Page:Tales of John Oliver Hobbes.djvu/301

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A Study in Temptations.

The position which her ladyship found so distressing was briefly this: she had been the second wife of the 14th Earl, by whom she had one son, the father of the present Warbeck. The late Earl, however, had had four other sons by his previous marriage, the youngest of whom (Edmund), he had disowned for marrying a yeoman's daughter. Not to detain the reader with tedious particulars it will be sufficient to say that Destiny had played many sad and unlooked-for tricks with the three elder sons and their children, and now, with the not uncommon irony of human affairs, Jane Shannon, the daughter of the cast-off Edmund, was heiress to the great estate. The Dowager's grandson had the peerage, but the cream of the property—the famous "Drawne acres " of that Anne whom we mentioned in the first chapter—had fallen to Jane. No wonder the Countess could not sleep for bitterness of spirit, and no wonder Warbeck was leaving England that very morning for the Continent.

"After all these thousands of years, to see a Warbeck reduced to poverty!" groaned the Dowager—"I repeat, poverty! Heversham Place is the sort of residence for a superior cottage hospital, and Graylands is only fit to let to some American, or to a Colonial. You cannot possibly live there. No Earl of Warbeck has had his foot inside it since 1550. Drawne estates, indeed! Who would have heard of them if Anne Drawne had not married a Shannon? Who fought for them, bled for them, died for them? No Drawnes, but the Earls of Warbeck. And now this Cattle person is to have them all—and Grosvenor Square, too!" This was her magnificent manner of referring