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   Chapter 13 OF ROCKNEY

Celt and Saxon -- Complete By George Meredith Characters: 30498

Updated: 2017-11-29 00:03

Battles have been won and the streams of History diverted to new channels in the space of ten minutes. Ladies have been won, a fresh posterity founded, and grand financial schemes devised, revolts arranged, a yoke shaken off, in less of mortal time. Excepting an inspired Epic song and an original Theory of the Heavens, almost anything noteworthy may be accomplished while old Father Scythe is taking a trot round a courtyard; and those reservations should allow the splendid conception to pass for the performance, when we bring to mind that the conception is the essential part of it, as a bard poorly known to fame was constantly urging. Captain Con had blown his Epic bubbles, not to speak of his projected tuneful narrative of the adventures of the great Cuchullin, and his Preaching of St. Patrick, and other national triumphs. He could own, however, that the world had a right to the inspection of the Epic books before it awarded him his crown. The celestial Theory likewise would have to be worked out to the last figure by the illustrious astronomers to whom he modestly ranked himself second as a benefactor of his kind, revering him. So that, whatever we may think in our own hearts, Epic and Theory have to remain the exception. Battles indeed have been fought, but when you survey the field in preparation for them you are summoned to observe the preluding courtesies of civilised warfare in a manner becoming a chivalrous gentleman. It never was the merely flinging of your leg across a frontier, not even with the abrupt Napoleon. You have besides to drill your men; and you have often to rouse your foe with a ringing slap, if he's a sleepy one or shamming sleepiness. As here, for example: and that of itself devours more minutes than ten. Rockney and Mattock could be roused; but these English, slow to kindle, can't subside in a twinkling; they are for preaching on when they have once begun; betray the past engagement, and the ladies are chilled, and your wife puts you the pungent question: 'Did you avoid politics, Con?' in the awful solitude of domestic life after a party. Now, if only there had been freedom of discourse during the dinner hour, the ten disembarrassed minutes allotted to close it would have afforded time sufficient for hearty finishing blows and a soothing word or so to dear old innocent Mr. Rumford, and perhaps a kindly clap of the shoulder to John Mattock, no bad fellow at bottom. Rockney too was no bad fellow in his way. He wanted no more than a beating and a thrashing. He was a journalist, a hard-headed rascal, none of your good old-fashioned order of regimental scribes who take their cue from their colonel, and march this way and that, right about face, with as little impediment of principles to hamper their twists and turns as the straw he tosses aloft at midnight to spy the drift of the wind to-morrow. Quite the contrary; Rockney was his own colonel; he pretended to think independently, and tried to be the statesman of a leading article, and showed his intention to stem the current of liberty, and was entirely deficient in sympathy with the oppressed, a fanatical advocate of force; he was an inveterate Saxon, good-hearted and in great need of a drubbing. Certain lines Rockney had written of late about Irish affairs recurred to Captain Con, and the political fires leaped in him; he sparkled and said: 'Let me beg you to pass the claret over to Mr. Rockney, Mr. Rumford; I warrant it for the circulating medium of amity, if he'll try it.'

' 'Tis the Comet Margaux,' said Dr. Forbery, topping anything Rockney might have had to say, and anything would have served. The latter clasped the decanter, poured and drank in silence.

''Tis the doctor's antidote, and best for being antedated,' Captain Con rapped his friend's knuckles.

'As long as you're contented with not dating in double numbers,' retorted the doctor, absolutely scattering the precious minutes to the winds, for he hated a provocation.

'There's a golden mean, is there!'

'There is; there's a way between magnums of good wine and gout, and it's generally discovered too late.'

'At the physician's door, then! where the golden mean is generally discovered to be his fee. I've heard of poor souls packed off by him without an obolus to cross the ferry. Stripped they were in all conscience.'

'You remind me of a fellow in Dublin who called on me for medical advice, and found he'd forgotten his purse. He offered to execute a deed to bequeath me his body, naked and not ashamed.'

'You'd a right to cut him up at once, Forbery. Any Jury 'd have pronounced him guilty of giving up the ghost before he called.'

'I let him go, body and all. I never saw him again.'

'The fellow was not a lunatic. As for your golden mean, there's a saying: Prevention is better than cure: and another that caps it: Drink deep or taste not.'

'That's the Pierian Spring.'

'And what is the wine on my table, sir?'

'Exhaustless if your verses come of it.'

