As the door opened, Garraghty started back, so that half the contents of his bag rolled upon the floor.
‘Stop, my dear father, I conjure you,’ cried Lord Colambre, springing forward, and kneeling to his father; at the same moment snatching the pen from his hand.
Colambre! God bless you, my dear boy! at all events. But how came you here?—And what do you mean?’ said his father.
‘Burn it!’ cried Sir Terence, pinching the sealing-wax; ’for I burnt myself with the pleasure of the surprise.’
Garraghty, without saying a word, was picking up the guineas that were scattered upon the floor.
‘How fortunate I am,’ cried Lord Colambre, ’to have arrived just in time to tell you, my dear father, before you put your signature to these papers, before you conclude this bargain, all I know, all I have seen, of that man!’
‘Nick Garraghty, honest old Nick; do you know him, my lord?’ said Sir Terence.
‘Too well, sir.’
’Mr. Garraghty, what have you done to offend my son? I did not expect this,’ said Lord Clonbrony.
‘Upon my conscience, my lord, nothing to my knowledge,’ said Mr. Garraghty, picking up the guineas; ’but showed him every civility, even so far as offering to accommodate him with cash without security; and where will you find the other agent, in Ireland or anywhere else, will do that? To my knowledge, I never did anything, by word or deed, to offend my Lord Colambre; nor could not, for I never saw him, but for ten minutes, in my days; and then he was in such a foaming passion—begging his lordship’s pardon—owing to the misrepresentations he met with of me, I presume, from a parcel of blackguards that he went amongst, incognito, he would not let me or my brother Dennis say a word to set him right; but exposed me before all the tenantry, and then threw himself into a hack, and drove off here, to stop the signing of these leases, I perceive. But I trust,’ concluded he, putting the replenished money-bag down with a heavy sound on the table, opposite to Lord Clonbrony,—’I trust, my Lord Clonbrony will do me justice; that’s all I have to say.’
‘I comprehend the force of your last argument fully, sir,’ said Lord Colambre. ’May I ask how many guineas there are in the bag? I don’t ask whether they are my father’s or not.’
‘They are to be your lordship’s father’s, sir, if he thinks proper,’ replied Garraghty. ’How many, I don’t know that I can justly, positively say—five hundred, suppose.’
’And they would be my father’s if he signed those leases—I understand that perfectly, and understand that my father would lose three times that sum by the bargain.—My dear father, you start—but it is true. Is not this the rent, sir, at which you were going to let Mr. Garraghty have the land?’ placing a paper before Lord Clonbrony.
‘It is—the very thing.’
’And here, sir, written with my own hand, are copies of the proposals I saw, from responsible, respectable tenants, offered and refused.—Is it so, or is it not, Mr. Garraghty?—deny it, if you can.’