About twelve o’clock the same night, Lord Kilcullen and Mat Tierney were playing billiards, and were just finishing their last game: the bed-candles were lighted ready for them, and Tierney was on the point of making the final hazard.
‘So you’re determined to go tomorrow, Mat?’ said Kilcullen.
‘Oh, yes, I’ll go tomorrow: your mother’ll take me for a second Paddy Rea, else,’ said Mat.
‘Who the deuce was Paddy Rea?’
‘Didn’t you ever hear of Paddy Rea? Michael French of Glare Abbey he’s dead now, but he was alive enough at the time I’m telling you of, and kept the best house in county Clare well, he was coming down on the Limerick coach, and met a deuced pleasant, good-looking, talkative sort of a fellow a-top of it. They dined and got a tumbler of punch together at Roscrea; and when French got down at Bird Hill, he told his acquaintance that if he ever found himself anywhere near Ennis, he’d be glad to see him at Glare Abbey. He was a hospitable sort of a fellow, and had got into a kind of way of saying the same thing to everybody, without meaning anything except to be civil just as I’d wish a man good morning. Well, French thought no more about the man, whose name he didn’t even know; but about a fortnight afterwards, a hack car from Ennis made its appearance at Glare Abbey, and the talkative traveller, and a small portmanteau, had soon found their way into the hail. French was a good deal annoyed, for he had some fashionables in the house, but he couldn’t turn the man out; so he asked his name, and introduced Paddy Rea to the company. How long do you think he stayed at Glare Abbey?’
‘Heaven only knows! Three months.’
‘Seventeen years!’ said Mat. ‘They did everything to turn him out, and couldn’t do it. It killed old French; and at last his son pulled the house down, and Paddy Rea went then, because there wasn’t a roof to cover him. Now I don’t want to drive your father to pull down this house, so I’ll go tomorrow.’
‘The place is so ugly, that if you could make him do so, it would be an advantage; but I’m afraid the plan wouldn’t succeed, so I won’t press you. But if you go, I shan’t remain long. If it was to save my life and theirs, I can’t get up small talk for the rector and his curate.’
‘Well, good night,’ said Mat; and the two turned off towards their bed-rooms.
As they passed from the billiard-room through the hall, Lord Cashel shuffled out of his room, in his slippers and dressing-gown.
‘Kilcullen,’ said he, with a great deal of unconcerned good humour affected in his tone, ‘just give me one moment I’ve a word to say to you. Goodnight, Mr Tierney, goodnight; I’m sorry to hear we’re to lose you tomorrow.’
Lord Kilcullen shrugged his shoulders, winked at his friend and then turned round and followed his father.
‘It’s only one word, Kilcullen,’ said the father, who was afraid of angering or irritating his son, now that he thought he was in so fair a way to obtain the heiress and her fortune. ‘I’ll not detain you half a minute;’ and then he said in a whisper, ‘take my advice, Kilcullen, and strike when the iron’s hot.’
‘I don’t quite understand you, my lord,’ said his son, affecting ignorance of his father’s meaning.
‘I mean, you can’t stand better than you do with Fanny:— you’ve certainly played your cards admirably, and she’s a charming girl, a very charming girl, and I long to know that she’s your own. Take my advice and ask her at once.’
‘My lord,’ said the dutiful son, ‘if I’m to carry on this affair, I must he allowed to do it in my own way. You, I dare say, have more experience than I can boast, and if you choose to make the proposal yourself to Miss Wyndham on my behalf, I shall be delighted to leave the matter in your hands; but in that case, I shall choose to be absent from Grey Abbey. If you wish me to do it, you must let me do it when I please and how I please.’
‘Oh, certainly, certainly, Kilcullen,’ said the earl; ‘I only want to point out that I think you’ll gain nothing by delay.’
‘Very well, my lord. Good night.’ And Lord Kilcullen went to bed, and the father shuffled back to his study. He had had three different letters that day from Lord Kilcullen’s creditors, all threatening immediate arrest unless he would make himself responsible for his son’s debts. No wonder that he was in a hurry, poor man!
And Lord Kilcullen, though he had spoken so coolly on the subject, and had snubbed his father, was equally in a hurry. He also received letters, and threats, and warnings, and understood, even better than his father did, the perils which awaited him. He knew that he couldn’t remain at Grey Abbey another week; that in a day or two it wouldn’t be safe for him to leave the house; and that his only chance was at once to obtain the promise of his cousin’s hand, and then betake himself to some place of security, till he could make her fortune available.
