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my native land, are ready to receive me with a friendly greeting on my return to it.”
“The very same! The very same as ever!" exclaimed Lord Muckleklebury, in great delight. “If I were to live a thousand years, my dear Mrs. Barnaby, while I remembered any thing, I should remember
“Oh, Lord Mucklebury! It would, indeed, be strange if feelings such as yours were not reciprocal! But, my kind friend, forgive me if I remind
that you must no longer call me Barnaby. Ah! my dear lord! the heart of a woman is destined from her birth to pant for an answering heart! To feelings like mine, the chill solitude of widowed loneliness was intolerable, and though it is denied to us to-to-forgive me! I know not where my foolish memory would lead me! Suffice it to say, my lord, that soon after my last hurried interview with your lordship, which, as you will remember, I sought for the purpose of giving you the little commission you so generously executed afterwards-soon after that I discovered, even before I could understand how the thing could be, that I was adored by a man endowed with a thousand fine qualities. After a while-after a little struggle with myself to forget former feelings, I yielded to his wishes, and my name is JOH O'Donagough.”
,, By sun and moon I swear,” exclaimed Lord Mucklebury, drawing forth a cambric handkerchief richly scented, and indulging the lower part of his face by its near neighbourhood, “ by sun and moon I swear, that never, since I saw you last, have I met any human being that could equal you, most exquisite, Mrs. O'Donagough! _God forbid that your amiable husband should be jealous madam! Ease my heart at once, is this likely to be the case ?”
“Oh no! my lord,” replied Mrs. O'Donagough, with expressive emphasis, and a smile that seemed to say, “ He knows my unconquerable virtue too well,” “Oh no! my lord, noi the least jealous, and it will give me more satisfaction than I can easily express, if your lordship will allow me to have the honour of introducing him.”
Permit you ? Adorable Mrs. O'Donagough, it will be like opening to me the gates of paradise. Upon the honour of a peer," continued Lord Mucklebury, laying his hand as near his heart as the circumjacent solidities would permit, “ upon the honour of a peer I protest to you that an entrée to your mansion, is at this moment what I most greatly covet, and I shall be only too happy if Mr. O'Donagough will permit me to make his acquaintance. Perhaps, too, Madonna delectissima! you will suffer me, for the sake of our long friendship, to present my son to you? I do pledge you my word that he deserves the honour, for he inherits enough of his father's spirit to enjoy it."
“My dearest lord ! your condescending kindness overpowers me! 1, too, have a young creature, my only surviving child, a girl, my lord, whom I should feel a mother's pride in showing to you ; she has been thought extremely like me I know not if it be so.
On this point, my dear lord, you must judge for yourself.”
“And so I will, charming Mrs. O'Donagough. But if I find it so, may the gods protect me! I know not what is to become of my heart, O'Donagough! O'Donagough !” repeated the happy-looking noble
man, with an air of great enjoyment. “May I die, madam, if I do not even admire your name! I used to think your former one the most euphonius in the world, because it softened so sweetly into Barnabbia; you know of old my passion for the dolce lingua. But methinks O'Donagough will undergo the same delicious process as well. May I not now call you la mia magnifica O'Donnacia ?”
His lordship paused for a moment, half-frightened at his own audacity, as he remembered that it was just possible his charming old friend might know enough of the language of which she used to proclaim “her idolatry," to comprehend the “ delicious process" rather too well; but the charming smile with which she listened to him, soon removed his doubts, and he remained convinced that, by whatever name he might choose to call her, she was, and ever must be, the most invaluable addition to his acquaintance that he could ever hope to make.
Their tête-d-tête, however, was soon brought to a conclusion by the rather boisterous entrance of Patty on her return from her visit to the Miss Perkinses.
“Ah!” exclaimed Mrs. O'Donagough, “ here is my child ! my only surviving child, my lord ! Permit me to present her to your lordship.”.
And so saying, she rose up in all her greatness, moral and physical, or, in plainer English, in all the Autter of expansive drapery and excited spirits, and throwing one of her arms round the person of her daughter, brought her close before the eyes of the admiring peer. Lord Mucklebury did not rise, for which his corpulency must be pleaded as an excuse, but he received the radiant young lady with a smile, and, after looking at her for a moment, drew her towards him by the hand that had been placed in his, and kissed her.
