Page:Court Royal.djvu/365

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353
TO THE RESCUE.

When he came out, he went at once to the General.

‘The Duke will allow me to act independently; but he desires to be spared particulars. My hands are set free to raise money, but he is not to be consulted how it is to be raised, nor told how it was done when the money is raised. As we want immediate cash, let us have the plate and jewelry overhauled, and get rid of what is not necessary. There is that confounded set of diamonds I bought for Dulcina Rigsby. They cost twelve hundred, and I daresay will fetch two-thirds. As for the family jewelry—I shall never marry, and so the race will expire with me. No Duchess of Kingsbridge will need them. My mother was the last. I have the key to the safe where they are kept.’

‘Let us begin at once, and pack what is not in immediate requisition,’

Lord Saltcombe rang the bell for the butler, and ordered the plate chests to be taken into the state drawing-room, not now likely to be used again; also the cases brought there that would be likely to serve for the packing of valuables. Mr. Blomfield obeyed without a muscle of his face working, and soon the grand room was filled with boxes and piles of silver plate, old salvers engraved with arms, supporters, and coronet, punch bowls, centre-pieces, goblets, christening and caudle cups, urns, kettles, tea and coffee pots, ewers, candelabra,—a mass of metal, much of beautiful workmanship.

‘That,’ said the General, ‘is the great silver salver presented to the Field-Marshal by the City of Ghent, of which he was in possession at the time. He was not Duke then; you see the fulsome inscription in Latin. This must be melted up. It will never do to have it sold as it is, to proclaim the straits to which the Eveleighs have been reduced.’

The butler and the footman packed the plate in the green cloth-lined cases. In former times it had been transported with the Duke to town and back to the country. Consequently the proper conveniences for the reception and removal were ready.

‘Is not this beautiful?’ said the General, pointing to a silver teapot on a lampstand of exquisite workmanship. On one side were represented Chinese picking tea leaves, on the other Chinese ladies sipping the beverage made from them. The groups were enclosed in the most delicate shell and flower work. With it went a cream and a milk jug, and a silver canister, all of equal beauty of workmanship. ‘This set be-