Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB

he observed tartly. "Her grandfather, Lord Foyle, married the Red Knight's sister."

"I wonder," asked Eleanor, "if Lady Drumshambo knows these Desmonds?"

We both knew Percival's father, Finbar Desmond, and no one in County Waterford had a finer bin of white port. What's the young lady's name again?"

[ocr errors]

"Sheila," said Mrs. Burscough.

Sheela, Sheela ! for God's sake don't call it 'Shylar.' Sheila is a regular Desmond name: the first in the family was Sheila M'Morogh, a niece of the King of Ireland, who married Terence Desmond, great-grandfather of the first Red Knight. I'll bet you ten sovereigns to a gingerbread nut she's a beauty; all the Desmond girls are. God bless my soul, to think of Hubert marrying a Sheila Desmond ! All the bachelors in Waterford and Cork will be ready to shoot him."

[ocr errors]

Again it was obvious to Hubert's mother that the old lord thought her son was doing very well for himself, and again it was impossible for her not to feel the effect of it; but again also the effect was double.

"Hubert would never look at an ugly girl," she observed dispassionately, " and there's no

reason why he should look at anyone of no family. But all the bachelors in Waterford won't provide her a fortune before shooting him, I daresay. They can't live on good looks, nor on her pedigree either.”

Lord Drumshambo being very well off and of an easy, though peppery, good nature, was ready to be a little romantic for other people's children. If his own and only son, who had a good fortune already from an uncle and godfather, had proposed to marry a pretty girl without a penny it might have been different. But the Honourable Ireton Ramsdale was engaged to a wealthy cotton-spinner's only daughter of very ordinary appearance.

66

""

Come, come!" he urged cheerfully, we can't get everything in this world."

Mrs. Burscough looked as if she were wondering what it was that his lordship had to do without; and perhaps he understood her. He nearly said something about helping Hubert to a living, but remembered that he had already promised to do what he could that way for the two elder brothers, who were both of them clergymen and both still

curates.

""

But do you mean," he asked instead, "that the wedding is to come off at once?

How old are they? Hubert is not thirty

yet, is he?"

"He's not seven and twenty."

"That's young-very young for a man, said Lord Drumshambo, who had married as soon as he came of age.

"The girl is nine years younger."

'Yes, that's young too," his lordship admitted, without insisting on the circumstance that Lady Drumshambo had been eighteen at the time of their marriage. Mrs. Burscough was in a formidable humour and he could not help remembering that Lady Drumshambo had had sixty thousand pounds. A young lady with that fortune is obviously marriageable at eighteen.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

"I don't suppose the Reverend Percival can do very much for them," he remarke "I think there is a large family; and Wildcliff Towers is a regular country-house-kept up very well, you know. The old Duchess of Ulster left him a good legacy-twenty-five thousand, I heard; and he got another from another old woman-Miss O'Hara (of the Kilwinny family) who fell in love with his sermons. I believe it was eighteen or twenty thousand. But he's a bit of a builder ; restored his church, and put in it a splendid

monument to himself; and he practically built Wildcliff-it was a square, family sort of house, and that was not in his line. He is all for feudal times and towers, and he waved twenty or thirty thousand pounds over it and changed it into a castle. You can't sleep in any of the towers in winter; they all smoke, I understand; but it's a pretty place, and looks as old as Bryan Boru half a mile off."

CHAPTER III

MY LORD AND MY LADY

NONE of the Burscough ladies saw Sheila till she had ceased to be Miss Desmond. Roger went over to Ireland and helped to marry his brother, but the temporary delicacy of Mrs. Roger's health prevented her accompanying him. Eleanor would, perhaps, have liked to go, but knew she would not be allowed, and made no suggestion. Henrietta longed to be a bridesmaid, and said so; without, however, making the slightest impression upon her mother.

"You've been a bridesmaid to two sisters and two brothers," she observed coolly. "If I were you I should be tired of seeing other people married."

This speech so wounded Henrietta that she tearfully repeated it to Mr. Tromble, who looked frightened, but breathed heavily in a sympathetic manner. He was not very young and need not have been shy; still he blushed a little, and drew his big feet under his chair

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »