Volume One


10


THOUGH alarmed by his sister's simple hint, John Nowlan wished to convince himself that he had nothing to fear, and, of course, he succeeded: we are never more logical at a syllogism rhan when we frame one for our own satisfaction. For many following weeks he imagined, therefore, that he was chiefly engaged in playing the tutor to Miss Letty, or in receiving from her returns of lectures on flowers or plants, or lessons in singing different songs of Moore's Melodies. Sometimes, as he lay down in bed, or rose in the morning, the truth would, indeed, stir in his breast; detailed passages of his own feelings, or of her conduct, would make him start in terror, or glow with flattered vanity, and, in spite of him, triumphant delight; but he who has stealthily indulged in what his treacherous nature liked, though his reason and conscience disapproved it; who has imposed on himself the readier to ruin himself: who has said—"this is impossible," while he felt it to be true; and who has cried out—"I seek it not, and I wish it not," while his heart gave the lie to his vain assertions; such a reader, and many such we expect to have, will account for the readiness with which John Nowlan turned from the inward warnings he occasionally received, to the temptation that he at once wooed and defied; was anxious for, and would not admit; saw, and would not see.

     But his eyes were soon to be fully opened.

     The principal uneasiness he avowed to his own heart arose from continued apprehensions for his sister's safety, growing out of, as he feared, the continued attentions paid to her by Mr. Frank, still in a very secret and rather mysterious way. John often missed that young gentleman from his uncle's house; and as neither Mr. Long, nor any one else, could clearly account for his absence, the idea that he sought and obtained private meetings with Peggy, always presented itself. From the second or third time they had conversed together, he somewhat cooled in the enthusiastic liking for his young friend, which their very first interview elicited; he could not tell why this should be; but his heart shut itself against Mr. Frank: there was too much premature character about the Oxonian; or too much cleverness; or too much self-opinion—yet, not self-opinion either, for it was unaccompanied by any thing like display or obtrusion;—in fact, John never felt at ease in his presence; he was afraid of him, or he distrusted him, without a reason for one sentiment or the other; and sometimes the young gentleman's causeless smile, sometimes his expressive, conscious eye, gave an uncomfortableness, such as the arbitrary laws of whim or instinct alone can explain. And for all these considerations, the youthful priest trembled at the thought of Mr. Frank's supposed assignations with Peggy.

     Upon an evening, about three weeks after Peggy had gone home, John walked out alone, half way towards his father's house. He had sprung up from a lesson he was giving to his pupil, seriously alarmed. Their hands, he could not tell how, had become gently clasped, and their mutual sighs often disturbed the lecture. So, he tore himself away, and unconsciously sought the corrective of solitude. The night drew on, while he still remained abroad, a prey to the natural combats of his situation. It was a dark night, and he sat, completely hidden from every passing eye, behind an embankment. Steps approached; he peeped over, and saw two figures turning away into the deep gloom. One was Frank; the other a female; and, he concluded, no other than Peggy. He stole from his hiding-place, and ran headlong to his father's house, resolving to be there before Peggy could return, and so gain presumptive proof against her. To his surprise, when, hurried, and agitated, he burst into the little kitchen, scaring as much as delighting his family, Peggy was calmly sitting by her mother's side, with every appearance of not having been out that evening. He recovered himself; went into his chamber for a book; came out; chattedawhile with the old people and her; and returned to Mr. Long's, satisfied that, however it had occurred, Peggy, if she was inclined to equivocate, could argue him down; astonished at the whole matter; confused in his notions of it; but still jealous of Mr. Frank.

     Some evenings after, as he sat with Mr. Long and his nephew, a servant whispered John that a person waited to see him at the avenue gate. He went out; and, in the twilight, saw the same female who had startled Peggy on her path home from Mr. Long's house. We do not wish any mystery about this individual. It was Maggy Nowlan; but John did not at once recognise her: they had not met since the morning of the station.

     "An' you don't know me either, father John," she said, after her first salutation, and John's cautious nod.

     "Yes—now I think I know the voice—yes"—looking closely into her face—"unfortunate Maggy Nowlan!—but how altered!—and what brings you here?—We all thought you were so settled in Dublin during the last four years, as to make a visit to your own country very unlikely for every reason."

     "Yes, Sir—(they tell me I must call you Sir, now)—yes, Sir, I am altered in the heart as well as the face; an' yes, too, I was in Dublin all this while, an' I'll be again if you have no objections, settled, as you say—och! sich a settlin'!—you mane, because I'm a Dublin sthreet-walker now, I ought to be ashamed o' comin' home to see my mother?"

