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this place is no longer our own, we are obliged to leave it; and as we shall live in a very different way in the home to which we are going, we are obliged to part with you, though we have no reason to find fault with any one among you. I am going to-morrow morning early, and my mother and sisters will follow after me in a few weeks. It will be a sad thing too for them to say good-bye to you all, as it is for me now; but it cannot be helped. God bless you all, and I hope that you will find good masters and kind mistresses, with whom you may live comfortably, as I hope you have done here."
"We can't find no other mistresses like her leddyship," sobbed out the senior housemaid.
"There ain't niver such a one in the county Cork," said the cook; "in a week of Sundays you wouldn't hear the breath out of her above her own swait nathural voice."
"I've driv' her since iver--" began Richard; but he was going to say since ever she was married, but he remembered that this allusion would be unbecoming, so he turned his face to the doorpost, and began to wail bitterly.
And then Herbert shook hands with them all, and it was pretty to see how the girls wiped their hands in their aprons before they gave them to him, and how they afterwards left the room with their aprons up to their faces. The women walked out first, and then the men, hanging down their heads, and muttering as they went, each some little prayer that fortune and prosperity might return to the house of Fitzgerald. The property might go, but according to their views Herbert was always, and always would be, the head of the house. And then, last of all, Richard went. "There ain't one of 'em, Mr. Herbert, as wouldn't guv his fist to go wid yer, and think nothing about the wages."
He was to start very early, and his packing was all completed that night. "I do so wish we were going with you," said Emmeline, sitting in his room on the top of a corded box, which was to follow him by some slower conveyance.
"And I do so wish I was staying with you," said he.
"What is the good of staying here now?" said she; "what pleasure can there be in it? I hardly dare to go outside the house door for fear I should be seen."
"But why? We have done nothing that we need be ashamed of."
"No; I know that. But, Herbert, do you not find that the pity of the people is hard to bear? It is written in their eyes, and meets one at every turn."
"We shall get rid of that very soon. In a few months we shall be clean forgotten."
"I do not know about being forgotten."
"You will be as clean forgotten,--as though you had never existed. And all these servants who are now so fond of us, in three months' time will be just as fond of Owen Fitzgerald, if he will let them stay here; it's the way of the world."
That Herbert should have indulged in a little morbid misanthropy on such an occasion was not surprising. But I take leave to think that he was wrong in his philosophy; we do make new friends when we lose our old friends, and the heart is capable of cure as is the body; were it not so, how terrible would be our fate in this world! But we are so apt to find fault with God's goodness to us in this respect, arguing, of others if not of ourselves, that the heart once widowed should remain a widow through all rime. I, for one, think that the heart should receive its new spouses with what alacrity it may, and always with thankfulness.
"I suppose Lady Desmond will let us see Clara," said Emmeline.
"Of course you must see her. If you knew how much she talks about you, you would not think of leaving Ireland without seeing her."
"Dear Clara! I am sure she does not love me better than I do her. But suppose that Lady Desmond won't let us see her! and I know that it will be so. That grave old man with the bald head will come out and say that 'the Lady Clara is not at home,' and then we shall have to leave without seeing her. But it does not matter with her as it might with others, for I know that her heart will be with us."
"If you write beforehand to say that you are coming, and explain that you are doing so to say good-bye, then I think they will admit you."
"Yes; and the countess would take care to be there, so that I could not say one word to Clara about you. Oh, Herbert! I would give anything if I could have her here for one day,--only for one day." But when they talked it over they both of them decided that this would not be practicable. Clara could not stay away from her own house without her mother's leave, and it was not probable that her mother would give her permission to stay at Castle Richmond.
