“Come, you’re not my father confessor. I’m not to tell you all. If I told you that, you’d make another portrait.”
“I’m sure I couldn’t draw a disparaging picture of anybody you would really call your friend. But indeed I pity you, living among so many such people. There can be nobody here who understands you.”
“Oh, I’m not very unintelligible.”
“Much more so than Miss O’Joscelyn. I shouldn’t wish to have to draw your portrait.”
“Pray don’t; if it were frightful I should think you uncivil; and if you made it handsome, I should know you were flattering. Besides, you don’t know enough of me to tell me my character.”
“I think I do; but I’ll study it a little more before I put it on the canvass. Some likenesses are very hard to catch.”
Fanny felt, when she went to bed, that she had spent a pleasanter evening than she usually did, and that it was a much less nuisance to talk to her cousin Adolphus than to either his father, mother, or sister; and as she sat before her fire, while her maid was brushing her hair, she began to think that she had mistaken his character, and that he couldn’t be the hard, sensual, selfish man for which she had taken him. Her ideas naturally fell back to Frank and her love, her difficulties and sorrows; and, before she went to sleep, she had almost taught herself to think that she might make Lord Kilcullen the means of bringing Lord Ballindine back to Grey Abbey.
She had, to be sure, been told that her cousin had spoken ill of Frank; that it was he who had been foremost in decrying Lord Ballindine’s folly and extravagance; but she had never heard him do so; she had only heard of it through Lord Cashel; and she quite ceased to believe anything her guardian might say respecting her discarded lover. At any rate she would try. Some step she was determined to take about Lord Ballindine; and, if her cousin refused to act like a cousin and a friend, she would only be exactly where she was before.
The next three days passed slowly and tediously for most of the guests assembled at Grey Abbey. Captain Cokely, and a Mr Battersby, came over from Newbridge barracks, but they did not add much to the general enjoyment of the party, though their arrival was hailed with delight by some of the young ladies. At any rate they made the rooms look less forlorn in the evenings, and made it worth the girls’ while to put on their best bibs and tuckers.
“But what’s the use of it at all?” said Matilda Fitzgerald to little Letty O’Joscelyn, when she had spent three-quarters of an hour in adjusting her curls, and setting her flounces properly, on the evening before the arrival of the two cavalry officers; “not a soul to look at us but a crusty old colonel, a musty old bishop, and a fusty old beau!”
“Who’s the old beau?” said Letty.