worth a vast sum of money, and the steward, Mr. Worthivale, calculates to clear the property with her fortune. If you’ve got some of the mortgages, it is all right. You’ll have the money.’
‘I do not want the money. I will not be paid off!’ cried the Jew, dashing his hands against his forehead.
Joanna took some more beefsteak pie. ‘That is the first time I have heard you decline money,’ she said dryly. ‘What do you want? Not the property! Not to be a great landlord? Not to pig in Court Royal?’
‘I will refuse the money. I will keep my grip on them.’
Joanna poured herself out some stout.
‘If they choose to clear you off they can. I believe it is Mr. Worthivale’s intention to do so immediately after the marriage has taken place,’ she said.
‘Who are these Rigsbys? Where are they?’
‘I have told you what Mr. Rigsby is. They have taken a house in Plymouth or Stoke. They have taken a house there for the winter.’
‘Do they know the state of affairs?’
‘I cannot tell. I have not talked with them. I have found out a great deal. You cannot expect me to see into people’s heads as if they were water-bottles. It is only cheapjacks who expose all their contents to the public.’
‘Is this Rigsby a fool to sink his fortune in redeeming land which is daily depreciating in value?’
‘I do not think he is a fool. He does not look like it.’
‘Joanna! this spoils all my schemes. I have toiled and spun to get my web round them; and now are they to escape me? I could knock my brains out against the wall to think it.’
‘Why should you wish the family harm? They are good people, a long way above such goodness as you or I could aspire to. They are loved and respected by all who know them. They hurt no one, and bless many. I am glad that there is a chance of their recovery.’
‘I do not care for my money. I want to have them down, down under my feet.’
‘Then I will help you no more. What harm have they done you?’
‘The worst, the deadliest harm of all.’
‘And you are moving against them out of personal revenge? I thought all you wanted was to be sure of your money.’