Page:Court Royal.djvu/304

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‘I know I am not as clever as you are, governor, but—you have put matters more forcibly than pleasantly.’

‘What have you done? Look at this! Ugh!’

The old man flung a note across the table at him, then made a grab at the almonds, filled his hand, and began to eat them ravenously.

Charles took a letter out of the envelope, unfolded it leisurely, and proceeded to read. He expected to find that his tailor or wine merchant had appealed to his father for payment of a long-standing account. What he saw made the colour rush to his face, and turn him scarlet to the roots of his hair. He glanced up, and saw that his father had riveted his dark piercing eyes on him, whilst he ate savagely almond after almond. The letter was as follows:—

‘Honoured and monokeratic Sir,—I take my pen in hand, hoping that this finds you as it leaves me. Sir, I feel that I can have no peace of mind till I make you acquainted with our engagement, that is, the engagement of me and Charlie, and ask your blessing on our approaching union. When Charlie told me he wished I was his wife, you might have knocked me down with a feather, I was that taken aback. I could do no other than give consent, seeing he had behaved so handsome to me, in giving me a necklace of pearls and a beautiful rose-coloured silk gown (which, I am grieved to say, through no fault of mine, has since been injured by Ems water). Charlie and I have been cabineted together, holding hands as agreed and acknowledged lovers, and we only await your blessing, honoured and monokeratic sir, to become the happiest of couples. Charlie has gone up to town to break the news to you, and to solicit your approval. He will tell you of our long attachment, and assure you of my best intentions to love and honour you as a daughter, the which (in prospective) I beg to subscribe myself,

Joanna Rosevere.

‘C/o Mr. Lazarus,

‘The Golden Balls,


‘P.S.—I will send you our united cabinet as soon as the proof comes, which I trust will be to-morrow.’

Charles Cheek’s first sensation was amazement; then he felt disposed to laugh. The letter was so droll, so impertinent, and so inferior in style to what he expected from Joe. But all inclination to laugh was taken from him by his father’s