Page:Court Royal.djvu/427

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415
TWO PICTURES.

establishment in town, gathering in money as fast as he could, with both hands.

The old man’s objections to his son’s marriage with Joanna gave way when he found she was entitled to the whole of the Jew’s fortune, amounting to seventy thousand pounds. ‘A clever girl—a girl of the period,’ he said; knows how to work her way to the fore. She would have been invaluable to me in my shop.’

Never had the state rooms of Court Royal looked so brilliant and beautiful as this night. Charles Cheek stood in the drawing-room receiving his guests. But we beg his pardon, he is no longer Mr. C. Cheek, but Mr. Cheek-Rosevere—he has assumed his wife’s name in addition to his own. Every now and then Charles looked round in expectation and uneasiness for Joanna, who was not present. Prepossessing and handsome, with his fair hair, light moustache, and pleasant blue eyes, he had a cheerful greeting for everyone. ‘But where is Joanna?’ he thought, and the guests looked round also, and wandered through the rooms in quest of their hostess. ‘How very odd! Why is not Mrs. Cheek-Rosevere here to receive us?’

Presently, when all had arrived, a couple of scarlet and buff footmen threw open a door to an inner room and boudoir, and in loud voices announced

Mrs. Cheek-Rosevere!!!’

Whereupon Joanna appeared, charmingly dressed in the richest pearl silk, and wearing abundance of diamonds, holding a bouquet of hothouse flowers in each hand; she sailed, smilingly, looking very lovely, down the room, bowing to the right and to the left, giving a hand to none—how could she, holding flowers in each hand?

‘My dear Joe!’ said Charles to her after everyone was gone, ‘how could you behave as you did? It was rude—it was grossly impertinent, and we are such new comers.’

‘My dear Charlie,’ answered Joanna, with perfect self-satisfaction, ‘I know what I am about. Lady Grace could not have done it, and would not; she could afford to be condescending and sweet; her position was unassailable. On the other hand, we are nobodies, who have risen to the surface through trade. We cannot afford to be gracious, or folks will say we are pleading to be received into society. We must be insolent, and take our place by storm.’

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