 

A little circumstance which occurred during this visit, increased 
his interest for the family. When Lady de Cressy's little boys 
came in after dinner, one of them was playing with a seal, which 
had just been torn from a letter. The child showed it to Lord 
Colambre, and asked him to read the motto. The motto was, 
" Deeds, not words." His friend Sir James Brooke's motto, and 
his arms. Lord Colambre eagerly inquired if this family was 
acquainted with Sir James, and he soon perceived that they were 
not only acquainted with him, but that they were particularly 
interested about him. 

Lady Oranmore 's second daughter, Lady Harriot, appeared 
particularly pleased by the manner in which Lord Colambre 
spoke of Sir James. And the child, who had now established 
hhnself on his lordship's knee, turned round, and whispered in 
his ear, " 'Twas aunt Harriot gave me the seal ; Sir James is to 
be married to aunt Harriot, and then he will be my uncle." 

Some of the principal gentry of this part of the country 
happened to dine at Oranmore on one of the day^ Lord Colambre 
was there. He was surprised at the discovery, that there were 
fo many agreeable, well-informed, and well-bred people, of 
whom, while he was at KillpatrickVtown, he had seeiv vio\)EA\i%. 



128 THE AMBMTU. 

He now discerned how far he had been deceived by Lad^ 
Dashfort. 

Both the count, and Lord and Lady Oranmore, who woi 
warmly attached to their country, exhorted him to make himelf 
amends for the time he had lost, by seeing with his own ejHh 
and judging with his own understanding, of the country and ib I 
inhabitants, during the remainder of the time he was to stay n I 
Ireland. The higher classes, in most countries, they obserfe^ 
were generally similar ; but, in the lower class, he would bi 
many characteristic differences. 

When he first came to Ireland, he had been very eager to go 
and see his father's estate, and to judge of the conduct of Ui 
agents, and the condition of his tenantry ; but this eagerness hd 
subsided, and the design had almost faded from his mind, whilit 
imder the influence of Lady Dashfort's misrepresentations. A 
mistake, relative to some remittance from his banker in DubUn, 
obliged him to delay his journey a few days, and during that 
time. Lord and Lady Oranmore showed him the neat cottage^ 
and well-attended schools, in their neighbourhood. Utey 
showed him not only what could be done, but what had beet 
done, by the influence of gpreat proprietors residing on their owb 
estates, and encouraging the people by judicious kindness. 

He saw, — ^he acknowledged the truth of this; but it did not 
come home to his feelings now as it would have done a little 
while ago. His views and plans were altered : he had looked > 
forward to the idea of manying and settling in Ireland, and then I 
every thing in the country was interesting to him ; but since he I 
had forbidden himself to think of a union with Miss Nugent, hii 
mind had lost its object and its spring ; he was not sufficiendy 
calm to think of the public good ; his thoughts were absorbed 
by his private concerns. He knew and repeated to himself, that 
he ought to visit his own and his father's estates, and to see the 
condition of his tenantry ; he desired to fulfil his duties, but 
they ceased to appear to him easy and pleasurable, for hope and 
love no longer brightened his prospects. 

That he might see and hear more than he could as heir- 
apparent to the estate, he sent his servant to Dublin to wait for 
him there. He travelled incognitOf wrapped himself in a shabby 
great-coat, and took the name of Evans. He arrived at a 



I 



THE ABSENTED. 129 

tOlage, or, as it was called, a town, which bore the name of 
Cc^ambre. He was agreeably surprised by the air of neatness 
tad finish in the houses and in the street, which had a nicely 
swept paved footway. He slept at a small but excellent inn, — 
esoellent, perhaps, because it was small, and proportioned to . 
the situation and business of the place. Good supper, good 
bed, good attendance ; nothing out of repair ; no things pressed 
into services for which they were never intended by nature or 
art No chambermaid slipshod, or waiter smelling of whiskey ; 
but all tight and right, and every body doing their own business, 
and doing it as if it were their every day occupation, not as if it 
were done by particular desire, for the first or last time this 
season. The landlord came in at supper to inquire whether any 
thing was wanted. Lord Colambre took this opportunity of 
entering into conversation with him, and asked him to whom the 
town belonged, and who were the proprietors of the neighbouring 
estates. 

''The town belongs to an absentee lord — one Lord Clon* 
bnmy, who lives always beyo^nd the seas, in London ; and who 
had never seen the town since it was a town, to call a town." 

** And does the land in the neighbourhood belong to this Lord 
aonbrony?'* 

** It does, sir ; he's a great proprietor, but knows nothing of 
his property, nor of us. Never set foot among us, to my know- 
ledge, since I was as high as the table. He might as well be a 
West India planter, and we negroes, for any thing he knows to 
the contrary — ^has no more care, nor thought about us, than it 
he were in Jamaica, or the other world. Shame for him ! But 
there's too many to keep him in countenance." 

Lord Colambre asked him what wine he could have ; and then 
inquired who managed the estate for this absentee. 

" Mr. Burke, sir. And I don't know why God was so kind 
to give so good an agent to an absentee like Lord Qonbrony, 
except it was for the sake of us, who is under him, and knows 
the blessing, and is thankful for the same." 

"Very good cutlets," said Lord Colambre. 

" I am happy to hear i<^ sir. They have a right to be good, 
for Mrs. Burke sent her own cook to teach my wife to dress 
cutlets." 
Fatkimable Life, x. 



130 

'* So the agent is a good agent, is be ?" 

** He is, thanks be to Heaven ! And tbat's what few oi I 
boast, especially when the landlord's living over the sesi: m i 
have the luck to have got a good agent over us, in Mr. Bmfa^ 
who is a right bred gentleman ; a snug little property of hiioii^ 
honestly made ; with the good-will, and good wishes, andieipeet 
of all." 

" Does he live in the neighbourbood ?" 

" Just convanient ^ At the end of tbe town ; in the homett 
the hill as you passed, sir ; to the left, wiib tbe trees about it,il 
of his own planting, grown too ; for there's a blessing on all k 
does, and he has done a deal. — ^There's salad, sir, if yoa 
oartial to it. Very fine lettuce. Mrs. Burke sent us the pM 
herself." 

" Excellent salad ! So this Mr. Burke bas done a great M 
has he ? In what way ?" 

" In every way, sir, — siure was not it be tbat bad impnred, 
and fostered, and made the town of Colambre? — no thanks to 
the proprietor, nor to the young man wbose name it bean^ 
neither!" 

" Have you any porter, pray, sir?" 

" We have, sir, as good, I hope, as you'd drink in Londso, 
for it's the same you get there, I understand, from Cork. And 
I have some of my own brewing, which, they say, you could not 
tell the difference between it and Cork quality — if you'd be 
pleased to try. — Harry, the corkscrew." 

The porter of his own brewing was pronounced to be ex* 
tremely good; and the landlord observed it was Mr. Burke 
enco\iraged him to learn to brew, and lent bim bis own brewer 
for a time to teach him. 

" Your Mr. Burke, I find, is apropos to porter, aprcpoi to 
salad, apropos to cutlets, apropos to every thing," said Lord 
Colambre, smiling : " he seems to be a very uncommon agent 
I suppose you are a great favourite of bis, and you do what 70a 
please with him." 

" Oh, no, sir, I could not say that ; Mr. Burke does not have 
favourites any way ; but, according to my deserts, I trust I stand 
well enough with him ; for, in truth, he is a right good agent" 
1 Convenient^ near. 



I THE ABSENTEE. 131 

I Lord Colambre stiU pressed for particulars ; be was an Eng- 
lishman, and a stranger, he said, and did not exactly know what 
was meant in Ireland by a good agent 
"Why, he is the man that will encourage the improving 
I tenant; and show no favour or affection, but justice, which 
£ comes even to all, and does best for all at the long run ; and, 
residing always in the country, like Mr. Burke, and under- 
standing coimtry business, and going about continually among 
the tenantry, he knows when to press for the rent, and when to 
leave the money to lay out upon the land ; and, according as 
they would want it, can give a tenant a help or a check pro- 
perly. Then no duty work called for, no presents, nor glove 
money f nor sealing money even, taken or offered ; no imderhand 
hints about proposals, when land would be out of lease ; but a 
considerable preference, if desarved, to the old tenant, and if 
not, a fair advertisement, and the best offer and tenant accepted : 
no screwing of the land to the highest penny, just to please the 
head landlord for the minute, and ruin him at the end, by the 
tenant's racking the land, and running off with the year's rent; 
nor no bargains to his own relations or friends did Mr. Burke 
ever give or grant, but all fair between landlord and tenant ; 
and that's the thing that will last ; and that's what I «all the 
good agent" 

Lord Colambre poured out a glass of wine, and begged the 
innkeeper to drink the good agent's health, in which he was 
heartily pledged. " I thank your honour : — Mr. Burke's health ! 
and long may he live over and amongst us ; he saved me from 
drink and ruin, when I was once inclined to it, and made a man 
of me and all my family." 

The particulars we cannot stay to detail ; this grateful man, 
however, took pleasure in sounding the praises of his benefactor, 
and in raising him in the opinion of the traveller. 

^ As you've time, and are curious about such things, sir, per- 
haps you'd walk up to the school that Mrs. Burke has for the 
poor children : and look at the market house, and see how clean 
he takes a pride to keep the town : and any house in the town, 
from the priest to the parson's, that you'd go into, will give you 
the same character as I do of Mr. Burke ; from the brogue to 

k2 



132 THE ABSENTEE. 

the boot, all speak the same of him, and can say no other. God 
for ever bless and keep him over us !" 

Upon making further inquiries, every thing the innkeeper had 
said was confirmed by different inhabitants of the village. Lord 
Colambre conversed with the shopkeepers, with the cottagers; 
and, without making any alarming inquiries, he obtained aU the 
information he wanted. He went to the village-school — a pretty, 
cheerful house, with a neat garden and a play-green ; met Mrs. 
Biurke; introduced himself to her as a traveller. The school 
was shown to him : it was just what it ought to be — ^neither too 
much nor too little had been attempted ; there was neither too 
much interference nor too little attention. Nothing for exhi- 
bition ; care to teach well, without any vain attempt to teach in 
a wonderfully short time. All that experience proves to be use- 
ful, in both Dr. Bell's and Mr. Lancaster's modes of teaching, 
Mrs. Burke had adopted ; leaving it to <' graceless zealots" to 
fight about the rest. That no attempts at proselytism had been 
made, and that no illiberal distinctions had been made in his 
school. Lord Colambre was convinced, in the best manner possi- 
ble, by seeing the children of protestants and catholics sitting on 
the same benches, learning from the same books, and speaking 
to one another with the same cordial familiarity. Mrs. Burke 
was an unaffected, sensible woman, free from all party pre- 
judices, and without ostentation, desirous and capable of doing 
good. Lord Colambre was much pleased with her, and very 
glad that she invited him to tea. 

Mr. Burke did not come in till late ; for he had been detained 
portioning out some meadows, which were of great consequence 
to the inhabitants of the town. He brought home to tea widi 
him the clergyman and the priest of the parish, both of whom 
he had taken successful pains to accommodate with the land 
which suited their respective convenience. The good terms oft 
which they seemed to be with each other, and with him, ap- 
peared to Lord Colambre to do honour to Mr. Burke. All the 
favourable accounts his lordship had received of this gentleman 
were confirmed by what he saw and heard. After the clergy- 
man and priest had taken leave, upon Lord Colambre's express- 
ing some surprise, mixed with satisfaction, at seeing the harmony 



TBE ABSENTEE. 133 

which subsisted between them, Mr. Burke assured him that this 
was the same in many parts of Ireland. He observed, that " as 
the suspicion of ill-will never fails to produce it," so he had 
«ften found, that taking it for granted that no ill-will exists, has 
the most conciliating effect. He said, to please opposite parties, 
he used no arts ; but he tried to make all his neighbours live 
comfortably together, by making them acquainted with each 
other's good qualities ; by giving them opportunities of meeting 
sociably, and, from time to time, of doing each other little ser- 
vices and good offices. Fortimately, he had so much to do, he 
said, that he had no time for controversy. He was a plain man, 
made it a rule not to meddle with speculative points, and to 
avoid all irritating discussions : he was not to rule the country, 
but to live in it, and make others live as happily as he could. 

Having nothing to conceal in his character, opinions, or cir- 
cumstances, Mr. Burke was perfectly open and unreserved in 
his manner and conversation ; freely answered all the traveller's 
inquiries, and took pains to show him every thing he desired to 
see. Lord Colambre said he had thoughts of settling in Ireland ; 
and declared, with truth, that he had not seen any part of the 
country he should like better to live in than this neighbourhood. 
He went over most of the estate with Mr. Burke, and had ample 
opportunities of convincing himself that this gentleman was in- 
deed, as the innkeeper had described him, " a right good gentle- 
man, and a right good agent." 

He paid Mr. Burke some just compliments on the state of the 
tenantry, and the neat and flourishing appearance of the town of 
Colambre. 

" What pleasure it will give the proprietor when he sees all 
you have done !" said Lord Colambre. 

' " Oh, sir, don't speak of it ! — that breaks my heart ; he never 
has shown the least interest in any thing I have done : he is 
quite dissatisfied with me, because I have not ruined his tenantry, 
by forcing them to pay more than the land is worth ; because I 
have not squeezed money from them, by fining down rents ; and 
— ^but all this, as an Englishman, sir, must be unintelligible to 
you* The end of the matter is, that, attached as I am to this 
place and the people about me, and, as I hope, the tenantry are 
to me, ^I fear I shall be obliged to give up the agency. 



134 THE ABSBNTBB. 

<* Give up the agency I How so? you miut not," cried L 
Colambre, and, for the moment, he forgot himself; but ! 
Burke took this only for an expression of good-wilL 

" I must, I am afraid,'* continued he. " My employer, L 
Clonbrony, is displeased with me— continual calls for mo 
come upon me from England, and complaints of my slow rei 
tances." 

** Perhaps Lord Clonbrony is in embarrassed circumstano 
said Lord Colambre. 

"I never speak of my employer's affairs, sir," repUed 
Burke ; now for the first time assuming an air of reserve. 

** I beg pardon, sir — I seem to have asked an indisc 
question." Mr. Burke was silent 

" Lest my reserve should give you a false impression, I 
add, sir," resumed Mr. Burke, '* that I really am not 
quainted with the state of his lordship's affairs in general 
know only what belongs to the estate under my own mam 
ment. The principal part of his lordship's property, the C 
brony estate, is under another agent, Mr. Garraghty." 

''Garraghty!" repeated Lord Colambre; '*what sort ( 
person is he ? But I may take it for granted, that it cannot 
to the lot of one and the same absentee to have two such ag 
as Mr. Burke." 

Mr. Burke bowed, and seemed pleased with the complim 
which he knew he deserved — but not a word did he sa; 
Mr. Garraghty ; and Lord Colambre, afraid of betraying 1 
self by some other indiscreet question, changed the conversati 

The next night the post brought a letter to Mr. Burke, f 
Lord Clonbrony, which he gave to his wife as soon as he 
read it, saying, ** See the reward of all my services I" 

Mrs. Burke glanced her eye over the letter, and h* 
extremely fond of her husband, and sensible of his deserving 
different treatment, burst into indignant exclamations — " Sec 
reward of all your services, indeed ! — What an unreasons 
ungrateful man ! — So, this is the thanks for all you have d 
for Lord Clonbrony !" 

** He does not know what I have done, my dear. He n< 
has seen what I have done." 

" More shame for him I" 



THE AB8ENTEB. 13& 

" He never, I suppose, looks over his accounts, or understands 
them." 

" More shame for him !" 

" He listens to foolish reports, or misrepresentations, perhaps. 
He is at a distance, and cannot find out the truth." 

" More shame for him !'* 
. " Take it quietly, my dear ; we have the comfort of a good 
conscience. The agency may he taken from me by this lord ; 
but the sense of having done my duty, no lord or man upon earth 
can give or take away." 

" Such a letter !" said Mrs. Burke, taking it up again. " Not 
even the civility to write with his own hand I — only his signature 
to the scrawl — ^looks as if it was written by a drunken man, does 
not it, Mr. Evans?" said she, showing the letter to Lord 
Colambre, who immediately recognized the writing of Sir Terence 
O'Fay. 

"It does not look like the hand of a gentleman, indeed," said 
Lord Colambre. 

'* It has Lord Clonbrony's own signature, let it be what it 
will," said Mr. Burke, looking closely at it; " Lord Clonbrony's 
own writing the signature is, I am clear of that." 

Lord Clonbrony's son was clear of it, also ; but he took care 
not to give any opinion on that point. 

"Oh, pray read it, sir, read it," said Mrs. Burke ; "read it, 
pray ; a gentleman may write a bad hand, but no genUeman 
could write such a letter as that to Mr. Burke — ^pray read it, sir ; 
you who have seen something of what he has done for the town 
of Colambre, and what he has made of the tenantry and the 
estate of Lord Clonbrony." 

Lord Colambre read, and was convinced that his father had 
never written or read the letter, but had signed it, trusting to 
Sir Terence O'Fay's having expressed his sentiments properly. 

"sir, 
. " As I have no farther occasion for your services, you will 
take notice, that I hereby request you will forthwith hand over, 
on or before the 1st of November next, your accoimts, with the 
balance due of the hanging-gale (which, I understand, is more 
than ought to be at this season) to Nicholas Garraghty, Esq., 



136 THE JlBSCNTEB. 

College-green, Dublin, who, in future, will act as agent, and 
shall get, by post, immediately, a power of attorney forthesamc^ 
entitling him to receive and manage the Colambre, as well as the 
Clonbrony estate, for, 

" Sir, your obedient humble servant, 

'' Clonbioht. 

" Oroivenor'Square,'^ 

Though misrepresentation, caprice, or interest, might have 
induced Lord Clonbrony to desire to change his agent, yet Lord 
Colambre knew that his father never could have announced hii 
wishes in such a style ; and, as he returned the letter to Mn. 
Burke, he repeated, he was convinced that it was impossible 
that any nobleman could have written such a letter ; that H 
must have been written by some inferior person ; and that hii 
lordship had signed it without reading it 

" My dear, I'm sorry you showed that letter to Mr. Evans," 
said Mr. Burke ; " I don't like to expose Lord Clonbrony ; he 
is a well-meaning gentleman, misled by ignorant or designiDg 
people ; at all events, it is not for us to expose him." 

" He has exposed himself,'* said Mrs. Burke ; '*and the woild 
should know it" 

" He was verj' kind to me when I was a young man," said 
Mr. Burke; "we must not forget that now, because we are 
angry, my love." 

" Why, no, my love, to be sure we should not ; but who could 
have recollected it just at this minute but yourself? And now, 
sir," turning to Lord Colambre, *'you see what kind of amaa 
this is : now is it not difficult for me to bear patiently to see 
him ill-treated?" 

" Not only difficult, but impossible, I should think, madam," 
said Lord Colambre; **I know even J, who am a stranger, 
cannot help feeling for both of you, as you must see I do." 

" But half the world, who don't know him," continued Mrs. 
Burke, " when they hear that Lord Clonbrony 's agency is taken 
from him, will think perhaps that he is to blame." 

" No, madam," said Lord Colambre, " that you need not fear; 
Mr. Burke may safely trust to his character : from what I have 
within these two days seen and heard, I am convinced that such 



THE ABSENTEE. 137 

is the respect he has deserved and acquired, that no hlame can 
touch him." 
I " Sir, I thank you," said Mrs. Burke, the tears coming into 
her eyes : " you can judge — you do him justice ; hut there are 
so many who don't know him, and who will decide without 
knowing any of the facts." 

" That, my dear, happens about every thing to every body," 
said Mr. Burke; '<but we must have patience; time sets all 
judgments right, sooner or later." 

" But the sooner the better," said Mrs. Burke. " Mr. Evans, 
I hope you will be so kind, if ever you hear this business talked 

of " 

" Mr. Evans lives in Wales, my dear." 

" But he is travelling through Ireland, my dear, and he said 
he should return to Dublin, and, you know, there he certainly 
will hear it talked of; and I hope he will do me the favour to 
state what he has seen and knows to be the truth." 

" Be assured that I will do Mr. Burke justice — as far as it is 
in my power," said Lord Colambre, restraining himself much, 
that he might not say more than became his assimied character. 
He took leave of this worthy family that night, and, early the 
next morning, departed. 

" Ah !" thought he, as he drove away from this well-regulated 
and flourishing place, " how happy I might be, settled here with 
such a wife as her of whom I must think no more." 

He pursued his way to Clonbrony, his father's other estate, 
which was at a considerable distance from Colambre : he was 
resolved to know what kind of agent Mr. Nicholas Garraghty 
might be, who was to supersede Mr. Burke, and, by power of 
attorney, to be immediately entitled to receive and manage the 
Colambre as well as the Clonbrony estate. 



CHAPTER X. 



Towards the evening of the second day's journey, the driver of 
Lord Colambre's hackney chaise stopped, and jumping of^ \)lEift 



138 THB ABUUfTBB. 

wooden bar, on which he had been seated, exclaimed, " We'll 
come to the bad step, now. The bad road*s beginning uponi^ 
please your honour." 

*< Bad road ! that is very uncommon in this countiT. I new 
saw such fine roads as you have in Ireland." 

<* That's true ; and God bless your honour, that's sensible of 
that same, for it's not what all the foreign quality I drive hive 
the manners to notice. God bless your honour ! I heard yoa'n 
a Welshman, but whether or no, I am sure you are a jandenuui, 
any way, Welsh or other." 

Notwithstanding the shabby great coat, the shrewd postilifli 
perceived, by our hero's language, that he was a gendemn. 
After much dragging at the horses' heads, and pushing and 
lifting, the carriage was got over what the postilion said was the 
worst part of the bad step ; but as the road << was not yet to aaj 
good," he continued walking beside the carriage. 

" It's only bad just hereabouts, and that by accident," mi 
he, " on account of there being no jantleman resident in it, nw 
near ; but only a bit of an under-agent, a great little rogue, who 
gets his own turn out of the roads, and every thing else in lifft 
I, Larry Brady, that am telling your honour, have a good right 
to know ; for myself, and my father, and my brother, Pat Brady, 
the wheelwright, had once a farm under him ; but was ruined, 
horse and foot, all along with him, and cast out, and my brother 
forced to fly the country, and is now working in some coach- 
maker's yard, in London : banished he is ! — and here am I, 
forced to be what I am — and now that I'm reduced to drive a 
hack, the agent's a curse to me still, with these bad roads, killing 
my horses and wheels — and a shame to the country, which I 
think more of — Bad luck to him I" 

" I know your brother ; he lives with Mr. Mordicai, in Long- 
Acre, in London." 

" Oh, God bless you for that I" 

They came at this time within view of a range of about four- 
and-twenty men and boys, sitting astride on four-and-twenty heaps 
of broken stones, on each side of the road ; they were all armed 
with hammers, with which they began to pound with great 
diligence and noise as soon as they saw the carriage. The chaise 
passed between these batteries, the stones flying on all sides. 



THB ABSBNTBE. 139 

"How are you, Jem? — How are you Phil?" said Larry. 
** But hold your hand, can't ye, while I stop and get the stones 
out of the horses' feet. So you're making up the rent, are you, 
for St Dennis?" 

"Whoosh!" said one of the pounders, coming close to the 
postilion, and pointing his thumb back towards the chaise. 
" Who have you in it ?" 

" Oh, you need not scruple, he's a very honest man ; — ^he's 
only a man from North Wales, one Mr. Evans, an innocent 
jantleman, that's sent over to travel up and down the conntr}% 
to find is there any copper mines in it." 

" How do you know, Larry ?" 

« Because I know very well, from one that was tould, and I 
teen him tax the man of the King's Head with a copper half- 
crown at first sight, which was only lead to look at, you'd think, 
to them that was not skilful in copper. So lend me a knife, till 
I cut a linchpin out of the hedge, for this one won't go far." 

Whilst Larry was making the linchpin, all scruple being re- 
moved, his question about St Dennis and the rent was answered. 

*< Ay, it's the rint, sure enough, we're pounding out for him ; 
for he sent the driver round last night-was-eight days, to warn 
OS Old Nick would be down a'-Monday, to take a sweep among 
us ; and there's only six clear days, Saturday night, before the 
assizes, sure : so we must see and get it finished any way, to 
clear the presentment again' the swearing day, for he and Paddy 
Hart is the overseers themselves, and Paddy is to swear to it." 

" St. Dennis, is it ? Then you've one great comfort and 
security — that he won't be particular about the swearing; 
for since ever he had his head on his shoulders, an oath never 
stuck in St Dennis's throat, more than in his own brother, 
Old Nick's." 

"His head upon his shoulders!" repeated Lord Colambre. 
" Pray, did you ever hear that St Dennis's head was off his 
shoulders?" 

** It never was, plase your honour, to my knowledge." 

" Did you never, among your saints, hear of St. Dennis 
carrying his head in his hand ?" said Lord Colambre. 

" The rael saint !" said the postilion, suddenly changing his 



140 THE ABSENTEES 

tone, and looking shocked. ** Oh, don't be talking that mfd 
the saints, plase your honour." 

**Then of what St. Dennis were you talking just now!— 
Whom do you mean by St Dennis, and whom do you call Old 
Nick?" 

** Old Nick/' answered the postilion, coming close to the side 
of the carriage, and whispering, — "Old Nick, plase your 
honour, is our nickname for one Nicholas Garraght}', Esq., of 
College-green, Dublin, and St. Dennis is his brother Dennis, wbo 
is Old Nick's brother in all things, and would fain be a saint, 
only he's a sinner. He lives just by here, in the country, unde^ 
agent to Lord Cloubrony, as Old Nick is upper-agent — ^it's only 
a joke among the people, that are not fond of them at alL Lord 
Clonbrony himself is a very good jantleman, if he was not an 
absentee, resident in London, leaving us and every thing to the 
likes of them." 

Lord Colambre listened with all possible composure and 
attention ; but the postilion, having now made his linchpin of 
wood, and fixed himself j he mounted his bar, and drove on, 
saying to Lord Colambre, as he looked at the road-makers, 
" Poor cratures ! They couldn't keep their cattle out of pound, 
or themselves out of jail, but by making this road." 

" Is road-making, then, a very profitable business ! — ^Have 
road-makers higher wages than other men in this part of the 
country ?" 

" It is, and it is not — ^they have, and they have not — ^plase 
•your honour." 

" I don't understand you." 

" No, beca-ase you're an Englishman — that is, a Welshman— 
I beg your honour's pardon. But I'll tell you how that is, and 
I'll go slow over these broken stones — for I can't go fast: it is 
where there's no jantleman over these under-agents, as here, 
they do as they plase ; and when they have set the land they gat 
rasonable from the head landlords, to poor cratures at a rackrent, 
that they can't live and pay the rent, they say — ** 

"Who says?" 

" Them under-agents, that have no conscience at all. Not all 
—but somef like Dennis, says, says he, ' I'll get you a road to 



THE ABSENTfif!. ''141 

I make up the rent:* that is, plase your honour, the agent gets 
them a presentment for so many perches of road from the grand 
jury, at twice the price that would make the road. And tenants 
are, by this means, as they take the road by contract, at the 
I price given by the county, able to pay all they get by the job, 
over and above potatoes and salt, back again to the agent, for 
the arrear on the land. Do I make your honour sensible ^ ?" 

"You make me much more sensible Hhan I ever was before," 
8aid Lord Colambre : " but is not this cheating the county ?" 

"Well, and suppose," replied Larry, "is not it all for my 
good, and yours too, plase your honour V* said Larry, looking 
very shrewdly. 

"My good!" said Lord Colambre, startled. "What have I 
to do with it?" 

"Haven't you to do with the roads as well as me, when 
you're travelling upon them, plase your honour? And sure, 
they'd never be got made at all, if they wem't made this ways ; 
and it's the best way in the wide world, and the finest roads we 
have. And when the rael jantleman's resident in the country, 
there's no jobbing can be, because they're then the leading men 
on the grand jury ; and these journeymen jantlemen are then 
kept in order, and all's right." 

Lord Colambre was much surprised at Larry's knowledge of 
the manner in which county business is managed, as well as by 
his shrewd good sense : he did not know that this is not un- 
common in his rank of life in Ireland. 

Whilst Larry was speaking, Lord Colambre was looking from 
side to side at the desolation of the prospect. 

" So this is Lord Qonbrony's estate, is it ?" 

" Ay, all you see, and as far and farther than you can see. 
My Lord Qonbrony wrote, and ordered plantations here, time 
back ; and enough was paid to labourers for ditching and plant- 
iag. And, what next? — Why, what did the under-agent do, 
but let the goats in through gaps, left o' purpose, to bark the 
trees, and then the trees was all banished. And next, the 
cattle was let In trespassing, and winked at, till the land was all 
poached : and then the land was waste, and cried down : and 



^ Do I make you understand ? 



142 TBI ABSINTBB. 



Saint Dennis wrote up to Dublin to Old Nick, and he over to ikt 
landlord, how none would take it, or bid any thing at all for it: 
BO then it fell to him a cheap bargain. Oh, the tricks of them! 
who knows 'em, if I don't?" 

Presently, Lord Colambre's attention was roused again, tf 
seeing a man running, as if for his life, across a bog, near the 
road-side : he leaped over the ditch, and was upon the road it 
an instant. He seemed startled at first, at the sight of the 
carriage ; but, looking at the postilion, Larry nodded, and he 
smiled and said, *' All's safe !" 

" Pray, my good friend, may I ask what that is you ban« 
your shoulder?" said Lord Colambre. 

*^Plase your honour, it is only a private still, which Fvcjot 
caught out yonder in the bog; and I'm carrying it in with tB 
speed to the gauger, to make a discovery, that the jandeman 
may benefit by the reward : I expect he'll make me a compli- 
ment." 

" Get up behind, and I'll give you a lift," said the postilion. 

" Thank you kindly — ^but better my legs !" said the man ; and, 
turning down a lane, off he ran again, as fast as possible. 

" Expect he'll make me a compliment," repeated Lord Co- 
lambre, "to make a discovery !" 

"Ay, plase yoiur honour ; for the law is," said Larry, "that, 
if an unlawful still, that is, a still without licence for whiskey, 
is found, half the benefit of the fine that's put upon the parish 
goes to him that made the discovery : that's what that man is 
after; for he's an informer." 

" I should not have thought, from what I see of you," said 
Lord Colambre, smiling, " that you, Larry, would have offered 
an informer a lift." 

" Oh, plase your honour!" said Larry, smiling archly, "wonM 
not I give the laws a lift, when in my power?" 

Scarcely had he uttered these words, and scarcely was the 
informer out of sight, when, across the same bog, and over the 
ditch, came another man, a half kind of gentleman, with a red 
silk handkerchief about his neck, and a silver-handled whip in 
his hand. 

" Did you see any man pass the road, friend ?" said he to the 
postilion. 



I 



THE ABSENTEE. 143 

who would I see? or why would I tell?" replied Larry 
:y tone. 

le, come, he smart I" said the man with the silver whip, 
to puthal^a-crown into the postilion's hand ; "point nie 
ay he took." 

aave none o* your silver I don't touch me with it !" said 
* But, if you'll take my advice, you'll strike across hack, 
»w the fields, out to Killogenesawce." 
exciseman set out again immediately, in an opposite 
L to that which the man who carried the still had taken. 
»lamhre now perceived that the pretended informer had 
ining off to conceal a still of his own. 
ganger, plase your honour," said Larry, looking hack at 
lambre ; " the ganger is a sUU-hunting /" 
. you put him on a wrong scent!" said Lord Co- 

!, I told him no lie : I only said, ' If you'll take my ad- 

Vnd why was he such a fool as to take my advice, when 

I't take his fee?" 

liis is the way, Larry, you give a lift to the laws !" 

le laws would give a lift to me, plase your honour, may 

9 as much hy them. But it's only these revenue laws I 

or I never, to my knowledge, broke another command- 

•ut it's what no honest poor man among his neighbours 

iTuple to take — a glass of potsheen." 

lass of what, in the name of Heaven ?" said Lord Co* 

theen, plase your honour ; — beca-ase it's the little whiskey 
ade in the private still or pot ; and sheetif because it's a 
rd for whatsoever we'd like, and for what we have little 
vovld make much of: after taking the glass of it, no 
old go and inform to ruin the cratures; for they all 
n that estate under favour of them that go shares, and 
It of *em — ^but I'd never inform again' 'em. And, after 
e truth was known, and my Lord Clonbrony should be 
[ against, and presented, for it's his neglect is the bottom 

lisance " 

d all the blame is thrown upon this poor Lord Clon- 
laid Lord Colambre. 



144 THE ABSENTEE. 

** Because he is absent," said Larry : " it would not be so 
he prUint. But your honour was talking to me about the la 
Your honour's a stranger in this country, and astray about tl 
things. Sure, why would I mind the laws about whiskey, n 
than the quality, or ihejidge on the bench?" 

" What do you mean ?" 

*' Why I was not I prisint in the court-house myself, when 
jidge was on the bench judging a still, and across the cc 
came in one with a sly jug of potsheen for ihejidge himself, i 
prefarred it, when the right thing, to claret ; and when 1 1 
that, by the laws ! a man might talk himself dumb to me a 
again' potsheen, or in favour of the revenue, or revenue offic 
And there they may go on, with their gangers, and their i 
veyors, and their supervisors, and their watching officersj \ 
their coursing officers, setting 'em one after another, or one o 
the bead of another, or what way they will — we can baffle j 
laugh at 'em. Didn't I know, next door to our inn, last yi 
ten watching officers set upon one distiller, and he was 
cunning for them; and it will always be so, while ever 
people think it no sin. No, till then, not all their dockets \ 
permits signify a rush, or a turf. And the gauging rod, evi 
who fears it? They may spare that rod, for it will never m( 
the child." 

How much longer Larry's dissertation on the distillery \\ 
would have continued, had not his ideas been interrupted, 
cannot guess; but he saw he was coming to a town, and 
gathered up the reins, and plied the whip,. ambitious to mak( 
figure in the eyes of its inhabitants. 

This town consisted of one row of miserable huts, sunk bene 
the side of the road, the mud walls crooked in every directii 
some of them opening in wide cracks, or zigzag fissures, fi 
top to bottom, as if there had just been an earthquake — all 
roofs sunk in various places — ^thatch off, or overgrown t» 
grass — ^no chimneys, the smoke making its way through a li 
in the roof, or rising in clouds from the top of the open doo 
dunghills before the doors, and green standing puddles — squf 
children, with scarcely rags to cover them, gazing at 
carriage. 

<* Nugent's town," said the postilion, '' once a snug pla 



THE ABSENTEE. 145 

when my Lady Clonbrony was at home to white-wash it, and 
the like." 

As they drove by, some men and women put their heads 
through the smoke out of the cabins ; pale women, with long, 
black, or yellow locks — ^men with countenances and figures 
bereft of hope and energy. 

''Wretched, wretched people I" said Lord Colambre. 

"Then it's not their fault, neither," said Larry; "for my 
uncle's one of them, and as thriving and hard a working man as 
could be in all Ireland, he was, afore he was tramped under 
foot, and his heart broke. I was at his funeral, this time last 
year ; and for it^ may the agent's own heart, if he has any, burn 
in " 

Lord Colambre interrupted this denunciation by touching 
Larry's shoulder, and asking some question, which, as Larry did 
not distinctly comprehend, he pulled up the reins, and the 
various noises of the vehicle stopped suddenly. 

"I did not hear well, plase your honour." 

"What are those people?" pointing to a man and woman, 
curious figures, who had come out of a cabin, the door of which 
the woman, who came out last, locked, and carefully hiding the 
key in the thatch, turned her back upon the man, and they 
walked away in different directions : the woman bending under 
a huge bundle on her back, covered by a yellow petticoat 
turned over her shoulders ; from the top of this bundle the head 
of an infant appeared ; a little boy, almost naked, followed her 
with a kettle, and two girls, one of whom could but just walk, 
held her hand and clung to her ragged petticoat ; forming, all 
together, a complete group of beggars. The woman stopped, 
and looked after the man. 

The man was a Spanish-looking figure, with gray hair; a 
wallet hung at the end of a stick over one shoulder, a reaping- 
hook in the other hand : he walked off stoutly, without ever 
casting a look behind him. 

"A kind harvest to you, John Dolan," cried the postilion, 
"and success to ye, Winny, with the quality. There's a luck- 
penny for the child to begin with," added he, throwing the 
child a penny. " Your honour, they're only poor cratures going 
op the country to beg, while the man goes over to lea*^ iVi^ 

Fashionable Life. L 



146 THB ABSENTEE. 

harvest in England. Nor this would not be, neither, if the lord 
was in it to give 'em employ. That man, now, was a good and 
willing slave in his day : I mind him working with myself in the 
shrubberies at Clonbrony Castle, when I was a boy — but I'll not 
be detaining your honour, now the road's better." 

The postilion drove on at a good rate for some time, till he 
came to a piece of the road freshly covered with broken stones, 
where he was obliged again to go slowly. 

They overtook a string of cars, on which were piled up high, 
beds, tables, chairs, trunks, boxes, band-boxes. 

** How are you, Finnucan ? you've fine loading there — ^firom 
Dublin, are you?" 

" From Bray." 

" And what news ?" 

'* Great news and bad for Old Nick, or some belonging to 
him, thanks be to Heaven ! for myself hates him." 

" What's happened him V* 

" His sister's husband that's failed, the great grocer that was, 
the man that had the wife that ow'd^ the fine house near Bray, 
that they got that time the parliament ^^toct', and that I seen in 
her carriage flaming — well, it's all out ; they're all done up,** 

"Tut I is that all? then they'll thrive, and set up again 
grander than ever, I'll engage : have not they Old Nick for an 
attorney at their back? a good warrant?" 

'* Oh, trust him for that ! he won't go security^ nor pay a 
farthing, for his shUter, nor wouldn't, was she his father; I 
heard him telling her so, which I could not have done in his 
place, at that time, and she crying as if her heart would break, 
and I standing by in the parlour." 

" The neger^ ! And did he speak that way, and you by V* 

" Ay, did he ; and said, < Mrs. Rafiarty,' says he, < it's sdl your 
own fault; you're an extravagant fool, and ever was, and I 
wash my hands of you:' that was the word he spoke; and she 
answered, and said, * And mayn't I send the beds and blankets?' 
said she, * and what I can, by the cars, out of the way of the 
creditors, to Clonbrony Castle ? and won't you let me hide there, 
from the shame, till the bustle's over?' 'You may do diat,' 

1 Owned. « Neger^ quasi negro ; meo periculo, nSggard, 



i 



THE ABSENTEE. 147 

says he, 'for what I care ; hut rememher/ says he, 'that I've 
the first claim to them goods ;' and that's all he would grant. 
So they are coming down all o' Monday — them are the hand- 
boxes, and all — to settle it ; and faith it was a pity of her ! to 
hear her sohhing, and to see her own brother speak and look so 
hard ! and she a lady." 

"Sure, she's not a lady bom, no more than himself," said 
Larry ; " but that's no excuse for him. His heart's as hard as 
that stone," said Larry ; " and my own people knew that long 
ago, and now his own know it : and what right have we to 
complain, since he's as bad to his own flesh and blood as to us?" 

With this consolation, and with a " God speed you," given to 
the carman, Larry was driving off; but the carman called to 
him, and pointed to a house, at the comer of which, on a high 
pole, was swinging an iron sign of three horse-shoes, set in a 
crooked frame, and at the window hung an empty bottle, pro- 
claiming whiskey within. 

" Well, I don't care if I do," said Larry ; " for I've no other 
comfort left me in life now. I beg your honour's pardon, sir, 
for a minute," added he, throwing the reins into the carriage to 
Lord Colambre, as he leaped down. All remonstrance and 
power of lungs to reclaim him were vain ! He darted into the 
whiskey-house with the carman — ^re-appeared before Lord 
Colambre could accomplish getting out, remounted his seat, and, 
taking the reins, "I thank your honour," said he; "and I'll 
bring you into Clonbrony before it's pitch-dark, though it's 
nightfall, and that's four good miles, but ' a spur in the head is 
worth two in the heel.' " 

Larry, to demonstrate the truth of his favourite axiom, drove 
off at such a furious rate over great stones left in the middle of 
tiie road by carmen, who had been driving in the gudgeons of 
their axletrees to hinder them from lacing ', that Lord Colambre 
thought life and limb in inmiinent danger ; and feeling that, at 
all events, the jolting and bumping was past endurance, he had 
recourse to Larry's shoulder, and shook and pulled, and called 
to him to go slower, but in vain : at last the wheel stmck full 
against a heap of stones at a turn of the road, the wooden 

» Opening; perhaps, from Uuher^ to loosen. 
l2 



148 THE ABSENTEE. 

linchpin came off, and the chaise was overset : Lord Colambie 
was a little bruised, but glad to escape without fractured 
bones. 

"I beg your honour's pardon," said Larry, completely 
sobered ; " I'm as glad as the best pair of boots ever I see, to see 
your honour nothing the worse for it. It was the linchpin, and 
them barrows of loose stones, that ought to be fined any way, if 
there was any justice in the country." 

" The pole is broke ; how are we to get on V* said Lord 
Colambre. 

"Murder! murder! — and no smith nearer than Clonbrony; 
nor rope even. It's a folly to talk, we can't get to Clonbrony, 
nor stir a step backward or forward the night" 

"What, then, do you mean to leave me all night in the 
middle of the road ?" cried Lord Colambre, quite exasperated. 

"Is it me? plase your honour. I would not use anyjantle- 
man so ill, barring I could do no other," replied the postilion, 
coolly : then, leaping across the ditch, or, as he called it, the 
gripe of the ditch, he scrambled up, and while he was scrambling, 
said, " If your honour will lend me your hand, till I pull you up 
the back of the ditch, the horses will stand while we go. I'll 
find you as pretty a lodging for the night, with a widow of a 
brother of my shister's husband that was, as ever yoii slept in 
your life ; for Old Nick or St. Dennis has not found 'em out yet: 
and your honour will be, no compare, snugger than at the inn at 
Clonbrony, which has no roof, the devil a stick. But where will 
I get your honour's hand ; for it's coming on so dark, I can't 
see rightly. There, you're up now safe. Yonder candle's the 
house." 

" Go and ask whether they can give us a night's lodging." 
" Is it ask? when I see the light ! — Sure they'd be proud to 
give the traveller all the beds in the house, let alone one. Take 
care of the potatoe furrows, that's all, and follow me straight 111 
go on to meet the dog, who knows me, and might be strange to 
your honour." 

" Kindly welcome," were the first words Lord Colambre heard 
when he approached the cottage ; and "kindly welcome" was in 
the sound of the voice and in the countenance of the old woman 
who came out, shading her rush-candle from the wind, and j 



THE ABSENTEE. 149 

r, biding it so as to light the path. When he entered the cottage, 
« he saw a cheerful fire and a neat pretty young woman making it 
blaze ; she curtsied, put her spinning-wheel out of the way, set 
a stool hy the fire for the stranger, and repeating, in a very low 
tone of voice, "Kindly welcome, sir," retired. 

"Put down some eggs, dear, there's plenty in the howl," said 
the old woman, calling to her ; ** III do the hacon. Was not we. 
lucky to be up? — The boy's gone to bed, but waken him," said 
she, turning to the postilion ; '' and he'll help you with the chay, 
and put your horses in the bier for the night" 

No : Larry chose to go on to Clonbrony with the horses, that 
he might get the chaise mended betimes for his honour. The 
table was set ; clean trenchers, hot potatoes, milk, eggs, bacon, 
and " kindly welcome to all." 

** Set the salt, dear ; and the butter, love : where *s your head, 
Grace, dear." 

" Grace !" repeated Lord Colambre, looking up : and, to 
apologize for his involuntary exclamation, he added, " Is Grace 
a common name in Ireland ?" 

" I can't say, plase your honour ; but it was give her by Lady 
Clonbrony, Arom a niece of her own, God bless her ! and a very 
kind lady she was to us and to all when she was living in it ; but 
those times are gone past," said the old woman, with a sigh. 
The young woman sighed too ; and, sitting down by the fire, 
began to count the notches in a little bit of stick, which she held 
in her hand ; and after she had counted them, sighed again. 

"But don't be sighing, Grace, now," said the old woman ; 
" sighs is bad sauce for the traveller's supper ; and we won't be 
troubling him with more," added she, turning to Lord Colambre 
with a smile. 

" Is your egg done to your liking?" 

"Perfectly, thank you." 

" Then I wish it was a chicken, for your sake, which it should 
have been, and roast too, had we time. I wish I could see you 
eat another egg." 

" No more, thank you, my good lady; I never ate a better 
supper, nor received a more hospitable welcome." 

** Oh, the welcome is all we have to offer." 



150 THK AB8BHTBB. 

" May I ask what that ii ?" said Lord Colambre, lookbg it 
the notched stick, which the young wonum held in her hand, and 
on which her eyes were still fixed. 

" It's a te%, plase your honour. Oh, you're a foreigner;— 
it's the way the labourers do keep the account of the day's work 
with the overseer, the bailiff; a notch for every day the bailiff 
makes on his stick, and the labourer the like on his stick, to 
tally ; and when we come to make up the account, it's by the 
notches we go. And there's been a mistake, and is a dispute 
here between our boy and the overseer : and she was conntiiig 
the boy's tally, that's in bed, tired, for in truth he's onX' 
worked." 

** Would you want any thing more from me, mother ?" said 
the girl, rising and turning her head away. 

" No, child ; get away, for your heart's fulL" 

She went instantly. 

" Is the boy her brother ?" said Lord Colambre. 

** No ; he's her bachelor," sud the old womanj lowering her 
voice. 

" Her bachelor ?" 

" That is, her sweetheart : for she is not my daughter, ihm^ 
you heard her call me mother. The boy's my son ; but I am 
afeard they must give it up ; for they're too poor, and the timei 
is hard, and the agent's harder than the times : there's two of 
them, the imder and the upper ; and they grind the substance 
of one between them, and then blow one away like chaff; bst 
we'U not be talking of that, to spoil your honour's night's reit 
The room's ready, and here's the rushlight" 

She showed him into a very small but neat room. 

" What a comfortable-looking bed !" said Lord Colambre. 

** Ah, these red check curtains," said she, letting them down; 
" these have lasted well : they were give me by a good fifiead, 
now far away, over the seas— my Lady Qonbrony ; and made 
by the prettiest hands ever you see, her niece's. Miss Grace 
Nugent's, and she a little child that time ; sweet love 1 aD 
gone !" 

The old woman wiped a tear from her eye, and Lord Colambre 
did what he could to appear indifferent. She set down the 



I 



THE ABSENTEE. 151 

candle, and left the room ; Lord Colambre went to bed, but he 
lay awake, 

'* Rerolying sweet and bitter thoughts.** 



CHAPTER XL 



The kettle was on the fire, tea-things set, every thing prepared 
for her guest by the hospitable hostess, who thinking the gentle- 
man would take tea to his breakfast, had sent off a gos$oon by 
the first light to Qonbrony, for an ounce of tea, a quarter of 
fugar, and a loaf of white bread ; and there was on the little 
table good cream, milk, butter, eggs — all the promise of an 
excellent breakfast. It was afresh morning, and there was a 
pleasant fire on the hearth, neatly swept up. The old woman 
was sitting in her chimney comer, behind a little skreen of 
whitewashed wall, built out into the room, for the purpose of 
keeping those who sat at the fire from the blast of the door. 
There was a loop-hole in this wall, to let the light in, just at the 
height of a person's head, who was sitting near the chimney. 
The rays of the morning sun now came through it, shining 
across the face of the old woman, as she sat knitting: Lord 
Colambre thought he had seldom seen a more agreeable counte- 
nance, intelligent eyes, benevolent smile, a natural expression of 
cheerfidness, subdued by age and misfortune. 

" A good morrow to you kindly, sir, and I hope you got the 
night well ? — A fine day for us this holyday morning ; my Grace 
is gone to early prayers, so your honour will be content with an 
old woman to make your tea. Oh, let me put in plenty of tea, 
or it will never be good ; and if your honour takes stirabout, an 
old hand will engage to make that to your liking, any way ; for 
by great happiness, we have what will just answer for you of 
the nicest meal the miller made my Grace a compliment of, last 
' tune she went to the mill.*' 

Lord Colambre observed, that this miller had good taste ; and 
his lordship paid some compliment to Grace's beauty, which 



152 THE ABSENTEE. 

the old woman received with a smile, but turned off the conveiV 
sation. 

"Then," said she, looking out of the window, <<isnot that 
there a nice little garden the boy dug for her and me, at hit 
breakfast and dinner hours ? Ah ! he's a good boy, and good 
warrant to work ; and the good son desarves the good wife, and 
it's he that will make the good husband ; and with my good-will 
he, and no other, shall get her, and with her good-will the same; 
and I bid 'em keep up their heart, and hope the best, for there's 
no use in fearing the worst till it comes." 

Lord Colambre wished very much to know the worst " If 
you would not think a stranger impertinent for asking," said he, 
" and if it would not be painful to you to explain." 

"Oh, impertinent, your honour! it's very kind — and, sure, 
none's a stranger to one's heart, that feels for one. And for 
myself, I can talk of my troubles without thinking of them. So, 
I'll tell you all — if the worst comes to the worst — all that is, is, 
that we must quit, and give up this little snug place, and house, 
and farm, and all, to the agent — which would be hard on us, 
and me a widow, when my husband did all that is done to the 
land ; and if your honour was a judge, you could see, if you 
stepped out, there has been a deal done, and built the house, and 
all — but it plased Heaven to take him. Well, he was too good 
for this world, and I'm satisfied — I'm not saying a word again' 
that — I trust we shall meet in heaven, and be happy, surely. 
And, meantime, here's my boy, that will make me as happy 
as ever widow was on earth — ^if the agent will let him. And 
I can't think the agent, though they that know him best call 
him Old Nick, would be so wicked to take from us that which 
he never gave us. The good lord himself granted us the kue ; 
the life's dropped, and the years is out ; but we had a promise 
of renewal in writing from the landlord. God bless him ! if 
he was not away, he'd be a good gentleman, and we'd be happy 
and safe." 

" But if you have a promise in writing of a renewal, surely 
you are safe, whether your landlord is absent or present." 

" Ah, no ! that makes a great differ, when there's no eye or 
hand over the agent. I would not wish to speak or think ill of 
him or any man ; but was he an angel, he could not know to do 



THE ABSENTEE. 153 

ii flie tenantry justice, the way he is living always in Dublin, and 
coming down to the country only the receiving days, to make a 
f iireep among us, and gather up the rents in a hurry, and he in 
£ lieh haste back to town — can just stay to count over our money, 
, and give the receipts. Happy for us if we get that same ! — ^but 
; can't expect he should have time to see or hear us, or mind our 
. improvements, any more than listen to our complaints ! Oh, 
■ there's great excuse for the gentleman, if that was any comfort 
for us," added she, smiling. 

<<But, if he does not live amongst you himself, has not 
he some under agent, who lives in the country?" said Lord 
Colambre. 

" He has so." 

'' And he should know your concerns : does he mind them ?" 

** He should know — ^he should know better ; but as to minding 
our concerns, your honour knows," continued she, smiling again, 
« every one in this world must mind their own concerns : and it 
would be a good world, if it was even so. There's a great deal 
in all things, that don't appear at first sight. Mr. Dennis wanted 
Grace for a wife for his bailiff, but she would not have him ; and 
Mr. Dennis was very sweet to her himself — but Grace is rather 
high with him as proper, and he has a grudge again* us ever 
since. Yet, indeed, there," added she, after another pause, *'as 
you say, I think we are safe ; for we have that memorandum in 
writing, with a pencil, given under his own hand, on the back 
of the lose to me, by the same token when my good lord had his 
foot on the step of the coach, going away ; and I'll never forget 
the smile of her that got that good turn done for me. Miss Grace. 
And just when she was going to England and London, and, 
young as she was, to have the thought to stop and turn to the 
likes of me ! Oh, then, if you could see her, and know her, as 
I did ! ITiat was the comforting angel upon earth — ^look, and 
Toice, and heart, and all ! Oh, that she was here present, this 
minute ! — But did you scald yourself?" said the widow to Lord 
Colambre. "Sure you must have scalded yourself; for you 
poured the kettle straight over your hand, and it boiling ! — O 
deear ; to think of so young a gentleman's hand shaking so like 
my own." 

Luckily, to prevent her pursuing her observations from the 



154 TUB ABSEKTBC. 

hand to the face, which might have hetrayed more than Lori 



Ck>lambre wished she should know, her own Grace came ii 4 
this instant — ** There it*8 for you, safe, mother dear— the Imf 
said Grace, throwing a packet into her lap. The old mam 
lifted up her hands to heaven, with the lease between ^mb-* 
** Thanks he to Heaven !" Grace passed <m, and sunk downs 
the first seat she could reach. Her face flushed, and, lodnf 
much fatigued, she loosened the strings of her bonnet and dnk 
— <<Then, I'm tired;" but, recollecting herself, she rose, oi 
curtsied to the gentleman. 

"What tired ye, dear?" 

" Why, after prayers, we had to go— for the agent was not it 
prayers, nor at home for us, when we called — ^we had to go d 
the way up to the castle ; and there, by great good luck, n 
found Mr. Nick Garraghty himself, come from Dublin, andflw |i> 
hue in his hands ; and he sealed it up that way, and handed il V 
to me very civil. I never saw him so good — ^though he offieici 
me a glass of spirits, which was not manners to a decent yoong 
woman, in a morning — as Brian noticed after. Brian wooM 
not take any either, nor never does. We met Mr. Dennis anl 
the driver coming home; and he says, the rent mustbepiii 
to-morrow, or, instead of renewing, he'll seize, and sell iH 
Mother dear, I would have dropped with the walk, but fat 
Brian's arm." 

" It's a wonder, dear, what makes you so weak, that used to 
be so strong." ' 

"But if we can sell the cow for any thing at all to Mk 
Dennis, since his eye is set upon her, better let him have b* 
mother, dear; and that and my yarn, which Mrs. Garragk^ 
says she'll allow me for, will make up the rent — and Brian neei 
not talk of America. But it must be in golden guineas, tlie 
agent will take the rent no other way ; and you won't get t 
guinea for less than five shillings. Well, even so, it's Htf 
selling my new gown to one that covets it, and that will give 
me in exchange the price of the gold ; or, suppose that would 
not do, add this cloak — ^it's handsome, and I know a friend 
would be glad to take it, and I'd part it as ready as look at it^ 
Any thing at all, sure, rather than that he should be forced to 
talk of emigrating : or, oh, worse again, listing for the bounty— 



THE ABSENTEE. 155 

to save 118 from the cant or the jail, by going to the hospital, or 
his grave, maybe — oh, mother!" 

" Oh, child ! This is what makes you weak, fretting. Don't 
be that way. Sure here's the hue, and that's good comfort; 
and the soldiers will be gone out of Qonbrony to-morrow, and 
then that's off your mind. And as to America, it's only talk — I 
won't let him, he's dutiful ; and would sooner sell my dresser, 
and down to my bed, dear, than see you sell any thing of yours, 
love. Promise me you won't. Why didn't Brian come home 
all the way with you, Grace ?" 

" He would have seen me home," said Grace, " only that he 
went up a piece of the mountain for some stones or ore for the 
gentleman, — for he had the manners to think of him this 
morning, though, shame for me, I had not, when I come in, 
or I would not have told you all this, and he by. See, there he 
b, mother." 

Brian came in very hot, out of breath, with his hat full of 
stones. "Good morrow to your honour. I was in bed last 
night ; and sorry they did not call me up to be oisarvice, Larry 
was telling us, this morning, your honour's from Wales, and 
looking for mines in Ireland, and I heard talk that there was 
' one on our mountain — may be, you'd be curotts to see, and so I 
( I brought the best I could, but I'm no judge." 

I " Nor I, neither," thought Lord Colambre ; but he thanked the 
iqI young man, and determined to avail himself of Larry's miscon- 

Iception of false report ; examined the stones very gravely, and 
said, " This promises well. Lapis caliminaris, schist, plum-pud- 
dii^ stone, rhomboidal, crystal, blend, garrawachy," and all the 
^ strange names he could think of, jumbling them together at a 
^ venture. 

^ ''The lose!" cried the young man, with joy sparkling in his 
( I eyes, as his mother held up the packet. '' Lend me the 
^ p^rs." 

jn He cracked the seals, and taking off the cover — ''Ay, I 
^ know it's the lose sure enough. But stay, where's the memo- 
^ nmdum V* 

t- . "It's there, sure," said his mother, "where my lord's pencil 
tf ^it I don't read. Grace, dear, look." 



166 THE ABtEMTBE.- 

The young man put it into her hands, and stood vitboi 
power to utter a syllable. 

" It's not here ! It's gone ! — ^no sign of it." 

<' Gracious Heaven! that can't be," said the old woman 
putting on her spectacles ; " let me see, — I remember the ver 
spot." 

" It's taken away — ^it's rubbed clean out ! — Oh, wasn't I fool ?- 
But who could have thought he'd be the villain !" 

The young man seemed neither to see nor hear, but to be ab 
sorbed in thought. Grace, with her eyes fixed upon bim, gren 
as pale as death. — " He'll go— he's gone." 

'< She's gone!" cried Lord Colambre, and the mother jusi 
caught her in her arms as she was falling. 

" The chaise is ready, plase your honour," said Larry, coming 
into the room. *' Death ! what's here ?" 

"Air! — she's coming to," said the young man — "Take 8 
drop of water, my own Grace." 

" Young man, I promise you," cried Lord Colambre, (speak- 
ing in the tone of a master,) striking the young man's shoulder 
who was kneeling at Grace's feet, but recollecting and restraining 
himself, he added, in a quiet voice — " I promise you I sbal 
never forget the hospitality I have received in this house, and ! 
am sorry to be obliged to leave you in distress." 

These words uttered with difficulty, he hurried out of th< 
house, and into his carriage. " Go back to them," said be t< 
the postilion : " go back and ask whether, if I should stay a da] 
or two longer in this country, they would let me return at nigh 
and lodge with them. And here, man, stay, take this," putting 
money into his hands, " for the good woman of the house." 

The postilion went in, and returned. 

" She won't at all — I knew she would not." 

*< Well, I am obliged to her for the night's lodging she die 
give me ; I have no right to expect more." 

'^What is it? — Sure she bid me tell you, — ' and welcome tc 
the lodging; for,' said she, ^ he's a kind-hearted gentleman;' bui 
here's the money ; it's that I was telling you she would noi 
have at all." 

"Thank you. NoWf my good friend, Larry, drive me U 



THE ABSENTEE. 157 

Clonbrony, and do not say another word, for I'm not in a talk*- 
mg humour." 

Larry nodded, mounted, and drove to Clonbrony. Clonbrony 
was now a melancholy scene. The houses, which had heen 
built in a better style of architecture than usual, were in a 
ruinous condition ; the dashing was off the walls, no glass in the 
windows, and many of the roofs without slates. For the stillness 
of the place Lord Colamhre in some measure accounted, by con- 
sidering that it was holiday; therefore, of course, all the shops 
were shut up, and all the people at prayers. He alighted at the 
inn, which completely answered Larry's representation of it. 
Nohody to be seen but a drunken waiter, who, as well as he 
could articulate, informed Lord Colamhre, that ''his mistress 
was in her bed since Thursday-wa^-a-week ; the hostler at the 
wulMiHmum^s, and the cook at second prayers." 

Lord Colamhre walked to the chiurch, but the church gate was 
locked and broken — a calf, two pigs, and an ass, in the church- 
yard ; and several boys (with more of skin apparent than clothes) 
were playing at pitch and toss upon a tombstone, which, upon 
nearer observation, he saw was the monument of his own family. 
One of the boys came to the gate, and told Lord Colamhre, 
"There was no use in going into the church, because there was 
no church there ; nor had not been this twelvemonth ; beca-ase 
there was no curate : and the parson was away always, since 
the lord was at home — that is, was not at home — ^he nor the 
femay." 

Lord Colamhre returned to the inn, where, after waiting a 
considerable t^me, he gave up the point — ^he could not get any 
^ner — and in the evening he walked out again into the town. 
He foimd several public-houses, however, open, which were full 
of people ; all of them as busy and as noisy as possible. He ob- 
•erved that the interest was created by an advertisement of 
•eyeral farms on the Clonbrony estate, to be set by Nicholas 
Garraghty, Esq. He could not help smiling at his being witness 
iacognito to various schemes for outwitting the agents, and de- 
frauding the landlord ; but, on a sudden, the scene was changed ; 
a boy ran in, crying out, that " St. Dennis was riding down the 
luU into the town ; and, if you would not have the licence," said 
the boy, '' take care of yourself, Brannagan." '' If you wouldn't 



158 THE ABSBNTBB. 

have the licence" Lord Colambre perceived, by what followed, 
meant, ** If you have not a Ucence,** Brannagan immediately 
matched an untasted glass of whiskey from a customer's lips (who 
cried, murder !), gave it and the bottle he held in his hand to 
his wife, who swaJlowed the spirits, and ran away with the bottle 
and glass into some back hole ; whilst the bystanders laughed, 
saying, " Well thought of, Peggy I" 

*' Clear out all of you at the back door, for the love of Heaven, 
if you wouldn't be the ruin of me," said the man of the house, 
setting a ladder to a comer of the shop. *< Phil, hoist me up 
the keg to the loft," added he, running up the ladder; ''and 
one of yees step up street, and give Rose M'Givney notice, for 
she's selling, too." 

The keg was hoisted up; the ladder removed; the shop 
cleared of all the customers ; the shutters shut ; the door barred; 
the counter cleaned. 

''Lift your stones, sir, if you plase," said the wife, as she 
rubbed the counter, << and say nothing of what you seen at all ; 
but that you're a stranger and a traveller seeking a lodging, if 
you're questioned, or waiting to see Mr. Dennis. There's no 
smell of whiskey in it now, is there, sir?" 

Lord Colambre could not flatter her so far as to say this— rbe 
could only hope no one would perceive it 

" Oh, and if he would, the smell of whiskey was nothing," as 
the wife affirmed, " for it was every where in nature, and no 
proof again' any one, good or bad." 

'' Now, St. Dennis may come when he will, or Old Nick him- 
self!" So she tied up a blue handkerchief over her head, and 
had the toothache "very bad." 

Lord Colambre turned to look for the m&n of the house. 

" He's safe in bed," said the wife. 

"In bed! When?" 

" Whilst you turned your head, while I was t3dng the hand- 
kerchief over niy face. Within the room, look, he is snug." 

And there he was in bed certainly, and his clothes on the 
chest. 

A knock, a loud knock at the door. 

" St. Dennis himself! — Stay, till I unbar the door," said the 
woman ; and, making a great difficulty, she let him in, groaning 



s 



) 



THE ABSENTEE. 159 

and saying. "We was all done up for the night, plase your 
honour, and myself with the toothache, very had — ^And the 
lodger, that*s going to take an egg only, hefore he'd go into his 
bed. My man's in it, and asleep long ago." 

With a magisterial air, though with a look of blank disappoint- 
ment, Mr. Dennis Garraghty walked on, looked into the room, 
saw the good man of the house asleep, heard him snore, and 
then, returning, asked Lord Colambre, " who he was, and what 
brought him there V* 

Our hero said, he was from England, and a traveller ; and 
now, bolder grown as a geologist, he talked of his specimens, 
and his hopes of finding a mine in the neighbouring mountains ; 
then adopting, as well as he could, the servile tone and abject 
manner, in which he found Mr. Dennis was to be addressed, " he 
hoped he might get encouragement from the gentlemen at the 
bead of the estate." 

" To bore, is it ? — ^Well, don't bore me about it I can't give 
yoa any answer now, my good friend; I am engaged." 

Out be strutted. " Stick to him up the town, if you have a 
mind to get your answer," whispered the woman. Lord 
Colambre followed, for he wished to see the end of this scene. 

" Well, sir, what are you following and sticking to me, like 
my shadow, for ?" said Mr. Dennis, turning suddenly upon Lord 
Colambre. 

His lordship bowed low. " Waiting for my answer, sir, when 
you are at leisure. Or, may I call upon you to-morrow?" 

" You seem to be a»civil kind of fellow ; but, as to boring, I 
don't know — ^if you undertake it at your own expense. I dare 
Bay there may be minerals in the ground. Well, you may call 
at the castle to-morrow, and when my brother has done with the 
tenantry, I'll speak to him for you, and we'll consult together, 
and see what we think. It's too late to-night. In Ireland, 
nobody speaks to a gentleman about business after dinner, — your 
servant, sir ; any body can show you the way to the castle in 
the morning." And, pushing by his lordship, he called to a 
man on the other side of the street, . who had obviously been 
waiting for him ; he went under a gateway with this man, and 
gave him a bag of guineas. He then called for his horse, which 
bioiight to him by a man whom Lord Colambre Yiadi \ie«x^ 



160 THE ABSENTEE. 

declaring that he would hid for the land that was advertised; 
whilst another, who had the same intentions, most respectfully 
held his stirrup, whilst he mounted without thanking either of 
these men. St. Dennis clapped spurs to his steed, and rods 
away. No thanks, indeed, were deserved ; for the moment he 
was out of hearing, both cursed him after <the manner of their 
country. 

" Bad luck go with you, then ! — And may you break your 
neck before you get home, if it was not for the lose I*m to get, 
and that's paid for." 

Lord Colambre followed the crowd into a public-house, where 
a new scene presented itself to his view. 

The man to whom St. Dennis gave the bag of gold was now 
selling this very gold to the tenants, who were to pay their rent 
next day at the castle. 

The agent would take nothing but gold. The same guinea! 
were bought and sold several times over, to the great profit of the 
agent and loss of the poor tenants ; for as the rents were paidi 
the guineas were resold to another set : and the remittances made 
through bankers to the landlord, who, as the poor man thst 
explained the transaction to Lord Colambre expressed it, " gained 
nothing by the business, bad or good, but the ill-will of the 
tenantry." 

The higgling for the price of the gold ; the time lost in dis- 
puting about the goodness of the notes, among some poor tenants, 
who could not read or write, tind who were at the mercy of the 
man with the bag in his hand ; the .vexation, the useless 
harassing of all who were obliged to submit ultimately — Lord 
Colambre saw : and all this time he endured the smell of tobacco 
and whiskey, and the sound of various brogues, the din of men 
wrangling, brawling, threatening, whining, drawling, cajoUngi 
cursing, and every variety of wretchedness. 

" And is this my father's town of Clonbrony ?" thought Lord 
Colambre. *< Is this Ireland ? No, it is not Ireland. Let me 
not, like most of those who forsake their native country, traduce 
it. Let me not, even to my own mind, commit the injustice of 
taking a speck for the whole. What I have just seen is the 
picture only of that to which an Irish estate and Irish tenantry 
may be degraded in the absence of those whose duty and intcjr 



THE ABSENTEE. 161 

rest it is to reside in Ireland, to uphold justice by example 
•od authority ; but who, neglecting this duty, commit power to 
bad hands and bad hearts — abandon their tenantry to oppression, 
lad their property to ruin." 

It was now fine moonlight, and Lord Colambre met with a 
^, who said he could show him a short way across the fields 
to the widow 0*Neil*s cottage. 



CHAPTER XII. 

Au were asleep at the cottage, when Lord Colambre arrived, 
except the widow, who was sitting up, waiting for him ; and 
vho had brought her dog into the house, that he might not fly 
It him, or bark at his return. She had a roast chicken ready 
for her guest, and it was — ^but this she never told him — the only 
chicken she had left ; all the others had been sent with the duty 
foiely as a present to the under-agent's lady. While he was 
eating his supper, which he ate with the better appetite, as he 
had had no dinner, the good woman took down from the shelf a 
pocket-book, which she gave him : " Is not that your book V 
■aid she. '* My boy Brian found it after you in the potatoe 
unow, where you dropped it" 
''Thank you," said Lord Colambre ; ** there are bank notes in 
t, which I could not afford to lose." 
"Are there?" said she : " he never opened it — ^nor I." 
Then, in answer to his inquiries about Grace and the young 
lan, the widow answered, " They are all in heart now, I thank 
i kindly, sir, for asking ; they'll sleep easy to-night, any way, 
id I'm in great spirits for them and myself — ^for all's smooth 
)w. After we parted you, Brian saw Mr. Dennis himself 
lout the Uue and memorandum, which he never denied, but 
lew nothing about ' But, be that as it may,' says he, * you're 
proving tenants, and I'm confident my brother will consider 
; so what you'll do is, you'll give up the possession to-morrow 
myself that will call for it by cock-crow, just for form's sake ; 
1 then go up to the castle with the new lose ready drawn, in 
fathianable life. li 



IC2 THE ABSENTEE. 

your handy and if all's paid off clear of the rent, and all that's 
due, you'll get the new lose signed : I'll promise you this upon 
the word and honour of a gentleman.' And there's no going 
beyond that, you know, sir. So my boy came home as light as 
a feather, and as gay as a lark, to bring us the good news ; only 
he was afraid we might not make up the rent, guineas and all; 
and because he could not get paid for the work he done, on 
account of the mistake in the overseer's tally, I sold the cow to 
a neighbour, dog-cheap ; but needs must, as they say, when Old 
Nick drives," said the widow, smiling. " Well, still it was but 
paper we got for the cow ; then that must be gold before the 
agent would take or touch it — so I was laying out to sell the 
dresser, and had taken the plates and cups, and little things off 
it, and my boy was lifting it out with Andy the carpenter, tiiat 
was agreeing for it, when in comes Grace, all rosy and out of 
breath — it's a wonder I never minded her run out, nor ever 
missed her. ' Mother,' says she, * here's the gold for you ; don't 
be stirring your dresser.' — ' And where *s yoiu: gown and cloak, 
Grace?' says I. But, I beg your pardon, sir; may be, I'm 
tiring you?" ^ 

Lord Colambre encouraged her to go on. 

" ' Where's your gown and cloak, Grace ?' says I. ' Gone,' 
says she. 'The cloak was too warm and heavy, and I don' 
doubt, mother, but it was that helped to make me faint tiiis 
morning. And as to the gown, sure I've a very nice one here, 
that you spun for me, yourself, mother ; and that I prize above 
all the gowns ever came out of a loom ; and that Brian said 
become me to his fancy above any gown ever he see me wear; 
and what could I wish for more ?' Now I'd a mind to scold her 
for going to sell the gown unknown'st to me, but I don't know 
how it was, I couldn't scold her just then, so kissed her, and 
Brian the same, and that was what no man ever did before. 
And she had a mind to be angry with him, but could not, nor 
ought not, says I, 'for he's as good as your husband now, 
Grace ; and no man can part yees now,' says I, putting their 
hands together. Well, I never saw her look so pretty; nor 
there was not a happier boy that minute on God's earth than my 
son, nor a happier mother than myself; and I thanked God, 
that had given them to me ; and down they both fell on tb^ 



THS ABSENTEE. 1G3 

knees for my blessing, little worth as it was ; and my heart's 
blessing they had, and I laid my hands upon them. < It's the 
priest you must get to do this for you to-morrow/ says I. And 
Brian just held up the ring, to show me all was ready on his 
part, but could not speak. ' Then there's no America between 
US any more !' said Grace, low to me, and her heart was on her 
lips; but the colour came and went, and I was of ear d she'd have 
swooned again, but not for sorrow, so I carried her off. Well, 
if she was not my own — ^but she is not my own bom, so I may 
say it — ^there never was a better girl, not a more kind-hearted, 
nor generous ; never thinking any thing she could do, or give, 
too much for them she loved, and any thing at all would do for 
herself; the sweetest natured and tempered both, and always 
was, from this high ; the bond that held all together, and joy of 
the house." 
"Just like her namesake," cried Lord Colambre. 
" Flase your honour I" 

" Is not it late?" said Lord Colambre, stretching himself and 
gaping ; " I've walked a great way to-day." 

The old woman lighted his rushlight, showed him to his red 
check bed, and wished him a very good night ; not without 
some slight sentiment of displeasure at his gaping thus at the 
panegyric on her darling Grace. Before she left the room, 
however, her short-lived resentment vanished, upon his saying, 
diat he hoped, with her permission, to be present at the wedding 
of the young couple. 

Early in the morning Brian went to the priest, to ask his 
reverence when it would be convenient to marry him ; and 
whilst he was gone, Mr. Dennis Garraghty came to the cottage, 
to receive the rent and possession. The rent was ready, in gold, 
and counted into his hand. 

<< No occasion for a receipt ; for a new hue is a receipt in full 
for every thing." 

" Very well, sir," said the widow ; " I know nothing of law. 

You know best — ^whatever you direct — for you are acting as a 

fnend to us now. My son got the attorney t6 draw the pair of 

new la$ez yesterday, and here they are ready, all to signing." 

Mr. Dennis said, his brother must settle that part of the busi- 

m2 



164 THE ABSENTEE. 

ness, and that they must carry them up to the castle ; '* but 
first give me the possession." 

Then, as he instructed her, she gave up the key of the door 
to him, and a bit of the thatch of the house ; and he raked out 
the fire, and said every living creature must go out. '^ It*8 only 
form of law," said he. 

" And must my lodger get up, and turn out, sir?" said she. 
• " He must turn out, to be sure — ^not a living soul must be 
left in it, or it's no legal possession, properly. Who is your 
lodger?" 

On Lord Colambre's appearing, Mr. Dennis showed some sur- 
prise, and said, " I thought you were lodging at Brannagan's ; 
are not you the man who spoke to me at his house about the 
gold mines?" 

" No, sir, he never lodged at Brannagan's," said the widow. 

" Yes, sir, I am the person who spoke to you about the gold 
mines at Brannagan's ; but I did not like to lodge " 

" Well, no matter where you liked to lodge ; you must walk 
out of this lodging now, if you please, my good friend." 

So Mr. Dennis pushed his lordship out by the shoulders, re- 
peating, as the widow turned back, and looked with some 
surprise and alarm, " only for form sake, only for form sake !" 
then locking the door« took the key, and put it into his pocket. 
The widow held out her hand for it : " The form's gone through 
now, sir ; is not it ? Be plased to let us in again." 

" When the new lease is signed, I'll give you possession 
again; but not till then — ^for that's the law. So make away 
with you to the castle ; and mind," added he, winking slily, 
** mind you take sealing-money with you, and something to buy 
gloves." 

" Oh, where will I find all that?" said the widow. 

" I have it, mother ; don't fret," said Grace. " I have it— 
the price of — what I can want^. So let us go off to the castle 
without delay. Brian will meet us on the road, you know." 

"They set off for Clonbrony Castle, Lord Colambre accom- 
panying them. Brian met them on the road. " Father Tom is 

^ What I can do without. 



THE- ABSENTEE. 165 

eady, dear mother ; bring her in, and he'll marry us. I'm not 
ny own man till she's mine. "Who knows what may happen?" 

** Who knows? that's true," said the widow. 

** Better go to the castle first," said Grace. 

** And keep the priest waiting ! You can't use his reverence 
o," said Brian. 

So she let him lead her into the priest's house, and she did not 
oake any of the awkward draggings back, or ridiculous scenes 
(f grimace sometimes exhibited on these occasions ; but biush- 
ng rosy red, yet with more self-possession than could have been 
xpected from her timid nature, she gave her hand to the man 
he loved, and listened with attentive devotion to the holy 
eremony. 

** Ah !" thought Lord Colambre, whilst he congratulated the 
tiide, " shall I ever be as happy as these poor people are at this 
aonient?" He longed to make them some little present, but 
,11 he could venture at this moment was to pay the priest's dues. 

The priest positively refused to take any thing. 

** They are the best couple in my parish," said he ; "and I'll 
ake nothing, sir, from you, a stranger and my guest." 

<< Now, come what will, I'm a match for it. No trouble can 
ouch me," said Brian. 

«* Oh, don't be bragging," said the widow. 

" Whatever trouble God sends, he has given one now will 
belp to bear it, and sure I may be thankful," said Grace. 

'* Such good hearts must be happy, — shall be happy !" said 
Lord Colambre. 

"Oh, you're very kind," said the widow, smiling; "and I 
wouldn't doubt you, if you had the power. I hope, then, the 
agent will give you encouragement about them mines, that we 
may keep you among us." 

" I am determined to settle among you, warm-hearted, gene- 
rous people!" cried Lord Colambre ; "whether the agent gives 
me encouragement or not," added he. 

It was a long walk to Clonbrony Castle ; the old woman, as 
she said herself, would not have been able for it, but for a lift 
given to her by a friendly carman, whom she overtook on the road 
with an empty car. This carman was Finnucan, who dissipated 
Lord Colambre's fears of meeting and being recognized by Mrs. 



166 TH£ ABSENTEE. 1 

Raffarty ; for he, in answer to the question of <* Who is at the f 



castle?" replied, << Mrs. Raffarty will be in it afore night; but 
she's on the road still. There's none but Old Nick in it yet; 
and he's more of a neger than ever ; for think, that he would not 
pay me a farthing for the carriage of his shister's boxes and 
band-boxes down. If you're going to have any dealings with 
him, God grant ye a safe deliverance !" 

" Amen !" said the widow, and her son and daughter. 

Lord Colambre's attention was now engaged by the view of 
the castle and park of Clonbrony. He had not seen it since he 
was six years old. Some faint reminiscence from his childhood 
made him feel or fancy that he knew the place. It was a fine 
castle, spacious park ; but all about it, from the broken piers at 
the great entrance, to the mossy gravel and loose steps at the 
hall-door, had an air of desertion and melancholy. Walks over- 
grown, shrubberies wild, plantations run up into bare poles; 
fine trees cut down, and lying on the ground in lots to be sold. 
A hill that had been covered with an oak wood, where in his 
childhood our hero used to play, and which he called the black 
forest, was gone ; nothing to be seen but the white stumps of 
the trees, for it had been freshly cut down, to make up the last 
remittances. — " And how it went, when sold ! — but no matter," ' 
said Finnucan ; ^^ it's all alike. — It's the back way into the yard, 
I'll take you, I suppose." 

'< And such a yard ! but it's no matter," repeated Lord Colam- « 
bre to himself; "it's all alike." 

In the kitchen, a great dinner was dressing for Mr. Garraghty's 
friends, who were to make merry with him when the business of 
the day was over. i 

"Where's the keys of the cellar, till I get out the claret for \ 
after dinner," says one; "and the wine for the cook — sure • 
there's venison," cries another. — " Venison ! — That's the way [ 
my lord's deer goes," says a third, laughing. — "Ay, sure! and 
very proper, when he's not here to eat 'em." — "Keep your nose 
out of the kitchen, young man, if you jaZcwe," said the agent's 
cook, shutting the door in Lord Colambre's face. " There's the ^ 
way to the office, if you've money to pay, up the back stairs." 

"No; up the grand staircase they must, — Mr. Garraghty 
ordered," said the footman ; " because the office is damp for him, 



i 



THE ABSENTEE. 167 

and it's not there he'll see any body to-day ; but in my lady's 
dressing-room." 

So up the grand staircase they went, and through the magnifi- 
cent apartments, hung with pictures of great value, spoiling with 
damp. 

" Then, isn't it a pity to see them ? There's my lady, and all 
spoiling," said the widow. 

Lord Colambre stopped before a portrait of Miss Nugent — 
** Shamefully damaged !" cried he. 

" Pass on, or let me pass, if yonpUise,'* said one of the tenants; 
" and don't be stopping the door-way." 

<< I have business more nor you with the agent," said the sur- 
veyor ; " where is he ?" 

** In the presence-chamber" replied another : " Where should 
the viceroy be but in the presence-chamber ?'* 

There was a full levee, and fine smell of great coats. — " Oh ! 
would you put your hats on the silk cushions ?" said the widow 
to some men in the doorway, who were throwing off their greasy 
hats on a damask sofa. 

** Why not ? where else ?" 

** If the lady was in it, you wouldn't," said she, sighing. 

** No, to be sure, I wouldn't : great news ! would I make no 
difier in the presence of Old Nick and my lady ?" said he, in 
Irish. ** Have I no sense or manners, good woman, think ye?" 
added he, as he shook the ink out of the pen on the Wilton 
carpet, when he had finished signing his name to a paper on his 
knee. 

" You may wait long before you get to the speech of the great 
man," said another, who was working his way through numbers. 

They continued pushing forward, till they came within sight 
of Mr. Nicholas Garraghty, seated in state ; and a worse counte- 
nance, or a more perfect picture of an insolent, petty tyrant in 
office, Lord Colambre had never beheld. 

We forbear all further detail of this levee. "It's all the 
same!" as Lord Colambre repeated to himself, on every fresh 
instance of roguery or oppression to which he was witness ; and 
having completely made up his mind on the subject, he sat down 
quietly in the back-ground, waiting till it should come to the 
widow's torn to be dealt with, for he was now inteteate^ ot^>j \ft 



168 THE ABSENTSE. 



I 



see how she would be treated. The room gradually thiiued! 
Mr. Dennis Garraghty came in, and sat down at the table, tii 
help his brother to count the heaps of gold. I 

** Oh, Mr. Dennis, I'm glad to see you as kind asyourpromiie^ I 
meeting me here," said the widow 0*Neil, walking up to hia; 
" Tm sure you'll speak a good word for me : here's Ae buet- 
who will I offer this to V* said she, holding the glove-^none^uk 
sealing-monetfj ** for I'm strange and ashamed." 

" Oh, don't be ashamed — there's no strangeness in bringing 
money or taking it," said Mr. Nicholas Garraghty, holding onl 
his band. " Is this the proper compliment?" 

" I hope so, sir : your honour knows best." 

" Very well," slipping it into his private purse. " Now whit'i 
your business ?" 

*' The loses to sign — the rent's all paid up." 

" Leases ! Why, woman, is the possession given up?" 

" It was, plase your honour ; and Mr. Dennis has the keyrf 
our little place in his pocket." 

" Then I hope he'll keep it there. Tour little place-4t's M 
longer yoiurs; I've promised it to the surveyor. You don't think 
I'm such a fool as to renew to you at this rent." 

*' Mr. Dennis named the rent But any thing your honour 
plases — any thing at all that we can pay." I 

" Oh, it's out of the question — put it out of your head. No 
rent you can offer would do, for I have promised it to the wr- 
veyor." 

" Sir, Mr. Dennis knows my lord gave us his promise in 
writing of a renewal, on the back of the otddlase," 

« Produce it." 

" Here's the lascj but the promise is rubbed out." 

" Nonsense ! coming to me with a promise that's rubbed out 
Who'll listen to that in a court of justice, do you think?" 

" I don't know, plase your honour ; but this I'm sure of, my 
lord and Miss Nugent, though but a child at the time, God 
bless her ! who was by when my lord wrote it with his pencil, 
will remember it." 

" Miss Nugent ! what can she know of business ? — ^What has 
she to do with the management of my Lord Clonbrony's estate, 
pray?" 



THE ABSENTEE. 169 

i ** Management ! — ^no, sir." 

c " Do you wish to get Miss Nugent turned out of the house ?" 

" Oh, God forbid!— how could that be?" 

<« Very easily'; if you set about to make her meddle and witness 
-te what my lord does not choose." 

" Well, then, 1*11 never mention Miss Nugent's name in it at 
. ttlly if it was ever so with me. But be plased, sir, to write over 
to my lord, and ask him ; I'm sure he'll remember it." 

** Write to my lord about such a trifle — trouble him about such 
nonsense !" 

** I'd be sorry to trouble him. Then take it on my word, and 
believe me, sir ; for I would not tell a lie, nor cheat rich or poor, 
if in my power, for the whole estate, nor the whole world : for 
there's an eye above." 

' ** Cant ! nonsense ! — Take those leases off the table ; I never 
will sign them. Walk off, ye canting hag ; it's an imposition — I 
will never sign them." 

" You ivill, then, sir," cried Brian, growing red with indigna- 
tion ; " for the law shall make you, so it shall ; and you'd as 
good have been civil to my mother, whatever you did — for I'll 
stand by her while I've life ; and I know she has right, and 
shall have law. I saw the memorandum written before ever it 
went into your hands, sir, whatever became of it after ; and will 
swear to it too." 

