‘Oh, was that the case?’ said Lady Clonbrony; ’I own I thought it very unlike you to leave me in that sort of way.’
’And, lest you should be jealous of that half-hour when he was accompanying me,’ said Lord Clonbrony, ’I must remark, that, though I had his body with me, I had none of his mind; that he left at home with you ladies, or with some fair one across the water, for the deuce of two words did he bestow upon me, with all his pretence of accompanying me.’
‘Lord Colambre seems to have a fair chance of a pleasant breakfast,’ said Miss Nugent, smiling; ‘reproaches on all sides.’
‘I have heard none on your side, Grace,’ said Lord Clonbrony; ’and that’s the reason, I suppose, he wisely takes his seat beside you. But, come, we will not badger you any more, my dear boy. We have given him as fine a complexion amongst us as if he had been out hunting these three hours; have not we, Grace?’
’When Colambre has been a season or two more in Lon’on, he’ll not be so easily put out of countenance,’ said Lady Clonbrony; ’you don’t see young men of fashion here blushing about nothing.’
‘No, nor about anything, my dear,’ said Lord Clonbrony; ’but that’s no proof they do nothing they ought to blush for.’
‘What they do, there’s no occasion for ladies to inquire,’ said Lady Clonbrony; ’but this I know, that it’s a great disadvantage to a young man of a certain rank to blush; for no people, who live in a certain set, ever do; and it is the most opposite thing possible to a certain air, which, I own, I think Colambre wants; and now that he has done travelling in Ireland, which is no use in pint of giving a gentleman a travelled air, or anything of that sort, I hope he will put himself under my conduct for next winter’s campaign in town.’
Lord Clonbrony looked as if he did not know how to look; and, after drumming on the table for some seconds, said—
’Colambre, I told you how it would be. That’s a fatal hard condition of yours.’
‘Not a hard condition, I hope, my dear father,’ said Lord Colambre.
’Hard it must be, since it can’t be fulfilled, or won’t be fulfilled, which comes to the same thing,’ replied Lord Clonbrony, sighing.
‘I am persuaded, sir, that it will be fulfilled,’ said Lord Colambre; ’I am persuaded that, when my mother hears the truth, and the whole truth—when she finds that your happiness, and the happiness of her whole family, depend upon her yielding her taste on one subject—’
‘Oh, I see now what you are about,’ cried Lady Clonbrony; ’you are coming round with your persuasions and prefaces to ask me to give up Lon’on, and go back with you to Ireland, my lord. You may save yourselves the trouble, all of you, for no earthly persuasions shall make me do it. I will never give up my taste on that pint. My happiness has a right to be as much considered as your father’s, Colambre, or anybody’s; and, in one word, I won’t do it,’ cried she, rising angrily from the breakfast-table.