HERBERT FITZGERALD IN LONDON
On the following morning the whole household was up and dressed very early. Lady Fitzgerald--the poor lady made many futile attempts to drop her title, but hitherto without any shadow of success--Lady Fitzgerald was down in the breakfast parlour at seven, as also were Aunt Letty, and Mary, and Emmeline. Herbert had begged his mother not to allow herself to be disturbed, alleging that there was no cause, seeing that they all so soon would meet in London; but she was determined that she would superintend his last meal at Castle Richmond. The servants brought in the trays with melancholy silence, and now that the absolute moment of parting had come the girls could not speak lest the tears should come and choke them. It was not that they were about to part with him; that parting would only be for a month. But he was now about to part from all that ought to have been his own. He sat down at the table in his accustomed place, with a forced smile on his face, but without a word, and his sisters put before him his cup of tea, and the slice of ham that had been cut for him, and his portion of bread. That he was making an effort they all saw. He bowed his head down over the tea to sip it, and took the knife in his hand, and then he looked up at them, for he knew that their eyes were on him; he looked up at them to show that he could still endure it. But, alas! he could not endure it. The struggle was too much for him; he pushed his plate violently from him into the middle of the table, and dropping his head upon his hands, he burst forth into audible lamentations.
Oh, my friends! be not hard on him in that he was thus weeping like a woman. It was not for his lost wealth that he was wailing, nor even for the name or splendour that could be no longer his; nor was it for his father's memory, though he had truly loved his father; nor for his mother's sorrow, or the tragedy of her life's history. For none of these things were his tears flowing and his sobs coming so violently that it nearly choked him to repress them. Nor could he himself have said why he was weeping.
It was the hundred small things from which he was parting for ever that thus disturbed him. The chair on which he sat, the carpet on the floor, the table on which he leaned, the dull old picture of his great-grandfather over the fire-place,--they were all his old familiar friends, they were all part of Castle Richmond,--of that Castle Richmond which he might never be allowed to see again.
His mother and sisters came to him, hanging over him, and they joined their tears together. "Do not tell her that I was like this," said he at last.
"She will love you the better for it if she has a true woman's heart within her breast," said his mother.
"As true a heart as ever breathed," said Emmeline, through her sobs.
And then they pressed him to eat, but it was in vain. He knew that the food would choke him if he attempted it. So he gulped down the cup of tea, and with one kiss to his mother he rushed from them, refusing Aunt Letty's proffered embrace, passing through the line of servants without another word to one of them, and burying himself in the post-chaise which was to carry him the first stage on his melancholy journey.
It was a melancholy journey all through. From the time that he left the door at Castle Richmond that was no longer his own, till he reached the Euston Station in London, he spoke no word to any one more than was absolutely necessary for the purposes of his travelling. Nothing could be more sad than the prospect of his residence in London. Not that he was without friends there, for he belonged to a fashionable club to which he could still adhere if it so pleased him, and had all his old Oxford comrades to fall back upon if that were of any service to him. But how is a man to walk into his club who yesterday was known as his father's eldest son and the heir to a baronetcy and twelve thousand a year, and who to-day is known as nobody's son and the heir to nothing? Men would feel so much for him and pity him so deeply! That was the worst feature of his present position. He could hardly dare to show himself more than was absolutely necessary till the newness of his tragedy was worn off.
Mr. Prendergast had taken lodgings for him, in which he was to remain till he could settle himself in the same house with his mother. And this house, in which they were all to live, had also been taken,--up in that cheerful locality near Harrow-on-the-Hill, called St. John's Wood Road, the cab fares to which from any central part of London are so very ruinous. But that house was not yet ready, and so he went into lodgings in Lincoln's Inn Fields. Mr. Prendergast had chosen this locality because it was near the chambers of that great Chancery barrister, Mr. Die, under whose beneficent wing Herbert Fitzgerald was destined to learn all the mysteries of the Chancery bar. The sanctuary of Mr. Die's wig was in Stone Buildings, immediately close to that milky way of vice-chancellors, whose separate courts cluster about the old chapel of Lincoln's Inn; and here was Herbert to sit, studious, for the next three years,--to sit there instead of at the various relief committees in the vicinity of Kanturk. And why could he not be as
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