[FOOTNOTE 33: jobation—a tedious session; scolding]
Two days after the last recorded interview between Lord Ballindine and his friend, Dot Blake, the former found himself once more sitting down to dinner with his mother and sisters, the Honourable Mrs O’Kelly and the Honourable Misses O’Kelly; at least such were the titular dignities conferred on them in County Mayo, though I believe, strictly speaking, the young ladies had no claim to the appellation.
Mrs O’Kelly was a very small woman, with no particularly developed character, and perhaps of no very general utility. She was fond of her daughters, and more than fond of her son, partly because he was so tall and so handsome, and partly because he was the lord, the head of the family, and the owner of the house. She was, on the whole, a good-natured person, though perhaps her temper was a little soured by her husband having, very unfairly, died before he had given her a right to call herself Lady Ballindine. She was naturally shy and reserved, and the seclusion of O’Kelly’s Court did not tend to make her less so; but she felt that the position and rank of her son required her to be dignified; and consequently, when in society, she somewhat ridiculously aggravated her natural timidity with an assumed rigidity of demeanour. She was, however, a good woman, striving, with small means, to do the best for her family; prudent and self-denying, and very diligent in looking after the house servants.
Her two daughters had been, at the instance of their grandfather, the courtier, christened Augusta and Sophia, after the two Princesses of that name, and were now called Guss and Sophy: they were both pretty, good-natured girls—one with dark brown and the other light brown hair: they both played the harp badly, sung tolerably, danced well, and were very fond of nice young men. They both thought Kelly’s Court rather dull; but then they had known nothing better since they had grown up, and there were some tolerably nice people not very far off, whom they occasionally saw: there were the Dillons, of Ballyhaunis, who had three thousand a-year, and spent six; they were really a delightful family—three daughters and four sons, all unmarried, and up to anything: the sons all hunted, shot, danced, and did everything that they ought to do—at least in the eyes of young ladies; though some of their more coldly prudent acquaintances expressed an opinion that it would be as well if the three younger would think of doing something for themselves; but they looked so manly and handsome when they breakfasted at Kelly’s Court on a hunt morning, with their bright tops, red coats, and hunting-caps, that Guss and Sophy, and a great many others, thought it would be a shame to interrupt them in their career. And then, Ballyhaunis was only eight miles from Kelly’s Court; though they were Irish miles, it is true, and