When Fanny came into the breakfast-room next morning, he asked her to walk with him in the demesne after breakfast. During the whole of the previous evening she had sat silent and alone, pretending to read, although he had made two or three efforts to engage her in conversation. She could not, however, refuse to walk with him, nor could she quite forgive herself for wishing to do so. She felt that her sudden attachment for him was damped by what had passed between her and Lady Selina; but she knew, at the same time, that she was very unreasonable for quarrelling with one cousin for what another had said. She accepted his invitation, and shortly after breakfast went upstairs to get ready. It was a fine, bright, April morning, though the air was cold, and the ground somewhat damp; so she put on her boa and strong boots, and sallied forth with Lord Kilcullen; not exactly in a good humour, but still feeling that she could not justly be out of humour with him. At the same moment, Lady Selina knocked at her father’s door, with the intention of explaining to him how impossible it was that Fanny should be persuaded to marry her brother. Poor Lord Cashel his life, at that time, was certainly not a happy one.
The two cousins walked some way, nearly in silence. Fanny felt very little inclined to talk, and even Kilcullen, with all his knowledge of womankind with all his assurance, had some difficulty in commencing what he had to get said and done that morning.
‘So Grey Abbey will once more sink into its accustomed dullness,’ said he. ‘Cokely went, yesterday, and Tierney and the Ellisons go today. Don’t you dread it, Fanny?’
‘Oh, I’m used to it: besides, I’m one of the component elements of the dullness, you know. I’m a portion of the thing itself: it’s you that must feel it.’
‘I feel it? I suppose I shall. But, as I told you before, the physic to me was not nearly so nauseous as the sugar. I’m at any rate glad to get rid of such sweetmeats as the bishop and Mrs Ellison;’ and they were both silent again for a while.
‘But you’re not a portion of the heaviness of Grey Abbey, Fanny,’ said he, referring to what she had said. ‘You’re not an element of its dullness. I don’t say this in flattery I trust nothing so vile as flattery will ever take place between us; but you know yourself that. your nature is intended for other things; that you were not born to pass your life in such a house as this, without society, without excitement, without something to fill your mind. Fanny, you can’t be happy here, at Grey Abbey.’
Happy! thought Fanny to herself. No, indeed, I’m not happy! She didn’t say so, however; and Kilcullen, after a little while, went on speaking.
‘I’m sure you can’t be comfortable here. You don’t feel it, I dare say, so intolerable as I do; but still you have been out enough, enough in the world, to feel strongly the everlasting do-nothingness of this horrid place. I wonder what possesses my father, that he does not go to London for your sake if for no one else’s. It’s not just of him to coop you up here.’
‘Indeed it is, Adolphus,’ said she. ‘You mistake my character. I’m not at all anxious for London parties and gaiety. Stupid as you may think me, I’m quite as well contented to stay here as I should be to go to London.’
‘Do you mean me to believe,’ said Kilcullen, with a gentle laugh, ‘that you are contented to live and die in single blessedness at Grey Abbey? that your ambition does not soar higher than the interchange of worsted-work patterns with Miss O’Joscelyn?’
‘I did not say so, Adolphus.’
‘What is your ambition then? what kind and style of life would you choose to live? Come, Fanny, I wish I could get you to talk with me about yourself. I wish I could teach you to believe how anxious I am that your future life should be happy and contented, and at the same time splendid and noble, as it should be. I’m sure you must have ambition. I have studied Lavater well enough to know that such a head and face as yours never belonged to a mind that could satisfy itself with worsted-work.’
‘You are very severe on the poor worsted-work.’
‘But am I not in the right?’
‘Decidedly not. Lavater, and my head and face, have misled you.’
‘Nonsense, Fanny. Do you mean to tell me that you have no aspiration for a kind of life different from this you are leading? If so, I am much disappointed in you; much, very much astray in my judgment of your character.’ Then he walked on a few yards, looking on the ground, and said, ‘Come, Fanny, I am talking very earnestly to you, and you answer me only in joke. You don’t think me impertinent, do you, to talk about yourself?’
‘Impertinent, Adolphus of course I don’t.’
‘Why won’t you talk to me then, in the spirit in which I am talking to you? If you knew, Fanny, how interested I am about you, how anxious that you should be happy, how confidently I look forward to the distinguished position I expect you to fill if you could guess how proud I mean to be of you, when you are the cynosure of all eyes the admired of all admirers admired not more for your beauty than your talent if I could make you believe, Fanny, how much I expect from you, and how fully I trust that, my expectations will be realised, you would not, at any rate, answer me lightly.’
