The imaginary disdain of Ulick O’More was entirely gone, and perceiving that the Irishman’s delicacy was keeping him away from Willow Lawn, Gilbert himself met him and brought him home, in the delight of having heard of a naval cadetship having been offered to his brother, and full of such eager joy as longed for sympathy.
‘Happy fellow!’ Gilbert murmured to himself.
Younger in years, more childish in character, poor Gilbert had managed to make his spirit world-worn and weary, compared with the fresh manly heart of the Irishman, all centered in the kindred ‘points of Heaven and home,’ and enjoying keenly, for the very reason that he bent dutifully with all his might to a humble and uncongenial task.
Yet somehow, admire and esteem as he would, there arose no intimacy or friendship between Gilbert and Ulick; their manners were frank and easy, but there was no spontaneous approach, no real congeniality, nor exchange of mind and sympathy as between Ulick and Mr. Kendal. Albinia had a theory that the friendship was too much watched to take; Sophy hated herself for the recurring conviction that ’Gilbert was not the kind of stuff,’ though she felt day by day how far he excelled her in humility, gentleness, and sweet temper.
When the Goldsmiths gave their annual dinner-party, Albinia felt a sudden glow at the unexpected sight of Ulick O’More.
‘I am only deputy for the Orange man,’ he said; ’it is Hyder Ali who ought to be dining here! Yes, it is his doing, I’d back him against any detective!’
‘What heroism have you been acting together?’
’We had just given Farmer Martin L120 in notes, when as he went out, we heard little Hyder growling and giving tongue, and a fellow swearing as if he was at the fair of Monyveagh, and the farmer hallooing thieves. I found little Hyder had nailed the rascal fast by the leg, just as he had the notes out of the farmer’s pouch. I collared him, Johns ran for the police, and the rascal is fast.’
‘What a shame to cheat Mr. Kendal of the committal.’
’The policeman said he was gone out, so we had the villain up to the Admiral with the greater satisfaction, as he was a lodger in one of the Admiral’s pet public-houses in Tibb’s Alley.’
‘Ah, when Gilbert is of age,’ said Albinia, ’woe to Tibb’s! So you are a testimonial to the Tripod?’
’So I suspect, for I found an invitation when I came home, I would have run down to tell you, but I had been kept late, and one takes some getting up for polite society.’
There was a great deal of talk about Hyder’s exploit, and some disposition to make Mr. O’More the hero of the day; but this was quickly nipped by his uncle’s dry shortness, and the superciliousness with which Mr. Cavendish Dusautoy turned the conversation to the provision of pistols, couriers, and guards, for travelling through the Abruzzi. The polysyllabic courage, and false alarms on such a scale, completely eclipsed a real pick-pocket, caught by a gipsy’s cur and a banker’s clerk.