     "God help you, poor creature; God forgive and convert you: and thanks be to His name that you cannot come to me this night, to accuse me as the cause of your fall—oh, thanks for that!—"

     "Don't be in sich a hurry, priest John; how do you know I can't, if it was worth the while?—Do you think no man but the very last that turns her out to the world is to blame for a poor girl's ruin?—Do you think him that gives her bad fancies aforehand, an' disturbs her young pace o' mind, an' provokes her to sin, an' then laves her to the provocation, only because he's a greater coward than another—do you think he has nothing to answer for?"

     "Oh, I fear he has; indeed, I fear he has; and God forgive me, as well as you; God forgive us both, Maggy!"

     "Well; that's not my business with you now, Sir; what's past is past; what's to come is to be looked afther. There's only one word I want to say; take care o' your sisther Peggy wid the young gentleman o' this house."

     John started, and asked "Why? how?"

     "They do be together in the fields at night," answered Maggy in a whisper.

     "I feared as much—I knew as much—I saw them together last Wednesday night—did I not?—"

     "Did you? maybe you did, faith; where? was it in the three-corner field, outside o' the stubble- field near the well?"

     "It was.

     "Then, sure enough you seen 'em," resumed Maggy, after a short pause— "for I seen 'em too; so take care, I tell you, priest John; an' bad an' low crature as I am, an' wid no great cause to care about you, see if I can't do a good turn as well as another; good night, Sir. But there's another little word yet;—how do you speed wid your new scholard?"

     He started more agitated than before: and, "What do you mean, Maggy?" he asked.

     "Avoch, nothin'; only I know one that knows all about it; an' all about her mind on the head of it, too; an' this much is as thrue as the Gospel— Letty Adams loves you dearly, father John;" and Maggy walked away.

     He stood speechless, gazing after her, as her receding figure blended with the falling night. He shook, he shivered; horror was his first sensation. Something like frenzy succeeded. With most cause to quarrel with himself, he burned to fix a quarrel on another person. Turning away from the last subject on which the eyes of his soul had been riveted, he allowed his mind to become exclusively' occupied by Mr. Frank's practices towards his sister; and he suddenly walked towards the house, determined to seek an explanation from that young gentleman.

     Ere he gained the hall-door, Mr. Frank, wrapped in a cloak, appeared coming towards him. This was fortunate, John thought, and he quickened his steps, holding himself erect, and looking more like a man that could ask questions, and impress himself as a man, than he had ever looked in his life before. Mr. Frank turned aside ere they met, as if to pursue his way over a stile; John hailed him.

     "A fine night, Sir."

     "Ah! Mr. Nowlan," stopping, 'why, yes, but rather damp, don't you think?"

     "Not for a walk, Sir," glancing over his person from head to foot.

     "I thought but to take a turn here, and so threw on my cloak."

     "Don't let me stop you, Mr. Frank, from any appointment you may have."

     "Appointment—how, Mr. Nowlan?"

     "I'll speak you fair at once, Sir, for I find myself a poor hand at this cross-play: you are going to meet my sister."

     Perhaps, even from John's manner, the young gentleman had been prepared for the question; at all events, it little moved or startled him.

     "Well, Sir; and you are going to meet my sister; all fair, you know," smiling good- humouredly.

     "Hold, Mr. Frank; say nothing, even in jest, to touch my character as a clergyman; let us pass that imprudent jest, and take up the real subject: you have before now met Peggy Nowlan out of her father's house."

     "Granted, freely; I have."

     "On what pretence, Sir?"

     "I love her."

     "With what views?"

     "To marry her; I have told her so often; has Miss Nowlan never said as much to you?"

     "Never: have you said as much to her father or mother?"

     "No; but it is my intention to do so, this very night, or, certainly to-morrow morning."

     "Then I ask your pardon for mistaking your intentions, Mr. Frank: I wronged you a moment, and am sorry I did so," giving his hand, and shaking Frank's violently.

     "Tot, tot!" returning his shake, "you have done but your duty, Mr. Nowlan, and I respect you for it; perhaps I was most to blame in not sooner commencing an explanation: so, farewell; and now you know where to find Letty, I suppose?" still good-naturedly.

     "Oh, come, come, now, Mr. Frank," answered John, forcing a laugh; 'you're welcome to your jest; but enough of that, you know.

     "Jest?" with an earnest tone,—" on my life, I treat the matter as no jesting matter, I assure you, and hope you do not, either, Mr. Nowlan."