‘Adolphus,’ said Fanny, ‘I thought there was to be no flattering between us?’
‘And do you think I would flatter you? Do you think I would stoop to flatter you? Oh! Fanny, you don’t understand me yet; you don’t at all understand, how thoroughly from the heart I’m speaking how much in earnest I am; and, so far from flattering you, I am quite as anxious to find fault with you as I am to praise you, could I feel that I had liberty to do so.’
‘Pray do,’ said Fanny: ‘anything but flattery; for a friend never flatters.’
But Kilcullen had intended to flatter his fair cousin, and he had been successful. She was gratified and pleased by his warmth of affection. ‘Pray do,’ repeated Fanny; ‘I have more faults than virtues to be told of, and so I’m afraid you’ll find out, when you know me better.’
‘To begin, then,’ said Kilcullen, ‘are you not wrong but no, Fanny, I will not torment you now with a catalogue of faults. I did not ask you to come out with me for that object. You are now in grief for the death of poor Harry’ Fanny blushed as she reflected how much more poignant a sorrow weighed upon her heart ‘and are therefore unable to exert yourself; but, as soon as you are able when you have recovered from this severe blow, I trust you will not be content to loiter and dawdle away your existence at Grey Abbey.’
‘Not the whole of it,’ said Fanny.
‘None of it,’ replied her cousin. ‘Every month, every day, should have its purpose. My father has got into a dull, heartless, apathetic mode of life, which suits my mother and Selina, but which will never suit you. Grey Abbey is like the Dead Sea, of which the waters are always bitter as well as stagnant. It makes me miserable, dearest Fanny, to see you stifled in such a pool. Your beauty, talents, and energies your disposition to enjoy life, and power of making it enjoyable for others, are all thrown away. Oh, Fanny, if I could rescue you from this!’
‘You are inventing imaginary evils,’ said she; ‘at any rate they are not palpable to my eyes.’
‘That’s it; that’s just what I fear,’ said the other, ‘that time, habit, and endurance may teach you to think that nothing further is to be looked for in this world than vegetation at Grey Abbey, or some other place of the kind, to which you may be transplanted. I want to wake you from such a torpor; to save you from such ignominy. I wish to restore you to the world.’
‘There’s time enough, Adolphus; you’ll see me yet the gayest of the gay at Almack’s.’
‘Ah! but to please me, Fanny, it must be as one of the leaders, not one of the led.’
‘Oh, that’ll be in years to come: in twenty years’ time; when I come forth glorious in a jewelled turban, and yards upon yards of yellow satin fat, fair, and forty. I’ve certainly no ambition to be one of the leaders yet.’
Lord Kilcullen walked on silent for a considerable time, during which Fanny went on talking about London, Almack’s, and the miserable life of lady patronesses, till at last she also became silent, and began thinking of Lord Ballindine. She had, some little time since, fully made up her mind to open her heart to Lord Kilcullen about him, and she had as fully determined not to do so after what Selina had said upon the subject; but now she again wavered. His manner was so kind and affectionate, his interest in her future happiness appeared to be so true and unaffected: at any rate he would not speak harshly or cruelly to her, if she convinced him how completely her happiness depended on her being reconciled to Lord Ballindine. She had all but brought herself to the point; she had almost determined to tell him everything, when he stopped rather abruptly, and said,
‘I also am leaving Grey Abbey again, Fanny.’
‘Leaving Grey Abbey?’ said Fanny. ‘You told me the other day you were going to live here,’
‘So I intended; so I do intend; but still I must leave it for a while. I’m going about business, and I don’t know how long I may he away. I go on Saturday.’
‘I hope, Adolphus, you haven’t quarrelled with your father,’ said she.
‘Oh, no,’ said he: ‘it is on his advice that I am going. I believe there is no fear of our quarrelling now. I should rather say I trust there is none. He not. only approves of my going, but approves of what I am about to do before I go.’
‘And what is that?’
‘I had not intended, Fanny, to say what I have to say to you for some time, for I feel that different circumstances make it premature. But I cannot bring myself to leave you without doing so;’ and again he paused and walked on a little way in silence ‘and yet,’ he continued, ‘I hardly know how to utter what I wish to say; or rather what I would wish to have said, were it not that I dread so much the answer you may make me. Stop, Fanny, stop a moment; the seat is quite dry; sit down one moment.’
