Page:Court Royal.djvu/288

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not those who wear them. But I can advise you. I do entreat you to listen to me. I speak because you have been kind to me, and I do not meet with so much kindness as to be indifferent to those who show it me. I would like to see you out of Lazarus’s books. You can give him no security—only your note of hand. Do you consider what interest he takes on that? There—go home, see your father, tell him what you want; make no promises if you are too weak to keep them.’

‘I wish you would let me come here sometimes and ask you what I am to do when in a hobble. You have brains.’

‘Do what I ask you now, and you may. It is vain to expect help if you will not follow advice.’

‘Upon my word,’ said the young man, ‘I wish it were possible for me to make you Mrs. Charlie Cheek, and then, maybe, you would be able to make a man of me.’

‘Not possible,’ said Joanna.

‘Why not?’

‘The material is not present out of which to make a man.’

Then both laughed, but Charles Cheek laughed constrainedly, and coloured. She had cut him to the quick, but the cut did him good. He was a kindly, easy-disposed young man, without guile, marred by bad bringing up. He had one rare and excellent quality: he was humble and knew his own shortcomings. Joanna was wrong. With that, the making of a man was in him. Had he been conceited, it would not.

‘How much do you want?’ asked Lazarus, entering. He had heard them laugh, and supposed they had made a joke about him.

‘Nothing,’ answered the young man. ‘I have changed my mind. I’ll try my father again before I come to you, Blood-sucker!’


Well, Joe, flourishing?’

‘Middling, Charlie.’

Joanna was seated in the shop of the Golden Balls next day behind the counter, engaged on her needlework, when