Page:Court Royal.djvu/104

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pearls belonged to her, and she was born to wear them. Why, if Joanna were to appear at the hunt or the subscription ball, the gentlemen would swarm round her, and the ladies die of envy.’

‘She shall go,’ laughed the Jew, ‘I will send her there.’

Charles Cheek shook his head and laughed.

‘Why do you shake your head?’ asked Joanna, looking hard at him.

‘It wouldn’t do,’ he answered.

‘Why not?’ she asked.

‘There are reasons that make it impossible.’

‘What reasons?’

‘There are none,’ broke in the Jew. ‘If I choose to send her to the subscription ball, who is to say me nay?’

‘You could not send her alone. A lady must chaperone her,’ explained the young man, hesitatingly. He did not wish to hurt Joanna’s feelings by entering into particulars.

‘Why not?’ shouted Lazarus. ‘If I will that she go, I can find plenty of ladies to take her, who must take her because I desire it. Ladies of good position will do me a favour if I ask it. They dare not refuse.’

‘I do not dispute your power, Father Lazarus; I say the thing is impossible, because Joanna has too much common sense to venture where she does not know her ground.’

Joanna fired to her temples and said nothing more.

The Jew was more obtuse; he said, ‘What! don’t she look every inch a lady? It is the dress—the dress makes the lady.’

‘Put that rose silk on one of the rowdy women or girls quarrelling or rollicking in the street now, and she will look a bedizened monkey, or something worse. No, Mr. Lazarus; it is not the dress that makes the lady, it is the lady that makes the dress. When are you going to learn dancing, Joanna?’

‘I do not know.’

‘Where?’

‘Here.’

‘Who are going to dance with you?’

‘No one.’

‘Then you will never learn. I will come and be your partner. Lazarus! sweep together some of your Mosaic girls, and I’ll bring a friend or two, and we will have the jolliest dancing lessons imaginable.’