Page:Court Royal.djvu/313

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301
NIBBLING.

entangled Charles. If she has done anything to make her afraid of being found out, I might give her a scare, and bring her to an humble frame of mind. A knowledge of particulars will help me.’

The steward then related the circumstances.

‘Beavis caught her making an analysis of the accounts!’ exclaimed Mr. Cheek. ‘Why, the thing is improbable on the face of it. What could such a girl want with it?’

‘Nothing, that I can see. I said so to Beavis, but Beavis was very positive. She had the books out, she must have searched my pockets to get the key, and she had her head resting on the extracts she had taken. When Beavis roused her, she knocked over the lamp, and slipped her notebook away in the dark.’

‘Did Beavis question her?’

‘No; she bolted.’

‘Bolted at once?’

‘Yes; she did not wait to be questioned.’

‘And she went——

‘We did not trace her. We had no idea whither she had betaken herself.’

‘Now you know. She is with a Jew. Probably went straight to him. I know the man. He is a money-lender as well as a pawnbroker. There was a time when he helped me. Charles has been in his clutches before now. A dangerous man, worth more than you would fancy. Has he any interest in the affairs of the Duke?’

‘None whatever.’

‘Who are the holders of the mortgages? Have you their names? Are any Jews among them?’

‘Yes, several.’

‘Bad,’ said Cheek. ‘The Jews play into each other’s hands, hook on to each other like the links of a fetter.’

‘You do not mean to connect the act of the girl with the mortgagees?’

‘I should not be surprised. I find no other explanation. Beavis thinks so, probably. She came to you pretending inability to read and write?’

‘Yes.’

‘The girl is no ordinary girl,’ said Mr. Cheek, uneasily. ‘I doubt if she will let off Charles as cheap as a hundred pounds. I must inquire into this matter. Must see Lazarus. Haven’t seen or smelt him for years.’