Then, he began to feel indignant, and spurred his horse, and rode a little faster, and made a few resolutions as to upholding his own dignity. He would run after neither Lord Cashel nor his niece; he would not even ask her to change her mind, since she had been able to bring herself to such a determination as that expressed to him. But he would insist on seeing her; she could not refuse that to him, after what had passed between them, and he would then tell her what he thought of her, and leave her for ever. But no; he would do nothing to vex her, as long as she was grieving for her brother. Poor Harry!—she loved him so dearly! Perhaps, after all, his sudden rejection was, in some manner, occasioned by this sad event, and would be revoked as her sorrow grew less with time. And then, for the first time, the idea shot across his mind, of the wealth Fanny must inherit by her brother’s death.
It certainly had a considerable effect on him, for he breathed slow awhile, and was some little time before he could entirely realise the conception that Fanny was now the undoubted owner of a large fortune. “That is it,” thought he to himself, at last; “that sordid earl considers that he can now be sure of a higher match for his niece, and Fanny has allowed herself to be persuaded out of her engagement: she has allowed herself to be talked into the belief that it was her duty to give up a poor man like me.” And then, he felt very angry again. “Heavens!” said he to himself—“is it possible she should be so servile and so mean? Fanny Wyndham, who cared so little for the prosy admonitions of her uncle, a few months since, can she have altered her disposition so completely? Can the possession of her brother’s money have made so vile a change in her character? Could she be the same Fanny who had so entirely belonged to him, who had certainly loved him truly once? Perish her money! he had sought her from affection alone; he had truly and fondly loved her; he had determined to cling to her, in spite of the advice of his friends! And then, he found himself deserted and betrayed by her, because circumstances had given her the probable power of making a better match!”
Such were Lord Ballindine’s thoughts; and he flattered himself with the reflection that he was a most cruelly used, affectionate, and disinterested lover. He did not, at the moment, remember that it was Fanny’s twenty thousand pounds which had first attracted his notice; and that he had for a considerable time wavered, before he made up his mind to part with himself at so low a price. It was not to be expected that he should remember that, just at present; and he rode on, considerably out of humour with all the world except himself.