They called in Red Lion Square, punctual to the moment, on old Mr. Reynolds, but his window-shutters were shut; he had been seized in the night with a violent fit of the gout, which, as he said, held him fast by the leg. ‘But here,’ said he, giving Lord Colambre a letter, ’here’s what will do your business without me. Take this written acknowledgment I have penned for you, and give my grand-daughter her father’s letter to read—it would touch a heart of stone—touched mine—wish I could drag the mother back out of her grave, to do her justice—all one now. You see at last I’m not a suspicious rascal, however, for I don’t suspect you of palming a false grand-daughter upon me.’
‘Will you,’ said Lord Colambre, ’give your grand-daughter leave to come up to town to you, sir? You would satisfy yourself, at least, as to what resemblance she may bear to her father; Miss Reynolds will come instantly, and she will nurse you.’
’No, no; I won’t have her come. If she comes, I won’t see her—shan’t begin by nursing me—not selfish. As soon as I get rid of this gout, I shall be my own man, and young again, and I’ll soon be after you across the sea, that shan’t stop me; I’ll come to—what’s the name of your place in Ireland? and see what likeness I can find to her poor father in this grand-daughter of mine, that you puffed so finely yesterday. And let me see whether she will wheedle me as finely as Mrs. Petito would. Don’t get ready your marriage settlements, do you hear, till you have seen my will, which I shall sign at—what’s the name of your place? Write it down there; there’s pen and ink; and leave me, for the twinge is coming, and I shall roar.’
’Will you permit me, sir, to leave my own servant with you to take care of you? I can answer for his attention and fidelity.’
‘Let me see his face, and I’ll tell you.’ Lord Colambre’s servant was summoned.
‘Yes, I like his face. God bless you!—Leave me.’
Lord Colambre gave his servant a charge to bear with Mr. Reynolds’s rough manner and temper, and to pay the poor old gentleman every possible attention. Then our hero proceeded with his father on his journey, and on this journey nothing happened worthy of note. On his first perusal of the letter from Grace, Lord Colambre had feared that she would have left Buxton with Lady Berryl before he could reach it; but, upon recollection, he hoped that the few lines he had written, addressed to his mother and Miss Nugent, with the assurance that he should be with them on Wednesday, would be sufficient to show her that some great change had happened, and consequently sufficient to prevent her from quitting her aunt, till she could know whether such a separation would be necessary. He argued wisely, more wisely than Grace had reasoned; for, notwithstanding this note, she would have left Buxton before his arrival, but for Lady Berryl’s strength of mind, and positive determination not to set out with her till Lord Colambre should arrive to explain. In the interval, poor Grace was, indeed, in an anxious state of suspense; and her uncertainty, whether she was doing right or wrong, by staying to see Lord Colambre, tormented her most.