'And pure, you may say of the verses and the fount.'

'And neither heady nor over-composed; with a blush like Diana confessing her love for the young shepherd: it's one of your own comparisons.'

'Oh!' Con could have roared his own comparisons out of hearing. He was angry with Forbery for his obstructive dulness and would not taste the sneaking compliment. What could Forbery mean by paying compliments and spoiling a game! The ten minutes were dancing away like harmless wood-nymphs when the Satyr slumbers. His eyes ranged over his guests despondently, and fixed in desperation on Mr. Rumford, whom his magnanimous nature would have spared but for the sharp necessity to sacrifice him.

The wine in Rumford at any rate let loose his original nature, if it failed to unlock the animal in these other unexcitable Saxons.

'By the way, now I think of it, Mr. Rumford, the interpretation of your Royal Standard, which perplexes you so much, strikes me as easy if you 'll examine the powerfully different colours of the two beasts in it.'

Mr. Rumford protested that he had abandoned his inquiry: it was a piece of foolishness: he had no feeling in it whatever, none.

The man was a perfect snail's horn for coyness.

The circumstances did not permit of his being suffered to slip away: and his complexion showed that he might already be classed among the roast.

'Your Lion:-Mr. Rumford, you should know, is discomposed, as a thoughtful patriot, by the inexplicable presence of the Unicorn in the Royal Standard, and would be glad to account for his one horn and the sickly appearance of the beast. I'm prepared to say he's there to represent the fair one half of the population.

Your Lion, my dear sir, may have nothing in his head, but his tawniness tells us he imbibes good sound stuff, worthy of the reputation of a noble brewery. Whereas your Unicorn, true to the character of the numberless hosts he stands for, is manifestly a consumer of doctor's drugs. And there you have the symbolism of your country. Right or left of the shield, I forget which, and it is of no importance to the point-you have Grandgosier or Great Turk in all his majesty, mane and tail; and on the other hand, you behold, as the showman says, Dyspepsia. And the pair are intended to indicate that you may see yourselves complete by looking at them separately; and so your Royal Standard is your national mirror; and when you gaze on it fondly you're playing the part of a certain Mr. Narcissus, who got liker to the Lion than to the Unicorn in the act. Now will that satisfy you?'

'Quite as you please, quite as you please,' Mr. Rumford replied. 'One loves the banner of one's country-that is all.' He rubbed his hands. 'I for one am proud of it.'

'Far be it from me to blame you, my dear sir. Or there's the alternative of taking him to stand for your sole great festival holiday, and worshipping him as the personification of your Derbyshire race.'

A glittering look was in Captain Con's eye to catch Rockney if he would but rise to it.

That doughty Saxon had been half listening, half chatting to Mr. Mattock, and wore on his drawn eyelids and slightly drawn upper lip a look of lambent pugnacity awake to the challenge, indifferent to the antagonist, and disdainful of the occasion.

'We have too little of your enthusiasm for the flag,' Philip said to Mr. Rumford to soothe him, in a form of apology for his relative.

'Surely no! not in England?' said Mr. Rumford, tempted to open his heart, for he could be a bellicose gentleman by deputy of the flag. He recollected that the speaker was a cousin of Captain Con's, and withdrew into his wound for safety. 'Here and there, perhaps; not when we are roused; we want rousing, we greatly prefer to live at peace with the world, if the world will let us.'

'Not at any price?' Philip fancied his tone too quakerly.

'Indeed I am not one of that party!' said Mr. Rumford, beginning to glow; but he feared a snare, and his wound drew him in again.

'When are you ever at peace!' quoth his host, shocked by the inconsiderate punctuality of Mrs. Adister O'Donnell's household, for here was the coffee coming round, and Mattock and Rockney escaping without a scratch. 'There's hardly a day in the year when your scarlet mercenaries are not popping at niggers.'

Rockney had the flick on the cheek to his manhood now, it might be hoped.

'Our what?' asked Mr. Rumford, honestly unable to digest the opprobrious term.

'Paid soldiery, hirelings, executioners, whom you call volunteers, by a charming euphemism, and send abroad to do the work of war while you propound the doctrines of peace at home.'

Rockney's forehead was exquisitely eruptive, red and swelling. Mattock lurched on his chair. The wine was in them, and the captain commended the spiriting of it, as Prospero his Ariel.

Who should intervene at this instant but the wretched Philip, pricked on the point of honour as a soldier! Are we inevitably to be thwarted by our own people?

