"I WILL NOT GO TO LOUGHLINTER."
Too Long; Didn't ReadThe end of July came, and it was settled that Lady Laura Kennedy should go to Loughlinter. She had been a widow now for nearly three months, and it was thought right that she should go down and see the house, and the lands, and the dependents whom her husband had left in her charge. It was now three years since she had seen Loughlinter, and when last she had left it, she had made up her mind that she would never place her foot upon the place again. Her wretchedness had all come upon her there. It was there that she had first been subjected to the unendurable tedium of Sabbath Day observances. It was there she had been instructed in the unpalatable duties that had been expected from her. It was there that she had been punished with the doctor from Callender whenever she attempted escape under the plea of a headache. And it was there, standing by the waterfall, the noise of which could be heard from the front-door, that Phineas Finn had told her of his love. When she accepted the hand of Robert Kennedy she had known that she had not loved him; but from the moment in which Phineas had spoken to her, she knew well that her heart had gone one way, whereas her hand was to go another. From that moment her whole life had quickly become a blank. She had had no period of married happiness,—not a month, not an hour. From the moment in which the thing had been done she had found that the man to whom she had bound herself was odious to her, and that the life before her was distasteful to her. Things which before had seemed worthy to her, and full at any rate of interest, became at once dull and vapid. Her husband was in Parliament, as also had been her father, and many of her friends,—and, by weight of his own character and her influence, was himself placed high in office; but in his house politics lost all the flavour which they had possessed for her in Portman Square. She had thought that she could at any rate do her duty as the mistress of a great household, and as the benevolent lady of a great estate; but household duties under the tutelage of Mr. Kennedy had been impossible to her, and that part of a Scotch Lady Bountiful which she had intended to play seemed to be denied to her. The whole structure had fallen to the ground, and nothing had been left to her.