** Swear away, my good friend ; much your swearing will 
avail in your own case in a court of justice," continued Old 
Nick. 

** And against a gentieman of my brother's established cha- 
racter and property," said St. Dennis. " What's your mother's 
character against a gentleman's like his ?" 

"Character! take care how you go to that, any way, sir," 
cried Brian. 

Grace put her hand before his mouth, to stop him. 

" Grace, dear, I must speak, if I die for it ; sure it's for my 
mother," said the young man, struggling forward, while his 
mother held him back ; ** I must speak." 

" Oh, he's ruined, I see it," said Grace, putting her hand 
before her eyes, " and he won't mind me." 

"Go on, let him go on, pray, young woman," said Mr, 



170 V' ABBBNTBS. 

Garraghty, pale with anger and fear, hia lips qiuTering; "I 
shall be happy to take down his words." 

" Write them ; and may all the world read it, and weleoB«r 

His mother and wife stopped his mouth by force. 

<* Write you, Dennis," said Mr. Garraghty, giving tbefttll 
his brother; for his hand shook so he could notfonntkHft 
<' Write the very words, and at the top" (pointing) ''lAt 
warning, with nuUice prepense,** 

" Write, then — ^mother, Grace — let me," cried Brian, speikil 
in a smothered voice, as their hands were over his JOKfk 
" Write then, that, if you'd either of you a character like if 
mother, you might defy the world ; and your word would be a 
good as your oadi." 

" Oo/A / mind that, Dennis," said Mr. Garraghty. 

"Oh, sir! sir! won't you stop him?" cried Grace, tuniaj 
suddenly to Lord Colambre. 

*♦ Oh, dear, dear, if you haven't lost your feeling for m" 
cried the widow. 

" Let him speak," said Lord Colambre, in a tone of anthoiitf ; 
"let the voice of truth be heard." 

" Truth /" cried St. Dennis, and dropped the pen. 

" And who the devil are you, sir ?" said Old Nick. 

" Lord Colambre, I protest!" exclaimed a female voice j td I 
Mrs. Rafiarty at this instant appeared at the open door. I 

" Lord Colambre !" repeated all present, in different tones. ' 

" My lord, I beg pardon," continued Mrs. Rafiarty, advancing 
as if her legs were tied ; " had I known you was down here, I 
would not have presumed. I'd better retire ; for I see you're 
busy." 

"You'd best; for you're mad, sister," said St. Dennis, 
pushing her back ; " and we are busy ; go to your room, and 
keep quiet, if you can." 

"First, madam," said Lord Colambre, going between her and 
the door, " let me beg that you will consider yourself as at home 
in this house, whilst any circumstances make it desirable to yoo. 
The hospitality you showed me you cannot think I now forget" 

" Oh, my lord, you're too good — ^how few — too kind — kinder 
than my own ;" and, bursting into tears, she escaped out of the 
room. 



THE ABSENTEE. 171 

Lord Colaxnbre returned to the party round the table, who 
were in various attitudes of astonishment, and with faces of 
fear, horror, hope, joy, doubt. 

"Distress," continued his lordship, "however incurred, if not 
by vice, will always find a refuge in this house. I speak in my 
father's name, for I know I speak his sentiments. But never 
more shall vice," said he, darting such a look at the bi other 
agents as they felt to the back-bone — " never more shall vice, 
shall fraud enter here." 

He paused, and there was a momentary silence. 

" There spoke the true thing ! and the rael gentleman ; my 
own heart's satisfied," said Brian, folding his arms, and standing 
erect. 

" Then so is mine,'' said Grace, taking breath, with a deep 
sigh. 

The widow advancing, put on her spectacles, and, looking up 
close at Lord Colambre's face — " Then it's a wonder I didn't 
know the family likeness." 

Lord Colambre, now recollecting that he still wore the old 
great coat, threw it off. 

" Oh, bless him ! Then now I'd know him any where. I'm 
willing to die now, for we'll all be happy." 

" My lord, since it is so— my lord, may I ask you," said Mr. 
Garraghty, now sufficiently recovered to be able to articulate, 
but scarcely to express his ideas ; " if what your lordship hinted 
just now. " 

" I hinted nothing, sir ; I spoke plainly." 

" I beg pardon, my lord," said Old Nick ; " respecting vice, 
was levelled at me; because, if it was, my lord," trying to stand 
erect ; " let me tell your lordship, if I could think it was " 

"If it did not hit you, sir, no matter at whom it was 
levelled." 

" And let me ask, my lord, if I may presume, whether, in what 
you suggested by the word fraud, your lordship had any parti- 
cular meaning ?" said St Dennis. 

" A very particular meaning, sir — feel in your pocket for the 
key of this widow's house, and deliver it to her." 

" Oh, if that's all the meaning, with all the pleasure in life. I 



172 THE ABSEMTBB. ■ 

never meant to detain it longer than till the leases were signed," I it 
said St Dennis. I k 

** And I'm ready to sign the leases this minute," said the I 
brother. f in 

<< Do it, sir, this minute ; I have read them ; I will k \i 
answerable to my father." li 

"Oh, as to that, my lord, I have power to sign for yov ^ 
father.'* 

He signed the leases; they were duly witnessed by IM 
Colambre. 

**l deliver this as my act and deed," said Mr. Garragb^: 
" My lord," continued he, " you see, at the first word from yot; 
and had I known sooner the interest you took in the fimilji 
there would have been no difficulty ; for I'd make it a prinqpk 
to oblige you, my lord." 

" Oblige me !" said Lord Colambre, with disdain. 

<'But when gentlemen and noblemen travel ineognUoy vA 
lodge in cabins," added St. Dennis, with a satanic smile, glanciog 
his eye on Grace, " they have good reasons, no doubt." 

"Do not judge my heart by your own, sir," said Lord Co- 
lambre, coolly ; " no two things in nature can, I trust, be more 
different My purpose in travelling incognito has been faQjr 
answered : I was determined to see and judge how my father'i 
estates were managed ; and I have seen, compared, and judged. 
I have seen the difference between the Clonbrony and the Co- 
lambre property ; and I shall represent what I have seen to my 
fether." 

" As to that, my lord, if we are to come to ihat — but I trust 
your lordship will suffer me to explain these matters. Go abont 
your business, my good friends ; you have all you want ; and, 
my lord, after dinner, when you are cool, I hope I shall be able 
to make you sensible that things have been represented to your 
lordship in a mistaken light ; and, I flatter myself, I shall con- 
vince you, I have not only always acted the part of a friend to 
the family, but am particularly willing to conciliate your lordship's 
good-will," said he, sweeping the rouleaus of gold into a bag; 
" any accommodation in my power, at any time." 

" I want no accommodation, sir — were I starving, I would 



THE ABSENTEE. 173 

accept of none from you. Never can you conciliate my good-will ; 
for you can never deserve it." 

" If that be the case, my lord, I must conduct myself accord- 
ingly : but it's fair to warn you, before you make any represen- 
tation to my Lord Clonbrony, that, if he should think of changing 
his agent, there are accounts to be settled between us — that may 
be a consideration." 

''No, sir; no consideration — ^my father never shall be the 
slave of such a paltry consideration." 

" Oh, very well, my lord ; you know best If you choose to 
make an assumpsit, I'm sure I shall not object to the security. 
Your lordship will be of age soon, I know — I'm sure I'm satisfied 
— but," added he, with a malicious smile, " I rather apprehend 
you don't know what you undertake : I only premise that the 
balance of accounts between us is not what can properly be 
called a paltry consideration." 

" On that point, perhaps, sir, you and I may differ." 

" Very well, my lord, you will follow your own principles, if 
it suits your convenience." 

" Whether it does or not, sir, I shall abide by my principles." 

" Dennis ! the letters to the post — When do you go to £ng- 
. land, my lord?" 

''Immediately, sir," said Lord Colambre: his lordship saw 
new leases from his father to Mr. Dennis Garraghty, lying on 
the table, unsigned. 

"Immediately!" repeated Messrs. Nicholas and Dennis, with 
an air of dismay. Nicholas got up, looked out of the window, 
and whispered something to his brother, who instantly left the 
room 

Lord Colambre saw the postchaise at the door, which had 
brought Mrs. Raffarty to the castle, and Larry standing beside 
it : his lordship instantly threw up the sash, and holding between 
his finger and thumb a six shilling piece, cried, " Larry, my friend, 
let me have the horses." 

"You shall have 'em — your honour," said Larry. 

Mr. Dennis Garraghty appeared below, speaking in a magis- 
terial tone. " Larry, my brother must have the horses." 

"He caxkXplase your honour — they're engaged." 

" Half a crown ! — a crown ! — half a guinea 1" said. Mt-'DexoiNa 



174 THE ABSENTEE. 

Garraghty, raising his voice, as he increased his proffered bribe. 
To each offer Larry replied, "You can't, j^cue your honour, 
they're engaged;" and, looking up to the window at Lord Co- 
lambre, he said, " As soon as they have ate their oats, you shall 
have 'em." 

No other horses were to be had. The agent was in conster- 
nation. Lord Colambre ordered that Larry should have some 
dinner, and whilst the postilion was eating, and the horses 
finished their oats, his lordship wrote the following letter to his 
father, which, to prevent all possibility of accident, he determined 
to put, with his own hand, into the post-office at Clonbrony, as 
he passed through the town. 

" MY DEAR FATHER, 

"I hope to be with you in a few days. Lest any thing 
should detain me on the road, I write this, to make an earnest 
request, that you will not sign any papers, or transact any far- 
ther business with Messrs. Nicholas or Dennis Garraghty before 
you see 

" Your affectionate son, 

" Colambre.*' 

The horses came out. Larry sent word he was ready, and 
Lord Colambre, having first eaten a slice of his own venison, 
ran down to the carriage, followed by the thanks and blessings 
of the widow, her son, and daughter, who could hardly make 
their way after him to the chaise-door, so great was the crowd 
which had gathered on the report of his lordship's arrival. 

"Long life to your honour! Long life to your lordship!" 
echoed on all sides. " Just come, and going, are you?" 

" Good bye to you all, good people !" 

•*Then good hye is the only word we wouldn't wish to hear 
from your honour." 

" For the sake both of landlord and tenant, I must leave you 
now, my good friends; but I hope to return to yo(u at some 
future time." 

" God bless you ! and speed ye ! and a safe journey to your 
honour! — and a happy return to us, and soon!" cried a multi- 
tude of voices. 



THE ABSENTEE. 175 

Lord Colambre stopped at the chaise-door, and beckoned to the 
widow O'Neil, before whom others had pressed. An opening 
was made for her instantly. 

" There ! that was the very way his father stood, with his 
foot on the step. And Miss Nugent was in it,'* 

Lord Colambre forgot what he was going to say, — with some 
difficulty recollected. "This pocket-book," said he, which your 
son restored to me — I intend it for your daughter — don't keep it 
as your son kept it for me, without opening it. Let what is 
withinside," added he, as he got into the carriage, "replace the 
cloak and gown, and let all things necessary for a bride be 
bought ; < for the bride that has all things to borrow has surely 
mickle to do.* Shut the door, and drive on." 

" Blessings be und you," cried the widow, " and God give you 
grace!" 



CHAPTER XIIL 

Larry drove off at full gallop, and kept on at a good rate, till 
he got out of the great gate, and beyond the sight of the crowd : 
then, pulling up, he turned to Lord Colambre — ^* Plase your 
honour, I did not know nor guess ye was my lord, when I let 
you have the horses : did not know who you was from Adam, 
I'll take my affidavit." 

"There's no occasion," said Lord Colambre; "I hope you 
don't repent letting me have the horses, now you do know who 
lam?" 

" Oh ! not at all, sure : I'm as glad as the best horse ever 
I crossed, that your honour is my lord — but I was only telling 
your honour, that you might not be looking upon me as a time- 



" I do not look upon you as a timesarver, Larry ; but keep 
on, that time may serve me." 

In two Words, he explained his cause of haste ; and no sooner 
explained than understood. Larry thundered away through the 
town of Clonbrony, bending over his horses, plying the whip, 
and lending his very soul at every lash. With much difficvilx.^ ^ 



176 THE AB8BNTBB. 

I^rd Colambre stopped him at the end of the town, at die poBi- 
office. The post was gone out — gone a quarter of an hour. 

''May be, we'll overtake the mail," said Larry : and,aslie 
spoke, he slid down from his seat, and darted into the pubIi^ 
house, re-appearing, in a few moments, with a copper of ale 
and a horn in his hand : he and another man held open tbe 
horses' mouths, and poured the ale through the horn down their 
throats. 

" Now, they'll go with spirit !" 

And, with the hope of overtaking the mail, Larry made them 
go ''for life or death," as he said: but in vain! At theneit 
stage, at his own inn-door, Larry roared for fresh horses t31 be 
got them, harnessed them with his own hands, holding the nx 
shilling piece, which Lord Colambre had g^ven him, in hit 
mouth, fidl the while : for he could not take time to put it into 
his pocket. 

" Speed ye ! I wish I was driving you all the way, then," 
said he. The other postilion was not yet ready. "Then 
your honour sees," said he, putting his head into the carriage, 
" coruaming of them Garraghties — Old Nick and St Dennii 
— ^the best part, that is, the worst part, of what I told you, 
proved true; and I'm glad of it, that is, I'm sorry for it— 
but glad your honour knows it in time. So Heaven prosper 
you I And may all the saints (barring St. Dennis) have chaige 
of you, and all belonging to you, till we see you here again! 
— And when will it be ?" 

" I cannot say when I shall return to you myself, but I will 
do my best to send your landlord to you soon. In the mean 
time, my good fellow, keep away from the sign of the Horse- 
shoe — a man of your sense to drink and make an idiot and a 
brute of yourself ! ' ' 

" True ! — And it was only when I had lost hope I took to it— 
but now ! Bring me the book one of yeesj out of the landlady'! 
parlour. By the virtue of this book, and by all the books that 
ever was shut and opened, I won't touch a drop of spirits, good 
or bad, till I see your honour again, or some of the family, this 
time twelvemonth — that long I live on hope, — ^but mind, if you 
disappoint me, I don't swear but I'll take to the whiskey, for 
comfort, all the rest of my days. But don't be staying here, 



THE ABSENTEE. 177 

casting your time, advising me. Bartley ! take the reins, can't 
eV* cried he, giving them to the fresh postilion; *'and keep 
n, for your life, for there's thousands of pounds depending on 
lie race — so off, off, Bartley, with speed of light!" 

Bartley did his best ; and such was the excellence of the roads, 
lat, notwithstanding the rate at which our hero travelled, he 
rrived safely in Dublin, just in time to put his letter into the 
ost-office, and to sail in that night's packet. The wind was 
lir when Lord Colambre went on board, but before they got 
ut of the Bay it changed ; they made no way all night : in the 
ourse of the next day, they had the mortification to see another 
acket from Dublin sail past them, and when they landed at 
[olyhead, were told the packet, which had left Ireland twelve 
ours after them, had been in an hour before them. The 
assengers had taken their places in the coach, and engaged 
'hat horses could be had. Lord Colambre was afraid that Mr. 
rarraghty was one of them ; a person exactly answering his 
escription had taken four horses, and set out half an hour 
efore in great haste for London. Luckily, just as those who 
ad taken their places in the mail were getting into the coach, 
<ord Colambre saw among them a gentleman, with whom he 
ad been acquainted in Dublin, a barrister, who was come over 
uring the long vacation, to make a tour of pleasure in England. 
Hien Lord Colambre explained the reason he had for being 
1 haste to reach London, he had the good-nature to give up to 
im his place in the coach. Lord Colambre travelled all night, 
nd delayed not one moment, till he reached his father's house, 
1 London. 

" My father at home V* 

"Yes, my lord, in his own room — the agent from Ireland 
rith him, on particular business— desired not to be interrupted 
-but I'll go and tell him, my lord, you are come." 

Lord Colambre ran past the servant, as he spoke — ^made his 
^ay into the room — found his father. Sir Terence O'Fay, and 
*f r. Garraghty — ^leases open on the table before them ; a candle 
ighted; Sir Terence sealing; Garraghty emptying a bag of 
;uinea8 on the table, and Lord Clonbrony actually with a pen 
Q his hand, ready to sign. 

Fashionable Life, n 



178 THB AB8BIITBC. 

As the door opened, Garragbty started back, bo that half the 
contents of his bag rolled upon the floor. 

« Stop, my dear father, I conjure you," cried Lord Colambre, 
springing forward, and snatching the pen from his father's 
hand. 

" Colambre ! God bless you, my dear boy ! at all eyentL 
But how came you here f — ^And what do you mean f " said hii 
father. 

** Bum it !" cried Sir Terence, pinching the sealing-wax ; ^i» 
I burnt myself with the pleasure of the surprise." 

Garragbty, without saying a word, was picking upthegoiiMSf 
that were scattered upon the floor. 

" How fortunate I am," cried Lord Colambre, ** to have armed 
just in time to tell you, my dear father, before you put your 
signature to these papers, before you conclude thia bar^in, sill 
know, all I have seen of that man !" 

" Nick Garragbty, honest old Nick ; do you know him, my 
lord ?" said Sir Terence. 

"Too well, sir." 

"Mr. Garragbty, what baye yon done to offend my son? I 
did not expect this," said Lord Clonbrony. 

" Upon my conscience, my lord, nothing to my knowledge," 
said Mr. Garragbty, picking up the guineas ; *< but showed him 
every civility, even so far as offering to accommodate him with 
cash without security ; and where will you find the other agent, 
in Ireland, or any where else, will do that? To my knowledge, 
I never did any thing, by word or deed, to offend my Lord Co- 
lambre ; nor could not, for I never saw him but for ten minutei, 
in my days ; and then he was in such a foaming passioo, 
begging his lordship's pardon, owing to the mlsrepresentatioiu 
he met with of me, I presume, from a parcel of blackguards that 
he went amongst, incognito^ he would not let me or my brother 
Dennis say a word to set him right ; but exposed me before all 
the tenantry, and then threw himself into a back, and drove off 
here, to stop tlie signing of these leases, I perceive. But I trust," 
concluded he, putting the replenished money-bag down, with s 
heavy sound on the table, opposite to Lord Clonbrony, " I trust 
my Lord Clonbrony will do me justice; that's all I have to say." 



THE ABSENTEE. 179 

•* I comprehend the force of your last argument fully, sir,*' 
said Lord Colamhre. " May I ask, how many guineas there 
are in the hag ? — I don't ask whether they are my father's or 
not." 

" They are to he your lordship's father's, sir, if he thinks 
proper," replied Garraghty. " How many, I don't know that 
I can justly, posirively say — five hundred, suppose." 

** And they would be my father's, if he signed those leases — 
I understand that perfectly, and understand that my father will 
lose three times that sum by the bargain. My dear father, you 
start — ^hut it is true — is not this the rent, sir, at which you are going 
to let Mr. Garraghty have the land?" placing a paper before 
Lord Clonbrony. 

" It is — the very thing." 

" And here, sir, written with my own hand, are copies of the 
proposals I saw from responsible, respectable tenants, offered 
and refused. Is it so, or is it not, Mr. Garraghty ?— deny it, if 
you can." 

Mr. Garraghty grew pale ; his lips quivered ; he stammered ; 
and, after a shocking convulsion of face, could at last articulate 
— only, ** That there was a great difference between tenant and 
tenant, his lordship must be sensible — especially for so large a 
rent." 

<< As great a difference as between agent and agent, I am 
sensible — especially for so large a property!" said Lord Co- 
lamhre, with cool contempt. " You find, sir, I am well informed 
with regard to this transaction ; you will find, also, that I am 
equally well informed with respect to every part of your conduct 
towards my father and his tenantry. If, in relating to him what 
I have seen and heard, I should make any mistakes, you are 
here ; and I am glad you are, to set me right, and to do yourself 
justice." 

"Oh! as to that, I should not presume to contradict any 
thing your lordship asserts from your own authority : where 
would be the use ? I leave it all to your lordship. But, as it is 
not particularly agreeable to stay to hear one's self abused — Sir 

Terence! I'll thank you to hand me my hat! And if 

you'll have the goodness, my Lord Clonbrony, to look over 
finally the accounts before morning, I'll call at -^ova \^Y&\n% \a 

n2 



180 THE ABSENTEE. 

settle the balance, as yon find convenient : as to the leases, Fm 
quite indifferent." So saying, he took up his money-bag. 

*' Well, you'll call again in the morning, Mr. Garraghty?" 
said Sir Terence ; '* and, by that time, I hope we shall under- 
stand this misunderstanding better." 

Sir Terence pulled Lord Clonbrony's sleeve ; " Don't let him 
go with the money — ^it's much wanted." 

** Let him go," said Lord Colambre : "money can be had by 
honourable means." 

"Wheugh!— He talks as if he had the bank of England at 
his command, as every young man does," said Sir Terence. 

Lord Colambre deigned no reply. Lord Clonbrony walked 
undecidedly between his agent and his son — looked at Sir 
Terence, and said nothing. 

Mr. Garraghty departed : Lord ; Qpnbrony called after him 
from the head of the stairs, " I shall be at home and at leisure 
in the mgming." 

Sir Terence ran down stairs after him: Lord Colambre 
waited quietly for their return. 

'* Fifteen hundred guineas at a stroke of a goose-quill ! — That 
was a neat hit, narrowly missed, of honest Nick's!" said Lord 
Clonbrony. "Too bad! too bad, faith! — I am. much, very 
much obliged to you, Colambre, for that hint: by to-morrow 
morning we shall have him in another tune." 

" And he must double the bag, or quit," said Sir Terence. 

"Treble it, if you please, Terry. Sure, three times five's 
fifteen : — fifteen hundred down, or he does not get my signature 
to those leases for his brother, nor get the agency of the Colambre 

estate. Colambre, what more have you to tell of him ? 

for, since he is making out his accounts against me, it is no harm 
to have &per contra against him, that may ease my balance." 

"Very fair! very fair!" said Sir Terence. "My lord, trust 
me for remembering all the charges against him — every item : 
and when he can't clear himself, if I don't make him buy a good 
character dear enough, why, say I am a fool, and don't know 
the value of character, good or bad !" 

" If you know the value of character. Sir Terence," said Lord 
Colambre, " you know that it is not to be bought or sold." Then 
turning from Sir Terence to his father, he gave a full and true 



THE ABSENTEE. 181 

account of all he had seen in his progress through his Irish 
estates ; and drew a faithful picture both of the bad and good 
agent. Lord Gonbrony, who had benevolent feelings, and was 
fond of his tenantry, was touched ; and when his son ceased 
speaking, repeated several times, '' Rascal ! rascal ! How dare 
he use my tenants so— the O'Neills in particular ! — Rascal ! bad 
heart! — I'll have no more to do with him." But, suddenly 
recollecting himself, he turned to Sir Terence, and added, ** That's 

sooner said than done -I'll tell you honestly, Colambre, 

your friend Mr. Burke may be the best man in the world — 
but he is the worst man to apply to for a remittance or a loan, in 
a HURRY ! He always tells me, * he can't distress the tenants.' " 

" And he never, at coming into the agency even," said Sir 
Terence, " advanced a good round sum to the landlord, by way of 
security for his good behaviour. Now honest Nick did that 
much for us at coming in." 

*<And at going out is he not to be repaid?" said Lord 
Colambre. 

"That's the devil!" said Lord Clonbrony : "that's the very 
reason I can't conveniently turn him out" 

" I will make it convenient to you, sir, if you will permit me," 
said Lord Colambre. " In a few days I shall be of age, and will 
join with you in raising whatever sum you want, to free you from 
this man. Allow me to look over his account ; and whatever 
the honest balance may be, let him have it." 

"My dear boy !" said Lord Clonbrony, "you're a generous 
fellow. Fine Irish heart ! — glad you're my son ! But there's 
more, much more, that you don't know," added he, looking at 
Sir Terence, who cleared his throat ; and Lord Clonbrony, who 
was on the point of opening all his affairs to his son, stopped 
short. 

" Colambre," said he, " we will not say any thing more of this 
at present ; for nothing effectual can be done till you are of age, 
and then we shall see all about it." 

Lord Colambre perfectly understood what his father meant, 
and what was meant by the clearing of Sir Terence's throat. 
Lord Clonbrony wanted his son to join him in opening the 
estate to pay his debts; and Sir Terence feared that if Lord 
Colambre were abruptly told the whole sum total of the debts, he 



182 THE ABSENTEE. 

would never be persuaded to join in selling or mortgagiog so 
much of his patrimony as would be necessary for their pajnonent. 
Sir Terence thought that the young man, ignorant probably of 
business, and unsuspicious of the state of his father's affairs, 
might be brought, by proper management, to any measures they 
desired. Lord Clonbrony wavered between the temptation to 
throw himself upon the generosity of his son, and the immediate 
convenience of borrowing a sum of money from his agent, to 
relieve his present embarrassments. 

" Nothing can be settled," repeated he, " till Colambre is of 
age ; so it does not signify talking of it" 

*•' Why so, sir?" said Lord Colambre. " Though my act, in 
law, may not be valid till I am of age, my promise, as a man of 
honour, is binding now ; and, I trust, would be as satisfactory to 
my father as any legal deed whatever." 

" Undoubtedly, my dear boy ; but " 

"But what?" said Lord Colambre, following his father's eye, 
which turned to Sir Terence O'Fay, as if asking his permission 
to explain. " As my father's friend, sir, you ought, permit me 
to say, at this moment to use your influence to prevail upon him 
to throw aside all reserve with a son, whose warmest wish is to 
serve him, and to see him at ease and happy." 

" Generous, dear boy," cried Lord Clonbrony. "Terence, I 
can't stand it ; but how shall I bring myself to name the amount 
of the debts?" 

'< At some time or other, I must know it," said Lord Colam- 
bre : *' I cannot be better prepared at any moment than the 
present ; never more disposed to give my assistance to relieve all 
difficulties. Blindfold, I cannot be led to any purpose, sir," 
said he, looking at Sir Terence : " the attempt would be 
degrading and futile. Blindfolded I will not be — ^but, with my 
eyes open, I will see, and go straight and prompt as heart can go, 
to my father's interest, without a look or thought to my own." 

"By St. Patrick ! the spirit of a prince, and an Irish prince, spoke 
there," cried Sir Terence : ** and if I'd fifty hearts, you'd have 
all in your hand this minute, at your service, and warm. Blind- 
fold you ! After that, the man that would attempt it desearvei 
to be shot ; and I'd have no sincerer pleasure in life than shooting 
him this moment, was he my best friend. But it's not Clod- 



THE ABSENTEE. 183 

brony, or your father, my lord, would act that way, no more than 
Sir Terence O'Fay — there's the schedule of the debts," drawing 

I a paper from his bosom ; " and I'll swear to the lot, and not a 

' man on earth could do that but myself." 

I Lord Colambre opened the paper. His father turned aside, 
covering his face with both his hands. 
" Tut, man," said Sir Terence : " I know him now better than 
you ; he will stand, you'll find, the shock of that regiment of 
(figures — ^he is steel to the backbone, and proof spirit." 
" I thank you, my dear father," said Lord Colambre, " for 
trusting me thus at once with a view of the truth. At first sight 
it is, I acknowledge, worse than I expected ; but I make no 
doubt that, when you allow me to examine Mr. Garraghty's 
accounts and Mr. Mordicai's claims, we shall be able to reduce 
this alarming total considerably." 

" The devil a pound, nor a penny," said Sir Terence; "for 

you have to deal with a Jew and Old Nick ; and, since I'm not 

a match for them, I don't know who is ; and I have no hope of 

[ getting any abatement I've looked over the accounts till I'm 

sick." 

" Nevertheless, you will observe that fifteen hundred guineas 
, have been saved to my father at one stroke, by his not signing 
those leases." 

" Saved to you, my lord ; not your father, if you please," said 
Sir Terence. " For now I'm upon the square with you, I must 
be straight as an arrow, and deal with you as the son and friend 
of my friend : before, I was considering you only as the son and 
heir, which is quite another thing, you know; accordingly, 
acting for your father here, I was making the best bargain 
against you I could : honestly, now, I tell you. I knew the 
value of the lands well enough : I was as sharp as Garraghty, 
and he knew it ; I was to have had for your father the difference 
from him, partly in cash and partly in balance of accounts — you 
comprehend — and you only would have been the loser, and 
never would have known it, may be, till after we all were dead 
and buried; and then you might have set aside Garraghty's 
lease easy, and no harm done to any but a rogue that deaarved 
it; and, in the mean time, an accommodation to my honest 
friend, my lord, your father here. But, as fate would have it. 



184 THE AB8BMTBB. 

you upaet all by your progress incognito through them estates 
Well, it's best as it is, and I am better pleased to be as we aie, 
trusting all to a generous son's own heart. Now put the poor 
fatber out of pain, and tell us what you'll do, my dear." 

" In one word, then," said Lord Colambre, " I will, upon two * 
conditions, either join my father in levying fines to enable him 
to sell or mortgage whatever portion of his estate is necessaiy 
for the payment of these debts ; or I will, in whatever mode lie 
can point out, as more agreeable or more advantageous to him, 
join in giving security to his creditors." 

" Dear, noble fellow !" cried Sir Terence : " none but an 
Irishman could do it" 

Lord Clonbrony, melted to tears, could not articulate, hot 
held his arms open to embrace his son. 

"But you have not heard my conditions yet," said Lord 
Colambre. 

" Oh, confound the conditions!" cried Sir Terence. 

** What conditions could he ask, that I could refuse at this 
minute ?" said Lord Clonbrony. 

" Nor I — was it my heart's blood, and were I to be hanged 
for it," cried Sir Terence. "And what are the conditions?" 

" That Mr. Garraghty shall be dismissed from the agency." 

" And welcome, and glad to get rid of him — the rogue, the 
tyrant," said Lord Clonbrony ; " and, to be beforehand with you 
in your next wish, put Mr. Burke into his place." 

" I'll write the letter for you to sign, my lord, this minute," 
cried Terry, " with all the pleasure in life. No ; it's my Lord 
Colambre should do that in all justice." 

"But what's your next condition? I hope it's no worse," 
said Lord Clonbrony. 

" That you and my mother should cease to be absentees." 

"Oh, murder!" said Sir Terence; "may be that's not w 
easy; for there are two words to that bargain." 

Lord Clonbrony declared that, for his own part, he was ready 
to return to Ireland next morning, and to promise to reside on 
his estate all the rest of his days ; that there was nothing he 
desired more, provided Lady Clonbrony would consent to it; 
but that he could not promise for her ; that she was as obstinate 
as a mule on that point; that he had often tried, but that there 



. THE ABSENTEE. 185 

.^^as no moving her; and that, in short, he could not promise on 
^ her part. 

But it was on this condition, Lord Colambre said, he must 
. , insist. Unless this condition were granted, he would not engage 
to do any thing. 

" Well, we must only see how it will be when she comes to 

'' town; she will come up from Buxton the day you're of age to 

', ngn some papers," said Lord Clonbrony ; " but," added he with 

J a very dejected look and voice, " if all's to depend on my Lady 

Clonbrony's consenting to return to Ireland, I'm as far from all 

hope of being at ease as ever." 

"Upon my conscience, we're all at sea again," said Sir 
. Terence. 

Lord Colambre was silent ; but in his silence there was such 
an air of firmness, that both Lord Gonbrony and Sir Terence 
were convinced entreaties would, on this point, be fruitless. Lord 
Clonbrony sighed deeply. 
^ << But when it's ruin or safety ! and her husband and all be- 
longing to her at stake, the woman can't persist in being a 
mule," said Sir Terence. 

" Of whom are you talking, sir ?'* said Lord Colambre. 
" Of whom ? Oh, I beg your lordship's pardon — I thought I 
was talking to my lord ; but, in other words, as you are her son, 
I'm persuaded her ladyship, your mother, will prove herself a 
reasonable woman — when she sees she can't help it. So, my 
Lord Clonbrony, cheer up ; a great deal may be done by the 
fear of Mordicai, and an execution, especially now there's no 
prior creditor. Since there's no reserve between you and I now, 
my Lord Colambre," said Sir Terence, " I must tell you all, and 
how we shambled on those months while you were in Ireland. 
First, Mordicai went to law, to prove I was in a conspiracy with 
your father, pretending to be prior creditor, to keep him off and 
out of his own ; which, after a world of swearing and law — law 
always takes time to do justice, that's one comfort — the villain 
proved at last to be true enough, and so cast us ; and I was 
forced to be paid off last week. So there's no prior creditor, or 
any shield of pretence that way. Then his execution was coming 
down upon us, and nothing to stay it till I thought of a monthly 
annuity to Mordicai, in the shape of a wager. So the morning 



186 TBE AB8BNTBB. 

after he cast us, I went to him : <Mr. Mordicai,' says I, *yoc 
must he plased to see a man you've beaten so handsomely; ad 
though I'm sore, hoth for myself and my friend, yet you seel 
can laugh still, though an execution is no laughing matter, and 
I'm sensible you've one in petto in your sleeve for my friend 
Lord Clonbrony. But I'll lajr you a wager of a hundred guineai 
on paper, that a marriage of his son with an heiress, before next 
Lady-day, will set all to rights, and pay you with a compliment 
too." 

<< Good heavens. Sir Terence ! surely you said no such thingf 

*^ I did — but what was it but a wager ? which is nothing but a 
dream ; and, when lost, as I am as sensible as you are that it 
must be, why what is it, after aU, but a bonus, in a gentlemanlike 
form, to Mordicai ? which, I grant you, is more than he deaenes 
—for staying the execution till you be of age ; and even for 
my Lady Clonbrony 's sake, though I know she hates me like 
poison, rather than have her disturbed by an execution, I'd pay 
the hundred guineas this minute out of my own pocket, if I had 
'em in it." 

A thimdering knock at the door was heard at this moment 

" Never heed it ; let *em thunder," said Sir Terence : " whoever 
it is, they won't get in ; for my lord bid them let none in for 
their life. It's necessary for us to be very particular about the 
street-door now ; and I advise a double chain for it, and to bare 
the footmen well tutored to look before they run to a double rap; 
for a double rap might be a double trap." 

<<My lady and Miss Nugent, my lord," said a footman, 
throwing open the door. 

" My mother ! Miss Nugent !" cried Lord Colambre, springing 
eagerly forward. 

<< Colambre ! Here !" said his mother : " but it's all too late 
now, and no matter where you are." 

Lady Clonbrony coldly suffered her son to embrace her ; and 
he, without considering the coldness of her manner, scarcely 
hearing, and not at all imderstanding, the words she said, fixed 
his eyes on his cousin, who, with a coimtenance all radiant with 
affectionate joy, held out her hand to him. 

<< Dear cousin Colambre, what an unexpected pleasure !" 

He seized the hand; but, as he was going to kiss it, the 



XHB ABSENTEE. 187 

i ncoUection of i^^. Omar crossed his mind : he checked himself, 
I md said something about joy and pleasure, but his countenance 
«iqpressed neither ; and Miss Nugent, much surprised by the 
coldness of his manner, withdrew her hand, and, turning away, 
left the room. 

"Grace! darling!" called Lord Clonbrony, "whither so fast, 
before you've given me a word or a kiss?" 

She came back, and hastily kissed her uncle, who folded her 
in his arms. " Why must I let you go ? And what makes you so 
pale, my dear child ?" 

" I am a little, a little tired — I will be with you again soon." 

Her uncle let her go. 

" Your famous Buxton baths don't seem to have agreed with 
her, by all I can see," said Lord Clonbrony. 

" My lord, the Buxton baths are no way to blame ; but I 
know what is to blame and who is to blame," said Lady Clon- 
brony, in a tone of displeasure, fixing her eyes upon her son. 
" Yes, you may well look confounded, Colambre ; but it is too 
late now — ^you should have known your own mind in time. I 
see you have heard it, then — but I am sure I don't know how ; 
for it was only decided the day I left Buxton. The news could 
hardly travel faster than I did. Pray how did you hear it ?" 

" Hear what, ma'am ?" said Colambre. 

" Why, that Miss Broadhiurst is going to be married." 

** Oh, is that all, ma'am ?" said our hero, much relieved. 

" All ! Now, Lord Colambre, you reelly are too much for my 
patience. But I flatter myself you will feel, when I tell you that 
It is your friend. Sir Arthur Berryl, as I always prophesied, who 
has carried off* the prize from you." 

" But for the fear of displeasing my dear mother, I should 
say, that I do feel sincere pleasure in this marriage — I always 
wished it : my friend, Sir Arthur, from the first moment, trusted 
me with the secret of his attachment ; he knew that he had my 
warm good wishes for his success j he knew that I thought most 
highly of the young lady ; but that I never thought of her as a 
wife for myself." 

" And why did not you ? that is the very thing I complain 
of," said Lady Clonbrony. " But it is all over now. You may 
set your heart at ease, for they are to be married on Thursday ; 



188 THE ABSENTBB. 

and poor Mn. Broadhunt is ready to break her heart, for she 
was set upon a coronet for her daughter ; and you, ungrateful « 
you are, you don't know how she wished you to be the happy 
man. But only conceive, after all that has passed, Miss Broiii' 
hurst had the assurance to expect I would let my niece be ber 
brideVmaid. Oh, I flatly refused ; that is, I told Grace it codd 
not be ; and, that there might be no affront to Mrs. Broadhuni, 
who did not deserve it, I pretended Grace had never mentioned 
it ; but ordered my carriage, and left Buxton directly. Gnce 
was hurt, for she is very warm in her friendships. I am sony to 
hurt Grace. But reelly 1 could not let her be brideVmaid :— 
and that, if you must know, is what vexed her, and made tbe 
tears come in her eyes, I suppose — and I'm sorry for it; but eoe 
must keep up one's dignity a little. After all. Miss Broadhunt 
was only a citizen — and reelly now, a very odd girl ; never did 
any thing like any body else ; settled her marriage at last in the 
oddest way. Grace can tell you the particulars. I own, 1 m 
tired of the subject, and tired of my journey. My lord, I shall , 
take leave to dine in my own room to-day," continued her lady- 
ship, as she quitted the room. 

" I hope her ladyship did not notice me," said Sir Terence 
O'Fay, coming from behind a window-curtain. ' 

" Why, Terry, what did you hide for?" said Lord Clonbrony. 

" Hide ! I didn't hide, nor wouldn't from any man living, lit \ 
(done any woman \ Hide ! no ; but I just stood looking out of 
the window, behind this ciu*tain, that my poor Lady Clonbronj 
might not be discomfited and shocked by the sight of one whom 
she can't abide, the very minute she come home. Oh, I've 
some consideration — ^it would have put her out of humour wone 
with both of you too ; and for that there's no need, as far as I 
see. So I'll take myself off to my coffee-house to dine, and may 
be you may get her down and into spirits again. But, for your 
lives, don't touch upon Ireland this night, nor till she has fairly 
got tbe better of the marriage. Apropos — there's my wager to 
Mordicai gone at a slap. It's I that ought to be scolding you, 
my Lord Colambre ; but I trust you will do as well yet, not in 
point of purse, may be. But I'm not one of those that think 

1 Leaving any woman out .of the question. 



THE ABSENTEE. 189 

that money's every thing — though, I grant you, in this world 
there's nothing to be had without it — love excepted, — which 
most people don't believe in — but not I — in particular cases. So 
I leave you, with my blessing, and I've a notion, at this time, 
that is better than my company — your most devoted." 

The good-natured Sir Terence would not be persuaded by 
Lord Clonbrony to stay. Nodding at Lord Colambre as he went 
out of the room, he said, " I've an eye, in going, to your h. art's 
ease too. When I played myself, I never liked standers-by." 

Sir Terence was not deficient in penetration, but he never 
could help boasting of his discoveries. 

Lord Colambre was grateful for his judicious departure ; and 
followed his equally judicious advice, not to touch upon Ireland 
this night. 

Lady Clonbrony was full of Buxton, and he was glad to be 
relieved from the necessity of talking ; and he indulged himself 
in considering what might be passing in Miss Nugent's mind. 
She now appeared in remarkably good spirits ; for her aunt had 
given her a hint that she thought her out of humour because she 
had not been permitted to be Miss Broadhurst's bride 's-maid, 
and she was determined to exert herself to dispel this notion. 
This it was now easy for her to do, because she had, by this 
time, in her own imagination, found a plausible excuse for that 
coldness in Lord Colambre 's reception of her, by which she had 
at first been hurt : she had settled it, that he had taken it for 
grranted she was of his mother's sentiments respecting Miss 
Broadhurst's marriage, and that this idea, and perhaps the 
apprehension of her reproaches, had caused this embarrassment 
—she knew that she could easily set this misunderstanding 
right. Accordingly, when Lady Clonbrony had talked herself 
to sleep about Buxton, and was taking her afternoon's nap, as 
it was her custom to do when she had neither cards nor 
company to keep her awake. Miss Nugent began to explain her 
own sentiments, and to give Lord Colambre, as her aunt had 
desired, ah account of the manner in which Miss Broadhurst's 
marriage had been settled. 

"In the' first place," said she, 'Met me assure you, that I 
rejoice in this marriage : I think your friend. Sir Arthur Berryl, 
i« every way deserving of my friend Miss Broadhurst *, awd \>2A& 



190 THE ABSENTEE. 

from me," said she, smiling, << b no slight eulogium. I have 
marked the rise and progress of their attachment ; and it has 
been founded on the perception of such excellent qualities on 
each side, that I have no fear for its permanence. Sir Arthur 
Berryl's honourable conduct in paying his father's debts, and 
his generosity to his mother and sisters, whose fortunes were 
left entirely dependent upon him, first pleased my friend. It 
was like what she would have done herself, and like— in short, 
it is what few young men, as she said, of the present day would 
do. Then his refraining from all personal expenses, his going 
without equipage and without horses, that he might do what he 
felt to be right, whilst it exposed him continually to the ridicule 
of fashionable young men, or to the charge of avarice, made a 
very different impression on Miss Broadhurst's mind ; her esteem 
and admiration were excited by these proofs of strength of 
character, and of just and good principles." 

** If you go on you will make me envious and jealous of my 
friend," said Lord Colambre. 

" You jealous ! — Oh, it is too late now — ^besides, you cannot 
be jealous, for you never loved." 

" I never loved Miss Broadhurst, I acknowledge." 

" There was the advantage Sir Arthur Berryl had over you— 
he loved, and my friend saw it." 

"She was clear-sighted," said Lord Colambre. 

" She was clear-sighted," repeated Miss Nugent; "but if you 
mean that she was vain, and apt to fancy people in love with 
her, I can assure you that you are mistaken. Never was woman, 
young or old, more clear-sighted to the views of those by whom 
she was addressed. No flattery, no fashion, could blind her 
judgment." 

" She knew how to choose a friend well, I am sure," said 
Lord Colambre. 

" And a friend for life, too, I am sure you will allow^and 
she had such numbers, such strange variety of admirers, as 
might have puzzled the choice and turned the brain of any 
inferior person. Such a succession of lovers as she has had this 
summer, ever since you went to Ireland — they appeared and 
vanished like figures in a magic lantern. She had three noble 
admirers^-rank in three different forms offered themselves. 



THE ABSENTEE. 191 

First came in, hobbling, rank and gout; next, rank and 
gaming ; then rank, very high rank, over head and ears in 
debt All of these were rejected ; and, as they moved off, I 
thought Mrs. Broadhurst would have broken her heart. Next 
came foshion, with his head, heart, and soul in his cravat — he 
quickly made his bow, or rather his nod, and walked off, taking 
a pinch of snuff. Then came a man of wit — ^but it was wit 
without worth ; and presently came 'worth without wit.' She 
preferred ' wit and worth united,' which she fortunately at last 
foimd, Lord Colambre, in your friend, Sir Arthur Berryl." 

"Grace, my girl!" said her uncle, "I'm glad to see you've 
got up your spirits again, though you were not to be bride's- 
maid. Well, I hope you'll be bride soon — I'm sure you ought 
to be — and you should think of rewarding that poor Mr. 
Salisbury, who plagues me to death, whenever he can catch 
hold of me, about you. He must have our definitive at last, you 
know, Grace." 

A silence ensued, which neither Miss Nugent nor Lord 
Colambre seemed able or willing to break. 

"Very good company, faith, you three! — One of ye asleep, 

and the other two saying nothing, to keep one awake. Colambre, 

1 have you no Dublin news ? Grace, have you no Buxton scandal ? 

1 What was it Lady Clonbrony told us you'd tell us, about the 

oddness of Miss Broadhurst's settling her marriage ? Tell me 

^. that, for I love to hear odd things." 

A " Perhaps you will not think it odd," said she. " One evening 
J b ut I should begin by telling you that three of her admirers, 

fji besides Sir Arthur Berryl, had foUowed her to Buxton, and had 
^\ been paying their court to her all the time we were there ; and 

I at last grew impatient for her decision." 
^ " Ay, for her definitive !" said Lord Clonbrony. Miss Nugent 

iwas put out again, but resumed. 
" So one evening, just before the dancing began, the gentle- 
men were all standing round Miss Broadhurst; one of them 
^ said, * I wish Miss Broadhurst would decide — that whoever she 
u^ I dances with to-night should be her partner for life : what a happy 
^ I man he would be !' 
it f '''But how can I decide V said Miss Broadhurst. 



192 THE ABSSMTBB. ' 

" * I wish I had a friend to plead for me !' said one of tk 
suitors, looking at me. 

" < Have you no friend of your own V said Miss Broadhunt 

'< ' Plenty of friends,' said the gentleman. 

" * Plenty ! — then you must be a very happy man,' repfid 
Miss Broadhurst. < Come,' said she, laughing, * I will diuee 
with that man who can convince me that he has, near rdatun 
excepted, one true friend in the world ! That num who Iiai 
made the best friend, I dare say, will make the best hasband !' 

" At that moment," continued Miss Nugent, " I was certaiB 
who would be her choice. The gentlemen all declared at fint 
that they had abundance of excellent friends — the best finendi 
in the world ! but when Miss Broadhurst cross-examined diefli, 
as to what their friends had done for them, or what they wen 
willing to do, modem friendship dwindled into a ridicnloialy 
small compass. I cannot give you the particulars of the cto«- 
examiuation, though it was conducted with great spirit and 
humour by Miss Broadhurst ; but I can tell you the result— diit 
Sir Arthur Berryl, by incontrovertible facts, and eloquence warn 
from the heart, convinced every body present that he had tlie 
best friend in the world ; and Miss Broadhurst, as he finished 
speaking, gave him her hand, and he led her off in triumph — ■ 
So you see, Lord Colambre, you were at last the cause of my 
friend's marriage I" 

She turned to Lord Colambre as she spoke these words, widi 
such an affectionate smile, and such an expression of open, 
innocent tenderness in her whole countenance, that our hero 
could hardly resist the impulse of his passion — could hardly 
restrain himself from falling at her feet that instant, and declaring 
his love. " But St. Omar ! St. Omar !— It must not be !" 

" I must be gone !" said Lord Qonbrony, pulling out his 
watch. " It is time to go to my club ; and poor Terry will 
wonder what has become of me." 

Lord Colambre instantly offered to accompany his father; 
much to Lord Clonbrony's, and more to Miss Nugent 's surprise. 

" What !" said she to herself, "after so long an absence, leave 
me ! — Leave his mother, with whom he always used to stay— on 
purpose to avoid me ! What can I have done to displease himf 



THE ABSENTEE. 193 

It is clear it was not about Miss Broadhurst*s marriage he was 

offended ; for he looked pleased, and like himself, whilst I was 

talking of that : but the moment afterwards, what a constrained, 

> unintelligible expression of countenance — and leaves me to go to 

I a club which he detests I" 

V As the gentlemen shut the door on leaving the room, Lady 
A Clonbrony awakened, and, starting up, exclaimed, " What's the 
b*| matter? Are they gone? Is Colambre gone ?" 
'1 ** Yes, ma'am, with my uncle." 

t^l *' Very odd ! very odd of him to go and leave me ! he alwaya 
fef used to stay with me — what did he say about me ?" 
e«| " Nothing, ma'am." 

ifil " Well, then, I have nothing to say about him, or about any 
^l thing, indeed, for I'm excessively tired and stupid — alone in 
■?[ Lon'on's as bad as any where else. Ring the bell, and we'll go 
»/ to bed directly — ^if you have no objection, Grace." 
■^1 Grace made no objection : Lady Clonbrony went to bed and 
*f to sleep in ten minutes. Miss Nugent went to bed ; but she lay 
if awake, considering what could be the cause of her cousin 
I Colambre 's hard unkindness, and of ''his altered eye." She 
I was openness itself ; and she determined that, the first moment 
I she could speak to him alone, she would at once ask for an ex- 
I planation. With this resolution, she rose in the morning, and 
I went down to the breakfast-room, hi hopes of meeting him, as it 
had formerly been his custom to be early ; and she expected to 
I find him reading in his usual place. 



CHAPTER XIV. 

No — Lord Colambre was not in his accustomed place, rea^g 
in the breakfast-room ,* nor did he make his appearance till both 
hu Ik&er and mother had been some time at breakfast. 

<' Crood morning to you, my Lord Colambre," said his mother, 
I ia 1 reproachful tone, the moment he entered ; '< I am much 
ol»%ed to you for your company last night." 

" Good morning to you, Colambre," said his father, in a more 
I Foihianable Ltfe. o 



194 THE ABSENTEE. 

jocose tone of reproach ; " I am obliged to you for jour goo 
company last night" 

** Grood morning to you, Lord Colambre," said Miss Nugent 
and though she endeavoured to throw all reproach from he 
looks, and to let none be heard in her voice, yet there was 
slight tremulous motion in that voice, which struck our hero t 
the heart. 

*' I thank you, ma'am, for missing me," said he, addressin, 
himself to his mother : ** J stayed away but half an hour ; 
accompanied my father to St. James's-street, and when I tc 
turned I found that every one had retired to rest." 

" Oh, was that the casef" said Lady Clonbrony : " I own 
thought it very unlike you to leave me in that sort of way." 

" And, lest you should be jealous of that half hour when hi 
was accompanying me," said Lord Clonbrony, " I must remark 
that, though I had his body with me, I had none of his mind 
that he left at home with you ladies, or with some fair om 
across the water, for the deuce of two words did he bestow upoi 
me, with all his pretence of accompanying me." 

** Lord Colambre seems to have a fair chance of a pleasan' 
breakfast," said Miss Nugent, smiling; ''reproaches on al 
sides." 

** I have heard none on your side, Grace," said Lon 
Clonbrony ; " and that's the reason, I suppose, he wisely takei 
his seat beside you. But come, we will not badger you an] 
more, my dear boy. We have given him as fine a complexioi 
amongst us as if he had been out hunting these three hours 
have not we, Grace ?" 

" When Colambre has been a season or two more in Lon'on 
he'll not be so easily put out of countenance," said Lad; 
Clonbrony ; " you don't see young men of fashion here blusb 
ing about nothing." 

''No, nor about any thing, my dear," said Lord ClonbroBy 
'^but that's no proof they do nothing they ought to blush fim" 

" What they do, there's no occasion for ladies to inquire,"^8ai 
Lady Clonbrony ; " but this I know, that it's a great disa^ 
vantage to a young man of a certain rank to blush ; f<Hr n 
people, who live in a certain set, ever do : and it is* the moi 
opposite thing possible to a certain air, which, I own, I thin 



THB ABSENTEE. 1915 

Colarabre wants ; and now that he has done travelling in 
Ireland, which is no use in pint of giving a gentleman a 
travelled air, or any thing of that sort, I hope he will put 
himself under my conduct for next winter's campaign in 
town.'* 

Lord Clonbrony looked as if he did not know how to look ; 
and, after drumming on the table for some seconds, said, 
" Colambre, I tM you how it would be : that's a fatal hard 
eondition of yours." 

<<Not a hard condition, I hope, my dear father," said Lord 
Colambre. 

" Hard it must be, since it can't be fulfilled, or won't he 
fulfilled, which comcB to the same thing," replied Lord Clon- 
brony, sighing. 

''I am persuaded, sir, that it will be fulfilled," said Lord 
Ccdambre ; " I am persuaded that, when my mother hears the 
truth, and the whole truth — when she finds that your happiness, 
and the happiness of her whole family, depend upon her yielding 
her taste on one subject—*" 

<'0h, I see now what you are about," cried Lady Clonbrony; 
" you are coming round with your persuasions and prefaces to 
ask me to give up Lon'on, and go back with you to Ireland, my 
lord. You may save yourselves the trouble, all of you ; for no 
earthly persuasions shall make me do it. I will never give up 
my taste on that pint. My happiness has a right to be as much 
considered as your father's, Colambre, or any body's ; and, in 
one word, I won't do it," cried she, rising angrily from the 
breakfast-table. 

"There! did not I tell you how it would be?" cried Lord 
Qonbrony. 

"My mother has not heard me yet," said Lord Colambre, 
laying his hand upon his mother's arm, as she attempted to pass : 
*1iear me, madam, for your own sake. You do not know what 
win happen, this very day — ^this very hour, perhaps — if you do 
not listen to me." 

"And what will happen?" said Lady Clonbrony, stopping 
short 

" Ay, indieed ; she little knows," said Lord Clonbrony, ** what's 
inging over her head." 

o2 



196 THE ABSENTEE. 

'^ Hanging over my head?" said Lady Clonbrony, looking 
up ; " nonsense ! — what ?" 

*^ An execution, madam !" said Lord Colambre. 

'' Gracious me ! an execution !" said I^ady Gonbrony, sitting 
down again ; ** but I heard you talk of an execution months ago, 
my lord, before my son went to Ireland, and it blew over — I 
heard no more of it " 

"It won't blow over now,*' said Lord Clonbrony; "you'll 
hear more of it now. Sir Terence O'Fay it was, you may 
remember, that settled it then." 

" Well, and can't he settle it now? Send for him, since he 
understands these cases ; and I will ask him to dinner myself, 
for your sake, and be very civil to him, my lord." 

" All your civility, eidier for my sake or your own, will not 
signify a straw, my dear, in this case — any thing that poor Terry 
could do, he'd do, and welcome, without it ; but he can do 
nothing." 

"Nothing! — that's very extraordinary. But I'm clear no 
one dare to bring a real execution against us in eaniest ; and 
you are only trying to frighten me to your purpose, like a child; 
but it shan't do." 

" Very well, my dear ; you'll see — too late." 

A knock at the house door. 

"Who is it? — What is it?" cried Lord Clonbrony, growing 
very pale. 

Lord Colambre changed colour too, and ran down stairs. 
" Don't let 'em let any body in, for your life, Colambre ; imder 
any pretence," cried Lord Clonbrony, calling from the head of 
the stairs : then running to the window, " By all that's good, it's 
Mordicai himself! and the people with him." 

" Lean your head on me, my dear aunt," said Miss Nugent: 
Lady Qonbrony leant back, trembling, and ready to faint. 

" But he's walking off now ; the rascal could not get in — safe 
for the present!" cried Lord Clonbrony, rubbing his hands, and 
repeating, " safe for the present!" 

" Safe for the present !" repeated Lord Colambre, coming 
again into the room. " Safe for the present hour." 

"He could not get in, I suppose. — Oh, I warned all the 
servants well," said Lord Clonbrony ; "and so did Terry. Ay, 



I THE ABSENTEE. 197 

• there's the rascal Mordicai walking off, at the end of the street ; 

I know his walk a mile off. Gad ! I can hreathe again. I am 

glad he's gone. But he will come hack and always lie in wait, 

and some time or other, when we're off our guard (unawares), 

) he'll slide in." 

; "Slide in! Oh, horrid!" cried Lady Clonhrony, sitting up, 

I and wiping away the water which Miss Nugent had sprinkled on 
her face. 

" Were you much alarmed ?" said Lord Colamhre, with a 
voice of tenderness, looking at his mother first, hut his eyes 
fixing on Miss Nugent. 

"Shockingly!" said Lady Clonhrony; "I never thought it 
would reelly come to this." 

" It will really come to much more, my dear," said Lord 
Clonhrony, "that you may depend upon, unless you prevent it." 

" Lord I What can I do ? — I know nothing of business : how 
should I, Lord Clonhrony? But I know there's Colarabre — I was 
always told that when he was of age, every thing should be 
settled ; and why can't he settle it when he's upon the spot?" 

" And upon one condition, I will," cried Lord Colamhre ; " at 
what loss to myself, my dear mother, I need not mention." 

"Then I will mention it," cried Lord Clonhrony: "at the 
loss it will be of nearly half the estate he would have had, if we 
: had not spent it." 

" Loss ! Oh, I am excessively sorry my son's to be at such a 

I loss — ^it must not be." 
"It cannot be otherwise," said Lord Clonhrony; "nor it 
can't be this way either, my Lady Clonhrony, unless you comply 
,\ with his condition, and consent to return to Ireland." 
I "I cannot — I will not," replied Lady Clonhrony. "Is this 
^1 your condition, Colamhre ? — I take it exceedingly iU of you. I 
f think it very unkind,, and unhandsome, and ungenerous, and 
^1 undutiful of you, Colamhre ; you my son !" She poured forth a 
Jt torrent of reproaches ; then came to entreaties and tears. But 
I our hero, prepared for this, had steeled his mind ; and he stood 
g,k resolved not to indulge his own feelings, or to yield to caprice or 
I persuasion, but to do that which he knew was best for the hap- 
^1 piness of hundreds of tenants, who depended upon them — ^hest 






198 THfe ABtSMTBX* 

for both his father and hit mother's ultimate happineas 
respectability. 

'< It's all in vain," cried Lord Clonbrony ; " I have no ten 
but one, and I must condescend now to go to him this mi 
for Mordicai will be back and seise all — I must sign and 1 
all to Garraghty." 

" Well, sign, sign, my lord, and settle with Garraghtf. 
lambre, I've heard all the complaints you brought over ag 
that man. My lord spent half the night telling them to 
but all agents are bad, I suppose ; ftt any rate I can't help 
sign, sign, my lord ; he has money — ^yes, do ; go and settle 
him, my lord." 

Lord Colambre and Miss Nugent, at one and the sami 
ment, stopped Lord Clonbrony as he was quitting the room 
then approached Lady Clonbnmy with supplicating looks 
she turned her head to the other side, and, as if putting 
their entreaties, made a repelling motion with both her h 
and exclaimed, " No, Grace Nugent ! — ^no, Colambre — ^no 
Colambre ! Ill never hear of leaving Lon'on — ^there's no 1 
out of Lon'on — I can't, I won't live out of Lon'on, I say." 

Her son saw that the Londanomania was now strongei 
ever upon her, but resolved to make one desperate appeal I 
natural feelings, which, though smothered, he could not bi 
were wholly extinguished : he caught her repelling hands 
pressing them witii respectful tenderness to his l^is, " 01 
dear mother, you once loved your son," said he; "love< 
better than any thing in this world : if one spark of affectic 
him remains, hear him now, and forgive him, if he pai 
bounds — ^bounds he never passed before— of filial duty. M< 
in compliance with your wishes my father left Ireland — ^le 
home, his duties, his friends, his natural connexions, an 
many years he has lived in England, and you have spent ] 
seasons in London." 

" Yes, in the very best company — ^in the very first cir< 
said Lady Clonbrony ; " cold as the high-bred English arc 
to be in general to strangers." 

*' Yes," replied Lord Colambre, " the very best compai 
you mean the most fasViionabU'^ Vivie ^A<ie^ted of our entei 



THE ABSENTEK. 199 

ments. We liave forced our way into their frozen circles ; we 
have been permitted to breathe in these elevated regions of 
fashion ; we have it to say, that the Duke of This, and my Lady 
That, are of our acquaintance. — We may say more : we may 
boast that we have vied with those whom we could never equal. 
And at what expense have we done all this? For a single 
season, the last winter (I will go no farther), at the expense of a 
great part of your timber, the growth of a century — swallowed 
in the entertainments of one winter in London ! Our hills to be 
bare for another half century to come ! But let the trees go : I 
think more of your tenants — of those left under the tyranny of a 
bad agent, at the expense of every comfort, every hope they 
enjoyed! — tenants, who were thriving and prosperous; who 
use4 to smile upon you, and to bless you both I In one cottage, 
I have seen ■" 

Here Lord Clonbrony, unable to restrain his emotion, hurried 
out of the room. 

"Then I am sure it is not my fault," said Lady Clonbrony; 

I ''for I brought my lord a large fortune : and I am confident I 
have not, after all, spent more any season, in the best company, 
Uum he has among a set of low people, in his muddling, dls- 
i creditable way." 

«| '^And how has he been reduced to this?" said Lord Co- 
A Ismbre. " Did he not formerly live with gentlemen, his equals, 
:; in hia own country; his contemporaries ? Men of the first star 
3 tion and character, whom I met in Dublin, spoke of him in a 
manner that gratified the heart of his son : he was respectable 
b and respected, at his own home ; but when he was forced away 
s. from that home, deprived of his objects and his occupations, 
^1 compelled to live in London, or at watering-places, where he 
J could find no employments that were suitable to him — set down, 
"f late in life, in the midst of strangers, to him cold and reserved — 

I himself too proud to bend to those who disdained him as an 
Irishman— is he not more to be pitied than blamed for — yes, I, 
his son, must say the word — the degradation which has ensued ? 
(And do not the feelings, which have this moment forced him to 
leave the room, show of what he is capable? Oh, mother!" 
cried Lord Colambre, throwing himself at Lady Clonbrony 's 
feet, "restore my father to himself! Should such feelings be- 



200 THE ABSENTEE. 

wasted? — No; give them again to expand in benevolent, in 
kind, useful actions ; give him again to his tenantry, his duties, 
his country, his home ; return to that home yourself, dear mo- 
ther ! leave all the nonsense of high life — scorn the imperti- 
nence of these dictators of fashion, who, in return for all the 
pains we take to imitate, to court them — ^in return for the 
sacrifice of health, fortune, peace of mind — bestow sarcasm, con- 
tempt, ridicule, and mimicry !" 

" Oh, Colambre ! Colambre ! mimicry — I'll never believe it." 

"Believe me — believe me, mother; for I speak of what I 
know. Scorn them — quit them ! Return to an unsophisticated 
people — to poor, but grateful hearts, still warm with the remem- 
brance of your kindness, still blessing you for favours long since 
conferred, ever praying to see you once more. Believe me, for 
I speak of what I know — ^your son has heard these prayers, has 
felt these blessings. Here ! at my heart felt, and still feel them, 
when I was not known to be your son, in the cottage of the 
widow O'Neil." 

** Oh, did you see the widow O'Neil ! and does she remember 
me V* said Lady Clonbrony. 

" Remember you ! and you, Miss Nugent ! I have slept in the 
bed -I would tell you more, but I cannot." 

" Well I I never should have thought they would have 
remembered me so long I poor people!" said Lady Clonbrony. 
" I thought all in Ireland must have forgotten me, it is now so 
long since I was at home." 

" You are not forgotten in Ireland by any rank, I can answer 
for that. Return home, my dearest mother — ^let me see you once 
more among your natural friends, beloved, respected, happy I" 

" Oh, return ! let us return home I" cried Miss Nugent, with a 
voice of great emotion. " Return, let us return home I My 
beloved aunt, speak to us! say that you grant our request!" She 
kneeled beside Lord Colambre, as she spoke. 

" Is it possible to resist that voice, that look ?" thought Lord 
Colambre. 

"If any body knew," said Lady Clonbrony, "if any body 
could conceive, how I detest the sight, the thoughts of that old 
yellow damask furniture, in the drawing-room at Clonbrony 
Castle " 



THE ABSENTEE. 201 

** Good Heavens !" cried Lord Colambre, starting up, and 
looking at his mother in stupified astonishment ; ** is that what 
you are thinking of, ma'am?" 

" The yellow damask furniture f'said her niece, smiling. " Oh, 
if that's all, that shall never offend your eyes again. Aunt, my 
painted velvet chairs are finished ; and trust the furnishing that 
room to me. The legacy lately left me cannot be better 
applied — ^you shall see how beautifully it will be furnished." 

"Oh, if I had money, I should like to do it myself; but it 
would take an immensity to new furnish Clonbrony Castle pro- 
perly." 

"The furniture in this house," said Miss Nugent, looking 
round 

" Would do a great deal towards it, I declare," cried Lady 
Clonbrony ; " that never struck me before, Grace, I protest — - 
and what would not suit one might sell or exchange here — and it 
would be a great amusement to me — and I should like to set the 
fashion of something better in that country. And I declare now, 
I should like to see those poor people, and that widow O'Neil. I 
do assure you, I think I was happier at home ; only that one 
gets, I don't know how, a notion, one's nobody out of Lon'on,- 
But, after all, there's many drawbacks in Lon'on — and many 
people are very impertinent, I'll allow — and if there's a woman 
in the world I hate, it is Mrs. Dareville — and, if I was leaving 
Lon'on, I should not regret Lady Langdale neither — and Lady 
St James is as cold as a stone. Colambre may well say frozen 
circles — these sort of people are really very cold, and have, I do 
believe, no hearts. I don't verily think there is one of them 

would regret me more Hey I let me see, Dublin — the winter 

— Merrion-square — ^new furnished — and the summer — Clon- 
brony Castle!" 

Lord Colambre and Miss Nugent waited in silence till her 
mind should have worked itself clear. One great obstacle had 
been removed ; and now that the yellow damask had been taken 
out of her imagination, they no longer despaired. 

Lord Clonbrony put his head into the room. " What hopes ? 
—any? if not, let me go." He saw the doubting expression of 
Lady Clonbrony's countenance — ^hope in the face of his son and 



202 THE AMEHTBB. 

niece. " My dear, dear Lady Clonbrony, make ui all ]iA{^y by 
one word," said be, kissing ber. 

'* You never kissed me so since we left Ireland before/' said 
Lady Clonbrony. '' Well, since it must be wo, let us go," said 
sbe. 

" Did I ever see sucb joy !" said Lord Clonbrony, daaping bis 
bands : ** I never expected sucb joy in my life ! — I must go and 
tell poor Terry!" and off be ran. 

" And now, since we are to go," said Lady Clonbrony, " pray 
let us go immediately, before tbe thing gets wind, else I sbali 
bave Mrs. Dareville, and Lady Langdale, and Lady St. James, 
and all the world, coming to condole with me, just to latisfy 
their own curiosity : and then. Miss Pratt, who bean every 
thing that every body says, and more than they say, will come 
and tell me how it is reported every where that we are rained. 
Ob ! I never could bear to stay and hear all this. I'll tell you 
what I'll do— you are to be of age soon, Colambre, — ^very well, 
there are some papers for me to sign, — I must stay to put my 
name to them, and, that done, that minute I'll leave you and 
Lord Clonbrony to settle all the rest ; and I'll get into my car- 
riage, with Grace, and go down to Buxton again ; where you 
can come for me, and take me up, when you're all ready to go to 
Ireland — and we shall be so far on our way. Colambre, what 
do you say to this?" 

*' That, if you like it, madam, " said he, giving one hasty glance / 
at Miss Nugent, and withdrawing bis eyes, "it is the best po»> 
sible arrangement." 

" So," thought Grace, ''that is the best possible arrangement 
which takes us away." 

" If I like it !" said Lady Clonbrony ; " to be sure I do, or I 
should not propose it. What is Colambre thinking of? I know, 
Grace, at all events, what you and I must think of — of having 
the furniture packed up, and settling what's to go, and what's | 
to be exchanged, and all that. Now, my dear, go and write s I 
note directly to Mr. Soho, and bid him come himself, immediately; -. 
and we'll go and make out a catalogue this instant of what tat' * 
niture I will bave packed." 

So with her bead full of furniture, Lady Clonbrony retired. "I 



THE ABBENTCB. 909 

go to my bnsineBB, Colambre : and I leave you to settle yours 
in peace." 

In peace I — Never was our hero's mind less at peace than at 
this moment. The more his heart felt that it was painful, the 
more his reason told him it was necessary that he should part 
from Grace. Nugent. To his union with her there was an ob- 
stacle which his prudence told him ought to be insurmountable ; 
yet he felt that, during the few days he<4uLd been with her, the 
few hours he had been near her, he had, with his utmost power 
over himself, scarcely been master of his passion, or capable 
of concealing its object. It could not have been done but for 
her perfect simplicity and innocence. But how could this be 
supported on his part? How could he venture to live with 
this charming girl? How could he settle at home? What 
resource? 

His mind turned towards the army : he thought that abroad, 
and in active life, he should lose all the painful recollections, 
and drive from his heart all the sentiments, which could now be 
only a source of unavailing regret But his mother — ^his mother, 
who had now yielded her own taste to his entreaties, for the good 
ef her family — she expected him to return and live with her in 
Irdbad. Though not actually promised or specified, he knew 
that she took it for granted ; that it was upon this hope, this 
faith, she consented : he knew that she would be shacked at the 
bare idea of his going into the army. There was one chance — 
our hero tried, at this moment, to Ihink it the best possible chance 
— that Miss Nugent might marry Mr. Salisbury, and settle in 
England. On this idea he relied, as the only means of extricating 
him from difficulties. 

It was necessary to turn his thoughts immediately to business, 
to execute his promises to his father. Two great objects were 
now to be accomplished — the payment of his father's debts, and 
the settlement of the Irish agent's accounts ; and, in transact- 
ing this complicated business, he derived considerable assistance 
from Sir Terence OTay, and from Sir Arthur Berryl's solicitor, 
Mr. Edwards. Whilst acting for Sir Arthur, on a former occasion, 
Lord Colambre had gained the entire confidence of this solicitor, 
who was a man of the first eminence. Mr. Edwards took the 
papers and Lord Qonbrony's title-deeds home with him« saying 



204 THE AB8BMTEB. 

that he would give an answer the next morning. He then 
waited upon Lord Colambre, and informed him that he liad just 
received a letter from Sir Arthur Berryl, who, with the consent 
and desire of his lady, requested that whatever money might be 
required by Lord Clonbrony should be immediately supplied on 
their account, without waiting till Lord Colambre should be of 
age, as the ready money might be of some convenience to him 
in accelerating the journey to Ireland, which Sir Arthur and 
Lady Berryl knew was his lordship's object Sir Terence O'Fay 
now supplied Mr. Edwards with accurate information as to the 
demands that were made upon Lord Clonbrony, and of the 
respective characters of the creditors. Mr. Edwards undertook 
to settle with the fair claimants ; Sir Terence with the rogues : 
so that by the advancement of ready money from the Berryk, 
and by the detection of false and exaggerated charges which Sir 
Terence made among the inferior class, the debts were re- 
duced nearly to one-half of their former amount Mordicai, 
who had been foiled in his vile attempt to become sole creditor, 
had, however, a demand of more than seven thousand pounds 
upon Lord Clonbrony, which he had raised to this enormous 
sum in six or seven years, by means well known to himself. He 
stood the foremost in the list : not from the greatness of the sum ; 
but from the danger of his adding to it the expenses of law. 
Sir Terence undertook to pay the whole with five thousand 
pounds. Lord Clonbrony thought it impossible : the solicitor 
thought it improvident, because he knew that upon a trial a 
much greater abatement would be allowed ; but Lord Colambre 
was determined, from the present embarrassments of his own 
situation, to leave nothing imdone that could be accomplished 
immediately. 

Sir Terence, pleased with his commission, immediately went 
to Mordicai. 

" Well, Sir Terence," said Mordicai, " I hope you are come to 
pay me my hmidred guineas; for Miss Broadhurst is married!" 

" Well, Mister Mordicai, what then ? The ides of March are 
come, but not gone ! Stay, if you plase. Mister Mordicai, till 
Lady-day, when it becomes due : in the mean time, I have a 
handful, or rather an armful, of bank-notes for you, from my Lord 
Colambre." 



THE ABSENTEE. 205 

*' Humph." said Mordicai: ''bow's that? he'll not be of age 
these three days." 

" Don't matter for that : he has sent me to look over your 
accounts, and to hope that you will make some small abatement 
in the total." 

"Harkee, Sir Terence — you think yourself very clever in 
things of this sort, but you've mistaken your man : I have an 
execution for the whole, and I'll be d — d if all your cunning 
shall MAKE me take up with part !" 

" Be aisif, Mister Mordicai ! — you sha'n't make me break 
your bones, nor make me drop one actionable word against your 
high character; for I know your clerk there, with that long 
goose-quill behind his ear, would be ready evidence again' me. 
But I beg to know, in one word, whether you will take five 
thousand down, and give Lord Clonbrony a discharge ?" 

"No, Mr. Terence! nor six thousand nine hundred and 
ninety-nine pounds. My demand is seven thousand one hundred 
and thirty pounds, odd shillings : if you have that money, pay 
it; if not, I know how to get it, and along with it complete 
revenge for all the insults I have received from that greenhorn, 
his son." 

"Paddy Brady!" cried Sir Terence, "do you hear that? 
Remember that word reverse / — Mind I call you to witness !" 

" What, sir, will you raise a rebellion among my workmen?" 

" No, Mr. Mordicai, no rebellion ; and I hope you won't cut 

iihe boy's ears off for listening to a little of the brogue — so listen, 
my good lad. Now, Mr. Mordicai, I offer you here, before little 
goosequill, 5000^. ready penny — take it, or leave it : take your 
I money, and leave your revenge ; or take your revenge, and lose 
I your money." 
A " Sir Terence, I value neither your threats nor your cunning. 

iGood morning to you." 
" Good morning to you, Mr. Mordicai — ^but not kindly ! Mr. 
Edwards, the solicitor, has been at the office to take off the 
execution : so now you may have law to your heart's content ! 
^1 And it was only to plase the young lord that the ould one 
^A consented to my carrying this bundle to you," showing the 
■'I bank-notes. 

• "Mr, Edwards employed I" cried Mordicai. " Why, how th«i 



} 



206 THE ABSEMTBE, 

devil did Lord Clonbrony get inta such handi as his ? The 
execution taken off! Well, sir, go to law — I am ready for you J 
Jack Latitat is a match for your sober solicitor." 

" Good morning again to you, Mr. Mordicai : we're fiuHy out 
of your clutches, and we have enough to do with our money." 

" Well, Sir Terence, I must allow you have a very wheedling 
way— —Here, Mt. Thompson, make out a receipt for Lord Clon- 
brony : I never go* to law with an old customer, if I can help it" 

This business settled, Mr. Soho was next to be dealt with. 

He came at Lady Clonbrony 's summons; and was taking 
directions with the utmost tang froU for packing up and sending 
off the very furniture for which he was not paid. 

Lord Colambre called him into his father's study ; and, 
producing his bill, he began to point out various articles which 
were charged at prices that were obviously extravagant. 

" Why, really, my lord, they are abundatUly extravagant : if I 
charged vulgar prices, I should be only a vulgar tradesman. I, 
however, am not a broker, nor a Jew. Of the article super- 
intendence, which is only 500^., I cannot abate a doit : on the 
rest of the bill, if you mean to offer ready, I mean, without any 
negotiation, to abate thirty per cent., and I hope that is a fSur 
and gentlemanly offer." 

" Mr. Soho, there is your money I" 

** My Lord Colambre ! I would give the contents of three such 
bills to be sure of such noblemanly conduct as yours. Lady 
Clonbrony's furniture shall be safely packed, without costing her 
a farthing." 

With the help of Mr. Edwards, the solicitor, every other claim 
was soon settled ; and Lord Clonbrony, for the first time since 
he left Ireland, found himself out of debt, and out of danger. 

Old Nick's account could not be settled in Loudon. Lord 
Colambre had detected niunerous false charges, and sundry 
impositions : the land, which had been purposely let to run wild, 
so far from yielding any rent, was made a source of constant i 
expense, as remaining still unset : this was a large tract, for 
which St. Dennis had at length offered a small rent. 

Upon a fair calculation of the profits of the ground, and from ' 
other items in the account, Nicholas Garraghty, Esq., appeared 
at last to be, not the creditor, but the debtor to Lord Clonbrony. , 



THE ABSENTEE. 207 

He was dismissed with disgrace ; which perhaps he might not 
have felt, if it had not been accompanied by pecuniary loss, and 
followed by the fear of losing his other agencies, and by the 
dread of immediate bankruptcy. 

Mr. Burke was appointed agent in his stead to the Clonbrony 
as well as the Colambre estate. His appointment was annoimced 
to him by the following letter :-^ 

** TO MRS. BtJIlKE, AT COLAMBRE. 
" DEAR MADAM, 

'* The traveller whom you so hospitably received some months 
ago was Lord Colambre ; he now writes to you in his proper 
person. He promised you that he would, as far as it might be 
in his power, do justice to Mr. Burke's conduct and character, 
by representing what he had done for Lord Clonbrony in the 
town of Colambre, and in the whole management of the tenantry 
and property under his care. 

" Happily for ray father, my dear madam, he is now as fully 
convinced as you could wbh him to be of Mr. Burke's merits ; 
and he begs me to express his sense of the obligations he is 
under to him and to you. He entreats that you will pardon the 
impropriety of a letter, which, as I assured you the moment I 
saw it, he never wrote or read. 

" He hopes that you will forget that such a letter was ever 
received, and that you will use your influence with Mr. Burke 
to induce him to continue to our family his regard and valuable 
services. Lord Gonbrony encloses a power of attorney, enabling 
Mr. Burke to act in future for him, if Mr. Burke will do him 
that favour, in managing the Clonbrony as well as the Colambre 
estate. 

" Lord Clonbrony wiH be in Ireland in the course of next 
monih, and intends to have the pleasure of soon paying his 
respects in person to Mr. Burke, at Colambre. 

" I am, dear madam, 
" Your obliged guest, 
" And faithful servant, 
''Colambre. 



208 THE ABSENTEB. 

Lord Colambre was so continually occupied with business, 
during the days previous to his coming of age, eveiy morning at 
-his solicitor's chambers, every evening in his father's study, that 
Miss Nugent never saw him but at breakfast or dinner ; and, 
though she watched for it most anxiously, never could find an 
opportunity of speaking to him alone, or of asking an explanation 
of the change and inconsistencies of his manner. At last, she 
began to think, that, in the midst of so much business of im- 
portance, by which he seemed harassed, she should do wrong to 
torment him, by speaking of any small uneasiness that con- 
oemed only herself. She determined to suppress her doubts, to 
keep her feelings to herself, and endeavour, by constant kindness, 
to regain that place in his affections, which she imagined that 
she had lost. " Every thing will go right again," thought she, 
" and we shall all be happy, when he returns with us to Ireland 
—to that dear home which he loves as well as I do !" 

The day Lord Colambre was of age, the first thing he did was 
to sign a bond for five thousand pounds. Miss Nugent's fortune, 
which had been lent to his father, who was her guardian, 

"This, sir, I believe," said he, giving it to his father as soon 
as signed, " this, I believe, is the first debt you would wish to 
have secured." 

" Well thought of, my dear boy ! — God bless you ! — that has 
weighed more upon my conscience and heart than all the rest, 
though I never said any thing about it. I used, whenever I 
met Mr. Salisbury, to wish myself fairly down at the centre of 
the earth : not that he ever thought of fortune, I'm sure ; for he 
often told me, and I believed him, he would rather have Miss 
Nugent without a penny, if he could get her, than the first 
fortune in the empire. But I'm glad she will not go to him 
pennyless, for all that; and by my fault, especially. Therej 
there's my name to it — do witness it, Terry. But, Colambre, 
you must give it to her — you must take it to Grace." 

" Excuse me, sir ; it is no gift of mine — ^it is a debt iof youriC 
I beg you will take the bond to her yourself, my dear father." 

** My dear son, you must not always have your own way, and 
hide every thing good you do, or give me the honour of it — I 
won't be the jay in borrowed feathers. I have borrowed enough 
in my life, and I've done with borrowing now, thanks to j^n, 



THE ABSENTEE. 209 

Colambre — bo come along with me ; for I'll be hanged if ever I 
g;ive this joint bond to Miss Nugent, unless you are with me. 
Leave Lady Clonbrony here to sign these papers. Terry will 
Iritness them properly, and do you come along with me." 

** And pray, my lord," said her ladyship, " order the carriage 
to the door; for, as soon as you have my signature, I hope 
you'll let me off to Buxton." 

** Oh, certainly — the carriage is ordered-— every thing ready^ 
my dear." 

** And pray tell Grace to be ready," added Lady Clonbrony. 

''That's not necessary ; for she is always ready," said Lord 
dpnbrony. ** Come, Colambre," added'he, taking his son under 
the arm, and carrying him up to Miss Nugent's dressing-room. 

They knocked, and were admitted. 

** Ready!" said Lord Clonbrony; "ay, always ready — so I 
said. Here's Colambre, my darling," continued he, " has 
secured your fortune to you to my heart's content; but he 
would not condescend to come up to tell you so, till I made him. 
Here's the bond ; and now, all I have to ask of you, Colambre, 
is, to persuade her to marry out of hand, that I may see her 
happy before I die. Now my heart's at ease ; I can meet Mr. 
Sidisbury with a safe conscience. One kiss, my little Grace. 
If any body can persuade you, I'm sure it's that man that's now 
leaning against the mantel-piece. It's Colambre will, or your 
heart's not made like mine — so I leave you." 

And out of the room walked he, leaving his poor son in as 
awkward, embarrassing, and painful a situation as could well be 
conceived. Half a dozen indistinct ideas crossed his mind; 
quick conflicting feelings made his heart beat and stop. And 
how it would have ended, if he had been left to himself; 
whether he would have stood or fallen, have spoken or have 
continued silent, can never now be known, for all was decided 
without the action of his will. He was awakened from his 
trance by these simple words from Miss Nugent : **Tm. much 
obliged to you, cousin Colambre — more obliged to you for your 
kindness in thinking of me first, in the midst of all your other 
'business, than by your securing my fortune. Friendship — and 
your friendship — ^is worth more to me than fortune. M«.^ i 
believe that is secured?" 

liisAionable Life. \ 



210 THE ABIBNTBB* 

*< Believe it ! Oh, Gnoe, can you doubt itf 

" I will not ; it would ma)Le me too unhappy, I will not" 

" You need not" 

" That is enough — I am satisfied — I ask no farther explana-* 
tion. You are truth itself— one word from you is security 
sufficient We are friends fbr life," said she ; " are not we V 

" We are — and therefore sit down, cousin Grace, and let me 
claim the privilege of friendship, and speak to you of him who 
aspires to he more than your friend for life, Mr. ' .. ** 

<' Mr. Salisbury!" said Miss Nugent; " I saw him yesterday. 
We had a very long conversation ; I believe he understands my 
sentiments perfectly, and that he no longer thinks of being man 
to me than a friend for life." 

" You have refrised him I" 

** Yes. 1 have a high opinion of Mr. Salisbury's understand- 
ing, a great esteem for his character ; I like his manners and 
conversation ; but I do not love him, and, therefore, you know, 
I could not marry him." 

" But, my dear Miss Nugent, with a high opinion, a great 
esteem, and liking his manners and conversation, in such a 
well-regulated mind as yours, can there be a better foundation 
for love?" 

** It is an excellent foundation," said sh« ; " but I never ¥rent 
any farther than the foundation ; and, indeed, I nev«r wished to 
proceed any farther. " 

Lord Colambre scarcely dared to ask why; but after some 
pause he said, "I don't wish to intrude v^Km your con- 
fidence." 

** You cannot intrude upon my confidence f I am ready to 
give it to you entirely, frankly ; I hesitated only because another 
person was concerned. Do you remember, at my aunt's gala, 
a lady who danced with Mr. Salisbury?" 

"Not in the least" 

" A lady with whom you and Mr. Salisbury weore talkingi 
just before supper, in the Turkish tent'^ 

" Not m the least" 

*^ As we went down to supper, you told me you had had a 
delightful conversation with her; that you thought her a t 
ing woman." 



THE ABSENTEE. 211 

<' A charming woman ! — I have not the slightest recollection 
of her." 

** And you told me that she and Mr. Salisbury had been 
pramng me a Venvie Vum de F autre,** 

** Oh, I recollect her now perfectly/' said Lord Colambre : 
"but what of her?'* 

" She is the woman who, I hope, will be Mrs. Salisbury. Ever 
since I have been acquainted with them both, I have seen that 
they were suited to each other ; I fancy, indeed I am almost 
sure, that she could love him, tenderly love him — and, I know, 
I could not. But my own sentiments, you may be sure, are all I 
ever told Mr. Salisbury." 

