Page:Court Royal.djvu/243

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‘Of late? Did you hear much of him formerly?’

‘I heard something.’

‘What was it? I want to know.’

‘Young men will be young men,’ said Captain Ottley. ‘It is not till their livers have grown that they become sedate and reliable. You may depend upon it, my dear old fellow, the liver is the fly-wheel of the system.’

‘My daughter is engaged to the Marquess. I have heard a story about him which has made me very uneasy.’

‘Fiddlesticks! I tell you what it is, Rigsby: this cursed depressing Devonshire climate has begun to act on your liver and make it torpid. Why, bless my soul! any man out of Devonshire would be shrieking with delight at the prospect of marrying his daughter to a marquess, and here you are looking as blue over it as a calomel pill.’

‘My daughter’s happiness is dearer to me than life. Unless I am assured that she will be treated with kindness and respect, be made much of and valued, I shall not consent to the union. What I have heard affects the Marquess’s moral character.’

‘I heard something about him when first I came to Plymouth. He had been wild and extravagant, and had run away with a Jewess.’

‘The wife of another.’

‘Yes, I remember that. But all that is past, and he has been sober since; not a scandal about him for many years. Besides, consider the temptations which beset a young man here, and that young man the heir to a dukedom. Unless he had a very old head on young shoulders he would be certain to get into a scrape. You must not make too much of this old scandal. It is with the dead. I dare say there are incidents in your past which you are thankful are buried.’

‘I do not know any,’ said Mr. Rigsby. ‘I have always been steady. You see I have made a fortune. That is the seal of approval Heaven has set on my conduct. Always respectable, always. That is why I have no sympathy with a man who has sown his wild oats. I never sowed anything but coffee.’

‘How have you come to hear this now?’

Mr. Rigsby told his friend of the visit of Lazarus.

‘Lazarus,’ exclaimed Captain Ottley, and pulled a long face. ‘Confound the man, he has his fingers in every pie and pocket. He has even dipped into mine.’