It was pleasant enough, certainly, planning all these things; but there would be some little trouble in executing them. In the first place, Lord Kilcullen—though a very good son, on the whole, as the father frequently remarked to himself—was a little fond of having a will of his own, and may-be, might object to dispense with his dancing-girls. And though there was, unfortunately, but little doubt that the money was indispensably necessary to him, it was just possible that he might insist on having the cash without his cousin. However, the proposal must be made, and, as the operations necessary to perfect the marriage would cause some delay, and the money would certainly be wanted as soon as possible, no time was to be lost. Lord Kilcullen was, accordingly, summoned to Grey Abbey; and, as he presumed his attendance was required for the purpose of talking over some method of raising the wind, he obeyed the summons.—I should rather have said of raising a storm, for no gentle puff would serve to waft him through his present necessities.
Down he came, to the great delight of his mother, who thought him by far the finest young man of the day, though he usually slighted, snubbed, and ridiculed her—and of his sister, who always hailed with dignified joy the return of the eldest scion of her proud family to the ancestral roof. The earl was also glad to find that no previous engagement detained him; that is, that he so far sacrificed his own comfort as to leave Tattersall’s and the Figuranti of the Opera-House, to come all the way to Grey Abbey, in the county of Kildare. But, though the earl was glad to see his son, he was still a little consternated: the business interview could not be postponed, as it was not to be supposed that Lord Kilcullen would stay long at Grey Abbey during the London season; and the father had yet hardly sufficiently crammed himself for the occasion. Besides, the pressure from without must have been very strong to have produced so immediate a compliance with a behest not uttered in a very peremptory manner, or, generally speaking, to a very obedient child.
On the morning after his arrival, the earl was a little uneasy in his chair during breakfast. It was rather a sombre meal, for Fanny had by no means recovered her spirits, nor did she appear to be in the way to do so. The countess tried to chat a little to her son, but he hardly answered her; and Lady Selina, though she was often profound, was never amusing. Lord Cashel made sundry attempts at general conversation, but as often failed. It was, at last, however, over; and the father requested the son to come with him into the book-room.
When the fire was poked, and the chairs were drawn together over the rug, there were no further preliminaries which could be decently introduced, and the earl was therefore forced to commence.
“Well, Kilcullen, I’m glad you’re come to Grey Abbey. I’m afraid, however, we shan’t induce you to stay with us long, so it’s as well perhaps to settle our business at once. You would, however, greatly oblige your mother, and I’m sure I need not add, myself, if you could make your arrangements so as to stay with us till after Easter. We could then return together.”