'I suppose we all work for pay,' said he. 'It seems to me a cry of the streets to call us by hard names. The question is what we fight for.'

He spoke with a witless moderation that was most irritating, considering the latest news from the old country.

'You fight to subjugate, to enslave,' said Con, 'that's what you're doing, and at the same time your journals are venting their fine irony at the Austrians and the Russians and the Prussians for tearing Poland to strips with their bloody beaks.'

'We obey our orders, and leave you to settle the political business,' Philip replied.

Forbery declined the fray. Patrick was eagerly watchful and dumb. Rockney finished his coffee with a rap of the cup in the saucer, an appeal for the close of the sitting; and as Dr. Forbery responded to it by pushing back his chair, he did likewise, and the other made a movement.

The disappointed hero of a fight unfought had to give the signal for rising. Double the number of the ten minutes had elapsed. He sprang up, hearing Rockney say: 'Captain Con O'Donnell is a politician or nothing,' and as he was the most placable of men concerning his personality, he took it lightly, with half a groan that it had not come earlier, and said, 'He thinks and he feels, poor fellow!'

All hope of a general action was over.

'That shall pass for the epitaph of the living,' said Rockney.

It was too late to catch at a trifle to strain it to a tussle. Con was obliged to subjoin: 'Inscribe it on the dungeon-door of tyranny.' But the note was peaceful.

He expressed a wish that the fog had cleared for him to see the stars of heaven before he went to bed, informing Mr. Mattock that a long look in among them was often his prayer at night, and winter a holy season to him, for the reason of its showing them bigger and brighter.

'I can tell my wife with a conscience we've had a quiet evening, and you're a witness to it,' he said to Patrick. That consolation remained.

'You know the secret of your happiness,' Patrick answered.

'Know you one of the secrets of a young man's fortune in life, and give us a thrilling song at the piano, my son,' said Con: 'though we don't happen to have much choice of virgins for ye to-night. Irish or French. Irish are popular. They don't mind having us musically. And if we'd go on joking to the end we should content them, if only by justifying their opinion that we're born buffoons.'

His happy conscience enabled him to court his wife with assiduity and winsomeness, and the ladies were once more elated by seeing how chivalrously lover-like an Irish gentleman can be after years of wedlock.

Patrick was asked to sing. Miss Mattock accompanied him at the piano. Then he took her place on the music-stool, and she sang, and with an electrifying splendour of tone and style.

'But it's the very heart of an Italian you sing with!' he cried.

'It will surprise you perhaps to hear that I prefer German music,' said she.

'But where-who had the honour of boasting you his pupil?'

She mentioned a famous master. Patrick had heard of him in Paris. He begged for another song and she complied, accepting the one he selected as the favourite of his brother Philip's, though she said: 'That one?' with a superior air. It was a mellifluous love-song from a popular Opera somewhat out of date. 'Well, it's in Italian!' she summed up her impressions of the sickly words while scanning them for delivery. She had no great admiration of the sentimental Sicilian composer, she confessed, yet she sang as if possessed by him. Had she, Patrick thought, been bent upon charming Philip, she could not have thrown more fire into the notes. And when she had done, after thrilling the room, there was a gesture in her dismissal of the leaves displaying critical loftiness. Patrick noticed it and said, with the thrill of her voice lingering in him: 'What is it you do like? I should so like to know.'

She was answering when Captain Con came up to the piano and remarked in an undertone to Patrick: 'How is it you hit on the song Adiante Adister used to sing?'

Miss Mattock glanced at Philip. He had applauded her mechanically, and it was not that circumstance which caused the second rush of scarlet over her face. This time she could track it definitely to its origin. A lover's favourite song is one that has been sung by his love. She detected herself now in the full apprehension of the fact before she had sung a bar: it had been a very dim fancy: and she denounced herself guilty of the knowledge that she was giving pain by singing the stuff fervidly, in the same breath that accused her of never feeling things at the right moment vividly. The reminiscences of those pale intuitions made them always affectingly vivid.

But what vanity in our emotional state in a great jarring world where we are excused for continuing to seek our individual happiness only if we ally it and subordinate it to the well being of our fellows! The interjection was her customary specific for the cure of these little tricks of her blood. Leaving her friend Miss Barrow at the piano, she took a chair in a corner and said; 'Now, Mr. O'Donnell, you will hear the music that moves me


'But it's not to be singing,' said Patrick. 'And how can you sing so gloriously what you don't care for? It puzzles me completely.'

