Lady Scroope had been the elder by ten years; but yet they had been dear friends, and Lady Mary Wycombe had passed many months of her early life amidst the gloom of the great rooms at Scroope Manor. She had thus known the Earl well before she consented to marry him. She had never possessed beauty, and hardly grace. She was strong featured, tall, with pride clearly written in her face.
A reply came in due course, a reply that so pleased the impetuous Earl that he engaged the applicant on the spot. And now she had been just two hours in the house. "Well," Littimer cried, "and how have you been getting on?" Miss Christabel Lee looked up, smilingly. "I am getting on very well indeed," she said.
I must not let them be seen together too soon, you know. There might be a hitch in the marriage negotiations. The earl is a tight one in business matters, and might drive a hard bargain with me should I allow his son to place Doll in a false position before the marriage contract is signed." He little knew how certainly Dorothy herself would avoid that disaster.
Most of her sisters had married into noble English or Irish houses; but the eldest of them, Alice, Lady Barrimore, had been left a widow with three young children by the death of her husband, David, first Earl of Barrimore.
The earl looked at him again with a gloomy eye, and sighed, but said nothing. Mr. Caryll resumed. "It is for your lordship to declare," he said quite coolly, "whether his majesty has covered your stake. If you think not, it is even possible that he may be induced to improve his offer. Though if you think not, for my own part I consider that you set too high a value on that same head of yours."
A faint flush darkened his lean aquiline features, set a moment before in the mould of hopeless depression. 'What? he said. And he raised himself sharply in his chair. 'What has occurred to his friends? 'That some provision might be made for him, my lord. 'From the public purse? the Earl cried in a startling tone.
Three short years and Gloucester would die by the assassin's hand, Arundel by the executioner's axe, and Mowbray, Earl Marshal, the ambassador at Ballygorry, would pine to death in Italian banishment. Even a greater change than any of these a change of dynasty was soon to come over England.
And disengaging herself from him, and hastily passing her father, who at that moment entered the kitchen, she rushed upstairs. On hearing the alarm of the grocer's approach, Pillichody took refuge in a cupboard, the door of which stood invitingly open, so that Bloundel only perceived the earl. "What is the matter?" he cried, gazing around him. "Whom have we here?"
The substance of both speeches was "briefly and prudentlie" declared in the Irish language to the Gaelic Lords, by the Earl of Ormond, "greatly to their contentation." Then St. Leger proposed that Henry and his heirs should have the title of King, and caused the "bill devised for the same to be read."
But this I do say" here the Earl seemed to pick up heart and find his words easier "that if Gwen has got that idea I thoroughly sympathize with her. I give you my word, Mr. Torrens, that not an hour passes, for me, without a thought of the same kind. I mean that I should jump at any chance of making it up to you, for mere ease of mind. But I have nothing to give that would meet the case.
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