Page:Court Royal.djvu/287

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‘This is a civil reception, is it not?’ exclaimed the young man. ‘What else can I want of you but money? I am cleaned out, and desire accommodation till my father relaxes. He is out of humour just now, and will send me no more than my allowance. As if a young fellow of spirit could live within his allowance!’

‘Why did you not come to my office at a proper time?’ asked Lazarus, almost rudely.

‘Because money-lending and money-taking are proper to you at all times.’

‘I can let you have no more. You have had abundance, and I shall lose what I have lent already.’

‘How much is that?’

‘I cannot tell till I have looked.’

‘Well, go and see.’

Lazarus rose reluctantly from his chair, and, taking a candle, lit it at the fire and went to his room. When Joanna saw that he was gone she drew near to Charles Cheek, and looking up in his face with a grave expression said, ‘Do not come here after money. Lazarus will ruin you.’

‘But I must have money. If my father will not find it, I must obtain it elsewhere.’

‘When did you see your father last?’

‘A century ago.’

‘Why do you see him so seldom?’

‘Because I am not partial to lectures on extravagance.’

‘You deserve them. Go to your father; tell him the truth; promise him to be more prudent.’

‘No use, Joanna. I cannot be prudent. It is not in me. I must spend, just as the sun emits light and the musk fragrance.’

‘Neither of these exhausts itself. You must not, you must not, indeed, come to Lazarus. I know how this works. In seven years I ought to know. It brings inevitably to ruin, and I would not have you come to that.’

‘Why not, Joey?’

‘Because I like you, Charlie.’

Both laughed. His impertinence had been met and cast back in his face.

‘Upon my word, Joanna, I wish you could take me in hand and manage me; then something might be made out of me.’

‘I cannot take that responsibility on me. I turn coats,