‘There! did not I tell you how it would be?’ cried Lord Clonbrony.
‘My mother has not heard me, yet,’ said Lord Colambre, laying his hand upon his mother’s arm, as she attempted to pass; ’hear me, madam, for your own sake. You do not know what will happen, this very day—this very hour, perhaps—if you do not listen to me.’
‘And what will happen?’ said Lady Clonbrony, stopping short.
‘Ay, indeed; she little knows,’ said Lord Clonbrony, ’what’s hanging over her head.’
‘Hanging over my head?’ said Lady Clonbrony, looking up; ’nonsense! what?’
An execution, madam!’ said Lord Colambre.
‘Gracious me! an execution!’ said Lady Clonbrony, sitting down again; ’but I heard you talk of an execution months ago, my lord, before my son went to Ireland, and it blew over I heard no more of it.’
‘If won’t blow over now,’ said Lord Clonbrony; ’you’ll hear more of it now. Sir Terence O’Fay it was, you may remember, that settled it then.’
’Well, and can’t he settle it now? Send for him, since he understands these cases; and I will ask him to dinner myself, for your sake, and be very civil to him, my lord.’
’All your civility, either for my sake or your own, will not signify a straw, my dear, in this case—anything that poor Terry could do, he’d do, and welcome, without it; but he can do nothing.’
’Nothing!—that’s very extraordinary. But I’m clear no one dare to bring a real execution against us in earnest; and you are only trying to frighten me to your purpose, like a child; but it shan’t do.’
‘Very well, my dear; you’ll see—too late.’
A knock at the house door.
‘Who is it?—What is it?’ cried Lord Clonbrony, growing very pale.
Lord Colambre changed colour too, and ran downstairs. ’Don’t let ’em let anybody in, for your life, Colambre; under any pretence,’ cried Lord Clonbrony, calling from the head of the stairs; then running to the window, ’By all that’s good, it’s Mordicai himself! and the people with him.’
‘Lean your head on me, my dear aunt,’ said Miss Nugent. Lady Clonbrony leant back, trembling, and ready to faint.
’But he’s walking off now; the rascal could not get in—safe for the present!’ cried Lord Clonbrony, rubbing his hands, and repeating, ’safe for the present!’
‘Safe for the present!’ repeated Lord Colambre, coming again into the room. ‘Safe for the present hour.’
‘He could not get in, I suppose—oh, I warned all the servants well,’ said Lord Clonbrony,’and so did Terry. Ay, there’s the rascal, Mordicai, walking off, at the end of the street; I know his walk a mile off. Gad! I can breathe again. I am glad he’s gone. But he will come back and always lie in wait, and some time or other, when we’re off our guard (unawares), he’ll slide in.’
Slide in! Oh, horrid!’ cried Lady Clonbrony, sitting up, and wiping away the water which Miss Nugent had sprinkled on her face.