A few days after the events related in the foregoing chapters, Lazarus plunged into the kitchen with the newspaper in his hand, in hot excitement.
‘Joanna!’ he exclaimed, ‘my dear Joanna, put down the saucepan at once, and follow me into my room. I have something very particular to say. Providence is playing into our hands. Look at the paper, read that!’
He thrust it towards her.
‘My hands are wet,’ she said; ‘I cannot take the paper without reducing it to pulp. Read what you want me to know; I can listen and scour the saucepan.’
‘You cannot. I want your close attention. Put down the pan. Here, come into my room, away from the distractions of a kitchen. Take a seat. I have much to explain to you. Now, at last, you may render me valuable service.’
‘I have rendered you that for many years. I have recently saved your house from fire and your throat——'
‘Do leave my throat alone; you are continually making allusions to it which are painful.’
Joanna followed him into his room, and wiped her hands on her apron. He held the sheet to her, and indicated the lines she was to read. The paper was a Plymouth daily newspaper of local circulation, widely distributed in the West of England. The Jew had indicated the advertisement columns.
‘Well,’ said Joanna, ‘this does not concern me. “Wanted, a housemaid, immediately, in a gentleman’s family; steady, experienced, not under twenty, a churchwoman; must have good recommendations. Wages, 16l. Apply, Mr. C. Worthivale, Court Royal Lodge, Kingsbridge.”'
‘It does concern you.’
‘Only so far as to show me how little I get working for you. I am not going into service elsewhere—no such luck.’
‘But I do want you to go into service with the advertiser.’
‘What! Leave you?’
‘Yes, for three months; then to return.’