Page:Court Royal.djvu/351

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339
THE FALL OF A PILLAR.

orphans of the diocese, four hundred to the County Hospital, one hundred to the S.P.G., and one hundred to the C.M.S. All the rest of his property was to go to his niece Grace. But when his affairs were looked into, it was further discovered that his real property had been got rid of, sunk in the great Kingsbridge vortex in loan upon loan. Further, it was discovered that dilapidations on the rectory, and the chancel, and some cottages on the glebe, would amount to a thousand pounds, which the widow would be called upon by that horse-leech Queen Anne to pay.

It was further discovered that Lord Edward was several hundred pounds in arrear to the Glastonbury Bank. Also, that the butcher’s bill (mutton never below tenpence) for the last eighteen months was unpaid, and amounted to one hundred and forty pounds four shillings and five pence three farthings. The grocer’s bill for the last two years had been a running account, with running discharges of a few pounds at random; the wine merchant’s had not been attempted to be paid except by fresh orders. Lord Ronald was executor. It cost him fifty pounds to prove a will which left nothing to anybody but debts. The Madras Railway bonds had been sold a week before the death of the Archdeacon, and what had become of the money nobody knew. No money was found in the house, except thirteen shillings and sixpence, the proceeds of the sale of part of the sheep to parishioners, at sixpence per pound.

Lord Ronald was obliged to write to the Duke to entreat him to send him some money to cover immediate expenses. This the Duke was fortunately able to do out of the proceeds of the Madras Railway bonds, which had gone to him, and he had given the Archdeacon a note of hand for the amount, which somehow could not be found.

Most fortunately the club accounts, and the church accounts, were in perfect order, as were those of the diocesan societies of which the Archdeacon was treasurer. This was only so because these were managed by Lady Elizabeth, who kept all the money received in green baize bags, properly labelled, in a locked cupboard, suspended to pegs, like Bluebeard’s wives. The curate, however, had not received his salary for the last half-year. The servants had all been paid recently. Lady Elizabeth discharged their wages out of her private purse. Unfortunately for the curate, she did not pay his. As soon as he was able to get away, Lord Ronald returned to Court Royal. He had been very warmly attached to his brother