** But of your own sentiments you may not be sure," said Lord 
Colambre ; ** and I see no reason why you should give him up 
from false generosity." 

"Genierosityl" interrupted Misa Nugent; " you totally mis- 
understand me ; there is no generosity, nothing for me to give 
up in the case. I did not refuse Mr. Salisbury from generosity, 
but because I did not love him. Perhaps my seeing early what 
I have just mentioned to you prevented me from thinking of him 
as a lover; but, from whatever cause, I certainly never felt love for 
Mr. Salisbury, nor any of that pity which is said to lead to love : 
perhaps," added she, smiling, << because I was aware that he 
would be so much better off after I refused him — so much hap- 
pier with one suited to him in age, talents, fortune, and love — 
' What bliss, did he but know his bliss,' were his !*' 

" Did he but know his bliss !" repeated Lord Colambre ; " but 
is not he the best judge of his own bliss ?" 

^' And am not I the best judge of mine?" said Miss Nugent : 
" I go no farther." 

** You are ; and I have no right to go farther. Yet, thb much 
permit me to say, my dear Grace, that it would give me sincere 
pleasure, that is, real satisfaction, to see you happily — esta- 
blished." 

" Thank you, my dear Lord Colambre ; but you spoke that 
like a man of seventy at least, with the most solemn gravity of 
demeanour." 

" I meant to be serious, not solemn," said Lord ColsssLbx^ 
endesvouriii^ to change hia tone. 

f2 



212 THE ABSENTEE, 

''There now," said sbe, in a playful tone, *^jou htLveterioid 
accomplished the task my good uncle set you ; so I will repoi 
well of you to him, and certify that you did all that in you layti 
exhort me to marry ; that you have even assured me that i 
would give you sincere pleasure, that is, real satisfiMtioni to w 
me happily established." 

"Oh, Grace, if you knew how much I felt when I saidthst 
you would spare this raillery." 

<* I will be serious— I am most seriously convinced of the sb 
cerity of your affection for me ; I know my happiness is you 
object in all you have said, and I thank you from my heart foi 
the interest you take about me. But really and truly I do not 
wish to marry. This is not a mere commonplace speech ; but 1 
have not yet seen any man I could love. I am happy as I am 
especially now we are all going to dear Ireland, home, to lin 
together : you cannot conceive with what pleasure I look forwan 
to that" 

Lord Colambre was not vain ; but love quickly sees love, o: 
foresees the probability, the possibility, of its existence. Hi 
saw that Miss Nugent might love him tenderly, passionately 
but that duty, habit, the prepossession that it was impossible sh* 
could marry her cousin Colambre, — a prepoeseesion instilled inti 
her by his mother — had absolutely prevented her from ever ye 
thinking of him as a lover. Hie saw the hazard for her, he fel 
the danger for himself. Never had she appeared to him s 
attractive as at this moment, when he felt' the hope that he coul 
obtain return of love. 

" But St. Omar !— Why ! why is she a St. Omar?— illegit 
mate ! — ' No St Omar satu reproche,' My wife she cannot b 
— I will not engage her affections." 

Swift as thoughts in moments of strong feeling pass in th 
mind without being put into words, our hero thought all this, an< 
determined, cost what it would, to act honourably. 

" You spoke of my returning to Ireland, my dear Grace, 
have not yet told you my plans." 

"Plans ! are not you returning with us?" said she, precipi 
tately ; " are not you going to Ireland — ^home — with us f" 

" No : — I am going to serve a campaign or two abroad, 
ihink every young man in these times ' 



THE ABSENTEE, 21S 

^<Good Heavens! What does this mean? What can you 
.mean?" cried she, fixing her eyes upon his, as if she would read 
his very soul. " Why ? what reason ? — Oh, tell me the truth- — 
.and at once." 

His change of coloiu: — ^his hand that trembled, and withdrew 
from hers — ^the expression of his eyes as tiiey met hers — revealed 
the truth to her at once. As it flashed across her mind, she 
started back ; her face grew crimson, and, in the same instant, 
pale as death. 

" Yes — ^yousee, you feel the truth now,*' said Lord Colambre. 
** You see, you feel, that 1 love you — ^passionately." 

'* Oh, let me not hear it !" said she ; " I must not— ought not. 
Never till this moment did such a thought cross my mind — I 
thought it impossible — Oh, make me think so still." 

" I will — it is impossible that we can ever be united." 

" I always thought so," said she, taking breath with a deep 
sigh. " Then, why not live as we have lived ?" 

** I cannot — I cannot answer for myself — I will not run the 
risk ; and therefore I must quit you, knowing, as I do, that 
there is an invincible obstacle to our imion ; of what nature I 
cannot explain ; I beg you not to inquire." 

'' You need not beg it — I shall not inquire — I have no curiosity 
— ^none," said she in a passive, dejected tone ; " that is not what 
I am thinking of in the least. I know there are invincible ob- 
stacles ; I wish it to be so. But, if invincible, you who have so 
much sense, honour, and virtue " 

** I hope, my dear cousin, that I have honour and virtue. But 
there are temptations to which no wise, no good man will expose 
himself. Innocent creature ! you do not know the power of love. 
I rejoice that you have always thought it impossible — think so 

still — ^it will save you from all I must endure. Think of me 

but as your cousin, your friend — give your heart to some 
happier man. As your friend, your true friend, I conjure you, 
give yoiu: heart to some more fortimate man. Marry, if you can 
feel love — ^marry, and be happy. Honour ! virtue ! Yes, I 
have both, and I will not forfeit them. Yes, I will merit yoiu: 
esteem and my own — by actions, not words ; and I give you the 
strongest proof, by tearing myself from you at this moment. 
Farewell I" 



214 THS ABSfiMtEB. 

" The carriage at the door, Wu Nugent, and my lady calling 
for you," said her maid. '* Here's your key, ma'am, and here's 
your gloves, my dear ma'am." - - 

<<The carriage at the door, Miss Nugent," said Lady Gon- 
brony's woman, coming eagerly with parcels in her hand, as 
Miss Nugent passed her, and ran down stairs ; '' and I don't 
know where I laid my lady's numbreUa, for my life— do you, 
Anne?" 

*< No, indeed — but I know here's my own young lady's watch 
that she has left. Bless me ! I never knew her to forget any 
thing on a journey before." 

** Then she is going to be married, as sure as my name's Le 
Maistre, and to my Lord Colambre ; for he has been here tiiis 
hour, to my certain Bible knowledge. Oh, you'll see she will be 
Lady Colambre." 

''I wish she may, with all my heart," said Anne; "but I 
must run down — they're waiting." 

''Oh, no!" said Mrs. Le Maistre, seizing Anne's arm, and 
holding her fast; " stay — ^you may safely — ^for they're all kissiog 
and taking leave, and all that, you know ; and my lady is talk- 
ing on about Mr. Soho, and giving a hundred directions about 
legs of tables, and so forth, I warrant— she's always an hour 
h^r she's ready before she gets in — and I'm looking for the 

thi>?6r«//a. So stay, and tell me Mrs. Petito wrote over 

tford It was to be Lady Isabel ; and then a contradiction came- 
— it was turned into the yoimgest of the Killpatricks ; and wf 
here he's in Miss Nugent's dressing-room to the last moment 
Now, in my opinion, that am not censorious, this does not look 
so pretty; but, according to my verdict, he is only making s 
fool of Miss Nugent, like the rest; and his laxLship seems 
too like what you might call a male cockei or a masculine 
jUt" 

"No more like a masculine jilt thai yourself, Mrs. Le 
Maistre," cried Anne, taking fire. " Anc* my young lady is not 
a lady to be made a fool of, I promise yoi^ nor is my lord likely 
to make a fool of any woman." Vjj. 

** Bless us all ! that's no great praise fo' any young nobleman, \ . 
Miss Anne." 1- 

** Mrs. Le Maistre ! Mrs. Le Maistre ! are you above T' Cried 1 



Id 



THE ABSENTEE. 215 

a footman from ihe bottom of the stain : <<my lady's calling fot* 
you." 

" Very well ! V^ry well !'* said sharp Mrs. Le Maistre j " Very 
well I and if she is — ^manners, sir I — Come up for one, can't you, 
and don't stand bawling at the bottom of the stairs, as if one had 
no ears to be savedi I'm coming as fast as I can— conveniently 
can. 
I Mrs. Le Maistre stood in the door-way, so as to fill it up, and 

I preyent Anne from passing. 

'* Miss Anne ! Miss Anne ! Mrs. Le Maistre !" cried another 
footman ; " my lady's in the carriage, and Miss Nugent." 

" Miss Nugent ! — is she?" cried Mrs. Le Maistre, running down 
stairs, followed by Anne. " Now, for the world in pocket-pieces 
wouldn't I have missed seeing him hand Miss Nugent in ,* for by 
that I could have judged definitively." 

" My lord, I beg pardon ! — I'm afeard I'm late," said Mrs. 
Le Maistre, as she passed Lord Golambre, who was standing 
motionless in the hall. ** I beg a thousand pardons ; but I was 

I hunting, high and low, for my lady's numbreUa,'* 
Lord Colambre did not hear or heed her : his eyes were fixed, 
and they never moved. 
I Lord Clonbrony was at the open carriage^door, kneeling on 

^ the step, and receiving Lady Clonbrony 's '*more last words" 
^ for Mr. Soho. The two waiting-maids stood together on the 
* steps. 

" Look at our young lord, how he stands," whispered Mrs. Le 
Maistre to Anne, " the image of despair ! And she, the picture 
of death ! — I don't know what to think." 

** Nor I : but don't stare, if you can help it," said Anne. 
*< Gret in, get in, Mrs. Le Maistre," added she, as Lord Clonbrony 
nowr rose from the step, and made way for them. 

I" Ay, in with you — in with you, Mrs, Le Maistre," said Lord 
Clonbrony. " Grood bye to you, Anne, and take care of your 
young mistress at Buxton : let me see her blooming when we 
meet again ; I don't half like her looks, and I never thought 
I Buxton agreed with her." 
** Buxton never did any body harm," said Lady Clonbrony : 
" and as to bloom, I'm sure, if Grace has not bloom enough in 
her cheeks this moment to please you, I don't know what you'd 



"216 THE ABSENTEE, 

have, my dear lord Rouge? — Shut the door, John! Ob, 

stay ! Colambre ! — Where upon earth's Colambre V* cried her 

ladyship, stretching from the furthest side of the coach to the 
window. — " Colambre !" 

Colambre was forced to appear. 

<< Colambre, my dear! I forgot to say, that, if any thing detaini 
you longer than Wednesday se*nnight, I beg you will not fail 
to write, or I shall be miserable." 

** I will write : at all events, my dearest mother, you shall 
hear from me." 

** Then I shall be quite happy. Go on !*' 

The carriage drove on. 

<* I do believe Colambre's ill : I never saw a man look 86 ill 
in my life — did you, Grace ? — as he did the minute we drove on. 
He should take advice. I've a mind," cried Lady Clonbrony, 
laying her hand on the cord, to stop the coachman, "I've a 
mind to turn about — tell him so— and ask what is the matter 
with him." 

<< Better not!" said Miss Nugent: "he will write to you, and 
tell you — if any thuig is the matter with him. Better go on now 
to Buxton!" continued she, scarcely able to speak* Lady 
Clonbrony let go the cord. 

" But what is the matter with you, my dear Grace ? for you 
are certainly going to die too !" 

" I will tell you — as soon as I can ; but don't ask me now, my 
dear aunt!" 

"Grace, Grace! pull the cord!'* cried Lady Clonbrony— 

" Mr. Salisbury's phaeton ! Mr. Salisbury, I'm happy to see 

you I We're on our way to Buxton — as I told you." 

" So am I," said Mr. Salisbury. " I hope to be there before 
yoip ladyship: will you honour me with any commands?— of 
course, I will see that every thing is ready for your reception." 
^Her ladyship had not any commands. Mr. Salbbury drove on 
rapidly. 

Lady Clonbrony 's ideas had now taken the Salisbury channel 
''You didn't know that Mr. Salisbury was going to Buxton to 
meet you, did you, Grace ?" said Lady Clonbrony. 

"No, indeed, I did not!" said Miss Nugent; ''and J am I 
very sorry for it." | 



.THE ABSENTEE. 217 

" Young ladies, as Mrs. Broadhurst says, ' never know, or at 
least never tell, what they are sorry or glad for,' " replied Lady 
Clonbrony. " At all events, Grace, my love, it has brought the 
fine bloom back to your cheeks ; and I own I am satisfied." 



CHAPTER XV, 



" Gone ! for ever gone from me !" said Lord Colambre to him« 
self, as the carriage drove away. " Never shall I see her more 
— ^never tviU I see her more, till she is married.*' 

Lord Colambre went to his own room, locked the door, and 
was relieved in some degree by the sense of privacy ; by the 
feeling that he could now indulge his reflections imdisturbed. 
He had consolation — ^he had done what was honourable — he had 
transgressed no duty, abandoned no principle — ^he had not 
injured the happiness of any human being — ^he had not, to 
gratify himself, hazarded the peace of the woman he loved — ^he 
had not sought to win her heart. Of her innocent, her warm, 
susceptible heart, he might, perhaps, have robbed her — ^he knew 
it — but he had left it untouched, he hoped entire, in her own 
j^ower, to bless with it hereafter some man worthy of her. In 
the hope that she might be happy. Lord Colambre felt relief; 
and in the consciousness that he had made his parents happy, he 
rejoiced ; but, as soon as his mind turned that way for consola- 
tion, came the bitter reflection, that his mother must be disap- 
pointed in her hopes of his accompanying her home, and of his 
living with her in Ireland : she would be miserable when she 
should hear that he was going abroad into the army — and yet it 
must be so — and he must write, and tell her so. << The sooner 
this difiiculty is ofi* my mind, the sooner this painful letter is 
written, the better," thought he. *' It must be done — I will do 
it immediately." 

He snatched up his pen, and began a letter. 

" My dear mother. Miss Nugent ■" He was interrupted 
by a knock at his door. 



218 tBB ABftENTBA. I 

" A gentleman below, my lord," said a Benrant, ^< who wishes 1 
to tee you." 

*< I cannot see any gentleman. Did you say I was at homef * { 

** No, my lord, I said you was not at home ; for I thought yon 
would not choose to he at home, and your own man was not in 
the way for me to ask — so I denied you : but the gentleman 
would not be denied ; he said I must come and see if you was st 
home. So, as he spoke as if he was a gentleman not used to be 
denied, I thought it might be somebody of consequence, and I 
showed him into the firont drawing-room. I think he said he 
was sure you'd be at home for a friend from Ireland." 

'* A friend from Ireland ! Why did not you tell me tint 
sooner V* said Lord Colambre, rising, and running down stain. 
" Sir James Brooke, I dare say." 

No, not Sir James Brooke j but one he was alindat as glad to 
see — Coimt O'Halloran ! 

" My dear count ! the greater pleasure fot being unexpected.** 

" I came to London but yesterday," said the count ; ''but I 
could not be here a day, without doing myself the honour of 
paying my respects to Lord Colambre." 

** You do me not only honour, but pleasure, iny dear count 
People, when they like ond another, always find each other out, 
and contrive to meet, even in London." 

** You are too polite to ask what brought siich a super- 
annuated militaire as I am," said the count, "from his retire- 
ment into this gay world again. A relation of mine, who is one 
of the ministry, knew that I had some maps, and plans, and 
charts, which might be serviceable in an expedition they are 
planning. I might have trusted my charts across the channel, 
without coming myself to convoy them, yoii will say. But my 
relation fancied — young relations, you know, if they are good 
for any thing, are apt to overvalue the heads of old relations— 
fancied that mine was worth bringing all the way from Halloran 
Castle to London, to consult with tete^-tete. So, you know, 
when this was signified to me by a letter from the secretary in 
office, private^ moat confidential^ what could I do, but do myself 
the honour to obey ? For though honour's voice cannot provoke 
the. silent dust, yet ' flattery soothes the dull cold ear of age,*" 
But enough and too much of myself," said the count : '''tell me, 



THB AB8SMTBB. 21^ 

my dear lord, something of yourself. I do not think England 
Beems to agree with you so well as Ireland ; for, excuse me, iti 
point of health, you don't look like the same man I saw some 
Weeks ago." 

** My mind has been ill at ease of late," said Lord Colambre. 

<< Ay, there's the thing ! The body pays for the mind — but 
ihose who have feeling minds, pain and pleasure altogether 
computed, have the advantage ; or at least they think so ; for 
ibey would not change with those who have them not, were they 
to gain by the bargain the most robust body that the most selfish 
coxcomb, or the heaviest dunce extant, ever boasted. For 
ins'tance, would you now, my lord, at this moment, change 
altogether with Major Benson, or Captain Williamson, or even 
with our friend, * Eh, really now, *pon honour *-=-would you ? — 
I'm glad to see you smile." 

'' I thank you for making me smile, for I assure you I want it. 
I wish — if you would not think me encroaching upon your 
politeness in honouring me with this visit — ^^You see," con- 
tinued he, opening the doors of the back drawing-room, and 
pointing to large packages, ** you see we are all preparing for a 
march : my mother has left town half an hour ago— my father 
engaged to dine abroad — only I at home — and, in this state of 
confusion, could I even venture to ask Count O'Halloran to stay 
and dine with me, without being able to offer him Irish ortolans 
or Irish plums — ^in short, will you let me rob you of two or three 
hours of your time ? I am anxious to have your opinion on a 
subject of some importance to me, and on one where you are 
peculiarly qualified to judge and decide for me." 

'* My dear lord, ftrankly, I have nothing half so good or so 
agreeable to do with my time ; command my hours. I have 
already told you how much it flatters me to be consulted by the 
most helpless clerk in office ; how much more about the private 
concerns of ah enlightened yoimg — ^friend, will Lord Colambre 
permit me to say ? I hope so ; for, though the length of our 
acquaintance might not justify the word, yet regard and inti- 
macy are not always in proportion to the time people have 
known each other, but to their mutual perception of certain 
attaching qualities, a certain similarity and suitableness of 
character." 



220 THE ABBEMTEE. 

The good count, seeing that Lord Colambre was in much difr 
tress of mind, did all he could to soothe him by kindness : far 
from making any difficulty about giving up a few bours of his 
time, he seemed to have no other object in London, and no piu^ 
pose in life, but to attend to our hero. To put him at ease, and 
to give him time to recover and arrange bia tbougbts^ the count 
talked of indifferent subjects. 

** I think I heard you mention the name of Sir James Brooke." 

" Yes, I expected to have seen him when ibe servant fint 
mentioned a friend from Ireland ; because Sir James had told 
me that, as soon as he could get leave of absence, be would 
come to England." 

** He is come ; is now at his estate in Huntingdonsbire ; doing, 
what do you think ? I will give you a leading bint ; recoUect 
the seal which the little De Cressy put into your bands the day 
you dined at Oranmore. Faithful to his motto, < Deeds, not 
words,' he is this instant, I believe, at deeds, title deeds; 
making out marriage settlements, getting ready to put his seal 
to the happy articles." 

"Happy man! I give him joy," said Lord Colambre: 
" happy man ! going to be married to such a woman— daughter 
of such a mother." 

" Daughter of such a mother ! That is indeed a great addi- 
tion and a great security to bis happiness," said the count. 
" Such a family to marry into ; good from generation to gene- 
ration; illustrious by character as well as by genealogy; 'all f 
the sons brave, and all the daughters chaste.' " 

Lord Colambre with difficulty repressed bis feelings, " If I 
could choose," said the count, " I would rather that a woman 
I loved were of such a family than that she bad for her dower 
the mines of Peru." 

" So would 1," cried Lord Colambre. 

" I am glad to hear you say so, my lord, and with sudi 
energy ; so few young men of the present day look to what I 
call good connexion. In marrying, a man does not, to be sure^ 
marry his wife's mother; and yet a prudent man, when be 
begins to think of the daughter, would look sharp at the mother; 
ay, and back to the grandmother too, and along the whole 
fenude line of ancestry." 



\ 



THE ABSEITTEB. 221 

** Tree — most true — he ought — he must" 

** And I have a notion," said the count, smiling, ''your lord- 
ship's practice has been conformable to your theory." 
- " I ! — ^mine !" said Lord Colambre, starting, and looking at 
the count with surprise. 

" I beg your pardon," said the count; " I did not intend to 
surprise your confidence. But you forget that I was present, 
and saw the impression which was made on your mind by a 
mother's want of a proper sense of delicacy and propriety — Lady 
Dashfort." 

" Oh, Lady Dashfort ! she was quite out of my head." 

*' And Lady Isabel ? — I hope she is quite out of your heart" 

** She never was in it," said Lord Colambre. 

" Only laid siege to it," said the count " Well, I am glad 
your heart did not surrender at discretion, or rather without dis- 
cretion. Then I may tell you, without fear or preface, that the 
Lady Isabel, who talks of * refinement, delicacy, sense,' is going 
to stoop at once, and marry-^Heathcock." 

Lord Colambre was not surprised, but concerned and dis- 
gusted, as he always felt, even when he did not care for the 
individual, from hearing any thing which tended to lower the 
female sex in public estimation. 

** As to myself," said he, <' I cannot say I have had an escape, 
for I don't think I ever was in much danger." 

** It is difiicidt to measure danger when it is over — ^past 
danger, like past pain, is soon forgotten," said the old general. 
<' At all events, I rejoice in your present safety." 

*' But is she really going to be married to Heatbcock ?" said 
Lord Colambre. 

' ** Positively : they all came over in the same packet with me, 
and they are all in town now, bujring jewels, and equipages, and 
horses. Heathcock, you know, is as good as another man for all 
those purposes : his father is dead, and has left him a large estate. 
Que voulez-votu ? as the French valet said to me on the occa- 
sion, c'est que monsieur est un homme de bien : iladesbiens, d ce 
qu'on dit," 

Lord Colambre could not help smiling. 
> ** How they got Heathcock to fall in love is what puzzles 



222 THfi ABSSHTBI* 

me," said his lordship. ** I should as soon have thought of an 
oyster's falling in love as that being." 

" I own I should have sooner thought," replied the count, '*of 
his falling in love with an oyster ; and lo would you, if you had 
seen him, as I did, devouring oysters on shipboard. 

* Say, can the lovely herome hope to vie 
With a fitt turtle or a Ten*aen fie T 

But that is not our affair ; let the Lady laabel look to it.'^ 

Dinner was annoimced ; and no farther conversation of any 
consequence passed between the count and Lord Colamhre till 
the cloth was removed and the servants had withdrawn. Then 
our hero opened on the subject which was heavy at his heart 

'* My dear count — I have a mind to serve a campaign or two, 
if I could get a commission in a regiment going to Spain ; but I 
understand so many are eager to go at this moment, that it i| 
very difficult to get a commission in such a regiment." 

<< It is difficult," said the count *< But," added he, alter 
thinking for a moment, <* I have it I I can get the thing done 
for you, and directly. Major Benson, who is in danger of being 
broke, in consequence of that affair, you know, about his 
mistress, wants to sell out ; and that regiment is to be ordered 
immediately to Spain : I will have the thing done for you, if you 
request it." 

'* First, give me your advice. Count O'Halloran : you are weU 
acquainted with the military profession, with militHTy life. 
Would you advise me — I won't speak of m3rseU^ because we 
judge better by general views than by particular cases-t^wo«ld 
you advise a young man at present to go into the army V^ 

The count was silent for a few minutes, and then relied : 
*' Since you seriously ask ray opinion, my lord, I must lay aside 
my own prepossessions, and endeavour to speak with impartiaUtjr* 
To go into the army in these days, my lord, is, in my sober oj^nieOi 
the most absurd and base, or the wisest and noblest thing • 
young man can do. To enter into the army, with the hope of 
escaping from the application necessary to acquire knewledg^ 
letters, and science — I run no risk, my ipird, in saying thif to 
you-^to go into the army, with the hope^ of escaping ^^ 



THE ABSENTEE. 223 

knowledge, letters, science, and morality; to wear a red coat 
and an epaulette ; to be called captain ; to figure at a ball ; to 
lounge away time in country sports, at country quarters, was 
never, even in times of peace, creditable i but it is now absurd 
and base. Submitting to a certain portion of ennui and con- 
tempt, this mode of life for an officer was formerly practicable 
— ^but now cannot be submitted to without utter, irremediable 
disgrace. Officers are now, in general, men of education and 
information ; want of knowledge, sense, manners, must con- 
sequently be immediately detected, ridiculed, and despised, in a 
military man. Of this we have not long since seen lamentable 
examples in the raw officers who have lately disgraced themselves 
in my neighbourhood in Ireland -^ that Major Benson and 
Captain Williamson. But I will not advert to such insignificant 
individuals, such are rare exceptions — I leave them out of the 
question — I reason on general principles. The life of an officer 
is not now a life of parade, of coxcombical or of proffigate 
idleness — ^but of active service, of continual hardship and danger. 
All the descriptions which we see in ancient history of a soldier's 
life, descriptions which in times of peace appeared like romance, 
axe now realized ; military exploits fill every day's newspapers, 
every day's conversation, A martial spirit is now essential to 
the liberty and the existence of our own country. In the 
present state of things, the military must be the most honourable 
pv^ession, because the most useful. Every movement of an 
army is followed wherever it goes, by the public hopes and fears. 
Every officer must now feel, besides this sense of collective 
importance, a belief that his only dependence must be on his 
own merit — and thus his ambition, his enthusiasm, are raised ; 
and, iv'heB once this noble ardoiu: is kindled in the breast, it 
excites to exertion, and supports under endiurance. But I forget 
myself, " said the count, checking his enthusiasm ; '* I promised 
to iqpeak soberly. If I have said too much, your own good sense, 
my Ward, wiU eorrect me, and your good nature will forgive 
the prolixity of an old man, touched upon his favourite subject 
-*-tibe pawioB of his youth." 

Loi4 Colam|i»re, of course, assured the count that he was not 
tired. Inde^ the enthusiasm with which this old officer t^oke 
of hit prf^eMion, and the high point of view in which he placed 



224 THE ABSENTEE. 

it, increased our hero's desire to serve a campaign abro 
Good sense, politeness, and experience of the world preser 
Count 0*HalIoran from that foible with which old officers < 
commonly reproached, of talking continually of their o 
military exploits. Though retired from the world, he I 
contrived, by reading the best books, and corresponding w 
persons of good information, to keep up with the current 
modem affairs ; and he seldom spoke of diose in which he h 
been formerly engaged. He rather too studiously avoid 
speaking of himself; and this fear of egotism diminished t 
peculiar interest he might have inspired : it disappointed curiosii 
and deprived those with whom he conversed of many entertai 
ing and instructive anecdotes. However, he sometimes ma 
exceptions to his general rule in favour of persons who peculiai 
pleased him, and Lord Colambre was of this number. 

He this evening, for the first time, spoke to his lordship of t 
years he had spent in the Austrian service ; told him aneedol 
of the emperor ; spoke of many distinguished public charact< 
whom he had known abroad ; of those officers who had been 1 
friends and companions. Among o&ers he mentioned, vi 
particular regard, a young English officer who had been at t 
same time with him in the Austrian service, a gentleman of t 
name of Reynolds. 

The name struck Lord Colambre : it was the name of the offic 
who had been the cause of the disgrace of Miss St. Omar-- 
Miss Nugent's mother. " But there are so many Reynoldses.' 

He eagerly asked the age — the character of this officer. 

"He was a gallant youth," said the coimt, "but too adve 
turous — ^too rash. He fell, after distinguisliing himself in 
glorious manner, in his twentieth year — died in my arms." 

" Married or unmarried ?" cried Lord Colambre. ^■ 

" Married — ^he had been privately married, less than a ye 
before his death, to a very young English lady, who had bei 
educated at a convent in Vienna. He was heir to a <;onsiderab 
property, I believe, and the young lady had little fortune ; ai 
the affair was kept secret, from the fear of offending his friend 
or for some other reason — I do not recollect the particulars." 

" Did he acknowledge his marriage ?" said Lord Colambre. 

" Never, till he was d3ring-^then he confided his secret to me 



THE ABSENTEE. 225 

** Do you recollect the name of the young lady he married V* 

"Yes— a Miss St Omar." 

"St. Omar!" repeated Lord Colamhre, with an expression of 
lively joy in his countenance. " But are you certain, my dear 
count, that she was really married, legally married, to Mr. Rey- 
nolds? Her marriage has heen denied by all his friends and re- 
lations — ^hers have never been able to establish it — her daughter 
i g - My dear count, were you present at the marriage?" 

"No," said the coimt, " 1 was not present at the marriage ; I 
Dever saw the lady ; nor do I know any thing of the affair, 
except that Mr. Reynolds, when he was dying, assured me that 
be was privately married to a Miss St. Omar, who was then 
boarding at a convent in Vienna. The young man expressed 
^reat regret at leaving her totally unprovided for ; but said 
Jiathe trusted his father would acknowledge her, and that her 
nends would be reconciled to her. He was not of age, he said, 

make a will ; but I think he told me that his child, who at 
hat time was not bom, would, even if it should be a girl, inherit 
i considerable property. With this I cannot, however, charge 
ay memory positively; but he put a packet into my hands 
rhich, he told me, contained a certificate of his marriage, and, 
[ think he said, a letter to his father : this he requested that 
'. would transmit to England by some safe hand. Immediately 
ifter his death, I went to the English ambassador, who was then 
eaving Vienna, and delivered the packet into his hands: he 
)romised to have it safely delivered. I was obliged to go the 
lext day, with the troops, to a distant part of the country. When 

1 returned, I inquired at the convent what had become of Miss 
St. Omar — I should say Mrs. Reynolds ; and I was told that she 
bad removed from the convent to private lodgings in the town, 
some time previous to the birth of her child. The abbess seemed 
Qiuch scandalized by the whole transaction ; and I remember I 
Sieved her mind by assuring her that there had been a regular 
iQarriage. For poor young Reynolds' sake, I made farther 
inquiries about the widow, intending, of course, to act as a friend, 
if she were in any difficulty or distress. But I found, on inquiry 
sther lodgings, that her brother had come from England for her, 
^d had carried her and her infant away. The active scenes," 
continued the count, " in which I was immediately afterwards 

Fashionable Life. ql 



226 THE ABSBWTEE. 

engaged, drove the whole affair from my mind. Now that yflor J , 
questions have recalled them, I feel certain of the facte I hn 
mentioned ; and I am ready to establish them by my testanony." 

Lord Colambre thanked him with an eagerness that sbowol 
how much he was interested in the event. It was cleai, h 
said, that either the packet left with the ambassador had notliea 
delivered, or that the father of Mr. Reynolds had suppressed tli 
certificate of the marriage, as it had never been acknowled^ 
by him or by any of the family. Lord Colambre now ftanUf 
told the count why he was so anxious about this affair ;fli 
Count O'Halloran, with all the warmth of youth, and with all 4» 
ardent generosity characteristic of his country, entered into ■ 
feelings, declaring that he would never rest till he had establiw 
the truth. 

" Unfortunately," said the count, "the ambassador wbotw 
the packet in charge is dead. I am afraid we shall have m 
culty." 

" But he must have had some secretary," said Lord Colambu: 
" who was his secretary ? — we can apply to him." 

" His secretary is now charge d'affaires in Vienna — we cann* 
get at him." 

" Into whose hands have that ambassador's papers falleD* 
who is his executor ?" said Lord Colambre. 

" His executor ! — now you have it," cried the count "Bi 
executor is the very man who will do your business — your friw 
Sir James Brooke is the executor. All papers, of course, aie« 
his hands ; or he can have access to any that are in the handsi 
the family. The family seat is within a few miles of Sir Jau* 
Brooke's, in Huntingdonshire, where, as I told you before,^* 
now is." 

" I'll go to him immediately — set out in the mail this nigl* 
Just in time !" cried Lord Colambre, pulling out his watch fi> 
one hand, and ringing the bell with the other. 

" Run and take a place for me in the mail for Hunting( 
Go directly," said Lord Colambre to the servant. 

"And take two places, if you please, sir," said the coual 
" My lord, I will accompany you." 

But this Lord Colambre would not permit, as it would be o 
necessary to fatigue the good old general ; and a letter from luf 



111" 



THE ABSENTEE. 227 

;s Brooke would do all that the count could effect by 
e : the search for the papers would be made by Sir 
. if the packet could be recovered, or if any memo- 
mode of ascertaining that it had actually been 
) old Reynolds could be discovered, Lord Colambre 
ild then call upon the count for his assistance, and 
I to identify the packet ; or to go with him to Mr. 
3 make farther inquiries ; and to certify, at all events, 
man's dying acknowledgment of his marriage and of 

e in the mail, just in time, was taken. Lord Colambre 
mt in search of his father, with a note, explaining 
:y of his sudden departure. All the business which 
) be done in town he knew Lord Clonbrony could 
without his assistance. Then he wrote a few lines to 
on the very sheet of paper on which, a few hours 
lad sorrowfully and slowly begun, 
ir mother — Miss Nugent." 
fully and rapidly went on, 

)EAR MOTHER AND MISS NUGENT, 

to be with you on Wednesday se'nnight ; but if 
circumstances should delay me, I will certainly write 
n. Dear mother, believe me. 

Your obliged and grateful son, 

" Colambre.'* 

it, in the mean time, wrote a letter for him to Sir 
•ke, describing the packet which he had given to the 
, arid relating all the circumstances that could lead 
??ry. Lord Colambre, almost before the wax was hard, 
etter ; the count seeming almost as eager to hurry 
le was to set out. He thanked the count with few 
with strong feeling. Joy and love returned in full 
ur hero's soul ; all the military ideas, which but an 
3 filled his imagination, were put to flight : Spain 
rid green Ireland reappeared. 

ley shook hands at parting, the good old general, 
J, said to him, " I believe I had better not stir in the 
Q 2 



228 TBI ABSENTEE. 

matter of Benson's commission till I hear more from yon. My 
harangue, in favour of the military profession, will, I &ncy, 
prove, like most other harangues, a waste of words." 



CHAPTER XVI. 

In what words of polite circumlocution, or of cautious diplomacy, 
shall we say, or hint, that the deceased ambassador's papers 
were found in shameful disorder. His excellency's executor, 
Sir James Brooke, however, was indefatigable in his researches. 
He and Lord Colambre spent two whole days in looking over 
portfolios of letters, and memorials, and manifestoes, and bundles 
of paper of the most heterogeneous sorts ; some of them without 
any docket or direction to lead to a knowledge of their contents; 
others written upon in such a manner as to give an erroneous 
notion of their nature ; so that it was necessary to untie every 
paper separately. At last, when they had opened, as they 
thought, every paper, and, wearied and in despair, were just on 
the point of giving up the search. Lord Colambre spied a bundle 
of old newspapers at the bottom of a trunk. 

" They are only old Vienna Gazettes ; I looked at them," said 
Sir James. 

Lord Colambre, upon this assurance, was going to throw them 
into the trunk again ; but observing that the bundle had not 
been untied, he opened it, and withinside of the newspapers he 
found a rough copy of the ambassador's journal, and with it the 
packet directed to Ralph Reynolds, sen., Esq., Old Court, Suf- 
folk, per favour of his excellency Earl ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ — a note on the 
cover, signed O'Halloran, stating when received by him, and 
the date of the day when delivered to the ambassador— seals 
unbroken. Our hero was in such a transport of joy at the sight 
of this packet, and his friend Sir James Brooke so full of his 
congratulations, that they forgot to curse the ambassador's care- 
lessness, which had been the cause of so much evil. 

The next thing to be done was to deliver the packet to Ralph 
Reynolds, Old Court, Suffolk. But when Lord Colambre arrived 



THE ABSENTEE. 229 

t Old Court, Suffolk, he found all the gates locked, and no 
dmittance to be had. At last an old woman came out of the 
orter's lodge, who said Mr. Reynolds was not there, and she 
ould not say where he was. After our hero had opened her 
eart by the present of half a guinea, she explained, that she 

could not justly say where he was, because that he never let 
ny body of his own people know where he was any day ; he had 
jveral different houses and places in different parts, and far off 
ounties, and other shires, as she heard, and by times he was at 
ne, and by times at another. The names of two of the places, 
*oddrington and Little Wrestham, she knew; but there were 
thers to which she could give no direction. He had houses in 
dd parts of London, too, that he let ; and sometimes, when the 
)dger8* time was out, he would go, and be never heard of for a 
lonth, may be, in one of them. In short, there was no telling 
r saying where he was or would be one day of the week, by 
rhere he had been the last." 

When Lord Colambre expressed some surprise that an old 
entleman, as he conceived Mr. Ralph Reynolds to be, should 
hange places so frequently, the old woman answered, " that 
lough her master was a deal on the wrong side of seventy, and 
tiough, to look at him, you'd think he was glued to his chair, 
nd would fall to pieces if he should stir out of it, yet he was as 
lert, and thought no more of going about, than if he was as 
oung as the gentleman who was now speaking to her. It was 
Id Mr. Reynolds' delight to come down and surprise his 
eople at his different places, and see that they were keeping 
11 tight." 

"What sort of a man is he? — Is he a miser?" said Lord 
k)lambre. 

" He is a miser, and he is not a miser," said the woman. 
' Now he'd think as much of the waste of a penny as another 
aan would of a hundred pounds, and yet he would give a 
lundred pounds easier than another would give a penny, when 
le's in the humour. But his humour is very odd, and there's 
10 knowing where to have him ; he's cross-grained, and more 
pott^ver-like than a mule ; and his deafness made him worse 
in this, because he never heard what nobody said, but would 
lay on his own way— he was very odd, but not cracked — ^no, hie 



230 THE ABSENTEE. 

was as clear-headed, when he took a thing the right way, as any 
man could be, and as clever, and could talk as well as any 
member of parliament — and good-natured, and kind-hearted, 
where he would take a fancy — but then, may be, it would be to 
a dog (he was remarkably fond of dogs), or a cat, or a rat even, 
that he would take a fancy, and think more of 'em than he 
would of a Christian. But, poor gentleman, there's great allow- 
ance," said she, " to be made for him, that lost his son and heir 
— that would have been heir to all, and a fine youth that he 
doted upon. But," continued the old woman, in whose mind 
the transitions from great to little, from serious to trivial, were 
ludicrously abrupt, *' that was no reason why the old gentleman 
should scold me last time he was here, as he did, for as long as 
ever he could stand over me, only because I killed a mouse who 
was eating my cheese ; and, before night, he beat a boy for 
stealing a piece of that same cheese ; and he would never, when 
down here, let me set a mouse-trap." 

" Well, my good woman," interrupted Lord Colambre, who 
was little interested in this afiair of the mouse- trap, and nowise 
curious to learn more of Mr. Reynolds' domestic economy, " I'll 
not trouble you any farther, if you can be so good as to tell 
me the road to Toddrington, or to Little Wickham, I think you 
call it." 

" Little Wickham!" repeated the woman, laughing — "Bless 
you, sir, where do you come from ? It's Little Wrestham : sure 
every body knows, near Lantry ; and keep the pike till yon 
come to the turn at Rotherford, and then you strike off into the 
by-road to the left, and then turn again at the ford to the right 
But, if you are going to Toddrington, you don't go the road to 
market, which is at the first turn to the left, and the cross ' 
country road, where there's no quarter, and Toddrington lies^ 
but for Wrestham, you take the road to market." 

It was some time before oiu* hero could persuade the dd 
woman to stick to Little Wrestham, or to Toddrington, and not 
to mix the directions for the different roads together — ^he took 
patience, for his impatience only confused his director the more. 
In process of time he made out, and wrote down, the various 
turns that he was to follow, to reach Little Wrestham ; but no 
human power could get her from Little Wrestham to ToddiioT 



THE ABSENTEE. 231 

ton, though she knew the road perfectly well ; but she had, for 
the seventeen last years, been used to go "the other road," and 
all the carriers went that way, and passed the door, and that was 
all she could certify. 

Little Wrestham, after turning to the left and right as often as 
his directory required, our hero happily reached : hut, unhappily, 
he found no Mr. Reynolds there ; only a steward, who gave 
nearly the same account of his master as had been given by the 
old woman, and could not guess even where the gentleman 
might now be. Toddrington was as likely as any place — but he 
coold not say. 

"Perseverance against fortune." To Toddrington our hero 
proceeded, through cross country roads — such roads ! — very dif- 
ferent from the Irish roads. Waggon ruts, into which the carriage 
wheels sunk nearly to the nave — and, from time to time, " sloughs 
of despond," through which it seemed impossible to drag, walk, 
wade, or swim, and all the time with a sulky postilion. " Oh, 
how unlike my Larry!" thought Lord Colambre. 

At length, in a very narrow lane, going up a hill, said to be 
two miles of ascent, they overtook a heavy laden waggon, and 
they were obliged to go step by step behind it, whilst, enjoying 
the gentleman's impatience much, and the postilion's sulkiness 
more, the waggoner, in his embroidered frock, walked in state, 
with his long sceptre in his hand. 

The postilion muttered " curses not loud, but deep." Deep or 
loud, no purpose would they have answered; the waggoner's 
temper was proof against curse in or out of the English lan- 
guage ; and from their snail's pace neither Dickens, nor devil, 
nor any postilion in England could make him put his horses. 
Lord Colambre jumped out of the chaise, and, walking beside 
him, began to talk to him ; and spoke of his horses, their bells, 
their trappings ; the beauty and strength of the thill-horse — the 
value of the whole team, which his lordship happening to guess 
right within ten poimds, and showing, moreover, some skill about 
road-making and waggon-wheels, and being fortunately of the 
waggoner's own opinion in the great question about conical and 
cylindrical rims, he was pleased with the young chap of a 
gentleman ; and, in spite of the chuffiness of his appearance and 
churlishness of his speech, this waggoner's bosom being " made 



232 THE ABSENTEE, 

of penetrable stuff/' he determined to let the gentleman pass. 
Accordingly, when half way up the hill, and the head of the fore- 
horse came near an open gate, the waggoner, without saying one 
word or turning his head, touched the horse with his long whip 
— 4ind the horse turned in at the gate, and then came, " Dobbin! 
— Jeho!" and strange calls and sounds, which all the other 
horses of the team obeyed ; and the waggon turned into the 
farm-yard. 

" Now, master ! while I turn, you may pass." 

The covering of the waggon caught in the hedge as the 
waggon turned in ; and as the sacking was drawn back, some of 
the packages were disturbed — a cheese was just rolling off on 
the side next Lord Colambre ; he stopped it from falling : the 
direction caught his quick eye — " To Ralph Reynolds, Esq." — 
" Toddrington** scratched out; "Red Lion Square, London," 
written in another hand below. 

" Now I have foimd him ! And surely I know that hand !" 
said Lord Colambre to himself, looking more closely at the di- 
rection. 

The original direction was certainly in a hand-writing well 
known to him — ^it was Lady Dashfort's. 

"That there cheese, that you're looking at so cur*ously," said 
the waggoner, " has been a great traveller ; for it came all the 
way down from Lon'on, and now its going all the way up again 
back, on account of not finding the gentleman at home ; and 
the man that booked it told me as how it came from foreign 
parts." 

Lord Colambre took down the direction, tossed the honest 
waggoner a guinea, wished him good night, passed, and went 
on. As soon as he could, he turned into the London road — at 
the first town, got a place in the mail — reached London — saw 
his father — went directly to his friend, Count O'Halloran, who 
was delighted when he beheld the packet Lord Colambre was 
extremely eager to go immediately to old Reynolds, fatigued as 
he was ; for he had travelled night and day, and had scarcely 
allowed himself, mind or body, one moment's repose. 

" Heroes must sleep, and lovers too ; or they soon will cease 
to be heroes or lovers !" said the count. " Rest, rest, perturbed 
spirit ! this night ; and to-morrow morning we'll finish the ad- 



THE ABSENTEE. 233 

ventures in Red Lion Square, or I will accompany you when 
and where you will ; if necessary, to earth's remotest bounds." 

The next morning Lord Colambre went to breakfast with the 
count. The count, who was not in love, was not up, for our 
hero was half an hour earlier than the time appointed. The old 
servant Ulick, who had attended his master to England, was 
very glad to see Lord Colambre again, and, showing him into 
the breakfast parlour, could not help saying, in defence of his 
master's punctuality, "Your clocks, I suppose, my lord, are 
half an hour faster than ours : my master will be ready to the 
moment." 

The count soon appeared — breakfast was soon over, and the 
carriage at the door ; for the count sympathized in his young 
friend's impatience. As they were setting out, the count's large 
Irish dog pushed out of the house-door to follow them ; and his 
master would have forbidden him, but Lord Colambre begged 
that he might be permitted to accompany them ; for his lordship 
recollected the old woman's having mentioned that Mr. Rey- 
nolds was fond of dogs. 

They arrived in Red Lion Square, found the house of Mr. 
Re3molds, and, contrary to the count's prognostics, found the 
idd gentleman up, and they saw him in his red night-cap at his 
parlour window. After some minutes' running backwards and 
forwards of a boy in the passage, and two or three peeps taken 
over the blinds by the old gentleman, they were admitted. 

The boy could not master their names ; so they were obliged 
reciprocally to announce themselves — " Count O'Halloran and 
Lord Colambre." The names seemed to make no impression on 
the old gentleman ; but he deliberately looked at the count and 
his lordship, as if studying what rather than who they were. In 
spite of the red night-cap, and a flowered dressing-gown, Mr. 
Eeynolds looked like a gentleman, an odd gentleman — ^but still 
a gentleman. 

As Coimt O'Halloran came into the room, and as his large 
dog attempted to follow, the count's look expressed — 

** Say, shall I let him in, or shut the door ?' 

" Oh, let him in, by alj means, sir, if you please ! I am fond 
of dogs; and a finer one I never saw: pray, gentlemen, be 



234 THE ABSENTEE. 

seated," said he — a portion of the complacency, inspired by the 
sight of the dog, diffusing itself over his manner towards the 
master of so fine an animal, and even extending to the master's 
companion, though in an inferior degree. Whilst Mr. Reynolds 
stroked the dog, the count told him that ** the dog was of 8 
curious breed, now almost extinct — the Irish greyhound ; only 
one nobleman in Ireland, it is said, has a few of the species 

remaining in his possession Now, lie down, Hannibal," said 

the count. " Mr. Reynolds, we have taken the liberty, though 
strangers, of waiting upon you " 

"I beg your pardon, sir," interrupted Mr. Reynolds; "but 
did I understand you rightly, that a few of the same species are 
still to be had from one nobleman in Ireland? Pray, what ishii 
name ?" said he, taking out his pencil. 

The count wrote the name for him, but observed, that "be 
had asserted only that a few of these dogs remained in the 
possession of that nobleman; he could not answer for it that 
they were to be had" 

<'0h, I have ways and means," said old Reynolds; and, 
rapping his snufF-box, and talking, as it was his custom, loud to 
himself, " Lady Dashfort knows all those Irish lords : she shall 
get one for me — ay ! ay !" 

Count O'Halloran replied, as if the words had been addressed 
to him, " Lady Dashfort i& in England." 

"I know it, sir; she is in London," said Mr. Re3moldfl) 
hastily. " What do you know of her ?" 

" I know, sir, that she is not likely to return to Ireland, and 
that I am ; and so is my young friend here : and if the thing 
can be accomplished, we will get it done for you." 

Lord Colambre joined in this promise, and added, that, "i^ 
the dog could be obtained, he would undertake to have hiiP 
safely sent over to England." 

" Sir — gentlemen ! I'm much obliged ; that is, when you have 
done the thing I shall be much obliged. But, may be, you ar0 
only making me civil speeches !" 

" Of that, sir," said the count, smiling with much tempery 
" your own sagacity and knowledge of the world must enable 
you to judge." 

"For my own part, I can only say," cried Lord Colambie, 



THB ABSENTEE. 235 

" that I am not in the hahit of heing reproached with saying one 
thing and meaning another." 

" Hot ! I see," said old Reynolds, nodding as he looked at 
Lord Colambre: "Cool!" added he, nodding at the coimt. 
" But a time for every thing ; I was hot once : both answers 
good for their ages." 

This speech Lord Colambre and the count tacitly agreed to 
consider as another apart, which they were not to hear, or seem 
to hear. The count began again on the business of their visit, 
as he saw that Lord Colambre was boiling with impatience, and 
feared that he should boil over, and spoil all. The count 
commenced with, " Mr. Reynolds, your name sounds to me like 
the name of a friend ; for I had once a friend of that name : I 
once had the pleasure (and a very great pleasure it was to me) 
to be intimately acquainted abroad, on the continent, with a very 
amiable and gallant youth — your son !" 

"Take care, sir," said the old man, starting up from his 
chair, and instantly sinking down again, " take care ! Don't 
mention him to me — unless you would strike me dead on the 
spot!" 

The convulsed motions of his fingers and face worked for some 
moments ; whilst the count and Lord Colambre, much shocked 
and alarmed, stood in silence. 

The convulsed motions ceased ; and the old man unbuttoned 
his waistcoat, as if to relieve some sense of oppression ; un- 
covered his gray hairs ; and, after leaning back to rest himself, 
inth his eyes fixed, and in reverie for a few moments, he sat 
upright again in his chair, and exclaimed, as he looked round, 
" Son ! — Did not somebody say that word ? Who is so cruel to 
say that word before me ? Nobody has ever spoken of him to 
me— -but once, since his death ! Do you know, sir," said he, 
fixing his eyes on Coimt O'Halloran, and laying his cold hand 
on him, " do you know where he was buried, I ask you, sir ? do 
you remember how he died?" 

"Too well! too well !" cried the count, so much afiected as 
to be scarcely able to pronounce the words ; " he died in my 
anns : I buried him myself!" 

"Impossible!" cried Mr. Reynolds. "Why do you say so, 
or ?" said he, stud3ring the count's face with a sort of bewildered 



236 TUB ABSENTEE. 

earnestness. " Impossible ! His body was sent over to me in 
a lead coffin ; and I saw it — and I was asked and I an- 
swered, ' In the family vault.' But the shock is over/' said he: 
** and, gentlemen, if the business of your visit relates to that 
subject, I trust I am now sufficiently composed to attend to you. 
Indeed, I ought to be prepared ; for I had reason, for years, to 
expect the stroke ; and yet, when it came, it seemed sudden !— 
it stunned me — put an end to all my worldly prospects — ^left me 
childless, without a single descendant, or relation near enough 
to be dear to me ! I am an insulated being !" 

*^ No, sir, you are not an insulated being," said Lord Colambre : 
** You have a near relation, who will, who must, be dear to you; 
who will make you amends for all you have lost, all you have 
suffered — who will bring peace and joy to your heart : you have 
a grand-daughter." 

" No, sir ; I have no grand-daughter," said old Re3molds, bis 
face and whole form becoming rigid with the expression of 
obstinacy. *' Rather have no descendant than be forced to 
acknowledge an illegitimate child." 

" My lord, I entreat as a friend — I command you to be patient," 
said the count, who saw Lord Colambre's indignation suddenly 
rise. 

"So, then, this is the purpose of your visit," continued old 
Reynolds : "and you come from my enemies, from the St. Omars, 
and you are in a league with them," continued old Reynolds: "and 
all this time it is of my eldest son you have been talking." 

" Yes, sir," replied the count ; " of Captain Reynolds, who fell 
in battle, in the Austrian service, about nineteen years ago — a 
more gallant and amiable youth never lived." 

Pleasure revived through the dull look of obstinacy in the 
father's eyes. 

" He was, as you say, sir, a gallant, an amiable youth, once — 
and he was my pride, and I loved him, too, once — but did not 
you know I had another?" 

"No, sir, we did not — we are, you may perceive, totally 
ignorant of your family and of your affairs — we have no con- 
nexion whatever or knowledge of any of the St. Omars." 

" I detest the sound of the name," cried Lord Colambre. 

"Oh, good! good! — Well! well! I beg your pardon, gentlemen, 



THE ABSENTEE. 237 

liousand times — I am a hasty, very hasty old man ; hut I have 
en harassed, persecuted, hunted hy wretches, who got a scent of 
J gold ; often in my rage I longed to throw my treasure-hags 
my pursuers, and hid them leave me to die in peace. You 
vfe feelings, I see, hoth of you, gentlemen ; excuse, and bear 
th my temper." 

" Bear with you ! Much enforced, the best tempers will emit 
hasty spark," said the count, looking at Lord Colambre, who 
IS now cool again; and who, with a countenance full of 
mpassion, sat with his eyes fixed upon the poor — no, not the 
or, but the unhappy old man. 
"Yes, I had another son," continued Mr. Reynolds, "and 

him all my affections concentrated when I lost my eldest, 
d for him I desired to preserve the estate which his mother 
9Ught into the family. Since you know nothing of my affairs, 
me explain to you : that estate was so settled, that it would 
ve gone to the child, even the daughter of my eldest son, if 
»re had been a legitimate child. But I knew there was no 
irriage, and I held out firm to my opinion. * If there was a 
irriage,' said I, ' show me the marriage certificate, and I will 
mowledge the marriage, and acknowledge the child :' but 
jy could not, and I knew they could not; and I kept the 
ate for my darling boy," cried the old gentleman, with the 
ultation of successful positiveness again appearing strong in 

physiognomy : but, suddenly changing and relaxing, his 
intenance fell, and he added, " But now I have no darling 
jr. What use all ! — all must go to the heir at law, or I must 
A it to a stranger — a lady of quality, who has just found out 
3 is my relation — God knows how ! I'm no genealogist — and 
ids me Irish cheese, and Iceland moss, for my breakfast, and 
r waiting gentlewoman to namby-pamby me. Ob, I'm sick of 
all — see through it — wish I was blind — ^wish I had a hiding- 
ice, where flatterers could not find me — pursued, chased — 

ast change my lodgings again to-morrow — will, will 1 beg 

ur pardon, gentlemen, again : you were going to tell me, sir, 
mething more of my eldest son; and how I was led away 
)m the subject, I don't know ; but I meant only to have 
mred you that his memory was dear to me, till I was so 
nnented about that unfortunate affair of his pretended 



238 TBB ABSBNTBB. 

marriage, that at length I hated to hear him named: 
heir at law, at last, will triumph over me.*' 

" No, my good sir, not if you triumph over yoursel 
justice," cried Lord Colambre ; " if you listen to the tru 
my friend will tell you, and if you will read and b» 
confirmation of it, imder your son's own hand, in this p 

" His own hand indeed ! His seal — unbroken. Bi 
when — where — why was it kept so long, and how cai 
your hands?" 

Coimt O'Halloran told Mr. Reynolds that the pa 
been given to him by Captain Reynolds on his d( 
related the dying acknowledgment which Captain Reyi 
made of his marriage ; and gave an account of the d 
the packet to the ambassador, who had promised to ti 
faithfully. Lord Colambre told the manner in whi( 
been mislaid, and at last recovered from among the 
ambassador's papers. The father still gazed at the 
and re-examined the seals. 

" My son's hand- writing — ^my son's seals ! But wl 
certificate of the marriage ?" repeated he ; ** if it is ^ 

of this packet, I have done great in but I am coi 

never was a marriage. Yet I wish now it could be 
only, in that case, I have for years done great ■ 

" Won't you open the packet, sir ?" said Lord Colan 

Mr. Reynolds looked up at him with a look that 
don't clearly know what interest you have in all thi 
unable to speak, and his hands trembling so that 
scarcely break the seals, he tore off the cover, laid t] 
before him, sat down, and took breath. Lord Colam 
ever impatient, had now too much hiraianity to burr 
gentleman : he only ran for the spectacles, which he 
the chimney-piece, rubbed them bright, and held the 
Mr. Reynolds stretched his hand out for them, put ther 
the first paper he opened was the certificate of the mar 
read it aloud, and, putting it down, said, " Now I ack 
the marriage. I always said, if there is a marriage tl 
be a certificate. And you see now there is. a cert 
acknowledge the marriage." 
"And now," cried Lord Colambre, " I am happy. 



THE ABSENTEE. 239 

bappy. Acknowledge your grand-daughter, sir — acknowledge 
Miss Nugent." 

" Acknowledge whom, sir ?" 

" Acknowledge Miss Reynolds — ^your grand-daughter ; I ask 
no more — do what you will with your fortune." 

" Oh, now I understand — I begin to imderstand, this young 
gentleman is in love — ^but where is my grand-daughter? how 
shall I know she is my grand-daughter ? I have not heard of 
her since she was an infant — I forgot her existence — I have done 
her great injustice." 

" She knows nothing of it, sir," said Lord Colambre, who now 
entered into a full explanation of Miss Nugent's history, and of 
her connexion with his family, and of his own attachment to her ; 
concluding the whole by assuring Mr. Reynolds that his grand- 
daughter had every virtue under heaven. "And as to your 
fortune, sir, I know that she will, as I do, say " 

" No matter what she will say," intemipted old Reynolds; 
" where is she ? When I see her, I shall hear what she says. 
Fell me where she is — let me see her. I long to see whether 
there is any likeness to her poor father. Where is she ? Let me 
iee her immediately." 

" She is one hundred and sixty miles off,, sir, at Buxton." 

" Well, my lord, and what is a hundred and sixty miles ? I 
luppose you think I can't stir from my chair, but you are mis- 
aken. I think nothing of a journey of a hundred and sixty 
niles — I am ready to set off to-morrow — this instant." 

Lord Colambre said, that he was sure Miss Reynolds would 
)bey her grandfather's slightest summons, as it was her duty to 
io, and would be with him as soon as possible, if this would be 
more agreeable to him. *'I will write to her instantly," said his 
lordship, " if you will commission me." 

"No, my lord, I do not commission — ^I will go — I think 
nothing, I say, of a journey of a hundred and sixty miles — I'll go 
■^and set out to-morrow morning." 

Lord Colambre and the count, perfectly satisfied with the 
result of their visit, now thought it best to leave old Reynolds at 
liberty to rest himself, after so many strong and varied feelings. 
They paid their parting compliments, settled the time for the 
next day's journey, and were just going to quit the room, when 



240 THE ABSENTEE. 

Lord Colambre heard in the passage a well-known voice — ihe 
voice of Mrs. Petito. 

<< Oh, no, my Lady Dashfort's best compliments, and I wlU 
call again." 

" No, no," cried old Reynolds, pulling his bell ; " 111 have no 
calling again — Fll be hanged if I do ! Let her in now, and I'll 
see her — Jack ! let in that woman now or never." 

" The lady's gone, sir, out of the street door." 

" After her, then — ^now or never, tell her." 

" Sir, she was in a hackney coach." 

Old Reynolds jumped up, and went to the window himself, 
and, seeing the hackney coachman just turning, beckoned at the 
window, and Mrs. Petito was set down again, and ushered in by 
Jack, who announced her as, " the lady, sir." Tlie only lady he 
had seen in that house. 

" My dear Mr. Reynolds, I'm so obliged to you for letting me 
in," cried Mrs. Petito, adjusting her shawl in the passage, and 
speaking in a voice and manner well mimicked after her betters. 
*^ You are so very good and kind, and I am so much obliged to 
you." 

''You are not obliged to me, and I am neither good nor 
kind," said old Reynolds. 

" You strange man," said Mrs. Petito, advancing graceful in 
shawl drapery ; but she stopped short. " My Lord Colambre 
and Count O'Halloran, as I hope to be saved !" 

** I did not know Mrs. Petito was an acquaintance of youri} 
gentlemen," said Mr. Reynolds, smiling shrewdly. 

Count O'Halloran was too polite to deny his acquaintance 
with a lady who challenged it by thus naming him ; but he had 
not the slightest recollection of her, though it seems he had met [ 
her on the stairs when he visited Lady Dashfort at Killpatrickt* 
town. Lord Colambre was '' indeed undeniably an old acqtuM" 
ance :" and as soon as she had recovered from her first natural 
start and vulgar exclamation, she with very easy familiarity 
hoped " my Lady Clonbrony, and my Lord, and Miss Nugent, 
and all her friends in the family, were well ;" and said, " she did 
not know whether she was to congratulate his lordship or not 
upon Miss Broadhurst, my Lady Berryl's marriage, but she should 
soon have to hope for his lordship's congratulations for anotiher 



THE ABSENTEE. 241 

irriage in her present family — Lady Isabel to Colonel Heath- 
ck, who was come in for a large portion, and they are buying 
B wedding clothes — sights of clothes — and the di 'mends, this 
y ; and Lady Dashfort and my Lady Isabel sent me especially, 
", to you, Mr. Re3molds, and to tell you, sir, before any body 
ie ; and to hope the cheese come safe up again at last ; and to 
k whether the Iceland moss agrees with your chocolate, and is 
ilatable ? it*s the most dUuent thing upon the universal earth, 
id the most tonic and fashionable— the Duchess of Torcaster 
kes it always for breakfast, and Lady St James too is quite a 
nvert, and I hear the Duke of V ♦ ♦ ♦ takes it too." 
"And the devil may take it too, for any thing that I care," 
id old Reynolds. 

" Oh, my dear, dear sir ! you are so refractory a patient." 
** I am no patient at all, ma'am, and have no patience either : 
im as well as you are, or my Lady Dashfort either, and hope, 
>d willing, long to continue so." 

Mrs. Petito smiled aside at Lord Colambre, to mark her per- 
)tion of the man's strangeness. Then, in a cajoling voice, 
Iressing herself to the old gentleman, " Long, long, I hope, to 
itinue so, if Heaven grants my daily and nightly prayers, and 
Lady Dashfort's also. So, Mr. Reynolds, if the ladies' 
lyers are of any avail, you ought to be purely, and I suppose 
ies* prayers have the precedence in efficacy. But it was not 
jrayers and death-bed affairs I came commissioned to treat — 

of weddings my diplomacy was to speak : and to premise my 
iy Dashfort would have come herself in her carriage, but is 
Tied out of her senses, and my Lady Isabel could not in 
per modesty ; so they sent me as their double, to hope you, 

dear Mr. Reynolds, who is one of the family relations, will 
lour the wedding with your presence." 

* It would be no honour, and they know that as well as I do," 
1 the intractable Mr. Reynolds. " It will be no advantage, 
ler ; but that they do not know as well as I do. Mrs. Petito, 
»ve you and your lady all trouble about me in future, please 
et my Lady Dashfort know that I have just received and 
d the certificate of my son Captain Reynolds' marriage with 
IS St. Omar. I have acknowledged the marriage. Better 
) than never ; and to-morrow morning, God willing, shall set 
"fashionable Life, ^ 



242 THE ABSENTEE. 

out with this young nobleman for Buxton, where I hope to see, 
and intend publicly to acknowledge, my grand-daughter — pro- 
vided she will acknowledge me." 

^^Criminir exclaimed Mrs. Petito, "what new turns are 
here ? Well, sir, I shall tell my lady of the metamorphoses that 
have taken place, though by what magic I can't guess. But, 
since it seems annoying and inopportune, I shall make my jinaky 
and shall thus leave a verbal P.P.C. — as you are leaving town, 
it seems, for Buxton so early in the morning. My Lord Co- 
lambre, if I see rightly into a millstone, as I hope and believe I 
do on the present occasion, I have to congratulate your lordship 
(haven't I ?) upon something like a succession, or a windfall, in 
this denewmenL And I beg you'll make my humble respects 
acceptable to the ci-devant Miss Grace Nugent that was ; and 
I won't derrogate her by any other name in the interregnum, as 
I am persuaded it will only be a temporary name, scarce worth 
assuming, except for the honour of the public adoption ; and 
that will, I'm confident, be soon exchanged for a viscount's title, 
or I have no sagacity or sympathy. I hope I don't (pray don't 
let me) put you to the blush, my lord." 

Lord Colambre would not have let her, if he could have 
helped it. 

" Count O'Halloran, your most obedient ! I had the honour 
of meeting you at Killpatricks-town," said Mrs. Petito, backing 
to the door, and twitching her shawl. She stumbled, nearly fell - 
down, over the large dog — caught by the door, and recovered 
herself — Hannibal rose and shook his ears. " Poor fellow ! you 
are of my acquaintance, too." She would have stroked his head; 
but Hannibal walked off indignant, and so did she. 

Thus ended certain hopes : for Mrs. Petito had conceived that 
her diplomacy might be turned to account ; that in her charactct 
of an ambassadress, as Lady Dashfort's double, by the aid d 
Iceland moss in chocolate, of flattery properly administered, and 
of bearing with all her dear Mr. Reynolds' oddnesses and rougkr 
nesses, she might in time — that is to say, before he made a neW 
will — become his dear Mrs. Petito ; or (for stranger things have 
happened and do happen every day), his dear Mrs. R^ynoldal 
Mrs. Petito, however, was good at a retreat ; and she flattered 
herself that at least nothing of this imderplot had appeared : and 



THE ABSENTEE. 243 

at all events she secured, by her services in this embassy, 
the long looked-for object of her ambition, Lady Dashfort's 
scarlet velvet gown — " not yet a thread the worse for the wear !" 
One cordial look at this comforted her for the loss of her ex- 
pected octogenaire; and she proceeded to discomfit her lady, by 
repeating the message with which strange old Mr. Reynolds had 
charged her. So ended all Lady Dashfort's hopes of his fortune. 

Since the death of his youngest son, she had been indefati- 
gable in her attentions, and sanguine in her hopes : the disap- 
pointment affected both her interest and her pride, as an intri- 
gante. It was necessary, however, to keep her feelings to herself; 
for if Heathcock should hear any thing of the matter before the 
articles were signed, he might "be off I" — so. she put him and 
Lady Isabel into her coach directly — drove to Rundell and 
Bridges', to make sure at all events of the jewels. 

In the mean time Count O'Halloran and Lord Colambre, de- 
lighted with the result of their visit, took leave of Mr. Reynolds, 
after having arranged the journey, and appointed the hour for 
setting off the next day. Lord Colambre proposed to call upon 
Mr. Reynolds in the evening, and introduce his father. Lord 
Clonbrony ; but Mr. Reynolds said, " No, no ! I'm not cere- 
monious. I have given you proofs enough of that, I think, in 
the short time we've been already acquainted. Time enough to 
introduce your father to me when we are in a carriage, going 
our journey : then we can talk, and get acquainted : but merely 
to come this evening in a hurry, and say, * Lord Clonbrony, 
Mr. Reynolds; — Mr. Reynolds, Lord Clonbrony' — and then bob 
our two heads at one another, and scrape one foot back, and 
away ! — where's the use of that nonsense at my time of life, or 
at any time of life ? No, no ! we have enough to do without 

that, I dare say. Good morning to you. Count O'Halloran ! 

I thank you heartily. From the first moment I saw you, I liked 
you : lucky too, that you brought your dog with you ! 'Twas 
Hannibal made me first let you in ; I saw him over the top of 
the blind. Hannibal, my good fellow I I'm more obliged to you 
than you can guess." 

" So are we all," said Lord Colambre. 

Hannibal was well patted, and then they parted. In return- 
ing home they met Sir James Brooke. 
r2 



244 TUE ABSENTEE. 

*< I told you," said Sir James, " I should be in London 
almost as soon as you. Have you found old Reynolds?" 

" Just come from him." 

<< How does your business prosper ? I hope as well as mine." 

A history of all that had passed up to the present moment 
was given, and hearty congratulations received. 

"Where are you going now, Sir James? — cannot you come 
with us?" said Lord Colambre and the count. 

"Impossible," replied Sir James; — "but, perhaps, you can 
come with me — I'm going to Rundell and Bridges*, to give some 
old family diamonds either to be new set or exchanged. Count 
O'Halloran, I know you are a judge of these things; pray come 
and give me your opinion." 

" Better consult your bride elect !" said the count. 

" No ; she knows little of the matter^— and cares less," replied 
Sir James. 

"Not so this bride elect, or I mistake her much," said the 
count, as they passed by the window, at Rundell and Bridges', 
and saw Lady Isabel, who, with Lady Dashfort, had been hold- 
ing consultation deep with the jeweller ; and Heathcock, playing 
personnage muet. 

Lady Dashfort, who had always, as old Reynolds expressed 
it, "her head upon her shoulders," — presence of mind where her 
interests were concerned, ran to the door before the count and 
Lord Colambre could enter, giving a hand to each — as if they 
had all parted the best friends in the world. 

"How do? how do? — Give you joy! give me joy! and all 
that. But mind! not a word," said she, laying her finger upon 
her lips, " not a word before Heathcock of old Reynolds, or of 
the best part of the old fool — his fortune !" 

The gentlemen bowed, in sign of submission to her ladyship's 
commands ; and comprehended that she feared Heathcock might 
he off, if the best part of his bride (her fortune, or her expecUk' 
tions) were lowered in value or in prospect. 

" How low is she reduced," whispered Lord Colambre, "when 
such a husband is thought a prize — and to be secured by a 
manoeuvre!" He sighed. 

"Spare that generous sigh!" said Sir James Brooke: "it is 
wasted." 



THE ABSENTEE. 245 

Lady Isabel, as they approached, turned from a mirror, at 
which she was trjdng on a diamond crescent. Her face clouded 
at the sight of Count O'Halloran and Lord Colambre, and grew 
dark as hatred when she saw Sir James Brooke. She walked 
away to the farther end of the shop, and asked one of the 
shopmen the price of a diamond necklace, which lay upon the 
counter. 

The man said he really did not know ; it belonged to Lady 
Oranmore ; it had just been new set for one of her ladyship's 
daughters, *' who is going to be married to Sir James Brooke — 
one of the gentlemen, my lady, who are just come in." 

Then, calling to his master, he asked him the price of the 
necklace : he named the value, which was considerable. 

" I really thought Lady Oranmore and her daughters were 
vastly too philosophical to think of diamonds, " said Lady Isabel 
to her mother, with a sort of sentimental sneer in her voice and 
countenance. " But it is some comfort to me to find, in these 
pattern-women, philosophy and love do not so wholly engross 
the heart, that they 

* Feel every vanity in fondness lost.' " 

" 'Twould be difficult, in some cases," thought many present. 

" Ton honour, diamonds are cursed expensive things, I know!" 
said Heathcock. " But, be that as it may," whispered he to the 
lady, though loud enough to be heard by others, *' I've laid a 
damned round wager, that no woman's diamonds married this 
'Winter, under a countess, in Lon'on, shall eclipse Lady Isabel 
Heathcock's ! and Mr. Rundell here's to be judge." 

Lady Isabel paid for this promise one of her sweetest smiles ; 
One of those smiles which she had formerly bestowed upon Lord 
Colambre, and which he had once fancied expressed so much 
Sensibility — such discriminative and delicate penetration. 

Our hero felt so much contempt, that he never wasted another 
Bigh of pity for her degradation. Lady Dashfort came up to 
him as he was standing alone ; and, whilst the count and Sir 
James were settling about the diamonds, *' My Lord Colambre," 
I laid she, in a low voice, " I know your thoughts, and I could 
moralize as well as you, if I did not prefer laughing — ^you are 
I Bght enough ; and so am I, and so is Isabel ; we are all right. 



246 THE ABSENTEE. 

For look here : women have not always the liberty of choice, 
and therefore they can't be expected to have always the power 
of refusal." 

The mother, satisfied with her convenient optimism, got into 
her carriage with her daughter, her daughter's diamonds, and 
her precious son-in-law, her daughter's companion for life. 

"The more I see," said Count O'Halloran to Lord Colambre, 
as they left the shop, " the more I find reason to congratulate you 
upon your escape, my dear lord." 

" I owe it not to my own wit or wisdom," said Lord Colambre; 
"but much to love, and much to friendship," added he, turning 
to Sir James Brooke : " here was the friend who early warned 
me against the siren's voice; who, before I knew the Lady 
Isabel, told me what I have since found to be true, that 

' Two passions alternately govern her fate — 
Her business is love, but her pleasure is hate.* ** 

" That is dreadfully severe, Sir James," said Coimt O'Hallo- 
lan ; "but, I am afraid, is just." 

" I am sure it is just, or I would not have said it," replied Sir 
James Brooke. " For the foibles of the sex, I hope, I have as 
much indulgence as any man, and for the errors of passion as 
much pity ; but I cannot repress the indignation, the abhorrence 
I feel against women cold and vain, who use their wit and their 
charms only to make others miserable." 

Lord Colambre recollected at this moment Lady Isabel's look 
and voice, when she declared that she would let her little finger 
be cut off to purchase the pleasure of inflicting on Lady De 
Cressy, for one hour, the torture of jealousy. 

"Perhaps," continued Sir James Brooke, "now that I am 
going to marry into an Irish family, I may feel, with peculiar 
energy, disapprobation of this mother and daughter on another 
account ; but you, Lord Colambre, will do me the justice to 
recollect, that before I had any personal interest in the countryi 
I expressed, as a general friend to Ireland, antipathy to those 
who return the hospitality they received from a warm-hearted 
people, by publicly setting the example of elegant sentimental 
hypocrisy, or daring disregard of decorum, by privately endea' 
vouring to destroy the domestic peace of families, on which, at 



THE ABSENTEE. 247 

ast, public as well as private virtue and happiness depend. I 
do rejoice, my dear Lord Colambre, to hear you say that 1 had 
any share in saving you from the siren ; and now I will never 
speak of these ladies more. I am sorry you cannot stay in town 
to see — ^but why should I be sorry — we shall meet again, I trust, 
and I shall introduce you ; and you, I hope, will introduce me 
to a very different charmer. Farewell ! — you have my warm 
good wishes, wherever you go." 

Sir James turned off quickly to the street in which Lady 
Oranmore lived, and Lord Colambre had not time to tell him 
that he knew and admired his intended bride. Coimt O'Halloran 
promised to do this for him. 

"And now," said the good count, "I am to take leave of 
you ; and I assure you I do it with so much reluctance, that 
nothing less than positive engagements to stay in town would 
prevent me from setting off with you to-morrow ; but I shall be 
soon, very soon, at liberty to return to Ireland ; and Clonbrony 
Castle, if you will give me leave, I will see before I see Halloran 
Castle." 

Lord Colambre jo3rfully thanked his friend for this promise. 

" Nay, it is to indulge myself. I long to see you happy — 
long to behold the choice of such a heart as yours. Pray do 
not steal a march upon me — let me know in time. I will leave 
every thing— even my friend the minister's secret expedition — 
for your wedding. But I trust I shall be in time." 

"Assuredly you will, my dear count; if ever that wed- 
ding " 

" jy," repeated the count. 

"/j^," repeated Lord Colambre. "Obstacles which, when we 
last parted, appeared to me invincible, prevented my having 
ever even attempted to make an impression on the heart of the 
woman I love : and if you knew her, count, as well as I do, you 
would know that her love could *not imsought be won.* " 

" Of that I cannot doubt, or she would not be your choice ; 
but when her love is sought, we have every reason to hope," 
said the count, smiling, " that it may, because it ought to be, 
won by tried honour and affection. I only require to be left in 
hope." 

"Well, I leave you hope," said Lord Colambre; "Miss 



248 THE ABSENTEE. 

NugeniA— Miss Reynolds, I should say, has heen in the habit of 
considering a union with me as impossible ; my mother early 
instilled this idea into her mind. Miss Nugent thought that 
duty forbad her to think of me ; she told me so : I have seen it 
in all her conduct and manners. The barriers of habit, the 
ideas of duty, cannot, ought not, to be thrown down, or suddenly 
changed, in a well-regulated female mind. And you, I am 
sure, know enough of the best female hearts, to be aware that 

time " 

" Well, well, let this dear good charmer take her own time, 
provided there's none given to affectation, or prudery, or 
coquetry ; and from all these, of course, she must be free ; and 
of course I must be content. Adieu." 



CHAPTER XVII. 

As Lord Colambre was returning home, he was overtaken by 
Sir Terence O'Fay. 

"Well, my lord," cried Sir Terence, out of breath, "you 
have led me a pretty dance all over the town : -here's a letter 
somewhere down in my safe pocket for you, which has cost mc 
trouble enough. Phoo! where is it now? — ^it's from Miss 
Nugent," said he, holding up the letter. The direction to 
Grosvenor-square, London, had been scratched out ; and it had 
been re-directed by Sir Terence to the Lord Viscount Colambr^ 
at Sir James Brooke's, Bart., Brookwood, Huntingdonshire, or 
elsewhere, with speed. " But the more haste the worse speed ; 
for away it went to Brookwood, Huntingdonshire, where I 
knew, if any where, you was to be found ; but, as fate and the 
post would have it, there the letter went coursing after you, 
while you were running round, and hackj and forwards, and 
every where, I understand, to Toddrington and Wrestham, and 
where not, through all them English places, where there's no 
cross-post : so I took it for granted that it found its way to the 
dead-letter office, or was sticking up across a pane in the d — d 
postmaster's window at Huntingdon, for the whole town to see, 



THE ABSENTEE* 249 

and it a love-letter, and some puppy to claim it, under false 
pretence ; and you all the time without it, and it might hreed a 
coolness betwixt you and Miss Nugent." 

" But, my dear Sir Terence, give me the letter now you have 
me." 

" Oh, my dear lord, if you knew what a race I have had, 
missing you here by five minutes, and there by five seconds — 
but I have you at last, and you have it — and I'm paid this 
minute for all I liquidated of my substance, by the pleasure I 
have in seeing you crack the seal and read it. But take care 
you don't tumble over the orange-woman — orange barrows are a 
great nuisance, when one's studying a letter in the streets of 
London, or the metropolis. But never heed ; stick to my arm, 
and I'll guide you, like a blind man, safe through the thick of 
them." 

Miss Nugent's letter, which Lord Colambre read in spite of 
the jostling of passengers, and the incessant talking of Sir 
Terence, was as follows : — 

" Let me not be the cause of banishing you from your home 
and your country, where you would do so much good, and make 
80 many happy. Let me not be the cause of your breaking your 
promise to your mother ; of your disappointing my dear aunt so 
cnielly, who has complied with all our wishes, and who 
sacrifices, to oblige us, her favourite tastes. How could she be 
ever happy in Ireland — ^how could Clonbrony Castle be a home 
to her without her son ? If you take away all she had of 
amusement and pleasure, as it is called, are not you bound to 
give her, in their stead, that domestic happiness, which she can 
enjoy only with you, and by your means ? If, instead of living 
with her, you go into the army, she will be in daily, nightly 
anxiety and alarm about you ; and her son will, instead of being 
a comfort, be a source of torment to her. 

"I will hope that you will do now, as you have always 
hitherto done, on every occasion where I have seen you act, 
what is right, and just, and kind. Come here on the day you 
promised my aimt you would ; before that time I shall be in 
Qimbridgeshire, with my friend Lady Berryl ; she is so good as 
to come to Buxton for me — I shall remain with her, luEte«A ^i 



250 THE ABSENTBB. 

returning to Ireland. I have explained my reasons to my ( 

aunt Could I have any concealment from her, to whom, f 

my earliest childhood, I owe every thing that kindness 
affection could give ? She is satisfied— she consents to my li^ 
henceforward with Lady Berryl. Let me have the pleasur* 
seeing by your conduct, that you approve of mine. 

" Your affectionate cousin 
" and friend, 

" Grace Nugent. 

This letter, as may be imagined by those who, like him, 
capable of feeling honourable and generous conduct, gave 
hero exquisite pleasure. Poor, good-natured Sir Terence O' 
enjoyed his lordship's delight; and forgot himself so complel 
that he never even inquired whether Lord Colambre had thoi 
of an affair on >\nich he had spoken to him some time bei 
and which materially concerned Sir Terence's interest, 
next morning, when the carriage was at the door, and 
Terence was just taking leave of his friend Lord Clonbrony, 
actually in tears, wishing them all manner of happiness, the 
he said there was none left now in London, or the wide w 
even, for him — Lord Colambre went up to him, and said, * 
Terence, you have never inquired whether I have done ; 
business." 

"Oh, my dear, I'm not thinking of that now — time enc 
by the post — I can write after you ; but my thoughts won't 
for me to business now — no matter." 

"Your business is done," replied Lord Colambre. 

" Then I wonder how you could think of it, with all you 
upon your mind and heart. When any thing's upon my hi 
good morning to my head, it's not worth a lemon. Good-b}) 
you, and thank you kindly, and all happiness attend you." 

" Good-bye to you. Sir Terence O'Fay," said Lord Clonbrc 
** and, since it's so ordered, I must live without you." 

" Oh ! you'll live better without me, my lord ; I am not a | 
liver, I know, nor the best of all companions, for a noblcD 
young or old ; and now you'll be rich, and not put to your si 
and your wits, what would I have to do for you ? — Sir Ten 
O'Fay, you know, was only the poor nobleman' a fiiendf 



THE ABSENTEE. 251 

you'll never want to call apon bim again, thanks to your jewel, 
your Pitt's-diamond of a son there. So we part here, and 
depend upon it you're better without me — that's all my com- 
fort, or my heart would break. The carriage is waiting this 
long time, and this young lover's aching to be off. God bless 
you both ! — that's my last word." 

They called in Red Lion-square, punctual to the moment, on 
old Mr. Reynolds, but his window-shutters were shut ; he had 
been seized in the night with a violent fit of the gout, which, as 
he said, held him fast by the leg. " But here," said he, giving 
Lord Colambre a letter, " here's what will do your business 
without me. Take this written acknowledgment I have penned 
for you, and give my grand-daughter her father's letter to read 
—it would touch a heart of stone — touched mine — wish I could 
drag the mother back out of her grave, to do her justice — all 
one now. You see, at last, I'm not a suspicious rascal, however, 
for I don't suspect you of palming a false grand-daughter upon 
me." 

"Will you," said Lord Colambre, "give your grand-daughter 
leave to come up to town to you, sir ? You would satisfy your- 
self, at least, as to what resemblance she may bear to her father : 
Miss Reynolds will come instantly, and she will nurse you." 

" No, no ; I won't have her come. If she comes, I won't see 
her — sha'n't begin by nursing me— not selfish. As soon as I get 
rid of this gout, I shall be my own man, and young again, and 
111 soon be after you across the sea, that sha'n't stop me : I'll 
come to— what's the name of your place in Ireland ? — and see 
what likeness I can find to her poor father in this grand-daughter 
of mine, that you puffed so finely yesterday. And let me see 
whether she will wheedle me as finely as Mrs. Petito would. 
Don't get ready your marriage settlements, do you hear? till you 
liave seen my will, which I shall sign at — what's the name of 
your place ? Write it down there ; there's pen and ink ; and 
leave me, for the twinge is coming, and I shall roar." 

"Will you permit me, sir, to leave my own servant with 
you to take care of you ? I can answer for his attention and 
fideUty." 
"Let me see his face, and I'll tell you." 
Lord Colambre's servant was summoned. 



I 



252 THE ABSENTEE. 

" Yes, I like his face. God bless you! — Leave me." T 

Lord Colanibre gave his servant a charge to bear with Mr. 
Reynolds' rough manner and temper, and to pay the poor old 
gentleman every possible attention. Then our hero proceeded 
with his father on his journey, and on this journey nothing 
happened worthy of note. On his first perusal of the letter from 
Grace, Lord Colambre had feared that she would have left 
Buxton with Lady Berryl before he could reach it ; but, upon 
recollection, he hoped that the few lines he had written, addressed 
to his mother and Miss Nugent, with the assurance that he 
should be with them on Wednesday, would be sufficient to show 
her that some great change had happened, and consequently 
sufficient to prevent her from quitting her aunt, till she could 
know whether such a separation would be necessary. He argued 
wisely, more wisely than Grace had reasoned ; for, notwithstand- 
ing this note, she would have left Buxton before his arrival, but 
for Lady Berryl's strength of mind, and positive determination 
not to set out with her till Lord Colambre should arrive to 
explain. In the interval, poor Grace was, indeed, in an 
anxious state of suspense ; and her uncertainty, whether she 
was doing right or wrong, by staying to see Lord Colambre, 
tormented her most. 

" My dear, you cannot help yoiurself: be quiet," said Lady 
Berryl : "I will take the whole upon my conscience ; and I 
hope my conscience may never have any thing worse to answer 
for." 