     "What, Sir? what would you insinuate?" asked John, fiercely; the tiger conscience was again aroused.

     "I insinuate nothing; I deal as plainly with you, as you have dealt with me; you surely cannot be ignorant that your attentions to Letty have produced what, along with your great personal merits, they were sure to produce—and could only have been meant to produce—a warm affection towards you?"

     "Sir! Mr. Frank!"

     "Indeed! and have you been so long astray on this point? I have heard of modesty, quite blind to its own merits, and to the results of them, but never met it before: well, I rejoice, at all events, to be the first to tell you your good fortune, Sir; I know the fact, be assured I do; Letty loves you as well as you love her, Mr. Nowlan."

     "Oh God, oh God!" groaned John, hiding his face with his bands.

     "What, man? there is nothing to be ashamed of, surely—between two young men, at all events; come, Sir; let me congratulate you, and offer my best wishes and efforts for your happiness with my favourite sister: my good old uncle may prove the sole bar; he is a little high; a little touchy on that point, Sir; but your own prudence, still aided by your merits, and a friend to help you on, may"—

     "Mt. Frank—" interrupted John, bursting from his agonized and confused torpor—"stop, I entreat you, remember what you say, to what you would tempt—hurl me. You speak—even supposing all this to be true— even supposing I was wretch and villain enough to love your sister—you speak of it as if the only' obstacle to my happiness—again supposing your divine sister to love me—was in our disproportioned situations in life; as if—"

     "Why, what else can be in the way?"

     "Good Heaven, Sir! am I not a clergyman? a Catholic priest!"

     "No, Sir, I did not think you had received full orders, or that—"

     "I have vowed my vow, Sir."

     "Well; that's rather unlucky; but still not such a bugbear, I think, when the only question now is to provide for my sister's happiness."

     "You surprise me, Sir,—you frighten me—but what can you mean?"

     "Mr. Nowlan," with a soft and pleasing smile, "had you mixed more in the world, I should more readily answer your question: unconsciously, and, indeed, most unmeritedly, you are here, in your remote solitude, imposed on by little prejudices that the world—that man, in his really cultivated state—that enlightened men, of all sects—mark—of all sects— agree to laugh at and despise—have, in fact, made a common league to forget for ever—and joy to the human race, say I, for such a league; we long stood in need of it. You look surprised; I do not wonder: but, if you can bear with me, let me say another word. What is all this silly division and subdivision in—I will not say religion, for that holy word means a very different thing—among sects then? Do you think the Author of true religion would ever have given us, first, wishes, impulses, and capabilities for virtuous happiness, and, next, a tyrant and unnatural code to shackle those wishes, paralyze those impulses and capabilities, and cheat us of that happiness? Do you think the world, the present improved world, actually contains one rational man willing to subscribe to a theory so blasphemous? Do you think that, for one, I would hesitate a moment in my honourable pursuit of your sister, on account of any sectarian nonsense which my nurse or my good mamma may have crammed into my helpless head? Do you think if the question were to lose Peggy, or give up calling myself what the people call me, a Protestant, and call myself any thing else her pretty mouth might dictate—Do you think I would debate the childish quibble a moment? Or, suppose the case the other way, suppose they call me a Catholic?—"

     "Excuse me, Sir," interrupted John;—"enough of this; I am, as I have told you, a Catholic priest."

     "And the admirer of my sister," added Mr. Frank.

     "Not with improper admiration," retorted John; flippantly calling to his aid the insincerity that always is the humble and ready servant of lurking crime.

     "Then with an admiration that has roused her affections, Mr. Nowlan, and devoted to fervid passion a naturally fervid heart—I know my sister, Sir."

     "You may err in this opinion of her, Sir; you may, you may: oh, God grant you have!"

     "Impossible; and now it is my sole duty to guard her against future unhappiness."

     "By suggesting to me, Mr. Frank, gracious powers! what an alternative! But, fare you well, Sir: though I reject your hint, your sister's happiness shall be otherwise protected:—through me she shall never have a heartache."

     "Well, Sir, good night; yet allow me still to recommend to your thoughts a serious consideration of what strikes me as the best way of smoothing every thing:—what, in your situation, I would not hesitate to do; look closely, Mr. Nowlan, at the imaginary differences, and they will melt under your eye; it is all stuff and nonsense, at every side; what is really good at any side is as good at the other; believe me in that, Sir; and many of your religion, even in Ireland,—ay, many of your cloth,—prove by their actions that they think so; I know more than one Catholic priest who has lately become a minister of the other profession, and is likely to do well in consequence. And that reminds me of a parting word; I do not suppose there could be a more effectual plan of winning my uncle to the match between you and little Letty—"

     "The match, Mr. Frank?"

