He sometimes paused, and looked at Mr. Soho with a strong inclination to—But knowing that he should say too much, if he said anything, 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 Grace Nugent said everything 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 his mother—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 anything preposterously absurd, or exorbitantly extravagant.
Lord Colambre was actually sorry when the business was ended—when Mr. Soho departed—for Grace Nugent was then silent; and it was necessary to remove his eyes from that countenance, on which he had gazed unobserved. Beautiful and graceful, yet so unconscious was she of her charms, that the eye of admiration could rest upon her without her perceiving it—she seemed so intent upon others as totally to forget herself 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 anything but—Grace Nugent.
When Grace Nugent left the room, after some minutes’ silence, and some effort, Lord Colambre said to his mother, ’Pray, madam, do you know anything 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 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—’