Grace was the first person who, from her window, saw Lord 
Colambre, the instant the carriage drove to the door. She ran 
to her friend Lady Berryl's apartment. "He is come ! — ^Now, 
take me away." 

" Not yet, my sweet friend ! Lie down upon this sofa, if you 
please; and keep yourself tranquil, whilst I go and see what you 
ought to do ; and depend upon me for a true friend, in whose 
mind, as in your own, duty is the first object." 

" I depend on you entirely," said Grace, sinking down on the 
sofa : " and you see I obey you !" 

"Many thanks to you for lying down, when you can't 
stand." 

Lady Berryl went to Lord Clonbrony's apartment; she was 



THE ABSENTEE. 253 

met by Sir Arthur. " Come, my love ! come quick ! — Lord 
Colambre is arrived." 

*'Iknowit; and does he go to Ireland? Speak instantly, 
that I may tell Grace Nugent." 

** You can tell her nothing yet, my love ; for we know 
nothing. Lord Colambre will not say a word till you come ; 
but I know, by his countenance, that he has good and extraor- 
dinary news." 

They passed rapidly along the passage to Lady Clonbrony's 
room. 

" Oh, my dear, dear Lady Berryl, come ! or I shall die with 
impatience," cried Lady Clonbrony, in a voice and manner 
between laughing and crying. " There, now you have congrar 
tulated, are very happy, and very glad, and all that — ^now, for 
mercy's sake, sit down. Lord Clonbrony ! for Heaven's sake, sit 
down — ^beside me here — or any where ! Now, Colambre, begin ; 
and tell us all at once !" 

But as nothing is so tedious as a twice told tale, Lord 
Colambre's narrative need not here be repeated. He began 
with Count O'Halloran's visit, immediately after Lady Clonbrony 
had left London ; and went through the history of the discovery 
that Captain Reynolds was the husband of Miss St. Omar, and 
the father of Grace : the dying acknowledgment of his mar- 
riage ; the packet delivered by Count O'Halloran to the careless 
ambassador — ^how recovered, by the assistance of his executor. 
Sir James Brooke ; the travels from Wrestham to Toddrington, 
and thence to Red Lion-square ; the interview with old 
Reynolds, and its final result : all was related as succinctly as 
the impatient curiosity of Lord Colambre's auditors could desire. 

" Oh, wonder upon wonder ! and joy upon joy!" cried Lady 
Clonbrony. " So my darling Grace is as legitimate as I am, and 
an heiress after all. Where is she ? where is she ? In your 
room. Lady Berryl ? — Oh, Colambre ! why wouldn't you let her 
be by ? — Lady Berryl, do you know, he would not let me send 
for her, though she was the person of all others most con- 
cerned!" 

'* For that very reason, ma'am ; and that Lord Colambre was 
quite right, I am sure you must be sensible, when you recollect, 
that Grace has no idea that she is not the daughter of M.x . 'iJ^w^ewX. \ 



254 THE ABSENTEE. 

she has no suspicion that the hreath of blame ever lighted upon 
her mother. This part of the story cannot be announced to her 
with too much caution ; and, indeed, her mind has been so much 
harassed and agitated, and she is at present so far from strong) 
that great delicacy ** 

" True ! very true, Lady Berryl," interrupted Lady CloUr 
brony ; " and ril*be as delicate as you please about it afterwards: 
but, in the first and fbremost place, I must tell her the best part 
of the story — that she's an heiress ; that never killed any body !" 

So, darting through all opposition. Lady Clonbrony made her 
way into the room where Grace was lying — " Yes, get up! ge* 
up ! my own Grace, and be surprised — well you may ! — you aie 
an heiress, after all." 

" Am I, my dear aunt?" said Grace. 

" True, as I'm Lady Clonbrony — and a very great heireat— 
and no more Colambre's cousin than Lady Berryl here. So now 
begin and love him as fast as you please — I give my consent— 
and here he is." 

Lady Clonbrony turned to her son, who just appeared at the 
door. 

" Oh, mother! what have you done?" 

" What have I done ?" cried Lady Clonbrony, following her 
son's eyes : — " Lord bless me ! — Grace fainted dead — Lady 
Berryl ! Oh, what have I done ? My dear Lady Berryl, what 
shall we do ?" 

Lady Berryl hastened to her friend's assistance. 

" There ! her colour's coming again," said Lord Gonbrony; 
" come away, my dear Lady Clonbrony, for the present, and » 
will I — though I long to talk to the darling girl myself ; but A» 
is not equal to it yet." 

When Grace came to herself, she first saw Lady Benyl 
leaning over her, and, raising herself a little, she said, " "What 
has happened ? — I don't know yet — I don't know whether I 
am happy or not. — Explain all this to me, my dear friend ; ftr 1 
am still as if I were in a dream." 

With all the delicacy which Lady Clonbrony deemed Biiqp*^ 
fluous. Lady Berryl explained. Nothing could surpass ^ 
astonishment of Grace, on first learning that Mr. Nugent was vfi^ 
her father. When she was told of the stigma that had htf^ 



THE ABSENTEE. 255 

jast on her birth ; the suspicions, the disgrace, to which her 
nother had been subjected for so many years — that mother, whom 
ihe had so loved and respected ; who had, with such care, in- 
stilled into the mind of her daughter the principles of virtue and 
religion ; that mother whom Grace had always seen the example 
of every virtue she taught ; on whom her daughter never sus- 
pected that the touch of blame, the breath of Scandal, could rest 
— Grace could express her sensations only by repeating, in tones 
of astonishment, pathos, indignation — " My mother ! — my 
mother ! — my mother !" 

For some time she was incapable of attending to any other 
idea, or of feeling any other sensations. When her mind was 
able to admit the thought, her friend soothed her, by recalling 
the expressions of Lord Colambre's love — the struggle by which 
he had been agitated, when he fancied a union with her opposed 
hy an invincible obstacle. 

Grace sighed, and acknowledged that, in prudence, it ought 
to have been an invincible obstacle — she admired the firmness of 
his decision, the honour with which he had acted towards her. 
One moment she exclaimed, " Then, if I had been the daughter 
of a mother who had conducted herself ill, he never would have 
trusted me !" The next moment she recollected, with pleasure, 
the joy she had just seen in his eyes — the affection, the passion, 
that spoke in every word and look ; then dwelt upon the sober 
certainty, that all obstacles were removed. " And no duty 
opposes my loving him ! — And my aunt wishes it ! my kind 
*«nt! and my dear uncle ! shoidd not I go to him ? — But he is 
not my uncle, she is not my aunt. I cannot bring myself to 
think that they are not my relations, and that I am nothing to 
them." 

"You may be every thing to them, my dear Grace," said 
Udy Berryl : — " whenever you please, you may be their 
daughter." 

Grace blushed, and smiled, and sighed, and was consoled. 
«ntthen she recollected her new relation, Mr. Reynolds, her 
S'andfather, whom she had never seen, who had for years dis- 
owned her — treated her mother with injustice. She could 
*aw;ely think of him with complacency : yet, when his age, his 
■offerings, his desolate state, were represented, she pitied him ; 



250 THE ABSENTEE. 

and, faithful to her strong sense of duty, would have gone 
instantly to offer him every assistance and attention in her 
power. Lady Berryl assured her that Mr. Reynold^} had posi- 
tively forhidden her going to him; and that he had assured 
Lord Colambre he would not see her if she went to him. After 
such rapid and varied emotions, poor Grace desired repose, 
and her friend took care that it should he secured to her for the 
remainder of the day. 

In the mean time. Lord Clonbrony had kindly and judiciously 
employed his lady in a discussion about certain velvet furniture, 
which Grace had painted for the drawing-room at Clonbrony 
Castle. 

In Lady Clonbrony's mind, as in some bad paintings, there 
was no keeping; all objects, great and small, were upon the 
same level. 

The moment her son entered the room, her ladyship ex- 
claimed, " Every thing pleasant at once ! Here's your father 
tells me, Grace's velvet furniture's all packed : really Soho's the 
best man in the world of his kind, and the cleverest — and so, 
after all, my dear Colambre, as I always hoped and prophesied, 
at last you will marry an heiress." 

"And Terry," said Lord Clonbrony, "will win his wager 
from Mordicai." 

"Terry !" repeated Lady Clonbrony, "that odious Terry !— I 
hope, my lord, that he is not to be one of my comforts in 
Ireland." 

" No, my dear mother ; he is much better provided for than 
we could have expected. One of my father's first objects was 
to prevent him from being any encumbrance to you. We con- 
sulted him as to the means of making him happy ; and the 
knight acknowledged that he had long been casting a sheep'* 
eye at a little snug place, that will soon be open in his native 
country — the chair of assistant barrister at the sessions. 'Assist- 
ant barrister !' said my father ; * but, my dear Terry, you have 
been all your life evading the laws, and very frequently breaking 
the peace ; do you think this has qualified you peculiarly for being 
a guardian of the laws?' Sir Terence replied, 'Yes, sure; set 
a thief to catch a thief is no bad maxim. And did not Mr. Col* ' 
quhoun, the Scotchman, get himself made a great justice, by hit 



THE ABSENTEE. 257 

making all the world as wise as himself, about thieves of all 
sorts, by land and by wa er, and in the air too, where he de- 
tected the mud-larks ? — And is not Barrington chief-justice of 
Botany Bay V 

"My father now began to be seriously alarmed, lest Sir 
Terence should insist upon his using his interest to make him an 
assistant barrister. He was not aware that five years' practice 
at the bar was a necessary accomplishment for this office ; when, 
fortunately for all parties, my good friend, Count O'Halloran, 
helped us out of the difficulty, by starting an idea full of prac- 
tical justice. A literary friend of the count's had been for some 
time promised a lucrative situation under government : but, 
unfortunately, he was a man of so much merit and ability, that 
they could not find employment for him at home, and they gave 
him a commission, I should rather say a contract abroad, for sup- 
plying the army with Hungarian horses. Now the gentleman had 
not the slightest skill in horse-flesh ; and, as Sir Terence is a 
complete jockey, the count observed that he would be the best 
possible deputy for his literary friend. We warranted him to 
be a thorough going friend ; and I do think the coalition will be 
well for both parties. The count has settled it all, and I left 
Sir Terence comfortably provided for, out of your way, my 
dear mother ; and as happy as he could be, when parting from 
my father." 

Lord Colambre was assiduous in engaging his mother's atten- 
tion upon any subject, which could for the present draw her 
thoughts away from her young friend ; but at every pause in 
the conversation, her ladyship repeated, " So Grace is an heiress 
after all — ^so, after all, they know they are not cousins I Well, I 
prefer Grace, a thousand times over, to any other heiress in 
England. No obstacle, no objection. They have my consent. 
I always prophesied Colambre would marry an heiress ; but why 
not marry directly ?" 

Her ardour and impatience to hurry things forward seemed 
now likely to retard the accomplishment of her own wishes ; and 
Lord Clonbrony, who understood rather more of the passion of 
love than his lady ever had felt or understood, saw the agony 
into which she threw her son, and felt for his darling Grace. 
With a degree of delicacy and address of which feN» ''wwjX^Vw^^ 

Fashionable Life, « 



258 THE ABSENTEE. 

supposed Lord Clonbrony capable, his lordsbip co-operated with I 
his son in endeavouring to keep Lady Clonbrony quiet, and to 
suppress the hourly thanksgivings of Grace's turning old an 
heiress. On one point, however, she vowed she would not be ^ 
overruled — ^she would have a splendid wedding at Qonbrony 
Castle, such as should become an heir and heiress ; and the 
wedding, she hoped, would be immediately on their return to 
Ireland : she should announce the thing to her friends directly 
on her arrival at Clonbrony Castle. 

" My dear," said Lord Clonbrony, "we must wait, in the fint 
place, the pleasure of old Mr. Reynolds' fit of the gout." 

"Why, that's true, because of his will," said her ladyship; 
" but a will's soon made, is not it? That can't be much delay." 
"And then there must be settlements," said Lord Clonbrony; 
" they take time. Lovers, like all the rest of mankind, must 
submit to the law's delay. In the mean time, my dear, as these 
Buxton baths agree with you so well, and as Grace does not 
seem to be over and above strong for travelling a long journey) 
and as there are many curious and beautiful scenes of nature 
here in Derbyshire — Matlock, and the wonders of the Peak, and 
so on — which the young people would be glad to see together, 
and may not have another opportunity soon — ^why not rest ou^ 
selves a little ? For another reason, too," continued his lordship) 
bringing together as many arguments as he could — ^for he had 
often found, that though Lady Clonbrony was a match for any 
single argument, her understanding could be easily overpowered 
by a number, of whatever sort — " besides, my dear, here's Sir 
Arthur and Lady Berry 1 come to Buxton on purpose to meet us; 
and we owe them some compliment, and something more than 
compliment, I think : so I don't see why we should be in a 
hurry to leave them, or quit Buxton — a few weeks sooner or 
later can't signify — and Clonbrony Castle will be getting all the 
vhile into better order for us. Burke is gone down there; and 
if we stay here quietly, there will be time for the velvet fumitiire 
to get there before us, and to be unpacked, and up in the draw- 
ing-room." 

" That's true, my lord," said Lady Clonbrony ; " and there is 
a great deal of reason in all you say — ^so I second that motion, t* 
Colambre, I see, subscribes to it." 



( 



THE ABSENTEE. 259 

They stayed some time in Derbysliire, and every day Lord 
Clonbrony proposed some pleasant excursion, and contrived that 
the yomig people should be left to themselves, as Mrs. Broad- 
hurst used so strenuously to advise ; the recollection of whose 
authoritative maxims fortunately still operated upon Lady Clon- 
brony, to the great ease and advantage of the lovers. 

Happy as a lover, a friend, a son ; happy in the consciousness 
of having restored a father to respectability, and persuaded a 
mother to quit the feverish joys of fashion for the pleasures of 
domestic life ; happy in the hope of winning the whole heart of 
the woman he loved, and whose esteem, he knew, he possessed 
and deserved ; happy in developing every day, every hour, fresh 
charms in his destined bride — ^we leave our hero, returning to 
bis native country. 

And we leave him with the reasonable expectation that he 
will support through life the promise of his early character; 
that his patriotic views will extend with his power to carry 
wishes into action ; that his attachment to his warm-hearted 
countrymen will still increase upon further acquaintance ; and 
that he will long diffuse happiness through the wide circle, which 
is peculiarly subject to the influence and example of a great 
resident Irish proprietor. 

LETTER FROM LARRY TO HIS BROTHER, PAT BRADY, 
AT MR. MORDICAl's, COACHMAKER, LONDON. 
'* MY DEAR BROTHER, 

*« Yours of the 16th, enclosing the five pound note for my 
father, came safe to hand Monday last ; and with his thanks and 
blessing to you, he commends it to you herewith enclosed back 
again, on account of his being in no immediate necessity, nor 
likelihood to want in future, as you shall hear forthwith ; but 
wants you over with all speed, and the note will answer for 
travelling charges; for we can't enjoy the luck it has pleased 
God to give us, without yees ; put the rest in your pocket, and 
read it when you've time. 

" Old Nick's gone, and St. Dennis along with him, to the 
place he come from — praise be to God ! The ouJd lord has 
found him out in his tricks ; and I helped him to that, through 
the young lord that I driv, as I informed you in m^ Wt, ^\v«a. 

82 



260 THE ABSENTEE. 

he was a Welshman, which was the best turn ever I did, thongh 

I did not know it no more than Adam that time. So (hid 

Nick's turned out of the agency clean and clear ; and the day 

after it was known, there was surprising grgat joy through the 

whole country ; not surprising, either, but just what you might, 

knowing him, rasonably expect. He (that is. Old Nick and St. 

Dennis) would have been burnt that night — I mane, in effiffy, 

through the town of Clonbrony, but that the new man, Mr. 

Burke, came down that day too soon to stop it, and said, *it was 

not becoming to trample on the fallen,' or something that way, 

that put an end to it ; and though it was a great disappointment 

to many, and to me in particular, I could not but like the jan- 

tleman the better for it any how. They say he is a very good 

jantleman, and as unlike Old Nick or the saint as can be ; and 

takes no duty fowl, nor glove, nor sealing money ; nor asks 

duty work nor duty turf. Well, when I was disappointed of the 

effigy i I comforted myself by making a bonfire of Old Nick's big 

rick of duty turf, which, by great luck, was out in the road, 

away from all dwelling-house, or thatch, or yards, to take fire : 

so no danger in life, or objection. And such another blaze ! I 

wished you'd seed it — and all the men, women, and children, in 

the town and country, far and near, gathered round it, shouting 

and dancing like mad ! — and it was light as day quite across the 

bog, as far as Bartley Finnigan's house. And I heard after, 

they seen it from all parts of the three counties, and they 

thought it was St. John's Eve in a mistake — or couldn't make 

out what it was ; but all took it in good part, for a good sign, 

and were in great joy. As for St. Dennis and Ould Nick, an 

attorney had his foot upon 'em with an habere, a latitat, and 

three executions hanging over *em: and there's the end of 

rogues ! and a great example in the country. And — ^no more 

about it; for I can't be wasting more ink upon them that don't 

deserve it at my hands, when I want it for them that do, as you 

shall see. So some weeks past, and there was great cleaning at 

Clonbrony Castle, and in the town of Clonbrony ; and the new 

agent's smart and clever: and he had the glaziers, and the 

painters, and the slaters, up and down in the town wherever 

wanted; and you wouldn't know it again. Thinks I, this is no 

bad sign ! Now, cock up your ears, Pat ! for the great news is 



THE ABSENtfiB. 261 

coming, and the good. The master's come home, long life to 
him ! and family come home yesterday, all entirely ! The ould 
lord and the yomig lord, (ay, there's tiie man, Paddy !) and my 
lady, and Miss Nugent. And I driv Miss Nugent's maid . and 
another ; so I had Ehe luck to be in it along wid 'em, and see 
all, from first to last. And first, I must tell you, my young 
Lord Colambre remembered and noticed me the minute he lit at 
our inn, and condescended to beckon me out of the yard to him, 
and axed me — * Friend Larry,' says he, *did you keep your pro- 
mise V ' My oath again the whiskey, is it V says I. * My lord, 

I surely did,' said I ; which was true, as all the country knows 
I never tasted a drop since. * And I'm proud to see your 
honour, my lord, as good as your word, too, and back again 
among us.' So then there was a call for the horses ; and no more 
at that time passed betwix' my young lord and me, but that he 
pointed me out to the ould one, as I went off. I noticed and 
thanked him for it in my heart, though I did not know all the 
good was to come of it. Well, no more of myself, for the 
present. 

" Ogh, it's I driv 'em well ; and we all got to the great gate 
of the park before sunset, and as fine an evening as ever you 
see ; with the sun shining on the tops of the trees, as the ladies 
noticed ; the leaves changed, but not dropped, though so late in 
the season. I believe the leaves knew what they were about, 
and kept on, on purpose to welcome them ; and the birds were 
singing, and I stopped whistling, that they might hear them ; 
but sorrow bit could they hear when they got to the park gate, 
for there was such a crowd, and such a shout, as you never see 
— and they had the horses off every carriage entirely, and drew 
'em home, with blessings, through the park. And, God bless 
'em ! when they got out, they didn't go shut themselves up in 
the great drawing-room, but went straight out to the ^trrass, to 
satisfy the eyes and hearts that followed them. My lady laning 
on my young lord, and Miss Grace Nugent that was, the 
beautifullest angel that ever you set eyes on, with the finest 
complexion, and sweetest of smiles, laning upon the ould lord's 
arm, who had his hat off, bowing to all, and noticing the old 
tenants as he passed by name. Oh, there was great gladness 
and tears in the midst ; for joy I could scarce keep froram^^^Vi* 



262 THE ABSENTEE. 

" After a turn or two upon the ^trrass, my Lord Colambn 
quit his mother's arm for a minute, and he come to the edge ol 
the slope, and looked down and through all the crowd for somf 
one. 

" * Is it the Widow O'Neil, my lord V says I ; * she's yonderj 
with the white kerchief, hetwixt her son and daughter, as usual. 

<' Then my lord beckoned, and they did not know which ol 
the tree would stir ; and then he gave tree beckons with his own 
finger, and they all tree came fast enough to the bottom of the 
slope forenent my lord : and he went down and helped the 
widow up, (oh, he's the true jantleman !) and brought 'em&lMret 
up on the f trrass, to my lady and Miss Nugent ; and I was up 
close after, that I might hear, which wasn't manners, but 1 
couldn't help it. So what he said I don't well know, for I could 
not get near enough, after all. But I saw my lady smile veiy 
kind, and take the Widow O'Neil by the hand, and then mj 
Lord Ck)lambre 'troduced Grace to Miss Nugent, and there was 
the word namesake, and something about a check curtain ; but, 
whatever it was, they was all greatly pleased : then my Lord 
Colambre turned and looked for Brian, who had fell back, and 
took him, with some commendation, to my lord his father. And 
my lord the master said, which I didn't know till after, that they 
should have their house and farm at the oidd rent ; and at the 
surprise, the widow dropped down dead ; and there was &cTf9S 
for ten herrings. *Be qui'te,* says I, * she's only kilt for joy;' 
and I went and lift her up, for her son had no more strengd 
that minute than the child new bom ; and Grace trembled Uke 
a leaf, as white as the sheet, but not long, for the mother came 
to, and was as well as ever when I brought some water, whicli 
Miss Nugent handed to her with her own hand. 

'* 'That was always pretty and good,' said the widow, lajdn^ 
her hand upon Miss Nugent, * and kind and good to me an^ 
mine.' 

"That minute there was music from below. The blm( 
harper, O'Neil, with his harp, that struck up * Gracey Nugent' 

" And that finished, and my Lord Colambre smiling, witl 
the tears standing in his eyes too, and the ould lord quite wipinj 
his, I ran to the ^trrass brink to bid O'Neil play it again ; but t 
I run, I thought I heard a voice call * Larry !' 



THE ABSENTEE. 263 

" * Who calls Larry V says I. 

" * My Lord Colambre calls you, Larry/ says all at once ; and 
four takes me by the shoulders and spins me roimd. * There's 
my young lord calling you, Larry — ^run for your life/ 

'' So I run back for my life, and walked respectful, with my 
hat in my hand, when I got near. 

** * Put on your hat, my father desires it,* says my Lord 
Colambre. The ould lord made a sign to that purpose, but was 
too full to speak. * Where's your father ?' continues my young 
lord. * He's very ouldj my lord,* says L — • I didn't ax you how 
otdd he was,' says he; *but where is he?' — * He's behind the 
crowd below, on account of his infirmities; he couldn't walk so 
fast as the rest, my lord,' says I ; * but his heart is with you, if 
not his body.' — * I must have his body too : so bring him bodily 
before us; and this shall be your warrant for so doing,' said my 
lord, joking : for he knows the natur of us, Paddy, and how we 
love a joke in our hearts, as well as if he had lived all his life in 
Ireland ; and by the same token will, for that rcuorif do what he 
pleases with us, and more may be than a man twice as good, 
that never would smile on us. 

" But I'm telling you of my father. * I've a warrant for you, 
father^' says I ; ' and must have you bodily before the justice, 
and my lord chief justice.' So he changed colour a bit at first; 
but he saw me smile. * And I've done no sin,' said he ; * and, 
Larry, you may lead me now, as you led me all my life.' 

" And up the slope he went with me as light as fifteen ; and 
when we got up, my Lord Clonbrony said, * I am sorry an old 
tenant, and a good old tenant, as I hear you were, should have 
been turned out of your farm.' 

"'Don't fret, it's no great matter, my lord,' said my father. 
' I shall be soon out of the way ; but if you would be so kind 
to speak a word for my boy here, and that I could afford, while 
the life is in me, to bring my other boy back out of banish- 
ment.' 

"'Then,' says my Lord Clonbrony, * I'll give you and your sons 
three lives, or thirty-one years, from this day, of your former farm. 
Return to it when you please. And,' added my Lord Clonbrony, 
* the flaggers, I hope, will be soon banished.' Oh, how could I 
thank him— not a word could I proffer— but I know I clasped 



264 THE ABSBHTEE. 

my two bands, and prayed for him inwardly. And my father 
was dropping down on his knees, hut the master would not let 
him ; and (Carved, that posture should only be for his God. 
And, sure enough, in that posture, when he was out of sight, we , 
did pray for him that night, and will all our days. 

" But, before we quit his presence, he called me back, and 
bid me write to my brother, and bring you back, if youVe w 
objections, to your own country. 

" So come, my dear Pat, and make no delay, for joy's not joy 
complate till you're in" it — my father sends his blessing, and 
Peggy her love. The family entirely is to settle for good in 
Ireland, and there was in the castle yard last night a bonfire 
made by my lord's orders of the ould yellow damask furniture, 
to plase my lady, my lord says. And the drawing-room, the 
butler was telling me, is new hung ; and the chairs with velTet 
as white as snow, and shaded over with natural flowers by Miss 
Nugent. Oh ! how I hope what I guess will come true, and 
I've rason to believe it will, for I dreamt in my bed bit 
night it did. But keep yourself to yourself — that Miss Nugent 
(who is no more Miss Nugent, they say, but Miss Reyndds, 
and has a new-found grandfather, and is a big heiress, which 
she did not want in my eyes, nor in my young lord's), I've a 
notion, will be sometime, and may be sooner than is expected, 
my Lady Viscountess Colambre — so haste to the wedding. 
And there's another thing : they say the rich ould grandfather's 
coming over ; — and another thing, Pat, you would not be out 
of the fashion — and you see it's growing the fashion not to be 
an Absentee. 

* Your loving brother, 

" Larry Brady." 
1812. 



MADAME DE FLEURY. 



CHAPTER I. 



" There oft are heard the notes of infant woe, 
The short thick sob, loud scream, and shriller squall. 
How can you, mothers, vex your infants so ?*' — Popb. 

'abord, madame, c*est impossible ! — Madame ne descendra 
ici*?" said Franpois, the footman of Mad. de Fleury, with a 

expostulatory, half indignant look, as he let down the step 
er carriage at the entrance of a dirty passage, that led to 
of the most miserable-looking houses in Paris. 
But what can be the cause of the cries which I hear in this 
36 ?" said Mad. de Fleury. 

'Tis only some child, who is crying," replied Franyois: and 
v^ould have put up the step, but his lady was not satisfied. 

'Tis nothing in the world," continued he, with a look of 
eal to the coachman, " it can be nothing, but some children, 
t are locked up there above. The mother, the workwoman 
lady wants, is not at home, that's certahi." 
I must know the cause of these cries ; I must see these 
dren," said Mad. do Fleury, getting out of her carriage, 
'ranpois held his arm for his lady as she got out. 

Bon !" cried he, with an air of vexation. "Si madame la 
t absolument, a la bonne heure ! — Mais madame sera abim^e. 
lame verra que j'ai raison. Madame ne montera jamais ce 



In the first place, my lady, it is impossible ! Surely my lady will not 
>ut of her carriage here ? 



266 MADAME DE FLEURT. 

vilain escalier. D'ailleurs c*est au cinquieme. Mais, madame) 
c'est impossible *." 

Notwithstanding the impossibility, Mad. de Fleury proceeded; 
and bidding her talkative footman wait in the entry, made her 
way up the dark, dirty, broken staircase, the sound of the cries 
increasing every instant, till, as she reached the fifth story, she 
heard the shrieks of one in violent pain. She hastened to the 
door of the room from which the cries proceeded ; the door was 
fastened, and the noise was so great, that though she knocked 
as loud as she was able, she could not immediately make herself 
heard. At last the voice of a child from within answered, " The 
door is locked — ^mamma has the key in her pocket, and won't be 
home till night ; and here's Victoire has tumbled from the top 
of the big press, and it is she that is shrieking so." 

Mad. de Fleury ran down the stairs which she had ascended 
with so much difficulty, called to her footman, who was waiting 
in the entry, despatched him for a surgeon, and then she re- 
turned to obtain from some people who lodged in the house 
assistance to force open the door of the room in which the chil- 
dren were confined. 

On the next floor there was a smith at work, filing so earnestly 
that he did not hear the screams of the children. When his 
door was pushed open, and the bright vision of Mad. de Fleury 
appeared to him, his astonishment was so great that he seemed 
incapable of comprehending what she said. In a strong pro- 
vincial accent he repeated, **Plait~il?'* and stood aghast till she 
had explained herself three times : then suddenly exclaiming, 
"Ah I c'est 9a!" — ^he collected his tools precipitately, and fol- 
lowed to obey her orders. The door of the room was at last 
forced half open, for a press that had been overturned prevented 
its opening entirely. The horrible smells that issued did not 
overcome Mad. de Fleury's humanity : she squeezed her way 
into the room, and behind the fallen press saw three little chil- 
dren : the youngest, almost an infant, ceased roaring, and ran 
to a comer : the eldest, a boy of about eight years old, whose 



3 To bo sure it must be as my lady pleases — ^but my lady will find it 
terribly dirty ! — ^my lady will find I was right— >my lady will never g<et 1^ 
that Bhocking staircase-4t is impossible ! 



MADAME DE PLEURT. 267 

face and clothes were covered with blood, held on his knee a 
girl younger than himself, whom he was trying to pacify, but 
who struggled most violently, and screamed incessantly, regard- 
less of Mad. de Fleury, to whose questions she made no 
answer. 

" Where are you hurt, my dear?" repeated Mad. de Fleury 
in a soothing voice. " Only tell me where you feel pain ?" 

The boy, showing his sister's arm, said, in a surly tone — " It 
is this that is hurt — ^but it was not I did it." 

"It was, it tt^flw," cried the girl as loud as she could voci- 
ferate : *^ it was Maurice threw me down from the top of the 
press." 

" No — ^it was you that were pushing me, Victoire, and you 
fell backwards. — Hava done screeching, and show your arm to 
the lady." 

** I can't," said the gni. 

*• She won't," said the boy. 

** She cannot" said Mad. de Fleury, kneeling down to exa- 
mine it. " She cannot move it : I am afraid that it is broken." 

"Don't touch it! don't touch it!" cried the girl, screaming 
more violently. 

"Ma'am, she screams that way for nothing often," said the 
boy. "Her arm is no more broke than mine, I'm sure; she'll 
move it well enough when she's not cross." 

" I am afraid," said Mad. de Fleury, "that her arm is 
broken." 

" Is it indeed?" said the boy, with a look of terror. 

" Oh ! don't touch it — you'll kill me, you are killing me," 
screamed the poor girl, whilst Mad. de Fleury with the greatest 
care endeavoured to join the bones in their proper place, and 
resolved to hold the arm till the arrival of the surgeon. 

From the feminine appearance of this lady, no stranger would 
have expected such resolution ; but with all the natural sensi- 
bility and graceful delicacy of her sex, she had none of that 
weakness or affectation, which incapacitates from being useful in 
real distress. In most sudden accidents, and in all domestic 
misfortunes, female resolution and presence of mind are indis- 
pensably requisite : safety, health, and life, often depend upon 
the fortitude of women. Happy they, who, like Mad. de FlevK^^ 



268 MADAME DE FLEURT. 

possess Strength of mind united with the utmost gentle 
manner and tenderness of disposition ! 

Soothed by this lady's sweet voice, the child's rage subsided; 
and no longer struggling, the poor little girl sat quietly on her 
lap, sometimes writhing and moaning with pain. 

The surgeon at length arrived : her arm was set : and he said, 
** that she had probably been saved much future pain by Mad. 
de Fleury's presence of mind.'* 

" Sir, — will it soon be well ?" said Maurice to the surgeon. 

"Oh, yes, very soon, I dare say," said the little girl. "To- 
morrow, perhaps ; for now that it is tied up, it does not hurt me 
to signify — and after all, I do believe, Maurice, it was not you 
threw me down." 

As she spoke, she held up her face to kiss her brother. — " That 
is right," said Mad. de Fleury ; " there is a good sister." 

The little girl put out her lips, offering a second kiss, but the 
boy turned hastily away to rub the tears from his eyes with the 
back of his hand. 

" I am not cross now : am I, Maurice?" said she. 

"No, Victoire, I was cross myself when I said that" 

As Victoire was going to speak again, the surgeon imposed 
silence, observing that she must be put to bed, and should be 
kept quiet. Mad. de Fleury laid her upon the bed, as soon as 
Maurice had cleared it of the things with which it was covered ; 
and as they were spreading the ragged blanket over the little 
girl, she whispered a request to Mad. de Fleury, that she would 
"stay till her mamma came home, to beg Maurice off from 
being whipped, if mamma should be angry." 

Touched by this instance of goodness, and compassionating 
the desolate condition of these children. Mad. de Fleury complied 
with Victoire 's request ; resolving to remonstrate with their 
mother for leaving them locked up in this manner. They did 
not know to what part of the town their mother was gone ; they 
could tell only, " that she was to go to a great many different 
places to carry back work, and to bring home more ; and that 
she expected to be in by five." It was now half after four. 

Whilst Mad. de Fleury waited, she asked the boy to give 
her a full account of the manner in which the accident had 
happened. 



MADAME DE FLEURT. 269 

"Why, ma'am," said Maurice, twisting and untwisting a 
ragged handkerchief as he spoke, '' the first beginning of all the 
mischief was, we had nothing to do ; so we went to the ashes to 
make dirt pies : but Babet would go so close that she burnt her 
petticoat, and threw about all our ashes, and plagued us, and 
we whipped her : but all would not do, she would not be quiet ; 
80 to get out of her reach, we climbed up by this chair on the 
table to the top of the press, and there we were well enough for 
a little while, till somehow we began to quarrel about the old 
•cissors, and we struggled hard for them till I got this cut." 

Here he unwound the handkerchief, and for the first time 
ihowed the wound, which he had never mentioned before. 

**Then," continued he, "when I got the cut, I shoved 
Victoire, and she pushed at me again, and I was keeping her off, 
ind her foot slipped, and down she fell ; and caught by the 
jress-door, and pulled it and me after her, and that's all I 
enow." 

** It is well that you were not both killed," said Mad. de 
?leury. " Are you often left locked up in this manner by your- 
elves, and without any thing to do ?" 

** Yes, always, when mamma is abroad — except sometimes 
re are let out upon the stairs, or in the street ; but mamma says 
re get into mischief there." 

This dialogue was interrupted by the return of the mother. 
ihe came up stairs slowly, much fatigued, and with a heavy 
»undle under her arm. 

<* How now ! Maurice, how comes my door open? What's 
ill this?" cried she, in an angry voice ; but seeing a lady sitting 
apon her child's bed, she stopped short in great astonishment. 
Mad. de Fleury related what had happened, and averted her 
anger from Maurice, by gently expostulating upon the hardship 
and hazard of leaving her young children in this manner during 
so many hours of the day. 

" Why, my lady," replied the poor woman, wiping her fore- 
head, " every hard-working woman in Paris does the same with 
her children ; and what can I do else ? I must earn bread for these 
helpless ones, and to do that I must be out backwards and for- 
wards, and to the furthest parts of the town, often from morning till 
night, with those that employ me ; and I cannot affot^ \o «exv^ ^^ 



270 MADAME DE FLEURY. 

children to school, or to keep any kind of a servant to look after 
them ; and when I'm away, if I let them run about these stain 
and entries, or go into the streets, they do get a little exerdte 
and air to be sure, such as it is ; on which account I do let diem 
out sometimes ; but then a deal of mischief comes of that, too— 
they learn all kinds of wickedness, and would grow up to be no 
better than pickpockets, if they were let often to consort widi 
the little vagabonds they find in the streets. So what to do 
better for them I don't know." 

The poor mother sat down upon the fallen press, looked at 
Victoire, and wept bitterly. Mad. de Fleury was struck widi 
compassion : but she did not satisfy her feelings merely by woidi 
or comfort, or by the easy donation of some money — she resolved 
to do something more, and something better. 



CHAPTER II. 



" Come often, then ; for haply in my bow'r 
Amusement, knowledge, wisdom, thou may^st gain : 
If I one soul improve, I have not lived in vun." 

Bkattix. 

It is not so easy to do good as those who have never attempted 
it may imagine ; and they who without consideration follow the 
mere instinct of pity, often by their imprudent generosity create 
evils more pernicious to society than any which they partially 
remedy. " Warm Charity, the general friend," may become the 
general enemy, unless she consults her head as well as her heart 
Whilst she pleases herself with the idea that she daily feeds 
hundreds of the poor, she is perhaps preparing want and famine 
for thousands. Whilst she delights herself with the anticipation 
of gratitude for her bounties, she is often exciting only unreason- 
able expectations, inducing habits of dependence, and submission 
to slavery. 

Those who wish to do good should attend to experience, from 
whom they may receive lessons upon the largest scale that time 
and numbers can afibrd. 

Mad. de Fleury was aware that neither a benevolent disposition 



MADAME DE FLEURT. 271 

nor a large fortune were sufficient to enable her to be of real 
service, without the constant exercise of her judgment. She had 
therefore listened with deference to the conversation of well- 
informed men upon those subjects on which ladies have not 
always the means or the wish to acquire extensive and accurate 
knowledge. Though a Parisian belle, she had read with attention 
some of those books which are generally thought too dry or 
too deep for her sex. Consequently her benevolence was 
neither wild in theory, nor precipitate nor ostentatious in prac- 
tice. 

Touched with compassion for a little girl, whose arm had been 
accidentally broken, and shocked by the discovery of the con- 
finement and the dangers to which numbers of children in Paris 
were doomed, she did not make a parade of her sensibility. She 
did not talk of her feelings in fine sentences to a circle of opu- 
lent admirers, nor did she project for the relief of the little 
sufferers some magnificent establishment, which she could not 
execute or superintend. She was contented with attempting only 
what she had reasonable hopes of accomplishing. 

The gift of education she believed to be more advantageous 
than the gift of money to the poor ; as it ensures the means both 
of futiu*e subsistence and happiness. But the application even of 
this incontrovertible principle requires caution and judgment. 
To crowd numbers of children into a place called a school, to 
abandon them to the management bf any person called a school- 
master or a schoolmistress, is not sufficient to secure the blessings 
of a good education. Mad. de Fleury was sensible that the 
greatest care is necessary in the choice of the person to whom 
young children are to be intnisted: she knew that only a 
certain number can be properly directed by one superintendent ; 
and that by attempting to do too much, she might do nothing, or 
worse than nothing. Her school was formed, therefore, on a 
small scale, which she could enlarge to any extent, if it should be 
found to succeed. From some of the families of poor people, who 
in earning their bread are obliged to spend most of the day from 
home, she selected twelve little girls, of whom Victoire was the 
eldest, and she was between six and seven. 

The person under whose care Mad. de Fleury wished to 
place these children was a nun of the Sceurs de la CharitSf with 



272 MADAME DE FLEUftT. 

whose simplicity of character, benevolence, and mild, steady 
temper, she was thoroughly acquainted. Sister Frances was 
delighted with the plan. Any scheme that promised to be of 
service to her fellow-creatures was sure of meeting with her 
approbation ; but this suited her taste peculiarly, because she was 
extremely fond of children. No young person had ever boarded 
six months at her convent without becoming attached to good 
Sister Frances. 

The period of which we are writing was some years befoie 
convents were abolished ; but the strictness of their rules had in 
many instances been considerably relaxed. Without much diffi* 
culty, permission was obtained from the abbess for our mm to 
devote her time during the day to the care of these poor children, 
upon condition that she should regularly return to her conTent 
every night before evening prayers. The house which Mad. de 
Fleury chose for her little school was in an airy part of the 
town ; it did not face the street, but was separated from other 
buildings at the back of a court, retired from noise and busde. 
The two rooms intended for the occupation of the children were 
neat and clean, but perfectly simple, with whitewashed walls, 
furnished only with wooden stools and benches, and plain deal 
tables. The kitchen was well lighted (for light is essential to 
cleanliness), and it was provided with utensils ; and for these 
appropriate places were allotted, to give the habit and the taste 
of order. The school-room opened into a garden larger than is 
usually seen in towns. The mm, who had been accustomed to. 
purchase provisions for her convent, undertook to prepare daily 
for the children breakfast and dinner; they were to sup and 
sleep at their respective homes. Their parents were to take 
them to Sister Frances every morning, when they went out to work, 
and to call for them upon their return home every evening. By 
this arrangement, the natural ties of affection and intimacy between 
the children and their parents would not be loosened ; they would 
be separate only at the time when their absence must be inevi- 
table. Mad. de Fleury thought that any education which estranges 
children entirely from their parents must be fundamentally errone- 
ous; that such a separation must tend to destroy that sense of filial 
affection and duty, and those principles of domestic subordina- 
tion, on which so many of the interests, and much of the virtue 



MADAME DE FLKURT. 273 

ind happiness, of society depend. The parents of these poor 
ihildren were eager to trust them to her care, and they strenu- 
msly endeavoured to promote what they perceived to be entirely 
to their advantage. They promised to take their daughters to 
school punctually every morning — a promise which was likely 
to he kept, as a good breakfast was to be ready at a certain 
hour, and not to wait for any body. The parents looked forward 
With pleasure also to the idea of calling for their little girls at 
the end of their day's labour, and of taking them home to their 
fiunily supper. During the intermediate hours, the children 
were constantly to be employed, or in exercise. It was difficult 
lo provide suitable employments for their early age ; but even 
the youngest of those admitted could be taught to wind balls of 
eottou, thread, and silk, for haberdashers ; or they could shell 
peas and beans, &c. for a neighbouring traiteur; or they could 
nreed in a garden. The next in age could learn knitting and 
plain-work, reading, writing, and arithmetic. As the girls 
ihould grow up, they were to be made useful in the care of the 
house. Sister Frances said she could teach them to wash and 
iron, and that she would make them as skilful in cookery as she 
was herself. This last was doubtless a rash promise ; for in most 
>f the mysteries of the culinary art, especially in the medical 
aranches of it, in making savoury messes palatable to the sick, 
few could hope to equal the neat-handed Sister Frances. She had 
I variety of other accomplishments ; but her humility and good 
lense forbade her, upon the present occasion, to mention these. 
She said nothing of embroidery, or of painting, or of cutting out 
paper, or of carving in ivory, though in all these she excelled : 
tier cuttings-out in paper were exquisite as the finest lace ; her 
emhroidered housewives, and her painted boxes, and her fan- 
mounts, and her curiously wrought ivory toys, had obtained for 
her the highest reputation in the convent, amongst the best 
judges in the world. Those only who have philosophically 
studied ayd thoroughly understand the nature of fame and 
vanity can justly appreciate the self-denial, or magnanimity, of 
Sister Frances, in forbearing to enumerate or boast of these 
things. She alluded to them but once, and in the slightest and 
most hiunble manner. 

" These little creatures are too young for us to tYvvcvV o^ \&«.Otv- 
Fashionahle life, t 



274 MADAME DE FLEURT. 

ing them any thing but plain-work at present ; but if hereafter 
any of them should show a superior genius, we can cultivate it 
properly! Heaven has been pleased to endow me with the 
means — at least our convent says so." 

The actions of Sister Frances showed as much moderation as 
her words ; for though she was strongly tempted to adorn her 
new dwelling with those specimens of her skill, which had long 
been the glory of her apartment in the convent, yet she resisted 
the impulse, and contented herself with hanging over the 
chimney-piece of her school-room a Madonna of her own 
painting. 

The day arrived when she was to receive her pupils in their 
new habitation. When the children entered the room for the 
first time, they paid the Madonna the homage of their unfeigned 
admiration. Involuntarily the little crowd stopped short at the 
sight of the picture. Some dormant emotions of human vanity 
were now awakened — played for a moment about the heart of 
Sister Frances — and may be forgiven. Her vanity was innocent 
and transient, her benevolence permai^ent and useful. Re- 
pressing the vain-glory of an artist, as she fixed her eyes upon 
the Madonna, her thoughts rose to higher objects, and she 
seized this happy moment to impress upon the minds of her 
young pupils their first religious ideas and feelings. There was 
such unaffected piety in her manner, such goodness in her 
countenance, such persuasion in her Voice, and simplicity in her 
words, that the impression she made was at once serious, 
pleasing, and not to be effaced. Much depends upon the mo- 
ment and the manner in which the first notions of religion are 
communicated to children : if these ideas be connected with 
terror, and produced when the mind is sullen or in a state of 
dejection, the future religious feelings are sometimes of a gloomy, 
dispiriting sort ; but if the first impression be made when the 
heart is expanded by hope or touched by affection, these emo- 
tions are happily and permanently associated with religion. 
This should be particularly attended to by those who under- 
take the instruction of the children of the poor, who must 
lead a life of labour, and can seldom have leisure or incli- 
nation when arrived at years of discretion, to re-examine 
the principles early infused into their minds. They cannot in 



MADAME DE FLEURY. 275 

tiheir riper age conquer by reason those superstitious terrors, or 
bigoted prejudices, which render their victims miserable or 
perhaps criminal. To attempt to rectify any errors in the 
foundation after an edifice has been constructed, is dangerous : 
the foundation, therefore, should be laid with care. The religious 
opinions of Sister Frances were strictly united with just rules of 
morality, strongly enforcing, as the essential means of obtaining 
present and future happiness, the practice of the social virtues ; 
«o that no good or wise persons, however they might differ from 
her in modes of faith, could doubt the beneficial influence of 
her general principles, or disapprove of the manner in which 
tiiey were inculcated. 

Detached from every other worldly interest, this benevolent 
Htm devoted all her earthly thoughts to the children of whom 
she had undertaken the charge. She watched over them with 
unceasing vigilance, whilst diffidence of her own abilities was 
happily supported by her high opinion of Mad. de Fleury's 
Judgment. This lady constantly visited her pupils every week ; 
not in the hasty, negligent manner in which fine ladies sometimes 
viflit charitable institutions, imagining that the honour of their 
presence is to work miracles, and that every thing will go on 
rightly when they have said, ^^ Let it he so,** or, ^^ I must have it 
so." Mad. de Fleury's visits were not of this dictatorial or 
cursory nature. Not minutes, but hours, she devoted to these 
children — she who could charm by the grace of her manners, 
and delight by the elegance of her conversation, the most 
polished circles^ and the best-informed societies of Paris, 
preferred to the glory of being admired the pleasure of being 
iseful • — 

" Her life, as lovely as her face, 
Each duty markM with every grace ; 
Her native sense improved by reading, 
Her native sweetness by good-breeding." 



1 It was of this lady that Marmontel said—" She has the art of making 
;he most common thoughts appear new, and the most uncommon simple, by 
;he elegance and clearness of her expressions." 



t2 



276 MADAME DE FLEURT. 



CHAFfER III. 

** Ah me ! how much I fear lest pride it be ; 
But if that pride it be, which thus inspirefl. 
Beware, ye dames ! with nice discemment see 
Ye quench not too the sparks of nobler fires.** 

Shbnstonx. 

By repeated observation, and by attending to tbe minute repwit 
of Sister Frances, Mad. de Fleury soon became acquainted with 
the habits and temper of each individual in this little society. 
The most intelligent and the most amiable of these children was 
Victoire. Whence her superiority arose, whether her abilities 
were naturally more vivacious than those of her companions, or 
whether they had been more early developed by accidental 
excitation, we cannot pretend to determine, lest we should 
involve ourselves in the intricate question respecting natural 
genius — a metaphysical point, which we shall not in this place 
stop to discuss. Till the world has an accurate philosophicaj 
dictionary (a work not to be expected in less than half a .dozer 
centuries), this question will never be decided to general satis* 
faction. In the mean time, we may proceed with our story. 

Deep was the impression made on Victoire 's heart by the 
kindness that Mad. de Fleury showed her at the time her am 
was broken; and her gratitude was expressed with all the 
enthusiastic fondness of childhood. Whenever she spoke oi 
heard of Mad. de Fleury, her countenance became interested 
and animated, in a degree that would have astonished a cool 
English spectator. Every morning her first question to Sistei 
Frances was — " Will she come to-day ?" — If Mad. de Fleury 
was expected, the hours and the minutes were counted, and the 
sand in the hourglass that stood on the school-room table was 
frequently shaken. The moment she appeared, Victoire ran to 
her, and was silent; satisfied with standing close beside her, 
holding her gown when unperceived, and watching, as she spoke 
and moved, every turn of her countenance. Delighted by these 
marks of sensibility. Sister Frances would have praised the 
child, but was warned by Mad. de Fleury to refrain from 
injudicious eulogiums, lest she should teach her afifectation. 



MADAMS DE FLEURT. 277 

must not praise, you will permit me at least to love 
d Sister Frances. 

.ffection for Victoire was increased by compassion: 
wo months the poor child's arm hung in a sling, so that 
d not venture to play with her companions. At their 

recreation, she used to sit on the school-room steps, 
down into the garden at the scene of merriment, in 
e could not partake. 

lose who know how to find it, there is good in every 
Sister Frances used to take her seat on the steps, some- 
Lh her work, and sometimes with a book ; and Victoire, 

being quite idle, listened with eagerness to the stories 
ster Frances read, or watched with interest the progress 
ork : soon she longed to imitate what she saw done with 

pleasure, and begged to be taught to work and read. 
3es she learned her alphabet ; and could soon, to the 
snt of her schoolfellows, read the names of all the 
in Sister Frances' picture-book. No matter how trifling 
g done, or the knowledge acquired, a great pomt is 
by giving the desire for employment. Children 
iy become industrious from impatience of the pains and 
I of idleness. Count Rumford showed that he under- 
ildish nature perfectly well, when, in his House of 

at Munich, he compelled the young children to sit for 
le idle in a gallery round the hall, where others a little 
an themselves were busied at work. During Victoire's 

idle convalescence, she acquired the desire to be 
d, and she consequently soon became more industrious 
r neighbours. Succeeding in her first efforts, she was 
-was pleased, and persevered till she became an 

of activity to her companions. But Victoire, though 
^rly seven years old, was not quite perfect Naturally, 
entally, she was very passionate, and not a little self- 
Lay being mounted, horsemanlike, with whip in hand, 
! banister of the flight of stairs leading from the school- 

the garden, she called in a tone of triumph to her 
ws, desiring them to stand out of the way, and see her 
m top to bottom. At this moment Sister Frances came 



278 MA.DAME DE FLEURT. 

to the 8chool-room door, and forbade the feat: but Victoire, 
regardless of all prohibition, slid down instantly, and moreover 
was going to repeat the glorious operation, when Sister Frances, 
catching hold of her arm, pointed to a heap of sharp stones that 
fay on the ground upon the other side of the banisters. 

" I am not afraid," said Victoire. 

" But if you fall there, you may break your arm again." 

" And if I do I can bear it," said Victoire. " Let me go, 
pray let me go : 1 must do it." 

" No ; I forbid you, Victoire, to slide down again ! — Babet, 
and all the little ones, would follow your example, and perhaps 
break their necks." 

The nun, as she spoke, attempted to compel Victoire to 
dismount : but she was so much of a heroine, that she would do 
nothing upon compulsion. Clinging fast to the banisters, she 
resisted with all her might; she kicked and screamed, and 
screamed and kicked ; but at last her feet were taken prisoners ; 
then grasping the railway with one hand, with the other she 
brandished high the little whip. 

** What !" said the mild nun, " would you strike me with that 
arm V 

The arm dropped instantly — Victoire recollected Mad. de 
Fleury's kindness the day when the arm was broken : dismount- 
ing immediately, she threw herself upon her knees in the midst 
of the crowd of young spectators, and begged pardon of Sister 
Frances. For the rest of the day she was as gentle as a lamb ; 
nay, some assert that the effects of her contrition were visible 
during the remainder of the week. 

Having thus found the secret of reducing the little rebel to 
obedience by touching her on the tender point of gratitude, the 
nun had recourse to this expedient in all perilous cases: but 
one day, when she was boasting of the infallible operation of her 
charm. Mad. de Fleury advised her to forbear recurring to it 
frequently, lest she should wear out the sensibility she so much 
loved. In consequence of this counsel, Victoire 'a violence of 
temper was sometimes reduced by force, and sometimes corrected 
by reason ; but the principle and the feeling of gratitude were 
not exhausted or weakened in the struggle. The hope of reward 
operated upon her generous mind more powerfiilly than the fear 



MADAME DE FLBURT. 279 

of punithment ; and Mad. de Fleury devised rewardi with as 
much ability as some legislators invent pmiishments. 

Victoire's brother Maurice, who was now of an age to earn his 
own bread, had a strong desire to be bomid apprentice to the 
smith who worked in the house where his mother lodged. This 
most ardent wish of his soul he had imparted to his sister : and 
she consulted her benefactress, whom she considered as all- 
powerful in this, as in every other affair. 

" Your brother's wish shall be gratified," replied Mad. de 
Fleury, "if you can keep your temper one month. If you 
are never in a passion for a whole month, I will undertake that 
your brother shall be bound apprentice to his friend the smith. 
To your companions, to Sister Frances, and above all to yourself, 
I trust, to make me a just report this day month." 



CHAPTER IV. 



" You she preferr'd to all the gay resorts. 
Where female vanitj might wish to shine, 
The pomp of cities, and the pride of courts/* 

Lyttblton. 

At the end of the time prescribed, the judges, including Victoire 
herself, who was the most severe of them all, agreed she had 
justly deserved her reward. Maurice obtained his wish; and 
Victoire *s temper never relapsed into its former bad habits — so 
powerful is the effect of a well-chosen motive ! — Perhaps the 
historian may be blamed for dwelling on such trivial anecdotes ; 
yet a lady, who was accustomed to the conversation of deep 
philosophers and polished courtiers, listened without disdain to 
these simple annals. Nothing appeared to her a trifle that could 
tend to form the habits of temper, truth, honesty, order, and 
industry ; — habits which are to be early induced, not by solemn 
precepts, but by practical lessons. A few more examples of 
these shall be recorded, notwithstanding the fear of being 
tiresome. 

One day little Babet, who was now five years old, saw, as she 



280 MADAME DE FLEURT. 

was coming to school, an old woman, sitting at a corner of the 
street, beside a large black brazier full of roasted chestnuts. 
Babet thought that the chestnuts looked and smelled very good ; 
the old woman was talking earnestly to some people, who were 
on her other side ; Babet filled her work-bag with chestnuts, and 
then ran after her mother and sister, who, having turned the 
comer of the street, had not seen what passed. When Babet 
came to the school-room, she opened her bag with triumph, 
displayed her treasure, and offered to divide it with her com- 
panions. " Here, Victoire," said she, '' here is the largest 
chestnut for you." 

But Victoire would not take it; for she said that Babet had 
no money, and that she could not have come honestly by these 
chestnuts. She spoke so forcibly upon this point, that even 
those who had the tempting morsel actually at their lips, forbore 
to bite ; those who had bitten laid down their half-eaten prize ; 
and those who had their hands full of chestnuts, rolled them 
back again towards the bag. Babet cried with vexation. 

" I burned my fingers in getting them for you, and now you 
won't eat them! — And I must nut eat them!" said she: then 
curbing her passion, she added, ** But at any rate, I won't be a 
thief. I am sure I did not think it was being a thief just to 
take a few chestnuts from an old woman, who had such heaps 
and heaps : but Victoire says it is wrong, and I would not be a 
thief for all the chestnuts in the world — I'll throw them all into 
the fire this minute !" 

"No; give them back again to the old woman/' said Vic- 
toire. 

" But, may be, she would scold me for having taken them," 
said Babet ; " or who knows but she might whip me ?" 

"And if she did, could not you bear it?" said Victoire: '*I 
am sure I would rather bear twenty whippings than be a 
thief." 

"Twenty whippings! that's a great many," said Babet; "and 
I am so little, consider — and that woman has such a monstrous 
arm ! — Now, if it was Sister Frances, it would be another thing. 
But come ! if you will go with me, Victoire, you shall see how I 
will behave." 

" We will all go with you," said Victoire. 



MADAME DE FLEURT. 281 

"Yes, all!" said the children; "and Sister Frances, I dare 
say, would go, if you asked her." 

Babet ran and told her, and she readily consented to accom- 
pany the little penitent to make restitution. The chestnut 
woman did not whip Babet, nor even scold her ; but said she 
was sure, that since the child was so honest as to return what 
she had taken, she would never steal again. This was the most 
glorious day of Babet's life, and the happiest. When the cir- 
cumstance was told to Mad. de Fleur}', she gave the little girl 
a bag of the best chestnuts the old woman could select, and 
Babet with great delight shared her reward with her com- 
panions. 

" But, alas ! these chestnuts are not roasted. Oh, if we could 
but roast them !" said the children. 

Sister Frances placed in the middle of the table, on which 
the chestnuts were spread, a small earthenware furnace — a de- 
lightful toy, commonly used by children in Paris to cook their 
little feasts. 

" This can be bought for sixpence," said she : " and if each 
of you twelve earn one halfpenny a-piece to-day, you can pur- 
chase it to-night, and I will put a little fire into it, and you will 
then be able to roast your chestnuts." 

The children ran eagerly to their work — some to wind worsted 
for a woman who paid them a Hard for each ball, others to shell 
peas for a neighbouring traiteur — all rejoicing that they were 
able to earn something. The elder girls, under the directions 
and with the assistance of Sister Frances, completed making, 
washing, and ironing, half a dozen little caps, to supply a baby- 
linen warehouse. At the end of the day, when the sum of the 
produce of their labours was added together, they were surprised 
to find, that, instead of one, they could purchase two furnaces. 
They received and enjoyed the reward of their united industry. 
The success of their first efforts was fixed in their memory : for 
they were very happy roasting the chestnuts, and they were all 
(Sister Frances inclusive) unanimous in opinion that no chestnuts 
ever were so good, or so well roasted. Sister Frances always 
partook in their little innocent amusements; and it was her 
great delight to be the dispenser of rewards, which at once con- 
ferred present pleasure, and cherished future virtue. 



282 MADAME DE FLEURT. 



CHAPTER V. 



" To virtue wake the pulses of the heart. 
And hid the tear of emulation start.** — Rogers. 

VicToiRE, who gave constant exercise to the benevolent feelingi 
of the amiable nun, became every day more dear to her. Far 
from having the selfishness of a favourite, Victoire loved to bring 
into public notice the good actions of her companions. " Stoop 
down your ear to me, Sister Frances," said she, "and I will teU 
you a secret — I will tell you why my friend Annette is growing 
so thin — I found it out this morning — she does not eat above 
half her soup every day. Look, there's her porringer covered 
up in the comer — she carries it home to her mother, who is sick, 
and who has not bread to eat." 

Mad. de Fleury came in, whilst Sister Frances was yet bend- 
ing down to hear this secret ; it was repeated to her, and she 
immediately ordered that a certain allowance of bread should be 
given to Annette every day to carry to her mother during her 
illness. 

" I give it in charge to you, Victoire, to remember this, and I 
am sure it will never be forgotten. Here is an order for you 
upon my baker : run and show it to Annette. This is a pleasure 
you deserve ; I am glad that you have chosen for your friend a 
girl who is so good a daughter. Good daughters make good 
friends." 

By similar instances of goodness Victoire obtained the love 
and confidence of her companions, notwithstanding her manifest 
superiority. In their turn, they were eager to proclaim her 
merits ; and, as Sister Frances and Mad. de Fleury administered 
justice with invariable impartiality, the hateful passions of envy 
and jealousy were never excited in this little society. No servile 
sycophant, no malicious detractor, could rob or defraud their 
little virtues of their due reward. 

** Whom shall I trust to take this to Mad. de Fleury ?" said 
Sister Frances, carrying into the garden where the children were 
playing a pot of fine jonquils, which she had brought from her 
convent. — " These are the first jonquils I have seen this year, and 



MADAME DE FLEURT. 283 

finer I never beheld I Whom shall I trust to take them to Mad. 
de Fleury this evening ? — It must be some one who will not stop 
to stare about on the way, but who will be very, very careful — 
some one in whom I can place perfect dependence." 

** It must be Victoire, then," cried every voice. 

**Yes, she deserves it to-day particidarly," said Annette, 
eagerly ; " because she was not angry with Babet, when she did 
'wbat was enough to put any body in a passion. Sister Frances, 
you know this cherry-tree which you grafted for Victoire last 
year, and that was yesterday so full of blossoms — now you see, 
there is not a blossom left! — Babet plucked them all this 
morning to make a nosegay." 

** But she did not know," said Victoire, " that pulling off the 
blossoms would prevent my having any cherries." 

"Oh, I am very sorry I was so foolish," said Babet; " Vic- 
toire did not even say a cross word to me." 

"Though she was excessively anxious about the cherries," 
pursued Annette, " because she intended to have given the first 
she had to Mad. de Fleury." 

"Victoire, take the jonquils — it is but just," said Sister 
Frances. " How I do love to hear them all praise her ! — I knew 
what she would be from the first" 

With a joyful heart Victoire took the jonquils, promised to 
carry them with the utmost care, and not to stop to stare on the 
way. She set out to Mad. de Fleury's hotel, which was in La 
PUtce de Louis Quinze. It was late in the evening, the lamps 
were lighting, and as Victoire crossed the Pont de Louis Seize, 
she stopped to look at the reflection of the lamps in the water, 
which appeared in succession, as they were lighted, spreading as 
if by magic along the river. While Victoire leaned over the 
battlements of the bridge, watching the rising of these stars of 
fire, a sudden push from the elbow of some rude passenger pre- 
cipitated her pot of jonquils into the Seine. The sound it made 
in the water was thunder to the ear of Victoire ; she stood for an 
instant vainly hoping it would rise again, but the waters had 
closed over it for ever. 

" Dans cet 6tat affireux, que faire ? 
• Mon devoir.** 



284 MADAMB DE FLEURT. 

Victoire courageously proceeded to Mad. de Fleury's, an! 
desired to see her. 

" D'abord c'est impossible — madame is dressing to go to i 
concert ;" said Fran9ois. " Cannot j'ou leave your message?" 

** Oh, no/' said Victoire ; " it is of great consequence— I mns 
see her myself; and she is so good, and you too, Monsieu; 
Francois, that I am sure you will not refuse." 

<* Well, I remember one day you found the seal of my watdi 
which I dropped at your school-room door — one good turn de 
serves another. If it is possible, it shall be done — I will inquir 
of madame's woman." — " Follow me up stairs," said he, returninj 
in a few minutes; " madame will see you." 

She followed him up the large staircase, and through a suit 
of* apartments sufficiently grand to intimidate her young m 
gination. 

*' Madame est dans son cabinet Entrez— mais entrez doD< 
entrez toujours." 

Mad. de Fleury was more richly dressed than usual ; an 
her image was reflected in the large looking-glass, so that at tb 
first moment Victoire thought she saw many fine ladies, but m 
one of them the lady she wanted. 

" Well, Victoire, my child, what is the matter ?" 

"Oh, it is her voice ! — T know you now, madame, and I ai 
not afraid — not afraid even to tell you how foolish I have beei 
Sister Frances trusted me to carry for you, madame, a beautifi 
pot of jonquils, and she desired me not to stop on the way t 
stare ; but I did stop to look at the lamps on the bridge, and 
forgot the jonquils, and somebody brushed by me, and thrc 
them into the river — and I am very sorry I was so foolish." 

" And I am very glad that you are so wise as to tell the tnitl 
without attempting to make any paltry excuses. Go home t 
Sister Frances, and assure her that I am more obliged to her ft 
making you such an honest girl than I could be for a whole be 
of jonquils." 

Victoire 's heart was so full that she could not speak — she kisse 
Mad. de Fleury 's hand in silence, and then seemed to be lost i 
contemplation of her bracelet. 

<' Are you thinking, Victoire, that you should be much ha] 



MADAME DE FLEURT. 2S$ 

>ier, if you had sucli bracelets as these ? — Believe me, you are 
nistaken if you think so ; many people are unhappy, who wear 
ine bracelets ; so, my child, content yourself." 

" Myself! Oh, madam, I was not thinking of myself — I was 
lot wishing for bracelets, I was only thinking that ■" 

"That what?" 

" That it is a pity you are so very rich ; you have every thing 
n this world that you want, and I can never be of the least use 
o you — all my life I shall never be able to do you any good — 
md what," said Victoire, turning away to hide her tears, "what 
lignifies the gratitude of such a poor little creature as I am?" 

" Did you never hear the fable of the lion and the mouse, 
l^ictoire ?" 

" No, madam — ^never !" 

"Then I will tell it to you." 

Victoire looked up with eyes of eager expectation — Franpois 

>pened the door to announce that the Marquis de M and the 

Domte de S— were in the saloon ; but Mad. de Fleury stayed to 
«11 Victoire her fable — she would not lose the opportunity of 
naking an impression upon this child's heart. 

It is whilst the mind is warm that the deepest impressions can 
)e made. Seizing the happy moment sometimes decides the 
character and the fate of a child. In this respect what advau- 
ages have the rich and great in educating the children of the 
joor ! they have the power which their rank, and all its decora- 
dons, obtain over the imagination. Their smiles are favours ; 
heir words are listened to as oracular ; they are looked up to as 
)eings of a superior order. Their powers of working good are 
ilmost as great, though not quite so wonderful, as those formerly 
attributed to beneficent fairies. 



CHAPTER VI. 

** Enawledge for them unlocks her tts^ul page, 
An4 virtue blossoms for a better age.^' — Barbauld. 

V. FEW days aflf'er Mad. de Fleury had told Victoire the fable of 
he lion and th^ mouse, she was informed by Sister Frances that 



286 MADAMS DE PLBURT. 

Victoire had put the fahle into verse. It was wonderfully wdl 
done for a child of nine years old, and Mad. de JPleuiy was 
tempted to praise the lines ; but, checking the enthusiasm of the 
moment, she considered whether it would be advantageous to 
cultivate her pupil's talent for poetry. Excellence in the poetic 
art cannot be obtained without a degree of application for which 
a girl in her situation could not have leisure. To encourage her 
to become a mere rhyming scribbler, without any chance of 
obtaining celebrity or securing subsistence, would be folly and 
cruelty. Early prodigies, in the lower ranks of life, are seldom 
permanently successful ; they are cried up one day, and cried 
down the next. Their productions rarely have that superiority 
which secures a fair preference in the great literary market 
Their performances are, perhaps, said to be — wonderful, ali 
things consideredj ^c. Charitable allowances are made; the 
books are purchased by associations of complaisant friends oi 
opulent patrons ; a kind of forced demand is raised, but this cai 
be only temporary and delusive. In spite of bounties and of all 
the arts of protection, nothing but what is intrinsically good wiU 
long be preferred, when it must be purchased. But granting 
that positive excellence is attained, there is always danger thai 
for works of fancy the taste of the public may suddenly vary; 
there is a fashion in these things ; and when the mode changes, 
the mere literary manufacturer is thrown out of emplojrment; 
he is unable to turn his hand to another trade, or to any but his 
own peculiar branch of the business. The powers of the mind 
are often partially cultivated in these self-taught geniuses. We 
often see that one part of their understanding is nourished to the 
prejudice of the rest — the imagination, for instance, at the ex- 
pense of the judgment : so that, whilst they uave acquired 
talents for show, they have none for use. In] the affairs of 
common life, they are utterly ignorant and imbeicile — or worse 
than imbecile. Early called into public notice, pjjrobably befoie 
their moral habits are formed, they are extolled fcr»r some play of 
fancy or of wit, as Bacon calls it, some juggler* s kfyrick of the m- 
tellect; they immediately take an aversion to plodding labour, 
they feel raised above their situation ; possessed i by the notion 
that genius exempts them, not only from labour, M^joA from vulgar 
rules of prudence, they soon disgrace themselve4 ( by their con- 



MADAME DE FLEURY. 287 

duct, are deserted by their patrons, and sink into despair, or 
plunge into profligacy ^ 

Convinced of these melancholy truths, Mad. de Fleury was 
determined not to add to the number of those imprudent. or 
ostentatious patrons, who sacrifice to their own amusement and 
vanity the future happiness of their favourites. Victoire's verses 
were not handed about in fashionable circles, nor was she called 
upon to recite them before a brilliant audience, nor was she pro- 
duced in public as a prodigy ; she was educated in private, and 
by slow and sure degrees, to be a good, useful, and happy mem- 
ber of society. Upon the same principles which decided Mad. de 
Fleury against encouraging Victoire to be a poetess, she re- 
frained from giving any of her little pupils accomplishments 
unsidted to their situation. Some had a fine ear for music, others 
showed powers of dancing ; but they were taught neither dancing 
nor music — talents which in their station were more likely to be 
dangerous than serviceable. They were not intended for ac- 
tresses or opera-girls, but for shop-girls, mantua-makers, work- 
women, and servants of different sorts ; consequently they were 
instructed in things which would be most necessary and usefid 
to young women in their rank of life. Before they were ten 
years old, they could do all kinds of plain needlework, they 
could read and write well, and they were mistresses of the com- 
mon rules of arithmetic. After this age, they were practised by 
a writing-master in drawing out bills neatly, keeping accounts, 
and applying to every-day use their knowledge of arithmetic. 
Some were taught by a laundress to wash, and get up fine linen 
and lace ; others were instructed by a neighbouring traiteur in 
those cidinary mysteries with which Sister Frances was unac- 
quainted. In sweetmeats and confectionaries she yielded to no 
one ; and she made her pupils as expert as herself. Those who 
were intended for ladies' maids were taught mantua-making, 
and had lessons from Mad. de Fleiuy's own woman in hair- 
dressing. 

Amongst her numerous friends and acquaintances, and amongst 
the shopkeepers whom she was in the habit of employing. Mad. 
de Fleury had means of placing and establishing her pupils suit- 

^ To these observatioiu there are honourable exceptions. ^ 



288 MADAME DE FLEDRY. 

ably and advantageously : of this both they and their paienfi 
-were aware, so that there was a constant and great niotive 
operating continually to induce them to exert themselves, and to 
behave well. This reasonable hope of reaping the fruits of their 
education, and of being immediately rewarded for their good 
conduct ; this perception of the connexion between what they 
are taught and what they are to become, is necessary to make 
yoimg people assiduous : for want of attending to these pzin- 
ciples, many splendid establishments have failed to produce 
pupils answerable to the expectations which had been formed of 
them. 

During seven years that Mad. de Fleury persevered uniformly 
on the same plan, only one girl forfeited her protection — a girl 
of the name of Manon ; she was Victoire's cousin, but totally 
unlike her in character. 

When very young, her beautiful eyes and hair caught the 
fancy of a rich lady, who took her into her family as a sort of 
humble playfellow for her children. She was taught to dance 
and to sing : she soon excelled in these accomplishments, and 
was admired, and produced as a prodigy of talent. The lady of 
the house gave herself great credit for having discerned, and 
having brought forward^ such talents. Manon 's moral character 
was in the mean time neglected. In this house, where there was 
a constant scene of hurry and dissipation, the child had frequent 
opportunities and temptations to be dishonest. For some time 
she was not detected ; her caressing manners pleased her pa- 
troness, and servile compliance with the humours of the children 
of the family secured their good-will. Encouraged by daily 
petty successes in the art of deceit, she became a complete hypo- 
crite. With culpable negligence, her mistress trusted implicitly 
to appearances ; and without examining whether she were really 
honest, she suffered her to have free access to unlocked drawers 
and valuable cabinets. Several articles of dress were missed 
from time to time ; but Manon managed so artfully, that she 
averted from herself all suspicion. Emboldened by this &tal 
impunity, she at last attempted depredations of more import- 
ance. She purloined a valuable snuff-box — was detected in 
disposing of the broken parts of it at a pawnbroker's, and was 
immediately discarded in disgrace ; but by her tears and vehe- 



MADAME DE FLEURT. 289 

ment expressions of remorse, she so far worked upon the weak- 
ness of the lady of the house, as to prevail upon her to conceal 
the circumstance that occasioned her dismissal. Some months 
afterwards Manon, pleading that she was thoroughly reformed, 
obtained from this lady a recommendation to Mad. de Fleury's 
cchool. It is wonderful that people, who in other respects pro- 
fess and practise integrity, can be so culpably weak as to give 
good characters to those who do not deserve them : this is really 
one of the worst species of forgery. Imposed upon by this 
treacherous recommendation, Mad. de Fleury received into the 
midst of her innocent young pupils one who might have cor- 
rupted their minds secretly and irrecoverably. Fortunately a 
discovery was made in time of Manon 's real disposition. A 
mere trifle led to the detection of her habits of falsehood. As 
she could not do any kind of needlework, she was employed in 
winding cotton; she was negligent, and did not in the course 
of the week wind the same number of balls as her companions ; 
and to conceal this, she pretended that she had delivered the 
proper number to the woman, who regularly called at the end of 
the week for the cotton. The woman persisted in her account ; 
the children in theirs ; and Manon would not retract her asser- 
tion. The poor woman gave up the point ; but she declared 
that she would the next time send her brother to make up the 
account, because he was sharper than herself, and would not be 
imposed upon so easily. The ensuing week the brother came, 
and he proved to be the very pawnbroker to whom Manon 
formerly offered the stolen box : he knew her immediately ; it 
was in vain that she attempted to puzzle him, and to persuade 
him that she was not the same person. The man was clear and 
firm. Sister Frances could scarcely believe what she heard. 
Struck with horror, the children shrunk back from Manon, and 
stood in silence. Mad. de Fleury immediately wrote to the lady 
who had recommended this girl, and inquired into the truth of 
the pawnbroker's assertions. The lady, who had given Manon 
a false character, could not deny the facts, and could apologize 
for herself only by saying, that " she believed the girl to be 
partly reformed, and that she hoped, under Mad. de Fleury's 
judicious care, she would become an amiable and respectable 
woman." 
Foihionable Life, \3 



290 MADAME DE FLEUKT. 

Mad. de Fleury, however, wisely judged, that the haz 
corrupting all her pupils should not he incurred for the 
chance of correcting one, whose had hahits were of sue! 
standing. Manon was expelled from this happy little 
munity— even Sister Frances, the most mild of human 
could never think of the danger to which they had heen e 
without expressing indignation against the lady who 
mended such a girl as a fit companion for her hlamele 
beloved pupils. 



CHAPTER VII. 

" Alas ! regardlegs of their doom. 
The little victims play : 
No sense have they of ills to come. 
No care beyond to-day.** — Gray. 

Good legislators always attend to the habits, and what is 
the genius, of the people they have to govern. From y< 
age, the taste for whatever is called une fete pervades the 
French nation. Mad. de Fleury availed herself judicio' 
this powerful motive, and connected it with the feeli 
affection more than with the passion for show. For in 
when any of her little people had done any thing parti< 
worthy of reward, she gave them leave to invite their par 
a fete prepared for them by their children, assisted 1 
kindness of Sister Frances. 

One day — it was a holiday obtained by Victoire's 
conduct — all the children prepared in their garden a littl 
for their parents. Sister Frances spread the table y 
bountiful hand, the happy fathers and mothers were 
upon by their children, and each in their turn heard with ( 
from the benevolent nun some instance of their dauj 
improvement. Full of hope for the future, and of gratiti 
the past, these honest people ate and talked, whilst in in: 
tion they saw their children all prosperously and usefully 
in the world. They blessed Mad. de Fleury in her absenc 
they wished ardently for her presence. 



MADAME DE FLEURY. 29t 

" The sun is setting, and Mad. de Fleury is not j^et come,* 
cried Victoire ; " she said she would be here this evening — What 
can be the matter ?" 

"Nothing is the matter, you may be sure," said Babet ; "but 
that she has forgotten us — she has so many things to think of." 

** Yes; but I know she never forgets us," said Victoire; "and 
she loves so much to see us all happy together, that I am sure it 
must be something very extraordinary that detains her." 

Babet laughed at Victoire 's fears : but presently even she 
began to grow impatient; for they waited long after sunset, 
expecting every moment that Mad. de Fleury would arrive. 
At last she appeared, but with a dejected countenance, which 
seemed to justify Victoire 's foreboding. When she saw this 
festive company, each child sitting between her parents, and all 
at her entrance looking up with affectionate pleasure, a faint 
smile enlivened her countenance for a moment ; but she did not 
speak to them with her usual ease. Her mind seemed pre- 
occupied by some disagreeable business of importance. It 
appeared that it had some connexion with them ; for as she 
walked round the table with Sister Frances, she said with a voice 
and look of great tenderness, " Poor children ! how happy they 
are at this moment ! — Heaven only knows how soon they may 
be rendered, or may render themselves, miserable !" 

None of the children could imagine what this meant ; but 
their parents guessed that it had some allusion to the state of 
public affairs. About this time some of those discontents had 
broken out, which preceded the terrible days of the Revolution. 
As yet, most of the common people, who were honestly em- 
ployed in earning their own living, neither understood what was 
going on, nor foresaw what was to happen. Many of their 
superiors were not in such happy ignorance — they had information 
of the intrigues that were forming ; and the more penetration 
they possessed, the more they feared the consequences of events 
which they could not control. At the house of a great man, 
with whom she had dined this day. Mad. de Fleury had heard 
alarming news. Dreadful public disturbances, she saw, were 
inevitable ; and whilst she trembled for the fate of all who were 
dear to her, these poor children had a share in her anxiety. 
She foresaw the temptations, the dangers, to \»Vv\c\v \)cve^ TKVMX\i^ 

tT 2 



292 MADAME DE FLEURT. 

exposed, whether they ahandoned, or whether they ahided by, 
the principles their education had instilled. She feared that the 
labour of years would perhaps be lost in an instant, or that her 
innocent pupils would fall victims even to their virtues. 

Many of these young people were now of an age to understand 
and to govern themselves by reason ; and with these she 
determined to use those preventive measures which reason 
affords. Without meddling with politics, in which no amiable or 
sensible woman can wish to interfere, the influence of ladies in 
the higher ranks of life may always be exerted with perfect 
propriety, and with essential advantage to the public, in con- 
ciliating the inferior classes of society, explaining to them their 
duties and their interests, and impressing upon the minds of the 
children of the poor, sentiments of just subordination and honest 
independence. How happy would it have been for France, if 
women of fortune and abilities had always exerted their talents 
and activity in this manner, instead of wasting their powers in 
futile declamations, or in the intrigues of party I 



CHAPTER VIII. 

** Ken now the devastation is began. 
And half the business of destruction done.** 

GoLDSMrrH. 

Madame de Fleurt was not disappointed in her pupils. Whe> 
the public disturbances began, these children were shocked bf , 
the horrible actions they saw. Instead of being seduced by W 
example, they only showed anxiety to avoid companions of tiieff 
own age, who were dishonest, idle, or profligate. Victoire'i 
cousin Manon ridiculed these abturd principles, as she caDei ' 
them; and endeavoured to persuade Victoire that she would be 
much happier if she followed the fashion. 

" What I Victoire, still with your work-bag on your arm, v^ 
still going to school with your little sister, though you are bat i 
year younger than I am, I believe ! — thirteen last birthday, w** 
not you? — Mon Dieu ! Why, how long do you intend to b« • 
child? and why don't you leave that old nun, who keeps yon 



\ 



MADAME DE FLEURT. 293 

ading-strings ? — I assure you^ nuns, and schoolmistresses, and 
hools, and all that sort of thing, are out of fashion now — we 
ive abolished all that — we are to live a life of reason now — 
id all soon to be equal, I can tell you ; let your Mad. de Fleury 
ok to that, and look to it yourself; for with all your wisdom, 
)u might find yourself in the wrong box by sticking to her, and 
lat side of the question.— Disengage yourself from her, I advise 
>u, as soon as you can. — My dear Victoire ! believe me, you 
ay spell very well — ^but you know nothing of the rights of man, 
• the rights of woman." 

" I do not pretend to know any thing of the rights of men, or 
e rights of women," cried Victoire ; " but this I know, that I 
;ver can or will be ungrateful to Mad. de Fleury. Disengage 
yself from her ! I am bound to her for ever, and I will abide 
r her till the last hour I breathe." 

** Well, well I there is no occasion to be in a passion — I only 
leak as a friend, and I have no more time to reason with you ; 
r I must go home, and get ready my dress for the ball to- 

ght." 

" Manon, how can you afford to buy a dress for a ball?" 
" As you might, if you had common sense, Victoire — only by 
iing a good citizen, I and a party of us denounced a milliner 
id a confectioner in our neighbourhood, who were horrible aris- 
crats ; and of their goods forfeited to the nation we had, as was 
ir just share, such delicious mar angles, and charming ribands ! 
-Oh, Victoire, believe me, you will never get such things by 
)ing to school, or saying your prayers either. You may look 
ith as much scorn and indignation as you please, but I advise 
m to let it alone, for all that is out of fashion, and may more- 
^er bring you into difficulties. Believe me, my dear Victoire, 
»ur head is not deep enough to imderstand these things — ^you 
low nothing of politics." 

" But I know the difference between right and wrong, Manon : 
»litic8 can never alter that, you know." 

** Never alter that! — there you are quite mistaken," said 
anon : " I cannot stay to convince you now — ^but this I 
n tell you, that I know secrets that you don't suspect." 
" I do not wish to know any of your secrets, Manon," said 
ictoire, proudly. 



294 MADAME DE FLEURt . 

" Your pride may be humbled, Citoyenne Victoire, sooner than 
you expect/' exclaimed Manon, who was now so provoked by ber 
cousin's contempt, that she could not refrain from boasting of ber 
political knowledge. " I can tell you, that your fine friends will 
in a few days not be able to protect you. The Abb^ Tracassier 
is in love with a dear friend of mine, and I know all the secrets 
of state from her — and I know what I know. Be as incredulous 
as you please, but you will see that, before this week is at end, 
Monsieur de Fleury will be guillotined, and then what will 
become of you ? Good morning, my proud cousin." 

Shocked by what she had just heard, Victoire could scarcely 
believe that Manon was in earnest ; she resolved, however, to go 
immediately and communicate this intelligence, whether true or 
false, to Mad. de Fleury. It agreed but too well with other cir- 
cumstances, which alarmed this lady for the safety of her hus- 
band. A man of his abilities, integrity, and fortune, could not 
in such times hope to escape persecution. He was inclined to 
brave the danger ; but his lady represented that it would not be 
courage, but rashness and folly, to sacrifice his life to the villany 
of others, without probability or possibility of serving his 
country by his fall. 

M. de Fleury, in consequence of these representations, and of 
Victoire's intelligence, made his escape from Paris ; and the very 
next day placards were put up in every street, offering a price 
for the head of Citoyen Fleury, suspected of incivisme. 

Struck with terror and astonishment at the sight of these 
placards, the children read them as they returned in the evening 
from school ; and little Babet in the vehemence of her indigna- 
tion mounted a lamplighter's ladder, and tore down one of the 
papers. This imprudent action did not pass unobserved : it was 
seen by one of the spies of Citoyen Tracassier, a man who, under 
the pretence of zeal pour la chose pMique, gratified without 
scruple his private resentments and his malevolent passions. In 
his former character of an abb^, and a man of wit, he had 
gained admittance into Mad. de Fleury 's society. There he 
attempted to dictate both as a literary and religious despot 
Accidentally discovering that Mad. de Fleury had a little school 
for poor children, he thought proper to be offended, because he 
had not been consulted respecting the regulationB, and because 



MADAME DE FLEURT. 295 

he was not permitted, as he said, to take the charge of this little 
flock. He made many objections to Sister Frances, as being an 
improper person to have the spiritual guidance of these young 
people : but as he was unable to give any just reason for bis 
dislike, Mad. de Fleury persisted in her choice, and was at last 
obliged to assert, in opposition to the domineering abb^, her 
right to judge and decide in her own affairs. With seeming 
politeness, he begged ten thousand pardons for his conscientious 
interference. No more was said upon the subject ; and as he did 
' not totally withdraw from her society till the revolution broke out, 
she did not suspect that she had any thing to fear from his 
resentment. His manners and opinions changed suddenly with 
the times; the mask of religion was thrown off; and now, 
instead of objecting to Sister Frances as not being sufficiently 
strict and orthodox in her tenets, he boldly declared, that a nun 
was not a fit person to be intrusted with the education of any of 
the young citizens — ^they should all be des Sieves de la patrie. 
The abb^, become a member of the Committee of Public Safety, 
denounced Mad. de Fleury, in the strange jargon of the day, as 
" the fosterer of a swarm of bad citizens, who were nourished in 
the anticivic prejudices de I'ancien regime, and fostered in the 
most detestMe superstitions, in defiance of the law." He further 
observed, that he had good reason to believe that some of these 
little enemies to the constitution had contrived and abetted M. de 
Fleury's escape. Of their having rejoiced at it in a most indecent 
manner, he said he could produce irrefragable proof. The boy 
who saw Babet tear down the placard was produced and solemnly 
examined ; and the thoughtless action of this poor little girl was 
construed into a state crime of the most horrible nature. In a 
declamatory tone, Tracassier reminded his fellow-citizens, that in 
the ancient Grecian times of virtuous republicanism (times of 
which France ought to show herself emulous), an Athenian child 
was condemned to death for having made a plaything of a frag- 
ment of the gilding that had fallen from a public statue. The 
orator, for the reward of his eloquence, obtained an order to seize 
every thing in Mad. de Fleury's school-house, and to throw the 
nun into prison. 



