the money. I must stop the noise first; there is no dealing because of it.’
Then, feebly assisted by the woman, the pawnbroker carried the child, kicking, tearing, howling, into the kitchen, to the coalhole, into which he thrust her. Then he tried to lock her in, but she dashed herself against the door, and beat the lock when he attempted to fasten it. After many efforts he succeeded in turning the key.
‘There,’ said he, ‘squall yourself hoarse. Bang your hands and knees raw. No one will heed.’
He returned to the shop with the mother, who was trembling and crying.
He shut the kitchen door, and the shop door leading into the house likewise; nevertheless the cries and thumpings from the coalhole were still audible, though distant and muffled.
Mr. Lazarus wiped his brow. ‘There is life in the child. There are will and pertinacity,’ he said. ‘She knows her own mind, which is more than do many. Here is the half-sovereign.’
‘Thank you, sir. You understand, I don’t sell her.’
‘Of course not, of course not.’
‘I only pawn her,’ said the woman, timidly.
‘To be sure, to be sure.’
‘And, sir, I want my ticket.’
‘The pawn-ticket, sir, so that when I bring the money I may have my child back out of pawn.’
‘By all means,’ said Mr. Lazarus. ‘And when shall we say the time is up?’
‘Well, sir, if I may make it seven years, I’ll take it as a favour. Joanna is now twelve, and in seven she’ll be nineteen. I may be able to redeem her in a few months, but I cannot tell. I’m going away in a ship, and I don’t know where to. I should like a margin, so as to give me plenty of time to look about, and scrape.’
‘Certainly,’ said Mr. Lazarus. ‘Seven years let it be. The interest will be ten per cent. A shilling a year. In seven years that will be seven shillings for interest. I’ll write you out the ticket at once. Hand me over the wedding-ring again. You took it up just now. The half-sovereign and the six-and-six—less twopence for the ticket, that makes sixteen-and-four. This is what you want to lay out in dry clothes. We will see if we can suit you. The myrtle-green and cream lace won’t do.