“Well, I hope I’ll never live out of Ireland. Though I mayn’t have tact to make one thousand go as far as five, I’ve sense enough to see that a poor absentee landlord is a great curse to his country; and that’s what I hope I never shall be.”
“My dear Lord Ballindine; all poor men are curses, to themselves or some one else.”
“A poor absentee’s the worst of all. He leaves nothing behind, and can leave nothing. He wants all he has for himself; and, if he doesn’t give his neighbours the profit which must arise somewhere, from his own consumption, he can give nothing. A rich man can afford to leave three or four thousand a year behind him, in the way of wages for labour.”
“My gracious, Frank! You should put all that in a pamphlet, and not inflict it on a poor devil waiting for his dinner. At present, give your profit to Morrison, and come and consume some mock-turtle; and I’ll tell you what Sheil’s going to do for us all.”
Lord Ballindine did as he was bid, and left the room to prepare for dinner. By the time that he had eaten his soup, and drank a glass of wine, he had got rid of the fit of blue devils which the thoughts of his poverty had brought on, and he spent the rest of the evening comfortably enough, listening to his friend’s comical version of Shell’s speech; receiving instruction from that great master of the art as to the manner in which he should treat his Derby colt, and being flattered into the belief that he would be a prominent favourite for that great race.
When they had finished their wine, they sauntered into the Kildare Street Club.
Blake was soon busy with his little betting-book, and Lord Ballindine followed his example. Brien Boru was, before long, in great demand. Blake took fifty to one, and then talked the horse up till he ended by giving twenty-five. He was soon ranked the first of the Irish lot; and the success of the Hibernians had made them very sanguine of late. Lord Ballindine found himself the centre of a little sporting circle, as being the man with the crack nag of the day. He was talked of, courted, and appealed to; and, I regret to say, that before he left the club he was again nearly forgetting Kelly’s Court and Miss Wyndham, had altogether got rid of his patriotic notions as to the propriety of living on his own estate, had determined forthwith to send Brien Boru over to Scott’s English stables; and then, went to bed, and dreamed that he was a winner of the Derby, and was preparing for the glories of Newmarket with five or six thousand pounds in his pocket.
Martin Kelly dined with his brother at Jude’s, and spent his evening equally unreasonably; at least, it may be supposed so from the fact that at one o’clock in the morning he was to be seen standing on one of the tables at Burton Bindon’s oyster-house, with a pewter pot, full of porter, in his hand, and insisting that every one in the room should drink the health of Anty Lynch, whom, on that occasion, he swore to be the prettiest and the youngest girl in Connaught.