Page:Court Royal.djvu/375

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thought was, ‘Three thousand will obscure bad intonation and grammatical slips.’

As she went upstairs she wondered whether it would be well to allow John-Conolly, her son, to take a fancy to the girl. ‘Not,’ she considered, ‘till I know exactly her value. Her father’s will can be seen in the Probate Court for a shilling.’

She touched one of her daughters. ‘My dear Lettice,’ she whispered, ‘if Mr. Charles Cheek should ask you to dance, be civil. It is true that his antecedents leave much to be desired, but he has, and will have, money.’

Mr. Cheek was there, much disappointed at not being able to appear in company with Lady Grace and the Marquess. Still, though debarred their companionship, Charles was not disposed to forego the gratification. He was becoming very tired of the uniformity of life in the country, and depressed by the cloud of troubles which hung over Court Royal. At first he did not observe Joanna. But on going up to speak to the Hon. Mrs. Yellowleaf, and engage Miss Lettice for a dance, his eye met that of Joanna. A look of incredulity, then of blank amazement, then of amused delight, swept across his face. ‘Halloo!’—he checked himself when ‘Joe’ was on his lips, and substituted ‘Miss Rosevere.’

‘You know Miss Rosevere?’ asked Mrs. Yellowleaf in trepidation. She had noticed the change of expression in his face.

‘Oh yes! old acquaintances,’ answered Charles, with his eyes still on Joanna, full of wonder and question.

‘Where have you met?’ asked Mrs. Yellowleaf.

‘At—at—the Duke of Kingsbridge’s—Court Royal,’ answered Charles, dashing at the first name that occurred to him.

‘How is the Duke?’ asked Joanna, with composure. ‘And dear old Lord Ronald? So grieved to see that the Archdeacon is dead. The blow must have been severe to his Grace. The brothers were so attached.’

‘Oh, well—that is, not very well. I am just come from Court Royal.’

‘Indeed,’ said Joanna. ‘And sweet Lady Grace, and Lucy Worthivale?’

‘They are well,’ answered Charles, puzzled beyond description. How did the girl know anything about the Eveleighs?

‘You were not at the Christmas ball,’ said Joanna, ‘when the Rigsbys were staying at the Court, and everyone supposed