know, though his Grace is Lord of the Manor of Kingsbridge, he has very little property in the place itself. A higher mortgage could not be got on that. This is at four and three quarters. So is that for forty-six thousand pounds on Court Royal itself. These two are in the hands of a Mr. Emmanuel, and he has given notice that they must be paid within three months. There is another, on Alvington, which we fear will also have to be met. It is not in the same hands, but in those of another Jew.’
‘Well,’ said Lord Ronald, ‘fifty-five thousand pounds is not so prodigious a sum. I suppose these two mortgages can be transferred.’
‘I do not think it. Remember that Court Royal is nearly all park—park and pleasure-ground bring in no rents.’
‘Then some other mortgages must be imposed. If Court Royal and Kingsbridge be relieved, what matter?’
‘We cannot afford to do that; besides, investments of this sort are looked shyly at now.’
‘What is the total of the annual charges on the property?’ asked the Archdeacon.
‘Twenty-four to twenty-five thousand.’
‘And the income?’
‘At present under thirty-five thousand.’
‘Then—living on ten thousand.’
‘No—dying on it, my lord.’
A dead silence ensued. Lady Grace’s eyes were fixed on Beavis. Lord Saltcombe looked through the glass into the park, where the rooks were wheeling and dancing round their nests, which they were repairing with twigs, and stopping with tufts of pine shoots.
‘I have not deducted the annual cost of the property, the rates, taxes—nor the Duke’s thousand.’
‘It is the deuce of a mischief that the marriage has fallen through,’ said the General. ‘That would have set us on our feet again.’
Lord Saltcombe still said nothing.
‘If no one has a suggestion to make,’ said Beavis, ‘I will venture to make one. No one can doubt that I am heart and soul devoted to the cause of your illustrious house. I beg you to listen to me with patience if I am forced to say what is unpleasant. I know the pride, the legitimate pride, of the family. It is this pride which has allowed it to slip into such straits. With a little more readiness to look at facts, and