     "Than by allowing him to see you in orders, in a persuasion that affords promise of fame and success; and in the clerical appointments of which, I know, he has influence. Good night, Mr. Nowlan."

     He seized John's passive hand, shook it, and hurried down the avenue. John stood a moment inactive, his eyes buried in the earth; then he suddenly flung himself on his knees, clasped his hands, looked up, interrupted himself, started to his feet; rushed towards the house; left, with a servant whom he met in the hall, an apology to Mr. Long for not giving Letty her evening lesson, snatched a light, reached his chamber, cast himself on the bed, and so remained till morning. Mr. Frank, continuing his walk, met, by the side of a little brook, in a lonesome little dell, not Peggy Nowlan, but her wretched cousin Maggy.

     "You are late," she muttered, as they faced each other, without any salutation.

     "Speaking to that fool detained me," be answered; "I met him by chance, and he forced upon me the conversation you know I had resolved soon to begin."

     "Well, an' how does it work?"

     "Bravely, Maggy, bravely; he boggled at it to be sure, and he will boggle; but, one way or another, 'tis enough for my purpose; he will never rest now, till he and my sweet sister know each other's minds at least; and so much done, every thing will follow:—they can't help it."

     "He'll never get over the scruple of conscience of his bein' a priest, Masther Frank."

     "You know nothing of that, Maggy; leave such parts of our business to me; I can tell you there goes on already, in Priest John's breast, a battle that his good devil will win against his good angel. I have thrown out things that must bring him to the very state I want,—uncertainty, doubt, confusion, and war of mind; things that seem to have a meaning, yet have none; general notions, begetting vague hopes and wild wishes: never trouble yourself about it, I say. You contrived to meet Miss Letty, this evening?"

     "I did; and told her all you bid me."

     "I hope it was not bungled; let me hear exactly how you managed it.',

     "Just as you tould me, Sir; I pretended that, being a poor relation of his, I had heard by chance of how he was dying and burning wid his love for her; pinin' an' pinin' away; an' afraid to let any one see it, much less herself; an' that he would kill me if he knew I ever spoke a word about it; an' I hoped she would never tell him."

     "Pretty well. How did she take it?"

     "Like a frightened child; frightened at the first thought o' the thing she was dyin' for, her ownself; it's no joke that she loves him."

     "Who said it was? How could we work if it were?"

     "Badly; but, Masther Frank, tell us one sacret; isn't it a bit unnatural for you to be schamin' the ruin o' your own—"

     "My own sister, you were going to say; but here, again, Maggy, you prove stupid;—if she runs away with this priest—if we can only bring that about—why then, Maggy, long life to the sole heir of Long Hall, you know, and to yourself, my Mag, as housekeeper of Long Hall. Miss Letty had no right to charm away from her poor brother Frank, one good half of the good fortune that, ere she came in her uncle's sight, was wholly his; besides, how can she be ruined, as you say? The priest will be able, one way or another, to do as much for her as her sage father, the magistrate, ever could have done; and no more was she born to; no more should she expect."

     "What's the rason the half wouldn't do you, Masther Frank? the half iv such a great estate is a power of loock; an' you know the Hall 'ud be yours, along wid it."

     "Maggy, Maggy, ask no more foolish questions; the half would, this moment, be no more use to me than no matter how much or how little; I want the whole, and that's all. And before any of it comes, I shall want help some other way. Tell me, Maggy;—are you sure those fellows from town are staunch?"

     "Loyal to you, to the back bone."

     "And their recruits, here, what of them?"

     "You said two o' the country lads 'ud be enough; an' the two that are ready can't be betthered—one o' them a poor scatterbrain, just fit for any thing; broke, horse an' foot, an' wild for a grab."

     "You mean Conolly the rake, as you call him?"

     "The very man. "

     "Well; I must take my journey in their service, to-night; and the time is short enough to prepare: so good b'ye, Maggy;—but—now I think of it—keep out of Miss Letty's way in future; and out of the priest's way too; and out of Peggy Nowlan's especially; there are reasons for your avoiding them all, now that you have done what we wanted with them; but Peggy must not know your person; much of the future depends on that."

