Page:Court Royal.djvu/280

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said, ‘see how brave the dear old man is! how erect the silver head is held! He is no coward; he is not afraid to hear the truth, however dreadful the truth may be.’

The Duke was flattered. He bent forward and kissed his daughter on her brow. Then he leaned back in his chair, and looked from one to another. ‘She exaggerates, no doubt.’

‘It is too true, father,’ said the Marquess, ‘we have got into almost inextricable confusion. Still—there is hope. Worthivale is going to write to the troublesome mortgagees, and arrange for a delay.’

‘Worthivale should never have allowed things to come to this pass. But I see exactly how it is. Worthivale is an alarmist, excellent fellow though he be. He is always crying out that there is no money for anything, and it has become a habit with him to hold up his hands and eyes in despair. He has persuaded himself that we are ruined, and you have been weak enough to listen to him and believe all he says. I know why he is crying out now. He is scared at the idea of my buying Revelstoke. You may tell him that I give it up; thereupon his sky will be set with a triple rainbow.’

‘I agree with you,’ said Lord Edward. ‘Mr. Worthivale has taken his son Beavis into confidence, and the new broom sweeps up a dust. In a little while the dust will settle, and all go on as before.’

‘Oh, Beavis!’ exclaimed the Duke, ‘this is Beavis’s cry of wolf, is it?’

‘Papa,’ said Lady Grace in urgent tones, ‘when the wolf did come the cry was disregarded.’

‘Do not you meddle in those matters, my pretty,’ said the Duke. ‘It was cruel of them to disturb your mind with these false alarms. You should live above all sordid money cares. Go back to your flowers.’ Then turning to the others: ‘Worthivale is a good man of business, he will manage all.’

‘But, papa,’ said Lady Grace, ‘how came you to get this wicked paper? Was it sent you by post?’

‘No, dear. I received a call this morning from a lady, a Sister of Mercy, and she left it.’

‘What! a Sister of Mercy read a Society paper!’

‘Yes—I suppose so—even a Sister of Mercy—that is—but, upon my word, I am so bewildered; I hardly know who she really was. I rather incline to think she was a maniac.’