The more she brooded over the subject, the more she felt convinced that such was the case; she could not think how she had ever been induced to sanction, by her name, such an unwarrantable proceeding as the unceremonious dismissal of a man to whom her troth had been plighted, merely because he had not called to see her. As for his not writing, she was aware that Lord Cashel had recommended that, till she was of age, they should not correspond. As she thought the matter over in her own room, long hour after hour, she became angry with herself for having been talked into a feeling of anger for him. What right had she to be angry because he kept horses? She could not expect him to put himself into Lord Cashel’s leading-strings. Indeed, she thought she would have liked him less if he had done so. And now, to reject him just when circumstances put it in her power to enable her to free him from his embarrassments, and live a manner becoming his station! What must Frank think of her?—For he could not but suppose that her rejection had been caused by her unexpected inheritance.
In the course of the fortnight, she made up her mind that all Lord Cashel had said to Lord Ballindine should be unsaid;—but who was to do it? It would be a most unpleasant task to perform; and one which, she was aware, her guardian would be most unwilling to undertake. She fully resolved that she would do it herself, if she could find no fitting ambassador to undertake the task, though that would be a step to which she would fain not be driven. At one time, she absolutely thought of asking her cousin, Kilcullen, about it:—this was just before his leaving Grey Abbey; he seemed so much more civil and kind than usual. But then, she knew so little of him, and so little liked what she did know: that scheme, therefore, was given up. Lady Selina was so cold, and prudent—would talk to her so much about propriety, self-respect, and self-control, that she could not make a confidante of her. No one could talk to Selina on any subject more immediately interesting than a Roman Emperor, or a pattern for worsted-work. Fanny felt that she would not be equal, herself, to going boldly to Lord Cashel, and desiring him to inform Lord Ballindine that he had been mistaken in the view he had taken of his ward’s wishes: no—that was impossible; such a proceeding would probably bring on a fit of apoplexy.
There was no one else to whom she could apply, but her aunt. Lady Cashel was a very good-natured old woman, who slept the greatest portion of her time, and knitted through the rest of her existence. She did not take a prominent part in any of the important doings of Grey Abbey; and, though Lord Cashel constantly referred to her, for he thought it respectable to do so, no one regarded her much. Fanny felt, however, that she would neither scold her, ridicule her, nor refuse to listen: to Lady Cashel, therefore, at last, she went for assistance.