all sides, I cannot say. I suppose about two per cent. You have now five or six on your capital. If your money goes into the land you are likely to lose half your income.’
He was silent. Presently Miss Rigsby said, ‘Did they tell you this?’
‘Bless my soul, no! The fine thing is that they are all so cavalier in their aristocratic ideas, that they regard the marriage of Saltcombe with you as a great condescension on their part. They will pocket your money and tolerate you.
‘Then they wanted to swindle us?’ said Dulcina.
‘I wouldn’t call it exactly a swindle. I believe they are far too grand to go into accounts. I dare say they do not know their desperate situation, but have a vague idea that they must have money to make them comfortable, and as you have money they will take you for the sake of your gold.’
Dulcina’s lips became pasty. She drew them together, and her hard eyes glittered like steel beads in the sun.
‘Lord Saltcombe has never shown me much love. He has been civil, that is all. But Aunt Eliza said that in high society great people loved stiffly. It was against etiquette to be ardent.’
‘Lord Saltcombe has not loved you. I asked him point blank if he did, only last night, and he could not say he did.’
‘Lord Saltcombe has not loved me!’ exclaimed Dulcina, with a vicious flash in her face. ‘Do you mean to tell me he has not cared for me—that he has not admired me—that he has not courted me—that he has been peering into my pocket instead of my face all this while, thinking of my money, not of myself?’
‘It is so.’
‘Then I will have nothing to do with him.’ Instead of Dulcina fainting the tears sprang to her eyes, tears of offended vanity, not of pain. ‘I’ll have it out with Aunt Eliza, I will; she vowed he was frantic with love, and hardly knew how to control his passion. Oh, what a liar she is!’