Page:Court Royal.djvu/210

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‘Go on with your story,’ said the girl. ‘What happened after that?’

‘To me?’

‘I know without your telling me what happened to you. You settled deeper into dirt and drudgery.’

‘As for her and the Marquess,’ Lazarus continued, ‘they were soon separated. His uncle, the Lord Ronald Eveleigh, went out after them as hard as he could. What took place between them I do not know; but I know the end was that the Marquess returned to England, left the army, and settled at Court Royal. What became of Rachel I never heard. She took care not to communicate with me, and I did not trouble myself to enquire after her. Whether she is on the stage or at the bottom of the sea is one to me. We have not met since, but I have a sort of idea she has taken to the theatre as her profession. It suited her tastes; she was fond of dress and display, and excitement, and was vain of her beauty. The Golden Balls did not agree with her; the Barbican, and the smell of Sutton Pool, and the life in a shop were all distasteful; besides, she never took keenly to me.’

‘Did you love her very much?’

‘Of course I did. She was young and beautiful, and I had never cared for any woman before. We might have been so happy,’ sighed the Jew, ‘and had a family to attend to the business; a girl to mind the kitchen, another to turn the old coats; and a boy would have been mighty useful to me in the shop and at my office up in town.’

‘Do you love her still?’

‘I know this: I hate the Marquess mortally,’ he said. ‘He has spoiled my life, he has taken from me my wife, has made a home to be no home at all, and has robbed me of every hope in the future.’

‘But why do you try to drag down those who have never offended you—the Duke, and Lady Grace, and Lord Ronald?’

‘I cannot touch him apart from them. They are all tied in one bundle, and must go together. You can see that, I suppose, by the light of reason.’

Joanna was silent.

Then the Jew looked round at the table and growled. ‘A precious big hole you’ve eaten in the beefsteak pie, and gobbled up three-quarters of the cheesecakes. I hope you are satisfied at last, eh?’