’Well, well, let this dear good charmer take her own time, provided there’s none given to affectation, or prudery, or coquetry; and from all these, of course, she must be free; and of course I must be content. Adieu Au Revoir.’
As Lord Colambre was returning home, he was overtaken by Sir Terence O’Fay.
‘Well, my lord,’ cried Sir Terence, out of breath, ’you have led me a pretty dance all over the town; here’s a letter somewhere down in my safe pocket for you, which has cost me trouble enough. Phoo! where is it now?—it’s from Miss Nugent,’ said he, holding up the letter. The direction to Grosvenor Square, London, had been scratched out; and it had been re-directed by Sir Terence to the Lord Viscount Colambre, at Sir James Brooke’s, Bart., Brookwood, Huntingdonshire, or elsewhere, with speed. ’But the more haste the worse speed; for away it went to Brookwood, Huntingdonshire, where I knew, if anywhere, you was to be found; but, as fate and the post would have it, there the letter went coursing after you, while you were running round, and back and forwards, and everywhere, I understand, to Toddrington and Wrestham, and where not, through all them English places, where there’s no cross-post; so I took it for granted that it found its way to the dead-letter office, or was sticking up across a pane in the d—d postmaster’s window at Huntingdon, for the whole town to see, and it a love-letter, and some puppy to claim it, under false pretence; and you all the time without it, and it might breed a coolness betwixt you and Miss Nugent.’
‘But, my dear Sir Terence, give me the letter now you have me.’
’Oh, my dear lord, if you knew what a race I have had, missing you here by five minutes, and there by five seconds—but I have you at last, and you have it—and I’m paid this minute for all I liquidated of my substance, by the pleasure I have in seeing you crack the seal and read it. But take care you don’t tumble over the orange woman—orange barrows are a great nuisance, when one’s studying a letter in the streets of London, or the metropolis. But never heed; stick to my arm, and I’ll guide you, like a blind man, safe through the thick of them.’
Miss Nugent’s letter, which Lord Colambre read in spite of the jostling of passengers, and the incessant talking of Sir Terence, was as follows:—
Let me not be the cause of banishing you from your home and your country, where you would do so much good, and make so many happy. Let me not be the cause of your breaking your promise to your mother; of your disappointing my dear aunt, so cruelly, who has complied with all our wishes, and who sacrifices, to oblige us, her favourite tastes. How could she ever be happy in Ireland—how could Clonbrony Castle be a home to her, without her son? if you take away all she had of amusement and pleasure, as it is called, are not you bound to give her, in their stead, that domestic happiness, which she can enjoy only with you, and by your means? If, instead of living with her, you go into the army, she will be in daily, nightly anxiety and alarm about you; and her son will, instead of being a comfort, be a source of torment to her.