of making a second Torquay out of Bigbury Bay, of the chance of converting the creek of Kingsbridge into a harbour, of the building stone on the estates, of the shale from which petroleum might be extracted, of the slate quarries that only needed opening out and connecting with the sea by a line to supply and roof in the whole south coast of England.
Mr. Cheek had listened with indifference to the enumeration of the merits of the members of the noble house, but when the steward touched on speculative ventures his interest was excited. He ate all the almonds off the raisin dish as fast as he could chew them, and then rang to have the dish replenished.
Mr. Worthivale hinted that his Grace was in need of temporary accommodation, owing to the extravagance of his ancestors and the calling up of some of the mortgages, and he suggested that a better and safer investment for floating capital could not be found.
Mr. Cheek listened with close attention, but said nothing. Such investments apparently possessed no attraction for him. The steward, with all his eloquence, had made no way.
Nevertheless, Worthivale did not abandon hope. The wealthy tradesman had not disputed the feasibility of his schemes, had not said, in so many words, that he would have nothing to do with the mortgages.
Then the conversation drifted to young Charles. Mr. Worthivale said that he had come to town with him.
‘I know what he wants—money,’ said the father, with imperturbable countenance. ‘Never made a penny himself.’
‘I am afraid he gives you a good deal of trouble,’ said the steward.
‘Fine fellow,’ answered old Cheek. ‘Good looks. Ready address. A figure. No Devonshire twang. Can’t get the R’s and the U’s right myself. Never shall. Grāss is long grāss with me, never cropped grăss.’
‘Charles is a very pleasant-looking fellow,’ said Mr. Worthivale, ‘the image of his dear mother.’
‘Mentally, morally, physically,’ acquiesced the trader; ‘can’t expect every man to take to business.’
‘No,’ said Mr. Worthivale; ‘it is born in some, not in others, like an ear for music, a taste for sport, and a hand for carving a goose.’
‘Suppose so,’ said Mr. Cheek.
‘It takes two generations to make a gentleman,’ reasoned