Since I might meet Richard Dawson and had no hope of meeting Anthony Cardew, I walked much those days within our own walls, which gave me space enough for Aghadoe park-walls are four miles in length. But most often I found myself taking the path that led to the postern gate as though the place had some pleasant, dreamy association for me.
"It shall shut its door," Mary Champion said indignantly. "He is frightening them because they are old and have no son to lean upon. Garret Dawson is an evil plotter and schemer, and there is blood and tears on his money. Aghadoe shall be safe from him." "How can he have frightened them?" I asked. "They have never borrowed money from him." The cloud deepened on my godmother's face.
The cordiality of my fellow-countrymen also provided me with another disturbed night at Aghadoe, which I had leased from Lord Headley. To quiet the apprehensions of my family, and also to relieve the mind of the D.I. from anxiety about my tough old self, there were always five police in the house, and two on sentry duty all night.
"She would be the same to me," he added in his round, schoolboy handwriting, "if she hadn't a penny; but I am glad for the sake of Aghadoe that she has money. Dear Bawn, I adore her." I had guessed it all the time, and remembered that he had mentioned Miss Travers before, and that the manner of it was significant. Dear Theobald, it was easy enough to see through his simple guile!
I do not think that in any house in the kingdom there was that night such joy and thanksgiving as in Aghadoe Abbey. After a little while I went away and left them together. Uncle Luke came with me to the dining-room door and lit my candle for me as though he had never gone away. When he had lit it he went with me outside the door, and, partly closing it, he said to me
I am Bawn Devereux, and I have lived as long as I remember at Aghadoe Abbey with my grandfather and grandmother, the Lord and Lady St. Leger. At one time we were a family of five. There was my Uncle Luke, and there was my cousin Theobald.
It seemed incredible that Richard Dawson should have filled Nora's innocent heart with much the same feeling that I had for Anthony Cardew, but I said nothing. Who is to answer for such things? "I will come back with you now and speak to Lady St. Leger," I said. The day following that Nora became an inmate of Aghadoe.
To the new lord of Ossory he granted the monasteries of Aghadoe and Aghmacarte, with the right of holding court lete and market, every Thursday, at his town of Aghadoe. For these and other favours the recipients had been instructed to petition the King, and drafts of such petitions had been drawn up in anticipation of their arrival in England, by some official hand.
Indeed, when we reached Aghadoe my grandmother was so tremulous in her joy at seeing us, and she clung so to Mary Champion, that we might have been away two years instead of two weeks. It was late when we arrived, and there was supper prepared for us; and while we ate it my grandfather sat in his chair by the window, where we could not see his face, and was silent.
Dawson has driven over to call, and we are to dine with them next week. I wish you were home, Mary. I want you to lean upon." When I had read I turned amazed eyes on my godmother. "The Dawsons!" I said. "And we used always to say that though every other house in the county were opened to the Dawsons, Aghadoe Abbey would shut its door in their faces."