The Kellys and the O'Kellys eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 696 pages of information about The Kellys and the O'Kellys.
now one hundred thousand pounds clear, which was, certainly, a great deal of ready money.  Lord Cashel had no younger sons; but his heir, Lord Kilcullen, was an expensive man, and owed, he did not exactly know, and was always afraid to ask, how much.  He must marry soon, or he would be sure to go to the devil.  He had been living with actresses and opera-dancers quite long enough for his own respectability; and, if he ever intended to be such a pattern to the country as his father, it was now time for him to settle down.  And Lord Cashel bethought himself that if he could persuade his son to marry Fanny Wyndham and pay his debts with her fortune—­(surely he couldn’t owe more than a hundred thousand pounds?)—­he would be able to give them a very handsome allowance to live on.

To do Lord Cashel justice, we must say that he had fully determined that it was his duty to break off the match between Frank and his ward, before he heard of the accident which had so enriched her.  And Fanny herself, feeling slighted and neglected—­knowing how near to her her lover was, and that nevertheless he never came to see her—­hearing his name constantly mentioned in connection merely with horses and jockeys—­had been induced to express her acquiescence in her guardian’s views, and to throw poor Frank overboard.  In all this the earl had been actuated by no mercenary views, as far as his own immediate family was concerned.  He had truly and justly thought that Lord Ballindine, with his limited fortune and dissipated habits, was a bad match for his ward; and he had, consequently, done his best to break the engagement.  There could, therefore, he thought, be nothing unfair in his taking advantage of the prudence which he had exercised on her behalf.  He did not know, when he was persuading her to renounce Lord Ballindine, that, at that moment, her young, rich, and only brother, was lying at the point of death.  He had not done it for his own sake, or Lord Kilcullen’s; there could, therefore, be nothing unjust or ungenerous in their turning to their own account the two losses, that of her lover and her brother, which had fallen on Miss Wyndham at the same time.  If he, as her guardian, would have been wrong to allow Lord Ballindine to squander her twenty thousands, he would be so much the more wrong to let him make ducks and drakes of five times as much.  In this manner he quieted his conscience as to his premeditated absorption of his ward’s fortune.  It was true that Lord Kilcullen was a heartless roue, whereas Lord Ballindine was only a thoughtless rake; but then, Lord Kilcullen would be an earl, and a peer of parliament, and Lord Ballindine was only an Irish viscount.  It was true that, in spite of her present anger, Fanny dearly loved Lord Ballindine, and was dearly loved by him; and that Lord Kilcullen was not a man to love or be loved; but then, the Kelly’s Court rents—­what were they to the Grey Abbey rents?  Not a twentieth part of them!  And, above all, Lord Kilcullen’s vices were filtered through the cleansing medium of his father’s partiality, and Lord Ballindine’s faults were magnified by the cautious scruples of Fanny’s guardian.

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The Kellys and the O'Kellys from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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