“Suppose we join the ladies,” said the earl, awakened by the sudden lull in Mr O’Joscelyn’s voice. “But won’t you take a glass of Madeira first, Mr Armstrong?”
Mr Armstrong took his glass of Madeira, and then went to the ladies; and the next morning, left Grey Abbey, for his own parish. Well; thought he to himself, as he was driven through the park, in the earl’s gig, I’m very glad I came here, for Frank’s sake. I’ve smoothed his way to matrimony and a fortune. But I don’t know anything which would induce me to stay a week at Grey Abbey. The earl is bad—nearly unbearable; but the parson!—I’d sooner by half be a Roman myself, than think so badly of my neighbours as he does. Many a time since has he told in Connaught, how Mr O’Joscelyn. and Mary, his wife, sat up two nights running, armed to the teeth, to protect themselves from the noisy Repealers of Kilcullen.
Mr Armstrong arrived safely at his parsonage, and the next morning he rode over to Kelly’s Court. But Lord Ballindine was not there. He had started for Grey Abbey almost immediately on receiving the two letters which we have given, and he and his friend had passed each other on the road.
XXXIX. IT NEVER RAINS BUT IT POURS
When Frank had read his two letters from Grey Abbey, he was in such a state of excitement as to be unable properly to decide what he would immediately do. His first idea was to gallop to Tuam, as fast as his best horse would carry him; to take four horses there, and not to stop one moment till he found himself at Grey Abbey: but a little consideration showed him that this would not do. He would not find horses ready for him on the road; he must take some clothes with him; and it would be only becoming in him to give the earl some notice of his approach. So he at last made up his mind to postpone his departure for a few hours.
He was, however, too much overcome with joy to be able to do anything rationally. His anger against the earl totally evaporated; indeed, he only thought of him now as a man who had a house in which he could meet his love. He rushed into the drawing-room, where his mother and sisters were sitting, and, with the two letters open in his hand, proclaimed his intention of leaving home that day.
“Goodness gracious, Frank! and where are you going?” said Mrs O’Kelly.
“To Grey Abbey.”
“No!” said Augusta, jumping up from her chair.
“I am so glad!” shouted Sophy, throwing down her portion of the worsted-work sofa.
“You have made up your difference, then, with Miss Wyndham?” said the anxious mother. “I am so glad! My own dear, good, sensible Frank!”
“I never had any difference with Fanny,” said he. “I was not able to explain all about it, nor can I now: it was a crotchet of the earl’s—only some nonsense; however, I’m off now—I can’t wait a day, for I mean to write to say I shall be at Grey Abbey the day after to-morrow, and I must go by Dublin. I shall be off in a couple of hours; so, for Heaven’s sake, Sophy, look sharp and put up my things.”