“Well, my lord; I am a considerate and a dutiful son, and I will agree to your proposition: but I must saddle it with conditions. I have no doubt that the sum which I suggested should be paid through your agent, could be arranged to be paid in a year, or eighteen months, by your making yourself responsible for it, and I would undertake to indemnify you. But the thirty thousand pounds I must have at once. I must return to London, with the power of raising it there, without delay. This, also, I would repay you out of Fanny’s fortune. I would then undertake to use my best endeavours to effect a union with your ward. But I most positively will not agree to this—nor have any hand in the matter, unless I am put in immediate possession of the sum I have named, and unless you will agree to double my income as soon as I am married.”
To both these propositions the earl, at first, refused to accede; but his son was firm. Then, Lord Cashel agreed to put him in immediate possession of the sum of money he required, but would not hear of increasing his income. They argued, discussed, and quarrelled over the matter, for a long time; till, at last, the anxious father, in his passion, told his son that he might go his own way, and that he would take no further trouble to help so unconscionable a child. Lord Kilcullen rejoined by threatening immediately to throw the whole of the property, which was entailed on himself, into the hands of the Jews.
Long they argued and bargained, till each was surprised at the obstinacy of the other. They ended, however, by splitting the difference, and it was agreed, that Lord Cashel was at once to hand over thirty thousand pounds, and to take his son’s bond for the amount; that the other debts were to stand over till Fanny’s money was forthcoming; and that the income of the newly married pair was to be seven thousand five hundred a-year.
“At least,” thought Lord Kilcullen to himself, as he good-humouredly shook hands with his father at the termination of the interview—“I have not done so badly, for those infernal dogs will be silenced, and I shall get the money. I could not have gone back without that. I can go on with the marriage, or not, as I may choose, hereafter. It won’t be a bad speculation, however.”
To do Lord Cashel justice, he did not intend cheating his son, nor did he suspect his son of an intention to cheat him. But the generation was deteriorating.
XIV. THE COUNTESS
It was delightful to see on what good terms the earl and his son met that evening at dinner. The latter even went so far as to be decently civil to his mother, and was quite attentive to Fanny. She, however, did not seem to appreciate the compliment. It was now a fortnight since she had heard of her brother’s death, and during the whole of that time she had been silent, unhappy, and fretful. Not a word more had been said to her about Lord Ballindine, nor had she, as yet, spoken about him to any one; but she had been thinking about little else, and had ascertained,—at least, so she thought,—that she could never be happy, unless she were reconciled to him.