‘I must be gone!’ said Lord Clonbrony, pulling out his watch. ’It is time to go to my club; and poor Terry will wonder what has become of me.’
Lord Colambre instantly offered to accompany his father; much to Lord Clonbrony’s, and more to Miss Nugent’s surprise.
‘What!’ said she to herself, ’after so long an absence, leave me!—Leave his mother, with whom he always used to stay—on purpose to avoid me! What can I have done to displease him? It is clear it was not about Miss Broadhurst’s marriage he was offended; for he looked pleased, and like himself, whilst I was talking of that; but the moment afterwards, what a constrained, unintelligible expression of countenance and leaves me to go to a club which he detests!’
As the gentlemen shut the door on leaving the room, Lady Clonbrony wakened, and, starting up, exclaimed—
‘What’s the matter? Are they gone? Is Colambre gone?’
‘Yes, ma’am, with my uncle.’
’Very odd! very odd of him to go and leave me! he always used to stay with me—what did he say about me?’
’Well, then, I have nothing to say about him, or about anything, indeed, for I’m excessively tired and stupid—alone in London’s as bad as anywhere else. Ring the bell, and we’ll go to bed directly—if you have no objection, Grace.’
Grace made no objection; Lady Clonbrony went to bed and to sleep in ten minutes, Miss Nugent went to bed; but she lay awake, considering what could be the cause of her cousin Colambre’s hard unkindness, and of ’his altered eye.’ She was openness itself and she determined that, the first moment she could speak to him alone, she would at once ask for an explanation. With this resolution, she rose in the morning, and went down to the breakfast-room, in hopes of meeting him, as it had formerly been his custom to be early; and she expected to find him reading in his usual place.
No—Lord Colambre was not in his accustomed place, reading in the breakfast-room: nor did he make his appearance till both his father and mother had been some time at breakfast.
‘Good morning to you, my Lord Colambre,’ said his mother, in a reproachful tone, the moment he entered; ’I am much obliged to you for your company last night.’
‘Good morning to you, Colambre,’ said his father, in a more jocose tone of reproach; ‘I am obliged to you for your good company last night.’
‘Good morning to you, Lord Colambre,’ said Miss Nugent; and though she endeavoured to throw all reproach from her looks, and to let none be heard in her voice, yet there was a slight tremulous motion in that voice which struck our hero to the heart.
‘I thank you, ma’am, for missing me,’ said he, addressing himself to his mother; ’I stayed away but half an hour; I accompanied my father to St. James’s Street, and when I returned I found that every one had retired to rest.’