She assured him she was no enigma: she hushed to him to hear.

He dropped his underlip, keeping on the conversation with his eyes until he was caught by the masterly playing of a sonata by the chief of the poets of sound.

He was caught by it, but he took the close of the introductory section, an allegro con brio, for the end, and she had to hush at him again, and could not resist smiling at her lullaby to the prattler. Patrick smiled in response. Exchanges of smiles upon an early acquaintance between two young people are peeps through the doorway of intimacy. She lost sight of the Jesuit. Under the influence of good music, too, a not unfavourable inclination towards the person sitting beside us and sharing that sweetness, will soften general prejudices-if he was Irish, he was boyishly Irish, not like his inscrutable brother; a better, or hopefuller edition of Captain Con; one with whom something could be done to steady him, direct him, improve him. He might be taught to appreciate Beethoven and work for his fellows. 'Now does not that touch you more deeply than the Italian?' said she, delicately mouthing: 'I, mio tradito amor!'

'Touch, I don't know,' he was honest enough to reply. 'It's you that haven't given it a fair chance I'd like to hear it again. There's a forest on fire in it.'

'There is,' she exclaimed. 'I have often felt it, but never seen it. You exactly describe it. How true!'

'But any music I could listen to all day and all the night,' said he.

'And be as proud of yourself the next morning?'

Patrick was rather at sea. What could she mean?

Mrs. Adister O'Donnell stepped over to them, with the object of installing Colonel Adister in Patrick's place.

The object was possibly perceived. Mrs. Adister was allowed no time to set the manoeuvre in motion.

'Mr. O'Donnell is a great enthusiast for music, and could listen to it all day and all night, he tells me,' said Miss Mattock. 'Would he not sicken of it in a week, Mrs. Adister?'

'But why should I?' cried Patrick. 'It's a gift of heaven.'

'And, like other gifts of heaven, to the idle it would turn to evil.'

'I can't believe it.'

'Work, and you will believe it.'

'But, Miss Mattock, I want to work; I'm empty-handed. It 's true I want to travel and see a bit of the world to help me in my work by and by. I'm ready to try anything I can do, though.'

'Has it ever struck you that you might try to help the poor?'

'Arthur is really anxious, and only doubts his ability,' said Mrs. Adister.

'The doubt throws a shadow on the wish,' said Miss Mattock. 'And can one picture Colonel Adister the secretary of a Laundry Institution, receiving directions from Grace and me! We should have to release him long before the six months' term, when we have resolved to incur the expense of a salaried secretary.'

Mrs. Adister turned her head to the colonel, who was then looking down the features of Mrs. Rockney.

Patrick said: 'I'm ready, for a year, Miss Mattock.'

She answered him, half jocosely: 'A whole year of free service? Reflect on what you are undertaking.'

'It's writing and accounts, no worse?'

'Writing and accounts all day, and music in the evening only now and then.'

'I can do it: I will, if you'll have me.'

'Do you hear Mr. O'Donnell, Mrs. Adister?'

Captain Con fluttered up to his wife, and heard the story from Miss Mattock.

He fancied he saw a thread of good luck for Philip in it. 'Our house could be Patrick's home capitally,' he suggested to his wife. She was not a whit less hospitable, only hinting that she thought the refusal of the post was due to Arthur.

'And if he accepts, imagine him on a stool, my dear madam; he couldn't sit it!'

Miss Mattock laughed. 'No, that is not to be thought of seriously. And with Mr. O'Donnell it would be probationary for the first fortnight or month. Does he know anything about steam?'

'The rudimentary idea,' said Patrick.

'That's good for a beginning,' said the captain; and he added: 'Miss Mattock, I'm proud if one of my family can be reckoned worthy of assisting in your noble work.'

She replied: 'I warn everybody that they shall be taken at their word if they volunteer their services.'

She was bidden to know by the captain that the word of an Irish gentleman was his bond. 'And not later than to-morrow evening I'll land him at your office. Besides, he'll find countrywomen of his among you, and there's that to enliven him. You say they work well, diligently, intelligently.'

She deliberated. 'Yes, on the whole; when they take to their work. Intelligently certainly compared with our English. We do not get the best of them in London. For that matter, we do not get the best of the English-not the women of the north. We have to put up with the rejected of other and better-paying departments of work. It breaks my heart sometimes to see how near they are to doing well, but for such a little want of ballast.'

