XIII. FATHER AND SON
Lord Cashel firmly believed, when he left the room, that he had shown great tact in discovering Frank’s mercenary schemes, and in laying them open before Fanny; and that she had firmly and finally made up her mind to have nothing more to do with him. He had not long been re-seated in his customary chair in the book-room, before he began to feel a certain degree of horror at the young lord’s baseness, and to think how worthily he had executed his duty as a guardian, in saving Miss Wyndham from so sordid a suitor. From thinking of his duties as a guardian, his mind, not unnaturally, recurred to those which were incumbent on him as a father, and here nothing disturbed his serenity. It is true that, from an appreciation of the lustre which would reflect back upon himself from allowing his son to become a decidedly fashionable young man, he had encouraged him in extravagance, dissipation, and heartless worldliness; he had brought him up to be supercilious, expensive, unprincipled, and useless. But then, he was gentlemanlike, dignified, and sought after; and now, the father reflected, with satisfaction, that, if he could accomplish his well-conceived scheme, he would pay his son’s debts with his ward’s fortune, and, at the same time, tie him down to some degree of propriety and decorum, by a wife. Lord Kilcullen, when about to marry, would be obliged to cashier his opera-dancers and their expensive crews; and, though he might not leave the turf altogether, when married he would gradually be drawn out of turf society, and would doubtless become a good steady family nobleman, like his father. Why, he—Lord Cashel himself—wise, prudent, and respectable as he was—example as he knew himself to be to all peers, English, Irish, and Scotch,—had had his horses, and his indiscretions, when he was young. And then he stroked the calves of his legs, and smiled grimly; for the memory of his juvenile vices was pleasant to him.
Lord Cashel thought, as he continued to reflect on the matter, that Lord Ballindine was certainly a sordid schemer; but that his son was a young man of whom he had just reason to be proud, and who was worthy of a wife in the shape of a hundred thousand pounds. And then, he congratulated himself on being the most anxious of guardians and the best of fathers; and, with these comfortable reflections, the worthy peer strutted off, through his ample doors, up his lofty stairs, and away through his long corridors, to dress for dinner. You might have heard his boots creaking till he got inside his dressing-room, but you must have owned that they did so with a most dignified cadence.