Page:Court Royal.djvu/403

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Next moment he was in the hands of the police, summoned by Mrs. Thresher.

‘I give him in charge!’ shouted the Jew. ‘He has half-murdered me in my own house! Take him off to the lock-up!’

So it came about that Charles Cheek spent his Whitsun holidays in confinement.


CHAPTER LVI.
PREPARATORY.

For some weeks Lazarus had been in a bad temper, not at all in a lover’s genial mood. His mortgages had been taken up by Mr. Cheek and his bills met; his power over the Ducal family was ended. Disappointed revenge and frustrated ambition had combined to make him irritable. He was now in possession of a very large sum of money—of the whole of his savings through many years of privation and work, and he did not know what to do with it. He did not, of course, keep the money in the house; it was lodged with his banker. The question that recurred to him again and again was, How should he invest it? The ferment in his mind was a relief to Joanna. It saved her from annoyance. He almost forgot he was a lover in his anxiety about his money.

When they sat together over the kitchen fire, his talk was of the condition of the money market, on promising investments, on the rise and fall of various stock which had attracted his interest; or he spoke fretfully of the selfishness of Cheek senior in coming to the assistance of the Kingsbridge family. At one time Cheek was an idiot, throwing away his money on coroneted fools; at another he was deep and selfish, robbing him, Lazarus, of the fruits of his labours, just as they were ripe for picking.

‘I know what he’ll do,’ grumbled Lazarus. ‘He’ll puff Bigbury as he puffed his Monokeratic system, run up a hotel, build a town and call it Cheekville. Then his son Charles will marry well, become M.P., then Baronet, and so the unicorn will poke its way into respectability.’

But though Lazarus was not an ardent lover, he did not lose sight of the proposed change in his relation to Joanna.