296 MADAME DE PLEURT, 



CHAPTER IX. 

" Who now will guard bewilderM youth 
Safe from the fierce assault of hostile rage P — 
Such war can Virtue wage?" 

At the very moment When this order was going to be put in 
execution, Mad. de Fleury was sitting in the midst of the 
children, listening to Babet, who was reading ^sop's fable of 
The old man and his sons. Whilst her sister was reading) 
Victoire collected a nimiber of twigs from the garden : she bad 
just tied them together; and was going, by Sister Frances* 
desire, to let her companions try if they could break the bundle, 
when the attention of the moral of the fable was interrupted by 
the entrance of an old woman, whose countenance expressed the 
utmost terror and haste, to tell what she had not bi-eath to utter. 
To Mad. de Fleury she was a stranger; but the children 
immediately recollected her to be the chestmtt woman, to whom 
Babet had some years ago restored certain purloined chestnuts. 

'*Fly!" said she, the moment she had breath to speak: 
" Fly ! — they are coming to seize every thing here — carry off 
what you can — make haste — make haste ! — I came through a 
by-street. A man was eating chestnuts at my stall, and I saw 
him show one that was with him the order from Citoyen 
Tracassier. They'll be here in five minutes — quick I — quick ! — 
You, in particular," continued she, turning to the nun, ''else 
you'll be in prison." 

At these words, the children, who had clung round Sister 
Frances, loosed their hold, exclaiming, '<Go! go quick: but 
where ? where ? — we will go with her." 

"No, no !" said Madame de Fleury, "she shall come home 
with me — my carriage is at the door." 

** Ma belle dame!" cried the chestnut woman, "your bouse 
is the worst place she can go to — let her come to my cellar — the 
poorest cellar in these days is safer than the grandest palace." 

So saying, she seized the nun with honest roughness, and 
hurried her away. As soon as she was gone, the children ran 
different ways, each to collect some favourite thing, which they 
thought they could not leave behind. Victoire alone stood 



MADAME DE FLEURT. ^ K 

motionless beside Mad. de Fleury ; her whole thoughts ab& 
by the fear that her benefactress would be imprisoned. " 
madame ! dear, dear Madame de Fleury, don't stay ! doh 
stay!" 

" Oh, children, never mind these things." 

" Don't stay, madame, don't stay ! I will stay with them — I 
will stay — do you go." 

The children hearing these words, and recollecting Mad. de 
Fleury 's danger, abandoned all their little property, and 
instantly obeyed her orders to go home to their parents. 
Victoire at last saw Mad. de Fleury safe in her carriage. The 
coachman drove off at a great rate ; and a few minutes after- 
wards Tracassier's myrmidons arrived at the school-house. 
Great was their surprise, when they found only the poor 
children's little books, unfinished samplers, and half-hemmed 
handkerchiefs. They ran into the garden to search for the nun. 
They were men of brutal habits ; yet as they looked at every 
thing round them, which bespoke peace, innocence, and 
childish happiness, they could not help thinking it was a pity to 
destroy what could do the nation no great harm csfter all. They 
were even glad that the nun had made her escape, since they 
were not answerable for it; and they returned to their 
employer, satisfied for once without doing any mischief: but 
Citizen Tracassicr was of too vindictive a temper to suffer the 
objects of his hatred thus to elude his vengeance. The next 
day Mad. de Fleury was summoned before his tribunal, and 
ordered to give up the nun, against whom, as a suspected 
person, a decree of the law had been obtained. 

Mad. de Fleury refused to betray the innocent woman : the 
gentle firmness of this lady's answers to a brutal interrogatory 
was termed insolence ; she was pronounced a refractory 
aristocrat, dangerous to the state ; and an order was made out 
to seal up her goods, and to keep her a prisoner in her own 
house. 



MADAME DB FLEURT. 



CHAPTER X. 

*^ Alas ! full offc on Guilt*8 victorious car 
The spoils of Virtue are in triumph borne, 
Wliile the fair captive, marlcM with many a scar. 
In lone obscurity, oppressM, forlorn, 
Resigns to tears her angel form.** — Beattib. 

A CLOSE prisoner in her own house, Mad. de Fleury was now 
guarded by men suddenly become soldiers, and sprung from the 
dregs of the people ; men of brutal manners, ferocious counte- 
nances, and more ferocious minds. They seemed to delight in 
the insolent display of their newly-acquired power. One of 
these men had formerly been convicted of some horrible crime, and 
had been sent to the galleys by M . de Fleury. Revenge actuated 
this wretch under the mask of patriotism, and he rejoiced in see- 
ing the wife of the man he hated a prisoner in his custody. 
Ignorant of the facts, his associates were ready to believe him in 
the right, and to join in the senseless cry against all who were 
their superiors in fortune, birth, and education. This unfortunate 
lady was forbidden all intercourse with her friends, and it was in 
vain she attempted to obtain from her jailers mtelligence of 
what was passing in Paris. 

"Tu verras — Tout va bien — Ca ira," were the only answers 
they deigned to make : frequently they continued smoking their 
pipes in obdurate silence. She occupied the back rooms of her 
house, because her guards apprehended that she might from 
the front windows receive intelligence from her friends. One 
morning she was awakened by an unusual noise in the streets ; 
and upon her inquiring the occasion of it, her guards told her she 
was welcome to go to the front windows, and satisfy her curiosity. 
She went, and saw an immense crowd of people surrounding a 
guillotine, that had been erected the preceding night. Mad. de 
Fleury started back with horror — her guards burst into an inhu- 
man laugh, and asked whether her curiosity was satisfied. She 
woidd have left the room ; but it was now their pleasure to 
detain her, and to force her to continue the whole day in this 
apartment. When the guillotine began its work, they had even 
the barbarity to drag her to the window, repeating, " It is there 



MADAME DE FLBURT. 299 

you ought to be ! — It is there your husband ought to be ! — You 
are too happy, that your husband is not there this moment. 
But he will be there — the law will overtake him — ^he will be there 
in time — and you too !" 

The mild fortitude of this innocent, benevolent woman made 
no impression upon these cruel men. When at night they saw her 
kneeling at her prayers, they taunted her with gross and impious 
mockery ; and when she sunk to sleep, they would waken her 
by their loud and drunken orgies: if she remonstrated, they 
answered, ** The enemies of the constitution should have no 
rest." 

Mad. de Fleury was not an enemy to any human being ; she 
had never interfered in politics ; her life had been passed in 
domestic pleasures, or employed for the good of her fellow-crea- 
tures. Even in this hour of personal danger she thought of 
others more than of herself: she thought of her husband, an 
exile in a foreign country, who might be reduced to the utmost 
distress, now that she was deprived of all means of remitting him 
money. She thought of her friends, who, she knew, would 
exert themselves to obtain her liberty, and whose zeal in her 
cause might involve them and their families in distress. She 
thought of the good Sister Frances, who had been exposed by 
her means to the unrelenting persecution of the malignant and 
powerful Tracassier. She thought of her poor little pupils, now 
thrown upon the world without a protector. Whilst these ideas 
were revolving in her mind, one night, as she lay awake, she 
heard the door of her chamber open softly, and a soldier, one of 
her guards, with a light in his hand, entered : he came to the 
foot of her bed ; and, as she started up, laid his finger upon his 
lips. 

" Don't make the least noise," said he in a whisper; "those 
without are drunk, and asleep. Don't you know me ? — Don't 
you remember my face?" 

" Not in the least ; yet I have some recollection of your voice." 

The man took off the bonnet-rouge — still she could not guess 
who he was. — " You never saw me in an imiform before, nor 
without a black face." 

She looked again, and recollected the smith, to whom 



300 MADAME OB FLEURT. 



r 



8 



Maurice was bound apprentice, and remembered his patat 
accent 

** I remember you," said he, " at any rate ; and your goodnai 
to that poor girl the day her arm was broken, and all your good- 
ness to MauriceT-But I've no time for talking of that now-g«t 
up, wrap this great coat round you — don't be in a huny,lwt 
make no noise, and follow me." 

She followed him ; and he led her past the sleeping sentinfiK 
opened a back door into the garden, hurried her, almost cuiied 
her, across the garden, to a door at the furthest end of it, whiek 
opened into Les Champs Elys^es — << La voila!" cried he, pushing 
her through the half-opened door. « God be praised!" answered 
a voice, which Mad. de Fleury knew to be Victoire's, whose aiw 
were thrown round her with a transport of joy. 

" Softly ; she is not safe yet — wait till we get her home, Tie- 
toire," said another voice, which she knew to be that of Mauri* 
He produced a dark lantern, and guided Mad. de Fleury wtm 
the Champs Elys^es, and across the bridge, and then throofk 
various by-streets, in perfect silence, till they arrived safely i* 
the house where Victoire's mother lodged, and went up te 
very stairs which she had ascended in such different circumstaneei 
several years before. The mother, who was sitting up waitiag ^ ^^*^^ 

tile- 

feen 

slie 

Mad 

the 

scar 

fact 



Ison 



iM 

I 

ut 

sh 

hi* 

fin 
lur 
firi 

Bo r 
froi 
vou 



most amciously for the return of her children, clasped te 
hands in an ecstasy, when she saw them return with Mad. de 
Fleury. 

" Welcome, madame ! Welcome, dear madame ! but wW 
would have thought of seeing you here, in such a way? Lctk* 
rest herself— let her rest ; she is quite overcome. Here, madinij 
can you sleep on this poor bed?" 

" The very same bed you laid me upon the day my arm m 
broken," said Victoire. I ^^^ 

"Ay, Lord bless her!" said the mother; *< and though it'f I ^^ 
seven good years ago, it seemed but yesterday that I saw her I P'^^ 
sitting on that bed, beside my poor child, looking like an angcL I 
But let her rest, let her rest — we'll not say a word more, <aly I ^^. 
God bless her ; thank Heaven, she's safe with us at last !" 4 ''^ *^ 

Mad. de Fleury expressed unwillingness to stay with Ae* I ^ 
good people, lest she should expose them to danger- but thcjl ^^' 

' 9 erir 



ftei 



MADAME DE FLEURY. 301 



Ibegged most earnestly that she would remain with them without 
- scruple. 

" Surely, madame," said the mother, "you must think thalw 
we have some remembrance of all you have done for us, and 
some touch of gratitude.*' 

"And surely, madame, you can trust us, I hope,'' said 
Maurice. 

" And surely you are not too proud to let us do something for 
you. The lion was not too proud to be served by the poor 
little mouse," said Victoire. " As to danger for us," continued 
she, " there can be none ; for Maurice and I have contrived a 
hiding-place for you, madame, that can never be found out — let 
them come spjring here as often as they please, they will never 
find her out, will they, Maurice? Look, madame, into this 
lumber-room — you see it seems to be quite full of wood for 
firing ; well, if you creep in behind, you can hide yourself quite 
snug in the loft above, and here's a trap-door into the loft that 
nobody ever would think of — ^for we have himg these old things 
from the top of it, and who could guess it was a trap-door ? So, 
you see, dear madame, you may sleep in peace here, and never 
fear for us." 

Though but a girl of fourteen, Victoire showed at this time all 
the sense and prudence of a woman of thirty. Gratitude 
seemed at once to develope all the powers of her mind. It was 
she and Maurice who had prevailed upon the smith to effect 
Mad. de Fleury's escape from her own house. She had invented, 
she had foreseen, she had arranged every thing ; she had 
scarcely rested night or day since the imprisonment of her bene- 
factress ; and now that her exertions had fully succeeded, her 
joy seemed to raise her above all feeling of fatigue ; she looked 
as fresh and moved as briskly, her mother said, as if she were 
preparing to go to a ball. 

" Ah ! my child," said she, " your cousin Manon, who goes 
to those balls every night, was never so happy as you are this 
minute." 

But Victoire's happiness was not of long continuance; for the 
next day they were alarmed by intelligence that Tracassier was 
enraged beyond measure at Mad. de Fleury's escape, that all his 
emissaries were at work to discover her pxeserit \i\^Tv%-^«*a^, 



302 MADAME DE FLEVRT. 

that the houses of all the parents and relations of her pupils 
were to be searched, and that the most severe denunciationt 
«were issued against all by whom she should be harboured. 
Manon was the person who gave this intelligence, but not with 
any benevolent design ; she first came to Victoire, to display 
her own consequence ; and to terrify her, she related all she 
knew from a soldier's wife, who was M. Tracassier's mistress. 
Victoire had sufficient command over herself to conceal from 
the inquisitive eyes of Manon the agitation of her heart ; the 
had also the prudence not to let any one of her companions into 
her secret, though, when she saw their anxiety, she was much 
tempted to relieve them, by the assurance that Mad. de Fleury 
was in safety. All the day was passed in apprehension. Mad. 
de Fleury never stirred from her place of concealment : as the 
evening and the hour of the domiciliary visits approached, 
Victoire and Maurice were alarmed by an unforeseen difficulty. 
Their mother, whose health had been broken by hard work, in 
vain endeavoured to suppress her terror at the thoughts of this 
domiciliary visit ; she repeated incessantly that she knew they 
should all be discovered, and that her children would be dragged 
to the guillotine before her face. She was. in such a distracted 
state, that they dreaded she would, the moment she saw the 
soldiers, reveal all she knew. 

** If they question me, I shall not know what to answer," 
cried the terrified woman. "What can I say? — What can I 
do?" 

Reasoning, entreaties, all were vain ; she was not in a condition 
to understand, or even to listen to, any thing that was said. In 
this situation they were, when the domiciliary visitors arrived — 
they heard the noise of the soldiers' feet on the stairs — the poor 
woman sprang from the arms of her children ; but at the 
moment the door was opened, and she saw the glittering of the 
bayonets, she fell at full length in a swoon on the floor — ^fortu- 
nately before she had power to utter a syllable. The people of 
the house knew, and said, that she was subject to fits on any 
sudden alarm ; so that her being afiected in this manner did not 
appear surprising. They threw her on a bed, whilst they 
proceeded to search the house : her children stayed with her; 
and, wholly occupied in attending to her, they were not ezpofed 



MADAME DE FLEURY. 303 

le danger of betraying their anxiety about Mad. de Fleury. 

trembled, however, from head to foot, when they heard 
»f the soldiers swear that all the wood in the lumber-room 

be pulled out, and that he would not leave the house till 
' stick was moved ; the sound of each log, as it was thrown 
^as heard by Victoire : her brother was now summoned to 
, How great was his terror, when one of the searchers 
d up to the roof, as if expecting to find a trap-door! 
lately, however, he did not discover it. Maurice, who 
seized the light, contrived to throw the shadows so as to 
ve the eye. The soldiers at length retreated ; and with in- 
issible satisfaction Maurice lighted them down stairs, and 
hem fairly out of the house. For some minutes after they 
in safety, the terrified mother, who had recovered her 
8, could scarcely believe that the danger was over. She 
aced her children by turns with wild transport; and with 
begged Mad. de Fleury to forgive her cowardice, and not 
tribute it to ingratitude, or to suspect that she had a bad 
. She protested that she was now become so courageous, 
she found that she had gone through this trial successfully, 
since she was sure that the hiding-place was really so 
e, that she should never be alarmed at any domiciliary 
in future. Mad. de Fleury, however, did not think it 
* just or expedient to put her resolution to the trial. She 
nined to leave Paris ; and, if possible, to make her escape 
France. The master of one of the Paris diligences was 
er to Fran9ois, her footman : he was ready to assist her at 
.zards, and to convey her safely to Bourdeaux, if she could 
ise herself properly ; and if she could obtain a pass from 
riend under a feigned name. 

jtoire — the indefatigable Victoire — recollected that her 
L Annette had an aunt, who was nearly of Mad. de Fleury's 
md who had just obtained a pass to go to Bourdeaux, to 
fome of her relations. The pass was willingly given up to 

de Fleury; and upon reading it over it was found to 
;r tolerably well — the colour of the eyes and hair at least 
i do; though the words un nez gros were not precisely 
ptive of this lady's. Annette's mother, who had always 

the provincial dress of Auvergne, furnished the high 



304 MADAME DE FLEURT. 

cornette^ stiff stays, boddice, &c. ; and equipped in these, MacL 
de Fleury was so admirably well disguised, that even Victoin 
declared she should scarcely have known her. Money, that 
most necessary passport in all countries, was still wanting : ai 
seals had been put upon all Mad. de Fleury's effects the day 
she had been first imprisoned in her owii house, she could not 
save even her jewels. She had, however, one ring on her finger 
of some value. How to dispose of it without exciting suspicion 
was the difficulty. Babet, who was resolved to have her shara 
in assisting her benefactress, proposed to carry the ring to a 
colporteur — a pedlar, or sort of travelling jeweller, who had 
come to lay in a stock of hardware at Paris : he was related to 
one of Mad. de Fleury's little pupils, and readily disposed of 
the ring for her : she obtained at least two-thirds of its value— a 
great deal in those times. 

The proofs of integrity, attachment, and gratitude, which she 
received in these days of peril, from those whom she had obliged 
in her prosperity, touched her generous heart so much, that she 
has often since declared she could not regret having been 
reduced to distress. Before she quitted Paris, she wrote letters 
to her friends, recommending her pupils to their protection; 
she left these letters in the care of Victoire, who to the last 
moment followed her with anxious affection. She would have 
followed her benefactress into exile, but that she was prevented 
by duty and affection from leaving her mother, who waa in 
declining health. 

Mad. de Fleury successfully made her escape from Paris. 
Some of the municipal officers in the towns through which she 
passed on her road were as severe as their ignorance would 
permit in scrutinizing her passport. It seldom happened that 
more than one of these petty committees of public safety could 
read. One usually spelled out the passport as well as he could, < 
whilst the others smoked their pipes, and from time to time held 
a light up to the lady's face to examine whether it agreed with 
the description. 

" Mais toi ! tu n'as pas le nez gros !" said one of her judges to 
her. *'Son nez est assez gros, et c'est moi qui le dit," said 
another. The question was put to the vote ; and the man who 
had asserted what waa contrary to the evidence of his aenaes yi9M 



MADAME DE FLEURY. 305 

BO vehement in supporting his opinion, that it was carried in 
spite of all that could be said against it. Mad. de Fleury was 
suffered to proceed on her journey. She reached Bourdeaux in 
safety. Her husband's friends — the good have always friends in 
adversity — her husband's fViends exerted themselves for her with 
the most prudent zeal. She was soon provided with a sum of 
money sufficient for her support for some time in England ; and 
she safely reached that ttee and happy country^ which has been 
the refuge of so many illustrious exiles. 



CHAPTER XI. 



" Cosi rozzo diamante appena splende 
Dalla rupe natla quand* esce fuora, 
E a poco a poco lucido se rende 
Sotto Tattenta cbe lo lavora/* 

Mad. de Fleury joined her husband, who was in London ; and 
they both lived in the most retired and frugal manner. They 
had too much of the pride of independence to become burthen- 
some to their generous English friends. Notwithstanding the 
variety of difficulties they had to encounter, and the number of 
daily privations to which they were forced to submit, yet they 
'were happy — ^in a tranquil conscience, in their mutual affection, 
and the attachment of many poor but grateful friends. A few 
-months after she came to England, Mad. de Fleury received, by 
a, private hand, a packet of letters from her little pupils. Each 
of them, even the youngest, who had but just begun to learn join- 
ing-hand, would write a few lines in this packet. 

In various hands, of various sizes, the changes were rung upon 
these simple words : 

*' MY DEAR MADAME DE FLEURY, 

" I love you — I wish you were here again — I will be very very 
good whilst you are away. If you stay away ever so lon^^ I 
shall never forget you, nor your goodness •, "bul Wio^^ ^wv ns^ 

Fashionable Life. "x- 



306 MADAME DE PLEURT. 

soon be able to come back, and this is what I pray for every 
night. Sister Frances says I may tell you that I am very good, 
and Victoire thinks so too." 

This was the substance of several of their little letters. Victoire's 
contained rather more information : — 

" You will be glad to learn that dear Sister Frances is safe, 
and that the good chestnut woman, in whose cellar she took 
refuge, did not get into any difficulty. After you were gone, 

M. T said that he did not think it worth while to pursue her, 

as it was only you he wanted to hiunble. Manon, who has, I do 
not know how, means of knowing, told me this. Sister Frances 
is now with her abbess, who, as well as every body else that 
knows her, is very fond of her. What was a convent is no 
longer a convent : the nuns are turned out of it. Sister Frances* 
health is not so good as it used to be, though she never complains; 
I am sure she suffers much; she has never been the same 
person since that day when we were driven from our happy 
school-room. It is all destroyed — the garden and every thing. 
It is now a dismal sight.. Your absence also afflicts Sister 
Frances much, and she is in great anxiety about all of us. She 
has the six little ones with her every day, in her own apartment, 
and goes on teaching them as she used to do. We six eldest go 
to see her as often as we can. I should have begun, my dear 
Mad. de Fleury, by telling you, that, the day after you left 
Paris, I went to deliver all the letters you were so very kind to 
write for us in the midst of your hurry. Your friends have been 
exceedingly good to us, and have got places for us all. Rose is with 
Mad. la Grace, your mantua-maker, who says she is more handy 
and more expert at cutting out than girls she has had these three 

years. Marianne is in the service of Mad. de V , who has 

lost a great part of her large fortune, and cannot afford to keep 
her former waiting-maid. Mad. de V — — is well pleased with 
Marianne, and bids me tell you that she thanks you for her. 
Indeed, Marianne, though she is only fourteen, can do every 
thhig her lady wants. Susanne is with a confectioner ; she gave 
Sister Frances a box of bonbons of her own making this morning ; 
and Sister Frances, who is a judge, says they are excellent ; she 



MADAME DE FLEURY. 807 

only wishes you could taste them. Annette and I (thanks to 
your kindness !) are in the same service, with Mad. Feuillot, the 
brodeuse^ to whom you recommended us : she is not discontented 
with our work, and indeed sent a very civil message yesterday 
to Sister Frances on this subject ; but I believe it is too flatter- 
ing for me to repeat in this letter. We shall do our best to give 
her satisfaction. She is glad to find that we can write tolerably, 
and that we can make out bills and keep accounts ; this being 
particularly convenient to her at present, as the young man she 
had in the shop is become an orator, and good for nothing but 
la chose publique : her son, who could have supplied his place, is 
ill; and Mad. Feuillot herself, not having had, as she says, 
the advantage of such a good education as we have been blessed 
with, writes but badly, and knows nothing of arithmetic. Dear 
Mad. de Fleury, how much, how very much we are obliged to 
you ! We feel it every day more and more : in these times 
what would have become of us, if we could do nothing useful ? 
Who would, who could be burdened with us ? Dear madame, 
we owe every thing to you — and we can do nothing, not the 
least thing, for you ! — My mother is still in bad health, and I 
fear will never recover : Babet is with her always, and Sister 
Frances is very good to her. My brother Maurice is now so 
good a workman that he earns a louis a week. He is very 
steady to his business, and never goes to the revolutionary meet- 
ings, though once he had a great mind to be an orator of 
the people, but never since the day that you explained to him 
that he knew nothing about equality and the rights of men, &c. 
How could I forget to tell you, that his master the smith, who 
was one of your guards, and who assisted you to escape, has 
returned without suspicion to his former trade ? and he declares 
that he will never more meddle with public affairs. I gave him 
the money you left with me for him. He is very kind to my 
brother — ^yesterday Maurice mended for Annette's mistress the 
lock of an English writing-desk, and he mended it so astonish- 
ingly well, that an English gentleman, who saw it, could not 
believe the work was done by a Frenchman ; so my brother was 
sent for, to prove it, and they were forced to believe it. To-day 
be has more work than he can finish this twelvemonth — all this 
we owe to you. I shall never forget the day when you ^roml^^d 
X 2 



I 

I 



308 XADAMB DE FLBURT. 

tbat you would grant my broiher's wish to be apprenticed to the 
smith, if I was not in a passion for a month — ^that cured me of 
being so passionate. 

" Dear Mad. de Fleury, I have written you too longaletteii 
and not so well as I can write when I am not in a hurry ; but I I 
wanted to tell you every thing at once, because, may be, I shall I 
not for a long time have so safe an opportunity of sending a letter | 
to you. " VicToiRE." I 

Several months elapsed before Mad. de Fleury received ©• I 
other letter from Victoire: it was short, and evidently written in | 
great distress of mind. It contained an account of her mother'i | 
death. She was now left at the early age of sixteen an orpbuL 
Mad. Feuillot, the brodeuse, with whom she lived, added a fe* 
lines to her letter, penned with difficulty and strangely spdle^ 
but expressive of her being highly pleased with both the girb w* 
commended to her by Mad. de Fleury, especially Victoire, who she 
said was such a treasure to her, that she would not part with her 
on any account, and should consider her as a daughter. "IteH 
her not to grieve so much ; for though she has lost one mother, 
she has gained another for herself, who will always love her: 
and besides, she is so useful, and in so many ways, with her pen 
and her needle, in accounts, and every thing that is wanted in* 
family or a shop, she can never want employment or ftiends in 
the worst times ; and none can be worse than these, especially 
for such pretty girls as she is, who have all their heads turned, 
and are taught to consider nothing a sin that used to be sins. 
Many gentlemen, who come to our shop, have found out that 
Victoire is very handsome, and tell her so ; but she is so modest 
and prudent, that I am not afraid for her. I could tell yo", 
madame, a good anecdote on this subject, but my paper will not 
allow, and besides, my writing is so difficult." 

Above a year elapsed before Mad. de Fleury received another 
letter from Victoire : this was in a parcel, of which an emi- 
grant took charge : it contained a variety of little offerings froffl 
her pupils, instances of their ingenuity, their industry, and their 
affection : the last thing in the packet was a small purse labelled 
in this manner — 

** Savings from our wages and earnings^ for her who taught^ 
alltve know,'* 



MADAME DE FLEURY. 309 



CHAPTER XII. 

' " Dans sa pompe elegante, admirez Chantilly, 
De h^ros en heroa, d^ige en iLge, embelli.** 

De Lille. 

The health of the good Sister Frances, which had suffered much 
from the shock her mind received at the commencement of the 
revolution, declined so rapidly in the course of the two succeed- 
ing years, that she was obliged to leave Paris, and she retired to 
\ little village in the neighbourhood of Chantilly. She chose 
this situation, because here she was within a morning's walk of 
Mad. de Fleury's country-seat. The Ch&teau de Fleury had not 
yet been seized as national property, nor had it suffered from 
the attacks of the mob, though it was in a perilous situation, 
within view of the high road to Paris. The Parisian populace 
bad not yet extended their outrages to this distance from the 
city ; and the poor people who lived on the estate of Fleury, 
attached from habit, principle, and gratitude to their lord, were 
not disposed to take advantage of the disorder of the times, to 
injure the property of those from whom they had all their lives 
received favours and protection. A faithful old steward had the 
3are of the castle and the grounds. Sister Frances was impa- 
tient to talk to him, and to visit the chateau, which she had 
lever seen ; but for some days after her arrival in the village, 
)he was so much fatigued and so weak, that she could not 
ittempt so long a walk. Victoire had obtained permission from 
ler mistress to accompany the nun for a few days to the coimtry, 
19 Annette undertook to do all the business of the shop during 
the absence of her companion. Victoire was fully as eager as 
Sister Frances to see the faithful steward and the Chateau de 
Fleury, and the morning was now fixed for their walk : but in 
the middle of the night they were awakened by the shouts of a 
mob, who had just entered the village fresh from the destruction 
jf a neighbouring castle. The nun and Victoire listened ; but 
n the midst of the horrid yells of joy, no human voice, no intel- 
igible word, could be distinguished: they looked through a 
;hink in the window-shutter, and they saw t.\ve ^XxteX. >o^qnr 



310 MADAME DE FLEURT. 

filled with a crowd of men, whose countenances were by turns 
illuminated by the glare of the torches which they brandished. 

" Ciood Heavens !" whispered the nun to Victoire : " I should 
know the face of that man who is loading his musket — ^the veiy 
man whom I niursed ten years ago, when he was ill with a jail 
fever !" 

Tliis man, who stood in the midst of the crowd, taller by the 
head than the others, seemed to be the leader of the party ; they 
were disputing whether they should proceed further, spend the 
remainder of the night in the village alehouse, or return to Paris. 
Their leader ordered spirits to be distributed to his assodatei, 
and exhorted them in a loud voice to proceed in their glorious 
work. Tossing his firebrand over his head, he declared that he 
would never return to Paris till he had razed to the ground the 
Chateau de Fleury. At these words, Victoire, forgetful of all 
personal danger, ran out into the midst of the mob, pressed her 
way up to the leader of these ruffians, caught him by the arm, 
exclaiming, '* You will not touch a stone in the Ch&teau de 
Fleury — I have my reasons — I say you will not suffer a stone in 
the Chateau de Fleury to be touched." 

<< And why not?" cried the man, turning astonished; "and 
who are you, that I should listen to you?" 

"No matter who I am," said Victoire; "follow me, and I 
will show you one to whom you will not refuse to listen. Here ! 
— here she is," continued Victoire, pointing to the nun, who had 
followed her in amazement ; " here is one to whom you will listen 
— yes, look at her well : hold the light to her face." 

The nun, in a supplicating attitude, stood in speechless expec- 
tation. 

" Ay, I see you have gratitude, I know you will have mercy," 
cried Victoire, watching the workings in the countenance of the 
man ; *' you will save the Ch&teau de Fleury, for her sake — ^who 
saved your life." 

" I will," cried this astonished chief of a mob, fired with 
sudden generosity. " By my faith you are a brave girl, and a 
fine girl, and know how to speak to the heart, and in the right 
moment. Friends, citizens ! this nun, though she is a nun, is 
good for something. When I lay ill with a fever, and not a 
soul else to help me, she came and gave me medicines and food 



MADAUE DB FLEURT. 



311 



— ^in short, I owe my life to her. 'Tis ten years ago, but I 
remember it well ; and now it is our turn to rule, and she shall 
be paid as she deserves. Not a stone of the Ch&teau de Fleury 
ahall be touched!" 

With loud acclamations, the mob joined in the generous 
enthusiasm of the n?oTOfit,t. /»ui3./iUaowed then: leader peceahly 
out of the village. All this passed with such rapidity as 
scarcely to leavfe the impression of reality upon the mind. As 
soon as the vmv rose in the morning, Victoire looked out for the 
turrets of th^Ch^teau de Fleury, and she saw that they were safe 
' "^^^ iJJ^he midst of the surrounding devastation. Nothing 
remainecs. of the superb palace of Chantilly but the white arches 
ofitsfouladation! 



CHAPTER XIII. 



The good 
from the •] 
theChAtw 
old stewud 
eagemenv 
The old 
meat of tke 
nanativeibg 
Here bis kd 
she wnit»-i 
▼ery last dty 
baU, whUit 
i>n thagnca 



ben thy last breath, ere Nature sank to rest, 
' meek submission to thy God expressed ; 
^hen thy last look, ere thought and feeling fled, 
. mingled gleam of hope and triumph shed ; 
^hat to thy soul its glad assurance gave— 
\ hope in death, its triumph o*er the grave ? 
rhe sweet remembrance of unblemishM youth, 
rh' inspiring voice of innocence and truth !'* 

Rogers. 

[Sister Frances, though she had scarcely recovered 

lock of the preceding night, accompanied Victoire to 

de Fleury. The gates were opened for them by the 

] and his son Basile, who welcomed them with all the 

|ith which people welcome friends in time of adversity. 

showed them the place ; and through every apart- 

I castle went on, talking of former times, and with 

lidness told anecdotes of his dear master and mistress. 

ly used to sit and read — ^here was the table at which 

|his was the sofa on which she and the ladies sat the 

I she was at the castle, at the open windows of the 

II the tenants and people of the village were dancing 



312 



MADAME DE FLEURT. 



" Ay, those were happy times," said the old man ; " but they 
will never return." 

" Never ! Oh, do not say so," cried Victoire. 

" Never during my life, at least," said the nun in a low voice, 
and with a look of resignation. 

Tbaslie, as he wiped the tears Iron^hisLPj^fi,^ happened to strike 
his arm against the chord of Mad. de Fleurys harp, and the 
sound echoed through the room. 

" Before this year is at an end," cried Victoire^ perhaps that 
harp will he struck again in this ch&teau by Mai. de Fleury 
herself. Last night we could hardly have hop^id to see these 
walls standing this morning, and yet it is safe — nov a stooe 
touched ! Oh, we shall all live, I hope, to see better i}tci^c» V 

Sister Frances smiled, for she would not depress Victoitei 
enthusiastic hope : to please her, the good nun added.} that she 
felt hetter this morning than she had felt for moipthSf and 
Victoire was happier than she had been since Mad. 
left France. But, alas ! it was only a transient glea 
Frances relapsed, and declined so rapidly, that evei 
whose mind was almost always disposed to hop , desp^ 
recovery. With placid resignation, or rather with i 
dence, this innocent and benevolent creature met the el 
death. She seemed attached to earth only by affectic 
whom she was to leave in this world. Two of the 
the children which had formerly been placed under lie 
who were not yet able to earn their own aubsiatenJ 
with her, and in the last days of her life she coJ 
instructions to them with the fond solicitude of a pJ 
father confessor, an excellent man, who never ev| 
dangerous times shrunk from his duty, cnine to 
Frances in her last moments, and relieved her mi, 
anxiety, by promising to place the two littlo child r 
lady who had been abbess of her convent, w}^o \§ 
utmost of her power protect and provide fur tli| 
Satisfied by this promise, the good Sister Frances 
Victoire, who stood beside her bed, and with that RtJ 

countenance expired. It was some time befti r i^e t 

children seemed to comprehend, or to belie vcj and^ dat ^ i 
Frances was dead : they had never before seen any |ea aiim* Jsrji*^ j 




MADAME DE FLEURY. 313 

idea what it was to die, and their first feeling was astonish- 
: they did not seem to understand why Victoire wept. But 
ixt day when no Sister Frances spoke to them, when every 
hey missed some accustomed kindness from her, — when pre- 
' they saw the preparations for her funeral, — when they heard 
he was to be buried in the earth, and that they should never 
r more, — they could neither play nor eat, but sat in a comer 
ig each other's hands, and watching every thing that was 
for the dead by Victoire. 

those times, the funeral of a nun, with a priest attending, 
L not have been permitted by the populace. It was there- 
performed as secretly as possible : in the middle of the 
the coffin was carried to the burial-place of the Fleury 
^ ; the old steward, his son Basile, Victoire, and the good 
r confessor, were the only persons present. It is necessary 
ention this, because the facts were afterwards misrepre- 
i. 



CHAPTER XIV. 

" The character is lost ! 
Her head adomM with lappets, pinned aloft, 
And ribands streaming gay, superbly raised. 
Indebted to some smart wig-weaver*s hand 
For more than half the tresses it sustains.** 

COWPER. 

her return to Paris, Victoire felt melancholy ; but she 
ed herself as much as possible in her usual occupation ; 
Ig that employment and the consciousness of doing her 
were the best remedies for sorrow. 

e day, as she was busy settling Mad. Feuillot's accounts, a 
nt came into the shop, and inquired for Mademoiselle 
ire: he presented her a note, which she found rather 
lit to decipher. It was signed by her cousin Manon, who 
xd to see Victoire at her hotel. *^ Her hotel!*' repeated 
ire with astonishment. The servant assured her that one 
e finest hotels in Paris belonged to his lady, and that he 
(ommissioned to. show her the wfty to it. Victoire found het 



314 MADAME DB PLECRY. 

cousin in a magnificent house, which had formerly belong to 
the Prince de Sahns. Manon, dressed in the disgusting, 
indecent extreme of the mode, was seated under a richly^mged 
canopy. She burst into a loud laugh as Victoire entered. 

<<You look just as much astonished as I expected," cried 
she. '* Great changes have happened since I saw you last— I 
always told you, Victoire, I knew the world better than you did 
What has come of all your schooling, and your mighty goodness, 
and your gratitude truly ? — Your patroness is banished and a 
beggar, and you a drudge in the shop of a brodeuse, who makes 
you work your fingers to the bone, no doubt. — Now you shall 
see the difference. Let me show you my house ; you know it 
was formerly the hotel of the Prince de Salms, he that was 
guillotined the other day ; but you know nothing, for you have 
been out of Paris this month, I understand. Then I must tell 
you, that my friend Villeneuf has acquired an immense fortune ! 
by assignats, made in the course of a fortnight — I say an 
immense fortune ! and has bought this fine house — Now do you 
begin to understand V* 

**1 do not clearly know whom you mean by your friend 
Villeneuf," said Victoire. 

<<The hairdresser, who lived in our street," said Manon; 
** he became a great patriot, you know, and orator ; and, what 
with his eloquence and his luck in dealing in assignats, he has 
made his fortune and mine." 

" And yours ! then he is your husband !" 

" That does not follow — that is not necessary — ^but do not 
look so shocked — every body goes on the same way now; 
besides, I had no other resource — I must have starved — I could 
not earn my bread as you do. Besides, I was too delicate for 

hard work of any sort — and besides but come, let me show 

you my house — ^you have no idea how fine it is." 

With anxious ostentation, Manon displayed all her riches, to 
excite Victoire 's envy. 

" Confess, Victoire," said she at last, "that you think me the 

happiest person you have ever known. You do not answer; 

whom did you ever know that was happier?" 

" Sister Frances, who died last week, appeared to be muck 
happier," said Victoire. 



{ 



MADAME DE PLEURT. 315 

"The poor nun!" said Manon, disdainfully. "Well, and 
ii^liom do you think the next happiest ?" 

" Madame de Fleury.** 

" An exile and a beggar ! — Oh, you are jesting now, Victoire 
— or — envious. With that sanctified face, citoyenne — perhaps 
I should say Mademoiselle Victoire, you would be delighted to 
change places with me this instant. Come, you shall stay with 
me a week, to try how you like it.*' 

** Excuse me,'* said Victoire, firmly ; " I cannot stay with 
you, Manon — you have chosen one way of life, and I another — 
quite another. I do not repent my choice — may you never 
repent yours ! — Farewell !" 

'* Bless me ! what airs ! and with what dignity she looks ! 
Repent of my choice ! — a likely thing, truly. Am not I at the 
top of the wheel?" 

** And may not the wheel turn ?" said Victoire. 

" Perhaps it may," said Manon ; " but till it does I will enjoy 
myself. Since you are of a difierent humour, return to Mad. 
Feuillot, and figure upon cambric and muslin, and make out 
bills, and nurse old nuns, all the days of your life. You will 
never persuade me, however, that you would not change places 
with me if you could. Stay till you are tried. Mademoiselle 
Victoire. Who was ever in love with you, or your virtues ? — 
Stay till you are tried." 



mto 
CHAPTER XV. ^ "™i8ta- 

"cided 
" But beauty, like the foir Hesperian tree, ^ 

Laden with blooming gold, had need the guard 
Of dragon watch with unenchanted eye 
To save her blossoms, or defend her fruit/* 

Milton. 

The trial was noarer than either Manon or Victoire expected. 

Id^anon had scarcely pronounced the last words, when the ci- 
^evant hairdresser burst into the room, accompanied by several 
^f his political associates, who met to consult measures i^ox ^<^ 



316 MADAME DE FLEURY. 

good of the nation. Among these patriots was the Abb6 
Tracassier. 

" Who is that pretty girl who is with you, Manon?" whispered 
he; "a friend of yours, I hope?** 

Victoire left the room immediately, hut not hefore the profli- 
gate abh^ had seen enough to make him wish to see more. The 
next day he went to Mad. Feuillot's, under pretence of buying 
some embroidered handkerchiefs ; he paid Victoire a profusion of 
extravagant compliments, which made no impression upon her 
innocent heart, and which appeared ridiculous to her plain good 
sense. She did not know who he was, nor did Mad. Feuillot ; 
for though she had often heard of the abb^, yet she had never 
seen him. Several succeeding days he returned, and addressed 
himself to Victoire, each time with increasing freedom. Mad. 
Feuillot, who had the greatest confidence in her, left her entirely 
to her own discretion. Victoire begged her friend Annette to 
do the business of the shop, and stayed at work in the back par- 
lour. Tracassier was much disappointed by her absence ; but 
as he thought no great ceremony necessary in his proceedings, he 
made his name known in a haughty manner to Mad. de Feuillot, 
and desired that he might be admitted into the back parlour, as 
he had something of consequence to say to Mile. Victoire in 
private. Our readers will not require to have a detailed account 
of this tete-^-tete ; it is sufficient to say, that the disappointed 
and exasperated abb^ left the house muttering imprecations. The 
next morning a note came to Victoire, apparently from Manon : 
- was directed by her, but the inside was written by an unknown 

^^^'^ -l, and contained these words ; — 
besides, 

^°* jSJSufere a charming, but incomprehensible girl — since you 
fonot like^ompliments, you shall not be addressed with empty 
flattery. It i^, in the power of the person who dictates this, not 
only to make you as rich and great as your cousin Manon, 
but also to restore to fortune and to their country the friends for 
whom you are most interested. Their fate as well as your own 
is in your power : if you send a favourable answer to this note, 
the persons alluded to will, to-morrow, be struck from the list of 
emigrants, and reinstated in their former possessions. If your 
answer is decidedly unfavourable, the return of your friends to 



MADAME DE FLEURT. 317 

France will be thenceforward impracticable, and their chateau, 
as well as their house in Paris, will be declared national property, 
and sold without delay to the highest bidder. To you, who 
have as much understanding as beauty, it is unnecessary to say 
more. Consult your heart, charming Victoire ! be happy, and 
make others happy. This moment is decisive of your fate and 
of theirs, for you have to answer a man of a most decided cha- 
racter." 

Victoire's answer was as follows : — 

'* My friends would not, I am sure, accept of their fortune, or 
consent to return to their country, upon the conditions proposed ; 
therefore I have no merit in rejecting them." 

Victoire had early acquired good principles, and that plain, 
steady, good sense, which goes straight to its object, without 
being dazzled or imposed upon by sophistry. She was un~ 
acquainted with the refinements of sentiment, but she distinctly 
knew right from wrong, and had sufficient resolution to abide by 
the right. Perhaps many romantic heroines might have thought 
it a generous self-devotion to have become in similar circum« 
stances the mistress of Tracassier ; and those who are skilled *' to 
make the worst appear the better cause" might have made such 
an act of heroism the foundation of an interesting, or at least a 
fashionable novel. Poor Victoire had not received an education 
sufficiently refined to enable her to understand these mysteries 
of sentiment. She was even simple enough to flatter herself 
that this libertine patriot would not fulfil his threats, and 
that these had been made only with a view to terrify her into 
compliance. In this opinion, however, she found herself mista« 
ken. M. Tracassier was indeed a man of the most decided 
character, if this term may properly be applied to those who act 
uniformly in consequence of their ruling passion. The Ch&teau 
de Fleury was seized as national property. Victoire heard this 
bad news from the old steward, who was turned out of the castle, 
along with his son, the very day after her rejection of the pro- 
posed conditions. 

*' I couM not have believed that any human creature could be 
so wicked!" exclaimed Victoire, glowing with indignation: but 
indignation gave way to sorrow. 



318 MADAME DE FLEURT. 

''And the Ch&teau de Fleury is really seized? — and yoUi 
good old man, are turned out of the place where you were horn? 
— and you too, Basile ? — and Mad. de Fleury will never come 
hack again ! — and perhaps she may be put into prison in a foreign 
country, and may die for want— «-and I might have prevented 
all this!" 

Unable to shed a tear, Yictoire stood in silent consternation, 
whilst Annette explained to the good steward and his son the 
whole transaction, fiasile, who was naturally of an impetuous 
temper, was so transported with indignation, that he would have 
gone instantly with the note from Tracassier to denounce him 
before the whole National Convention, if he had not been re- 
strained by his more prudent father. The old steward represented 
to him, that as the note was neither signed nor written by the 
hand of Tracassier, no proof could be brought home to him, and 
the attempt to convict one of so powerful a party would only 
bring certain destruction upon the accusers. Besides, such was 
at this time the general depravity of manners, that numbers 
would keep the guilty in countenance. There was no crime which 
the mask of patriotism could not cover. 

" There is one comfort we have in our misfortunes, which these 
men can never have," said the old man; "when their downfall 
comes, and come it will most certainly, they will not feel as we 
do, INNOCENT. Victoire, look up ! and do not give way to de- 
spair — all will yet be well." 

" At all events, you have done what is right — so do not re- 
proach yourself," said Basile. "Every body — I mean every 
body who is good for any thing — must respect, admire, and love 
you, Victoire." 



CHAPTER XVL 

" Ne mal cio che v^annoja, 
Quello e vero gioire 
Che nasce da virtude dopo il sof&ire." 

• 
Basile had not seen without emotion the various instances of 
goodness which Victoire showed during tlie illness of Sister 



MADAME DB FLEURT. 319 

^ranees. Her conduct towards M. Tracassier increased his 
steem and attachment; hut he forbore to declare his affection, 
•ecause he could not, consistently with prudence, or with 
ratitude to his father, think of marrying, now that he was not 
ble to maintain a wife and family. The honest earnings of 
lany years of service had been wrested from the old steward at 
he time the Ch&teau de fleury was seized, and he now depended 
>n the industry of his son for the daily support of his age. His 
iependence was just, and not likely to be disappointed ; for he 
tad g^ven his son an education suitable to his condition in life, 
iasile was an exact arithmetician, could write an excellent hand, 
.nd was a ready draughtsman and surveyor. To bring these 
iseful talents into action, and to find employment for them, with 
nen by whom they would be honestly rewarded, was the only 
lifficulty — a difficulty which Victoire's brother Maurice soon 
emoved. His reputation as a smith had introduced him, among 
lis many customers, to a gentleman of worth and scientific 
mowledge, who was at this time employed to make models and 
>lans of all the fortified places in Europe ; he was in want of a 
;ood clerk and draughtsman, of whose integrity he could be 
ecure. Maurice mentioned his friend Basile ; and upon inquiry 
Qto his character, and upon trial of his abilities, he was found 
uited to the place, and was accepted, fiy his well-eamed 
alary he supported himself and his father ; and began, with the 
anguine hopes of a young man, to flatter himself that he should 
oon be rich enough to marry, and that then he might declare 
lis attachment to Victoire. Notwithstanding all his boasted 
>rudence, he had betrayed sufficient symptoms of his passion to 
lave rendered a declaration unnecessary to any clear-sighted 
)b8erver : but Victoire was not thinking of conquests; she was 
vholly occupied with a scheme of earning a certain sum of 
noney for her benefactress, who was now, as she feared, in want. 
Vll Mad. de Fleury's former pupils contributed their share to 
he common stock ; and the mantua-maker, the confectioner, the 
lervants of different sorts, who had been educated at her school, 
lad laid by, during the years of her banishment, an annual 
>ortion of their wages and savings : withtthe sum which Victoire 
low added to the fund, it amounted to ten thousand livres. The 
lerson who undertook to carry this money to Mad. d.^¥\ft\a^^ 



320 MADAME DE FLEURT. 

was Francois, her former footman, who had procured a pass to 
go to England as a hairdresser. The night before he set out 
was a happy night for Victoire, as all her companions met, by 
Mad. Feuillot's invitation, at her house ; and after tea they had 
the pleasure of packing up the little box, in which each, besides 
the money, sent some token of their gratitude, and some proof 
of their ingenuity. They would with fill their hearts have sent 
twice as many souvenirs as Franpois could carry. 

"D'abord c'est impossible!" cried he, when he saw the box 
that was prepared for him to carry to England : but his good- 
nature was unable to resist the entreaties of each to have her 
offering carried, " which would take up no room.'* 

He departed — arrived safe in England-^found out Mad. de 
Fleury, who was in real distress, in obscure lodgings at Rich- 
mond. He delivered the money, and all the presents of which 
he had taken charge : but the person to whom she entrusted a 
letter, in answer to Victoire, was not so punctual, or was more 
unlucky; for the letter never reached her, and she and her 
companions were long uncertain whether their little treasure 
had been received. They still continued, however, with in- 
defatigable gratitude, to lay by a portion of their earnings for 
their benefactress ; and the pleasure they had in this perseverance 
made them more than amends for the loss of some little amuse- 
ments, and for privations to which they submitted in consequence 
of their resolution. 

In the mean time Basile, going on steadily with his employ- 
ments, advanced every day in the favour of his master, and his 
salary was increased in proportion to his abilities and industry ; 
so that he thought he could now, without any imprudence, 
marry. He consulted his father, who approved of his choice ; 
he consulted Maurice as to the probability of his being accepted 
by Victoire ; and encouraged by both his father and his friend, 
he was upon the eve of addressing himself to Victoire, when 
he was prevented by a new and unforeseen misfortune. His 
father was taken up, by an emissary of Tracassier's, and brought 
before one of their revolutionary committees, where he was 
accused of various acts of incivisme. Among other things 
equally criminal, it was proved that one Sunday, when he went 
to see Le Petit Trianon, then a public-house, he exclaimed. 



MADAME DE FLEURY. 321 

"C'est ici que la canaille danse, et que les honnetes gens 
pleurent!'* 

Basile was present at this mock examination of his father — he 
saw him on the point of heing dragged to prison — when a hint 
was given that he might save his father by enlisting immediately, 
and going with the army out of France. Victoire was full in 
Basile 's recollection — ^but there was no other means of saving his 
father. He enlisted, and in twenty-four hours left Paris. 

What appear to be the most unfortunate circumstances of life 
often prove ultimately the most advantageous. Indeed, those 
who have knowledge, activity, and integrity, can convert the 
apparent blanks in the lottery of fortune into prizes. Basile was 
recommended to his commanding officer by the gentleman 
who had lately employed him as a clerk — ^his skill in drawing 
plans, and in taking rapid surveys of the country through which 
they passed, was extremely useful to his general; and his 
integrity made it safe to trust him as a secretar}'. His command- 
ing officer, though a brave man, was illiterate, and a secretary was 
to him a necessary of life. Basile was not only useful, but agree- 
able ; without any mean arts, or servile adulation, he pleased, by 
simply showing the desire to oblige, and the ability to serve. 

''Diable!" exclaimed the general one day, as he looked at 
Basile 's plan of a town, which the army was besieging. " How 
comes it that you are able to do all these things ? But you have 
a genius for this sort of work, apparently." 

" No, sir," said Basile, "these things were taught to me, when 
I was a child, by a good friend." 

" A good friend he was indeed ! he did more for you than if 
he had given you a fortune ; for, in these times, that might have 
been soon taken from you ; but now you have the means of 
making a fortune for yourself." 

This observation of the general's, obvious as it may seem, is 
deserving of the serious consideration of those who have children 
of their own to educate, or who have the disposal of money for 
public charities. In these times, no sensible person will venture 
to pronounce that a change of fortune and station may not await 
the highest and the lowest ; whether we rise or fall in the scale 
of society, personal qualities and knowledge will be valuable. 
Those who fall, cannot be destitute ; and those who tU^^ ^^xccinX 

Fashionable Life, " x 



322 MADAME DE FLEURT. 

be ridiculous or contemptible, if they have been prepared for 
their fortune by proper education. In shipwreck, those who 
carry their all in their minds are the most secure. 

But to return to Basile. He had sense enough not to make 
his general jealous of him by any unseasonable display of his 
talents, or any officious intrusion of advice, even upon subjects 
which he best understood. 

The talents of the warrior and the secretary were in such 
different lines, that there was no danger of competition ; and 
the general, finding in his secretary the soul of all the arts, good 
sense, gradually acquired the habit of asking his opinion on 
every subject that came within his department. It happened 
that the general received orders from the Directory at Paris, to 
take a certain town, let it cost what it would, within a given 
time : in his perplexity, he exclaimed before Basile against the 
unreasonableness of these orders, and declared his belief that it 
was impossible he should succeed, and that this was only a 
scheme of his enemies to prepare his ruin. Basile had attended 
to the operations of the engineer who acted under the general, 
and perfectly recollected the model of the mines of this town, 
which he had seen when he was employed as draughtsman by 
his Parisian friend. He remembered, that there was formerly 
an old mine, that had been stopped up somewhere near the place 
where the engineer was at work ; he mentioned in private his 
suspicions to the general, who gave orders in consequence ; the 
old mhie was di«»covered, cleared out, and by these means the 
town was taken the day before the time appointed. Basile did 
not arrogate to himself any of the glory of this success — he kept 
his general's secret and his confidence. Upon their return to 
Paris, after a fortunate campaign, the general was more grateful 
than some others have been, perhaps because more room was 
given by Basile 's prudence for the exercise of this virtue. 

" My friend," said he to Basile, " you have done me a great 
service by your counsel, and a greater still by holding your 
tongue. Speak now, and tell me freely, if there is any thing I 
can do for you. You see, as a victorious general, I have the 
upper hand amongst these fellows — Tracassier's scheme to ruin 
me missed — whatever I ask will at this moment be granted ; 
speak freely, therefore." 



MADAME DE FLEURT. 323 

Basile asked what he knew Victoire most desired — that M. 
and Mad. de Fleury should be struck from the list of emigrants, 
and that their property now in the hands of the nation should 
be restored to them. The general promised that this should be 
done. A warm contest ensued upon the subject between him 
and Tracassier ; but the general stood firm ; and Tracassier, 
enraged, forgot his usual cunning, and quarrelling irrevocably 
with a party now more powerful than his own, he and his ad- 
herents were driven from that station in which, they had so long 
tyrannized. From being the rulers of France, they in a few 
hours became banished men, or, in the phrase of the times, 
des deportes. 

We must not omit to mention the wretched end of Manon. 
The man with whom she lived perished by the guillotine. From 
his splendid house she went upon the stage — did not succeed 
— sunk from one degree of profligacy to another; and at last 
died in an hospital. 

In the mean time, the order for the restoration of the Fleury 
property, and for permission for the Fleury family to return to 
France, was made out in due form, and Maurice begged to be 
the messenger of these good tidings : — he set out for England 
with the order. 

Victoire immediately went down to the Chateau de Fleury, to 
get every thing in readiness for the reception of the family. 

Exiles are expeditious in their return to their native country. 
Victoire had but just time to complete her preparations, when 
M. and Mad. de Fleury arrived at Calais. Victoire had assem- 
bled all her companions, all Mad. de Fleury 's former pupils ; 
and the hour when she was expected home, they with the 
peasants of the neighbourhood were all in their holiday clothes, 
and according to the custom of the country singing and dancing. 
Without music and dancing there is no perfect joy in France. 
Never -was fete du village or fete du Seigneur more joyful than 
this. 

The old steward opened the gate — the carriage drove in. Mad. 
de Fleury saw that home which she had little expected ever- 
more to behold ; but all other thoughts were lost in the pleasure 
of meeting her beloved pupils. 

>'My children!" cried she, as they crowded io\a\^ \i«t 'Ofta 
y 2 -^ 



324 MADAME DE FLEURT. 

moment she got out of her carriage — " My dear good chil- 
dren!" 

It was all she could say. She leaned on Victoire's. arm as 
she went into the house, and by degrees recovering from the 
almost painful excess of pleasure, began to enjoy what she yet 
only confusedly felt. 

Several of her pupils were so much grown and altered in their 
external appearance, that she could scarcely recollect them till \ 
they spoke, and then their voices and the expression of their 
countenances brought their childhood fully to her memory. 
Yictoire, she thought, was changed the least, and at this she J 
rejoiced. 

The feeling and intelligent reader will imagine all the pleasure 
that Mad. de Fleury enjoyed this day ; nor was it merely the 
pleasure of a day. She heard from all her friends, with pro- \ 
longed satisfaction, repeated accounts of the good conduct of | 
these young people during her absence. She learned with I 
delight how her restoration to her country and her fortune had / 
been effected ; and is it necessary to add, that Vicioire con- | 
sented to marry Basile, and that she was suitably portioned, and, j 
what is better still, that she was perfectly happy ? — M. de Heury j 
rewarded the attachment and good conduct of Maurice, by ^ 
taking him into his service ; and making him his manager under 
the old steward at the Ch&teau de Fleury. ' 

On Victoire's wedding-day. Mad. de Fleury produced all the ] 
little offerings of gratitude which she had received from her and 
her companions during her exile. It was now her turn to confer 
favours, and she knew how to confer them both, with grace and 
judgment. 

" No gratitude in human nature ! No gratitude in the lower 
classes of the people!" cried she: "how much those are 
mistaken who think so I I wish they could know my histoiy 
and the history of these my children, and they would acknow- 
ledge their error." 

EdgetDorthstottm, 1805. 



EMILIE DE COULANGES. 



AM young, I am in good health," said Emilie de Coulanges; 
am not to be pitied. But my poor mamma, who has been 
d all her life to such luxuries ! And now to have only her 
ilie to wait upon her ! Her Emilie, who is but an awkward 
me de chamhre ! But she will improve, it must be hoped ; 
L as to the rest, things, which are now always changing, and 
ich cannot change for the worse, must soon infallibly change 

the better — and mamma will certainly recover all her 
perty one of these days. In the mean time (if mamma is 
!rably well), we shall be perfectly happy in England — that 
xming country, which, perhaps, we should never have seen 

for this terrible revolution ! — Here we shall assuredly find 
uds. The English are such good people ! — Cold, indeed, at 
t — that's their misfortune : but then the English coldness is 
manner, not of heart. Time immemorial, they have been 
lous for making the best friends in the world ; and even to 

who are their natural enemies, they are generous in our 
tress. I have heard innumerable instances of their hospitality 
our emigrants ; and mamma will certainly not be the first 
:eption. At her Hotel de Coulanges, she always received 

English with distinguished attention ; and though our hotel, 
h half Paris, has changed its name since those days, the 
glish have too good memories to forget it, I am sure." 
3y such speeches Emilie endeavoured to revive her mother's 
rits. To a most affectionate disposition and a feeling heart 
joined all the characteristic and constitutional gaiety of her 
ion ; a gaiety which, under the pressure of misfortune, merits 



326 EMILIE DE COULANGES. 

the name of philosophy, since it produces all the effects, and is 
not attended with any of the parade of stoicism. 

Emilie de Coulanges was a young French emigrant, of anohle 
family, and heiress to a large estate ; hut the property of her 
family had heen confiscated during the revolution. She and 
her mother, la Comtesse de Coulanges, made their escape to 
England. Mad. de Coulanges was in feehle health, and much 
dispirited hy the sudden loss of rank and fortune. Mile, de 
Coulanges felt the change more for her mother than for herself; 
she always spoke of her mother's misfortunes, never of her own. 

Upon their arrival in London, Emilie, full of life and hope, 
went to present some of her mother's letters of recommendation. 
One of them was addressed to Mrs. Somers. Mile, de Coulanges 
was particularly delighted hy the manner in which she was 
received hy this lady. 

" No English coldness ! — ^no English reserve ! — So warm in 
her expressions of kindness ! — so eager in her offers of service !" 
Emilie could speak of nothing for the remainder of the day, but 
** cette charmante Mad. Somers !" The next day, and the next, 
and the next, she found increasing reasons to think her charm- 
ing. Mrs. Somers exerted herself, indeed, with the most 
benevolent activity, to procure for Mad. de Coulanges every 
thing that could be convenient or agreeable. She prepared 
apartments in her own house for the mother and daughter, 
which she absolutely insisted upon their occupying immediately : 
she assured them that they should not be treated as visitors, but 
as inmates and friends of the family. She pressed her invitation 
with such earnestness, and so politely urged her absolute right 
to show her remembrance of the civilities which she had 
received at Paris, that there was no possibility of persisting in a 
refusal. The pride of high birth would have revolted at the idea 
of becoming dependent, but all such thoughts were precluded 
by the manner in which Mrs. Somers spoke ; and the Comtesse 
de Coulanges accepted of the invitation, resolving, however, not 
to prolong her stay, if affairs in her own country should not 
take a favourable turn. She expected remittances from a Paris 
banker, with whom she had lodged a considerable sum — all that 
could be saved in ready money, in jewels, &c. from the wreck of 
her fortune : with this sum, if she should find aU schemes of 






EMILIE DB COULANOE8. 327 

returning to France and recovering her property impracticable, 
she determined to live, in some retired part of England, in the 
most economical manner possible. But, in the mean time, as 
economy had never been either her theory or her practice, and 
as she considered retreat from the world as the worst thing, next 
to death, that could befal a woman, she was glad to put off the 
evil hour. She acknowledged that ill health made her look 
some years older than she really was ; but she could not think 
herself yet old enough to become devout ; and, till that crisis 
arrived, she, of course, would not willingly be banished from 
society. So that, upon the whole, she was well satisfied to find 
herself established in Mrs. Somers's excellent house ; where, but 
for the want of three antechambers, and of the Parisian quantity 
of looking-glass on every side of every apartment, la comtesse 
might have fancied herself at her own Hotel de Cpulanges. 
Emilie would have been better contented to have been lodged 
and treated with less magnificence ; but she rejoiced to see that 
her mother was pleased, and that she became freer from her 
vapeurs noirs^, Emilie began to love Mrs. Somers for making 
her mother well and happy — to love her with all the fearless 
enthusiasm of a young, generous mind, which accepts of obligar 
tion without any idea that gratitude may become burdensome. 
Mrs. Somers excited not only affection — she inspired admiration. 
Capable of the utmost exertion and of the most noble sacrifices 
for her friends, the indulgence of her generosity seemed not 
only to be the greatest pleasure of her soul, but absolutely 
necessary to her nature. To attempt to restrain her liberality 
was to provoke her indignation, or to incur her contempt. To 
refuse her benefits was to forfeit her friendship. She grew 
extremely fond of her present guests, because, without resist- 
ance, they permitted her to load them with favours. According 
to her custom, she found a thousand perfections in those whom 
she obliged. She had considered la Comtesse de Coulanges, 
when she knew her at Paris, as a very well-bred woman, but as 
nothing more ; yet now she discovered that Mad. de Coulanges 
had a superior understanding and great strength of mind ; — and 
Emilie, who had pleased her when a child, only by the 

1 Vapeurs noirs — ^vulgarly known by the name of blite deoiU, 



328 EMILIE DE COULANtiES. 

ingenuous sweetness of her disposition and vivacity of her 
manners, was now become a complete angel — no angel had ever 
such a variety of accomplishments — none but an angel could 
possess such a combination of virtues. Mrs. Somers introduced 
her charming and noble emigrants to all her numerous and 
fashionable acquaintance ; and she would certainly have quar- 
relled with any one who did not at least appear to sympathize in 
her sentiments. Fortunately there was no necessity for quar- 
relling ; these foreigners were well received in every company, 
and Emilie pleased imiversally; or, as Mad. de Coulanges 
expressed it, *'£lle avoit des grands succes dans la soci^t^." 
The French comtesse herself could hardly give more emphatic 
importance to the untranslateable word succes than Mrs. Somers 
annexed to it upon this occasion. She was proud of producing 
Emilie as her protegee ; and the approbation of others in- 
creased her own enthusiasm : much as she did for her favourite, 
she longed to do more. — An opportunity soon presented itself. 

One evening, after Mad. de Coulanges had actually tired herself 
with talking to the crowd, which her vivacity, grace, and volu- 
bility had attracted about her sofa, she ran to entrench herself in 
an arm-chair by the fireside, sprinkled the floor round her witii 
eau de senteuTj drew, with her pretty foot, a line of circum- 
vallation, and then, shaking her tiny fan at the host of assailants, 
she forbade them, under pain of her sovereign displeasure, to 
venture within the magic circle, or to torment her by one 
more question or compliment. It was now absolutely necessary to 
be serious, and to study the politics of Europe. She called for 
the French newspapers, which Mrs. Somers had on purpose for 
her ; and, provided with a pinch of snuff, from the ever-ready 
box of a French abb^, whose arm was permitted to cross the line 
of demarcation. Mad. de Coulanges began to study. Silence 
ensued — for novelty always produces silence in the first instant 
of surprise. An English gentleman wrote on the back of a 
letter an offer to his neighbour of a wager, that the silence would 
be first broken by the French countess, and that it could not last 
above two minutes. The wager was accepted, and watches were 
produced. Before the two minutes had expired, the pinch of 
snuff dropped from the countess's fingers, and, clasping her hands 
together, she exclaimed, " Ah ! ciel !"— The surrounding gen- 



EMILIE DE COVLANOE8. 329 

tlemen, who were full of their wager, and who had heard, from 
the lady, during the course of the evening, at least a dozen ex- 
clamations of nearly equal vehemence ahout the merest trifles, 
were more amused than alarmed at this instant : hut Emilie, who 
knew her mother's countenance, and who saw the sudden change 
in it, pressed through the circle, and just caught her mother in 
her arms as she fainted. Mrs. Somers, much alarmed, hastened 
to her assistance. The countess was carried out of the room, and 
every body was full of pity and of curiosity. When Mad. de 
Coulanges recovered from her fainting-fit, she was seized with 
one of her nervous attacks ; so that no explanation could be 
obtained. Emilie and Mrs. Somers looked over the French 
paper, but could not find any parapragh unusually alarming. At 
length, more composed, the countess apologized for the dis- 
turbance which she had occasioned; thanked Mrs. Somers 
repeatedly for her kindness ; but spoke in a hurried manner, as 
if she did not well know what she said. She concluded by 
declaring that she was subject to these nervous attacks, that she 
should be quite well the next morning, and that she did not wish 
that any one should sit up with her during the night except 
Emilie, who was used to her ways. With that true politeness 
which understands quickly the feelings and wishes of others, 
Mrs. Somers forbore to make any ill-timed inquiries or officious 
offers of assistance ; but immediately retired, and ordered the 
attendants to leave the room, that Mad. de Coulanges and her 
daughter might be at perfect liberty. Early in the morning 
Mrs. Somers heard somebody knock softly at her door. It was 
Emilie. 

'* Mrs. Masham told me that you were awake, madam, or I 
should not " 

" Come in, come in, my dearest Emilie — I am awake — wide 
awake. Is your mother better?" 

"Alas! no, madam!" 

" Sit down, my dear, and do not call me madam, so coldly. 
—I do not deserve it." 

" My dear friend ! friend of mamma ! my dearest friend !" 
cried Emilie, bursting into tears, and seizing Mrs. Somers' 
hand ; " do not accuse me of coldness to you. I am always 
afraid that my French expressions should sound exaggerated i<(^ 



330 EMILIE DC COULANOE8. I 

English ears, and that you should thmk I say too much to be i 
sincere in expressing my gratitude." 

" My sweet Emilie, who could doubt your sincerity ? — ^none 
but a brute or a fool : but do not talk to me of gratitude." 

" I must," said Emilie ; "for I feel it." 

" Prove it to me, then, in the manner I like best — ^in the only 
manner I like — by putting it in my power to serve you. I do 
not intrude upon your mother's confidence — I make no inquiries ; 
but do me the justice to tell me how I can be of use to her— or 
rather to you. From you I expect frankness. Command my 
fortune, my time, my credit, my utmost exertions — they are all, 
they ever have been, they ever shall be, whilst I have life, at the 
command of my friends. And are not you my friend ?" 

" Generous lady ! — You overpower me with your goodness." 

" No praises, no speeches ! — Actions for me ! — Tell me how 
I can serve you." 

" Alas ! yoUf even you, can do us no good in this business." 

"That I will never believe, till I know the business." 

"The worst of it is," said Emilie, "that we must leave you." 

"Leave me! Impossible !" cried Mrs. Somers, starting up. — 
" You shall not leave me, that I am determined upon. Why 
cannot you speak out at once, and tell me what is the matter, * 
Emilie ? How can 1 act, unless I am trusted ? and who deserves 
to be trusted by you, if I do not ?" 

" Assuredly nobody deserves it better ; and if it were only my , 
affair, dear Mrs. Somers, you should have known it as soon as I 
knew it myself; but it is mamma's, more than mine." 

" Madame la comtesse, then, does not think me worthy of her 
confidence," said Mrs. Somers, in a haughty tone, whilst dis- 
pleasure clouded her whole countenance. " Is that what I am to 
understand from you, Mile, de Coulanges?" 

" No, no ; that is not what you are to understand, dear madam 
— my dear friend, I should say," cried Emilie, alarmed. "Cer- 
tainly I have explained myself ill, or you could not suspect 
mamma for a moment of such injustice. She knows you to be 
most worthy of her confidence ; but on this occasion her reserve, 
believe me, proceeds solely from motives of delicacy, of which 
you could not but approve." 

" Motives of delicacy, my dear Emilie," said Mrs. Somers, 



EMILIE DE COULAN6ES. 331 

softening her tone, but Btill with an air of dissatisfaction — 
" motives of delicacy, my dear Emilie, are mighty pretty soimd- 
ing words ; and at your age I used to think them mighty grand 
things ; but I have long since found out that motives of delicacy 
are usually the excuse of weak minds for not speaking the plain 
truth to their friends. People quit the straight path from motives 
of delicacy, may be, to a worm or a beetle — vulgar souls, observe, 
I rank only as worms and beetles ; they cross our path every 
instant in life ; and those who fear to give them offence must 
deviate and deviate, till they get into a labyrinth, from which 
they can never extricate themselves, or be extricated. My 
Emilie, I am sure, will always keep the straight road — I know 
her strength of mind. Indeed, I did expect strength of mind 
from her mother ; but, like, all who have lived a great deal in 
the world, she is, I find, a slave to motives of delicacy." 

" Mamma's delicacy is of a very different sort from what you 
describe, and what you dislike," said £milie. " But, since per- 
sisting in her reserve would, as I see, offend one whom she would 
be most sorry t > displease, permit me to go this moment and 
persuade her to let me tell you the simple truth." 

" Go — run, my dear. Now I know my Emilie again. Now 
I shall be able to do some good." 

By the time that Emilie returned, Mrs. Somers was dressed : 
she had dressed in the greatest hurry imaginable, that she might 
be ready for action — instantaneous action — ^if the service of her 
friends, as she hoped, required it. Emilie brought the news- 
paper in her hand, which her mother had been reading the 
preceding night. 

" Here is all the mystery," said she, pointing to a paragraph 
which announced the failure of a Paris banker. " Mamma lodged 
all the money she had left in this man's hands." 

" And is that all ? — I really expected something much more 
terrible." 

'' It is terrible to mamma ; because, depending on this man's 
punctuality, she has bought in London clothes and trinkets — 
chiefly for me, indeed — and she has no immediate means of 
paying these debts ; but, if she will only keep her mind tran- 
quil, all will yet be well. You flatter me that I play tolerably 
on the piano-forte- and the harp ; you will recomrcvetid \xv^, w^^'V 



832 EMILIE DE COULANOBS. 

can endeavour to teach music. So that, if mamma will but be well, 
we shall not be in any great distress — except in leaving you ; that 
is painful, but must be done. Yes, it absolutely must. Mamma 
knows what is proper, and so do I. We are not people to encroach 
upon the generosity of our friends. I need not say more ; for I am 
sure that Mrs. Somers, who is herself so well-bom and well-edu- 
cated, must understand and approve of mamma's way of thinking." 

Mrs. Somers replied not one word, but rang her bell violently 
— ordered her carriage. 

** Do not you breakfast, madam, before you go out ?" said the 
servant. 

"No— no." 

" Not a dish of chocolate, ma'am ?" 

" My carriage, I tell you. Emilie, you have been up all 

night : I insist upon your going to bed this minute, and upon 
your sleeping till I come back again. La comtesse always break- 
fasts in her own room ; so I have no apologies to make for leaving 
her. I shall be at home before her toilette is finished, and hope 
she will then permit me to pay my respects to her — ^you will tell 

her so, my dear. I must be gone instandy. Why will they not 

let me have this carriage ? — Where are those gloves of mine ? — 
and the key of my writing-desk ? — Ring again for the coach." 

Between the acting of a generous thing and the first motion, 
all the interim was, with Mrs. Somers, a delicious phantasma; 
and her ideas of time and distance were as extravagant as those 
of a person in a dream. She very nearly ran over Emilie in her 
way down stairs, and then said, " Oh ! I beg pardon a thousand 
times, my dear ! — I thought you had been in bed an hour ago." 

The toilette of Mad. de Coulanges, this morning, went on at 
the usual rate. Whether in adversity or prosperity, this was to 
la comtesse an elaborate, but never a tedious work. Long as it 
had lasted, it was, however, finished ; and she had full leisure for a 
fit and a half of the vapours, before Mrs. Somers returned — she 
came in with a face radiant with joy. 

" Fortunately, most fortunately," cried she, " I have it in my 
power to repair the loss occasioned by the failure of this good- 
for-nothing banker! Nay, positively. Mad. de Coulanges, I 
must not be refused," continued she, in a peremptory manner. 
" You make an enemy, if you refuse a friend." 



EMILIE DE COULAMGES. 833 

She laid a pocket-book on the table, and left the room in- 
stantly. The pocket-book contained notes to a very considerable 
Eunount, surpassing the sum which Mad. de Coulanges had lost 
by her banker ; and on a scrap of paper was written in pencil 
" Mad. de Coulanges must never return this sum, for it is utterly 
useless to Mrs. Somers ; as the superfluities it was appropriated to 
purchase are now in the possession of one who will not sell them." 

Astonished equally at the magnitude and the manner of the 
^t, Mad. de Coulanges repeated, a million of times, that it was 
=* noble ! tres noble ! une belle action !" — that she could not pos- 
dbly accept of such an obligation — that she could not tell how 
;o refuse it — that Mrs. Somers was the most generous woman 
ipon earth — that Mrs. Somers had thrown her into a terrible 
mibarrassment. 

Then la comtesse had recourse to her smelling-bottle, con- 
iiilted Emilie's eyes, and answered them. 

** Child ! I have no thoughts of accepting ; but I only ask 
'ou how I can refuse, after what has been said, without making 
>^rs. Somers my enemy? You see her humour — English 
lumours must not be trifled with — her humour, you see, is to 
pive. It is a shocking thing for people of our birth to be 
educed to receive, but we cannot avoid it without losing Mrs. 
lomers' friendship entirely ; and that is what you would not 
rish to do, Emilie." 

"Oh, no, indeed!" 

" Now we must be under obligations to our milliner and 
Bweller, if we do not pay them immediately ; for these sort of 
»eople call it a favour to give credit for a length of time : and I 
eally think that it is much better to be indebted to Mrs. Somers 
han to absolute strangers and to rude tradespeople. It is 
ilways best to have to deal with polite persons." 

" And with generous persons!" cried Emilie ; "and a more 
renerous person than Mrs. Somers, I am sure, cannot exist." 

'* And then," continued Mad. de Coulanges, ** like all these rich 
Snglish, she can aflbrd to be generous. I am persuaded that 
his Mrs. Somers is as rich as a Russian princess ; yes, as rich as 
he Russian princess with the superb diadem of diamonds. You 
•emember her at Paris?" 



334 EMILIE DE COULANOES. 

" No, mamma, I forget her," answered Emilie, with a look of 
absence of mind. 

" Bon Dieu ! what can you be thinking of?" exclaimed Mad. 
de Coulanges. ** You forget the Russian princess, with the 
diamond diadem, that was valued at 200,000 livres ! She wore 
it at her presentation — it was the conversation of Paris for a 
week : you must recollect it, Emilie ?" 

" Oh, yes : I recollect something about its cutting her fore- 
head." 

** Not at all, my dear ; how you exaggerate ! The princess 
only complained, by way of something to say, that the weight of 
the diamonds made her head ache. 

" Was that all V* 

" That was all. But I will tell you what you are thinking of, 
Emilie — quite another thing — quite another person — Abroad Mad. 
Vanderbenbruggen : her diamonds were not worth looking at ; 
and they were so horribly set, that she deserved all manner of 
misfortunes, and to be disgraced in public, as she was. For you 
know the bandeau slipt over her great forehead ; and instead of 
turning to the gentlemen, and ordering some man of sense to 
arrange her head-dress, she kept holding her stiff neck stock 
still, like an idiot; she actually sat, with the patience of a mar- 
tyr, two immense hours, till somebody cried, 'Ah! madame, 
here is the blood coming !' I see her before me this instant Is 
it possible, my dear Emilie, that you do not remember the differ- 
ence between this buche of a Mad. Vanderbenbruggen, and our 
charming princess? but you are as dull as Mad. Vanderben- 
bruggen herself, this morning." 

The vivacious countess having once seized upon the ideas of 
Mad. Vanderbenbruggen, the charming princess, and the fine 
diamonds, it was some time before Emilie could recall her to the 
order of the day — to the recollection of her banker's failure, and 
of the necessity of giving an answer to generous Mrs. Somers. 
The decision of Mad. de Coulanges was probably at last 
influenced materially by the gay ideas of '' stars and dukes, and 
all their sweeping train," associated with Mad. Vanderben- 
bruggen *s image. The countess observed, that, after the style in 
which she had been used to live in the first company at Paris, 



EMILIE DE C0ULAN6E8. 335 

it would be worse than death to be buried alive in some obscure 
country town in England ; and that she would rather see 
Emilie guillotined at once, than condemned, with all her grace 
and talents, to work, like a galley slave, at a tambour frame for 
her bread all the days of her life. 

Emilie assured her mother that she should cheerfully submit 
to much greater evils than that of working at a tambour frame ; 
and that, as far as her own feelings were concerned, she should 
infinitely prefer living by labour to becoming dependent. She 
therefore intreated that her mother might not, from any false 
tenderness for her Emilie, decide contrary to her own principles 
or wishes. 

Mad. de Coulanges, after looking in the glass, at length deter- 
mined that it would be best to accept of Mrs. Somers' generous 
offer; and Emilie, who usually contrived to find something 
agreeable in all her mother's decisions, rejoiced that by this 
determination, Mrs. Somers at least would be pleased. Mrs. 
Somers, indeed, was highly gratified ; and her expressions of 
satisfaction were so warm, that any body would have thought 
she was the person receiving, instead of conferring, a great 
favour. She thanked Emilie, in particular, for having van- 
quished her mother's false delicacy. Emilie blushed at hearing 
this undeserved praise ; and assured Mrs. Somers that all the 
merit was her mother's. 

" What!" cried Mrs. Somers hastily, " was it contrary to your 
opinion ? — ^Were you treacherous — were you my enemy — Mile, 
de Coulanges?" 

Emilie replied that she had left the decision to her mother ; 
that she confessed she had felt some reluctance to receive a 
pecuniary obligation, even from Mrs. Somers ; but that she had 
rather be obliged to her than to any body in the world, except 
to her mamma. 

This explanation was not perfectly satisfactory to Mrs. Somers, 
and there was a marked coldness in her manner towards Emilie 
during the remainder of the day. Her affectionate and grateful 
disposition made her extremely sensible to this change ; and, 
when she retired to her own room at night, she sat down beside 
her bed, and shed tears for the first time since she had been in 
England. Mrs. Somers happened to go into Emilie's room to 



336 EMILIE DE COULAMGES. 



leave some message for Mad. de Coulanges — she found Emilie i& 
tears — inqviired the cause — was touched and flattered by ha 
sensibility — kissed her — blamed herself — confessed she had been 
extremely unreasonable — acknowledged that her temper w 
naturally too hasty and susceptible, especially with those ik 
loved — but assured Emilie that this, which had been their fin^ 
should be their last quarrel ; — a rash promise, considering tie I 
circumstances in which they were both placed. Those ite * 
receive and those who confer great favours are both in difficdt 
situations ; but the part of the benefactor is the most difficult 
to support witli propriety. What a combination of rare qnalitie! 
is essential for this purpose ! Amongst others, sense, delicicy, 
and temper. Mrs. Somers possessed all but the last; and, 
unluckily, she was not sensible of the importance of thii 
deficiency. Confident and proud, that, upon all the grand oca- 
sions where the human heart is put to the trial, she could display 
superior generosity, she disdained attention to the minutis of 
kindness. This was inconvenient to her friends ; because oca- 
sion for a great sacrifice of the heart occurs, perhaps, but once in 
a life, whilst small sacrifices of temper are requisite every daj, 
and every hour *. 

Mrs. Somers had concealed from Mad. de Cloulanges and 
from Emilie the full extent of their obligation : she told them, 
that the sum of money which she offered had become useless to 
her, because it had been destined to the purchase of some 
superfluities, which were now in the possession of another 
person. The fact was, that she had been in treaty for two fine 

1 Since this was written, the author has seen the same thoughts lo vaA 
better expressed in the following lines that she cannot forbear to qvs^ 
them: 

** Since trifles make the sum of human things. 
And half our misVy from our foibles springs ; 
Since lifers best joys consist in peace and ease, 
And few can save or serve, but all may please : 
Oh ! let th* ungentle spirit learn from hence, 
A small unkindness is a great offence. 
Large bounties to bestow we wish in vain ; 
But all may shun the guilt of giving pain.** 

Sensibility. By Mrs, ff. Man, 



I 



EMILIB DE COULANOES. 337 

pictures, a Guido and a Correggio ; these pictures might have 
been hers, but that on the morning, when she heard of the 
failure of the banker of Mad. de Coulanges, she had hastened to 
prevent the money from being paid for them. She was extremely 
fond of paintings, and had long and earnestly desired to possess 
these celebrated pictures ; so that she had really made a great 
sacrifice of her taste and of her vanity. For some time she was 
satisfied with her own self-complacent reflections : but presently 
she began to be displeased that Mad. de Coulanges and Emilie 
did not see the full extent of her sacrifice. She became provoked 
by their want of penetration in not discovering all that she 
studiously concealed ; and her mind, going on rapidly from one 
step to another, decided that this want of penetration arose 
from a deficiency of sensibility. 

One day, some of her visitors, who were admiring the taste 
with which she had newly furnished a room, inquired for what 
those two compartments were intended, looking at the compart- 
ments which had been prepared for the famous pictures. Mrs. 
Somers replied that she had not yet determined what she should 
put there : she glanced her eye upon Mad. de CoiUanges and 
upon Emilie, to observe whether they felt as they ought to do. 
Mad. de Coulanges, imagining that an appeal was made to her 
taste, decidedly answered, that nothing would have so fine an 
effect as handsome looking-glasses: ''Such,'' added she, ''as 
we have at Paris. No house is furnished without them — they 
are absolute necessaries of life. And, no doubt, these places 
were originally intended for mirrors." 

" No," said Mrs. Somers, dryly, and with a look of great 
displeasure : " No, madame la comtesse, those places were not 
originally intended for looking-glasses." 

The countess secretly despised Mrs. Somers for her want of 
taste ; but, being too well bred to dispute the point, she confessed 
that she was no judge — that she knew nothing of the matter ; 
and then immediately turned to her abb^, and asked him if he 

remembered the superb mirrors in Mad. de V *s charming 

house on the Boulevards. " It is," said she, " in my opinion 
one of the very best houses in Paris. There you enter the 
principal apartments by an antechamber, such as you ought to 
see in a great house, with real ottomanes, covered with buff 

Fashionable Life, z 



338 EMILIB DE COULAMOES. 

trimmed with black velvet; and then you pass through the 
spacious salle a manger and the delightful saloon, huog with 
blue silk, to the bijou of a boudoir, that looks out upon tke 
garden, with the windows shaded by the most beautiful flowering 
shrubs in summer, and in winter adorned with exotics. Then 
you see, through the plate-glass door of the boudoir, into the 
gallery of paintings — I call it a gallery, but it is, in feet, a 
delightful room, not a gallery — where you are not to perish in 
cold, whilst you admire the magnificence of the place. Not it 
all : it is warmed by a large stove, and you may exandne the 
fine pictures at your ease, or, as you English would say, in com- 
fort This gallery must have cost M. de V an immense sum. 