Fanny sat down in a little alcove which. they had reached, considerably embarrassed and surprised. She had not, however, the most remote idea of what he was about to say to her. Had any other man in the world, almost, spoken to her in the same language, she would have expected an offer; but from the way in which she had always regarded her cousin, both heretofore, when she hardly knew him, and now, when she was on such affectionate terms with him, she would as soon have thought of receiving an offer from Lord Cashel as from his son.
‘Fanny,’ he said,’ I told you before that I have my father’s warmest and most entire approval for what I am now going to do. Should I be successful in what I ask, he will be delighted; but I have no words to tell you what my own feelings will be. Fanny, dearest Fanny,’ and he sat down close beside her ‘I love you better and how much better, than all the world holds beside. Dearest, dearest Fanny, will you, can you, return my love?’
‘Adolphus,’ said Fanny, rising suddenly from her seat, more for the sake of turning round so as to look at him, than with the object of getting from him, Adolphus, you are joking with me.’
‘No, by heavens then,’ said he, following her, and catching her hand; ‘no man in Ireland is this moment more in earnest: no man more anxiously, painfully in earnest. Oh, Fanny! why should you suppose that I am not so? How can you think I would joke on such a subject? No: hear me,’ he said, interrupting her, as she prepared to answer him, ‘hear me out, and then you will know how truly I am in earnest.’
‘No, not a word further!’ almost shrieked Fanny ‘— Not a word more, Adolphus not a syllable; at any rate till you have heard me. Oh, you have made me so miserable!’ and Fanny burst into tears.
‘I have spoken too suddenly to you, Fanny; I should have given you more time I should have waited till ’
‘No, no, no,’ said Fanny, ‘it is not that but yes; what you say is true: had you waited but one hour but ten minutes I should have told you that which would for ever have prevented all this. I should have told you, Adolphus, how dearly, how unutterably I love another.’ And Fanny again sat down, hid her face in her handkerchief against the corner of the summer-house, and sobbed and cried as though she were broken-hearted: during which time Kilcullen stood by, rather perplexed as to what he was to say next, and beginning to be very doubtful as to his ultimate success.
‘Dear Fanny!’ he said, ‘for both our sakes, pray try to be collected: all my future happiness is at this moment at stake. I did not bring you here to listen to what I have told you, without having become too painfully sure that your hand, your heart, your love, are necessary to my happiness. All my hopes are now at stake; but I would not, if I could, secure my own happiness at the expense of yours. Pray believe me, Fanny, when I say that I love you completely, unalterably, devotedly: it is necessary now for my own sake that I should say as much as that. Having told you so much of my own heart, let me hear what you wish to tell me of yours. Oh, that I might have the most distant gleam of hope, that it would ever return the love which fills my own!’
‘It cannot, Adolphus it never can,’ said she, still trying to hide her tears. ‘Oh, why should this bitter misery have been added!’ She then rose quickly from her seat, wiped her eyes, and, pushing back her hair, continued, ‘I will no longer continue to live such a life as I have done miserable to myself, and the cause of misery to others. Adolphus I love Lord Ballindine. I love him with, I believe, as true and devoted a love as woman ever felt for a man. I valued, appreciated, gloried in your friendship; but I can never return your, love. My heart is wholly, utterly, given away; and I would not for worlds receive it back, till I learn from his own mouth that he has ceased to love me.’
‘Oh, Fanny! my poor Fanny!’ said Kilcullen; ‘if such is the case, you are really to be pitied. If this be true, your condition is nearly as unhappy as my own.,
‘I am unhappy, very unhappy in your love,’ said Fanny, drawing herself up proudly; ‘but not unhappy in my own. My misery is that I should be the cause of trouble and unhappiness to others. I have nothing to regret in my own choice.’
‘You are harsh, Fanny. It may be well that you should be decided, but it cannot become you also to be unfeeling. I have offered to you all that a man can offer; my name, my fortune, my life, my heart; though you may refuse me, you have no right to be offended with me.’
‘Oh, Adolphus!’ said she, now in her turn offering him her hand: ‘pray forgive me: pray do not be angry. Heaven knows I feel no offence: and how strongly, how sincerely, I feel the compliment you have offered me. But I want you to see how vain it would be in me to leave you leave you in any doubt. I only spoke as I did to show you I could not think twice, when my heart was given to one whom I so entirely love, respect and approve.’ Lord Kilcullen’s face became thoughtful, and his brow grew black: he stood for some time irresolute what to say or do.
‘Let us walk on, Fanny, for this is cold and damp,’ he said, at last.
