already, and, I hope, not for the last time. I beg your pardon, if I addressed you without proper respect.’
‘Come in; come in at once. The hose is playing.’
He drew the Jew after him down the step, and fastened the door. Joanna had already descended. They heard the rush of the water above their heads on the slates.
‘Upon my word,’ said the young man, ‘that was a clever idea of yours, covering the roof with wet carpet.’
‘My Joanna suggested it,’ answered the Jew. ‘A girl that, with the head of a man on her shoulders—but eats like rust, and grows like a debt.’
‘Well done, you girl!’ said the young man. ‘I must have a look at you.’
He turned, and saw Joanna, hanging behind, in shadow. He caught her by the shoulders, and drew her to the window, where the glare of the burning warehouse would fall over her face. She was self-composed, and thrust her wet hair back behind her ears, and then, full of confidence, raised her eyes and encountered his.
‘Upon my word, a fine girl. Of course there are wits behind such great clever eyes. By Jove! there is devilry there as well.’
He dropped his hands, as with a crash the roof of the house opposite fell, and they seemed to be enwrapped in flame and light as of the sun. Then they heard the rattle of falling ashes on the slates above them, and the redoubled roar of the water extinguishing the fire that had lodged overhead.
None of them spoke for some minutes.
Presently Mr. Cheek said, ‘I believe the girl’s expedient has saved your house, Mr. Lazarus. I must have a look at her again by daylight. Now I am off. You did not know me as an amateur fireman, Lazarus, did you? I am hand-and-glove with Captain James. Often help. What is the name of the little devil? Joanna? Farewell for the present, Joanna, we shall see each other again. Au revoir!’