The words Lord and Lordship had sufficed to enlighten Patty as to the identity of the great personage who thus honoured her. She knew it must be her mamma's often-quoted dear friend, Lord Mucklebury; and therefore, though under other circumstances it is possible that she might not have felt particularly grateful for the salute, she now took it in very good part, and even grinned a little as she withdrew herself with a courtesy from before the condescending nobleman.
“ An extremely fine young lady, indeed!” said his lordship, “and a most charming likeness of her mamma!”
“ You find her like me, my lord ?” said Mrs. O'Donagough in an accent of great tenderness. “Ah! my dear lord ! no mother can ever hear that without pleasure !"
“Upon my honour, madam,” replied his lordship, again spreading his hand upon his breast, “it is impossible, in this instance, to say whether mother or daughter ought to feel the most flattered by hearing of the resemblance. This young lady, all blooming as she is, may feel perfectly assured that her mother bloomed as brilliantly before her, and that charming mother herself, while looking on the prodigiously fine young creature to whom she has given birth, may smile with twofold rapture, conscious that she is gazing at once upon herself and child.”
This fine speech rather astonished Patty, and she opened her great eyes, and gave her mother a look that seemed to say so. But Mrs.
O'Donagough, with her usual happy presence of mind, converted this somewhat impertinent stare into a compliment, by saying,
“Ah, my Patty! How well I understand that look! you are quite right, dearest! My darling girl is peculiarly alive to the charm of graceful manners, my dear lord, and sweet creature! she is too young to disguise what she feels."
eet creature! sweet creatures both!” cried Lord Mucklebury, with great enthusiasm.
“Well, dearest ?” said Mrs. O'Donagough, playfully untying her daughter's bonnet, and arranging the multitudinous ringlets of her black hair, “ and how did you
leave friends ?" "Oh lor !—There's a fine kettle of fish there, mamma," replied the young lady. “Matilda is in such a way!"
“Well, well, love; we'll hear all that by and by. It is such an affectionate young heart, my lord! Where she atiaches herself, the slightest circumstances appear to her of consequence.”
“I hope, my dear madam,” replied his lordship, “that she will speedily both feel and inspire precisely the attachment which may be most agreeable to you, and herself too.”
Patty replied to this with a toss which seemed to say that all that had happened already; but her mother shook her head, and waved her hand, as if she deprecated the awful thought.
“Alas!" she exclaimed, “she is a child, my lord !" Then abruptly turning to the young lady, she said, “Go, my love, go and find your father; he is in the library, I believe. Tell him that the valued friend he has so often heard me mention—tell him—that Lord Mucklebury is here!"
Patty left the room, and Mrs. O'Donagough, lowering her voice, which lisped a little, as was usual with her, when in full glory, said,
My dear lord, your suggestion which goes to my very heart from the interest it evinces in the welfare of my child, your suggestion, my dear lord, induces me to communicate to your friendly ear a circumstance which must, for the present, be secret from the world. My sweet girl has already, child as she is, inspired and conceived the attachment of which your lordship speaks, and the connexion is so desirable that we do not think we should be justifiable in interfering to prevent it, merely on account of her youth. My darling Patty is engaged to Sir Henry Seymour.”
• Engaged to Sir Henry Seymour ?" repeated Lord Mucklebury, interrogatively, and with a look of considerable surprise. “Do you mean Sir Henry Seymour of Hartley Hall?"
“Yes!” replied the undaunted Mrs. O'Donagough," that is the name of one of the places ; he is a ward of a near connexion of mine, Sir Edward Stephenson.”
Certainly, Sir Edward Seymour is, or rather was, his ward : but I did not know, my dear Mrs. Barnaby—I beg your pardon—your present name often escapes me, I did not know that you were related to Sir Edward Stephenson."
“Not exactly related, my lord, but nearly connected; Lady Stephenson's brother, General Hubert, is my nephew by marriage.”
“General Hubert, your nephew, my dear madam?” exclaimed the