The connoisseurs say that it is really the best collection of Flemish 
pictures in the possession of any individual in France. By-the- 
bye, Mrs. Somers, there is, amongst others, an excellent Van 
Dyck, a portrait of your Charles the First, when a boy, which I 
wonder that none of you rich English have purchased." 

The coimtenance of Mrs. Somers had clouded over more and 
more dining this speech ; but the heedless countess went on, 
with her usual volubility. 

"Yet, no doubt, M. de V would not sell this Van Dyck: 

but he would, I am told, part with his superb collection of print!) 
which cost him 30,000 of your pounds. He must look for a 
purchaser amongst those Polish and Russian princes who have 
nothing to do with their riches — for instance, my friend Lewenho( 
who complained that he was not able to spend half his income 
in Paris ; that he could not contrive to give an entertainment 
that cost him money enough. What can he do better than com- 
mence amateur ? — then he might throw away money as fast as 
his heart could wish. M. I'abb^, why do not you, or some 
man of letters, write directly, and advise him to this, for the 
good of his country ? What a figure those prints would make in 
Petersburgh ! — and how they would polish the Russians ! But, 
as a good Frenchwoman, I ought to wish them to remain at 
Paris : they certainly cannot be better than where they are." 

"True," cried Emilie, "they cannot be better than where they 
are, in the possession of those generous friends. I used to love 

to see Mad. de V in the midst of all her fine things, of which 

she thought so little. Her very looks are enough to make one 



EMILIE DE COULANOES. 339 

happy — all radiant with good-humoured henevolence. I am 

sure one might always salute Mad. de V with the Chinese 

compliment, 'Felicity is painted in your countenance.' " 

This was a compliment which could not he paid to Mrs. Somers 
at the present instant ; for her countenance was as little expres- 
sive of felicity as could well he imagined. Emilie, who suddenly 
turned and saw it, was so much struck that she became imme- 
diately silent. There was a dead pause in the conversation. 
Mad. de Coulanges was the only unembarrassed person in com- 
pany; she was very contentedly arranging her hair upon her fore- 
bead opposite to a looking-glass. Mrs. Somers broke the silence by 
observing, that, in her opinion, there was no occasion for more 
mirrors in this room ; and she added, in a voice of suppressed 
anger, *' I did originally intend to have filled those unfortunate 
blanks with something more to my taste." 

Mad. de Coulanges was too much occupied with her ringlets 
to hear or heed this speech. Mrs. Somers fixed her indignant 
eyes upon Emilie, who, perceiving that she was offended, yet 
not knowing by what, looked embarrassed, and simply answered, 
"Did you?" 

This reply, which seemed as neutral as words could make it, 
and which was uttered not only with a pacific, but with an in- 
timidated tone, incensed Mrs. Somers beyond measure. It put 
the finishing stroke to the whole conversation. All that had 
been said about elegant houses — antechambers — mirrors — pic- 
tures — amateurs — throwing away money; and the generous 

Mad. de V , who was always goadr-humoured^ Mrs. Somers 

fancied was meant /or her. She decided that it was absolutely 
impossible that Emilie could be so stupid as not to have per- 
fectly understood that the compartments had been prepared 
for the Guido and Correggio, which she had so generously 
sacrificed ; and the total want of feeling — of common civility — 
evinced by Emilie 's reply, was astonishing, was incomprehen- 
sible. 

The more she reflected upon the words, the more of artifice, 
of duplicity, of ingratitude, of insult, of meanness she discovered 
in them. In her cold fits of ill-humour, this lady was prone to 
degrade, as monsters below the standard of humanity, those 
whom, in the warmth of her enthusiasm, she had exalted to the 

z2 



340 EMILIE DE C0ULANQE8. 

state of angelic perfection. Emilie, though aware that she had 
unwittingly offended, was not aware how low she had sunk in 
her friend's opinion : she endeavoured, hy playful wit and 
caresses, to atone for her fault, and to reinstate herself in her 
favour. But playful wit and caresses were aggravating crimes : 
they were proofs of obstinacy in deceit, of a callous conscience, and 
of a heart that was not to be touched by the marked displeasure 
of a benefactress. Three days and three nights did the displea- 
sure of Mrs. Somers continue in full force, and manifest itself by 
a variety of signs, which were lost upon Mad. de Coulanges, but 
which were all intelligible to poor Emilie. She made several 
attempts to bring on an explanation, by saying, '' Are you not 
well ? — Is any thing the matter, dear Mrs. Somers?" But these 
questions were always coldly answered by, " I am perfectly well, 
I thank you, Mile, de Coulanges — why should you imagine that 
any thing is the matter with me ?" 

At the end of the third day of reprobation, Emilie, who could 
no longer endure this state, resolved to take courage and to ask 
pardon for her unknown offence. That night she went, trembling 
like a real criminal, into Mrs. Somers' dressing-room, kissed her 
forehead, and said, " I hope you: have not such a headache as I 
have?" 

" Have you the headache ? — I am sorry for it," said Mrs. 
Somers ; " but you should take something for it — what will you 
take?" 

"I will take nothing, except — your forgiveness." 

" My forgiveness ! — ^you astonish me, Mile, de Coulanges I I 
am sure that I ought to ask yours, if I have said a word that 
could possibly give you reason to imagine I am angry — I really 
am not conscious of any such thing ; but if you will point it out 
to me " 

"You cannot imagine that I come to accuse you, dear 
Mrs. Somers ; I do not attempt even to justify myself; I am 
convinced that, if you are displeased, it cannot be without 
reason." 

" But still you do not tell me how I have shown this violent 
displeasure : I have not, to the best of my recollection, said an 
angry or a hasty word." 

"No; but when we love people, we know when they aw 



.EMILIE DE COULANGES. 341 

offended, without their saying a hasty word — your manner has 
been so different towards me these three days past.'* 

" My manner is very unfortunate. It is impossible always to 
keep a guard over our manners : it is sufficient, I think, to guard 
our words." 

"Pray do not guard either with me," said Emilie; "for I 
would a thousand times rather that a friend should say or look 
the most angry things, than that she should conceal from me 
what she thought ; for then, j^ou know, I might displease her 
continually without knowing it, and perhaps lose her esteem and 
affection irretrievably, before I was aware of my danger — and 
with you — with you, to whom we owe so much !" 

Touched by the feeling manner in which Emilie spoke, and 
by the artless expression of her countenance, Mrs. Somers' anger 
vanished, and she exclaimed, "I have been to blame — I ask 
your pardon, Emilie — I have been much to blame — I have been 
very unjust — very ill-humoured — I see I was quite wrong — I see 
that I was quite mistaken in what I imagined.'* 

" And what did you imagine V* said Emilie. 

" Utat you must excuse me from telling," said Mrs. Somers ; 
'' I am too much ashamed of it — ^too much ashamed of myself. 
Besides, it was a sort of thing that I could not well explain, if I 
were to set about it ; in short, it was the silliest trifle in the 
world : but I assure you that if I had not loved you very much, 
I should not have been so foolishly angry. You must forgive 
these little infirmities of temper — ^you know my heart is as it 
should be." 

Emilie embraced Mrs. Somers affectionately ; and, in her joy 
at this reconciliation, and in the delight she felt at being relieved 
from the uneasiness which she had suffered for three days, loved 
her friend the better for this quarrel : she quite forgot the pain 
in the pleasure of the reconciliation ; and thought that, even if 
Mrs. Somers had been in the wrong, the candour with which she 
acknowledged it more than made amends for the error. 

" You must forgive these little infirmities of temper — ^you 
know my heart is as it should be." 

Emilie repeated these words, and said to herself, "Forgive 
them ! yes, surely ; I should be the most ungrateful of human 
beings if I did otherwise." 



342 EMILIB DE COULANGES. 

Without being the most ungrateful of human beings, Emilie, 
however, found it very difficult to keep her resolution. 

Almost every day she felt the apprehension or the certainty 
of having offended her benefactress : and the causes by which 
she gave offence were sometimes so trifling as to elude her 
notice; so mysterious, that they could not be discovered; or so 
various and anomalous, that, even when she was told in what 
manner she had displeased, she could not form any rule, or 
draw any inference, for her future conduct. Sometimes she 
offended by differing, sometimes by agreeing, in taste or opinion 
with Mrs. Somers. Sometimes she perceived that she was 
thought positive ; at other times, too complying. A word, a 
look, or even silence — passive silence — was sufficient to affiront 
this susceptible lady. Then she would go on with a string of 
deductions, or rather of imaginations, to prove that there most 
be something wrong in £milie*s disposition ; and she would insist 
upon it, that she knew better what was passing, or what would 
pass, in her mind, than Emilie could know herself. Nothing 
provoked Mrs. Somers more than the want of success in any of 
her active attempts to make others happy. She was continually 
angry with Emilie for not being sufficiently pleased or gratefiii 
for things which she had not the vanity to suspect were intended 
for her gratification, or which were not calculated to contnbote 
to her amusement : this humility, or this difference of taste, was 
always considered as affectation or perversity. One day, Mn. 
Somers was angry with Emilie because she did not thank her for 
inviting a celebrated singer to her concert ; but Emilie had no 
idea that the singer was invited on her account : of this notbii^ 
could convince Mrs. Somers. Another day, she was excessirely 
displeased because Emilie was not so much entertained as she 
had expected her to be at the installation of a knight of the 
garter. 

'' Mad. de Coulanges expressed a wish to see the ceremony of 
the installation ; and, though I hate such things myself, I took 
prodigious pains to procure tickets, and to have you well 
placed " 

*' Indeed, I was very sensible of it, dear madam." 

*' May be so, my dear ; but you did not look as if you were: 
you seemed tired to death, and said you were sleepy ; and t» 



EMILIE DE COULANGES. 343 

times repeated, < Ah ! qu'il fait chaud !* But this is what I am 
used to— what I have experienced all my life. The more pains 
a person takes to please and oblige, the less they can succeed, 
and the less gratitude they are to expect.** 

Emilie reproached herself, and resolved that, upon the next 
similar trial, she would not complain of being sleepy or tired ; 
and that she would take particular care not to say — '' Ah ! qu'il 
fait chaud!'* A short time afterwards she was in a crowded 
assembly, at the house of a friend of Mrs. Somers, a rout — a 
species of entertainment of which she had not seen examples in 
her own country (it appeared to her rather a barbarous mode of 
amusement, to meet in vast crowds, to squeeze or to be 
squeezed, without a possibility of enjoying any rational conver- 
sation). Emilie was fatigued, and almost fainting, from the 
heat, but she bore it all with a smiling countenance, and heroic 
gaiety ; for this night she was determined not to displease Mrs. 
Somers. On their return home, she was rather surprised and 
disappointed to find this lady in a fit of extreme ill-humour. 

" 1 wanted to get away two hours ago," cried she ; " but you 
would not understand any of my hints. Mile, de Coulanges ; and 
■when I asked you whether you did not find it very hot, you 
persisted in saying, * Not in the least — not in the least."* 

Mrs. Somers was the more angry upon this occasion, because 
she recollected having formerly reproached Emilie, at the 
installation, for complaining of the heat; and she persuaded 
herself, that this was an instance of perversity in Emilie*s 
temper, and a sly method of revenging herself for the past. 
Nothing could be more improbable, from a girl of such a frank, 
forgiving, sweet disposition; and no one would have been so 
ready to say so as Mrs. Somers in another mood ; but the 
nioment that she was irritated, she judged without common sense — 
never from general observations, but always from particular 
instances. It was in vain that Emilie disclaimed the motives 
attributed to her : she was obliged to wait the return of her 
friend's reason, and in the mean time to bear her reproaches — 
which she did with infinite patience. Unfortunately this 
patience soon became the source of fresh evils. Because 
Emilie was so gentle, and so ready to acknowledge and to 
believe herself to be iu the wrong, Mrs. Somers became con- 



344 EMILIE DE COULAKGEi. 

vinced that she herself was in the right in all her complaints ; 
and she fancied that she had great merit in passing over so 
many defects in one whom she had so much obliged, and who 
professed so much gratitude. Between the fits of her ill- 
humour, she would, however, waken to the full sense of Emilia's 
goodness, and would treat her with particular kindness, as if to 
make amends for the past. Then, if Emilie could not imme- 
diately resume that easy, gay familiarity of manner, which she 
used to have before experience had taught her the fear of 
offending, Mrs. Somers grew angry again and decided that 
Emilie had not sufficient elevation of soul to understand her 
character, or to forgive the little infirmities of the best of friends. 
When she was under the influence of this suspicion, every thing 
that Emilie said or looked was confirmation strong. Mrs. 
Somers was apt in conversation to throw out general reflections 
that were meant to apply to particular persons ; or to speak 
with one meaning obvious to all the company, and another to be 
understood only by some individual whom she wished to 
reproach. This art, which she had often successfully practised 
upon Emilie, she, for that reason, suspected that Emilie tried 
upon her. And then the utmost ingenuity was employed to 
torture words into strange meanings: she would misinterpret 
the plainest expressions, or attribute to them some double, 
mysterious signification. 

One evening Emilie had been reading a new novel, the merits 
of which were eagerly discussed by the company. Some said 
that the heroine was a fool : others, that she was a mad woman; 
some, that she was not either, but that she acted as if she were 
.both ; another party asserted that she was every thing that was 
great and good, and that it was impossible to paint in truer 
colours the passion of love. Mrs. Somers declared herself of 
this opinion ; but Emilie, who happened not to be present when 
this declaration was made, on coming into the room and joining 
in the conversation, gave a diametrically opposite judgment: 
she said, that the author had painted the enthusiasm with which 
the heroine yielded to her passion, instead of the violence of the 
passion to which she yielded. The French abb^ to whom 
Emilie made this observation, repeated it triumphantly to Mrs. 
Somers, who immediately changed colour, and replied in a con- 



EMILIE DE COULANOES. 345 

strained voice, " Certainly that is a very apposite remark, and 
vastly well expressed ; and I give Mile, de Coulanges infinite 
credit for it." 

Emilie, wlio knew every inflection of Mrs. Somers' voice, 
and every turn of her countenance, perceived that these words of 
praise were accompanied with strong feelings of displeasure. 
She was much embarrassed, especially as her friend fixed her 
eyes upon her whilst she blushed ; and this made her blush ten 
tunes more : she was afraid that the company, who were silent, 
should take notice of her distress ; and therefore she went on 
talking very fast about the novel, though scarcely knowing 
what she said. She made sundry blunders in names and cha- 
racters, which were eagerly corrected by the astonished Mad. de 
Coulanges, who could not conceive how any body could forget 
the dramatis personae of the novel of the day. Mrs. Somers, all 
the time, preserved silence, as if she dared not trust herself to 
speak; but her compressed lips showed sufficiently the con- 
straint under which she laboured. Whilst every body else went 
on talking, and helping themselves to refreshments which the 
servants were handing about, Mrs. Somers continued leaning on 
the mantel-piece in a deep reverie, pulling her bracelet roimd 
and round upon her wrist, till she was roused by Mad. de 
Coulanges, who appealed for judgment upon her new method of 
preparing an orange. 

" C'est a la corbeille — ^Tenez !'* cried she, holding it by a 
slender handle of orange-peel ; " Tenez ! c'est a la corbeille !" 

Mrs. Somers, with a forced smile admired the orange-basket ; 
but said, that, for her part, her hands were not sufficiently 
dexterous to imitate this fashion : '^ I," said she, ^* can only do 
like the king of Prussia and other people — squeeze the orange, 
and throw the peel away. By-the-bye, how absurd it was of 
Voltaire to be angry with the king of Prussia for that witty and 
just apologue I" 

"Just .'" repeated Emilie. 

"Just!" reiterated Mrs. Somers, in a harsh voice: "surely 
you think it so. For my part, I like the king the better for 
avowing his principles — all the world act as he did, though few 
avow it." 



346 BMILIE DE COULANOES. 

" What !" said Emilie, in a low voice, '* do not you believe in 
the reality of gratitude ?" 

" Apparently," cried Mad. de Coulanges, who was still busy 
with her orange, ** apparently, madame is a disciple of our 
Rochefoucault, and allows of no principle but self-love. In that 
case, I shall have as bitter quarrels with her as I have with you, 
nion cher abb^ ; — for Rochefoucault is a man I detest, or rather, 
I detest his maxims — the duke himself, they say, was the most 
amiable man of his day. Only conceive, that such a man should 
ascribe all our virtues to self-love and vanity!" 

'* And, perhaps," said the abb^, '*it was merely vanity that 
made him say so — ^he wished to write a witty satirical book ; but 
I will lay a wager he did not think as ill of human nature as he 
speaks of it." 

" He could hardly speak or think too ill of it," said Mrs. 
Somers, '^ if he judged of human nature by such speeches as 
that of the king of Prussia about his friend and the orange." 

" But," said Emilie, in a timid voice, "would it not be doing 
poor human nature injustice to judge of it by such words as 
those? I am convinced, with M. I'abbe, that some men, for the 
sake of appearing witty, speak more malevolently than they feel ; 
and, perhaps, this was the case with the king of Prussia." 

" And Mile, de Coulanges thinks, then," said Mrs. Somers, 
" that it is quite allowable, for the sake of appearing witty, to 
speak malevolently ?" 

"Dear madam! dear Mrs. Somers! — ^no!" cried Emilie; 
" you quite misunderstood me." 

" Pardon me, I thought you were justifying the king of 
Prussia," continued Mrs. Somers; "and I do not well see how 
that can be done without allowing — what many people do in 
practice, though not in theory — that it is right, and becoming, 
and prudent, to sacrifice a friend for a bon-mot" 

The angry emphasis, and pointed manner, in which Mrs. 
Somers spoke these words, terrified and completely abashed 
Emilie, who saw that something more was meant than met the 
ear. In her confusion she ran over a variety of thoughts ; but 
she could not recollect any thing that she had ever said, 
which merited the name of a bon-mot*-and a malevolent 



EMILIfi DE C0ULANGE8. 347 

bon-mot ! '' Surely what I said about that foolish novel cannot 
have offended Mrs. Somen ? — How is it possible I — She cannot 
be so childish as to be angry with me merely for differing with 
her in opinion. What I said might be bad criticism, but it 
could not be malevolent ; it referred only to the heroine of a 
novel. Perhaps the author may be a friend of hers, or some 
person who is in distress, and whom she has generously taken 
under her protection. Why did not I think of this before ? — I 
was wrong to give my opinion so decidedly : but then my 
opinion is of so little consequence ; assuredly it can neither do 
good nor harm to any author. When Mrs. Somers considers 
this, she will be pacified ; and when she is once cool again, she 
will feel that I could not mean to say any thing ill-natured.'' 

The moment Mrs. Somers saw that Emilie was sensible of her 
displeasure, she exerted herself to assume, during the remainder 
of the evening, an extraordinary appearance of gaiety and good- 
humour. Every body shared her smiles and kindness, except 
the unfortunate object of her indignation : she behaved towards 
Mile, de Coulanges with the most punctilious politeness ; but 
" all the cruel language of the eye " was sufficiently expressive 
of her real feelings. Emilie bore with this infirmity of temper 
with resolute patience : she expected that the fit would last only 
till she could ask for an explanation; and she followed Mrs. 
Somers, as was her usual custom upon such occasions, to her 
room at night, in order to assert her innocence. Mrs. Somers 
walked into her room in a reverie, without perceiving that she 
was followed by Emilie — threw herself into a chair — and gave a 
deep sigh. 

" What is the matter, my dear friend?" Emilie began; but, 
on hearing the sound of her voice, Mrs. Somers started up with 
sudden anger ; then, constraining herself, she said, " Pardon me, 
Mile, de Coulanges, if I tell you that I really am tired to-night 
— body and mind — I wish to have rest for both if possible — 
would you be so very obliging as to pull that bell for Masham ? 

— I wish you a very good night. 1 hope Mad. de Coulanges 

will have her ass's milk at the proper hour to-morrow — I have 
given particular orders for that purpose." 

" Your kindness to mamma, dear Mrs. Somers," said Emilie, 
<'has been invariable, and — " 



348 BMILIE DE C0ULANGE8. I 

'•Spare me, I beseech you, Mile, de Coulanges, all these ) 
grateful speeches —l really am not prepared to hear them with | 
temper to-night. Were you so good as to ring that bell— or will 
you give me leave to ring it myself?'* , 

•< If you insist upon it," said Emilie, gently withholding the 
tassel of the bell ; " but if you would grant me five minutes — 
one minute — you might perhaps save yourself and me a sleepless 
night." 

Mrs. Somers, incapable of longer commanding her passion, 
made no reply, but snatched the bell-rope, and rang violently — 
Emilie let go the tassel and withdrew. She heard Mrs. Somers 
say to herself, as she left the room — "This is too much — too 
much — really too much ! — ^hypocrisy I cannot endure. — Any 
thing but hypocrisy !" 

These words hurt Emilie more than any thing Mrs. Somers 
had ever said : her own indignation was roused, and she was 
upon the point of returning to vindicate herself; but gratitude, 
if not prudence, conquered her resentment : she recollected her 
promise to bear with the temper of her benefactress ; she 
recollected all Mrs. Somers' kindness to her mother ; and 
quietly retired to her room, determining to wait till morning for 
a more favourable opportunity to speak. — After passing a 
restless night, and dreaming the common dream of falling down 
precipices, and the uncommon circumstance of dragging Mrs. 
Somers after her by a bell-rope, she wakened to the confused, 
painful remembrance of all that had passed the preceding 
evening. She was anxious to obtain admittance to Mrs. Somers 
as soon as she was dressed ; but Masham informed her that her 
lady had given particular orders that she should << not he du- 
turhed,'* When Mrs. Somers made her appearance late at 
breakfast, there was the same forced good-humour in her 
countenance towards the company in general, and the same 
punctilious politeness towards Emilie, which had before appeared. 
She studiously avoided all opportunity of explaining herself; 
and every attempt of Emilie's towards a reconciliation, either by 
submissive gentleness or friendly familiarity, was disregarded, 
or noticed with cold disdain. Yet all this was visible only to 
her; for every body else observed that Mrs. Somers was in 
remarkably good spirits, and in the most actively obliging 



i 

) 



EMILIE DB COULANOES. 349 

liumour imaginable. After breakfast she proposed and arranged 
various parties of pleasure : she went with Mad. de Coulanges 
to pay several visits ; a large company dined with her ; and at 
night she went to a concert. In the midst of these apparent 
amusements, Emilie was made as unhappy as the marked, yet 
mysterious, displeasure of a benefactress could render a person 
of real sensibility. As she did not wish to expose herself to a 
second repulse, she forbore to follow Mrs. Somers to her room at 
night; but she sent her this note by*Mrs. Masham. 

"I have done or said something to offend you, dear Mrs. 
Somers. If you knew how much pain I have felt from your 
displeasure, I am sure you would explain to me what it can be. 
Is it possible that my differing in opinion from you about the 
heroine of the novel can have offended you? — Perhaps the 
author of the book is a friend of yours, or under your protection. 
Be assiured, that if this be the case, I did not in the least suspect 
it at the time I made the criticism. Perhaps it was this to 
which you alluded when you said that the King of Prussia was 
not the only person who would not hesitate to sacrifice a friend 
for a bon-mot. What injustice you do me by such an idea ! I 
will not here say one word about my gratitude or my affection, 
lest you should again reproach me with hypocrisy — any thing 
else I am able to bear. Pray write, if you will not speak to me. 

" Emilie." 

When Emilie was just falling asleep, Masham came into her 
room with a note in her hand. 

" Mademoiselle, I am sorry to waken you ; but my mistress 
thought you would not sleep, unless you read this note to-night." 

Emilie started up in her bed, and read the following note of 
four pages. 

" Yes, I will write, because I am ashamed to speak to you, 
my dear Emilie. I beg your pardon for pulling the bell-cord so 
violently from your hand last night — ^you must have thought me 
quite ill-bred ; and still more, I reproach myself for what I said 
about htfpocrUy, — You have certainly the sweetest and gentlest 
temper imaginable — would to Heaven I had ! But the strength 



350 EMILIE OE COULANQES. I 

of my feelings absolutely runs away with me. It is the doom of ^ 
persons of great sensibility to be both unreasonable and un- i 
happy; and often, alas! to involve in their misery those for 
whom they have the most enthusiastic affection. You see, my 
dear Emilie, the price you must pay for being my friend; but 
you have strength of mind joined to a feeling heart, and you 
will bear with my defects. Dissimulation is not one of them. 
In spite of all my efforts, I find it is impossible ever to conceal * 
from you any of even my most unreasonable fancies — your note, 
which is so characteristically frank and artless, has opened my 
eyes to my own folly. I must show you that, when I am in my 
senses, I do you justice. You deserve to be treated with perfect 
openness; therefore, however humiliating the explanation, I 
will confess to you the real cause of my displeasure. When 
you spoke of the heroine of this foolish novel, what you said was 
so applicable to some part of my own history and character, 
that I could not help suspecting you had heard the facts from a 
person with whom you spent some hours lately; and I was 
much hurt by your alluding tb them in such a severe and public 
manner. You will ask me, how I could conceive you to be 
capable of such unprovoked malevolence : and my answer is, 
' I cannot tell ;' I can only say, such is the effect of the lui- 
fortunate susceptibility of my heart, or, to speak more candidly, 
of my temper. I confess I cannot, in these particulars, alter 
my nature. Blame me as much as I blame myself; be as angry 
as you please, or as you can, my gentle friend : but at last you 
must pity and forgive me. 

" Now that all this affair is off my mind, I can sleep in peace : 
and so, I hope, will you, my dear Emilie — Good night! If '* 
friends never quarrelled, they would never taste the joys of 
reconciliation. Believe me, 

" Your ever sincere and affectionate ^ 

"A. SOMERS." 

No one tasted the joys of reconciliation more than Emilie; 
but, after reiterated experience, she was inclined to believe that ^ 
they cannot balance the evils of quarrelling. Mrs. Somers was 
one of those, who *• confess their faults, but never mend ;" and i 
who expect, for this gratuitous candour, more applause than J 



1 



EMILIE DE COULANOES. 851 



Others would claim for the real merit of reformation. So far did 
3^1 this lady carry her admiration of her own candour, that she was 
^i actually upon the point of quarrelling with Emilie again, the 
^ B next morning, because she did not seem sufficiently sensible of 
^£ the magnanimity with which she had confessed herself to be ill- 
'^ W tempered. These few specimens are sufficient to give an idea of 
' 1 this lady's powers of tormenting ; but, to form an adequate 
' '^ notion of their effect upon Emilie 's spirits, we must conceive the 
- 1 same sort of provocations to be repeated every day, for several 
^ I months. Petty torments, incessantly repeated, exhaust the most 
' I determined patience. 

(All this time. Mad. de Coulanges went on very smoothly with 
Mrs. Somers ; for she had not Emilie 's sensibility ; and, not- 
withstanding her great quickness, a hundred things might pass, 
and did pass, before her eyes, without her seeing them. She 

■ examined no farther than the surface ; and, provided that there 

■ was not any deficiency of those little attentions to which she had 
? been accustomed, it never occurred to her that a friend could be 

iraore or less pleased : she did not understand or study phy- 
siognomy ; a smile of the lips was, to her, always a sufficient 
token of approbation ; and, whether it were merely conven- 
' tional, or whether it came from the heart, she never troubled 
I herself to inquire. Provided that she saw at dinner the usual 
B couverts, and that she had a sufficient number of people to con- 
^ verse with, or rather to talk to, she was satisfied that every thing 

■ was right. All the variations in Mrs. Somers' temper were un- 

■ marked by her, or went under the general head, vapeurs noirs, 
I This species of ignorance, or confidence, produced the best 
1^ effects; for as Mrs. Somers could not, without passing the 

obvious bounds of politeness, make Mad. de Coulanges sensible 
of her displeasure, and as she had the utmost respect for the 
countess's opinion of her good breeding, she was, to a certain 
degree, compelled to command her temper. Mad. de Coulanges 
often, without knowing it, tried it terribly, by differing from her 
in taste and judgment, and by supporting her own side of the 
S^ question with all the enthusiastic volubility of the French lan- 
I guage. Sometimes the English and French music were com- 
[ pared — sometimes the English and French painters ; and every 
^ time the theatre was mentioned, Mad. de Coulanges pronounced 



f 



352 EMILIE DE COULANOES. 

an eulogiura on her favourite French actors, and triumphed over 
the comparison hetween the elegance of the French, and the 
grossierete of the English taste for comedy. 

"Good Heaven!" said she, "your fashionahle comedies 
would he too ahsurd to make the lowest of our audiences at the 
Boulevards laugh ; you have excluded sentiment and wit, and 
what have you in their place ? Characters out of drawing and 
out of nature ; grotesque figures, such as you see in a child's 
magic lantern. Then you talk of English humour — I wish I 
could understand it ; hut I cannot be diverted with seeing a 
tailor turned gentleman pricking his father with a needle, or a 
man making grimaces over a jug of sour beer." 

Mrs. Somers, piqued perhaps by the justice of some of these 
observations, would dryly answer, that it was impossible for a 
foreigner to comprehend English humour — that she believed the 
French, in particular, were destitute of taste for humour. 

Mad. de Coulanges insisted upon it, that the French have 
humour ; and Moliere furnished her with many admirable illus- 
trations. 

Emilie, in support of her mother, read a passage from that 
elegant writer, M. Suard^, who has lately attacked, with much 

^ ** 11 est trds-difficile de se faire une id6e nette de ce que lea Anglais 
entendent par ce mot ; on a tente plusieurs fois sans succes d^en douuer une 
definition precise. Gongreve, qui assurement a mis bsauooup ^humomr 
dans ses comedies, dit, que c'est une manure singidi^re el inhntable dtfaxrt 
ou de dire quelque ciose^ qui est natureile et propre d un homme 9eul, et qui 
distingue ses discours et ses actions des discours et des cuHons de tout cuUre. 

^^ Cette definition, que nous traduisons litteralement, n*est pas luminease; 
elle conviendrait 6ga1ement a la maniere dont Alexandre parle et agit dans 
Plutarque, et a celle dont Sancho parle et agit dans Cervantes. Hja 
apparence que Vhumour est comme Tesprit, et que ceux qui en ont le pins 
ne savent pas trop bien ce que c'est. 

"Nous croyons que ce genre de plaisanterie consiste aurtout dana des 
id^es ou des toumures originales, qui tiennent plus au caractdre qa'a 
Tesprit, et qui semblent 6chapper a celui qui les produit. 

** L*homme d'humour est un plaisant 86rieux, qui dit dea choaea plaiaantea 
aans avoir Tair de vouloir etre plaisant. Au reste, une scene de Vanbrui^ , 
ou une satire de Swift, feront mieux sentir ce que c^est, que toutes lea defi- 
nitions du monde. Quant i la pretention de quelquea Anglaia aor la 
possession exclusive de Vhumour^ nous pensons que si ce qu^ila entendent 
par ce mot est un genre de plaisanterie qu'on ne trouve ni dana Ariato- 



i 



ElflLIE DE COULANGES. 353 

ability, the pretensions of the English to the exclusive possession 
of humour. 

Mrs. Somers then changed her ground, and inveighed against 
French tragedy, and the unnatural tones ai\4 attitudes of the 
French tragic actors. 

" Your heroes on the French stage," said she, " always look 
over their right shoulders, to express magnanimous disdain ; and 
a lover, whether he be Grecian or Roman, Turk, Israelite, or 
American, must regularly show his passion by the pompous 
emphasis with which he pronounces the word madame ! — a word 
which must certainly have, for a French audience, some magical 
charm, incomprehensible to other nations." 

What was yet more incomprehensible to Mad. de Coulanges, 
was the enthusiasm of the English for that bloody-minded bar- 
barian Shakspeare, who is never satisfied till he has strewn the 
stage with dead bodies ; who treats his audience like children, 
that are to be frightened out of their wits by ghosts of all sorts 
and sizes in their winding sheets ; or by a set of old beggarmen, 
dressed in women's clothes, armed with broomsticks, and 
dancing and howling out their nonsensical song round a black 
kettle. 

Mrs. Somers, smiling as in scorn, would only reply, *^ Madame 
la comtesse, yours is Voltaire's Shakspeare, not ours. — Have you 
read Mrs. Montagu's essay upon Shakspeare ?'' 

"No." 

** Then positively you must read it before we say one word 
more upon the subject." 

Mad. de Coulanges, though unwilling to give up the pleasure 
of talking, took the book, which Mrs. Somers pressed upon her, 
with a promise to read it through some morning ; but, unluckily, 
she chanced to open it towards the end, and happened to see 



phane, dans Plaute, et dans Lucien, chez lea anciens ; ni dans rArioste, 
le Bemi, le Pulci, et tant d^autres, chez lea Italiens ; ni dans Cervantes, 
chez lea Espagnols; ni dans Rahener, chez les AUemands: ni dans le 
Pantagmel, la aatire M6nipp6e, le Roman comique, les comedies de 
MoliSre, de Dafrdny, de R^^ard etc., noas ne savons pas ce que c^est, et 
nous ne prendrons pas la peine de la chercher/'— ^tconf, Melanges de 
Litteraiure, vol. iv. p. 366. 
Fashionable Life, k ^ 



354 ElflLIE DE COULAMGEl. 

some animadversions upon Racine, by which she wa 
nished and disgusted that she could read no more. S 
down the book, defying any good critic to point out a t 
line in Racine. " This is a defiance I have heard mad 
of letters of the highest reputation in Paris/' added la c 
"have not you, Mons. TAbb^?" 

The abb^, who was madame's common voucher, acce 
this slight emendation — that he had heard numbers defy 
of good taste to point out a flat line in Pheedre, 

Mrs. Somers would, perhaps, have acknowledged the 
of Phsedre, if she had not been piqued by this defia 
exaggeration on one side produced injustice on the otl 
these disputes about Racine and Shakspeare were co 
renewed, and never ended to the satisfaction of eith 
Those who will not make allowances for national preju 
who do not consider how much all our tastes are influ 
early education, example, and the accidental association 
may dispute for ever without coming to any conclusion ; ei 
if they avoid stating any distinct proposition ; if each of 
batants sets up a standard of his own, as the universal st{ 
taste ; and if, instead of arguments, both parties have 
to wit and ridicule. In these skirmishes, however, 
Coulanges, though apparently the most eager for victo: 
seriously lost her temper — her eagerness was more of mar 
of mind ; after pleading the cause of Racine, as if it were 
of life and death, as if the fate of Europe or the universe c 
upon it, she would turn to discuss the merits of a riband w 
vehemence, or coolly observe that she was hoarse, and 
would quit Racine for a better thing — de Veau sucre. Mrs 
on the contrary, took the cause of Shakspeare, or any otl 
that she defended, seriously to heart. The wit or 
of her adversary, if she affected not to be hurt by i 
moment, left a sting in her mind which rankled long an 
Though she often failed to refute the arguments brough 
her, yet she always rose from the debate precisely of 
opinion ; and even her silence, which Mad. de Coulang 
times mistook for assent or conviction, was only the £ 
of contemptuous pity — the proof that she deemed the 
standing of her opponent beneath all fair competition ^ 



EMILIE DE COULANQES. 355 

>wii. The understanding of Mad. de Coulanges had, mdeed, in 
the space of a few months, sunk far helow the point of mediocrity, 
in Mrs. Somers* estimation — she had hegun hy overvaluing, and 
the ended hy underrating it She at first had taken it for granted 
ihat Mad. de Coulanges possessed a " very superior understand- 
ing and great strength of mind ;" then she discovered that la 
3omtesse was "uncommonly superficial, even for a French- 
MToman;" and at last she decided, that "really Mad. de Cou- 
anges was a very silly woman." 

Mrs. Somers now hegan to he seriously angry with Emilie for 
ilways being of her mother's opinion : " It is really, Mile, de 
Doulanges, carrying your filial affection too far. We cold-hearted 
Buglish can scarcely conceive this sort of fervid passion, which 
French children express about every thing, the merest trifle, 
that relates to mamma ! — Well ! it is an amiable national 
prejudice; and one cannot help wishing that it may never, 
like other amiable enthusiasms, fail in the moment of serious 
trial." 

Emilie, touched to the quick upon a subject nearest her heart, 
replied with a degree of dignity and spirit which surprised Mrs. 
Somers, who had never seen in her any thing but the most sub- 
missive gentleness. " The affection, whether enthusiastic or not, 
which we French children profess for our parents, has been of 
late years put to some strong trials, and has not been found to 
fail. In many instances it has proved superior to all earthly 
terrors — to imprisonment — to torture — to death — to Robespierre. 

Daughters have sacrificed themselves for their parents. Oh ! 

if my life could have saved my father's !" 

Emilie clasped her hands, and looked up to heaven with the 
unaffected expression of filial piety in her countenance. Every 
body was silent. Mrs. Somers was struck with regret — with re- 
morse — for the taunting manner in which she had spoken. 

" My dearest Emilie, forgive me !" cried she ; " I am shocked 
it what I said." 

Emilie took Mrs. Somers' hand between hers, and endeavoured 
to smile. Mrs. Somers resolved that she would keep, hencefor- 
ivard, the strictest guard upon her own temper ; and that she 
seould never more be so ungenerous, so barbarous, as to insult 
^ne who was so gentle, so grateful, so much in her power, and 
Aa2 



356 EMILIE DE COULANGES. 

SO deserving of her affection. These good resolutions, formed 
in the moment of contrition, were, however, soon forgotten : strong 
emotions of the heart are transient in their power ; habits of the 
temper permanent in their influence.— Like a child who promises 
to be always good, and forgets its promise in an hour, Mrs. 
Somers soon grew tired of keeping her temper in subjection. It 
did not, indeed, break out immediately towards Emilie; but, in her 
conversations with Mad. de Coulanges, the same feelings of irrita- 
tion and contempt recurred ; and Emilie, who was a cleaivsighted 
bystander, suffered continual uneasiness upon these occasions — 
uneasiness, which appeared to Mad. de Coulanges perfectly 
causeless, and at which she frequently expressed her astonish- 
ment. Emilie 's prescient kindness often, indeed, "felt the 
coming storm;" while her mother's careless eye saw not, even 
when the dark cloud was just ready to burst over her head. With 
all the innocent address of which she was mistress, Emilie tried 
to turn the course of the conversation whenever it tended towards 
dangerous subjects of discussion; but her mother, far from shim- 
ning, would often dare and provoke the war; and she would combat 
long after both parties were in the dark, even till her adversary 
quitted the field of battle, exclaiming, ^^ Let us have peace on any 
terms f my dear countess ! — I give up the point to yoUf M<id, de 
Coulanges" ' " 

This last phrase Emilie particularly dreaded, as the precursor 
of ill-humour for some succeeding hours. Mrs. Somers at length 
became so conscious of her own inability to conceal her contempt 
or to command her temper, that she was almost as desirous 
as Emilie could be to avoid these arguments ; and, the moment 
the countess prepared for the attack, she would recede, with, 
'^ Excuse me. Mad. de Ooulanges : we had better not talk upon 
these subjects — it is of no use — ^really of no manner of use : let 
us converse upon other topics — there are subjects enough, I hope, 
upon which we shall always agree." 

Emilie was at first rejoiced at this arrangement, but the con- 
straint was insupportable to her mother : indeed, the circle of 
proper subjects for conversation contracted daily ; for not only 
the declared offensive topics were to be avoided, but innumerable 
others, bordering on or allied to them, were to be shunned with 
egual care— a degree of caution of which the volatile countess 



EMILIE DE COULANOES. 357 

was utterly incapable. One day, at dinner, she asked the gen- 
tleman opposite to her, " How long this intolerable rule — of 
talking only upon subjects where people are of the same opinion 
— ^had been the fashion, and what time it would probably last in 
England? — If it continue much longer, I must fly the country," 
said she. " I would almost as soon, at this rate, be a prisoner 
in Paris, as in your land of freedom. You value, above all 
* things, your liberty of the press — ^now, to me, liberty of the 
tongue, which is evidently a part, if not the best part, of personal 
liberty, is infinitely more dear. Bon Dieu .'—even in I'Abbaye 
one might talk of Racine !" 

Mad. de Coulanges spoke this half in jest, half in earnest ; but 
Mrs. Somers took it wholly in earnest, and was most seriously 
offended. Her feelings upon the occasion were strongly ex- 
pressed in a letter to a friend, to whom she had, from her 
infancy, been in the habit of confiding all her joys and sorrows 
— all the histories of her loves and hates — of her quarrels and 

reconciliations. This friend was an elderly lady, who, besides 
possessing superior mental endowments which inspired admira^ 
tion, and a character which commanded high respect, was blessed 
with an uncommonly placid, benevolent temper. This enabled 
her to do what no other human being had ever accomplished — 
to continue in peace and amity, for upwards of thirty years, with 
Mrs. Somers. The following is one of many hundreds of episto- 
lary complaints or invectives, which, during the course of that 

1 time, this '< much enduring lady" was doomed to read and 
answer. 

"to lady LITTLETON. 

" For once, my dear friend, I am secure of your sympathizing 

in my indignation*- my long suppressed, just, virtuous indigna- 

^ tion — ^yes, virtuous ; for I do hold indignation to be a part of 

virtue : it is the natural, proper expression of a warm heart and 

a strong character against the cold-blooded vices of meanness 

^ and ingratitude. Would that those to whom I allude could feel 

I it as a punishment ! — but no, this is not the sort of punishment 

i they are formed to feel. Nothing but what comes home to their 

I interests — their paltry interests ! — their pleasures — their selfish 

^ pleasures ! — ^their amusements— their frivolou& amM&ex!\ew\.<&\ ^vgl 



358 EMILIE DE COULANOE8. 

touch souls of such a sort To this half-fonned race of uk 
who are scarce endued with a moral sense, the generous 
sion of indignation always appears something incompre 
— ^ridiculous; or, in their language, outre! inom! W 
heings, therefore, I always am — as much as my nature w 
me to he — upon my guard ; I keep within what they 
hounds of politeness — their dear politeness ! What a si 
simagr^e it is, after all ! and how can honest human nati 
to he penned up all its days hy the Chinese paling of ce; 
or that French filigree work, politesse ? English hiunan 
cannot endure this, as yet; and I am glad of it — ^hearti 
of it— Now to the point. 

" You guess that I am going to speak of the Coulange 
my dear friend, you were quite right in advising me, 
first hecame acquainted with them, not to give way hi 
my enthusiasm — ^not to he too generous, or to expect to 
gratitude. Gratitude I why should I ever expect to mi 
any ? — Where I have most deserved, most hoped for it, 
heen always most disappointed. My life has heen a 
sacrifices ! — ^thankless and fruitless sacrifices ! There is 
possihle species of sacrifice of interest, pleasure, ha; 
which I have not heen willing to make — which I have n< 
— ^for my friends — ^for my enemies. Early in life, I gai 
lover I adored to a friend, who afterwards deserted 
married a man I detested to ohlige a mother, who 
refused to see me on her death-hed. "What exertions 
for years to win the affection of the hushand to whom 
only hound in duty ! My generosity was thrown awt 
him — ^he died — I hecame amhitious — I had means of gr: 
my amhition — a splendid alliance was in my power. A 
is a strong passion as well as love — ^but I sacrificed it 
hesitation to my children — I devoted myself to the ed 
of my two sons, one of whom has never, in any instanci 
he hecame his own master, shown his mother tenden 
affection ; and who, on some occasions, has scarcely t 
towards her with the common forms of respect anc 
Despairing, utterly despairing of gratitude from my own 
and natural friends, I looked abroad, and endeavoured 1 
friendships with strangers, in hopes of finding more co 



EMILIE DE COULANOES. 359 

rs. I spared nothing to earn attachment — my time, my 
I, my money. I lavished money so, as even, notwith- 
ng my large income, to reduce myself frequently to the 
straitened and emharrassing circumstances. And hy all I 
lone, by all I have suffered, what have I gained ? — ^not a 

friend — except yourself. You, on whom I have never 
red the slightest favour, you are at this instant the only 

upon earth hy whom I am really beloved. To you, who 
my whole history, I may speak of myself as I have done, 
>n knows ! not with vanity, but with deep humiliation and 
less of heart. The experience of my whole life leaves me 
:he deplorable conviction that it is impossible to do good, 
t is vain to hope even for friendship from those whom we 

'y last disappointment has been cruel, in proportion to the 
hopes I had formed. I cannot cure myself of this 
ous folly. I did form high expectations of happiness 
the society and gratitude of this Mad. and Mile, de 
iges; but the mother turns out to be a mere frivolous 
h comtesse, ignorant, vain, and positive — as all ignorant 
! are ; full of national prejudices, which she supports in 
est absurd and petulant manner. Possessed with the 
ty, common to all Parisians, of thinking that Paris is the 
world, and that nothing can be good taste, or good sense, 
)d manners, but what is d-la-mode de Paris ; through all 
wasted politeness, you see, even by her mode of praising, 
he has a most illiberal contempt for all who are not 
ms — she considers the rest of the world as barbarians. I 
give you a thousand instances ; but her conversation is 
so frivolous, that it is not worth reciting. I bore with it 
ter day for several months with a patience for which, I am 
yrou would have given me credit ; and I let her go on 
lly with absurd observations upon Shakspeare, and 
agant nonsense about Racine. To avoid disputing with 
gave up every point — I acquiesced in all she said — and 
egged to have peace. Still she was not satisfied. You 
there are tempers which never can be contented, do what 
ill to please them. Mad. de Coulanges actually quarrelled 
ae for begging that we might have peace ; and that we 



360 EMILIE DE C0ULAN0E8. 

might talk upon subjects where we should not be likely to < 
disagree. This will seem to you incredible ; but it is the natuie 
of French caprice : and for this I ought to have been prepared. 
But, indeed, I never could have prepared myself for the strange 
manner in which this lady thought proper to manifest her anger 
this day at dinner, before a large company. She spoke abso- 
lutely, notwithstanding all her good-breeding, in the most 
brutally ungrateful manner ; and, after all I have done for her, 
she represented me as being as great a tyrant as Robespierre, 
and spoke of my house as a more intolerable prison than any in 
Paris ! ! ! I only state the fact to you, without making any 
comments — I never yet saw so thoroughly selfish and unfeeling 
a human being. 

*' The daughter has as far too much as the mother has too 
little sensibility. Emilie plagues me to death with her fine 
feelings and her sentimentality, and all her French parade of 
affection, and superfluity of endearing expressions, which mean 
nothing, and disgust English ears. She is always fancying that 
I am angry or displeased with her or with her mother ; and 
then I am to have tears, and explanations, and apologies : she 
has not a mind large enough to understand my character : and 
if I were to explain to eternity, she would be as much in the 
dark as ever. Yet, after all, there is something so ingenuous 
and affectionate about this girl that I cannot help loving her, 
and that is what provokes me ; for she does not, and never can, 
feel for me the affection that I have for her. My little hastiness 
of temper she has not strength of mind sufficient to bear — I see 
she is dreadfully afraid of me, and more constrained in my 
company than in that of any other person. Not a visitor comes, 
however insignificant, but Mile, de Coulanges seems more at her 
ease, and converses more with them than with me — she talks to 
me only of gratitude, and such stuff. She is one of those feeble 
persons who, wanting confidence in themselves, are continually 
afraid that they shall not be grateful enough; and so they 
reproach and torment themselves, and refine and tentimentaUxe, 
till gratitude becomes burdensome (as it always does to weak 
minds), and the very idea of a benefactor odious. Mile, de 
Coulanges was originally unwilling to accept of any obligation 
from me : she knew her own character better than I did. I do 



EUILIE DB C0ULANGE8. 361 

not deny that she has a heart ; hut she has no soul : I hope you 
understand and feel the difference. I rejoice, my dear Lady 
Littleton, that you are coming to town immediately. I am 
harassed almost to death hetween want of feeling and fine 
feeling. I really long to see you and to talk over all these 
things. Nohody hut you, my dear friend, ever understood me. 
—Farewell ! 

" Yours affectionately, 

" A. SOMERS." 

To this long letter. Lady Littleton replied hy the following 
short note. 

" I hope to see you the day after to-morrow, my dear friend ; 
in the mean time, do not decide, irrevocably, that Mile, de 
Coulanges has no soul. 

" Yours affectionately, 

" L. Littleton." 

Mrs. Somers was rather disappointed hy the calmness of this 
note ; and she was most impatient to see Lady Littleton, that 
she might work up her mind to the proper pitch of indignation. 
She stationed a servant at her ladyship's house to give her 
notice the moment of her arrival in town. The instant that she 
was informed of it she ordered her carriage ; and the whole of 
her conversation during this visit was an invective against 
Emilie and Mad. de Coulanges. The next day, Emilie, who 
had heard the most enthusiastic eulogiums upon Lady Littleton, 
expressed much satisfaction on finding that she was come to 
town; and requested Mrs. Somers' permission to accompany 
her on her next visit. The request was rather embarrassing ; 
but Mrs. Somers granted it with a sort of constrained civility. 
It was fortunate for Emilie that she was so unsuspicious; for 
her manner was consequently frank, natural, and affectionate ; 
and she appeared to the greatest advantage to Lady Littleton. 
Mrs. Somers threw herself back in the chair and sat silent, 
whilst Emilie, in hopes of pleasing her, conversed with the 
utmost freedom with her friend. The conversation, at last, was 
mterrupted by an exclamation from Mia, ^oisiet^^ ^'^ ^wA 



362 iuXLIB DB COULANGES. 

Heavens ! my dear Lady Littleton, how can you endure this 
smell of paint? It has made my head ache terribly — ^where 
does it come from V* 

" From my bedchamber/' said Lady Littleton. " They have, 
unluckily, misunderstood my orders; and they have freshly 
painted every one in my house." 

** Then it is impossible that you should sleep here — I wiU not 
allow you — it will poison you — ^it will give you the palsy 
immediately — it is destruction — it is death. You must come 

home with me directly — I insist upon it But, no," said she, 

checking herself, with a look of sudden disappointment, ''no, 
my dearest friend ! I cannot invite you ; for I have not a bed 
to offer you.*' 

"Yes, mine — you forget mine — dear Mrs. Somers," cried 
Emilie ; " you know I can sleep with mamma." 

"By no means. Mile, de Coulanges; you cannot possibly 
imagine — " 

" I only imagine the tiuth," said Emilie, " that this arrange- 
ment would be infinitely more convenient to mamma ; I know 
she likes to have me in the room with her. Pray, dear Mrs 
Somers, let it be so." 

Mrs. Somers made many ceremonious speeches : but Lady 
Littleton seemed so well inclined to accept Emilie's offered 
room, that she was obliged to yield. She was vexed to perceive 
that Emilie's manners pleased Lady Littleton ; and, after they 
returned home, the activity with which Emilie moved her books, 
her drawing-box, work, &c., furnished Mrs. Somers with fresh 
matter for displeasure. At night, when Lady Littleton went to 
take possession of her apartment, and when she observed how 
active and obliging Mile, de Coulanges had been, Mrs. Somers 
shook her head, and replied, " All this is just a proof to me of 
what I asserted, Lady Littleton — and what I must irrevocably 
iassert — that Mile, de Coulanges has no soul. You are a new ac- 
quaintance, and I am an old friend. She exerts herself to please 
you ; she does not care what I think or what I feel about the 
matter. Now this is just what I call having no soul." 

"My dear Mrs. Somers," said Lady Littleton, "be reasonable; 
and you must perceive that Emilie's eagerness to please me 
arises from her regard and gratitude to you : she has, I make 



BMILIE DE COULANGE8. 3^ 

no doubt, heard that I am your intimate friend, and your praises 
have disposed her to like me. — Is this a proof that she has no 
souir* 

" My dear Lady Littleton, we will not dispute about it — I see 
you are fascinated, as I was at first. Manner is a prodigious 
advantage — ^but I own I prefer solid English sincerity. Stay a 
little : as soon as Mile, de Coulanges thinks herself secure of 
you, she will completely abandon me. I make no doubt that 
she will complain to you of my bad temper and ill usage ; and 
I dare say that she will succeed in prejudicing you against me." 

" She will succeed only in prejudicing me against herself, if 
she attempt to injure you," said Lady Littleton; ''but, till I 
have some plain proof of it, I cannot believe that any person 
has such a base and ungrateful disposition." 

Mrs. Somers spent an hour and a quarter in explaining her 
<u»u8es of complaint against both mother and daughter; and she 
at last retired much dissatisfied, because her friend was not as 
angry as she was, but persisted in the resolution to see more 
hefore she decided. After passing a few days in the house with 
Mile, de Coulanges, Lady Littleton frankly declared to Mrs. 
Somers that she thought her complaints of Emilie's temper quite 
imreasonable, and that she was a most amiable and affectionate 
girl. Respect for Lady Littleton restrained Mrs. Somers from 
showing the full extent of her vexation ; she contented herself 
with repeating, " Mile, de Coulanges is certainly a very amiable 
young woman — I would by no means prejudice you against her 
— ^but when you know her as well as I do, you will find that she 
has no soul." 

Mrs. Somers, in the course of four-and-twenty hours, found a 
multitude of proofs in support of her opinion ; but they were 
none of them absolutely satisfactory to Lady Littleton's judg- 
ment. Whilst they were debating about her character, Emilie 
came into the room to show Mrs. Somers a French translation, 
which she had been making, of a pretty little English poem, 
called ''The Emigrant's Grave." It was impossible to be dis- 
pleased with the translation, or with the motive from which it 
was attempted ; for it was done at the particular request of Mrs. 
Somers. This lady's ingenuity, however, did not fail to discover 



364 EMILIE DB COULANGES. 

some cause for dissatisfaction. Mile, de Coulanges bad adapted 
the words to a French, and not to an English air. 

" This is a favourite air of mamma's," said Emilie, " and I 
thought that she would be pleased by my choosing it." 

" Yes," replied Mrs. Somers, in her constrained voice, " I 
remember that the Countess de Coulanges and her friend— or 
your friend — M. de Brisac, were charmed with this air, when 
you sang it the other night. I found fault with it, I believe — 
but then you had a majority against me ; and with some people 
that is sufficient. Few ask themselves what constitutes a ma- 
jority — ^numbers or sense. Judgments and tastes may ^differ in 
value ; but one vote is always as good as another, in the opinion 
of those who are decided merely by numbers." 

" I hope that I shall never be one of those," said Emib'e. 
'* Upon the present occasion I assure you, my dear Mrs. Somers, 
that I was influenced by—" 

'< Oh ! my dear Mile, de Coulanges," interrupted Mrs. Somers, 
'' you need not give yourself the trouble to explain about such 
a trifle — the thing is perfectly clear. And nothing is more natur 
ral than that you should despise the taste of a friend when put 
in competition with that of a lover." 

"Of a lover!" 

" Yes, of a lover. Why should Mile, de Coulanges think it 
necessary to look astonished ? But young ladies imagine this 
sort of dissimulation is becoming ; and can I hope to meet with 
an exception, or to find one superior to the finesse of her sex? 
—I beg your pardon. Mile, de Coulanges, I really forgot that 
Lady Littleton was present when this terrible word lover escaped 
— ^but I can assure you that frankness is not incompatible with 
her ideas of delicacy." 

" You are mistaken, dear Mrs. Somers ; indeed you are mis- 
taken," said Emilie; "but you are displeased with me now, and 
I will take a more favourable moment to set you right. Li the 
mean time, I will go and water the hydrangia, which I forgot, 
and which I reproached myself for forgetting yesterday." 

Emilie left the room. 

" Are you convinced now, my dear Lady Littleton," cried 
Mrs. Somers, " that this girl has no soul — and very little heart?" 



EUILIE DB COULANGES. 365 

• »* I am convinced only that she has an excellent temper,** said 
Lady Littleton. " I hope you do not think a good temper is 
incompatible with a heart or a soul.** 

** I will tell you what I think, and what I am sure of,** cried 
Mrs. Somers, raising her voice ; ** that Mile, de Coulanges will 
be a constant cause of dispute and uneasiness between you and 
me. Lady Littleton — I foresee the end of this. As a return for 
all I have done for her and her mother, she will rob me of the 
affections of one whom I love and esteem, respect and admire — 
as she well knows — above all other human beings. She will rob 
me of the affections of one who has been my friend, my best, my 

only constant friend, for twenty years ! Oh I why am I 

doomed eternally to be the victim of ingratitude ?** 

In spite of Lady Littleton*s efforts to stop and calm her, Mrs. 
Somers burst out of the room in an agony of passion. She ran 
up a back staircase which led to her dressing-room, but suddenly 
stopped when she came to the landing-place, for she found 
Emilie watering her plants. 

<<Look, dear Mrs. Somers, this hydrangia is just going to • 
blow ; though I was so careless as to forget to water it yester- 
day.** 

" I beg, Mile, de Coulanges, that you will not trouble your- 
self,'* said Mrs. Somers, haughtily. "Surely there are servants 
enough in this house whose business it is to remember these 
things.** 

"Yes,** said Emilie, "it is their business, but it is my plea- 
sure. You must not, indeed you must not, take my watering-pot 
from me!'* 

"Pardon me, I must, mademoiselle — ^you are very conde- 
scending and polite, and I am very blunt and rude, or whatever 
you please to think me. But the fact is, that I am not to be 
flattered by what the French call des petites attentions : they are 
suited to little minds, but not to me. You will never know my 
character, Mile, de Coulanges — I am not to be pleased by such 
means.** 

" Teach me then better means, my dear friend, and do not 
bid me despair of ever pleasing you,*' said Emilie, throwing her 
arms round Mrs. Somers to detain her. 

" Excuse me — I am an Englishwoman, and do not lois^ em- 



2G6 BMILIB DE C0ULAN0E8. 

bratsadet, which mean nothmg/' said Mrs. Somers, struggling to 
disengage herself; and she rushed suddenly forward, without 
perceiving that Emilie's foot was entangled in her train. Emilie 
was thrown from the top of the stairs to the bottom. Mrs. 
Somers screamed — Lady Littleton came out of her room. 

" She is dead ! — I have killed her !"^ried Mrs. Somers. Lady 
Littleton raised Emilie from the ground — she was quite stunned 
by the violence of the fall. 

" Oh ! speak to me ! dearest Emilie, speak once more !" said 
Mrs. Somers. 

As soon as Emilie could speak, she assured Mrs. Somers that 
she should be quite well in a few minutes. When she attempted, 
however, to walk, she found she was unable to move, for her 
.ankle was violently sprained : she was carried into Lady Little- 
ton's room, and placed upon a sofa. She exerted herself to 
bear the pain she felt, that she might not alarm or seem to 
reproach Mrs. Somers ; and she repeatedly blamed herself for 
the awkwardness with which she had occasioned her own falL 
* Mrs. Somers, in the greatest bustle and confusion, called every 
servant in the house about her, sent them different ways for all 
the remedies she had ever heard of for a sprain ; then was sure 
Emilie's skull was fractured — asked fifty times in five minutes 
whether she did not feel a certain sickness in her stomach, which 
was the infallible sign of "something lorong'* — insisted upon her 
smelling at salts, vinegar, and various essences ; and made her 
swallow, or at least taste, every variety of drops and cordials. 
By this time Mad. de Coulanges, who was at her toilet, had heard 
of the accident, and came running in half dressed ; the hurry of 
Mrs. Somers' manner, the crowd of assistants, the quantity of 
remedies, the sight of Emilie stretched upon a sofa, and the 
sound of the word fracture f which caught her ear, had such an 
effect upon the countess, that she was instantly seized with one 
of her nervous attacks ; and Mrs. Somers was astonished to see 
Emilie spring from the sofa to assist her mother. When Mad. 
de Coulanges recovered, Emilie used all her powers of persuasion 
to calm her spirits, laughed at the idea of her skull being frac- 
tured, and said, that she had only twisted her ankle, which would 
merely prevent her from dancing for a few days. The countess 
pitied herself for having such terribly weak nerves— congratulated 



I 



EMILIE DE COULANGES. 867 

herself upon her daughter's safety — declared that it was a miracle 
how she could have escaped, in falling down such a narrow stair- 
case — ohserved, that, though the stairs in London were cleaner 
and hetter carpeted, the staircases of Paris were at least four 
times as hroad, and, consequently, a hundred times as safe. She 
then reminded Emilie of an anecdote mentioned by Mad. de 
Genlis about a princess of France, who, when she retired to a 
convent, complained bitterly of the narrowness of the staircase, 
which, she said, she found a real misfortune to be obliged 
to descend. ''Tell me, Emilie, what was the name of the 
princess V* 

** The Princess Louisa of France, I believe, mamma," replied 
Emilie. 

Mad. de Coulanges repeated, ** Ay, the Princess Louisa of 
France ;" and then, well satisfied, returned to finish her toilette. 

" You have an excellent memory, Mile, de Coulanges," said 
Mrs. Somers, looking with an air of pique at Emilie. " I really 
am rejoiced to see you so much yourself again — I thought you 
were seriously hurt." 

** I told you that I was not," said Emilie, forcing a smile. 

" Yes, but I was such a fool as to be terrified out of my 
senses by seeing you lie down on the sofa. I might have saved 
myself and you a great deal of trouble. I must have appeared 
ridiculously officious. I saw indeed that I was troublesome; 
and I seem to be too much for you now. I will leave you with 
Lady Littleton, to explain to her how the accident happened. 
Pray tell the thing just as it was — do not spare me, I beg. I do 
not desire that Lady Littleton, or any friend I have upon 
earth, should think better of me than I deserve. Remember, 
you have my free leave. Mile, de Coulanges, to speak of me as 
you think — so don't spare me !" cried Mrs. Somers, shutting the 
door with violence as she left the room. 

** Lean upon me, my dear," said Lady Littleton, who saw that 
Emilie turned exceedingly pale, and looked towards a chair, as if 
she wished to reach it, but could not. 

" I thought," said she, in a faint voice, " that this pain would 
go off, but it is grown more violent." Emilie could say no more ; 
she had borne intense pain as long as she was able : and now, 
quite overcome, she leaned back, and fainted. laA^ \iii^,s^ss^ 



368 EMILIE DE COULANOES. 

threw open the window, sprinkled water upon Emilie's face, and 
gave her assistance in the kindest manner, without calling any 
of the servants ; she knew that the return of Mrs. Somers would 
do more harm than good. Emilie soon recovered her recol- 
lection ; and, whilst Lady Littleton was ruhbing the sprained 
ankle with ether, in hopes of lessening the pain, she asked how 
the accident had happened. — Emilie replied simply, that she had 
entangled her foot in Mrs. Somers' gown. '' I understand, from 
what Mrs. Somers hinted when she left the room," said Lady 
Littleton, " that she was somehow in fault in this affair, and 
that you could blame her if you would ; but I see that you will 
not ; and I love you the better for justifying the good opmion 
that I had formed of you, Emilie. But I will not talk senti- 
ment to you now — ^you are in too much pain to relish it." 

" Not at all," said Emilie : ''I feel more pleasure than pain 
at this moment ; indeed my ankle does not hurt me now that I 
am quite still — the pleasant cold of the ether has relieved the 
pain. How kind you are to me. Lady Littleton, and how much I 
am obliged to you forjudging so favourably of my character!" 

" You are not obliged to me, my dear, for I do you only jus- 
tice." 

'* Justice is sometimes felt as the greatest possible obligation, 
especially by those who have experienced the reverse. — But," 
said Emilie, checking herself, " let me not blame Mrs. Somers, 
or incline you to blame her. I should do very wrong, indeed, if 
I were, in return for all she has done for us, to cause any jea- 
lousies or quarrels between her and her best friend. Oh ! that 
is what I most dread ! To prevent it, I would — ^it is not polite 
to say so — ^but I would, my dear Lady Littleton, even withdraw 
myself from your society. This very day you return to your 
own house. You were so good as to ask me to go often to see 
you : forgive me if I do not avail myself of this kind permission. 
You will know my reasons ; and I hope they are such as you will 
approve of." 

A servant came in, to say that her ladyship's carriage was at 
the door. 

" One word more before you go, my dear Lady Littleton," 
said Emilie, with a supplicating voice and countenance. " Tell 
me, I beseech you — ^for you have been her friend from her child- 



BMILIE DE COULANOES* 369 

hood, and must know better than any one living — ^tell me how 
I can please Mrs. Somers. I begin to be afraid that I shall at 
last be weary of my fruitless efforts, and I dread — above all things 
I dread — that my affection for her should be worn out. How 
painful it would be to sustain the continual weight of obligation 
without being able to feel the pleasure of gratitude !" 

Lady Littleton was going to reply, but she was prevented by 
the sudden entrance of Mrs. Somers with her face of wrath. 

" So, Lady Littleton, you are actually going, I find ! — And I 
have not had one moment of your conversation. May I be 
allowed — ^if Mile, de Coulanges has finished her mysteries — to 
say a few words to you?" 

'*You will give me leave, I am sure, Emilie," said Lady 
Littleton, " to repeat to Mrs. Somers every word that you have 
said to me V* 

"Yes, every word,'* said Emilie, blushing, yet speaking with 
firmness. " I have no mysteries — I do not wish to conceal from 
Mrs. Somers any thing that I say or think." 

Mrs. Somers seized Lady Littleton's arm, and left the room ; 
but when she had entire possession of her friend's ear, she had 
nothing to say, or nothing that she would say, except half sen- 
tences, reproaching her for not staying longer, and insinuating 
that Emilie would be the cause of their separating for ever. — 
" Now, as you have her permission, will you favour me with a 
repetition of her last conversation ?" 

" Not in your present humour, my dear," said Lady Littleton : 
" this is not the happy moment to speak reason to you. Adieu ! 
I give you four-and-twenty hours* grace before I declare you a 
bankrupt in temper. You shall hear from me to-morrow ; for, 
on some subjects^ I have always found it better to write than to 
speak to you." 

Mrs. Somers continued during the remainder of the day in a 
desperate state of ill-humour, which was increased by finding 
that Mile, de Coulanges could neither stand nor walk. Mrs. 
Somers was persuaded that Emilie, if she would have exerted 
herself, could have done both, but that she preferred exciting 
the pity of the whole house ; and this, all circumstances con- 
sidered, was a proof of total want of generosity and gratitude. 

Fashionable Life, b b 



370 EUILIE DE C0ULANGE8. 

The ne^t morning, however, she was alarmed by hearing from 
Mrs. Mashami whom she had sent to attend upon Mile, de 
Coulanges, that her ankle was violently swelled and inflamed.— 
Just when the full tide of her afiections was beginning to flow in 
Emilie's favour, Mrs. Somers received the following letter from 
Lady Littleton : — 

" Enclosed, I have sent you, as well as I can recollect it, every 
word of the conversation that passed yesterday between Mile, de 
G)ulanges and me. If I were less anxious for your happiness, 
and if I had not so high an opinion of the excellence of your 
disposition, I should wish, my dear friend, to spare both you 
and myself the pain of speaking and hearing the truth. But I 
know that I have preserved your affection many years beyond 
the usual limits of female friendship, by daring to speak to you 
with perfect sincerity, ^nd by trusting to the justice of your 
better self. Perhaps you would rather have a compliment to 
your generosity than to your justice ; but in this I shall not 
indulge you, because I think you already set too high a value 
upon generosity. It has been the misfortune of your life, my 
dear friend, to believe that, by making great sacrifices, and 
conferring great benefits, you could ensure to yourself, in 
return, affection and gratitude. You mistake both the nature of 
obligation and the effect which it produces on the human mind. 
Obligations may command gratitude, but can never ensure love. 
If the benefit be of a pecuniary nature, it is necessarily attended 
with a certain sense of humiliation, which destroys the equality 
of friendship. Of whatever description the favour may be, it 
becomes burdensome, if gratitude be expected as a tribute, 
instead of being accepted as the free-will offering of the heart : 
* still paying still to owe ' is irksome, even to those who have 
nothing Satanic in their natures. A person who has received a 
favour is in a defenceless state with respect to a benefactor ; and 
the benefactor who makes an improper use of the power which 
gratitude gives becomes an oppressor. I know yoiur generous 
spirit, and I am fully sensible that no one has a more just idea 
than you have of the delicacy that ought to be used towards 
those whom you have obliged ; but you must permit me to 



^ 



EUILIE DE C0ULAN0E8. 371 

observe, that your practice is not always conformable to your 
theory. Temper is doubly necessary to those who love, as you 
do, to confer favours : it is the duty of a benefactress to com- 
mand her feelings, and to refrain absolutely from every species 
of direct or indirect reproach ; else her kindness becomes only a 
source of misery ; and even from the benevolence of her dis- 
position she derives the means of giving pain. 

** I have said enough ; and I know that you will not be offended. 
The moment your understanding is convinced and your heart 
touched, all paltry jealousies and petty irritations subside, and 
you are always capable of acting in a manner worthy of your- 
self. Adieu I — May you, my dear friend, preserve the affections 
of one who feels for you, J am convinced, the most sincere 
gratitude! You will reap a rich harvest, if you do not, with 
childish impatience, disturb the seeds that you have sown, to 
examine whether they are growing. 

" Your faithful friend, 

" L. Littleton." 

This letter had an immediate and strong effect upon the mind 
of Mrs. Somers : she went directly with it open in her hand to 
Emilie. "Here, said she, "is the letter of a noble-minded 
woman, who dares to speak truth, painful truth, to her best 
friend. She does me justice in being convinced that I shall not 
be offended ; she does me justice in believing that an appeal to 
my candour and generosity cannot be in vain, especially when it 
is made by her voice. Emilie, you shall see that I am worthy to 
have a sincere friend ; you shall see that I can even command 
my temper, when I have what, to my own feelings and under- 
standing, appears adequate motive. But, my dear, you are in 
pain — ^let me look at this ankle — I am absolutely afraid to see it! 
— Good Heavens ! how it is swelled ! — And I fancied, all 
yesterday, that you could have walked upon it ! — And I thought 

you wanted only to excite pity I My poor child ! — I have 

used you barbarously — most barbarously I" cried Mrs. Somers, 
kneeling down beside the sofa. "And can you ever forgive 
me ? — Yes ! that sweet smile tells me that you can." 

" An I ask of you," said Emilie, embracing Mrs. Somers, " is 
to believe that I am grateful, and to continue to m^Va xaaVss^ 
fib2 



372 BUILIE DE C0ULAN0E8. 

you as long as I live. This must depend upon you more than 
upon myself." 

"I know it, my dear," said Mrs. Somers. "Be satisfied—I 
will not wear out your aiFections. You have dealt fairly with 
me. I love you for having the courage to speak as you think. 
— But now that it is all over, I must tell you what it was that 
displeased me — for I hate half reconciliations : I will tell you 
all that passed in my mind." 

"Pray do,*' said Emilie; "for then I shall know how to 
avoid displeasing you another time." 

"No danger of that, my dear. You will never make me 
angry again ; for I am sure you will now he as frank towards 
me as I am towards you. It was not your adapting that little 
poem to a French rather than to an English air that displeased 
me— I am not quite so childish as to he offended hy such a trifle; 
hut I own I did not like your saying that you chose it merely to 
comply with your mother's taste. — And you will acknowledge, 
Emilie, there was a want of sincerity, a want of candour, in 
your affected look of astonishment, when I mentioned M. de 
Brisac. I do not claim your confidence as a right — God forbid! 
— But if the wannest desire for your happiness, . the most affec- 
tionate sympathy, can merit confidence But I will not say a 

word that can imply reproach. On the contrary, I will only 
assure you, that I have penetration sufficient always to know 
your wishes, and activity enough to serve you effectually, even 
without being your confidante. I shall this night see a friend 
who is in power — I will speak to him about M. de Brisac : I 
have hopes that his pension from our government may be 
doubled." 

"I wish it may, for his sake," said Emilie; "but certainly 
not for my own." 

" Oh ! Mile, de Coulanges ! — But I have no right to extort 
confidence. I will not, as I said before, utter a syllable that can 
imply reproach. Let me go on with what I was telling you of 
my intentions. As soon as the pension is doubled, I will speak 
to Mad. de Coulanges about M. de Brisac." 

"For Heaven's sake, do not!" interrupted Emilie; "for you 
would do me the greatest possible injury. Mamma would then 
think it a suitable match, and she would wish me to marry him; 






EMILIE DE COULANOES. 373 

and nothing could make me more unhappy than to he under the 
necessity of acting contrary to my duty — of disobeying and dis- 
pleasing her for ever — or else of uniting myself to M. de Brisac, 
whom I can neither loi^e nor esteem." 

" Is it possible," exclaimed Mrs. Somers, with joyful astonish- 
ment, " is it possible that I have been under a mistake all this 
time? My dearest Emilie! now you are every thing I first 
thought you I Indeed, I could not think with patience of your 
making such a match ; for M. de Brisac is a mere nothing — 
worse than a mere nothing; a coxcomb, and a peevish cox- 
comb." 

" And how could you suspect me of loving such a man ?" 
said Emilie. 

" I never thought you loved him, but I thought you would 
marry him. French marriages, you know, according to Vancien 
regime, in which you were brought up, were never supposed to 
be affairs of the heart, but mere alliances of interest, pride, or 
convenience." 

" Yes — des manages de convenance" said Emilie. " We 
have suffered terribly by the revolution ; but I owe to it one 
blessing, which, putting what mamma has felt out of the ques- 
tion, I should say has overbalanced all our losses: I have 
escaped — what must have been my fate in the ancient order of 
things-^un manage de convenance. I must tell you how I 
escaped by a happy misfortune," continued Emilie, suddenly 
recovering her vivacity of manner. "The family of M. de 
Brisac had settled, with mine, that I was to be la Comtesse de 
Brisac — But we lost our property, and M. le comte his memory. 
Mamma was provoked and indignant — I rejoiced. When I saw 
how shabbily he behaved, could I do otherwise than rejoice at 
having escaped being his wife ? M. le Comte de Brisac soon 
lost his hereditary honours and possessions — Heaven forgive me 
for not pitying him ! I was only glad mamma now agreed with 
me that we had nothing to regret. I had hoped that we should 
never have heard more of him : but, lo ! here he is again in my 
way with a commission in your English army and a pension 
from your generous king, which make him, amongst poor 
emigrants, a man of consequence. And he has taken it into his 



374 EMILIE DE C0ULANGE8. 

bead to sigh for me, because I laugh at him ; and he talks of 
his sentiments ! — sentiments ! — ^he who has no principles ! " 

" My noble-minded Emilie !** cried Mrs. Somers ; " I cannot 
express to you the delight I feel at this explanation. How 
could I be such an idiot as not sooner to see the truth ! But I 
was misled by the solicitude that Mad. de Coulanges showed 
about this M. de Brisac ; and I foolishly concluded that you and 
your mother were one. On the contrary, no two people can be 
more different, thank Heaven! — I beg your pardon for that 
thanksgiving — I see it distresses you, my dear Emilie — and 
believe me, I never was less disposed to give you pain — I have 
made you suffer too much already, both in mind and body. 
This terrible ankle " 

" It does not give me any pain," said Emilie, " except when 
I attempt to walk ; and it is no great misfortune to be obliged 
to be quiet for a few days." 

Mrs. Somers' whole soul was now intent upon the means of 
making her young friend amends for all she had suffered : this 
last conversation had raised her to the highest point both of 
favour and esteem. Mrs. Somers was now revolving in her 
mind a scheme, which she had formed in the first moments of 
her partiality for Emilie — a scheme of marrying her to her son. 
She had often quarrelled with this son ; but she persuaded her- 
self that Emilie would make him every thing that was amiable 
and respectable, and that she would form an indissoluble bond of 
family union and felicity. '' Then," said she to herself, '* Emilie 
will certainly be established according to her mother's satisfac- 
tion. M. de Brisac cannot possibly stand in the way here ; for 
my son has name and fortime, and every thing that Mad. de 
Coulanges can desire." 

Mrs. Somers wrote immediately to summon her son home. 
In the mean tune, delighted with this new and grand project, 
and thinking herself sure of success, she neglected, according to 
her usual custom, the " little courtesies of life ;" and all Lady 
Littleton's excellent observations upon the nature of gratitude, 
and the effect produced on the mind by obligations, were entirely 
obliterated from her memory. 

Emilie's sprained ankle confined her to the house for some 



Il^ EMILIE DE C0ULAN0E8. 375 

(i^weeks; both Mad. de Coulanges and Mrs. Somers began by 
_^«K>ffering in the most eager manner, in competition with each 
^; other, to stay at home every evening to keep her company ; but 
^i'she found that she could not accept of the oifer of one without 
^'Offending the other: she knew that her mother would have les 
j^vapeurs noirs, if she were not in society; and as she had reason 
^■•. to apprehend that Mrs. Somers could not, with the best intentions 
^ possible, remain three hours alone, with even a dear friend, 
4: without finding or making some subject of quarrel, she wisely 
-^, declined all these kind oifers. In fact, these were trifling sacri- 
,' flceSf which it would not have suited Mrs. Somers' temper to 
-^. make : for there was no glory to be gained by them. She 
regularly came every evening, as soon as she was dressed, to 
; pity Emilie — to repeat her wish that she might be allowed to 
^, stay at home — then to step into her carriage, and drive away to 

spend four hours in company which she professed to hate. 
1 Lady Littleton made no complimentary speeches, but every 
i day she contrived to spend some time with Emilie ; and, by a 
■;: thousand small but kind instances of attention, which asked 
r neither for admiration nor gratitude, she contributed to Emilie 's 
: daily happiness. 

This ready S3rmpathy, and this promptitude to oblige in trifles, 
became extremely agreeable to Mlle.< de Coulanges : perhaps 
from the contrast with Mrs. Somers' defects. Lady Littleton's 
manners pleased her peculiarly. She was under no fear of 
giving ofience, so that she could speak her sentiments or express 
her feelings without constraint : and, in short, she enjoyed in 
this lady's society, a degree of tranquillity of mind and freedom 
to which she had long been a stranger. Lady Littleton had 
employed her excellent understanding in studying the minute 
circumstances which tend to make people, of different characters 
and tempers, agree and live happily together ; and she under- 
stood and practised so successfully all the honest arts of pleasing, 
that she rendered herself the centre of \mion to a large circle of 
relations, many of whom she had converted into friends. This 
she had accomplished without any violent eifort, without making 
any splendid sacrifices, but with that calm, gentle, persevering 
kindness of temper, which, when united to good sense, forms 
the real happiness of domestic life, and the true perfection of 



376 KMILIS I^K COULAMOES. 

the female character. Those who have not traced the catuesof 
family quarrels would not readily guess from what slight cir- 
cumstances they often originate : they arise more freqaentir 
from small defects in temper than from material faults ^ 
character. People who would perhaps sacrifice their fortnnei 
or lives for each other cannot, at certain moments, give up te 
will, or command their humour in the slightest degree. 

Whilst Emilie was confined by her sprained ankle, she at* 
ployed herself in embroidering and painting various tiiie^ 
which she intended to ofier as souvenirs to her English fiiendL 
Amongst these, the prettiest was one which she called the wttd 
of Flora K It was a dial plate for a pendule, on which the hont 
were marked by flowers— by those flowers which open or dm 
their petals at particular times of the day. << Linnieus has esB* 
merated forty-six flowers which possess this kind of seosibiliiy; 
and has marked," as he says, '< their respective hours of va^ 
and setting." From these forty-six Emilie wished to select the 
most beautiful : she had some difiiculty in finding such as wonU 
suit her purpose, especially as the observations made in tk 
botanic gardens of Upsal could not exactly agree with oat 
climate. She sometimes applied to Mrs. Somers for asastioce; 
but Mrs. Somers repeatedly forgot to borrow for her the 
botanical books which she wanted : this was too small a service 
for her to remember. She was provoked at last by Eini&'i 
reiterated requests, and vexed by her own forgetfulness ; so tbtt 
Mile, de Coulanges at last determined not to run the risk flf 
oifending, and she reluctantly laid aside her dial-plate. 

Young people of vivacious and inventive tempers, who bwt 
what it is to he eagerly intent upon some favourite little projedi 
will give Emilie due credit for her forbearance. Lady Littleton, 
though not a young person, could so far sympathize in the 
pursuits of ybuth, as to feel for Emilie's disappointment '* No,** 
said she, << you must not lay aside your watch of Flora ; peihspi 
I can help you to what you want." She was indefatigable in 
the search of books and flowers ; and, by assisting her in the 
pursuit of this slight object, she not only enabled her to spend 
many happy hours, but was of the most essential Bervice to 

^ See '&o\&mc Cjivc^vcv^ «kdj(a ^ 



EMILIE DE COULANOES. 377 

Emilie. It happened, that one morning, when Lady Littleton 
went to Kew Gardens to search in the hot-houses for some of 
the flowers, and to ascertain their hours of closing, she met with 
a French hotanist, who had just arrived from Paris, who came 
to examine the arrangement of Kew Gardens, and to compare 
it with that of the Jardin des Plantes. He paid some deserved 
compliments to the superiority of Kew Gardens ; and, with the 
ease of a Frenchman, he entered into conversation with Lady 
Littleton. As he inquired for several French emigrants, she 
mentioned the name of Mad. de Coulanges, and asked whether 
he knew to whom the property of her family now belonged. He 
said, <' that it was still in the possession of that scelerat of a 
steward, who had, by his informations, brought his excellent 
master, le Comte de Coulanges, to the guillotine. But,'' added 
the botanist, '< if you, madam, are acquainted with any of the 
family, will you give them notice that this wretch is near his 
end; that he has, within a few weeks, had two strokes of 
apoplexy ; and that his eldest son by no means resembles him ; 
but is a worthy young man, who, to my certain knowledge, is 
shocked at his father's crimes, and who might be prevailed upon, 
by a reasonable consideration, to restore to the family, to whom 
it originally belonged, the property that has been seized. I have 
more than once, even in the most dangerous times, heard him 
(in confidence) express the strongest attachment to the de- 
scendant of the good master, who loaded him in his childhood 
with favours. These sentiments he has been, of course, obliged 
to dissemble, and to profess directly the contrary principles : it 
can only be by such means that he can gain possession of the 
estate, which he wishes to restore to the rightful owners. He 
passes lor as great a scoundrel as his father : this is not the 
least of his merits. But, madam, you may depend upon the 
correctness of my information, and of my knowledge of his cha- 
racter. I was once, as a man of science, under obligation to the 
late Comte de Coulanges, who gave me the use of his library ; 
and most happy should I think myself, if I could by any means 
be instrumental in restoring his descendants to the possession of 
that library." 

There was such an air of truth and frankress in the counte- 
nance and manner of this gentleman, that, iiotvn\\i«.\axi^w% ^^ 



378 EMILIB DB COULANOES. 

extraordinary nature of his information, and the still more 
extraordinary facility with which it was communicated, Lady 
Littleton could not help believing him. He gave her ladyship 
his address ; told her that he should return to Paris in a few 
days ; and that he should be happy if he could be made, in any 
manner, useful to Mad. de Coulanges. Lnpatient to impart all 
this good news to her friends. Lady Littleton hastened to Mrs. 
Somers' ; but just as she put her hand on the lock of Emilie's 
door, she recollected Mrs. Somers, and determined to tell her 
the first, that she might have the pleasure of communicating the 
joyful tidings. From her knowledge of the temper of her 
friend. Lady Littleton thought that this would be peculiarly 
gratifjdng to her ; but, contrary to all rational expectation, Mrs. 
Somers heard the news with an air of extreme mortification, 
which soon turned into anger. She got up and walked about 
the room, whilst Lady Littleton was speaking ; and, as soon as 
she had finished her story, exclaimed, " Was there ever any 
thing so provoking!'' 

She continued walking, deep in reverie, whilst Lady Littleton 
sat looking at her in amazement. Mrs. Somers having once 
formed the generous scheme of enriching Emilie by a marriage 
with her son, was actually disappointed to find that there was a 
probability that Mile, de Coulanges should recover a fortune 
which would make her more than a suitable match for Mr. 
Somers. There was another circumstance that was still more 
provoking — this property was likely to be recovered without the 
assistance of Mrs. Somers. There are people who would rather 
that their best friends should miss a piece of good fortune than 
that they should obtain it without their intervention. Mrs. 
Somers at length quieted her own mind by the idea that all 
Lady Littleton had heard might have no foundation in truth. 