‘Let us go back to the house, then.’
‘As you like, Fanny. Oh, how painful all this is! how doubly painful to know that ray own love is hopeless, and that yours is no less so. Did you not refuse Lord Ballindine?’
‘If I did, is it not sufficient that I tell you I love him? If he were gone past all redemption, you would not have me encourage you while I love another?’
‘I never dreamed of this! What, Fanny, what are your hopes? what is it you wish or intend? Supposing me, as I wish I were, fathoms deep below the earth, what would you do? You cannot marry Lord Ballindine.’
‘Then I will marry no one,’ said Fanny, striving hard to suppress her tears, and barely succeeding.
‘Good heavens!’ exclaimed Kilcullen; ‘what an infatuation is this!’ and then again he walked on silent a little way. ‘Have you told any one of this, Fanny? do they know of it at Grey Abbey? Come, Fanny, speak to me: forget, if you will, that I would be your lover: remember me only as your cousin and your friend, and speak to me openly. Do they know that you have repented of the refusal you gave Lord Ballindine?’
‘They all know that I love him: your father, your mother, and Selina.’
‘You don’t say my father?’
‘Yes,’ said Fanny, stopping on the path, and speaking with energy, as she confronted her cousin. ‘Yes, Lord Cashel. He, above all others, knows it. I have told him so almost on my knees. I have implored him, as a child may implore her father, to bring back to me the only man I ever loved. I have besought him not to sacrifice me. Oh! how I have implored him to spare me the dreadful punishment of my own folly wretchedness rather in rejecting the man I loved. But he has not listened to me; he will never listen to me, and I will never ask again. He shall find that I am not a tree or a stone, to be planted or placed as he chooses. I will not again be subjected to what I have today suffered, I will not — I will not —’ But Fanny was out of breath; and could not complete the catalogue of what she would not do.
‘And did you intend to tell me all this, had I not spoken to you as I have done?’ said Kilcullen.
‘I did,’ said she. ‘I was on the point of telling you everything: twice I had intended to do so. I intended to implore you, as you loved me as your cousin, to use your exertions to reconcile my uncle and Lord Ballindine and now instead of that ’
‘You find I love you too well myself?’
‘Oh, forget, Adolphus, forget that the words ever passed your lips. You have not loved me long, and therefore will not continue to love me, when you know I never can be yours: forget your short-lived love; won’t you, Adolphus?’ and she put her clasped hands upon his breast ‘forget, let us both forget that the words were ever spoken. Be still my cousin, my friend, my brother; and we shall still both be happy.’
Different feelings were disturbing Lord Kilcullen’s breast different from each other, and some of them very different from those which usually found a place there. He had sought Fanny’s hand not only with most sordid, but also with most dishonest views: he not only intended to marry her for her fortune, but also to rob her of her money; to defraud her, that he might enable himself once more to enter the world of pleasure, with the slight encumbrance of a wretched wife. But, in carrying out his plan, he had disturbed it by his own weakness: he had absolutely allowed himself to fall in love with his cousin; and when, as he had just done, he offered her his hand, he was quite as anxious that she should accept him for her own sake as for that of her money. He had taught himself to believe that she would accept him, and many misgivings had haunted him as to the ruined state to which he should bring her as his wife. But these feelings, though strong enough to disturb him, were not strong enough to make him pause: he tried to persuade himself that he could yet make her happy, and hurried on to the consummation of his hopes. He now felt strongly tempted to act a generous part; to give her up, and to bring Lord Ballindine back to her feet; to deserve at any rate well of her, and leave all other things to chance. But Lord Kilcullen was not accustomed to make such sacrifices: he had never learned to disregard himself; and again and again he turned it over in his mind ‘how could he get her fortune? was there any way left in which he might be successful?’
‘This is child’s play, Fanny,’ he said. ‘You may reject me: to that I have nothing further to say, for I am but an indifferent wooer; but you can never marry Lord Ballindine.’
‘Oh, Adolphus, for mercy’s sake don’t say so!’
‘But I do say so, Fanny. God knows, not to wound you, or for any unworthy purpose, but because it is so. He was your lover, and you sent him away; you cannot whistle him back as you would a dog.’
Fanny made no answer to this, but walked on towards the house, anxious to find herself alone in her own room, that she might compose her mind and think over all that she had heard and said; nor did Lord Kilcullen renew the conversation till he got to the house. He could not determine what to do. Under other circumstances it might, he felt, have been wise for him to wait till time had weakened Fanny’s regret for her lost lover; but in his case this was impracticable; if he waited anywhere it would be in the Queen’s Bench. And yet, he could not but feel that, at present, it was hopeless for him to push his suit.
