‘What do you mean to do?’
‘You will remember what you undertook. The family are in immediate want of money. If you are satisfied with what I have done, give me leave to stop the sale of their valuables.’
‘What! got to that pass! A galloping consumption. When I undertake a thing, I do it; I’ll take up the mortgages to the tune I scored, but I won’t tear them up till the marriage is accomplished.’
Charles explained what the immediate need was.
‘Very well,’ said the old man; ‘give me a bill of sale on the furniture and plate and pictures, and I’ll advance the money. I’m not such a fool as to give without security.’
That was the utmost Charles could obtain from his father.
‘There is no knowing,’ said the old man. ‘The young woman may mean right enough, but the aristocratical relations may interfere, and blow themselves out with pride, and refuse consent; then—what about my money? As for the mortgages, I’ll see to them at once. Those of Emmanuel shall be taken up immediately, and when the registers are signed, I’ll tear them to shreds. As for ready money, I’ll advance something on the stock-in-trade, but only if I have a bill on them to enable me to seize in default of fulfilment of conditions.’
Charles was obliged to be content with this. He returned the same day to Kingsbridge.
‘You’ve had a long journey,’ said Mr. Worthivale. ‘I was amazed when told you had gone to town. Nothing the matter with your father, I hope?’
‘Nothing at all,’ answered the young man. Then, after looking inquiringly at the steward, ‘I say, do you recall a certain conversation you had with my father?’
‘Bless my soul! he overflowed with conversation, and every word was precious. To what do you particularly allude?’
Mr. Worthivale knew very well what was meant, but he was reluctant to have this topic retouched. Lucy had told him nothing. With his ideas, the suggestion of old Cheek had seemed to him a sort of blasphemy.
‘Well,’ said Charles Cheek, ‘it has come about after all. Lady Grace has passed her word to me.’
‘Stuff and nonsense.’
‘It is a fact. I went up to town last night to communicate it to my father. If you are in immediate need of cash he will advance it on the security of the contents of Court Royal and Kingsbridge House.’