     "I'll obsarve what you say; an I have raisons o' my own for puttin' the priest in for it, if so we can; an' maybe it's all right, too, about Miss Letty:—but Masther Frank, what's the use o' your makin' up to Peggy Nowlan?—though we're no great friends any longer—though you threw me off as I may say—couldn't you jest spare me that?"

     "Nonsense, Mag; you're queerish now; you're jealous; and how old-fashioned such jealousy is; you know my humour, and how plainly I deal with you; how plainly I ever did: Peggy I must have,—that's flat; she's worth it; her little country kind of prettiness, and her little airs, and so forth, pique me, Mag; and if you're really angry, why I leave you your revenge; you can have her after me, you know, as you had one or two in town; and for a season or so, there won't be a nicer article in your shop. So good-b'ye, Mag—an' don't follow me now, though I swear by the firmament above, I am not to meet Peggy this evening; you know there is work for me at home—that's your road—this is mine: there's a good girl, show your back; stop, Mag, and if you have munged no onions with the potheen, kiss me, you old fellow—and now, angels be your body-guard, Mag!"

     "I'll cross you in that one thing, howsomever," muttered Maggy, looking after him; "loyal's the word in regard iv all the rest; but Peggy Nowlan—the sister of him I hate as I hate the thought iv hell—she shall never get sich a brag over me," and she cautiously dogged Mr. Frank. As Maggy expected, he turned, after a little time, into the path leading to Daniel Nowlan's house, and in a lonely field Peggy was awaiting him. Maggy posted herself so as to see and hear all that occurred. He ran up to Peggy with extended arms, as if to embrace her; she stepped back, avoiding him, and cried—

     "No, Mr. Frank; no, no; no more of this, until you keep your promise to speak to my father: I have made up my mind; for every reason, I have; for some that maybe you do not guess;—and I keep this improper and dangerous appointment only to tell you so—and good night, Sir, good night!"

     "Dangerous appointment, Peggy!"—following her as she walked away,— what can you mean? Surely you do not fear me; do not doubt my honour—my promises: come back, dearest Peggy, and let me for one moment hold you in my arms, while I tell you a matter of importance to us both.—I leave the country for Dublin to-night, Peggy;—and—stop, Peggy, stop!"

     "No, Sir; not a moment; only, good night; and God speed you on your road to Dublin!"

     "Then, by Heaven!"—he ran after her; she raced her best; he touched her skirts; she screamed; a man jumped over a fence, with one blow of his cudgel knocked him down, and instantly disappeared with Peggy over the last stile between her and her father's house. Mr. Frank's confusion, and, indeed, momentary loss of sense, did not allow him to recognize the assaulter; Maggy was now too far removed to identify him; but the reader will conclude it was no other than Peery Conolly; who, the moment he had squired Peggy to her father's door, capered off with many bows and a verse of his favourite song.

     "Sweet was your fist, you vagabone, whoever you are," thought Maggy, apostrophizing Peery and his argument in favour of poor Peggy, as she lay close to allow Mr. Frank to pass on to his uncle's house.

     And he did pass on, after a moment's recollection, muttering curses as black as the night and the hills around him.

     "It was that priest!" he soliloquized, "and the thing has been got up between them both; he came to her, after our interview in the avenue—instructed her to repel me—and watched to inflict on me this burning and eternal insult! By the round world—by the depths of hell—they shall be repaid!" he foamed and gnashed his teeth: "they both think she shall escape me, do they?" he laughed a laugh that frightened Maggy; "they think that this is to be forgotten; or that, after it, I cannot love her still? Ay, but I can, though; ay, with a love that never missed its object! Come, now, home; and no frowns at home, either; no, not one, even to him; not even a conscious look, tone, or action; I may meet him yet, to-night."

     But, as we have seen, John kept his chamber, for the night; and, not thinking to ascertain the precise time at which he had retired—this, while it was a disappointment to Mr. Frank, was also a confirmation of his erroneous suspicions. He met Letty, however, alone in the drawing-room, and had some discourse with her.

     "Quite alone, ma mignonne? where's Mr. Nowlan?"

     "Retired, somewhat ill, to his own room, I believe," she answered, turning pale and red in an instant, as Maggy's hints occurred to her.

     "Ah, Letty, Letty, ill enough, I'm sure; and you know the how, and why."

     "I, Frank? I?"