'If they're Irish,' said Patrick, excited by the breaking of her heart, 'a whisper of cajolery in season is often the secret.'

Captain Con backed him for diplomacy. 'You'll learn he has a head, Miss Mattock.'

'I am myself naturally blunt, and prefer the straightforward method,' said she.

Patrick nodded. 'But where there's an obstruction in the road, it's permissible to turn a corner.'

'Take 'em in flank when you can't break their centre,' said Con.

'Well, you shall really try whether you can endure the work for a short time if you are in earnest,' Miss Mattock addressed the volunteer.

'But I am,' he said.

'We are too poor at present to refuse the smallest help.'

'And mine is about the smallest.'

'I did not mean that, Mr. O'Donnell.'

'But you'll have me?'


Captain Con applauded the final words between them. They had the genial ring, though she accepted the wrong young man for but a shadow of the right sort of engagement.

This being settled, by the sudden combination of enthusiastic Irish impulse and benevolent English scheming, she very considerately resigned herself to Mrs. Adister's lead and submitted herself to a further jolting in the unprogressive conversational coach with Colonel Adister, whose fault as a driver was not in avoiding beaten ways, but whipping wooden horses.

Evidently those two were little adapted to make the journey of life together, though they were remarkably fine likenesses of a pair in the dead midway of the journey, Captain Con reflected, and he could have jumped at the thought of Patrick's cleverness: it was the one bright thing of the evening. There was a clear gain in it somewhere. And if there was none, Jane Mattock was a good soul worth saving. Why not all the benefaction on our side, and a figo for rewards! Devotees or adventurers, he was ready in imagination to see his cousins play the part of either, as the cross-roads offered, the heavens appeared to decree. We turn to the right or the left, and this way we're voluntary drudges, and that way we're lucky dogs; it's all according to the turn, the fate of it. But never forget that old Ireland is weeping!

O never forget that old Ireland is weeping

The bitter salt tears of the mother bereft!

He hummed the spontaneous lines. He was accused of singing to himself, and a song was vigorously demanded of him by the ladies.

He shook his head. 'I can't,' he sighed. 'I was plucking the drowned body of a song out of the waters to give it decent burial. And if I sing I shall be charged with casting a firebrand at Mr. Rockney.'

Rockney assured him that he could listen to anything in verse.

'Observe the sneer:-for our verses are smoke,' said Con.

Miss Mattock pressed him to sing.

But he had saddened his mind about old Ireland: the Irish news weighed heavily on him, unrelieved by a tussle with Rockney. If he sang, it would be an Irish song, and he would break down in it, he said; and he hinted at an objection of his wife's to spirited Irish songs of the sort which carry the sons of Erin bounding over the fences of tyranny and the brook of tears. And perhaps Mr. Rockney might hear a tale in verse as hard to bear as he sometimes found Irish prose!-Miss Mattock perceived that his depression was genuine, not less than his desire to please her. 'Then it shall be on another occasion,' she said.

'Oh! on another occasion I'm the lark to the sky, my dear lady.'

Her carriage was announced. She gave Patrick a look, with a smile, for it was to be a curious experiment. He put on the proper gravity of a young man commissioned, without a dimple of a smile. Philip bowed to her stiffly, as we bow to a commanding officer who has insulted us and will hear of it. But for that, Con would have manoeuvred against his wife to send him downstairs at the lady's heels. The fellow was a perfect riddle, hard to read as the zebra lines on the skin of a wild jackass-if Providence intended any meaning when she traced them! and it's a moot point: as it is whether some of our poets have meaning and are not composers of zebra. 'No one knows but them above!' he said aloud, apparently to his wife.

'What can you be signifying?' she asked him. She had deputed Colonel Arthur to conduct Miss Mattock and Miss Barrow to their carriage, and she supposed the sentence might have a mysterious reference to the plan she had formed; therefore it might be a punishable offence. Her small round eyes were wide-open, her head was up and high.

She was easily appeased, too easily.

'The question of rain, madam,' he replied to her repetition of his words. 'I dare say that was what I had in my mind, hearing Mr. Mattock and Mr. Rockney agree to walk in company to their clubs.'

