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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 301 pages of information about The Absentee.
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, that was agreeing for it, when in comes Grace, all rosy, and out of breath—­it’s a wonder I minded her run out, and not missed her.  “Mother,” says she, “here’s the gold for you! don’t be stirring your dresser.”—­“And where’s your gown and cloak, Grace?” says I. But I beg your pardon, sir; maybe 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’t doubt, mother, but it was that helped to make me faint this 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 their 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 any more!” said Grace low to me, and her heart was on her lips; but the colour came and went, and I was a feared 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 born so I may say it—­there never was a better girl, nor a more kind-hearted, nor generous; never thinking anything she could do, or give, too much for them she loved, and anything 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.

‘Plase your honour?’

‘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 that he hoped, with her permission, to be present at the wedding of the young couple.

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