Page:Court Royal.djvu/329

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‘Besides, you would not be giving your money, only investing it most safely,’

‘I have made my proposals,’ said the elder Cheek. ‘To them I stick as cobbler’s wax.’

‘I cannot listen to you!’ exclaimed the steward. ‘You might as well sue for the moon.’ He paced the room, swinging his arms; he was hot with indignation.

‘I do not want the moon. I want that young woman’—Worthivale shivered—‘for my son. She’ll make a tidy daughter-in-law. As for those old codgers’—Worthivale’s blood curdled (their lordships—codgers!)—‘they are like turkey-cocks in a barn-yard, ruffling feathers and gobbling at the little fowl. She’s other. Wouldn’t give herself high and mighty airs.’

‘For Heaven’s sake!’ cried the steward, putting his hands to his ears, ‘have done, or I will leave the room.’

‘Needn’t go,’ said Mr. Cheek. ‘I’m off, next coach. Time valuable. Can’t afford to waste it like a parcel of gorgeous good-for-noughts.’

‘Going!’ exclaimed the steward, aghast, and standing still. ‘You are not going to-day. To-day is the twenty-third: I invited you to be here when we meet Crudge, the solicitor for Mr. Emmanuel.’

‘Can’t waste my time. Sheer waste. Made my proposal—refused. Enough; I go.’

‘But the investment is so good.’

‘Know of a score better.’

‘But—but you led me to expect——

‘Nothing. Never committed myself. Too old a bird for that. Said I would come and look about me. Have done so, taken stock, and made a bid.’

‘Which I refuse.’

‘It has not been submitted to the proper parties.’

‘If by proper parties you mean the Duke and Lady Grace, I absolutely refuse to mention it to them. They—I mean the Duke—would kick me out of the house. She—Lady Grace—I would not dare to look her in the face again.’

‘As you like,’ said Mr, Cheek, washing his hands in the air. ‘Don’t take amiss. When dry will brush off. I leave by next coach. One thing, however, I do ask. Allow Charles to remain. Don’t want him to be back in Plymouth yet. Understand?’

‘Let him stay here, by all means.’