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to her husband, the Rev. Mr. Walsingham. The lady instantly bridled up, and I saw that I had perpetrated a blunder, but of what nature J could not divine. “I cannot imagine, Sir, what Mr. Walsing ham can have to do in the matter! it is my money, not Mr. Walsingham's l’” “I believe, Madam, it is not comprised in your settlement, and of course, therefore, his concurrence is necessary.” “It is not of course, Mr. Gregory Sharpe, nor. shall I ask Mr. Walsingham's concurrence in any step that I think proper to take.” “I beg pardon for persisting in a point which seems irksome to you, but you must be aware that in contemplation of law, you and Mr. Walsingham have a common interest, and are identified.” “Identified, Sir! identified with Mr. Walsingham a common interest with Mr. Walsingham l’’ raising her voice at every period, till at last it almost amounted to a scream. “Well, Madam, perhaps you will oblige me by at least speaking to him on the subject.” “I speak to Mr. Walsingham 1 speak to him on the subject! or on any subject whatever !!! Indeed, Sir, you must excuse me; ”
rising at the same time to ring the bell. I doubted whether she was sane; but I saw clearly that she was at all events frantic with anger; and to avoid being kicked out, which seemed highly probable, I took up my hat and made my bow. I found Lady Carysfort at home, and Sir William with her, as well as Miss St. Clair, who had already preceded me, and communicated my intelligence, I was cordially received; and the sister's communication saved me all trouble in explaining, but Lady Carysfort's settlement had not been sent to me with Mrs. Walsingham’s. “Your Ladyship will be aware of the necessity of my ascertaining whether these moneys formed any portion of the settlement funds.” There was a little hesitation, and a slight suffusion of the face, (it had been a beautiful one,) as she inquired— “What can that have to do with it, Sir? Is not the money mine?” “I cannot answer that question precisely without seeing the settlement. Sir William may take an interest in it, or your children.”
“My children, Mr. Sharpel my children l’” The exclamation was uttered with a shriek; the poor lady immediately became hysterical; Miss St. Clair sobbed audibly; and Sir William strided across the room, evidently embarrassed. The very lap-dog on the rug displayed his fangs, and growled out his indignation. Here was another pretty mess that I had made of it! I began to think the whole family crazy; and commissions of lunacy crossed my vision; how could I apologise, unconscious as I was of offense? “Mr. Sharpe!” said Sir William sternly, and suddenly paused. “Really, Mr. Sharpe,” sobbed out Miss St. Clair, and was again silent. “Oh Mr. Sharpe, if?'—and poor Lady Carysfort was mute from utter exhaustion. “May I ring for assistance, Sir William 7” “No, Sir; I want no witnesses of this unhappy scene.” “Allow me to open the window, Sir, and then to retire; I will wait on her Ladyship at any other time when she feels more composed.” Sir William approached the bell himself, and I was about to withdraw. '
“l think, Sir William,” said Miss St. Clair, “Mr. Sharpe's suggestion, however painful, is unavoidable; ” but I had had enough of it, and expressing hastily my regret at having been the unintentional cause of so much distress, I left the room, intending to call again the following day. I received the following laconic letter, however, in less than an hour: “Sir William Carysfort's compliments to Mr. Sharpe, he is requested to send his account to Mr. Longhead, the family solicitor, who has Sir William’s order to discharge it. Mr. Longhead’s familiar acquaintance with the domestic circumstances of Sir William, points him out as the proper party to bring this affair to a conclusion.”
I soon had the mystery explained by my friend Miss Gordon. Mr. and Mrs. Wassingham had been separated by deed, for fifteen years, and the union of Sir William and Lady Carysfort was generally understood to be one, though they were received in society, that would have subjected more plebeian folks to certain pains and penalties. One so ignorant of fashionable scandal as myself, and so little versed in heraldry as never to have heard of the extinct title of Lord Carisbrook, could scarcely be expected to be skilled in family settlements. Mr. Longhead managed matters better, and wound up the distribution of the father's estate by an amicable suit which lasted fifteen years.