They reached the steps together, and as he opened the front door, Fanny turned round to wish him good morning, as she was hurrying in; but he stopped her, and said,
‘One word more, Fanny, before we part. You must not refuse me; nor must we part in this way. Step in here; I will not keep you a minute;’ and he took her into a room off the hall ‘do not let us be children; Fanny; do not let us deceive each other, or ourselves: do not let us persist in being irrational if we ourselves see that we are so;’ and he paused for a reply.
‘Well, Adolphus?’ was all she said.
‘If I could avoid it,’ continued he, ‘I would not hurt your feelings; but you must see, you must know, that you cannot marry Lord Ballindine.’ Fanny, who was now sitting, bit her lips and clenched her hands, but she said nothing; ‘If this is so if you feel that so far your fate is fixed, are you mad enough to give yourself up to a vain and wicked passion for wicked it will be? Will you not rather strive to forget him who has forgotten you?’
‘That is not true,’ interposed Fanny.
‘His conduct, unfortunately, proves that it is too true,’ continued Kilcullen. ‘He has forgotten you, and you cannot blame him that he should do so, now that you have rejected him; but he neglected you even before you did so. Is it wise, is it decorous, is it maidenly in you, to indulge any longer in so vain a passion? Think of this, Fanny. As to myself, Heaven knows with what perfect truth, with what true love, I offered you, this morning, all that a man can offer: how ardently I hoped for an answer different from that you have now given me. You cannot give me your heart now; love cannot, at a moment, be transferred. But think, Fanny, think whether it is not better for you to accept an offer which your friends will all approve, and which I trust will never make you unhappy, than to give yourself up to a lasting regret, to tears, misery, and grief.’
‘And would you take my hand without my heart?’ said she.
‘Not for worlds,’ replied the other, ‘were I not certain that your heart would follow your hand. Whoever may be your husband, you will love him. But ask my mother, talk to her, ask her advice; she at any rate will only tell you that which must be best for your own happiness. Go to her, Fanny; if her advice be different from mine, I will not say a word farther to urge my suit.’
‘I will go to no one,’ said Fanny, rising. ‘I have gone to too many with a piteous story on my lips. I have no friend, now, in this house. I had still hoped to find one in you, but that hope is over. I am, of course, proud of the honour your declaration has conveyed; but I should be wicked indeed if I did not make you perfectly understand that it is one which I cannot accept. Whatever may be your views, your ideas, I will never marry unless I thoroughly love, and feel that I am thoroughly loved by my future husband. Had you not made this ill-timed declaration had you not even persisted in repeating it after I had opened my whole heart to you, I could have loved and cherished you as a brother; under no circumstances could I ever have accepted you as a husband. Good morning.’ And she left him alone, feeling that he could have but little chance of success, should he again renew the attempt.
He did not see her again till dinner-time, when she appeared silent and reserved, but still collected and at her ease; nor did he speak to her at dinner or during the evening, till the moment the ladies were retiring for the night. He then came up to her as she was standing alone turning over some things on a side-table, and said, ‘Fanny, I probably leave Grey Abbey tomorrow. I will say good bye to you tonight.’
‘Good bye, Adolphus; may we both be happier when next we meet,’ said she.
‘My happiness, I fear, is doubtful: but I will not speak of that now. If I can do anything for yours before I go, I will. Fanny, I will ask my father to invite Lord Ballindine here. He has been anxious that we should be married: when I tell him that that is impossible, he may perhaps be induced to do so.’
‘Do that,’ said Fanny, ‘and you will be a friend to me. Do that, and you will be more than a brother to me.’
‘I will; and in doing so I shall crush every hope that I have had left in me.’
‘Do not say so, Adolphus: do not ’
‘You’ll understand what I mean in a short time. I cannot explain everything to you now. But this will I do; I will make Lord Cashel understand that we never can be more to each other than we are now, and I will advise him to seek a reconciliation with Lord Ballindine. And now, good bye,’ and he held out his hand.
‘But I shall see you tomorrow.’
‘Probably not; and if you do, it will be but for a moment, when I shall have other adieux to make.’
‘Good bye, then, Adolphus; and may God bless you; and may we yet live to have many happy days together,’ and she shook hands with him, and went to her room.
Last updated Sunday, March 27, 2016 at 12:01