He proposed to them that they should delay the march on a visit to his cabin near the clouds. They were forced to decline his invitation to the gentle lion's mouth; as did Mr. Rumford, very briskly and thankfully. Mr. Rockney was taken away by Mr. and Mrs. Marbury Dyke. So the party separated, and the Englishmen were together, and the Irishmen together; and hardly a syllable relating to the Englishmen did the Irishmen say, beyond an allusion to an accident to John Mattock's yacht off the Irish west-coast last autumn; but the Irishmen were subjected to some remarks by the Englishmen, wherein their qualities as individuals and specimens of a race were critically and neatly packed. Common sense is necessarily critical in its collision with vapours, and the conscious possessors of an exclusive common sense are called on to deliver a summary verdict, nor is it an unjust one either, if the verdict be taken simply for an estimate of what is presented upon the plain surface of to-day. Irishmen are queer fellows, never satisfied, thirsting for a shindy. Some of them get along pretty well in America. The air of their Ireland intoxicates them. They require the strong hand: fair legislation, but no show of weakness. Once let them imagine you are afraid of them, and they see perfect independence in their grasp. And what would be the spectacle if they were to cut themselves loose from England? The big ship might be inconvenienced by the loss of the tender; the tender would fall adrift on the Atlantic, with pilot and captain at sword and pistol, the crew playing Donnybrook freely. Their cooler heads are shrewd enough to see the folly, but it catches the Irish fancy to rush to the extreme, and we have allowed it to be supposed that it frightens us. There is the capital blunder, fons et origo.

Their leaders now pretend to work upon the Great Scale; they demand everything on the spot upon their own interpretation of equity. Concessions, hazy speeches, and the puling nonsense of our present Government, have encouraged them so far and got us into the mess. Treat them as policemen treat highwaymen: give them the law: and the law must be tightened, like the hold on a rogue by his collar, if they kick at it. Rockney was for sharp measures in repression, fair legislation in due course.

'Fair legislation upon your own interpretation of fair,' said Mattock, whose party opposed Rockney's. 'As to repression, you would have missed that instructive scene this evening at Con O'Donnell's table, if you had done him the kindness to pick up his glove. It 's wisest to let them exhaust their energies upon one another. Hold off, and they're soon at work.'

'What kind of director of a City Company does he make?' said Rockney.

Mattock bethought him that, on the whole, strange to say, Con O'Donnell comported himself decorously as a director, generally speaking on the reasonable side, not without shrewdness: he seemed to be sobered by the money question.

'That wife of his is the salvation of him,' Rockney said, to account for the Captain's shrewdness. 'She manages him cleverly. He knows the length of his line. She's a woman of principle, and barring the marriage, good sense too. His wife keeps him quiet, or we should be hearing of him. Forbery 's a more dangerous man. There's no intentional mischief in Con O'Donnell; it's only effervescence. I saw his game, and declined to uncork him. He talks of a niece of his wife's: have you ever seen her?-married to some Servian or Roumanian prince.'

Mattock answered: 'Yes.'

'Is she such a beauty?'

Again Mattock answered: 'Yes,' after affecting thoughtfulness.

'They seem to marry oddly in that family.'

Mattock let fly a short laugh at the remark, which had the ring of some current phrase. 'They do,' he said.

Next morning Jane Mattock spoke to her brother of her recruit. He entirely trusted to her discretion; the idea of a young Irish secretary was rather comical, nevertheless. He had his joke about it, requesting to have a sight of the secretary's books at the expiry of the week, which was the length of time he granted this ardent volunteer for evaporating and vanishing.

'If it releases poor Grace for a week, it will be useful to us,' Jane said. 'Women are educated so shamefully that we have not yet found one we can rely on as a competent person. And Mr. O'Donnell-did you notice him? I told you I met him a day or two back-seems willing to be of use. It cannot hurt him to try. Grace has too much on her hands.'

'She has a dozen persons.'

'They are zealous when they are led.'

'Beware of letting them suspect that they are led.'

'They are anxious to help the poor if they can discover how.'

'Good men, I don't doubt,' said John Mattock. 'Any proposals from curates recently?'

'Not of late. Captain O'Donnell, the brother of our secretary, is handsomer, but we do not think him so trustworthy. Did you observe him at all?-he sat by me. He has a conspirator's head.'

'What is that?' her brother asked her.

'Only a notion of mine.'

She was directed to furnish a compendious report of the sayings, doings, and behaviour of the Irish secretary in the evening.

'If I find him there,' she said.

Her brother was of opinion that Mr. Patrick O'Donnell would be as good as his word, and might be expected to appear there while the novelty lasted.

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