Mr. Worthivale. ‘Really, Beavis, I think you unreasonable. I can get four-and-a-half for Lucy if I lend it to the Duke—on security of course. There is absolutely no risk. Lord Saltcombe will be married within six months, and at once, if you desire it, the money can be replaced in the funds.’
‘It shall not be taken out.’
‘Beavis,’ said the steward, testily, ‘I am not responsible to you. I am trustee of my daughter’s money, and she is old enough to know her own mind. I did not wish to do anything without your knowledge, but I am not bound to follow your advice. If I thought there was the smallest doubt about the safety of the money, I would not make this proposal; but I have not a shadow of doubt. All I want is time; with time everything will come right.’
‘I protest,’ said Beavis.
‘Beavis!’ exclaimed Lucy, throwing her arms round his neck, and hiding her face on his shoulder, to conceal the tears that were gathering in her eyes; ‘Beavis, it goes to my heart to oppose you in anything, but in this I am as resolute as yourself. Father, you have my full consent. Do not listen to my brother. Oh, Beavis! I am ready to do all I can—for dear Lady Grace’s sake.’
Then Beavis sighed.
‘It is as you will, Lucy. I am powerless to do more than protest. When a great ship founders, it draws down all the vessels round it into the abyss.’
Court Royal resumed its old appearance. Invitations were sent round, and the whole of South Devon was thrilled with expectation. There was to be a succession of dinner-parties and a splendid ball, which would be attended by the officers from Plymouth and Exeter, and by all the young ladies of position in the neighbourhood. For some years the Duke had given no great entertainments. His health furnished the excuse; now, in spite of his health, Court Royal was to become the scene of festivities on a large scale.