     "You, ma chère; you: and was it charitable, or amiable, Letty, to destroy the poor fellow's peace of mind, if you did not find your heart disposed to——"

     "Brother, brother, spare me!" hiding her face and weeping; "you do not know—you do not know——"

     "What? I hope I do, now, though; I hope your words and manner intimate what I most sincerely wish: he is a very fine fellow, Letty; a talented, noble-hearted, promising fellow, and does some honour to your choice: your situations in life are a little contrasted, I admit; but no matter about that; they may not always be so: he will make way; and if the kindest wishes of a brother—if his best efforts——"

     "Generous, excellent Frank!" sobbed Letty.

     "Tut, tut; I most own I began this topic, because, though I did not wish to wound your delicacy by assuming the fact, I half-suspected you were as unhappy as the poor fellow himself, dear Letty;—yes; he will make way, I say, especially if you can turn him into one certain course; and, no doubt, a word from you will do; if you can get him to choose what is called our church, to take orders in: you know it is all the same; and no matter about his present creed, only that we have our uncle's prejudices to conciliate: you and I have often chatted on that subject."

     "But, dearest Frank," resumed Letty, still hiding her face, "has he not already taken orders, and, I believe, (though I am not certain, and my impression has all along been the other way,) bound himself in a certain vow—never to—to—"

     "I understand you, Letty; but you are mistaken; Catholic clerics do not vow that vow until they receive what they call 'Priest's Orders.' I have made enquiries on the subject: so, good night, and farewell, for a few days; you know I ride to Limerick to-night, to take the mail to Dublin: farewell; God bless you!—"

     Letty clung round his neck;—"And don't, in common charity, be too distant and mysterious with poor Nowlan; under all the circumstances, he will naturally, and from noble motives too, seem shy: an amiable woman knows how to throw off a portion of reserve, when real delicacy and high-mindedness, truth and candour, require it—Good night; good night; and remember me to Nowlan."

     As he passed his uncle's library to his own chamber, the door opened, his uncle appeared at it, and beckoned him in.

     "I wish to put you a question, Frank, on some matters that rather disturb me. Candid and manly answers I reckon on. Although much of the past is against you, yet my late observation of your conduct, joined to your solemn promises of sincere repentance, restores you to my esteem: pray do not intermpt me, but answer at once. Have you paid any patticular attentions to Miss Nowlan?"

     Frank raised to a perfect arch his handsome eyebrows, and, with a face and tone of the utmost gentleness, answered: "Never, my dear Sir—never, upon my sacred word; you absolutely astonish me, uncle. As the sister of the excellent young person who did you a service, and was a guest in your house, I strove to be agreeable; nothing more, as I live. Good God, Sir! could you suspect me of such conduct? Miss Nowlan is not calculated to be my wife; and as to any other views—fie, fie! I hope, after all that has lately passed, I am above that."

     "Well, Frank, I believe you are; and so we end the subject. But attend to me on another. Have you observed any change in Letty's manner of late?"

     "None, Sir; none in the world; how? Any want of respect or attention to you?"

     "No; the dear girl is incapable of ingratitude; no, no;—but her extreme youth and generous disposition may lead her into error; and I thought—I feared—she had lately appeared as if her heart was not at ease—was touched, in fact."

     "Indeed, Sir! I believe—I am sure you are mistaken; Letty hides nothing from me; never were brother and sister so closely knit together; and it is quite impossible this could have escaped me. Then she had no temptation, you know, dear uncle."

     "There I waver, Frank."

     "And, in the name of wonder, what person could it be?"

     "Young Nowlan—"

     "Pho, pho! my dear Sir—pardon me for my mode of contradiction; but that is so very much out of the question, nothing but your extreme anxiety for the dear girl could suggest it: why, I know the very sentiments she does hold for this young man; not two minutes ago we discussed him. Letty thinks him amiable, and tolerably well-mannered, for one with his opportunities, and all that; but his half-knowledge, and the clownish turn of his mind, tire her more than any thing else: depend on what I say, Sir, she is safe, in this respect."

     "Well, I rejoice to hear you say so.—And now, Frank, about your journey to Dublin: it is really intended, you say, to make arrangements for entering Trinity, and going on for your degree?"

     "Precisely, uncle."

     "So much the better; although time has hitherto been lost at Oxford, you may do pretty well yet. You'll require a check to some amount, if you enter immediately; and there is one for three hundred pounds;—and so, good night, and bless you."

     "Bless you, dearest uncle, for all your kindness! farewell, Sir. "—Turning away his eyes, Frank pressed his uncle's hand, and repeating "farewell" in a voice that sounded faint and broken, bowed low, closed the library door very slowly and respectfully, and retired for a few hours to the happiness of his nightly pillow.