" I am surprised, my dear friend, that a person of your excel- 
lent judgment can, for an instant, believe such a strange story as 
this," said Mrs. Somers. " I assure you, I do not give the 
slightest credit to it; and, in my opinion, it would be much 
better not to say one word about the matter, either to Emilie or 
Mad. de Coulanges : it will only fill their minds with false and 
absurd hopes. Mad. de Coulanges will torment herself and 
me to death with conjectures and exclamations ; and ve shall 



EMILIE DE COULANOE8. 379 

hear of nothing but the Hotel de Coulanges, and the Chateau de 
CoulangeSy from morning till night; and, after all, I am 
convinced she will never see either of them again." 

To this assertion, which Mrs. Somers could support only by 
repeating that it was her conviction — that it was her unalterable 
conviction — Lady Littleton simply replied, that it would be 
improper not to mention what had happened to Mad. de 
Coulanges, because this would deprive her of an opportunity of 
judging and acting for herself in her own aifairs. "This 
French gentleman has offered to carry letters, or to do her any 
service in his power; and we should not be justifiable in 
concealing this : the information may be false, but of that Mad. 
de Coulanges should at least have an opportunity of judging; 
she should see this botanist, and she will recollect whether what 
he says of the count, and his allowing him the use of his 
library, be true or false: from these circumstances we may 
obtain some farther reason to believe or disbelieve him. I 
should be sorry to excite hopes which must end in disappoint* 
ment ; but the chance of good, in this case, appears to me far 
greater than the chance of evil." 

" Very well, my dear Lady Littleton," interrupted Mrs. 
Somers, " you will follow your judgment, and I must be allowed 
to foUow mine, though I make no doubt that yours is superior. 
Manage this business as you please : I will have nothing to do 
with it. It is your opinion that Mad. de Coulanges and her 
daughter should hear this wonderfully fine story ; therefore I 
beg you will be the relater — I must be excused — ^for my part, I 
can't give any credit to it — ^no, not the slightest. But your 
judgment is better than mine. Lady Littleton — you will act as 
you think proper, and manage the whole business yourself— I 
am sure I wish you success with all my heart." 

Lady Littleton, by a mixture of firmness and gentleness in 
her manner, so far worked upon the temper of Mrs. Somers, as 
to prevail upon her to believe that the management of the 
business was not her object; and she even persuaded Mrs. 
Somers to be present when the intelligence was communicated 
to Mad. de Coulanges and Emilie. She could not, however, 
forbear repeating, that she did not believe the story : — this 
incredulity afforded her a plausible pretext fot tvqX vjTcc^^^d(A3XEv% 
in the general joy. Mad. de CouLan^i^ N««i» BX\.cra».\^ "o^. 



380 EMILIE DE COULANaSS. 

ecstasy and in despair, as she listened to Lady Littleton or to 
Mrs. Somers: her exclamations would have been much less 
frequent and violent, if Mrs. Somers had not provoked them, by 
mixing with her hopes a large portion of fear. The next day, 
when she saw the French gentleman, her hopes were pre- 
dominant : for she recollected perfectly having seen this gentle- 
man, in former times, at the Hotel de Coulanges ; she knew 
that he was un savant ; and that he had, before the revolution, 
the reputation of being a very worthy man. Mad. de Coulanges, 
by Lady Littleton's advice, determined, however, to be cautious 
in what she wrote to send to France by this gentleman. Emilie 
took the letters to Mrs. Somers, and requested her opinion ; but 
she declined giving any. 

" I have nothing to do with the business. Mile, de Coulanges," 
said she ; '* you will be gmded by the opinion of my Lady Lit- 
tleton." 

Emilie saw that it was in vain to expostulate ; she retired in 
silence, much embarrassed as to the answer which she was to give 
to her mother, who was waiting to hear the opinion of Mrs. 
Somers. Mad. de Coulanges, impatient with Emilie, for bringing 
her only a reference to Lady Littleton's opinion, went herself, 
with what she thought the most amiable politeness, to solicit the 
advice of Mrs. Somers ; but she was astonished, and absolutely 
shocked, by the coldness and want of good breeding with which 
this lady persisted in a refusal to have any thing to do with the 
business, or even to read the letters which waited for her judg- 
ment. The countess opened her large eyes to their utmost orbi- 
cular extent ; and, after a moment's fnlence^ the strongest possible 
expression that she could give of amazement, she also retired, 
and returned to Emilie, to demand from her an explanation of 
what she could not understand. The ill-humour of Mrs. Somers, 
now that Mad. de Coulanges was wakened to the perception of 
it, was not, as it had been to poor Emilie, a subject of continual 
anxiety and pain, but merely matter of astonishment and curio- 
sity. She looked upon Mrs. Somers as an English oddity, as a 
Itisus naturiB ; and she alternately asked Emilie to account for 
these strange appearances, or shrugged up her shoulders, and 
submitted to the impossibility of a Frenchwoman's ever under- 
standing such extravagances, 

"Ah que c'est \)izaTie\ '^^k^, teaxi «Q&xLt^ exj^liquei m« 



EMILIE DE COULANOES. 381 

done tout (a — Mais pa ne s'explique point — Certes c'est une 
Anglaise qui S9ait donner, mais qui ne sQait pas vivre. — 
Voltaire 8*y connaissait mieux que moi apparemment — et heu- 
reusement." 

Content with this easy method of settling things, Mad. de 
Coulanges sealed and despatched her letters, appealed no more to 
Mrs. Somers for advice, and, when she saw any extraordinary 
signs of displeasure, repeated to herself — " Ah que c'esthizarre !" 
And this phrase was for some time a quieting charm. But as the 
anxiety of the countess increased, at the time when she expected 
to receive the decisive answer from her steward's son, she talked 
with incessant and uncontrollable volubility of her hopes and 
fears — ^her conjectures a^d calculations — and of the Chateau and 
Hotel de Coulanges ; and she could not endure to see that Mrs. 
Somers heard all this with affected coldness or real impatience. 

" How is this possible, Emilie ?" said she. " Here is a woman 
who would give me half her fortxme, and who yet seems to wish 
that I should not recover the whole of mine ! Here is a woman 
who would move heaven and earth to serve me in her own way ; 
but who, nevertheless, will not give me either a word of ad\dce 
or a look of sympathy, in the most important affair and the most 
anxious moment of my life ! But this is naore than bizarre — this 
is intolerably provoking. For my part, I would rather a friend 
would deny me any thing than sympathy : without sympathy, 
there is no society — there is no living — there is no talking. I 
begin to feel my obligations a burden ; and, positively, with the 
first money I receive from my estates, I will relieve myself from 
my pecuniary debt to this generous but incomprehensible Eng-* 
lishwoman.'* 

Every day Emilie dreaded the arrival of the post, when her 
mother asked, "Are there any letters from Paris?" — Con- 
stantly the answer was — "No." Mrs. Somers* look was 

triumphant ; and Mad. de Coulanges applied regularly to her 
smelling-bottle or her snuff-box to conceal her emotion, which 
Mrs. Somers increased by indirect reflections upon the absurdity 
of those who listen to idle reports, and build castles in the air. 
Having set her opinion in opposition to Lady Littleton's, she 
supported it with a degree of obstinacy, and even acrimony, 
which made her often transgress the bounds of that politeness 



382 EMILIE DE COULANOES. 

which she had formerly maintained in all her differences with the 
comtesse. 

Mad. de Coulanges could no longer consider her htunour as 
merely bizarre, she foimd it insupportable ; and Mrs. Somers ap- 
peared to her totally changed, and absolutely odious, now that 
she was roused by her own sufferings to the perception of those 
evils which Emilie had long borne with all the firmness of prin- 
ciple, and all the philosophy of gratitude. Not a day passed 
without her complaining to Emilie of some grossierete from Mrs. 
Somers. Mad. de Coulanges suffered so much from irritation and 
anxiety, that her vapeurs noirs returned with tenfold violence. 
Emilie had loved Mrs. Somers, even when most unreasonable 
towards herself, as long as she behaved with kindness to her 
mother ; but now that, instead of a source of pleasure, she became 
the hourly cause of pain to Mad. de Coulanges, Emilie's 
affection could no farther go ; and she really began to dislike this 
lady — to dread to see her come into the room — and to tremble at 
hearing her voice. Emilie could judge only by what she saw; 
and she could not divine that Mrs. Somers was occupied, all this 
time, with the generous scheme of marrying her to her son and 
heir, and of settling upon her , a large fortune ; nor could she 
guess, that all the ill-humour in Mrs. Somers originated in the 
fear that her friends should be made either rich or happy with- 
out her assistance. Her son's delaying to return home, accord- 
ing to her mandate, had disappointed and vexed her extremely. 
Every day, when the post came in, she inquired for letters with 
almost as much eagerness as Mad. de Coulanges. At length a 
letter came from Mr. Somers, to inform his impatient mother 
that he should certainly be in town the beginning of the ensuing 
week. Delighted by this news, she could not refrain from the 
temptation of opening her whole mind to Emilie ; though she 
had previously resolved not to give the slightest intimation of her 
scheme to any one, not even to Lady Littleton, till a definitive 
answer had been received from Paris, respecting the fortune of 
Mad. de Coulanges. Often, when Mrs. Somers was full of some 
magnanimous design, the merest trifle that interrupted the full 
display of her generosity threw her into a passion, even with 
those whom she was going to serve. So it happened in the 
present instance. She went, vdth her open letter in her hand* to 



EMILIE DE COULANOES. 383 

the countess's apartment, where unluckily she found M. de 
Brisac, who was going to read the French newspapers to madame. 
Mrs. Somers sat down beside Emilie) who was painting the last 
flower of her watch of Flora. Mrs. Somers wrote on a slip of 
paper, *' Don't ask M. de Brisac to read the papers, for I want to 
speak to you." She threw down the note before Emilie, who 
was so intent upon what she was about, that she did not imme- 
diately see it — Mrs. Somers touched her elbow — Emilie started, 
and let fall her brush, which made a blot upon her dial-plate. 

" Oh ! what a pity ! — Just as I had finished my work," cried 
Emilie, " I have spoiled it !" 

M. de Brisac laid down the newspaper to pour forth compli- 
ments of condolence. — Mrs. Somers tore the piece of paper as 
he approached the table, and said, with some asperity, "One 
would think this was a matter of life and death, by the terms in 
which it is deplored." 

M. de Brisac, who stood so that Mrs. Somers could not see 
him, shrugged his shoulders, and looked at Mad. de Coulanges, 
who answered him by another look, that plainly said, ** This is 
English politeness !" 

Emilie, who saw that her mother was displeased, endeavoured 
to change the course of her thoughts, by begging M. de Brisac 
to go on with what he was reading from the French papers. 
This was a fresh provocation to Mrs. Somers, who forgot that 
Emilie had not read the words on the slip of paper which had 
been torn ; and consequently could not know all Mrs. Somers* 
impatience for his departure. M. de Brisac read, in what this 
lady called his unemphatic French tone, paragraph after paragraph, 
and column after column, whilst her anxiety to have him go 
every moment increased. She moulded her son's letter into all 
manner of sbapes as she sat in penance. To complete her 
misfortimes, something in the paper put Mad. de Coulanges in 
mind of former times ; and she began a long history of the 
destruction of some fine old tapestry hangings in the Chateau 
de Coulanges, at the beginning of the Revolution : this led to 
endless melancholy reflections; and at length tears began to 
flow from the fine eyes of the countess. 

Just at this instant a butterfly flew into the room, and passed 
by Mad. de Coulanges, who was sitting neat \ke o^eTL^\AQr«* 



384 EMILIE DE COUL/INOE8. 

" Oh ! the beautiful butterfly!" cried she, starting up to catch 
it " Did you ever see such a charming creature ? Catch it, 
M. de Brisac ! — Catch it, Emilie! — Catch it, Mrs. Somers!" 

With the tears yet upon her cheeks, Mad. de Coulanges 
began the chase, and M. de Brisac followed, beating the air with 
his perfumed handkerchief, and the butterfly fluttered round the 
table at which Emilie was standing. 

"Eh! M. de Brisac, catch it!— Catch it, Emilie!" repeated 
her mother. — " Catch it, Mrs. Somers, for the love of Heaven !" 

" For the love of Heaven .'" repeated Mrs. Somers, who, 
immovably grave, and sullenly indignant, kept aloof during 
this chase. 

"Ah! pour le coup, papillon, je te tiens!" cried la comtesse, 
and with eager joy she covered it with a glass, as it lighted on 
the table. 

" Mile, de Coulanges," cried Mrs. Somers, " I acknowledge, 
now, that I was wrong in my criticism of Caroline de Lichteld. 
I blamed the author for representing Caroline, at fifteen, or just 
when she is going to be married, as running after butterflies. I 
said that, at that age, it was too frivolous — out of drawing — out 
of nature. But I should have said only, that it was out of 
English nature, — I stand corrected." 

Mad. de Coulanges and M. de Brisac again interchanged 
looks, which expressed " Est-il possible .'" And la comtesse 
then, with an unusual degree of deliberation and dignity in her 
manner, walked out of the room. Emilie, who saw that her 
mother was extremely ofiended, was much embarrassed — she 
went on washing the blot out of her drawing. M. de Brisac 
stood silently looking over her, and Mrs. Somers opposite to 
him, wishing him fairly at the antipodes. M. de Brisac, to 
break the silence, which seemed to him as if it never would be 
broken, asked Mile, de Coulanges if she had ever seen the 
stadtholder's fine collection of butterflies, and if she did not 
admire them extremely ? No, she never had ; but she said that 
she admired extremely the generosity the stadtholder had shown 
in sacrificing, not only his fine collection of butterflies, but his 
most valuable pictures, to save the lives of the poor French 
emigrants, who were under his protection. 

At the sound of the word generosity, Mrs. Somers became 



EMILIE DE COUL ANDES. 385 

attentive ; and Emilie was in hopes that she would recover her 
temper, and apologize to her nrather: hut at this moment a 
servant came to tell Mile, de Coulanges that la comtesse wished 
to spealf to her immediately. She found her mother in no 
humour to receive any apology, even if it had been offered : 
nothing could have hurt Mad. de Coulanges more than the 
imputation of being frivolous. 

" Frivole! — frivole! — ^moi frivole!" she repeated, as soon as 
Emilie entered the room. " My dear Emilie ! I would not live 
with this Mrs. Somers for the rest of my days, were she to offer 

me the Pitt diamond, or the whole mines of Golconda! Bon 

Dieu! — ^neither money nor diamonds, after all, can pay for the 
want of kindness and politeness! — There is Lady Littleton, who 
has never done us any favour, but that of showing us attention 
and sympathy ; I protest I love her a million of times better 
than I can love Mrs. Somers, to whom we owe so much. It is 
in vain, Emilie, to remind me that she is our benefactress. I 
have said that over and over to myself, till I am tired, and till 
I have absolutely lost all sense of the meaning of the word. 
Bitterly do I repent having accepted of such obligations from 
this strange woman ; for, as to the idea of regaining our estate, 
and paying my debt to her, I have given up all hopes of it. You 
see that we have no letters from France. I am quite tired out. 
I am convinced that we shall never have any good news from 
Paris. And I cannot, I will not, remain longer in this house. 
Would you have me submit to be treated with disrespect ? Mrs. 
Somers has affronted me before M. de Brisac, in a manner that 
I cannot, that I ought not, to endure — that you, Emilie, ought 
not to wish me to endure. I positively will not live upon the 
bounty of Mrs. Somers. There is but one way of extricating 
ourselves. M. de Brisac — Why do you turn pale, child ? — M. de 
Brisac has this morning made me a proposal for you, and the 
best thing we can possibly do is to accept of it." 

" The best ! — Pray don't say the best !" cried Emilie. " Ah ! 
•dear mamma, for me the worst ! Let me beseech you not to 
sacrifice my happiness for ever by such a marriage !" 

" And what other can you expect, Emilie, in your present 
circumstances?" 

" None," said Emilie. 
Fashionable Life, c ^ 



386 EMTL1E DE COULANOES. 

" And here is an establishment — at least an independence for 
you — and you call it sacrifiaing your happiness for ever to 
accept of it!'* 

"Yes," said Emilie; "because it is offered to me by one 
whom I can neither love nor esteem. Dearest mamma! can 
you forget all his former meanness of conduct?" 

" His present behaviour makes amends for the past," said 
Mad. de Coulanges, "and entitles him to my esteem and to 
yours, and that is sufficient As to love — well educated girls do 
not marry for love." 

" But they ought not to marry without feeling love, should 
they?" said Emilie. 

" Emilie ! Emilie !" said her mother, " these are strange ideas 
that have come into the heads of young women since the Revo- 
lution. If you had remained safe in your convent, I should 
have heard none of this nonsense." 

" Perhaps not, mamma," said Emilie, with a deep sigh. " But 
should I have been happier?" 

"A fine question, truly! — How can I tell? But this I can 
ask you — How can any girl expect to be happy, who abandons 
the principles in which she was bred up, and forgets her duty to 
the mother by whom she has been educated — ^the mother, whose 
pride, whose delight, whose darling, she has ever been ? Oh, 
Emilie ! this is to me worse than all I have ever suffered!" 

Mad. de Coulanges burst into a passion of tears, and Emilie 
stood looking at her in silent despair. 

"Emilie, you cannot deceive me," cried her mother ; "you 
cannot pretend that it is simply your want of esteem for M. de 
Brisac which renders you thus obstinately averse to the match. - 
You are in love with another person." | 

" Not in love," said Emilie, in a faltering voice. 

" You cannot deceive me, Emilie — remember all you said to J 
me about the stranger who was our fellow prisoner at the j 
Abbaye. You cannot deny this, Emilie." I 

"Nor do I, dear mamma," said Emilie. "I cannot deceive f 
you, indeed I would not ; and the best proof that I do not wish t 
to deceive you— that I never attempted it— is, that I told you I 
all I thought and felt about that stranger. I told you that hi« I 
honourable, brave, and generous conduct towards us, when we J 



CMILIE DE COULANOES. 387 

were in distress, made an impression upon my heart — that I 
preferred him to any person I htid ever seen — and I told you, 
my dear mamma, that •" 

" You told me too much," interrupted Mad. de Coulanges ; 
" more than I wished to hear — ^more than I will have repeated, 
Emilie. This is romance and nonsense. The man, whoever he 
was — and Heaven knows who he was ! — ^hehaved very well, and 
was a very agreeahle person : but what then ? are you ever 
likely to see him again? Do you even know his birth — ^his name 
— ^his country — or any thing about him, but that he was brave 
and generous? — So are fifty other men, five hundred, five thou- 
sand, five million, 'I hope. But is this any reason that you 
should refuse to marry M. de Brisac ? Henry the Fourth was 
brave and generous two hundred years ago. That is as much to 
the purpose. You have as much chance of establishing your- 
self, if you wait for Henry the Fourth to come to life again, as if 
you wait for this nameless nobody of a hero— who is perhaps 
married, after all — who knows! — Really, Emilie, this is too 
absurd!" 

" But, dear mamma, I cannot marry one man and love an- 
other ^love I did not quite mean to say. But whilst I prefer 

another, I cannot, in honour, marry M. de Brisac." 

" Honour ! — Love ! — But in France, in my time, who ever 
heard of a young lady's being in love before she was married ? 
You astonish, you frighten, you shock me, child I Recollect 
yourself, Emilie ! Misfortune may have deprived you of the 
vast possessions to which you are heiress ; but do not, there- 
fore, degrade yourself and me by forgetting your principles, and 
all that the representative of the house of Coulanges ought to 
remember. And as for myself — ^have I no claim upon your 
afiections, Emilie? — ^have not I been a fond mother?" 

" Oh, yes !" said Emilie, melting into tears. " Of your kind- 
ness I think more than of any thing else ! — ^more than of the 
whole house of Coulanges !" 

"Do not let me see you in tears, child I" said Mad. de Cou- 
langes, moved by Emilie's grief. " Your tears hurt my nerves 
more even than Mrs. Somers' grossierete. You must blame Mrs. 
Somers, not me, for all this— her temper drives me to it — I 
cannot live with her. We have no alterua\i\e. l2s^^<k \k<3 
c c 2 



388 EMILIE DE COULANOES. 

gweet child ! make me happy ! — I am miserahle in this house. 
Hitherto you have ever been the best of daughters, and you 
shall find me the most indulgent of mothers. One whole month 
I will give you to change your mind, and recollect your duty. 
At the end of that time, I must see you Mad. de Brisac, and in 
a house of your own. — In the house of Mrs. Somers I wiU not, 
I cannot longer remain." 

Poor Emilie was glad of the reprieve of one month. She 
retired from her mother's presence in silent anguish, and 
hastened to her own apartment, that she might give way to her 
grief. There she found Mrs. Somers waiting for her, seated in 
an arm-chair, with an open letter in her haitd. 

" Why do you start, Emilie ? You look as if you were sorry 
to find me here," cried Mrs. Somers — " If that be the case, 
Mile, de Coulanges— •" 

" Oh, Mrs. Somers ! do not begin to quarrel with me at this 
moment, for I shall not be able to bear it — I am sufficiently 
unhappy already !" said Emilie. 

"I am extremely sorry that any thing should make you 
unhappy, Emilie," said Mrs. Somers; "but I think that you had 
never less reason than at this moment to suspect me of an inten- 
tion of quarrelling with you — I came here with a very different 
design. May I know the cause of your distress ?" 

Emilie hesitated, for she did not know how to explain the 
cause without imputing blame either to Mrs. Somers or to her 
mother— she could only say — ** M, de Brisac " 

"What!" cried Mrs. Somers, "your mother wants you to 
marry him ?" 

"Yes." 

"Immediately?" 

" In one month." 

" And you have consented?" 

" No— But— " 

" Bui — Good Heavens ! Emilie, what weakness of mind there 
is in that but " 

"Is it weakness of mind to fear to disobey my mother — to 
dread to offend her for ever — to render her unhappy — and to 
deprive her, perhaps, even of the means of subsistence V* 

" The means of subsistence ! my dear, Thi^ phrase, you know, 



EMILIB DE COULANGES. 389 

can only be a figure of rhetoric," said Mrs. Somers. <' Your 
refusing M. de Brisac cannot deprive your mother of the means 
of subsistence. In the first place, she expects to recover her 
property in France." 

"No," said Emilie ; "she has given up these hopes — you 
have persuaded her that they are vain." 

" Indeed I think them so. But still you must know, my dear, 
that your mother can never be in want of the means of subsist- 
ence, nor any of the conveniences, and, I may add, luxuries of 
life, whilst I am alive." 

£milie sighed; and when Mrs. Somers urged her more 
closely, she said, " Mamma has not, till lately, been accustomed 
to live on the bounty of others; the sense of dependence 
produces many painful feelings, and renders people more sus- 
ceptible than perhaps they would be, were they on terms of 
equality." 

"To what does all this tend, my dear?" interrupted Mrs. 
Somers. " Is Mad. de Coulanges ofiended with me ? — Is she 
tired of living with me ? — Does she wish to quit my house ? — 
And where does she intend to go ? — Oh ! that is a question that 
I need not ask ! — Yes, yes — I have long foreseen it — you have 
arranged it admirably — you go to Lady Littleton, I presume ?" 

"Oh, no!" 

"ToM. de Brisac?" 

" Mamma wishes to go " 

" Then to M. de Brisac, for Heaven's sake, let her go," cried 
Mrs. Somers, bursting into a fit of laughter, which astonished 
Emilie beyond measure. " To M. de Brisac let her go — 'tis the 
best thing she can possibly do, my dear ; and seriously to tell 
you the truth, I have always thought it would be an excellent 
match. Since she is so much prepossessed in his favour, can 
she do better than marry him ? and, as he is so much attached 
to the house of Coulanges, when he cannot have the daughter, 
can he do better than marry the mother ? — Your mother does not 
look too old for him, when she is well rouged ; and I am sure, if 
she heard me say so, she would forgive me all the rest — butter- 
fly, frivolity, and all inclusive. Permit me, Emilie, to laugh." 

" I cannot permit any body to laugh at mamma," said 
Emilie ; " and Mis, Somers is the last person "wYioxa\ i^oxJ^Wwi^ 



390 EMILXE DB COULANOB8. 

supposed would have been inclined to laugb^ when I told her 
that I was really unhappy." 

" My dear Emilie, I forgive you for being angry, because I 
never saw you angry before ; and that is more than you can say 
for me. You do me justice, however, by supposing that I should 
be the last person to laugh when you are in woe, unless I 
thought — unless I was sure — that I could remove the cause, and 
make you completely happy." 

"That, I fear, is impossible," said Emilie: "for mamma's 
pride and her feelings have been so much hurt, that I do not 
think any apology would now calm her mind." 

" Apology ! — I am not in the least inclined to make any. Can 
I tell Mad. de Coulanges that I do not think her frivolous ? — 
Impossible, indeed, my dear ! I will do any thing else to oblige 
you. But I have as much pride, and as much feeling, in my 
own way, as any of the house of Coulanges : and if, after all I 
have done, madame can quarrel with me about a butterfly, I 
must say, not only that she is the most frivolous, but the most 
ungrateful woman upon earth ; and, as she desires to quit my 
house, far from attempting to detain her, I can only wish that 
she may accomplish her purpose as soon as possible — as soon as 
it may suit her own convenience. As for you, Emilie, I do not 
suspect you of the ingratitude of wishing to leave me — I can 
make distinctions, even when I have most reason to be angry. I 
do not blame you, my dear— I do not even ask you to blame 
your mother. I respect your filial piety — I am sure you must 
think her to blame, but I do not desire you to say so. Could 
any thing be more barbarously selfish than the plan of marrying 
you to this M. de Brisac, that she might have an establishment 
more to her taste than my house has been able to afford ?" 

Emilie attempted, but in vain, to say a few words for her mother. 
Mrs. Somers ran on with her own thoughts. 

" And at what a time, at what a cruel time for me, did Mad. 
de Coulanges choose to express her desire to leave my house— 
at the moment when my whole soul was intent upon a scheme 
for the happiness of her daughter ! Yes, Emilie, for your hap- 
piness I — and, my dear, your mother's conduct shall change 
nothing in my views. You I have always found uniformly kind, 
gentle, grateful — I will say no more — I haife found in you, 






EMILIB DE COULANGES. 391 

£inilie, real magnanimity. I have tried your temper much — 
sometimes too much — hut I have always foimd you proof against 
these petty trials. Your character is suited to mine. I love 
you, as if you were my daughter, and I wish you to be my 

daughter. Now you know my whole mind, Emilie. My son 

— ^my eldest son, I should with emphasis say, if I were speaking 
to Mad. de Coulanges — ^wiU be here in a few days : read this 
letter. How happy I shall be if you find him— or if you will 
make him — such as you can entirely approve and love ! You 
will have power over him — ^your influence will do what his 
mother's never could accomplish. But whatever reasons I may 
have to complain of him, this is not the time to state them — you 
will connect him with me. At all events, he is a man of honour 
and a gentleman ; and as he is not, thank Heaven ! imder the 
debasing necessity of considering fortune in the choice of a wife, 
he is, at least in this respect, worthy of my dear and high-minded 
Emilie." 

Mrs. Somers paused, and fixed her eyes eagerly on Emilie, 
impatient for her answer, and already half provoked by not 
seeing the sudden transition of countenance which she had pic- 
tured in her imagination. With a mixture of dignity and 
affectionate gratitude in her manner, Emilie was beginning to 
thank Mrs. Somers for the generous kindness of her intention ; 
but this susceptible lady interrupted her, and exclaimed, " Spare 
me your thanks. Mile, de Coulanges, and tell me at once what 
is passing in your mind ; for something very extraordinary is 
certainly passing there, which I cannot comprehend. Surely 
you cannot for a moment imagine that your mother will insist 
upon your now accepting of M. de Brisac ; or, if she does, surely 
you would not have the weakness to yield. I must have some 
proof of strength of mind from my friends. You must judge for 
yourself, Emilie, or you are not the person I take you for. You 
will have full opportunity of judging in a few days. Will you 
promise me that you will decide entirely for yourself, and that 
you will keep your mind unbiassed? Will you promise me this? 
And will you speak, at all events, my dear, that I may understand 
you?" 

Emilie, who saw that even before she spoke Mrs. Somers was 
on the brink of anger, trembled at the idea of confessing the 



392 KMILIS DB COULAN6E8. 

tmth — ^ihat her heart was already biassed in faTour of another: 
she had, however, the courage to explain to her all that pasKd 
in her mind. Mrs. Somers heard her with inexpressible dij- 
appointment. She was silent for some minutes. At last sbe 
said, in a voice of constrained passion, <<Mlle. de Coulanges,! 
have only one question to ask of you — ^you will reflect befiw 
you answer it, because on your reply depends the continuance « 
utter dissolution of our friendship— -do you, or do you not, thiui 
proper to refuse my son before you have seen him?" 

" Before I have seen Mr. Somers, it surely can be no tSoA 
to you or to him," said Emilie, "to decline an offer that I 
cannot accept, especially when I give as my reason, that m 
mind is prepossessed in favour of another. With that prep* 
session, I cannot unite myself to yoiu- son : I can only eiqjns 
to you my gratitude — ^my most sincere gratitude— for your kiui 
and generous intentions, and my hopes that he will find, amoDg< 
his own countrywomen, one more suited to him than I can be. 
His fortime is far above—" 

" Say no more, I beg, Mile, de Coulanges — I asked only to » 
simple answer to a plain question. You refuse my son— y« 
refuse to be my daughter. I am satisfied — ^perfectly satisfied. I 
suppose you have arranged to go to Lady Littleton's. I heartily 
hope that she may be able to make her house more agreeable to 
you than I could render mine. Shake hands. Mile, de Coulangei 
You have my best wishes for your health and happiness. — 
Here we part" 

" Oh! do not let us part in anger !" said Emilie. 

" In anger ! — not in the least — I never was cooler in my 
life. You have completely cooled me — ^you have shown mc 
the folly of that warmth of friendship which can meet with vfi 
return." 

" Would it be a suitable return for your warm friendship » 
deceive your son ?" said Emilie. 

" To deceive me, I think still less suitable I " cried Mrs. Somers. 

" And how have I deceived you V* 

" You know best. Why was I kept in ignorance tfll the ]m^ 
moment? Why did you never confide your thoughts to atfi 
Emilie? Why did you never till now say one vrord to merf 
this strange attachment ?" 



EMILIE DE COULANGES. 393 

■ ** There was no necessity for speaking till now," said Emilie. 
" It is a subject I never named to any one except to mamma — a 
subject on wbich I did not think it right to speak to any one but 
to a parent." 

** Your notions of right and wrong, ma'am, differ widely from 
mine — we are not fit to live together. I have no idea of a 
friend's concealing any thing from me : without entire confi- 
dence, there is no friendship — at least no friendship with me. 
Pray no tears. I am not fond of scenes. Nobody ever is that 
feels much. — Adieu! — Adieu!" 

Mrs. Somers hurried out of the room, repeating, " I'll write 
directly — this instant — to Lady Littleton. Mad. de Coulanges 
shall not be kept prisoner in my house." Emilie stood mo- 
tionless. 

In a few minutes Mrs. Somers returned with an unfolded 
letter, which she put into Emilie's passive hand. *^Read it, 
ma'am, I beg — read it. I do every thing openly— every thing 
handsomely, I hope — whatever may be my faults." 

The letter was written with a rapid hand, which was scarcely 
legible, especially to a foreigner. Emilie, with her eyes full of 
tears, had no chance of deciphering it. 

** Do not hurry yourself, ma'am," said Mrs. Somers. " I will 
leave you my letter to show to madame la comtesse, and then 
you will be so good as to despatch it. — Mile, de Coulanges," 
cried Mrs. Somers, " you will be so obliging as to refrain from 
mentioning to the countess the foolish offer that I made you in 
my son's name this morning. There is no necessity for morti- 
fying my pride any farther — a refusal from you is quite decisive 
— so pray let there be no consultations. As to the rest, the blame 
of our disagreement will of course be thrown upon me." 

As Emilie moved towards the door, Mrs. Somers said, " Mile. 
de Coulanges, I beg pardon for calling you back : but should 
you ever think of this business or of me, hereafter, you will do 
me the justice to remember that 1 made the proposal to you at 
a time when J was under the firm belief that you would never 
recover an inch of your estates in France." 

" And you, dear Mrs. Somers, if you should ever think of me 
hereafter," said Emilie, " will, I hope, remember that my 
answer was given under the same belief." 



394 BMU.IB DB COULAHGBS. 

With ft look wbich seemed to refuse assent, Mrs. Somen con- 
tinued, << I am as well aware, ma'am, as you, or Mad. de Coo- 
langes, can be, that if you should recover your hereditary pro- 
perty, the heiress of the house of Coulanges would be a p^son 
to whom my son should not presume to aspire." 

" Oh, Mrs. Somers ! Is not this cruel mockery — undesemd 
by me — ^unworthy of you?" 

" Mockery ! — Ma'am, it is not three days since your moAff 
was so positive in her expectations of being in the Hotel de 
Coulanges before next winter, that she was almost in fits became 
I ventured to differ on this point from her and Lady Littleton- 
Lady Littleton's judgment is much better than mine, andbtf, 

of course, had its weight— very justly But I insist upon yoor 

understanding clearly that it had no weight with me in ibis 
affair. Whatever you may imagine, I never thought <rf tfce 
Coulanges estate." 

" Believe me, I never could have imagined that you did. If 
I could suspect Mrs. Somers of interested motives," saidEmilie, 
with emotion so great that she could scarcely articulate ^ 
words, <' I must be an unfeeling — an ungrateful idiot!" 

" No, not an idiot, Mile, de Coulanges — ^nobody can mistake 
you for an idiot : hut, as I was going to say, if you inipnB. 
Lady Littleton can tell you that I was absolutely provoked wheo 
I first heard you had a chance of recovering your property— yw 
may smile, ma'am, but it is perfectly true. I own I might hare 
been more prudent ; but prudence, in affairs of the heart, is Dot 
one of my virtues : I own, however, it would have been moR 
prudent to have refrained from making this proposal, till yon 
had received a positive answer from France." 

"And why?" said Emilie. "Whatever that answer migbt 
have been, surely you must be certain that it would not bare 
made any alteration in my conduct — You are silent, Mr 

Somers ! — You wound me to the heart ! Oh ! do me justice! 

— Justice is all I ask." 

"I think that I do you justice — full justice — JUle. ^ 
Coulanges ; and if it wounds you to the hearty I am sorry for it; 
but that is not my fault." 

Emilie *s coimtenance suddenly changed from the expiessioo 
of supplicating tenderness to haughty indignation. " You doubt 



EMILXB DE C0ULANGE8. 395 

my integrity!*' she exclaimed: "then, indeed, Mrs. Somers, it 
is best that we should part !" 

Mile, de Coulanges disappeared, and Mrs. Somers shut herself 
up in her room, where she walked backwards and forwards for 
above an hour, then threw herself upon a sofa, and remained 
nearly another hour, till Mrs. Masham came to say that it was 
time to dress for dinner. She then started up, saying aloud, " I 
will think no more of these ungrateful people." 

"They are gone, ma'am," said Mrs. Masham— *' gone, and 
gave no vails ! — which I don't think o«, upon my own account, 
God knows ! for if millions were offered me, in pocket-pieces, I 
would not touch one from any soul that comes to the house, 
having enough, and more than enough, from my own generous 
lady, who is the only person I stoop to receive from with 
pleasure. But there are others in the house who are accustomed 
to vails, and, after staying so long, it was a little ungenteel to go 
without so much as offering any one any thing — and to go in such 
a hurry and huff-— taking only a French leave, after all ! I must 
acknowledge with you, ma'am, that they are the ungratefullest 
people that ever were seen in England. Why, ma'am, I went 
backwards and forwards often enough into their apartments, to try 
to make out the cause of the packings and messages to the washer- 
woman, that I might inform you, but nothing transpired ; yet I 
am certain, in their hearts, they are more black and ungratefid 
than any that ever were bom ; for there ! — at the last moment, 
when even, for old acquaintance sake, the tears stood in my eyes, 
there was Miss Emilie, sitting as composedly as a judge, paint- 
ing a butterfly's wing on some of her Frenchifications ! Her 
eyes were red, to do her justice ; but whether with painting or 
crying, I can't pretend to be certain. But as to Mad. de 
Coidanges, I can answer for her that the sole thing in nature 
she thought of, in leaving this house, was the bad step of the 
hackney-coach." 

"Hackney-coach!" cried Mrs. Somers, with surprise. "Did 
they go away in a hackney-coach ?" 

" Yes, ma'am, much against the countess' stomach, I am sure : 
I only wish you had seen the face she made when the glass 
would not come up." 

" But why did not they take my carriage^ or ^«it fet \ja^ 



996 EMILIE DE COULANGES. 

Littleton's ? They were, it seems, in a violent hurty to be gone," 
said Mrs. Somers. 

" So it seems, indeed, ma'am — no better proof of their being 
the most imgratefullest people in the universe : but so it is, by all 
accounts, with all of their nation — the French having no constant 
hearts for any thing but singing, and dancing, and dressing, and 
making merry-andrews of themselves. Indeed, I own, till to- 
day, I thought Miss Emilie had less of the merry-andrew nature 
than any of her country ; but the butterfly has satisfied me that 
there is no striving against climate and natural character, which 
conquer gratitude and every thing else." 

Mrs. Somers sighed, and told Masham that she had said 
enough upon this disagreeable subject. At dinner the subject 
was renewed by many visitors, who, as soon as they found that 
Mad. and Mile, de Coulanges had left Mrs. Somers, began to 
find innumerable faults with the French in general, and with the 
countess and her daughter in particular. On the chapter of 
gratitude they were most severe ; and Mrs. Somers was universally 
pitied for having so much generosity, and blamed for having had 
so much patience. Every body declared that they foresaw how she 
would be treated; and the exclamations of wonder at Lady 
Littleton's inviting to her house those who had behaved so ill to 
her friend were unceasing. Mrs. Somers all the time denied 
that she had any cause of complaint against either Mad. de 
Coulanges or her daughter ; but the company judiciously trusted 
more to her looks than her words. Every thing was said or 
hinted that could exasperate her against her former favourites : 
for Mad. de Coulanges had made many enemies by engrossing 
an unreasonable share in the conversation; and Emilie by 
attracting too great a portion of attention by her beauty and 
engaging manners. Malice often overshoots the mark: Mrs. 
Somers was at first glad to hear the objects of her indignation 
abused ; but at last she began to think the profusion of blame 
greater than was merited, and when she retired to rest at night, and 
when Masham began with " Oh, ma'am ! do you know that Mile. 

de Coulanges " Mrs. Somers interrupted her, and said, 

" Masham, I desire to hear nothing more about MUe. de 
Coulanges : I have heard her and her mother abused, without 
ceasing, these two hours, and that is enough." 



EMILIE DE C0ULAN0E8, 397 

** Lord ! ma*am, I was not going to abuse them — God forbid ! 
I was just going to tell you," cried Masham, " that never was 
any thing so mistaken as all I said before dinner. Just now, 
ma'am, when I went into the little dressing-room, within Mad. 
de Coulauges' room, and happened to open the wardrobe, I was 
quite struck back with shame at my own unjustice : there, 
ma'am, poor Miss Emilie left something — and out of her best 
things ! — to every maid-servant in the house ; all directed in her 
own hand, and with a good word for each ; and this ring forme, 
which she is kind enough to say is of no value but to put me 
in mind of all the attentions I have shown her and her mother — 
which, I am sure, we're scarcely worth noticing, especially at 
such a time when she had enough to do, and her heart full, no 
doubt, poor soul ! — There are her little paintings and embroi- 
deries, and pretty things, that she did when she was confined with 
her sprain, all laid out in order — 'tis my astonishment how she 
found time ! — and directed to her friends in London, as keep- 
sakes : — and the very butterfly that I was so angry with her for 
staying to finish, is on something for you, ma'am ; and here's 
a packet that was with it, and that nobody saw till this minute." 

'* Give it me!" cried Mrs. Somers. She tore.it open, and 
found, in the first place, the pocketbook, full of bank notes, which 
she had given Mad. de Coulanges, with a few polite but haughty 
lines from the countess, saying that only twenty guineas had 
been used, which she hoped, at some future period, to be able to 
repay. Then came a note from Emilie, in which Mrs. Somers 
foimd her own letter to Lady Littleton. Emilie expressed her- 
self as follows. 

" Many thanks for the enclosed, but we have determined not to 
go to Lady Littleton's : at least we will take care not to be the 
cause of quarrel between friends to whom we are so much obliged. 
— No, dear Mrs. Somers ! we do not part in anger. Excuse me, if 
the last words I said to you were hasty — they were forced from 
me by a moment of passion — but it is past : all your generosity, 
all your kindness, the recollection of all that you have done, all 
that you have wished for my happiness, rush upon my mind ; and 
every other thought, and every other feeling, is forgotten. Would 
to Heaven that 1 could express to you my gratitude by actions ! 



398 EMILIE DB COULANOF8. 

—but words, alas ! are all that I have in my power — and where 
shall I find words that can reach your heart ? I had better be 
silent, and trust to time and to you. I know your generous 
temper — ^you will soon blame yourself for having judged too 
severely of Emilie. But do not reproach yourself— do not let 
this give you a moment's uneasiness : the clouds pass away, and 
the blue sky remains. Think only — as I ever shall — of your 
goodness to mamma and to me. Adieu ! 

<' Emilie de Coulanges." 

Mrs. Somers was much affected by this letter, and by the 
hiformation that Emilie and her mother had declined taking 
refuge with Lady Littleton, lest they should occasion jealousies 
between her and her friend. Generous people are, of all others, 
the most touched by generosity of sentiment or of action. Mrs. 
Somers went to bed, enraged against herself — ^but it was now too 
late. 

In the mean time, Emilie and her mother were in an obscure 
lodging, at a haberdasher's near Golden Square. The pride of 
Mad. de Coulanges, at first, supported her even beyond her 
daughter's expectations; she uttered no complaints, but fre- 
quently repeated, '* Mais nous sommes bien ici, tres bien — ^we 
cannot expect to have things as well a» at the Hotel de Cou- 
langes." In a short time she was threatened with fits of her 
vapeurs noirs ; but Emilie, with the assistance of her whole store 
of French songs, a bird-organ, a lap-dog, and a squirrel, 
belonging to the girl of the house, contrived to avert the danger 
for the present — as to the future, she trembled to think of it 
M. de Brisac seemed to be continually in her mother's thoughts; 
and whatever occurred, or whatever was the subject of conve^ 
sation, Mad. de Coulanges always found means to end with 
" apropos de M, de Brisac,'* Faithful to her promise, however, 
which Emilie, with the utmost delicacy, recalled to her mind, 
she declared that she would not give M. de Brisac an answer till 
the end of the month, which she had allowed her daughter for 
reflection, and that, till that period, she would not even let him 
know where they were to be found. Emilie thought that th6 
time went very fast, and her mother evidently rejoiced at the 
idea that the month would soon be at an end. £inilie endear 



( 



^ EMILXE DE COULANGES. 399 

eonred, with all her skill, to demonstrate to her mother that it 
Vould be possible to support themselves, by her industry and 
ingenuity, without this marriage ; and to this, Mad. de Coulanges 
at first replied, " Try, and you will soon be tired, child." 
Emilie's spirits rose on receiving this permission : she began by 
copying music for a music-shop in the neighbourhood ; and her 
mother saw, with astonishment, that she persevered in her 
design, and that no fatigue or discouraging circumstances could 
vanquish her resolution. 

** Good Heavens! my child," said she, "you will wear your- 
self to a skeleton with copying music, and with painting, and 
embroidery, besides stooping so many hours over that tambour 
frame. My dear, how can you bear all this?" 

** How ! — Oh! dear mamma !" said Emilie, "there is no great 
lifficulty in all this to me — the difficulty, the impossibility would 
ae, to live happily with a man I despise." 

"I wish," cried Mad. de Coulanges, "I wish to all the 
laints, that that hero of yours, that fellow-prisoner of ours at 
the Abbaye, with his humanity, and his generosity, and his 
:;ourage, and all his fine qualities, had kept out of your way, 
Ejinilie : I wish he were fairly at the bottom of the Black Sea." 

** But you forget that he was the means of obtaining your 
Liberty, mamma." 

" I wish I could forget it — I am always doomed to be obliged 
to those whom I cannot love. But, after all, you might as well 
think of the khan of Tartary as of this man, whom we shall never 
hear of more. Marry M. de Brisac, like a reasonable creature, 
and do not let me see you bending, as you do, for ever, over a 
tambour frame, wasting your fine eyes and spoiling your charming 
shape." 

<' But, mamma," said Emilie, " would it not be much worse to 
marry one man, and like another ?" 

" For mercy's sake ! say something new to me, Emilie ; at all 
events, I have heard this a hundred times." 

<' The simple truth, alas !" said Emilie, "must always be the 
same : I wish I could put it in any new light that would please 
you, dear mamma." 

" It never can please me, child," cried Mad. de Coulanges, 
angrily ; " nor can you please me, either, as you are going on. 



400 EMILIE D£ COULANGE8. 

Fine heroism, truly ! — you will sacrifice your duty and your 
mother to your obstinacy in an idle fancy. But, remember, the 
last days of the month are at hand — longer I will not listen 
to such provoking nonsense — it has half killed me already." 

Neither lap-dog, squirrel, bird-organ, nor Emilie'swhole stock 
of French songs, could longer support the vivacity of Mad. de 
Coulanges ; for some days she had passed the time in watching 
and listening to the London cries, as she sat at her window : the 
figures and sounds in this busy part of the town were quite new 
to her ; and, whilst the novelty lasted, she was, like a child, good- 
humoured and full of exclamations. The want of some one to 
listen to these exclamations was an insupportable evil ; she com- 
plained terribly of her daughter's silence, whilst she was attending 
to her difi*^rent employments. This want of conversation, and 
of all the luxuries she enjoyed at the house of Mrs. Somers, her 
anger against that lady, her loss of all hope of hearing from 
France, and her fear that Emilie would at last absolutely refuse 
to obey and marry M. de Brisac, all together operated so power- 
fully upon Mad. de Coulanges, that she really felt sick, and kept 
her bed. Emilie now confined herself to her mother's room, and 
attended her with the most affectionate care, and with a degree 
of anxiety, which those only can comprehend who have believed 
themselves to be the cause of the illness of a friend — of a parent 
Mad. de Coulanges would sometimes reply, when her daughter 
asked her if such or such a thing had done her good, '' No, my 
child, nothing will do me good but your obedience, which you 
refuse me — perhaps on my deathbed." 

Though Emilie did not apprehend that her mother was in any 
immediate danger, yet these continual fits of low spirits and 
nervous attacks excited much alarm. Emilie's reflections on 
her own helpless situation contributed to magnify her fears : she 
considered that she was a stranger, a foreigner, without friends, 
without credit, almost without money, and deprived, by the 
necessary attendance on her sick mother, of all power to earn 
any by her own exertions. The bodily fatigue that she endured, 
even without any mental anxiety, would have been sufficient to 
wear out the spirits of a more robust person than Emilie. She 
had no human being to assist her but a young girl, a servant- 
maid belonging to the house, who, fortunately, was active and 



EMII.IE DE COULANOES. 401 

;ood-natured ; but her mistress was excessively cross, vulgar, 
ind avaricious ; avarice, indeed, often seemed to conquer in ber 
be common feelings of bumanity. Once, wbilst Mad. de Cou- 
anges was extremely ill, sbe forced ber way into ber bedcbam- 
}er, to insist upon changing tbe counterpane upon tbe bed, 
?bicb sbe said was too good to be stained with coffee : another 
lay, when sbe was angry with Mile, de Coulanges, for having 
tracked a basin by heating some soup for her mother, sbe 
leclared, in tlie least ceremonious terms possible, that sbe bated 
JO have any of the French refugees and emigrants in the house, 
or that she was not accustomed to let her lodgings to folk that 
lobody ever came near to visit, and that lived only upon soups 
md salads, and such low stuff; "and who, when they were ill, 
lever so much as called in a physician, or even a nurse, but 
nust take up the time of people that were not bound to wait 
ipon them." 

Mile, de Coulanges bore all this patiently rather than run the 
lazard of removing to other lodgings whilst ber mother was so 
11. The countess bad a prejudice against English physicians, 
IS she affirmed that it was impossible that they could understand 
French constitutions, especially hers, which was different from 
hat of any other human being, and which, as she said, only one 
nedical man in France rightly understood. At last, however, 
he yielded to the persuasions of her daughter, and permitted 
Smilie to send for a physician. When she inquired what be 
bought of her mother, he said, that sbe was in a nervous fever, 
md that unless her mind was kept free from anxiety he could 
lot answer for her recovery. Mad. de Coulanges looked full at 
ler daughter, who was standing at the foot of her bed ; a mist 
ame before £mille*s eyes, a cold dew covered ber forehead, and 
he was forced to bold by tbe bed-post to support herself. 

At this instant the door opened, and Lady Littleton appeared, 
Smilie sprang forward, and threw herself into her arms — Mad, 
e Coulanges started up in her bed, exclaiming "Ah Ciel !" and 
ken all were silent — except tbe mistress of tbe house, who went 
n making apologies about the dirt of her stairs, and its being 
'riday night. But as she at length perceived that not a soul in 
ke room knew a word she was saying, she retreated. Tbe 
hysician took leave — and, when they were thus left at Uh^xV^^ 

Foihionable Life, ^ ^ 



402 EMILIB DE COULANGES. 

Lady Littleton seated herself in the broken arm-chair beside the 
bed, and told Mad. de Coulanges that Mrs. Somers had beer 
very unhappy, in consequence of their quarrel ; and that sb( 
had been indefatigable in her inquiries and endeavours to fine 
out the place of their retreat ; that she had at last given up th( 
search in despair. "But," continued Lady Littleton, "it hai 
been my good fortune to discover you by means of this flowei 
of Emilie's painting*' — (she produced a little hand-screen, whicl 
Emilie had lately made, and which she had sent to be disposec 
of at the Repository for Ingenious Works). " I knew it to b< 
yours, my dear, because it is an exact resemblance of one upoi 
yoiur watch of Flora, which was drawn from the flower I brough 
you from Kew Gardens. Now you must not be angry with mi 
for finding you out, nor for begging of you to be reconciled U 
poor Mrs. Somers, who has suffered much in your absence- 
much from the idea of what you would endure — and more fron 
her self-reproaches. She has, indeed, an unfortunate suscepti- 
bility of temper, which makes her sometimes 'forget both poUtfr 
ness and justice : but, as you well know, her heart is excellent 
Come, you must promise me to meet her at my house, as sooe 
as you are able to go out, my dear Mad. de Coulanges." 

" I do not know when that will be," replied Mad. de Cou- 
langes, in a sick voice : ** I was never so ill in my life— and so 
the physician says. But I am revived by seeing Lady Littleton 
— she is, and ever has been, all goodness and politeness to us. 
I am ashamed that she should see us in such a miserable place. 
Emilie, give me my other ni^ht-riband, and the wretched litde 
looking-glass." 

Mad. de Coulanges sat up and arranged her head-dress. At 
this moment. Lady Littleton took Emilie aside, and put into her 
hand a letter from France ! — " I would not speak of it suddenly 
to your mother, my dear," said she ; " but you will find the proper 
time. I hope it contains good news — at present I will have 
patience. You shall see me again soon ; and jou must, at all 
events, let me take you from this miserable place. Mrs. Somers 
has been punished enough. — Adieu ! — I long to know the news 
from France." 

The news from France was such as made the looking-glass 
drop from the hand of Mad. de Coulanges. It was a letter from 



EMILIE DE C0ULAMGE8. 403 

the son of her old steward, to tell her that his father was dead — 
that he was now in possession of all the family fortune, which 
he was impatient to restore to the wife and daughter of his 
former master and friend. 

" Heaven he praised !" exclaimed Mad. de Coulanges, in an 
ecstasy of joy — " Heaven he praised ! we shall once more see 
dear Paris, and the Hotel de Coulanges!" 

" Heaven he praised !" cried Emilie, ** I shall never more see 
M. de Bnsac. My mother, I am sure, will no longer wish me 
to marry him." 

" No, in truth," said the countess, " it would now he a most 
unequal match, and one to which he is hy no means entitled. 
How fortunate it is that I had not given him my promise ! — 
After all, your aversion to him, child^ was quite providential. 
Now you may form the most splendid alliance that your heart 
can desire." 

"My heart," said Emilie, sighing, ''desires no splendid 
alliance. But had you not hetter lie down, dear mamma ? — You 
will certainly catch cold — and remember, your mind must he 
kept quiet." 

It was impossible to keep her mind quiet ; she ran on from 
one subject to another with extravagant volubility ; and Emilie 
was afraid that she would, the next day, be quite exhausted ; 
but, on the contrary, after talking above half the night, she fell 
into a sound sleep ; and when she wakened, after having slept 
fourteen hours, she declared that she would no longer be kept a 
prisoner in bed. The renovating effects of joy and the influence 
of the imagination were never more strongly displayed. " Le 
malheur pass^ n'est bon qu'^ Stre oubli^," was la comtesse's 
favourite maxim — ^and to do her justice, she was as ready to 
forget past quarrels as past misfortunes. She readily complied 
with Emilie's request that she would, as soon as she was able to 
go out, accompany her to Lady Littleton's, that they might 
meet and be reconciled to Mrs. Somers. 

" She has the most tormenting temper imaginable," said the 
countess ; ** and I would not live with her for the universe^ 
Mais d'ailleurs c'est la meilleure femme du monde." 

If, instead of being the best woman in the world, Mrs. 
Somers had been the worst, and if, instead of being a bene- 
Dd2 



404 EMILIE DE COULANOE8. 

factress, she had been an enemy, it would have been all the 
same thing to the countess ; for, in this moment, she was, as 
usual, like a child, di friend to every creature of every kind. 

Her volubility was interrupted by the arrival of Lady Little- 
ton, who came to carry Mad. de Coiilanges and Emilie to her 
house, where, as her ladyship said, Mrs. Somers was impatiently 
waiting for them. Lady Littleton had prevented her from 
coming to this poor lodging-house, because she knew that the 
being seen there would mortify the pride of some of the house of 
Coulanges. 

Mrs. Somers was indeed waiting for them with inexpressible 
impatience. The moment she heard their voices in the hall at 
Lady Littleton's, she ran down stairs to meet them ; and as she 
embraced Emilie she could not refrain from bursting into tears. 

"Tears of joy, these must be," cried Mad. de Coulanges: 
"we are all happy now — perfectly happy — Are not we? — 
Embrace me, Mrs. Somers— Einilie shall not have all your 
heart — I have some gratitude as well as my daughter ; and I 
should have none if I did not love you— especially at this 
moment." 

Mad. de Coulanges was, by this 'time, at the head of the 
stairs ; a servant opened the drawing-room door ; but something 
was amiss with the strings of her sandals — she would stay to 
adjust them — and said to Emilie, " Allez, allez — entrez." 

Emilie obeyed. An instant afterwards Mad. de Coulanges 
thought she heard a sudden cry, either of joy or grief, from 
Emilie— she hurried into the drawing-room. 

" Bon Dieu I c'est notre homme de TAbbaye !" cried she, 
starting back at the sight of a gentleman who had been kneeling 
at Emilie's feet, and who arose as she entered. 

"My son!" said Mrs. Somers, eagerly presenting him to 
Mad. de Coulanges — " my son ! whom it is in your power to 
make the happiest or the most miserable of men !" 

" In my power ! — in Emilie's, you mean, I suppose," said the 
countess, smiling. " She is so good a girl that I cannot make 
her miserable ; and as for you, Mrs. Somers, the honour of your 

alliance — and our obligations But then I shall be miserable 

myself if she does not go back with me to the Hotel de Cou- 
langes— Ah I Ciel !— And then poor M. de Brisac, he will be \ 



EMILIE DE COULANOESi 405 

miserable, unless, to comfort him, I marry him myseW* Half 

laughing, half crying, Mad. de Coulanges scarcely knew what 
she said or did. 

It was some time before she was sufficiently composed to 
understand clearly what was said to her by any person in the 
room, though she asked, half a dozen times, at least, from every 
one present, an explanation of all that had happened. 

Lady Littleton was the only person who coiUd give an expla- 
nation. She had contrived this meeting, and even Mrs. Somers 
had not foreseen the event — she never suspected that her 
own son was the very person to whom Emilie was attached, and 
that it was for Emilie 's sake her son had hitherto refused to 
comply with her earnest desire that he should marry and settle 
in the world. He had no hopes that she would consent to his 
marrying a French girl without fortune, because she formerly 
quarrelled with him for refusing to marry a rich lady of quality, 
who happened to be, at that time, high in her favour. Upon 
the summons home that he received from her, he was alarmed 
by the apprehension that she had some new alliance in view for 
him, and he resolved, before he saw his mother, to trust his 
secret to Lady Littleton, who had always been a mediatrix and 
peace-maker. He declined telling the name of the object of his 
affections ; but, from his description, and from many concomi- 
tant dates and circumstances. Lady Littleton was led to suspect 
that it might be Emilie de Coulanges. She consequently con- 
trived an interview, which she knew must be decisive. 

Mad. de Coulanges, whose imagination was now at Paris, felt 
rather disappointed at the idea of her daughter's marrying an 
Englishman, who was neither a count, a marquis, nor even a 
baron ; but Lady Littleton at length obtained that consent 
which she knew would be necessary to render Emilie happy, 
even in following the dictates of her heart, or her reason. 

Some conversation passed between Lady Littleton and Mrs. 
Somers about a dormant title in the Somers' family, which 
might be revived. This made a wonderful impression on the 
countess. She yielded, as she did every thing else, with a good 
grace. 

History does not say, whether she did or did not console 
M. de Brisac : we are only informed that, imm^^-aXjRtVj ^\»t 



406 BMILIB DE COULANGES. 

ber daughter's marriage, she returned to Paris, and gi 
splendid ball at her Hotel de Coulanges. We are fi 
assured that Mrs. Somers never quarrelled with £mi]ie froi 
day of her marriage till the day of her death — ^but that is i 
dible. 

1803. 



THE 

MODERN GRTSELDA. 

A TALE, 



*^ And since in man right reason bears the sway, 
Let that frail thing, weak woman, have her way/* 

POPB. 



THE 

MODERN GRISELDA. 



CHAPTER I. 



*^ Blest as tV immortal gods is he. 
The youth who fondly sits by thee. 
Who sees and hears thee all the while, 
Softly speak and sweetly smile/* 

''Is not this ode set to music, my dear Griselda?" said tlie 
happy bridegroom to his bride. 

**yes, surely, my dear: did you never hear it?" 

" Never ; and I am glad of it, for I shall have the pleasure of 
hearing it for the first time from you, my love : will you be so 
kind as to play it for me V 

** Most willingly," said Griselda, with an enchanting smile; 
*' but I am afraid that I shall not be able to do it justice," added 
she, as she sat down to her harp, and threw her white arm across 
the chords. 

«« Charming ! Thank you, my love," said the bridegroom, who 
Had listened with enthusiastic devotion. — " Will you let me hear 
it once more ?" 

The complaisant bride repeated the strain. 

" Thank you, my dear love," repeated her husband. This time 
he omitted the word " charming** — she missed it, and, pouting 
prettily, said, 

** I never can play any thing so well the . second time as the 
first/' — She paused : but as no compliment ensued, she continued. 



410 THE MODERN GRISELDA. 

in a more pettish tone, " And for that reason, I do hate to be 
made to play any thing twice over." 

" I did not know that, my dearest love, or I would not have 
asked you to do it ; hut I am the more ohliged to you for your 
ready compliance." 

" Obliged ! — Oh, my dear, I am sure you could not he the 
least obliged to me, for I know I played it horridly : I hate 
flattery." 

'< I am convinced of that, my dear, and therefore I never 
flatter : you know I did not say that you played as well the last 
time as the first, did I ?" 

" No, I did not say you did," cried Griselda, and her colour 
rose as she spoke : she tuned her harp with some precipitatLon 
— " This harp is terribly out of tune." 
" Is it ? I did not perceive it." 
" Did not you, indeed ? I am sorry for that" 
"Why so, my dear?" 

" Because, my dear, I own that I would rather have had the 
blame thrown on my harp than upon myself." 

" Blame ? my love ! — But I threw no blame either on you or 
your harp. I cannot recollect saying even a syllable that implied 
blame." 

" No, my dear, you did not say a syllable ; but in some cases 
the silence of those we love is the worst, the most mortifying 
species of blame." 
The tears came into Griselda's beautiful eyes. 
"My sweet love," said he, "how can you let such a trifle 
affect you so much ?" 

" Nothing is a trifle to me which concerns those I love," said i 
Griselda.— -—Her husband kissed away the pearly drops which J 
rolled over her vermeil-tinctured cheeks. " My love," said he, *l 
" this is having too much sensibility." f 

" Yes, I own I have too much sensibility," said she, "too much \ 
^-a great deal too much, for my own happiness. — Nothing ever ' 
can be a trifle to me which marks the decline of the affection of 
those who are most dear to me." 

The tenderest protestations of undiminished and unalterable 
affection could not for some time reassure this timid sensibility : 
but at length the lady suffered herself to be comforted, and with 



I 



THE MODERN GRISELDA. 411 

a langiud smile said, that she hoped she was mistaken — that her 
fears were perhaps imreasonahle — ^that she prayed to Heaven 
they might in future prove groundless. 

A few weeks afterwards her husband unexpectedly met with 
Mr. Granby, a friend, of whose company he was particularly 
fond : he invited him home to dinner, and was talking over past 
times in all the gaiety and innocence of his heart, when suddenly 
his wife rose and left the room. — As her absence appeared to 
him long, and as he had begged his friend to postpone an excellent 
story till her return, he went to her apartment and called 

"Griselda! — Oriselda, my love!" No Griselda answered.— 

He searched for her in vain in every room in the house : at last, 
in an alcove in the garden, he found the fair dissolved in tears. 
« Good Heavens ! my dear Griselda, what can be the matter?" 
A melancholy, not to say sullen, silence was maintained by 
his dear Griselda, till this question had been reiterated in all the 
possible tones of fond solicitude and alarm : at last, in broken 
sentences, she replied that she saw he did not love her — ^never 
had loved her ; that she had now but too much reason to be 
convinced that all her fears were real, not imaginary ; that her 
presentiments, alas ! never deceived her ; that she was the most 
miserable woman on earth. 

Her husband's unfeigned astonishment she seemed to consider 
as an aggravation of her woes, and it was an additional insult to 
plead ignorance of his offence. 

If he did not imderstand her feelings, it was impossible, it 
was needless, to explain them. He must have lost all sympathy 
with her, all tenderness for her, if he did not know what had 
passed in her mind. 

The man stood in stupid innocence. Provoked to speak more 
plainly, the lady exclaimed, ** Unfeeling, cruel, barbarous man ! 
— Have not you this whole day been trying your utmost skill to 
torment me to death ? and, proud of your success, now you come 
to enjoy your triiunph." 
" Success I — ^triumph !" 

"Yes, triumph !— I see it in your eyes— it is in vain to deny 
it. All this I owe to your friend Mr. Granby. Why he should 
be my enemy ! — I who never injured him, or any body living, 
in thought, word, or deed — why he should be m^ gt^feXK^V 



412 THE MODERN ORISELDA. 

" Enemy ! — My love, this is the strangest fancy ! Why should 
you imagine that he is your enemy V* 

" He w my enemy — nobody shall ever convince me of the 
contrary ; he has wounded me in the tenderest point, and in the 
basest manner : has not he done his utmost, in the most artful, 
insidious way, — even before my face, — to persuade you that you 
were a thousand times happier when you were a bachelor than 
you are now — than you ever have been since you married me ?'* 
** Oh, my dear Griselda, you totally misunderstand him : such 
a thought never entered his mind." 

" Pardon me, I know him better than you do." 
" But I have known him ever since I was a child." 
" That is the very reason you cannot judge of him aa well as 
I can : how could you judge of character when you were a 
child?" 

" But now that I am a man — " 

" Now that you are a man you are prejudiced in his favour 
by all the associations of your childhood — all those associations," 
continued the fair one, renewing her tears, <*all those early 
associations, which are stronger than every other species of 
affection — all those associations which I never can have in your 
mind, which ever must act against me, and which no merit— if I 
had any merit — no tenderness, no fidelity, no fondness of mine, 
can ever hope to balance in the heart of the man I love." 

** My dearest Griselda ! be reasonable, and do not torment 
yourself and me for no earthly purpose about these associations : 
really it is ridiculous. Come, dry these useless tears, let me 
beseech you, my love. You do not know how much pain they 
give me, unreasonable as they are." 

At these words they flowed more bitterly. 
" Nay, my love, I conjure you to compose yourself, and return 
to the company : you do not know how long you have been 
away, and I too. We shall be missed ; we shall make ourselves 
ridiculous." 

** If it be ridiculous to love, I shall be ridiculous all my life. 
I am sorry you think me so ; I knew it would come to this ; I ' 
must bear it if I can," said Griselda ; " only be so kind to excuse i 
me from returning to the company to-night — indeed I am not fit, 
I am not able : say that I am not well ; indeed, my love, you J 



THE MODERN ORI8ELDA. 413 

lay say so with truth. — ^Tell your friend that I have a terrible 
sad-ache, and that I am gone to bed — but not to rest," added 
le, in a lower and more plaintive tone, as she drew her hand 
om her husband's, and in spite of all his entreaties retired to 
er room with an air of heart-broken resignation. 

Whoever has had the felicity to be beloved by such a wife as 
ur Griselda, must have felt how much the charms of beauty are 
leightened by the anguish of sensibility. Even in the moment 
rhen a husband is most tormented by her caprices, he feels that 
here is something so amiable, so flattering to his vanity in their 
ource, that he cannot complain of the killing pleasure. On the 
lontrary, he grows fonder of his dear tormentor ; he folds closer 
o him this pleasing bosom ill. 

Griselda perceived the effects, and felt the whole extent of the 
»ower of sensibility ; she had too much prudence, however, at 
•nee to wear out the excitability of a husband's heart ; she knew 
hat the influence of tears, potent as it is, might in time cease to 
»e irresistible, unless aided by the magic of smiles ; she knew 
he power of contrast even in charms ; she believed the poets, 
irho certainly understand these things, and who assure us that 
he very existence of love depends on this blest vicissitude. 
iJonvinced, or seemingly convinced, of the folly of that fond 
nelancholy in which she persisted for a week, she next appeared 
11 radiant with joy ; and she had reason to be delighted by the 
ffect which this produced. Her husband, who had not yet 
leen long enough her husband to cease to be her lover, had 
uflTered much from the obstinacy of her sorrow ; his spirits 
lad sunk, he had become silent, he had been even seen to stand 
lotionless with his arms folded ; he was in this attitude when 
he approached and smiled upon him in all her glory. He 
xeathed, he lived, he moved, he spoke. — Not the influence of the 
un on the statue of Memnon was ever more exhilarating. 

Let any candid female say, or, if she will not say, imagine, 
7hsLt she should have felt at that moment in Griselda's place. — 
low intoxicating to human vanity, to be possessed of such powers 
f enchantment ! — How difficult to refrain from their exercise I — 
iow impossible to believe in their finite duration ! 



414 *>!■ MODBRN GRIIBLDA. 



CHAPTER II. 



•* Some hope a lover by their fatdts to win, 
Ab spots on ermine beautifj the skin.** 

Whbii Griselda thought that her husband had long enoogb I 
enjoyed his new existence, and that there was dwiger of to ' 
forgetting the taste of sorrow, she changed her tone.-— One 
day, when he had not returned home exactly at the appoioted 
minute, she received him with a frown, — such as would btve < 
made even Mars himself recoil, if Mars could have beheld nek 
a frown upon the brow of his Venus. 

" Dinner has been kept waiting for you this hour, my dear." 

" I am very sorry for it ; but why did you wait, my dear? 1 
am really very sorry I am so late, but (looking at his watch) it ii 
only half past six by me." 

" It is seven by me." 

They presented their watches to each other ; he, in » 
apologetical, she, in a reproachful attitude. 

"I rather think you are too fasl^ my dear," said the go- 
tleman. > 

«* I am very sure you are too slow, my dear," said the lady. 

" My watch never loses a minute in the four-and-tveirty 
hours," said he. 

" Nor mine a second," said she. 

" I have reason to believe I am right, my love," said the 
husband, mildly. 

"Reason!" exclaimed the wife, astonished; "what reason 
can you possibly have to believe you are right, when I tell yo" 
I am morally certain you are wrong, my love V* 

" My only reason is, that I set my watch by the sun to^y." 

" The sun must be wrong, then," cried the lady, hastily.- 
" You need not laugh ; for I know what I am saying — the vaiii* 
tion, the declination, must be allowed for in computing it witi 
the clock. Now you know perfectly well what I mean, thongh 
you will not explain it for me, because you are conscious I •« 
in the right," 

" Well, my dear, if you are conscious of it, that is sufficienti f 



THE MODERN GRI8ELDA. 415 

We will not dispute any more about such a trifle. — Are they 
bringing up dinner?" 

" If they know that you are come in ; but I am sure I cannot 
tell whether they do or not — Pray, my dear Mrs. Nettleby," 
cried the lady, turning to a female friend, and still holding her 
watch in her hand, *' what o'clock is it by you ? There is nobody 
in the world hates disputing about trifles as much as I do ; but 
I own I do love to convince people that I am in the right." 

Mrs. Nettleby's watch had stopped. How provoking!— 
Vexed at having no immediate means of convincing people that 
she was in the right, our heroine consoled herself by proceeding 
to criminate her husband, not in this particular instance, where 
he pleaded guilty, but upon the general charge of being qjways 
late for dinner, which he strenuously denied. 

There is something in the species of reproach, which advances 
thus triumphantly from particulars to generals, peculiarly offen- 
sive to every reasonable and susceptible mind: and there is 
something in the general charge of being always late for dinner, 
which the punctuality of man's nature cannot easily endure, 
especially if he be hungry. We should humbly advise our 
female friends to forbear exposing a husband's patience to this 
trial, or at least to temper it with much fondness, else mischief 
will infallibly ensue. For the first time Griselda saw her 
husband angry ; but she recovered him by saying, in a softened 
tone, " My love, you must be sensible that I can have but one 
reason for being so impatient for your return home. — If I liked 
your company less, I should not complain so much of your want 
of punctuality." 

Finding that this speech had the desired effect, it was after- 
wards repeated with variations whenever her husband stayed 
from home to enjoy any species of amusement, or to gratify any 
of his friends. When he betrayed symptoms of impatience 
under this constraint, the expostulations became more urgent, if 
not more forcible. 

" Indeed, my dear, I take it rather unkindly of you that you 
pay so little attention to my feelings " 

** I see I am of no consequence to you now ; I find every 
body's society is preferred to mine : it was not always so. — 
Well I it b what I might have expected " 



416 THE MODERN ORI8ELDA. 

« Heigho I Heigho ! " 

Griselda's sighs were still persuasive, and her husband, 
notwithstanding that he felt the restraints which daily multiplied 
upon his time and upon his personal liberty becoming irksome, 
had not the barbarity to give pain to the woman by whom he 
was so tenderly beloved. He did not consider that in this case, 
as well as in many others, apparent mercy is real cruelty. The 
more this monopolizing humour of his wife's was indulged, the 
more insatiable it became. Every person, every thing but her- 
self, was to be excluded from his heart ; and when this sole 
patent for pleasure was granted to her, she became rather care- 
less in its exercise, as those are apt to be who fear no com- 
petitors. In proportion as her endeavours to please abated, her 
expectations of being adored increased : the slightest word of 
blame, the most remote hint that any thing iH her conduct, 
manners, or even dress, could be altered for the better, was the 
signal for battle or for tears. 

One night she wept for an hour, and debated for two, about 
an alteration in her head-dress, which her husband unluckily 
happened to say made it more becoming. More becoming! 
implied that it was before unbecoming. She recollected the time 
when every thing she wore was becoming in his eyes — ^but that 
time, alas ! was completely past ; and she only wished that she 
could forget that it had ever been. 

" To have beei) happy is additional misery." 

This misery may appear comic to some people, but it certainly 
was not so to our heroine's unfortunate husband. It was in vain 
that, in mitigation of his offence, he pleaded total want of know- 
ledge in the arcana of the toilette, absolute inferiority of taste, 
and a willing submission to the decrees of fashion. 

This submission was called indifference — this calmness con- 
strued into contempt. He stood convicted of having said that 
the lady's dress was unbecoming — she was certain that be 
thought more than he said, and that every thing about her was 
grown disagreeable to him. 

It was in vain he represented that his affection had not been 
created, and could not be annihilated, by such trifles ; that it 
rested on the solid basis of esteem. 

<* Esteem!" cried his wife — *Uhat is the unkindest stroke of 



THE MODERN ORISELDA. 417 

bU ! When a man begins to talk of esteem, there is an end of 
love." 

To illustrate this position, the fair one, as well as the disorder 
of her mind would permit, entered into a refined disquisition, 
full of all the metaphysics of gallantry, which proved that love 
— genuine love — is an sethereal essence, a union of souls, regu- 
lated by none of those formal principles, and founded upon none 

•• of those vulgar moral qualities on which friendship, and the 
other connexions of society, depend. Far, far above the juris- 
diction of reason, true love creates perfect sympathy in taste, 
and an absolute identity of opinion upon all subjects, physical, 
metaphysical, moral, political, and economic. After having 
thus established her theory, her practice was wonderfully con- 
sistent, and she reasonably expected from her husband the most 
exact conformity to her principles— of course, his five senses and 
his understanding were to be identified with hers. If he saw, 
heard, felt, or understood differently from her, he did not, could 
not, love her. Once she was offended by his liking white better 
than black ; at another time she was angry with him for loving 
the taste of mushrooms. One winter she quarrelled with him for 
not admiring the touch of satin, and one summer she was jealous 

r of him for listening to the song of a blackbird. Then because 
he could not prefer to all other odours the smell of jessamine, 
she was ready ** to die of a rose in aromatic pain." The domain 
of taste, in the more enlarged sense of the word, became a 
glorious field of battle, and afforded subjects of inextinguishable 
war. Our heroine was accomplished, and knew how to make all 
her accomplishments and her knowledge of use. As she was 
mistress not only of the pencil, but of all " the cant of criticism," 
she had infinite advantages in the wordy war. From the beau 

• ideal to the choice of a snuffer-dish, all came, within her 
province, and was to be submitted, without appeal, to her 
instinctive sense of moral order. — Happy fruits of knowledge ! — 
Happy those who can thus enlarge their intellectual dominion, 

I and can vary eternally the dear delight of giving pain. The 

r range of opinion was still more ample than the province of 
taste, affording scope for all the joys of assertion and declama- 
tion — ^for the opposing of learned and unlearned authorities — for 
the quoting the opinions of friends— counting v'oicea Iu&U»j1 ^ 
The Modem Gruelda, ^ t 



418 THE MODERN QRI8ELDA. 

arguments — wondering at the absurdity of those who can he of 
a diflferent way of thinking — appealing to the judgment of the 
whole world — or resting perfectly satisfied with her own. Some- 
times the most important, sometimes the most trivial, and seem- 
ingly uninteresting subjects, gave exercise to Griselda's powers ; 
and in all cases being entirely of her opinion was the only satis- 
factory proof of love. 

Our heroine knew how, with able generalship, to take advan- 
tage of time and situation. — Just before the birth of their child, 
which, by-the-bye, was bom dead, a dispute arose between the 
husband and wife concerning public and private education, 
which, from its vehemence, alarmed the gentleman into a perfect 
conviction that he was in the wrong. Scarcely had Griselda 
gained this point, when a question arose at the tear-table respecting 
the Chinese method of making tea. It was doubted by some of 
the company whether it was made in a tea-pot or a tea-cup. 
Griselda gave her opinion loudly for the tea-pot — ^her lord and 
master inclined to the tea-cup ; and as neither of them had been 
in China, they could debate without fear of coming to a conclu- 
sion. The subject seemed at first insignificant ; but the lady's 
method of managing it supplied all deficiencies, and roused all 
the passions of human nature on the one side or the other. 
Victory hung doubtfid ; but our heroine won the day by taking 
time into the accoimt. — Her adversary was in a hurry to go to 
meet some person on business, and quitted the field of battle. 



CHAPTER III. 

" Self-valuing Fancy, highly-crested Piifle, 
Strong sovereign Will, and some desire to chide.** 

** There are," says Dr. Johnson, ** a thousand familiar disputes 
which reason can never decide ; questions that elude investiga- 
tion, and make logic ridiculous — cases where something roust be 
dgne, and where little can be said. — ^Wretched would be the pair 
above all names of wretchedness who should be doomed to ad- 
just by reason ef ery morning all the detail of a domestic day." 



THE MODERN GRISELDA. 419 

Our heroine made a double advantage of this passage : for she 
eg^arly reasoned where logic was ridiculous, and could not 
e prevailed upon to listen to reason when it might have been 
seful. — She substituted her will most frequently for arguments, 
nd often opposed it to her husband's, in order to give him the 
lerit of sacrificing his wishes. When he wanted to read, she 
addenly wished to walk ; when he wished to walk, she was 
nmersed in her studies. When he was busy, she was talkative ; 
rben he was eager to hear her converse, she was inclined to be 
ilent. The company that he liked, she disliked ; the public 
xnusements that she most frequented were those of which he 
sast approved. This species of wilfulness was the strongest 
»roof of her solicitude about his good opinion. — She could not 
»ear, she said, that he should consider her as a child, who was 
lot able to govern herself. She could not believe that a man had 
ronfidence in her unless he proved it by leaving her at liberty 
o decide and act for herself. 

Sometimes she receded, sometimes she advanced in her 
;1aims ; but without marking the daily ebbs and flows of her 
lumour, it is sufficient to observe, that it continually encroached 
ipon her husband's indulgence. She soon insisted upon being 
iOTUtdted, that is, obeyed, in affairs which did not immediately 
;ome under the cognizance of her sex — politics inclusive. This 
apparently exorbitant love of power was veiled under the most 
iffectionate humility. 

" Oh, my love ! I know you despise my abilities ; you think 
hese things above the comprehension of poor women. I know 
[ am but your plaything after all : you cannot consider me for a 
noment as your equal or your friend — I see that ! — ^You talk of 
hese things to your friend Mr. Granby — I am not worthy to hear 
hem. — Well, I am sure I have no ambition, except to possess 
he confidence of the man I love." 

The lady forgot that she had, upon a former occasion, consi- 
lered a profession of esteem from her husband as an insult, and 
hat, according to her definition of true love, esteem was incom- 
>atible with its existence. 

Tacitus remarks, that it is common with princes to will con- 
radictories; in this characteristic they have the honour to 
-esemble some of the fair sex, as wcill as all spoiled children. 
E e2 



420 THE MODERN ORISELDA. 

Having every feasible wish gratified, they are obliged to wish for 
what is impossible, for want of something to desire or to do : 
they are compelled to cry for the moon, or for new worlds to 
conquer. — Our heroine having now attained the summit of human 
glory and happiness, and feeling almost as much ennui as was 
expressed by the conqueror of the world, yawned one morning, 
as she sat tete-a-tdte with her husband, and said — 

" I wish I knew what was the matter with me this morning. — 
Why do you keep the newspaper all to yourself, my dear?" 
" Here it is for you, my dear : I have finished it." 
** I humbly thank you for giving it to me when you have done 
with it — I hate stale news. — Is there any thing in the paper? 
for I cannot be at the trouble of hunting it." 

''Yes, my dear, there are the marriages of two of our 
friends—" 
"Who? Who?" 

"Your friend the Widow Nettleby, to her cousin John 
Nettleby.^' 

" Mrs. Nettleby I Lord I but why did you tell me ?" 
" Because you asked me, my dear." 

" Oh ! but it is a hundred times pleasanter to read the para- 
graph one's self: one loses all the pleasure of the surprise by 
being told. — Well ! whose was the other marriage ?" 

" Oh ! my dear, I will not tell you— I will leave you the plea- 
sure of the surprise." 

" But you see I cannot guess it— How provoking you are, my 
dear! Do pray tell it me." 
" Our friend Mr. Granby." 

"Mr. Granby! — Dear! Why did not you make me g^ess? 
I should have guessed him directly : but why do you call him 
our friend ? I am sure he is no friend of mine, nor ever was ; I 
took an aversion to him, as you may remember, the very first 
day I saw him : I am sure he is no friend of mine." 

" I am sorry for it, my dear ; but I hope you will go and see 
Mrs. Granby ?" 

" Not I, indeed, my dear. — Who was she ?" 
" Miss Cooke." 

" Cooke ! — but there are so many Cookes. Can't you dis- 
tinguish her any way ?— -Has she no Christian name?" 



THE MODERN ORISELDA. 421 

" Emma, I think — yes, Emma." 

" Emma Cooke ! — No ; it cannot be my friend Emma Cooke — 
for I am sure she was cut out for an old maid." 

" This lady seems to me to be cut out for a good wife." 

** May be so — I am sure I'll never go to see her — Pray, my 
dear, how came you to see so much of her ?" 

** I have seen very little of her, my dear : I only saw her two 
or three times before she was married." 

" Then, my dear, how could you decide that she is cut out 
for a good wife ? — I am sure you could not judge of her by 
seeing her only two or three times, and before she was married." 

** Indeed, my love, that is a very just observation." 

" I understand that compliment perfectly, and thank you for 
it, my dear. — I must own I can bear any thing better than 
irony." 

"Irony! my dear; I was perfectly in earnest." 

** Yes, yes ; in earnest — so I perceive — I may naturally be 
dull of apprehension, but my feelings are quick enough : I com- 
prehend you too well. Yes — ^it is impossible to judge of a woman 
before marriage, or to g^ess what sort of a wife she will make. 
I presume you speak from experience ; you have been disappointed 
yourself, and repent your choice." 

"My dear, what did I say that was like this? Upon my 
word I meant no such thing ; I really was not thinking of you 
in the least." 

" No — ^you never think of me now : I can easily believe that 
you were not thinking of me in the least." 

" But I said that only to prove to you that I could not be 
thinking ill of you, my dear." 

" But I would rather that you thought ill of me than that you 
did not think of me at all." 

" Well, my dear," said her husband, laughing, " I will even 
think ill of you, if that will please you." 

" Do you laugh at me ?" cried she, bursting into tears. " When 
it comes to this, I am wretched indeed ! Never man laughed at 
the woman he loved ! As long as you had the slightest remains 
of love for me, you coidd not make me an object of derision : 
ridicule and love are incompatible, absolutely incompatible. 
Well, I have done my best, my very best, to make you happy, 



422 THE MODERN QRISELDA. 

but in vain. I see I am not cut out to be a good wife. Happy, 
happy Mrs. Granby!'* 

" Happy I hope sincerely that she will be with my friend ; but 
my happiness must depend on you, my love ; so, for my sake, if 
not for your own, be composed, and do not torment yourself with 
such fancies." 

"I do wonder," cried our heroine, starting from her seat, 
" whether this Mrs. Granby is really that Miss Emma Cooke. 
I'll go and see her directly ; see her I must." 

" I am heartily glad of it, my dear ; for I am sure a visit to 
his wife will give my friend Granby real pleasure." 

" I promise you, my dear, I do not go to give him pleasure, 
or you either; but to satisfy my own — curiosity," 

The rudeness of this speech would have been intolerable to 
her husband if it had not been for a certain hesitation in the 
emphasis with which she pronounced the word curiosity, which 
left him in doubt as to her real motive. 

Jealousy is sometimes thought to be a proof of love ; and, in 
this point of view, must not all its caprices, absurdities, and ex- 
travagances, be graceful, amiable, and gratifying ? 

A few days after Griselda had satisfied her curiosity, she 
thus, in the presence of her husband, began to vent her spleen : 

"For Heaven's sake, dear Mrs. Nettleby," cried she, addressing 
herself to the new-married widow, who came to return her wed- 
ding visit — " for pity's sake, dear Mrs. Nettleby, can you or any 
body else tell me what possessed Mr. Granby to marry Emma 
Cooke?" 

" I am sure I cannot tell, for I have not seen her yet" 

" You will be less able to tell after you have seen her, and 
still less after you have heard her." 

" What, then, she is neither a wit nor a beauty ! I'm quite 
surprised at that ; for I thought, to be sure, Mr. Granby, who is 
such a judge and such a critic, and so nice about female man- 
ners, would not have been content without something very 
extraordinary." 

" Nothing can be more ordinary." 

" Astonishing I but I am quite tired of being astonished at 
marriages! One sees such strange matches every day, I am j 
resolved never to be surprised at any ihing : who can, that lives f 



THE MODERN GRISELDA. 42S 

n the world ? But really now I am surprised at Mr. Granby . 
yhat ! is she nothing ?" 

" Nothing — absoliitely nothing ; a cipher ; a nonentity." 

"Now really? you do not tell me so," said Mrs. Nettleby. 
^ Well, I am so disappointed ; for I always resolved to take 
xample by Mr. Granby *s wife.'* 

" I would rather that she should take warning by me," said 
jrriselda, laughing. ** But to be candid, I must tell you that to 
ome people's taste she is a pattern wife — a perfect Grizzle, 
►he and I shoidd have changed names — or characters. Which, 
ly dear ?" cried she, appealing to her husband. 

" Not names, my dear," answered he. 

The conversation might here have ended happily, but un- 
uckily our heroine could not* be easily satisfied before Mrs. 
<Tettleby, to whom she was proud of showing her conjugal 
ascendancy. 

''My dear," said she to her husband, '' a-propos to pattern 
vives : you have read Chaucer's Tales. Do you seriously like 
»r dislike the real, original, old Griselda?" 

** It is so long since I have seen her that I cannot tell," re- 
died he. 

'' Then, my dear, you must read the story over again, and tell 
oe without evasion." 

" And if he could read it before Mrs. Granby and me, what a 
ompliment that woidd be to one bride," added the malicious 
►frs. Nettleby, "and what a lesson for another!" 

" Oh, it must be so ! it must be so !" cried Griselda. " I will 
,sk her here on purpose to a reading party ; and you, my dear 
»irs. Nettleby, will come for your lesson. You, my love, who 
ead so well — and who, I am sure, will be delighted to pay a 
ompliment to your favourite, Mrs. Granby — you will read, and 

will — weep. On what day shall it be ? Let me see : Monday, 
["uesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, I'm 
ngaged : but Sunday is onl}*^ a party at home ; I can put that 
ff : — then Sunday let it be." 

" Sunday, I am unluckily engaged, my dear," said her bus- 
>and. 

" Engaged ? Oh, nonsense ! You have no engagements of 
ny consequence : and when I put off my party on purpose to 



424 THE MODERN ORISELDA. 

have the pleasure of hearing you read, oblige me, my love, for 

once." 

" My love, to oblige you, I will do any thing.** 

Griselda cast a triumphant glance at Mrs. Nettleby, which 

said as plainly as a look could say, " You see how I rule him 1" 



CHAPTER IV. 



" Feels every vanity in fondness lost, 
And ftsks no power but that of pleasing most.** 

On Sunday evening a large conit>any assembled at our heroine's 
summons. They were all seated in due form : the reader with 
his book open, and waiting for the arrival of the bride, for 
whom a conspicuous place was destined, where the spectators, 
and especially Mrs. Nettleby and our Griselda, could enjoy a full 
view of her countenance. 

" Lord bless me ! it is getting late : I am afraid — I am really 
afraid Mrs. Granhy will not come.*' 

The ladies had time to discuss who and what she was : as she 
had lived in the country, few of them had seen, or could tell 
any thing about her ; but our heroine circulated her opinion in 
whispers, and every one was prepared to laugh at the pattern 
wife, the original Griselda revived, as Mrs. Nettleby sarcastically 
called her. 

Mrs. Granby was announced. The buzz was hushed and the 
titter suppressed; affected gravity appeared m every counte- 
nance, and all eyes turned with malicious curiosity upon the 
bride as she entered. — ^The timidity of Emma's first appearance 
was so free both from awkwardness and affectation, that it inte- 
rested at least every gentleman present in her favour. Sur- 
rounded by strangers, but quite unsuspicious that they were 
prepared to consider her as an object of ridicide or satire, she 
won her way to the lady of the house, to whom she addressed 
herself as to a friend. 

" Is not she quite a different person from what you had ex- 
pected ?" whispered one of the ladies to her neighbour, as Emmn 



THE MODERN 0RI8ELDA. 425 

passed. Her manner seemed to solicit indidgence rather than 
to provoke envy. She was very sorry to find that the company 
had been waiting for her ; she had been detained by the sudden 
illness of Mr. Granby's mother. 

Whilst Emma was making this apology, some of the audience 
observed that she had a remarkably sweet voice ; others dis- 
covered that there was something extremely feminine in her 
person. A gentleman, who saw that she was distressed at the 
idea of being seated in the conspicuous place to which she was 
destined by the lady of the house, got up, and offered his seat, 
which she most thankfully accepted. 

" Oh, my dear Mrs. Granby, I cannot possibly allow you to 
sit there," cried the lady of the house. '' You must have the 
honours of the day," added she^ seizing Emma's hand to con- 
duct her to the^^c^ of honour, 

'< Pray excuse me," said Mrs. Granby, <' honours are so little 
suited to me : I am perfectly well here." 

* << But with that window at your back, my dear madam !" said 
Mrs. Nettleby. 

'' I do not feel the slightest breath of air. But perhaps I 
crowd these ladies." 

" Not in the least, not in the least," said the ladies, who were 
on each side of her : they were won by the irresistible gentle- 
ness of Emma's manner. Our heroine was vexed to be obliged 
to give up her point; and relinquishing Mrs. Granby's hand, 
returned to her own seat, and said in a harsh tone to her husband, 
" Well ! my dear, if we are to have any reading to-night, you 
had better begin." 

The reading began ; and Emma was so completely absorbed, 
that she did not perceive that most of the audience were intent 
upon her. Those who act any part may be ridiculous in the 
playing it, but those are safe from the utmost malignity of 
criticism who are perfectly unconscious that they have any part 
to perform. Emma had been abashed at her first appearance in 
an assembly of strangers, and concerned by the idea that she had 
kept them waiting ; but as soon as this embarrassment passed 
over, her manners resumed their natural ease — a degree of ease 
which surprised her judges, and which arose from the persuasion 
that she was not of sufficient consequence to attr&ct «.l\j^xv.\ksc!i^ 



426 THE MODERN GRI8ELDA. 

Our heroine was provoked by the sight of this insolent tranquillity, 
and was determined that it should not long continue. The reader 
came to the promise which Gualtherus exacts from his bride : — 

'^ Swear that with ready will, and honest heart. 
Like or dislike, without regret or art, 
In presence or alone, by night or day. 
All that I will, yoa fiul not to obey; 
All I intend to forward, that you seek. 
Nor ever once object to what I speak. 
Nor yet in part alone my wish fulfil ; 
Nor though you do it, do it with ill-will ; 
Nor with a forced compliance half refuse ; 
And acting duty, all the merit lose. 
To strict obedience add a willing grace. 
And let your soul be painted in your face ; 
No reasons given, and no pretences sought, 
To swerve in deed or word, in look or thought.** 

"Well, ladies!" cried the modern Ghriselda, "what do you 
think of this?" 

Shrill exclamations of various vehemence expressed with one 
accord the sentiments, or rather feelings, of almost all the married 
ladies who were present. 

" Abominable ! Intolerable ! Insufferable I Horrible ! I would 
rather have seen the man perish at my feet; I would rather 
have died : I would have remained unmarried all my life rather 
than have submitted to such terms." 

A few young unmarried ladies who had not spoken, or who 
had not been heard to speak in the din of tongues, were appealed 
to by the gentlemen next them. They could not be prevailed upon 
to pronounce any distinct opinion : they qualified, and hesitated, 
and softened, and equivocated, and " were not positively able to 
judge, for really they had never thought upon the subject." 

Upon the whole, however, it was evident that they did not 
betray that natural horror which pervaded the more experienced 
matrons. All agreed that the terms were " hard terms," and ill 
expressed : some added, that only love could persuade a woman 
to submit to them : and some still more sentimental maidens, in 
a lower voice, were understood to say, that as nothing is im- 
possible to Cupid, they might be induced to such submission ; 



THE MODERN GRISELDA. 427 

but ihat it must be by a degree of love wbicb tbey solemnly 
declared they had never felt or could imagine as yet. 

"For my part," cried the modem Griselda, " I would sooner 
have lived an old maid to the days of Methusalem than have 
been so mean as to have married any man on earth upon such 
terms. But I know there are people who can never think 
'marriage dear-bought.' My dear Mrs. Granby, we have not 
yet heard your opinion, and we should have had yours first, 
as bride.'* 

" I forgot that I was bride," said Emma. 

" Forgot ! Is it possible ?" cried Mrs. Nettleby : " now this is 
an excess of modesty of which I have no notion." 

"But for which Mr. Granby," continued our heroine, turning 
to Mr. Granby, who at this moment entered the room, " ought to 
make his best bow. Here is your lady, sir, who has just assured us 
that she forgot she was a bride : bow to this exquisite humility." 

"Exquisite vanity!" cried Mr. Granby ; "she knows 

* How much the wife is dearer than the bride.* ** 

" She will be a singularly happy woman if she knows that this 
time twelvemonth," replied our heroine, darting a reproachful 
look at her silent husband. " In the mean time, do let us hear 
Mrs. Granby speak for herself; I must have her opinion of 
Griselda's promise to obey her lord, right or wrong, in all things, 
no reasons given, to submit in deed, and word, and look, and 
thought. If Mrs. Granby tells us that is her theory, we must all 
reform our practice." 

Every eye was fixed upon Emma, and every ear was im- 
patient for her answer. 

" I should never have imagined," said she, smiling, " that any 
person's practice could be influenced by my theory, especially as 
I have no theory." 

" No more humility, my dear ; if you have no theory, you 
have an opinion of your own, I hope, and we must have a 
distinct answer to this simple question : Would you have made 
the promise that was required from Griselda?" 

"No," answered Emma; "distinctly no ; for I could never have 
loved or esteemed the man who required such a promise." 

Disconcerted by this answer, which was the very reveT:^^ i5»<. 



428 THE MODERN GRISELDA. 

what she expected ; amazed at the modest self-possession with 
which the timid Emma spoke, and vexed by the symptoms of 
approbation which Emma's words and voice excited, our heroine 
called upon her husband, in a more than usually authoritative 
tone, and bid him — ^read on. 

He obeyed. Emma became again absorbed in the story, and 
her countenance showed how much she felt all its beauties, and 
all its pathos. Emma did all she could to repress her feelings ; 
and our heroine all she could to make her and them ridiculous. 
But in this attempt she was unsuccessful; for many of the 
spectators, who at her instigation began by watching Emma's 
countenance to find subject for ridicule, ended by sympathizing 
with her unaffected sensibility. 

When the tale was ended, the modem Griselda, who was 
determined to oppose as strongly as possible the charms of spirit 
to those of sensibility, burst furiously forth into an invective 
against the meanness of her namesake, and the tyranny of the 
odious Gualtherus. 

" Cotdd you have forgiven him, Mrs. Granby ? could you 
have forgiven the monster ?" 

" He repented," said Emma; "and does not a penitent cease 
to be a monster?" 

" Oh, I never, never would have forgiven him, penitent or not 
penitent ; I would not h&ve forgiven him such sins." 

" I would not have put it into his power to commit them," 
said Emma. 

" I confess the story never touched me in the least," cried 
our heroine. 

" Perhaps for the same reason that Petrarch's friend said that 
he read it unmoved," replied Mrs. Granby : "because he could 
not believe that such a woman as Griselda ever existed." 

" No, no, not for that reason : I believe many such poor, 
meek, mean-spirited creatures exist." 

Emma was at length wakened to the perception of her friend's 
envy and jealousy ; but — 

" She mild foi^gave the failing of her sex." 

" I cannot admire the original Griselda, or any of her imitfr- 
tors/' continued our heroine. 



THE MODERN ORISELDA. 429 

" There is no great danger of her finding imitators in these 
days," said Mr. Granby. " Had Chaucer lived in our enlight- 
ened times, he would doubtless have drawn a very different 
character." 

The modem Griselda looked " fierce as ten furies." Emma 
softened her husband's observation by adding, ** that allowance 
should certainly be made for poor Chaucer, if we consider the 
times in which he wrote. The situation and understandings of 
women have been so much improved since his days. Women 
were then slaves, now they are free. My dear," whispered she 
to her husband, *^ your mother is not well ; shall we go home ?" 

Emma left the room ; and even Mrs. Nettleby, after she was 
gone, said, <' Really she is not ugly when she blushes." 

** No woman is ugly when she blushes," replied our heroine ; 
" but, unluckily, a woman cannot always blush." 

Finding that her attempt to make Emma ridiculous had 
failed, and that it had really placed Mrs. Granby's understand- 
ing, manners, and temper in a most advantageous and amiable 
light, Griselda was mortified beyond measure. She could scarcely 
bear to hear Emma's name mentioned. 



CHAPTER V. 



** She that can please, is certain to persuade, 
To-day is lov'd, to-morrow is obey'd." 

A PEW days after the reading party, Griselda was invited to 
spend an evening at Mrs. Granby's. 

" I shall not go," said she, throwing down the card with an 
air of disdain. 

" I shall go," said her husband, calmly. 

" You will go, my dear !" cried she, amazed. " You will go 
without me ?" 

" Not without you, if you will be so kind as to go with me, 
my love," said he. 

" It is quite out of my power," said she : "I am engaged to 
my friend, Mrs. Nettleby." 



430 THE MODERN ORISELDA. 

" Very well, my dear," said he ; "do as you please." 

" Certainly I shall. And I am surprised, my dear, that you 
do not go to see Mr. John Nettleby." 

" I have no desire to see him, my dear. He is, as I have 
often heard you say, an obstinate fool. He is a man I dislike 
particularly." 

" Very possibly ; but you ought to go to see him notwith- 
standing." 

" Why so, my dear?" 

** Because he is married to a woman I like. If you had any 
regard for me, your own feelings would have saved you the 
trouble of asking that question." 

" But, my dear, should not your regard for me also suggest 
to you the propriety of keeping up an acquaintance with Mrs. 
Granby, who is married to a man I like, and who is not herself 
an obstinate fool?" 

"I shall not enter into any discussion upon the subject," 
replied our heroine ; for this was one of the cases where she 
made it a rule never to reason. " I can only say that I have 
my own opinion, and that I beg to be excused from keeping up 
any acquaintance whatever with Mrs. Granby." 

" And I beg to be excused from keeping up any acquaintance 
whatever with Mr. Nettleby," replied her husband. 

" Good Heavens !" cried she, raising herself upon the sofa, on 
which she had been reclining, and fixing her eyes upon her 
husband, with unfeigned astonishment : " I do not know you 
this morning, my dear." 

** Possibly not, my dear," replied he ; " for hitherto you have 
seen only your lover ; now you see your husband." 

Never did metamorphosis excite more astonishment The 
lady was utterly unconscious that she had had any part in pro- 
ducing it — that she had herself dissolved the spell. She raged, 
she raved, she reasoned, in vain. Her point she could not 
compass. Her cruel husband persisted in his determination not 
to go to see Mr. John Nettleby. Absolutely astounded, she 
was silent. There was a truce for some hours. She renewed 
the attack in the evening, and ceased not hostilities for three 
succeeding days and nights, in reasonable hopes of wearying the 
«nemy, still without success. 



THE MODERN ORISELDA. 431 

The morning rose, the great, the important day, which was to 
decide the fate of the visit. The contending parties met as 
usual at breakfast ; they seemed mutually afraid of each other, 
and stood at bay. There was a forced calm in the gentleman's 
demeanour — treacherous smiles played upon the lady's counte- 
nance. He seemed cautious to prolong the suspension of 
hostilities — she fond to anticipate the victory. The name of 
Mrs. Granby, or of Mr. John Nettleby, was not uttered by either 
party, nor did either inquire where the other was to spend the 
evening. At dinner they met again, and preserved on this 
delicate subject a truly diplomatic silence ; whilst on the topics 
foreign to their thoughts, they talked with admirable fluency : 
actuated by as sincere desire as ever was felt by negotiating 
politicians to establish peace on the broadest basis, they were, 
with the mast perfect consideration, each other's devoted, and 
most obedient humble servants. Candour, however, obliges us 
to confess, that though the deference on the part of the gentle- 
man was the most unqualified and praiseworthy, the lady was 
superior in her inimitable air of frank cordiality. The volto 
scioUo was in her favour, the pensieri stretti in his. Any one 
but an ambassador would have been deceived by the husband ; 
any one but a woman would have been duped by the wife. 

So stood affairs when, after dinner, the high and mighty 
powers separated. The lady retired to her toilette. The gentle- 
man remained with his bottle. He drank a glass of wine extra- 
ordinary. She stayed half an hour more than usual at her 
mirror. Arrayed for battle, our heroine repaired to the 
drawing-room, which she expected to find unoccupied; — the 
enemy had taken the field. 

" Dressed, my dear?" said he. 

" Ready, my love !" said she. 

<< Shall I ring the bell for your carriage, my dear?" said the 
husband. 

" If you please. You go with me, my dear ?'* said the wife. 

" I do not know where you are going, my love." 

"To Mrs. Nettleby 's of course, — and you?" 

"To Mrs. Granby's." 

The lightning flashed from Griselda's eyes, ere he had half 
pronounced the words. The lightning flashed without eff«ct.« 



432 THE MODERN 0RI8ELDA. 

"To Mrs. Granby's !" cried she, in a thundering tone. "' 
Mrs. Granby's!" echoed he. She fell back on the sofa, an^ 
shower of tears ensued. Her husband walked up and down t 
room, rang again for the carriage, ordered it in the tone 
a master. Then hummed a tune. The fair one sobbed: 
continued to sing, but was out in the time. The lady's so 
grew alarming, and threatened hysterics. He threw open tl 
window, and approached the sofa on which she lay. She, hi 
recovering, unclasped one bracelet ; in haste to get the other o 
he broke it. The footman came in to announce that the carria^ 
was at the door. She relapsed, and seemed in danger of sufi 
cation from her pearl necklace, which she made a faint effort 
loosen from her neck. 

" Send your lady's woman instantly," cried Griselda's busbar 
to the footman. 

Our heroine made another attempt to untie her necklace, ai 
looked up towards her husband with supplicating eyes. H 
hands trembled ; he entangled the strings. It would have bee 
all over with him if the maid had not at this instant come to h 
assistance. To her he resigned his perilous post ; retreated pr 
cipitately ; and before the enemy's forces could rally, gained h 
carriage, and carried his point. 

"To Mr. Granby's!" cried he, triumphantly. Arrived then 
he hurried to Mr. Granby's room. 

"Another such victory," cried be, throwing himself into a 
arm-chair, " another such victory, and I am undone." 

He related all that had just passed between him and his wife 

"Another such combat," said his friend, "and you are i 
peace for life." 

We hope that our readers will not, from this speech, be induce 
to consider Mr. Granby as an instigator of quarrels between ma 
and wife ; or, according to the plebeian but expressive apopl 
thegm, one who would come between the bark and the trei 
On the contrary, he was most desirous to secure his friend 
domestic happiness ; and, if possible, to prevent the bad effect 
which were likely to ensue from excessive indulgence, and inoi 
dinate love of dominion. He had a high respect for ov 
heroine's powers, and thought that they wanted only to be we! 
managed. The same force which, ill-directed, bursts the engini 



fe« 



THE MODERN ORISELDA. 433 

and scatters destruction, obedient to the master-hand, answers 
a thousand useful purposes, and works with easy, smooth, and 
graceful regularity. Griselda's husband, or, as he now deserves 
to have his name mentioned, Mr. Bolingbroke, roused by his 
friend's representations, and perhaps by a sense of approaching 
danger, resolved to assiune the guidance of his wife, or at least 
of himself. In opposition to his sovereign lady's will, he actually 
spent this evening as he pleased. 



CHAPTER VI. 

" E sol quei giorni io mi vidi contentft, 
Ch^averla compiaciuto mi trovai/* 

"You are a great deal more courageous than I am, my dear," 
said Emma to her husband, after Mr. Bolingbroke had left them. 
" I should be very much afraid of interfering between your 
friend and his wife." 

"What is friendship," said Mr. Granby, "if it will run no 
risks? I must run the hazard of being called a mischief-maker." 
" That is not the danger of which I was thinking," said Emma ; 
" though I confess that I should be weak enough to fear that a 
little : but what I meant to express was an apprehension of our 
doing harm where we most wish to do good." 

"Do you, my dear Emma, think Griselda incorrigible?" 
"No, indeed," cried Emma, with anxious emphasis; "far 
from it. But without thinking a person incorrigible, may we not 
dislike the idea of inflicting correction ? I should be very sorry 
to be the means of giving Griselda any pain ; she was my friend 
when we were children ; I have a real regard for her, and if she 
does not now seem disposed to love me, that must be my fault, 
not hers: or if it is not my fault, call it my misfortune. At all 
events, I have no right to force myself upon her acquaintance. 
^r She prefers Mrs. Nettleby ; I have not the false humility to say, 
; that I think Mrs. Nettleby will prove as safe or as good a friend 
[ as I hope I should be. But of this Mrs. Bolingbroke has a right 
[ to judge. And I am sure, far from resenting her resolution tA 
i The Modem Griselda, ^ ^ 



434 THE MODERN GRISELDA. 

avoid my acquaintance, my only feeling about it, at this instant, 
is the dread that it should continue to be a matter of dispute 
between her and her husband.'' 

" If Mr. Bolingbroke insisted, or if I advised him to insist 
upon his wife's coming here, when she does not like it," said 
Mr. Granby, ** I should act absurdly, and he would act unjustly; 
but all that he requires is equality of rights, and the liberty of 
going where he pleases. She refuses to come to see you : he 
refuses to go to see Mr. John Nettleby. Which has the best of 
the battle?" 

Emma thought it would be best if there were no battle ; and 
observed, that refusals and reprisals would only irritate the 
parties, whose interest and happiness it was to be pacified and 
to agree. She said, that if Mr. Bolingbroke, instead of opposing 
his will to that of his wife, which, in fact, was only conquering 
force by force, would speak reasonably to her, probably she 
might be induced to yield, or to command her temper. Mrs. 
Granby suggested, that a compromise, founded on an offer of 
mutual sacrifice and mutual compliance, might be obtained. 
Tha): Mr. Bolingbroke might promise to give up some of his 
time to the man he disliked, upon condition that Griselda 
should submit to the society of a woman to whom she had an 
aversion. 

** If she consented to this," said Emma, " I would do my best 
to make her like me ; or at least to make her time pass agreeably 
at our house : her liking me is a matter of no manner of conse- 
quence." 

Emma was capable of putting herself entirely out of the 
question, when the Interest of others was at stake ; her whole 
desire was to conciliate, and all her thoughts were intent upon 
making her friends happy. She seemed to live in them more 
than in herself, and from sympathy arose the greatest pleasure 
and pain of her existence. Her sympathy was not of that 
useless kind which is called forth only by the elegant fictitiom 
sorrows of a heroine of romance ; hers was ready for all the 
occasions of real life ; nor was it to be easily checked by the 
imperfections of those to whom she could be of service. At tim 
moment, when she perceived that her husband was disg^ted by 
Griselda's caprice, she said all she could think of in her favour: 



^ THE MODERN GRI8ELDA. 435 

,^lie recollected every anecdote of Griselda's childhood, which 
^ %owed an amiahle disposition ; and argued, that it was not pro- 
vable her temper should have entirely changed in a few years. 
. GUnma's quick-sighted good-nature could discern the l^ast portion 
Z^ ^ .if meiit, where others could find only faults ; as certain experienced 
^ »ye« can discover grains of gold in the sands, which the ignorant 
^jbare searched, and ahandoned as useless. In consequence of 
EnDuna's advice — ^for who would reject good advice, offered with 
^io much gentleness ? — Mr. Granhy wrote a note to Mr. Boling- 
btoke, to recommend the compromise which she had suggested. 

Upon his return home, Mr. Bolinghroke was informed that his 

^ lady had gone to hed much indisposed ; he spent a restless night, 
notwithstanding all his newly-acquired magnanimity. He was 
mach relieved in the morning hy his friend's note, and hlessed 
Ennina for proposing the compromise. 



CHAPTER VII. 



•* Each widow to her secret friend alone 
WhigperM ; — thus treated, he had had his own." 

IbfR. BoLiNGBROKE Waited with impatience for Griselda's appear- 
ance the next morning; hut he waited in vain: the lady 
breakfasted in her own apartment, and for two hours afterwards 
remained in close consultation with Mrs. Nettlehy, whom she 
had summoned the preceding night hy the following note : 

** I have heen prevented from spending this evening with you, 
my dearest Mrs. Nettlehy, hy the strangest conduct imaginahle : 
I am sure you will not helieve it when I tell it to you. Come 
to me, 1 conjure you, as early to-morrow as you possihly can, 
tliat I may explain to you all that has passed, and consult as to 
the future. My dearest friend, I never was so much in want of 
an adviser. Ever yours, 

" Griselua." 

At this consultation, Mrs. Nettlehy expressed the utmost 
pf2 



436 THE MODERN GRISELDA. 

astonishment at Mr. Bolingbroke*s strange conduct, and assured 
Griselda, that if she did not exert herself, all was lost, and she 
must give up the hope of ever having her own way again as long 
as she lived. 

" My dear," said she, " I have had some experience in these 
things ; a wife must he either a tyrant or a slave : make your 
choice ; now is your time." 

*<But I never knew him say or do any thing unkind before," 
said Griselda. 

" Then the first offence should be properly resented. If he 
finds you forgiving, he will become encroaching ; 'tis the nature 
of man, depend upon it" 

*' He always 3rielded to me till now," said Grriselda; " but even 
when I was ready to go into fits, he left me, and what could I 
do then ?" 

" You astonish me beyond expression ! you who have every 
advantage — ^youth, wit, accomplishments, beauty ! My dear, 
if you cannot keep a husband's heart, who can ever hope to 
succeed?" 

" Oh ! as to his heart, I have no doubts of his heart, to do him 
justice," said Griselda ; " I know he loves me — ^passionately loves 
me." 

'' And yet you cannot manage him ! And you expect me to 
pity you? Bless me, if I had half your advantages, what I 
would make of them ! But if you like to be a tame wife, my 
dear — if you are resolved upon it, tell me so at once, and I will 
hold my tongue." 

" I do not know well what I am resolved upon," said Griselda, 
leaning her head in a melancholy posture upon her hand: ''I 
am vexed, out of spirits, and out of sorts." 

" Out of sorts ! I am not surprised at that : but out of spirits ! 
My dear creature, you who have every thing to put you in spirits. 
I am never so much myself as when I have a quarrel to fight out" 

** I cannot say that is the case with me, unless where I am 
sure of the victory." 

" And it is your own fault if you are not always sure 
of it" 

" I thought so till last night ; but I assure you last night he 
showed such a spixitl" 



THE MODERN 6RI8ELDA. . 437 

** Break that spirit, my dear, break it, or else it will break 
your heart." 

** The alternative is terrible," said Griselda, *^ and more 
terrible perhaps than you could imagine, or I either till now : for 
would you believe it, I never loved him in my life half so well 
as I did last night in the midst of my anger, and when he was 
doing every thing to provoke me ?" 

** Very natural, my dear ; because you saw him behave with 
spirit, and you love spirit ; so does every woman ; so does every 
body ; show him that you have spirit too, and he will be as 
angry as- you were, and love you as well in the midst of his 
anger, whilst you are doing every thing to provoke him." 

Griselda appeared determined to take this good advice one 
moment, and the next hesitated. 

" But, my dear Mrs. Nettleby, did you always find this 
succeed yourself?" 

**Ye8, always." 

This lady had the reputation indeed of having broken the 
heart of her first husband ; how she would manage her second 
was yet to be seen, as her honeymoon was but just over. The 
pure love of mischief was not her only motive in the advice 
which she gave to our heroine; she had, like most people, 
mixed motives for her conduct. She disliked Mr. Bolingbroke, 
because he disliked her ; yet she wished that an acquaintance 
should be kept up between him and her husband, because Mr. 
Bolingbroke was a man of fortune and fashion. 

Griselda promised that she would behave with that proper 
spirit, which was to make her at once amiable and victorious ; 
and the friends parted. 



CHAPTER VIII. 

'* With patient, meek, submissive mind, 
To her hard fate resign'd." 

JPOTTBR^S ^SCHYLUS. 

Left to her own good genius, Griselda reflected that novelty has 
the most powerful efiect upon the heart of man. In all the 



438 THE MODERN GRISELDA. 

variations of her humour, her husband had never yet seen her in 
the sullen mood ; and in this she now sat prepared to receive 
him. He came with an earnest desire to speak to her in the 
kindest and most reasonable manner. He began by saying how 
much it had cost him to give her one moment's uneasiness : — 
his voice, his look, were those of truth and love. 

Unmoved, Griselda, without raising her leaden eyes, answered 
in a cold voice, " I am very sorry that you should have felt any 
concern upon my account." 

" Any ! my love ; you do not know how much I have felt this 
night." 

She looked upon him with civil disbelief; and replied, *< that 
she was sure she ought to be much obliged to him." 

This frigid politeness repressed his affection : he was silent for 
some moments. 

"My dear Griselda," said he, "this is not the way in wliich 
we should live together; we who have every thing that can 
make us contented : do not let us throw away our happiness for 
trifles not worth thinking of." 

" If we are not happy, it is not my fault," said Griselda. 

"We will not inquire whose fault it is, my dear; let the 
blame rest upon me : let the past be forgotten; let us look 
towards the future. In future, let us avoid childish altercations, 
and live like reasonable creatures. I have the highest opinion 
of your sex in general, and of you in particular ; I wish to live 
with my wife as my equal, my friend ; I do not desire that my 
will should govern: where our inclinations differ, let reason 
decide between us ; or where it is a matter not worth reasoning 
about, let us alternately yield to one another." He paused. 

" I do not desire or expect that you should ever henceforward 
yield to my wishes either in trifles or- in matters of conse- 
quence," replied Griselda, with provoking meekness; "you 
have taught me my duty : the duty of a wife is to submit ; and 
submit I hope I shall in future, without reply or reasoning, to 
your sovereign will and pleasure." 

"Nay, my dear," said he, "do not treat me as a brutal 
tyrant, when I wish to do every thing in my power to make you 
happy. Use your own excellent understanding, and I shall 
always, I hope, be inclined to yield to your reasons." 



THE MODERN ORISELDA. 439 

** I shall never trouble you with my reasons ; I shall never 
1186 my own understanding in the least : I know that men 
eannot bear understanding in women ; I shall always, as it is my 
duty, submit to your better judgment." 

" But, my love, I do not require duty from you ; this sort of 
blind submission would be mortifying, instead of gratifying to 
me, from a wife." 

" I do not know what a wife can do to satisfy a husband, if 
submitting in every thing be not sufficient." 

" I say it would be too much for me, my dearest love !" 

**I can do nothing but submit," repeated the perverse Gri- 
selda, with a most provoking immoveable aspect of humility. 

"Why wiU you not understand me, my dear?" cried her 
husband. 

** It is not my fault if I cannot understand you, my dear : I 
do not pretend to have your understanding," said the fair 
politician, affecting weakness to gain her point; like those 
artful candidates for papal dominion, who used to affect decrepi- 
tude and imbecility, till they secured at once absolute power and 
infallibility. 

" I know my abilities are quite inferior to yours, my dear," said 
Griselda ; " but I thought it was sufficient for a woman to know 
how to obey ; I can do no more." 

Fretted beyond his patience, her husband walked up and down 
the room greatly agitated, whilst she sat content and secure in 
tranquil obstinacy. 

" You are enough to provoke the patience of Job, my dear," 
cried her husband ; " you'll break my heart." 

" I am sorry for it, my dear ; but if you will only tell me 
what I can do more to please you, I will do it." 

**Then, my love," cried he, taking hold of her white hand, 
which hung in a lifeless attitude over the arm of the couch, 
** be happy, I conjure you! all I ask of you is to be happy." 

"That is out of my power," said she, mildly, suffering her 
husband to keep her hand, as if it was an act of duty to submit 
to his caresses. He resigned her hand ; her countenance never 
varied ; if she had been slave to the most despotic sultan of the 
East, she could not have shown more utter submission than she 
displayed to this most indulgent European "husband lover." 



440 THE MODERN GRISELDA^ 

Unable to command his temper, or to conceal bow much he 
was hurt, he rose and said, " I will leave you for the present, 
my dear ; some time when you are better disposed to converse 
with me, I will return." 

** Whenever you please, sir ; all times are alike to me : when- 
ever you are at leisure, I can have no choice." 



CHAPTER IX. 

" And acting duty all the merit lose/' 

Some hours afterwards, hoping to find his sultana in a better 
humour, Mr. Bolingbroke returned ; but no sooner did he 
approach the sofa on which she was still seated, than she again 
seemed to turn into stone, like the Princess Rhezzia, in the 
Persian Tales ; who was blooming and charming, except when 
her husband entered the room. The unfortunate Princess Rhezzia 
loved her husband tenderly, but was doomed to this fate by a 
vile enchanter. If she was more to be pitied for being subject 
to involuntary metamorphosis, our heroine is surely more to be 
admired, for the constancy with which she endured a self-inflicted 
penance ; a penance calculated to render her odious in the eyes 
of her husband. 

"My dear," said this most patient of men, "I am sorry to 
renew any ideas that will be disagreeable to you ; I will mention 
the subject but once more, and then let it be forgotten for ever 
—our foolish dispute about Mr. Nettleby. Let us compromise 
the matter. I will bear Mr. John Nettleby for your sake, if you 
will bear Mrs. Granby for mine. I will go to see Mr. Nettleby 
to-morrow, if you will come the day afterwards with me to Mr. 
Granby 's. Where husband and wife do not agree in their wishes, 
it is reasonable that each should 3rield a little of their will to the 
other. I hope this compromise will satisfy you, my dear." 

" It does not become a wife to enter into any compromise with 
her husband ; she has nothing to do but to obey, as soon an he 
signifies his pleasure. I shall go to Mr. Granby's on Tuesday} 
as you command." 



THE MODERN GRISELDA. 441 

" Command ! my love." 
" As you— whatever you please to call it." 
** But are you satisfied with this arrangement, my dear ?" 
" It is no manner of consequence whether I am or not." 
" To me, you know, it is of the greatest : you must be sensible 
that my sincere wish is to make you happy : I give you some 
proof of it by consenting to keep up an acquaintance with a 
man whose company I dislike." 

" I am much obliged to you, my dear ; but as to your going 
to see Mr. John Nettleby, it is a matter of perfect indifference to 
me ; I only just mentioned it as a thing of course ; I beg you 
will not do it on my account : I hope you will do whatever you 
think best and what pleases yourself^ upon this and every other 
occasion. I shall never more presume to offer my advice." 

Nothing more could be obtained from the submissive wife ; 
she went to Mr. Granby's ; she was all duty, for she knew the 
show of it was the most provoking thing upon earth to a husband, 
at least to such a husband as hers. She therefore persisted in 
this line of conduct, till she made her victim at last exclaim—* 

^* I love thee and hate thee, but if I can tell 

The cause of my love and my hate, may I die. 
I can feel it, alas ! I can feel it too well, 
That I love thee and hate thee, but cannot tell why.** 

His fair one was much flattered by this confession; she 
ndumphed in having excited *' this contrariety of feelings ;" nor 
lid she foresee the possibility of her husband's recollecting that 
itanza which the school-boy, more philosophical than the poet, 
•tpplies to his tyrant. 

Whilst our heroine was thus acting to perfection the part of a 
lutifid wife, Mrs. Nettleby was seconding her to the best of her 
abilities, and announcing her amongst all their acquaintance, in 
the interesting character of — "a woman that is very much to 
be pitied." 

" Poor Mrs. Bolingbroke ! — Don't you think, ma'am, she is 
very much changed since her marriage ? — Quite fallen away ! — 
and all her fine spirits, what are become of them ? — It really 
grieves my heart to see her. — Oh, she is a very unhappy woman ! 
really to be pitied, if you knew but all." 



442 THE MODERN GRI8ELDA. 

Then a significant nod, or a melancholy mysterious look, set 
the imagination of the company at work; or, if this did not 
succeed, a whisper in plain terms pronounced Mr. Bolinghroke 
<* a sad sort of hushand, a very odd-tempered man, and, in short, 
a terrible tyrant ; though nobody would guess it, who only saw 
him in company : but men are such deceivers!" 

Mr. Bolinghroke soon found that all his wishes were thwarted, 
and all his hopes of happiness crossed, by the straws which this 
evil-minded dame contrived to throw in his way. Her influence 
over his wife he saw increased every hour : though they visited 
each other every day, these ladies could never meet without 
having some important secrets to impart, and conspiracies were 
to be performed in private, at which a husband could not be 
permitted to assist. Then notes without number were to pass 
continually, and these were to be thrown hastily into the fire 
at the approach of the enemy. Mr. Bolinghroke determined to 
break this league, which seemed to be more a league of hatred 

than of amity. The London winter was now over, and, 

taking advantage of the continuance of his wife's perverse fit of 
duty and unqualified submission, he one day requested her to 
accompany him into the country, to spend a few weeks with his 
friend Mr. Granby, at his charming place in Devonshire. The 
part of a wife was to obey, and Griselda was bound to support 
her character. She resolved, however, to make her obedience 
cost her lord as dear as possible, and she promised herself that 
this party of pleasure should become a party of pain. She and 
her lord were to travel in the same carriage wi^ Mr. and Mrs. 
Granby. Griselda had only time, before she set off, to write a 
hasty billet to Mrs. Nettleby, to inform her of these intentions, 
and to bid her adieu till better times. Mrs. Nettleby sincerely 
regretted this interruption of their hourly correspondence ; for 
she was deprived not only of the pleasure of hearing, but of 
making matrimonial complaints. She had now been married 
two months ; and her fool began to grow restive ; no animal oil 
earth is more restive than a fool: but, confident that Mnk 
Nettleby will hold the bridle with a strong hand, we leave her 
to pull against his hard mouth. 



THE MODERN GRI8ELDA. 443 

CHAPTER X. 

** Playzir ne Test qu^autant qu^on le partage.'* 

We pass over the infinite variety of petty torments, which our 
heroine contrived to inflict upon her fellow-travellers during her 
journey down to Devonshire. Inns, food, heds, carriage, horses, 
haggage, roads, prospect, hill, dale, sun, wind, dust, rain, earth, 
air, fire, and water, all afforded her matter of complaint. It was 
astonishing that Emma discovered none of these inconveniences ; 
but, as fast as they were complained of, she amused herself in 
trying to obviate them. 

Lord Karnes has observed, that a power to recall at will 
pleasing objects would be a more valuable gift to any mortal 
than ever was bestowed in a fairy tale. With this power Emma 
was endowed in the highest perfection ; and as fast as our 
heroine recollected some evil that had happened, or was likely 
to happen, Emma raised the opposite idea of some good, past, 
present, or future ; so that it was scarcely possible even for the 
spirit of contradiction personified to resist the magic of her good- 
humour. No sooner did she arrive at her own house, than she 
contrived a variety of ways of showing attention and kindness to 
her guest; and when all this was received with sullen indifference, 
or merely as tributes due to superiority, Emma was not dis- 
couraged in her benevolence, but, instead of being offended, 
seemed to pity her friend for " having had her temper so unhap- 
pily spoiled." 

" Griselda is so handsome," said Mrs. Granby one day, in 
her defence, " she has such talents — she has been so much 
admired, worshipped, and indulged — that it would be wonderful 
if she were not a little spoiled. I dare say that, if I had been 
in her place, my brain would never have stood the intoxication. 
Who can measure their strength, or their weakness, till they are 
tried ? Another thing should be considered ; Griselda excites 
envy, and though she may not have more faults than her 
neighbours, they are more noticed, because they are in the full 
light of prosperity. What a number of motes swarm in a single 
ray of light, coming through the shutter of a darkened room ! 
There are not more motes in that spot than, in an^ Q.\k^^'^'«N*^^> 



444 THE MODERN GRISELDA. 

the room, but the sun-beams show them more distinctly. The 
dust that lives in snug obscurity should consider this, and have 
mercy upon its fellow dust." 

In Emma's kindness there was none of the parade of goodness; 
she seemed to follow her natural disposition ; and, as Griselda 
once said of her, to be good because she could not help it. She 
required neither praise nor thanks for any thing that she did ; 
and, provided her friends were happy, she was satisfied, without 
ever wishing to be admired as the cause of that happiness. Her 
powers of pleasing were chiefly remarkable for lasting longer 
than others, and the secret of their permanence was not easily 
guessed, because it was so simple. It depended merely on the 
equability of her humour. It is said, that there is nothing mar- 
vellous in the colours of those Egyptian monuments which have 
been the admiration of ages; the secret of their duration is 
supposed to depend simply on the fineness of the climate and 
invariability of the temperature. — But 

**" Griselda will admit no wandering muse/* 

Mrs. Bolingbroke was by this time tired of continuing in one 
mood, even though it was the sullen ; and her genius was 
cramped by the constraint of affected submission. She recovered 
her charming spirits soon after she came into the country^ and 
for a short time no mortal mixture of earth's mould could be 
more agreeable. She called forth every charm; she was all 
gaiety, wit, and smiles ; she poured light and life upon conver- 
sation. 

As the Marquis de Chastellux said of some fascinating fair 
one — "She had no expression without grace, and no grace 
without expression." It was delightful to our heroine to hear it 
said, '<How charming Mrs. Bolingbroke can be when she 
pleases ; when she wishes to captivate, how irresistible ! — Who 
can equal Mrs. Bolingbroke when she is in one of her good 
daysr 

The triumph of eclipsing Mrs. Granby would have been d^ 
lightful, but that Emma seemed to feel no mortification from 
being thrown into the shade ; she seemed to enjoy her friend's 
success so sincerely, that it was impossible to consider her as a 
rival. She had so corefrdly avoided noticing any little disagree- 



THE MODERN GBI8ELDA. 445 

ment or coolness between Mr. and Mrs. Bolingbroke, that it 
might have been doubted whether she attended to their mutual 
conduct ; but the obvious delight she took in seeing them again 
on good terms with each other proved that she was not deficient 
tn penetration. She appeared to see only what others desired 
that she should see, upon these delicate occasions, where voluntary 
blindness is not artifice, but prudence. Mr. Bolingbroke was 
now enchanted with Griselda, and ready to exclaim every instant, 
"Be ever thus!" 

Her husband thought he had found a mine of happiness ; he 
began to breathe, and to bless his kind stars. He had indeed 
lighted unexpectedly upon a rich vein, but it was soon exhausted, 
and all his farther progress was impeded by certain vapours, 
dangerous to approach. Fatal sweets ! which lure the ignorant 
to destruction, but from which the more experienced fly with 

precipitation. Our heroine was now fully prepared to kill her 

husband with kindness ; she was afraid, if he rode, that his 
horse would throw him ; if he walked, that he would tire him- 
self ; if he sat still, that he must want exercise ; if he went out, 
that he would catch cold ; if he stayed at home, that he was 
kept a prisoner ; if he did not eat, that he was sick ; if he did 
eat, that he would be sick ; — &c. &c. &c. &c. There was no 
end to these fond fears : he felt that there was something ridi- 
culous in submitting to them ; and yet to resist in the least was 
deemed the height of unkindness and ingratitude. One night 
she fell into a fit of melancholy, upon his laughing at her fears, 
that he should kill himself, by standing for an instant at an open 
vnndow, on a fine night, to look at a beautiful rising moon. 
WTien he endeavoured to recover her from her melancholy, it 
was suddenly converted into anger, and, after tears, came a 
storm of reproaches. Her husband, in consideration of the 
kindness of her original intention, passed over her anger, and 
3ven for some days refrained from objecting to any regimen she 
prescribed for his health and happiness. But his forbearance 
failed him at length, and he presumed to eat some salad, which 
lis wife " knew would disagree with him." She was provoked 
sifterwards, because she could not make him allow that it had 
made him ill. She termed this extreme obstinacy ; he pleaded 
khat it was simple truth. Truth upon some QC<^«a\QTA S& ^<& \&ks»^ 



446 THE MOU£RN ORI8ELDA. 

offensive thing that can be spoken : the lady was enraged, am 
after saying every thing provoking that matrimonial spleen coul 
suggest, when he in his turn grew warm, she cooled, and saic 
'* You must be sensible, my dear, that all I say and do arises froi 
affection/' 

" Oh ! my love," said he, recovering his good-humour, " th 
never-failing opiate soothes my vanity, and lulls my anger ; the 
you may govern me as you please. Torment me to death,— 
cannot oppose you." 

** I suppose," said she, " you think me like the vampire-ba 
who fans his victim to sleep with its wings, whilst she sucks il 
life-blood." 

"Yes, exactly," said he, smiling: "thank you for the a} 
allusion." 

"Very apt, indeed," said she ; and a thick gloom oversprea 
her countenance. She persisted in taking his assent in sobc 
earnest. " Yes," said she, " I find you think all my kindness i 
treacherous. I will show you no more, and then you cannc 
accuse me of treachery." 

It was in vain that he protested he had been only in jest ; sh 
was convinced that he was in earnest ; she was suddenly afflicte 
with an absolute incapacity of distingubhing jest from earnest 
She recurred to the idea of the vampire-bat, whenever it wa 
convenient to her to suppose that her husband thought Strang 
things of her, which never entered his brain. This bat prove< 
to him a bird of ill omen, which preceded a train of misfortunes 
that no mortal foresight could reach, and no human prudenci 
avert His goddess was not to be appeased by any propitiatoi) 
or expiatory sacrifice. 



CHAPTER XI. 



^* Short is the period of insulting power, 
Offended Cupid finds his vengeful hour." 

Finding it impossible to regain his fair one's favour, Mr. Bolinj^ 
broke absented himself firom her presence. He amused himself 



THE MODERN GRISELDA. 447 

for some days with his friend Mr. Grranby, in attending to a 
plantation which he was laying out in his grounds. Griselda was 
vexed to perceive that her husband could find any amusement 
independent of her ; and she never failed, upon his return, to 
mark her displeasure. 

One morning the gentlemen had been so much occupied with 
their plantation, that they did not attend the breakfast-table 
precisely in due time: the contrast in the looks of the two 
ladies when their husbands entered the room was striking. 
Griselda was provoked with Mrs. Granby for being so good- 
humoured. 

" Lord bless me ! Mrs. Granby, how you spoil these men," 
cried she. 

All the time the gentlemen were at breakfast, Mrs. Boling- 
broke played with her tea-spoon, and did not deign to utter a 
syllable ; and when the gentlemen left the breakfast-table, and 
returned to their business, Griselda, who was, as our readers 
may have observed, one of the fashionable lollers by profession, 
established herself upon a couch, and began an attack upon 
Emma, for spoiling her husband in such a sad manner. Emma 
defended herself in a playful way, by answering that she could 
not venture to give unnecessary pain, because she was not so 
sure as some of her friends might be of their power of giving 
pleasure. Mrs. Bolingbroke proceeded to descant upon the dif- 
ference between friendship and love: with some vanity, and 
some malice, she touched upon the difference between the sorts 
of sentiments which different women excited. Passion, she 
"argued, could be kept alive only by a certain happy mixture of 
caprice and grace, coldness and ill-humour. She confessed that, 
for her part, she never could be content with the friendship of a 
husband. Emma, without claiming or disclaiming her preten- 
sions to love, quoted the saying of a French gentleman : 

" L^Amitie est TAmour sans ailes." 
" FrieDdship is Love deprived of his wings.** 

Griselda had no apprehension that love could ever fly from 
her, and she declared she could not endure him without his 
wings. 

Our heroine did not imagine that any of the little v^^i&^<;2i*&s^ 



448 THE MODERN ORISELDA. 

which she hahitually inflicted upon her hushand could 
diminish his regaid. She never had calculated the pnx 
effects which can he produced hy petty causes constantly 
Indeed this is a consideration, to which the pride or 
sightedness of human nature is not prone. 

Who in contemplating one of Raphael's finest picturef 
from the master's hand, ever hestowed a thought upi 
wretched little worm which works its destruction ? Wfa 
beholds the gilded vessel gliding in gallant trim — '' youth 
prow, and pleasure at the helm ;" ever at that instant tl 
of— barnacles? The imagination is disgusted by tin 
climax; and of all species of the bathos, the sinking 
visionary happiness to sober reality is that from which '. 
nature is most averse. The wings of the imagination, accut 
to ascend, resist the downward flight. 

Confident of her charms, heedless of danger, acousto; 
think her empire absolute and eternal; our heroine, to 
herself, and to display her power to Emma, persisted 
practice of tormenting. The ingenuity with which she 
her tortiures was certainly admirable. After exhausting ol 
she invented new; and when the new lost their effica* 
recurred to the old. She had often observed, that the 
method of contradicting, which some bosom friends pnu 
conversation, is of sovereign power to provoke ; and this 
quently, though unpolite, she disdained not to imitate, 
the greater effect, as it was in diametrical opposition to th 
of Mrs. Granby's conversation ; who, in discussions wi 
husband, or her intimate friends, was peculiarly and hal 
attentive to politeness. 



CHAPTER XII. 

** Elk biasmandol sempre, e dispregiando 
Se gli venia pia sempre inimicando.** 

By her judicious and kind interposition, Emma often pre 
the disagreeable consequences that threatened to ensu€ 
Griselda's disputatious habits; but one night it was pi 



^ THE MODERN ORISELDA. 4^19 

^Utmost skill to avert a violent storm, which arose ahout the pro- 
-^Bunciation of a word. It began about eleven o'clock. Just as 
_^ tiie family were sitting down to supper, seemingly in perfect 
_^. hannony of spirits, Mr. Bolingbroke chanced to say, " I think 
^ ^e wind is rising." (He pronounced the word tdind, shorty 
~. " Wind! my dear," cried his wife, echoing his pronuncia- 

. tion ; "do, for heaven's sake, call it wind." 
^ The lady sounded this word long. 
I^ ** Wind ! my love," repeated he after her : " I doubt whether 

tliat be the right pronunciation." 
^ **Iam surprised you can doubt it," said she, "for I never 
heard any body call it uAnd but yourself." 

" Did not you, my love ? that is very extraordinary t many 
people, I believe, call it w\nd" 
** Vulgarians, perhaps !" 

'' Vulgarians ! No, indeed, my dear ; very polite, well-in- 
^srmed people." 

Griselda, with a look of unutterable contempt, reiterated the 
word poUte, 

** Yes, my dear, polite," persisted Mr. Bolingbroke, who was 
now come to such a pass, that he would defend his opinion in 
opposition to hers, stoutly and warmly. " Yes,- polite, my dear, 
I maintain it; the most polite people pronounce it as I do." 

''You may maintain what you please, my dear," said the lady, 
coolly ; "but I maintain the contrary." 

" Assertion is no proof on either side, I acknowledge," said 
Mr. Bolingbroke, recollecting himself. 

"No, in truth," said Mrs. Bolingbroke, " especially such an 
absurd assertion as yours, my dear. Now I will go no farther 
than Mrs. Granby ; — Mrs. Granby, did you ever hear any person, 
who knew how to speak, pronounce wind — wind V 

** Mrs. Granby, have not you heard it called tdlnd in good 
cornpany ?" 

The disputants eagerly approached her at the same instant, 
and looked as if their fortunes or lives depended upon the 
decision. 

" I think I have heard the word pronounced both ways, by 
well-bred and well-informed people," said Mrs. Granby. 
The Modem Griselda, o g 



450 THE MODERN ORISELDA. 

"That is saying nothing, my dear," said Mrs. Bolingbroke, 
pettishly. 

" This is saying all I want," said Mr. Bolingbroke, satisfied. 

" I would lay any wager, however, that Mr. * * * *, if he 
were here, would give it in my favour ; and I suppose you will 
not dispute his authority." 

" I will not dispute the authority of Sheridan's Dictionary," 
cried Mr. Bolingbroke, taking it down from the book-case, and 
turning over the leaves hastily. — " Sheridan gives it for me, my 
dear," said he, with exultation. 

" You need not speak with such triumph, my dear, for I do 
not submit to Sheridan." 

"No! Will you submit to Kenrick, then?" 

" Let us see what he says, and I will then tell you," said the 
lady. " No — Kenrick was not of her opinion, and he was no 
authority." Walker was produced ; and this battle of the pro- 
nouncing dictionaries seemed likely to have no end. Mrs. 
Granby, when she could be heard, remarked that it was difficult 
to settle any dispute about pronunciation, because in fact no 
reasons could be produced, and no standard appealed to but 
custom, which is perpetually changing; and, as Johnson says, 
'^ whilst our language is variable vrith the caprice of all who use 
it, words can no more be ascertained in a dictionary, than a 
grove in the agitation of a storm can be accurately delineated 
from its picture in the water." 

The combatants would scarcely allow Emma time to finish 
this allusion, and certainly did not give themselves time to 
understand it ; but continued to fight about the word custom, 
the only word that they had heard. 

"Yes, custom! custom!" cried they at once, "custom must 
decide, to be sure." Then came my custom and your custom; 
the custom of the stage, the custom of the best company, the 
custom of the best poets ; and all these were opposed to one 
another with increasing rapidity. "Good heavens, my dear! 
did you ever hear Kemble say, *Rage on, ye uflnds!'— 
Ridiculous!" 

" I grant you on the stage it may be winds ; but in common 
conversation it is allowable to pronounce it as I do, my dear." 



THE MODERN OR18ELDA. 451 

'' I appeal to the best poets, Mr. Bolingbroke : nothing can be 
more absurd than your way of " 

"Listen, lively lordlings all!" interrupted Emma, pressing 
with playful vehemence between the disputants ; " I must be 
heard, for I have not spoken this half hour, and thus I pro- 
nounce — You both are right, and both are wrong. 

" And now, my good friends, had not we better go to rest?" 
said she ; "for it is past midnight." 

As they took their candles, and went up stairs, the parties 
continued the battle : Mrs. Bolingbroke brought quotations 
inniunerable to her aid, and in a shrill tone repeated, 

" ^ Hd might not let even the winds of heaven 
Visit her face too roughly.' 

" * pass by me as the idle wind. 

Which I respect not.' 

" ' And let her down the wind to prey at fortune.* 

" ' Blow, thou winter's wind, 
Thou art not so unkind.* 

" * Blow, winds, and crack your cheeks ; rage, blow.* *' 

Her voice was raised to the highest pitch : it was in vain that 
her husband repeated that he acknowledged the word should be 
called as she pronounced it in poetry ; she reiterated her quota- 
tions and her assertions till at last she knew not what she said ; 
her sense failed the more her anger increased. At length Mr. 
Bolingbroke yielded. Noise conquers sometimes where art fails. 

"Thus," said he, "the hawk that could not be hoodwinked, 
was at last tamed, by being exposed to the din of a blacksmith's 
hammer." 

Griselda was incensed by this remark, and still more by the 
allusion, which she called the second edition of the vampire-bat. 
Both husband and wife went to sleep mutually displeased, and 
more disgusted with each other than they had ever been since 
their marriage : and all this for the pronunciation of a word ! 

Early in the morning they were wakened by a messenger, 
who brought an express, informing Mr. Bolingbroke that his 
uncle was not expected to live, and that he wished to see him 
immediately. Mr. Bolingbroke rose instantly ; all the time that 
he was dressing, and preparing iu t\ie ^e«.\A^\. V>xcrj Vst \ai^ 

Gg2 



452 THE MODERN GRISELDA, 

journey, Griselda tonnented him by disputing about the pro* < 
priety of his going, and ended with, " Promise me to write every 
post, my dear; positively you must." 



CHAPTER XIII. 

" He sighs for freedom, she for power." 

Mr. Bolingbroke did not comply with his wife's request, or 
rather with her injunction, to write every post : and when he did 
write, Griselda always found some fault with his letters. They 
were too short, too stiff, or too cold, and " very different 
indeed," she said, "from what he used to write before he was 
married." This was certainly true ; and absence was not at the 
present crisis the most advantageous thing possible to our 
heroine. Absence is said to extinguish a weak flame, and to 
increase a strong one. Mr. Bolingbroke's passion for his Griselda 
had, by some means, been of late diminished. He parted from 
her with the disagreeable impression of a dispute upon his mind. 
As he went farther from her he perceived that instead of drag- 
ging a lengthened chain, his chain grew lighter. His uncle 
recovered : he found agreeable society in the neighbourhood ; 
he was persuaded to prolong his stay : his mind, which had 
been continually harassed, now enjoyed some tranquillity. On 
an unlucky evening, he recollected Martial's famous epigram 
and his wife, in one and the same instant : 

" My mind still hovering round about you, 
I thought I could not live without you ; 
But now we have lived three weeks asunder, 
How I lived with you is the wonder." 

In the mean time, our heroine's chief amusement, in her 
husband's absence, was writing to complain of him to Mrs. 
Nettleby. This lady's answers were now filled with a reciprocity 
of conjugal abuse ; she had found, to her cost, that it is the 
most desperate imprudence to marry a fool, in the hopes of j 
governing him, A\l Viet "^o^ex^ oi \oxmenting were lost upon he? 



I 



THE MODERH ORISELDA* 453 

llessed belpmate. He was not to be moved by wit or sarcasm, 
eloquence or noise, tears or caresses, reason, jealousy, or tbe 
opinion of the world. 

What did he care what the world thought, he would do as he 
pleased himself; he would be master in his own house : it did 
not signify talking or crying, or being in the right ; right or 
wrong, he would be obeyed ; a wife should never govern him ; 
he had no notion of letting a woman rule, for his part ; women 
were bom to obey, and promised it in church. As to jealousy, 
let his wife look to that; if she did not choose to behave 
properly, he knew his remedy, and would as soon be divorced 
as not : " Rule a wife and have a wife," was the burden of his 
song. 

It was in vain to goad his insensible natyre, in hopes of 
obtaining any good : vain as the art said to be possessed by 
Linnaeus, of producing pearls by pricking oysters. Mrs. 
Nettleby, the witty, the spirited Widow Nettleby, was now in 
the most hopeless and abject condition ; tyrannized over by a 
dunce, — and who could pity her ? not even her dear Griselda. 

One day Mrs. Bolingbroke received an epistle of seven pages 
from poor Mrs. Nettleby, giving a full and true account of Mr. 
Nettleby 's extraordinary obstinacy about "the awning of a 
pleasure-boat, which he would not suffer to be made according 
to her directions, and which consequently caused the oversetting 
of the boat, and very nearly the deaths of all the party." Tired 
with the long history, and with the notes upon the history of this 
adventure, in Mrs. Nettleby's declamatory style, our heroine 
walked out to refresh herself. She followed a pleasant path in a 
field near the house, and came to a shady lane, where she heard 
Mr. and Mrs. Granby *s voices. She went towards the place. There 
was a turn in the lane, and a thick hedge of hawthorn prevented 
them from being immediately seen. As she approached, she 
heard Mr. Granby saying to Emma, in the fondest tone of 
affection, " My dear Emma, pray let it be done the way that 
you like best." 

They were looking at a cottage which they were building. 
The masons had, by mistake, followed the plan which Mr. Granby 
proposed, instead of that which Emma had suggested. The wall 



454 THE MODERN GRISELDA. 

was half built ; but Mr. Granby desired that it might be pulled 
down and altered to suit Emma's taste. 

" Bless me !" cried Griselda, with great surprise, " are you 
really going to have it pulled down, Mr. Granby ?" 

*< Certainly," replied he; "and what is more, lam going to 
help to pull it down." 

He ran to assist the masons, and worked with a degree of zed, 
which increased Mrs. Bolingbroke's astonishment. 

'* Good Heavens ! — He could not do more for you if you were 
his mistress." 

*' He never did so much for me, till I was his wife," said Emma. 

" That's strange I — Very unlike other men. But, my dear," 
said Mrs. Bolingbroke, taking Mrs. Granby's arm, and drawing 
her aside, ''how did you acquire such surprising power over 
your husband ?" 

"By not desiring it, I believe," replied Emma, smiling; "I 
have never used any other art" 



CHAPTER XIV. 

** Et cependant avec toute sa diablerie, 
II &ut que je Tappelle et mon cceur et ma mie.** 

Our heroine was still meditating upon the extraordinary method 
by which Emma had acquired power over her husband, when a 
carriage drove down the lane, and Mr. Bolingbroke's head 
appeared looking out of the chaise window. His face did not 
express so much joy as she thought it ought to display at the 
sight of her, after three weeks' absence. She was vexed, and 
received him coldly. He turned to Mr. and Mrs. Granby, and 
was not miserable. Griselda did not speak one word during 
their walk home ; still her husband continued in good spirits : 
she was more and more out of humour, and took no pcuns to 
conceal her displeasure. He bore it well, but then he seemed 
to feel it so little, that she was exasperated beyond measure ; she 
seized the first convenient opportunity, when she found him 
alone, of beginning a direct attack. 



THE MODERN ORISELDA. 455 

'* This is not the way in which you used to meet me, after an 
ahsence ever so short." He replied, that he was really very 
glad to see her, hut that she, on the contrary, seemed sorry to 
see him. 

" Because you are quite altered now," continued she, in a 
querulous tone. " I always prophesied, that you would cease 
to love me." 

'* Take care, my dear," said he, smiling; ^'some prophecies 
are the cause of their own accomplishment, — the sole cause. 
Come, my Griselda," continued he, in a serious tone, " do not 
let us hegin to quarrel the moment we meet." He offered to 
embrace her, but she drew back haughtily. " What ! do you 
confess that you no longer love me?" cried she. 

" Far from it : but it is in your own power," said he, hesitating, 
<*to diminish or increase my love." 

" Then it is no love, if it can be either increased or diminished," 
cried she ; " it is no love worth having. I remember the day 
when you swore to me, that your affection could not be increased 
or diminished." 

" I was in love in those days, my dear, and did not know what 
I swore," said Mr. Bolingbroke, endeavouring to turn the con- 
versation : *' never reproach a man, when he is sober, with what 
he said when he was drimk." 

" Then you are sober now, are you ?" cried she angrily. 

" It is to be hoped I am," said he, laughing. 

" Cruel, barbarous man!" cried she. 

" For being sober ?" said he : "have not you been doing all 
you could to sober me these eighteen months, my dear ? and now 
do not be angry if you have in some degree succeeded." 
' "Succeeded! — Oh, wretched woman! this is thy lot!" ex- 
claimed Griselda, clasping her hands in an agony of passion. 
" Oh, that my whole unfortunate sex could see me, — could hear 
you at this instant ! Never, never did the love of man endure 
one twelvemonth after marriage. False, treacherous, callous, 
perjured tyrant! leave me ! leave me!" 

He obeyed ; she called him back, with a voice half suffocated 
with rage, but he returned not. 

Never was departing love recalled by the voice of reproach. 
It is not, as the poet fables, at the siglii oi \v\3cavaxL Na^'%»> ^^g»^ 



456 THE MODERN ORI8ELDA.' 

Cupid is frightened, for he is hlind ; hut he has the most deUcate 
ears imaginable : scared at the sound of female objurgation, 
Love claps his wings and urges his irrevocable flight. 

Griselda remained for some time in her apartment to indulge 
her ill-humour ; she had leisure for this indulgence ; she was 
not now, as formerly, disturbed by the fond interruptions of a 
husband. Longer had her angry fit lasted, but for a circum- 
stance, which may to many of our readers appear unnatural : 
our heroine became hungry. The passions are more under the 
control of the hours of meals ^ than any one, who has not 
observed human life out of novels, can easily believe. Dinner- 
time came, and Mrs. Bolingbroke appeared at dinner as usual. 
In the presence of Mr. and Mrs. Granby pride compelled 
Griselda to command herself, and no one could guess what had 
passed between her and her husband : but no sooner was she 
again tete-a-tete with him, than her reproaches recommenced 
with fresh violence. — " Will you only do me the justice to tell 
me, Mr. Bolingbroke,'* cried she, "what reason you have to 
love me less V* 

" Reason, my dear," sai^he ; <'you know love is independent 
of reason, according to your own definition : love is involuntary, 
you cannot therefore blame me for its caprices." 

'^Insulting casuistry!" said she, weeping; *' sophistical non- 
sense ! Have you any rational complaint to make against me, 
Bolingbroke ?" 

" I make no complaints, rational or irrational, my dear ; they 
are all on your side." 

"And well they may be," cried Griselda, "whep you treat 
me in such a barbarous manner : but I do not complain ; the 
world shall be my judge ; the world will do me justice, if you 
will not. I appeal to every body who knows me, have I ever 
given you the slightest cause for ill-usage ? Can you accuse me 
of any extravagance, of any imprudence, sir?" 

"I accuse you of neither, Mrs. Bolingbroke." 

" No, because you cannot, sir ; my character, my fidelity is 
unimpeached, unimpeachable : the world will do me justice." 

Griselda contrived to make even her virtues causes of torment 



THE MODERN ORISELDA. 457 

Upon tbe strength of this unimpeachable fidelity, she thought 
she might be as ill-humoured as she pleased ; she seemed now to 
think that she had acquired an indefeasible right to reproach her 
husband, since she had extorted from him the confession that he 
loved her less, and that he had no crime to lay to her charge. 
Ten days passed on in this manner ; the lady becoming every 
hour more irritable, the gentleman every hour more indifferent. 
To have revived or killed affection secundem artem, the fair 
practitioner should now have thrown in a little jealousy : but, 
unluckily, she was so situated that this was impossible. No 
object any way iit for the purpose was at hand ; nothing was 
to be found within ten miles of her but honest country squires ; 
and, 

" With all the powers of nature and of art, 
She could not break one stubborn country heart.** 



CHAPTER XV. 



" To whom the virgin majesty of Eve, 
As one who loves and some unkindness meets, 
With sweet austere composure thus replies.** 

Many privileges are, and ought to be, allowed to the virgin 
majesty of the sex ; and even when the modem fair one does 
not reply with all the sweet austere composure of Eve, her 
anger may have charms for a lover. There is a certain suscep- 
tibility of temper, that sometimes accompanies the pride of 
virtue, which indicates a quick sense of shame, and warm 
feelings of affection ; in whatsoever manner this may be shown, 
it appears amiable and graceful. And if this sensibility degene^ 
rate into irritability, a lover pardons it in his mistress ; it is her 
prerogative to be haughty; and if he be dexterous to seize 
**the moment of returning love," it is often his interest to 
promote quarrels, for the sake of the pleasures of reconciliation. 
The jealous doubts, the alternate hopes and fears, attendant on 
the passion of love, are dear to the lover whilst his passion lasts ; 
but when that subsides — as subside it must — Iwa \aA\a S^yt ^Si^Kt"- 



458 THE MODERN ORISELDA. 

cation ceases. The proverb which favours the quarrels of lovers 
may prove fatal to the happiness of husbands; and woe be to the 
wife who puts her faith in it ! There are, however, people who 
would extend that dangerous maxim even to the commerce of 
friendship; and it must be allowed (for morality, neither in 
small matters nor great, can gain any thing by suppressing the 
truth), it must be allowed, that in the commencement of an 
intimacy the quarrels of friends may tend to increase their 
mutual regard, by affording to one or both of them opportunities 
of displaying qualities superior even to good humour ; such as 
truth, fidelity, honour, or generosity. But whatever may be the 
sum total of their merit, when upon long acquaintance it comes 
to be fully known and justly appreciated, the most splendid 
virtues or talents can seldom compensate in domestic life for the 
want of temper. The fallacy of a maxim, like the absurdity 
of an argument, is sometimes best proved by pushing it as far 
as it can go, by observing all its consequences. Our heroine, in 
the present instance, illustrates this truth to admiration : her life 
and her husband's had now become a perpetual scene of disputes 
and reproaches ; every day the quarrels grew more bitter, and 
the reconciliations less sweet. 

One morning, Griselda and her husband were present whilst 
Emma was busy showing some poor children how to plait straw 
for hats. 

' " Next summer, my dear, when we are settled at home, I 
hope you will encourage some manufacture of* this kind amongst 
the children of our tenants," said Mr. Bolingbroke to his lady. 

" I have no genius for teaching manufactures of this sort," 
replied Mrs. Bolingbroke, scornfully. 

Her husband urged the matter no farther. A few minutes 
afterwards, he drew out a straw from a bundle, which one of 
the children held. 

''This is a fine straw !" said he, carelessly. 

"Fine straw!" cried Mrs. Bolingbroke : ''no — that is very 
coarse. This," continued she, pulling one from another bundle; 
"this is a fine straw, if you please." 

" I think mine is the finest," said Mr. Bolingbroke. 

"Then you must be blind, Mr. Bolingbroke," cried the lady, 
eagerly comparing them. 



THE MODERN ORISELDA. 459 

** Well, my dear," said he, laughing, " we will not dispute 
about straws." 

**No, indeed," said she; " but I observe whenever you know 
you are in the wrong, Mr. Bolingbroke, you say, we will not 
dispute, my dear : now pray look at these straws, Mrs. Granby, 
you that have eyes — which is the finest ?" 

'< I will draw lots," said Emma, taking one playfully from 
Mrs. Bolingbroke ; " for it seems to me, that there is little or no 
difference between them." 

** No difference ? Oh, my dear Emma!" said Mrs. Boling- 
broke. 

"My dear Griselda," cried her husband, taking the other 
straw from her and blowing it away; "indeed it is not worth dis- 
puting about : this is too childish." 

** Childish !" repeated she, looking after the straw, as it floated 

down the wind ; " I see nothing childish in being in the right : 

your reusing your voice in that manner never convinces me. 

^ Jupiter is always in the wrong, you know, when he has recourse 

to ^8 thunder." 
^ " Thunder, my dear Griselda, about a straw ! Well, when 
women are determined to dispute, it is wonderful how ingenious 
they are in finding subjects. I give you joy, my dear, of having 
attained the perfection of the art : you can now literally dispute 
about straws." 

Emma insisted at this instant upon having an opinion about 
the shape of a hat, which she had just tied under the chin of a 
T rosy little girl of six years old ; upon whose smiling countenance 
she fixed the attention of the angry lady. 

All might now have been well ; but Griselda had a pernicious 
babit of recurring to any slight words of blame which had been 
used by her friends. Her husband had congratulated her upon 
having attained the perfection of the art of disputing, since she 
could cavil about straws. This reproach rankled in her mind. 
There are certain diseased states of the body, in which the 
slightest wound festers, and becomes incurable. It is the same 
with the mind ; and our heroine's was in this dangerous predica- 
ment. 



460 THB MODERN GKISELDA. 



CHAPTER XVI. 



^ Que suis je ? — qu*ai je fait ? Que doit-je hire encore P 
Quel transport me saisit? Quel chagrin me d^vore?** 

Some hours after the quarrel about the straws, when her husband 
had entirely forgotten it, and was sitting very quietly in his own 
apartment writing a letter, Griseida entered the room with a 
countenance prepared for great exploits. 

" Mr. Bolingbroke," she began in an awful tone of voice, " if 
you are at leisure to attend to me, I wish to speak to you upon a 
subject of some importance." 

** I am quite at leisure, my dear ; pray sit down : what is the 
matter ? you really alarm me !" 

" It is not my intention to alarm you, Mr. Bolingbroke," con- 
tinued she in a still more solemn tone ; " the time is past when 
what I have to say could have alarmed : I am persuaded that 
you will now hear it without emotion, or with an emotion of 
pleasure." 

She paused ; he laid down his pen, and looked all expectation. 

" I am come to announce to you a fixed, unalterable resolu- 
tion — To part from you, Mr. Bolingbroke." 

" Are you serious, my dear?" 

" Perfectly serious, sir." 

These words did not produce the revolution in her husband's 
countenance which Griseida had expected. She trembled with a 
mixed indescribable emotion of grief and rage when she heard 
him calmly reply, ** Let us part, then, Griseida, if that be your 
wish ; but let me be sure that it is your wish : I must have it 
repeated from your lips when you are perfectly calm." 

With a voice inarticulate from passion, Griseida began to assure 
him that she was perfectly calm ; l^t he stopped her, and mildly 
said, '* Take four-and-twenty hours to consider of what you are 
about, Griseida ; I vrill be here at this time to-morrow to learn 
your final determination." 

Mr. Bolingbroke left the room. 

Mrs. Bolingbroke was incapable of thinking : she could only 
feel. Conflicting passions assailed her heart All the woman 
ruahed upon her soul *, die \oved her husband more at this instant 



THE MODERN ORISELDA. 461 

than she had ever loved him hefore. His fiiTnness excited at 
once her anger and her admiration. She could not helieve that 
she had heard his words rightly. She sat down to recall 
minutely every circumstance of what had just passed, every word, 
every look ; she finished by persuading herself, that his calmnesj 
was affected, that the best method she could possibly take was 
by a show of resistance to bully him out of his indifference. She 
little knew what she hazarded ; when the danger of losing her 
husband's love was imaginary, and solely of her own creating, 
it affected her in the most violent manner ; but now that the 
peril was real and imminent, she was insensible to its existence. 

A celebrated traveller in the Alps advises people to imagine 
themselves walking amidst precipices, when they are safe upon 
smooth ground ; and he assures them that by this practice they 
may inure themselves so to ths idea of danger, as to prevent all 
sense of it in the most perilous situations. 

The four-and-twenty hours passed; and at the appointed 
moment our heroine and her husband met. As she entered the 
room, she observed that he held a book in his hand, but was not 
reading : he put it down, rose deliberately, and placed a chair 
for her, in silence. 

** I thank you, I would rather stand," said she : he put aside 
the chair, and walked to a door at the other end of the room, to 
examine whether there was any one in the adjoining apartment. 

'' It is not necessary that what we have to say should be over- 
heard by servants," said he. 

"I have no objection to being overheard," said Griselda: "I 
have nothing to say of which I am ashamed ; and all the world 
inust know it soon." 

As Mr. Bolingbroke returned towards her, she examined his 
countenance with an inquisitive eye. It was expressive of con- 
cern ; grave, but calm. 

Whoever has seen a balloon — the reader, however impatient, 
must listen to this allusion — ^whoever has seen a balloon, may have 
observed that in its flaccid state it can be folded and unfolded 
with the greatest ease, and it is manageable even by a child ; but 
when once filled, the force of multitudes cannot restrain, nor 
the art of man direct its course. Such is the human mind — so 
tractable before, so ungovernable afteT \l &\\^ m\)tv '^^%i\^T^. ^^ 



462 THE MODERN ORISELDA. 

slow degrees, unnoticed by our heroine, the balloon had been 
filling. It was full ; but yet it was held down by strong cords : 
it remained with her to cut or not to cut them. 

'< Reflect before you speak, my dear Griselda/' said her 
husband ; " consider that on the words which you are going to 
pronounce depend your fate and mine." 

"I have reflected sufficiently," said she, "and decide, Mr. 
Bolingbroke — ^to part." 

"Be it so!" cried he; fire flashed from his eyes; he grew 
red and pale in an instant. " Be it so," repeated he, in an irre- 
vocable voice — " We part for ever !" 

He vanished before Griselda could speak or think. She was 
breathless ; her limbs trembled ; she could not support herself; 
she sunk she knew not where. She certainly loved her husband 
better than any thing upon earth, except power. When she 
came to her senses, and perceived that she was alone, she felt 
as if she was abandoned by all the world. The dreadful words 
" for ever," still sounded in her ears. She was tempted to yield 
her humour to her affection. It was but a momentary struggle ; 
the love of sway prevailed. When she came more fully to 
herself, she recurred to the belief that her husband could not be 
in earnest, or at least that he would never persist, if she had but 
the courage to dare him to the utmost 



CHAPTER XVII. 

** Uai-je vu se troubler, et me plaindre un moment? 
En ai-je pu tirer un seal g^missement?** 

Ashamed of her late weakness, our heroine rallied all her spirits, 
and resolved to meet her husband at supper with an undaunted 
countenance. Her provoking composure was admirably pre- 
pared : but it was thrown away, for Mr. Bolingbroke did not 
appear at supper. When Griselda retired to rest, she found a 
note from him on her dressing-table ; she tore it open with a 
triumphant hand, certain that it came to ofler terms of recon- 
ciliation. 



THE MODERN ORISELDA. 463 

" You will appoint whatever friend you think proper to settle 
the terms of our separation. The time I desire to he as soon as 
possible. I have not mentioned what has passed to Mr. or Mrs. 
Granby ; you will mention it to them x)r not, as you think fit. 
On this point, as on all others, you will henceforward follow 
your own discretion. 

" T. BOLINGBROKE." 
•* Twelve o'clock ; 
*' Saturday, Aug. 10th." 

Mrs. Bolingbroke read and re-read this note, weighed every 
Bvord, examined every letter, and at last exclaimed aloud, ** He 
will not, cannot, part from me." 

** He cannot be in earnest," thought she. " Either he is 

Eicting a part or he is in a passion. Perhaps he is instigated by 

Mr. Granby :«no, that cannot be, because he says he has not 

mentioned it to Mr. or Mrs. Granby, and he always speaks the 

truth. If Emma had known it, she would have prevented him 

from writing such a harsh note, for she is such a good creature. 

I have a great mind to consult her; she is so indulgent, so 

soothing. But what does Mr. Bolingbroke say about her ? He 

leaves me to my own discretion, to mention what has passed or 

not. That means, mention it, speak to Mrs. Granby, that she 

may advise you to submit. I will not say a word to her ; I will 

out-general him yet. He cannot leave me when it comes to the 

trial." 

She sat down, and wrote instantly this answer to her husband's 
note : 

** I agree with you entirely, that the sooner we part the better. 
I shall write to-morrow to my friend Mrs. Nettleby, with whom 
J choose to reside. Mr. John Nettleby is the person I fix upon 
to settle the terms of our separation. In three days I shall have 
i^rs. Nettleby 's answer. This is Saturday : on Tuesday, then, 
we part — ^for ever. 

''Griselda Bolingbroke." 

Mrs. Bolingbroke summoned her maid. ** Deliver this note," 
said she, " with your own hand ; do not send Le Grand with it 
to his master." 



464 THE MODERN ORISELDA. 

Griselda waited impatiently for her maid's return. 

" No answer, madam.*' 

" No answer ! are you certain Y* 

" Certain, ma'am : my master only said, * Very welL*" 

** And why did not you ask him if there was any answer V 

*^ I did, ma'am. I said, ' Is there no answer for my lady V 
* No answer,' said he." 

" Was he up ?" 

" No, ma'am : he was in bed." 

" Was he asleep when you went in ?" 

" I cannot say positively, ma'am : he undrew the curtain as I 
went in, and asked, * Who's there V " 

" Did you go in on tiptoe ?" 

" I forget, really, ma'am." 

" You forget really ! Idiot ! " 

" But, ma'am, I recollect he turned his head to go to sleep as 
I closed the curtain." 

** You need not wait," said Mrs. Bolingbroke. 

Provoked beyond the power of sleep, Mrs. Bolingbroke gave 
free expression to her feelings, in an eloquent letter to Mrs. 
Nettleby ; but even after this relief, Griselda could not rest ; so 
much was she disturbed by the repose that her husband enjoyed, 
or was reputed to enjoy. In the morning she placed her letter 
in full view upon the mantel-piece in the drawing-room, in 
hopes that it would strike terror into the heart of her husband. 
To her great mortification, she saw Mr. Bolingbroke, with an 
unchanged countenance, give it to the servant, who came to ask 
for "letters for the post." She had now three days of grace, 
before Mrs. Nettleby's answer could arrive ; but of these she 
disdained to take advantage: she never mentioned what had 
passed to Mrs. Granby, but persisted in the same haughty 
conduct tbwards her husband, persuaded that she should conquer 
at last. 

The third day came, and brought an answer from Mn. 
Nettleby. After a prodigious parade of professions, a decent 
display of astonishment at Mr. Bolingbroke 's strange conduct, 
and pity for her dear Griselda, Mrs. Nettleby came to the 
point, and was sorry to say, that Mr. Nettleby was in one of his 
obstinate fits, and couV^ not V^« brought to listen to the scheme 



THE MODERN GRISELDA. 465 

80 near her heart : " He would have nothing to do, he said, with 
settling the terms of Mr. and Mrs. Bolingbroke's separation, not 
he ! — He absolutely refuses to meddle between man and wife ; 
and calls it meddling," continued Mrs. Nettleby, ''to receive 
you as an inmate, after you have parted from your husband. 
Mr. Bolingbroke, he says, has always been very civil to him, and 
came to see him in town ; therefore he will not encourage Mrs. 
Bolingbroke in her tantanims. I represented to him, that Mr. 
B. desires the thing, and leaves the choice of a residence to 
yourself: but Mr. Nettleby replied, in his brutal way, that you 
might choose a residence where you would, except in his house ; 
that his house was his castle, and should never be turned into an 
asylum for runagate wives; that he would not set such an 
example to his own wife, &c. But," continued Mrs. Nettleby, 
*' you can imagine all the foolish things he said, and I need not 
repeat them, to vex you and myself. I know that he refuses to 
receive you, my dear Mrs. Bolingbroke, on purpose to provoke 
me. But what can one do or say to such a man ? — Adieu, my 
dear. Pray write when you are at leisure, and tell me how 
things are settled, or rather what is settled upon you ; which, to 
be sure, is now the only thing that you have to consider. 

" Ever yours, affectionately, 

"R. H. Nettlebt. 

''P.S. Before you leave Devonshire, do, my dear, get me 
some of the fine Devonshire lace ; three or four dozen yards will 
do. I trust implictly to your taste. You know I do not mind 
the price ; only let it be broad, for narrow lace is my aversion." 



CHAPTER XVIII. 

" Lost is the dear delight of giving pain T* 

Mortified by her dear friend's affectionate letter and postscript, 
Griselda was the more determined to persist in her resolution to 
defy her husband to the utmost. The catastro^li^, ^Vva ^wnj^^ 
would always be in her own power •, %\ifc Tfec^"fe<iXfc^ n wtwia 
The Modem Griselda, 'slV 



466 THE MODERN ORI8ELDA. 

separation scenei in novels and plays, where the lady, after 
having tormented her husband or lover by every species <jlS ill 
conduct, reforms in an instant, and a reconciliatiou is effected by 
some miraculous means. Our heroine had seen Lady Townley 
admirably well acted, and doubted not that she could now 
perform her part victoriously. With this hope, or rather in this 
confidence, she went in search of Mr. Bolingbroke. He was not 
in the house ; he had gone out to take a solitary walk. Qriselda 
hoped that she was the object of his reflections, during his 
lonely ramble. 

"Yes," said she to herself, '<my power is not exhausted: I 
shall make his heart ache yet ; and when he yields, how I will 
revenge myself!" 

She rang for her woman, and gave orders to have every thing 
immediately prepared for her departure. <*As soon as the 
trunks are packed, let them be corded, and placed in the great 
hall," said she. 

Our heroine, who had a happy memory, full well recollected 
the effect which the sight of the corded trunks produced in the 
" Simple Story," and she thought the stroke so good that it 
would bear repetition. With malice prepense, she therefore 
prepared the blow, which she flattered herself could not fail to 
astound her victim. Her pride still revolted from the idea of 
consulting Mrs. Granby; but some apology was requisite for 
thus abruptly quitting her house. Mrs. Bolingbroke began in a 
tone that seemed intended to preclude all discussion. 

" Mrs. Granby, do you know that Mr. Bolingbroke and I have 
come to a resolution to be happy the rest of our lives ; and, for 
this purpose, we find it expediant to separate. Do not start or 
look so shocked, my dear. This word separation may sound 
terrible to some people, but I have, thank Heaven ! sufficient 
strength of mind to hear it with perfect composure. Wh