Cashel Byron's Profession
In the month of May, seven years after the flight of the two boys from Moncrief House, a
lady sat in an island of shadow which was made by a cedar-tree in the midst of a
glittering green lawn. She did well to avoid the sun, for her complexion was as delicately
tinted as mother-of-pearl. She was a small, graceful woman, with sensitive lips and
nostrils, green eyes, with quiet, unarched brows, and ruddy gold hair, now shaded by a
large, untrimmed straw hat. Her dress of Indian muslin, with half-sleeves terminating at
the elbows in wide ruffles, hardly covered her shoulders, where it was supplemented by
a scarf through which a glimpse of her throat was visible in a nest of soft Tourkaris lace.
She was reading a little ivory-bound volume--a miniature edition of the second part of
As the afternoon wore on and the light mellowed, the lady dropped her book and began
to think and dream, unconscious of a prosaic black object crossing the lawn towards
her. This was a young gentleman in a frock coat. He was dark, and had a long, grave
face, with a reserved expression, but not ill-looking.
"Going so soon, Lucian?" said the lady, looking up as he came into the shadow.
Lucian looked at her wistfully. His name, as she uttered it, always stirred him vaguely.
He was fond of finding out the reasons of things, and had long ago decided that this
inward stir was due to her fine pronunciation. His other intimates called him Looshn.
"Yes," he said. "I have arranged everything, and have come to give an account of my
stewardship, and to say good-bye."
He placed a garden-chair near her and sat down. She laid her hands one on the other in
her lap, and composed herself to listen.
"First," he said, "as to the Warren Lodge. It is let for a month only; so you can allow Mrs.
Goff to have it rent free in July if you still wish to. I hope you will not act so unwisely."
She smiled, and said, "Who are the present tenants? I hear that they object to the
dairymaids and men crossing the elm vista."
"We must not complain of that. It was expressly stipulated when they took the lodge that
the vista should be kept private for them. I had no idea at that time that you were
coming to the castle, or I should of course have declined such a condition."
"But we do keep it private for them; strangers are not admitted. Our people pass and
repass once a day on their way to and from the dairy; that is all."