Page:Court Royal.djvu/171

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‘I apprehend your meaning,’ said Beavis. ‘You ask me to sanction what you have already resolved on in your own heart, the sinking our little savings—I mean yours: I have nothing—in the Kingsbridge debt. The money is yours. It is what you have laid by. Do with it what you will. I will not reproach you.’

‘It is not that exactly,’ said Mr. Worthivale, rubbing his hands nervously together. ‘Most providentially, most providentially, I say,’ with great emphasis on the word, ‘I took my money out of Argentine bonds in time—before they went to zero.’

‘Well, father, and then.’

‘Then—I looked about for a safe investment, and really, upon my word, I saw none better than a small mortgage on the Charlecombe estate of the Duke’s.’

‘Very well. It is there. What then do you want?’

‘If I had left it in the Argentines,’ argued Mr. Worthivale, ‘I should have had nothing for it.’

‘And have you drawn your interest since?’

‘Not of late,’ answered the steward. ‘There have been other and more pressing demands.’

‘Then what do you want us to consent to, father?’

Mr. Worthivale fidgeted with his hands and feet, then, whilst feeling the button of his collar, which he pretended was coming off, he said, shyly, ‘There is Lucy’s four thousand pounds, left her by her mother.’

‘No,’ said Beavis sharply; ‘they shall not be touched.’

‘Beavis,’ exclaimed his sister, ‘I entreat you, do not deprive me of the pleasure, the pride, of contributing my little share.’

‘No,’ said her brother hotly, ‘I will never consent to this.’

‘Then you will deprive me of a great happiness. I have spent my life, so far, at Court Royal, lived on the kindness of the dear people there. They have loved me as if I were of their blood. The Duke makes no distinction between me and his own daughter. Lord Ronald is kindness itself. I would give my heart’s blood for Lady Grace. Oh, Beavis! you are cruel. Do you not understand that it is a privilege and a pleasure to do something, to sacrifice something, for those one loves? Let the money go. Who cares?’

‘No, Lucy, emphatically no,’ said Beavis firmly.

‘The money is now in the Consols at three per cent.,’ said