Page:Court Royal.djvu/35

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water in your hold. I’ve had her seven months, now it is your turn.’

‘I—I!’ stammered the good-natured skipper, ‘I am nae responsible for t’ little lass.’

‘You are. You sent her here. You persuaded the mother to put her with me, and offered her a place in your vessel. As you took the mother, you’re part bound for the child. Now I’ve had enough of her gorging herself on butcher’s meat, and swilling bottled ale, and burning candles at both ends, and flaunting in silks and satins.’

‘None so much o’ t’ latter, I take it, Mr. Lazarus.’

‘Only on Sundays, I allow. But, consider, Mr. Hull, a child can neither be clothed in nor on nothing. You, by the cut of you, I take to be a married man, and know what the cost of dressing children comes to.’

‘This is but one bairn.’

‘I know that; but this child is a girl, and girls cost more in clothes than boys.’

‘Shoo works for you.’

‘Works! Not she—loiters about the Barbican playing with the boys and girls at hopscotch and prisoners’ base. Works! I’ve paid for her schooling.’

‘Does she go to t’ National school?’

‘National school!’ jeered the Jew. ‘A first-rate private school. She is slow at learning. I wish I could extract from her sufficient work to pay for her schooling. Take her away. I’ll turn her out of doors if you don’t. Not under half-a-sovereign would I consent to retain her.’

Mr. Hull considered for a while, then thrust his hand into his pocket and drew forth some money. ‘If this be but a matter o’ brass,’ he said, ‘take it. But I tell thee, I don’t acknowledge the responsibility.’

‘Very well,’ said the Jew, ‘I’ve a feeling heart, and I accept the trifle. It don’t cover her breakages. I had as beautiful a pair of Oriental jars as you might wish to see. They were worth fifty pounds. The child knocked one over with a broom. What did she have a broom in her hand for? Cobwebs! Cobwebs don’t hurt. Spiders break no china. Brooms does. Now there is but one jar remaining, and that is worth seven-and-six, because the pair is broken. That is a loss to a poor man. Take seven-and-six from fifty pounds, and it leaves forty-nine pounds twelve and six. You wouldn’t like to lose forty-nine pounds twelve and six of a morning,