She left her mother’s boudoir, went down into the drawing-room, and there she wrote her notes of invitation, and her orders to the tradesmen; and then she went to her father, and consulted him on the difficult subject of young men. She suggested the Newbridge Barracks, where the dragoons were; and the Curragh, where perhaps some stray denizen of pleasure might be found, neither too bad for Grey Abbey, nor too good to be acceptable to Lord Kilcullen; and at last it was decided that a certain Captain Cokely, and Mat Tierney, should be asked. They were both acquaintances of Adolphus; and though Mat was not a young man, he was not very old, and was usually very gay.
So that matter was settled, and the invitations were sent off. The countess overcame her difficulty by consenting that Murray the man cook should be hired for a given time, with the distinct understanding that he was to take himself off with the rest of the guests, and so great was her ladyship’s sense of the importance of the negotiation, that she absolutely despatched Griffiths to Dublin to arrange it, though thereby she was left two whole days in solitary misery at Grey Abbey; and had to go to bed, and get up, she really hardly knew how, with such assistance as Lady Selina’s maid could give her.
When these things were all arranged, Selina told her cousin that Adolphus was coming home, and that a house full of company had been asked to meet him. She was afraid that Fanny would be annoyed and offended at being forced to go into company so soon after her brother’s death, but such was not the case. She felt, herself, that her poor brother was not the cause of the grief that was near her heart; and she would not pretend what she didn’t really feel.
“You were quite right, Selina,” she said, smiling, “about the things you said yesterday I should want from Dublin: now, I shall want them; and, as I wouldn’t accept of your good-natured offer, I must take the trouble of writing myself.”
“If you like it, Fanny, I’ll write for you,” said Selina.
“Oh no, I’m not quite so idle as that”—and she also began her preparations for the expected festivities. Little did either of them think that she, Fanny Wyndham, was the sole cause of all the trouble which the household and neighbourhood were to undergo:—the fatigue of the countess; Griffiths’s journey; the arrival of the dread man cook; Richards’s indignation at being made subordinate to such authority; the bishop’s