thing the electro-biologist orders. The Duke has made his passes over you—be on your guard. The case is hopeless.’
‘What have you to do with the matter?’
‘I—I? Oh yes! I have lent money. I have taken up a mortgage or two. I’ve burnt my fingers. Perhaps you would like to see what the burdens on the estate are. You shall see.’
He went to his closet and extracted a memorandum-book, and offered it to his visitor.
‘Is this what was extracted by your girl?’ asked Cheek.
‘I see your name nowhere here,’ said the great trader.
‘No—no—but I am there. What do you think of that? Is it ugly or is it beautiful?’
‘Very ugly indeed, for the Duke. Nevertheless, I don’t see any great risk. I shall take over the two mortgages that have been called in.’
‘Others are going to follow,’ said the Jew. ‘I have been to several of the mortgagees, who are my friends, belong to my race, and they are all stirring. Have you seen fowlers out wild-duck shooting when the winds drive the birds near shore? The men make a ring of boats and row inwards, driving the ducks and geese together till they start to fly, and then—bang! bang! bang! from all sides, and down they fall in hundreds. We’ll bring down our ducal ducks. Will you join in the sport?’
Lazarus looked hard at his visitor, and Cheek measured him with his eyes.
‘You are not moving out of love for the Duke?’ said the Jew, derisively; ‘not out of desire to uphold so grand a pillar of the Constitution?’
‘The Duke and the ducal family are nothing to me. I want their land.’
‘Their land and residence; Court Royal, with its park.’
Lazarus laughed maliciously.
Cheek looked hard at him. ‘And you—you would do the same?’
‘Of course. I want their land. I want to smoke them out, smoke ’em out like foxes.’
‘Lion this,’ said Cheek, ‘smoked by fox. Joking apart, what is your game? You want the land. You have an eye on Bigbury Bay, to make of that a second Torquay. You want to work the slate quarries and the petroleum shale. Bah! you have not the capital.’