Page:Court Royal.djvu/370

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been validated.

Mr. Worthivale coloured.

‘Lady Grace! Impossible.’ The steward was stupefied. ‘Why, you are nothing, literally nothing, one of the people; and your father is in’—with a shudder—‘trade!’

‘I assure you it is so. Ask Lucy. She was present.’

‘You misunderstood her. It is impossible. Sheer impossible. Your head has been turned. I ought never to have introduced you.’

‘I repeat; she has consented.’

‘But—the Duke—and the Marquess—and Lord Ronald, what will they say?’

‘They have not been asked.’

‘You had better not ask them. As you value your happiness and my regard—don’t. For Heaven’s sake, don’t.’

‘Mr. Worthivale, excuse me, but you seem to think that the advantage is all on my side. Yesterday Lord Saltcombe and Lord Ronald were packing the valuables to be sent to London for sale. There is therefore desperate immediate need of money. I come offering to relieve them from their difficulties—at least from those most urgent. The mortgages to the amount of two hundred thousand pounds will be taken up by my father, and on our marriage he will give them over. The pictures may be rehung, the plate unpacked, the jewels and china replaced. I do not know what the sum is in immediate requisition, but my father is ready to advance it—so long as it is under ten thousand—on receipt of the consent of the Duke and the Marquess to the contents of these two houses, of which you will furnish a list, being the security for the sum.’

‘Not a word of this to them! Lord Saltcombe will never forgive me. My goodness! What presumption there is in the rising generation! To them nothing is sacred! I suppose, sir, you are a blazing Radical!’

‘I have no political opinions, having nothing to gain or lose.’

‘Leave this matter in my hands,’ said the steward. ‘I will see the Duke. I will manage about the bill. I must rush off now, and stop the packing of the pictures and the carriage of the plate. I was to have gone to town with all the things, and done my best with them.’

‘You are welcome to arrange with the Duke about the bill, but I cannot have you interfere between me and Lady Grace,’

‘I—I! I would not dream of mentioning it. You have been deluded.’