Discussing these important measures, they reached the Dublin brother’s lodgings, and Martin turned in to wash his face and hands, and put on clean boots, before he presented himself to his landlord and patron, the young Lord Ballindine.
Francis John Mountmorris O’Kelly, Lord Viscount Ballindine, was twenty-four years of age when he came into possession of the Ballindine property, and succeeded to an Irish peerage as the third viscount; and he is now twenty-six, at this time of O’Connell’s trial. The head of the family had for many years back been styled “The O’Kelly”, and had enjoyed much more local influence under that denomination than their descendants had possessed, since they had obtained a more substantial though not a more respected title. The O’Kellys had possessed large tracts of not very good land, chiefly in County Roscommon, but partly in Mayo and Galway. Their property had extended from Dunmore nearly to Roscommon, and again on the other side to Castlerea and Ballyhaunis. But this had been in their palmy days, long, long ago. When the government, in consideration of past services, in the year 1800, converted “the O’Kelly” into Viscount Ballindine, the family property consisted of the greater portion of the land lying between the villages of Dunmore and Ballindine. Their old residence, which the peer still kept up, was called Kelly’s Court, and is situated in that corner of County Roscommnon which runs up between Mayo and Galway.
The first lord lived long enough to regret his change of title, and to lament the increased expenditure with which he had thought it necessary to accompany his more elevated rank. His son succeeded, and showed in his character much more of the new-fangled viscount than of the ancient O’Kelly. His whole long life was passed in hovering about the English Court. From the time of his father’s death, he never once put his foot in Ireland. He had been appointed, at different times from his youth upwards, Page, Gentleman in Waiting, Usher of the Black Rod, Deputy Groom of the Stole, Chief Equerry to the Princess Royal, (which appointment only lasted till the princess was five years old), Lord Gold Stick, Keeper of the Royal Robes; till, at last, he had culminated for ten halcyon years in a Lord of the Bedchamber. In the latter portion of his life he had grown too old for this, and it was reported at Ballindine, Dunmore, and Kelly’s Court,—with how much truth I don’t know,—that, since her Majesty’s accession, he had been joined with the spinster sister of a Scotch Marquis, and an antiquated English Countess, in the custody of the laces belonging to the Queen Dowager.