‘Who is this Count O’Halloran?’ said Lord Colambre. Miss White, Lady Killpatrick’s companion, said ‘he was a great oddity;’ Lady Dashfort, ‘that he was singular;’ and the clergyman of the parish, who was at breakfast, declared ’that he was a man of uncommon knowledge, merit, and politeness.’
‘All I know of him,’ said Heathcock, ’is, that he is a great sportsman, with a long queue, a gold-laced hat, and long skirts to a laced waistcoat.’ Lord Colambre expressed a wish to see this extraordinary personage; and Lady Dashfort, to cover her former design, and, perhaps, thinking absence might be as effectual as too much propinquity, immediately offered to call upon the officers in their way, and carry them with Heathcock and Lord Colambre to Halloran Castle.
Lady Isabel retired with much mortification, but with becoming grace; and Captain Benson and Captain Williamson were taken to the count’s. Captain Benson, who was a famous whip, took his seat on the box of the barouche, and the rest of the party had the pleasure of her ladyship’s conversation for three or four miles: of her ladyship’s conversation—for Lord Colambre’s thoughts were far distant; Captain Williamson had not anything to say; and Heathcock nothing but, ’Eh! re’lly now!—’pon honour!’
They arrived at Halloran Castle—a fine old building, part of it in ruins, and part repaired with great judgment and taste. When the carriage stopped, a respectable-looking man-servant appeared on the steps, at the open hall-door.
Count O’Halloran was out a-hunting; but his servant said ’that he would be at home immediately, if Lady Dashfort and the gentlemen would be pleased to walk in.’
On one side of the lofty and spacious hall stood the skeleton of an elk; on the other side, the perfect skeleton of a moose-deer, which, as the servant said, his master had made out, with great care, from the different bones of many of this curious species of deer, found in the lakes in the neighbourhood. The brace of officers witnessed their wonder with sundry strange oaths and exclamations.—’Eh! ’pon honour—re’lly now!’ said Heathcock; and, too genteel to wonder at or admire anything in the creation, dragged out his watch with some difficulty, saying, ’I wonder now whether they are likely to think of giving us anything to eat in this place?’ And, turning his back upon the moose-deer, he straight walked out again upon the steps, called to his groom, and began to make some inquiry about his led horse. Lord Colambre surveyed the prodigious skeletons with rational curiosity, and with that sense of awe and admiration, by which a superior mind is always struck on beholding any of the great works of Providence.
‘Come, my dear lord!’ said Lady Dashfort; ’with our sublime sensations, we are keeping my old friend, Mr. Alick Brady, this venerable person, waiting, to show us into the reception-room.’
The servant bowed respectfully—more respectfully than servants of modern date.