This information tended to confirm them in the course recommended by Fardorougha. It was accordingly resolved upon that he (Fardorougha) himself should wait upon Bodagh Buie, and in the name of his son formally propose for the hand of his daughter.
To effect this, however, was a matter of no ordinary difficulty, as they apprehended that the Bodagh and his wife would recoil with indignation at the bare notion of even condescending to discuss a topic which, in all probability, they would consider as an insult. Not, after all, that there existed, according to the opinion of their neighbors, such a vast disparity in the wealth of each; on the contrary, many were heard to assert, that of the two Fardorougha had the heavier purse. His character, however, was held in such abhorrence by all who knew him, and he ranked, in point of personal respectability and style of living, so far beneath the Bodagh, that we question if any ordinary occurrence could be supposed to fall upon the people with greater amazement than a marriage, or the report of a marriage, between any member of the two families. The O’Donovans felt, however, that it was better to make the experiment already agreed on, than longer to remain in a state of uncertainty about it. Should it fail, the position of the lovers, though perhaps rendered somewhat less secure, would be such as to suggest, as far as they themselves were concerned, the necessity of a more prompt and effectual course of action. Fardorougha expressed his intention of opening the matter on the following day; but his wife, with a better knowledge of female character, deemed it more judicious to defer it until after the interview which was to take place between Connor and Una on the succeeding Thursday. It might be better, for instance, to make the proposal first to Mrs. O’Brien herself, or, on the other hand, to the Bodagh; but touching that and other matters relating to what was proposed to be done, Una’s opinion and advice might be necessary.
Little passed, therefore, worthy of note, during the intermediate time, except a short conversation between Bartle and Connor on the following day, as they returned to the field from dinner.
“Bartle,” said the other, “you wor a little soft last night; or rather a good deal so.”
“Faith, no doubt o’ that—but when a man meets an old acquaintance or two, they don’t like to refuse a thrate. I fell in wid three or four boys—all friends o’ mine, an’ we had a sup on account o’ what’s expected.”
As he uttered these words, he looked at Connor with an eye which seemed to say—you are not in a certain secret with which I am acquainted.
“Why,” replied Connor, “what do you mane, Bartle? I thought you were with your brother—at laste you tould me so.”
Flanagan started on hearing this.
“Wid my brother,” said he—“why, I—I—what else could I tell you? He was along wid the boys when I met them.”