The Absentee eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 393 pages of information about The Absentee.

’His secretary is now charge D’AFFAIRES in Vienna—­we cannot get at him.’

’Into whose hands have that ambassador’s papers fallen—­who is his executor?’ said Lord Colambre.

‘His executor!—­now you have it,’ cried the count.  ’His executor is the very man who will do your business—­your friend Sir James Brooke is the executor.  All papers, of course, are in his hands; or he can have access to any that are in the hands of the family.  The family seat is within a few miles of Sir James Brooke’s, in Huntingdonshire, where, as I told you before, he now is.’

’I’ll go to him immediately—­set out in the mail this night.  Just in time!’ cried Lord Colambre, pulling out his watch with one hand, and ringing the bell with the other.

‘Run and take a place for me in the mail for Huntingdon.  Go directly,’ said Lord Colambre to the servant.

‘And take two places, if you please, sir,’ said the count.  ’My lord, I will accompany you.’

But this Lord Colambre would not permit, as it would be unnecessary to fatigue the good old general; and a letter from him to Sir James Brooke would do all that the count could effect by his presence; the search for the papers would be made by Sir James, and if the packet could be recovered, or if any memorandum or mode of ascertaining that it had actually been delivered to old Reynolds could be discovered, Lord Colambre said he would then call upon the count for his assistance, and trouble him to identify the packet; or to go with him to Mr. Reynolds to make farther inquiries; and to certify, at all events, the young man’s dying acknowledgment of his marriage and of his child.

The place in the mail, just in time, was taken.  Lord Colambre sent a servant in search of his father, with a note explaining the necessity of his sudden departure.  All the business which remained to be done in town he knew Lord Clonbrony could accomplish without his assistance.  Then he wrote a few lines to his mother, on the very sheet of paper on which, a few hours before, he had sorrowfully and slowly begun—­

My dear mother miss Nugent.  He now joyfully and rapidly went on—­my dear mother and miss Nugent, I hope to be with you on Wednesday se’nnight; but if unforeseen circumstances should delay me, I will certainly write to you again.—­Dear mother, believe me, your obliged and grateful son, Colambre.

The count, in the meantime, wrote a letter for him to Sir James Brooke, describing the packet which he had given to the ambassador, and relating all the circumstances that could lead to its recovery.  Lord Colambre, almost before the wax was hard, seized possession of the letter; the count seeming almost as eager to hurry him off as he was to set out.  He thanked the count with few words, but with strong feeling.  Joy and love returned in full tide upon our hero’s soul; all the military ideas, which but an hour before filled his imagination, were put to flight:  Spain vanished, and green Ireland reappeared.

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The Absentee from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.