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groaned), I never saw a finer man on a table than poor Pillagrew; we opened him at his own request-liver scirrhous: otherwise, sound as a bell.”
" For the sake of Heaven, Doctor,” cried O'Hara, interrupting the reminiscences of Doctor Pillagrew and Miss Golightly, “ give us some soup.”
The Doctor mechanically dipped the ladle in the tureen. “ Poor Pillagrew! he was a facetious man. Doctor Drench, of Edinburgh, a friend of mine, and Author of Hints on Hydrophobia—”
“ Soup, soup,” cried O'Hara, unmercifully interrupting anecdotes of Doctors living and dead. Hang Doctor Drench-come, you will starve the Ladies."
The Doctor begged pardon, sent soup round the table without spoiling the cloth; and, if we except his mistaking Emily for her mother, and a fillet of veal for a roast turkey, with a few other trifling misnomers, he acquitted himself with unusual adroitness.
Nor was the first impression made by Major O'Hara on the minds of his guests weakened
by a subsequent intimacy; each succeeding day displayed a character of bold but amiable properties, while his mental acquirements, the fruit of much reading and reflection, enabled him to gain an extraordinary ascendency over the affections of his female friends. His equal and gentle hilarity brightened the long hours, and robbed retirement of its dulness; and, as was sometimes the case, when the hand of care appeared to press for a moment heavily on his brow, some odd or mal-a-propos remark of the Doctor, banished the cloud which hung gloomily over the party, and all again was sunshine. At times, however, his mind appeared lost in considerations of deep moment; he often left the drawing-room early; and Lady Sarah De Clifford remarked, that though hours must have elapsed after the household had retired to rest, yet the closing of the library.door discovered that some one was still waking. Conferences between O'Hara and many strangers were frequent, and conducted with much caution, while the receipt of a letter obliged him often to rise abruptly from the table, to which he did not again return. Of the
Of the many visiters
of O'Hara, very few were introduced to the Ladies, and seldom any of them remained for dinner. The Castle was carefully secured at night-fall, and a person during the day was stationed on the battlements, from whence, for many miles, the view was uninterrupted.
O'Hara seemed to have much and important business to transact; and at the board, when his gaiety appeared assumed, his acting was so admirable, that none but an experienced observer could discover his mirth to be foreign to his heart. Whatever might have been his sorrows, and deeply as his concerns might occupy his mind, his politeness, or ease of manner, was never for a moment forgotten; and the Ladies could never accuse him of neglecting that which was due to his own hospitality or their sex.
The peerage told that Lady Sarah De Clifford was in her forty-third year; and but for that, and the tell-tale presence of a marriageable daughter, she might have thrown off the latter five without much fear of detection. She never had warm feelings or affections; and excepting where her own pleasure was compro
mised, the sufferings of the nearest friend little endangered her mental tranquillity; and to this cold and heartless tone of character, she might probably attribute the continuance of fresh and unfaded beauty. She was still very lovely; and many who were strangers to the greater and more momentous concerns which occupied O'Hara's mind, would have pronounced his fate and her victory secure.
To have achieved the conquest of his heart would have been a desirable object from the first ; but after a longer intimacy, more than common worldly advantage swayed Lady Sarah’s conduct. O'Hara was both amiable and handsome; and his rank, his family, and the eclât, which even followed him to seclusion, would have rendered him a high object in the eyes of one to whom penury and imprudence had made the more elevated walks of London dissipation unattainable. However, the widow's castles were all air-built. O'Hara's gentlemanly attention endeavoured to anticipate the wants and wishes of Lady Sarah; but still there was no more of warmer sentiment in this delicate and gentle kindness, than if he had wanted eyes, or Lady. Sarah beauty. Trifling circumstances soon told the widow her chance of conquest was hopeless, and like an able general, she had scarcely broken ground, until, perceiving the fortress was impregnable, she forbore to press the siege, and retired in good time and perfect order.
Lady Sarah was a thorough manoeuvrer, and finding that Castle Carra would not own her for its mistress, she determined to transfer the command to her daughter. Henry's return was, therefore, impatiently expected, and Emily was regularly prepared to entrap the young Milesian, whose subjugation was counted certain, as the lady was strictly beautiful, and the gentleman an Irishman of twenty-four.