“But I was saying about Savy O’Leary,” again interposed Morris, “did you ever hear what he did?”
But Blake would not allow his guest the privilege of another story. “If you encourage Morris,” said he, “we shall never get our whist,” and with that he rose from the table and walked away into the next room.
They played high. Morris always played high if he could, for he made money by whist. Tierney was not a gambler by profession; but the men he lived among all played, and he, therefore, got into the way of it, and played the game well, for he was obliged to do so in his own defence. Blake was an adept at every thing of the kind; and though the card-table was not the place where his light shone brightest, still he was quite at home at it.
As might be supposed, Lord Ballindine did not fare well among the three. He played with each of them, one after the other, and lost with them all. Blake, to do him justice, did not wish to see his friend’s money go into the little member’s pocket, and, once or twice, proposed giving up; but Frank did not second the proposal, and Morris was inveterate. The consequence was that, before the table was broken up, Lord Ballindine had lost a sum of money which he could very ill spare, and went to bed in a very unenviable state of mind, in spite of the brilliant prospects on which his friends congratulated him.
XVI. BRIEN BORU
The next morning, at breakfast, when Frank was alone with Blake, he explained to him how matters really stood at Grey Abbey. He told him how impossible he had found it to insist on seeing Miss Wyndham so soon after her brother’s death, and how disgustingly disagreeable, stiff and repulsive the earl had been; and, by degrees, they got to talk of other things, and among them, Frank’s present pecuniary miseries.
“There can be no doubt, I suppose,” said Dot, when Frank had consoled himself by anathematising the earl for ten minutes, “as to the fact of Miss Wyndham’s inheriting her brother’s fortune?”
“Faith, I don’t know; I never thought about her fortune if you’ll believe me. I never even remembered that her brother’s death would in any way affect her in the way of money, until after I left Grey Abbey.”
“Oh, I can believe you capable of anything in the way of imprudence.”
“Ah, but, Dot, to think of that pompous fool—who sits and caws in that dingy book-room of his, with as much wise self-confidence as an antiquated raven—to think of him insinuating that I had come there looking for Harry Wyndham’s money; when, as you know, I was as ignorant of the poor fellow’s death as Lord Cashel was himself a week ago. Insolent blackguard! I would never, willingly, speak another word to him, or put my foot inside that infernal door of his, if it were to get ten times all Harry Wyndham’s fortune.”
“Then, if I understand you, you now mean to relinquish your claims to Miss Wyndham’s hand.”