Page:Court Royal.djvu/380

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She felt—she did not see—a shiver of suppressed laughter about her. The fading beauty turned deadly white, rose and left the place.

‘What a pity it is,’ said the lady who took the vacated chair, addressing Mrs. Delany across Joanna, ‘that the possession of money should be deemed a sufficient qualification for admission! There are persons in this room who have no other right to be here.’

‘But there are persons admitted who have not even money qualifications,’ said Joanna. ‘Persons glad to get a guinea from the Jews for a gown of old gold and black lace.’

The lady sprang up as if she had been stung, and Mrs. Delany burst out laughing; the old gold with black lace was well known.

‘As for Cornish mines in which some people have their money,’ remarked another, who had not spoken before, ‘I am well assured that such property is as unsatisfactory as castles in Spain.’

‘Or,’ observed Joanna, speaking aloud but addressing no one, ‘or as husbands at sea, always at sea, but never seen, like the Flying Dutchman.’

In the midst of the silence that ensued, Charles Cheek came up and offered her his arm. She rose and took it. Her colour was heightened and her eyes sparkled.

‘Good heavens, Joe! What have you been doing? You have set all the women against you!’

‘The flying-fish can snap as well as the gulls,’ she replied.


When Mrs. Yellowleaf was ready to leave, she intimated her intention somewhat curtly to Joanna. Charles Cheek at once flew to assist her to her cab and muffle her in wraps. Mrs. Yellowleaf’s carriage was first packed and driven off. Then Charles said, ‘Are you by yourself? That must not be. Allow me to accompany you to the Barbican, and see you safely home.’ Ho waited for no reply, but stepped into the carriage beside Joanna.

‘Oh, Joe!’ he said, ‘you have made mortal enemies. Your