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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 301 pages of information about The Absentee.

’Nor you would not have suspected me to have such a great acquaintance among the goddesses neither, would you, my lord?  But, apropos, before we quit, of what material, think ye, was that same Venus’s famous girdle, now, that made roses and lilies so quickly appear?  Why, what was it, but a girdle of sterling gold, I’ll engage?—­for gold is the only true thing for a young man to look after in a wife.’

Sir Terence paused, but no applause ensued.

’Let them talk of Cupids and darts, and the mother of the Loves and Graces.  Minerva may sing odes and DYTHAMBRICS, or whatsoever her wisdomship pleases.  Let her sing, or let her say she’ll never get a husband in this world or the other, without she had a good thumping Fortin, and then she’d go off like wildfire.’

’No, no, Terry, there you’re out; Minerva has too bad a character for learning to be a favourite with gentlemen,’ said Lord Clonbrony.

’Tut—­Don’t tell me!—­I’d get her off before you could say Jack Robinson, and thank you too, if she had fifty thousand down, or a thousand a year in land.  Would you have a man so d-d nice as to balk when house and land is a-going—­a-going—­a-going!—­because of the encumbrance of a little learning?  I never heard that Miss Broadhurst was anything of a learned lady.’

‘Miss Broadhurst!’ said Grace Nugent; ’how did you get round to Miss Broadhurst?’

‘Oh! by the way of Tipperary,’ said Lord Colambre.

’I beg your pardon, my lord, it was apropos to a good fortune, which, I hope, will not be out of your way, even if you went by Tipperary.  She has, besides L100,000 in the funds, a clear landed property of L10,000 per annum.  WellSome people talk of morality, and some of religion, but give me A little snug property.  But, my lord, I’ve a little business to transact this morning, and must not be idling and indulging myself here.’  So, bowing to the ladies, he departed.

‘Really, I am glad that man is gone,’ said Lady Clonbrony.  ’What a relief to one’s ears!  I am sure I wonder, my lord, how you can bear to carry that strange creature always about with you—­so vulgar as he is.’

‘He diverts me,’ said Lord Clonbrony, ’while many of your correct-mannered fine ladies or gentlemen put me to sleep.  What signifies what accent people speak in that have nothing to say—­hey, Colambre?’

Lord Colambre, from respect to his father, did not express his opinion, but his aversion to Sir Terence O’Fay was stronger even than his mother’s; though Lady Clonbrony’s detestation of him was much increased by perceiving that his coarse hints about Miss Broadhurst had operated against her favourite scheme.

The next morning, at breakfast, Lord Clonbrony talked of bringing Sir Terence with him that night to her gala.  She absolutely grew pale with horror.

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