answered Mr. Crudge. ‘But you must not expect of me to confide to you matters concerning my clients, and to assist you with advice which may thwart their interests, which I am here to advance.’
‘Of course not. I merely ask your purpose in coming here,’ said Beavis.
‘That is no secret,’ answered the solicitor. ‘Among other debts weighing on the property is a mortgage on the Kingsbridge estate, held by the Stephens Brothers, which has been called in. The Duke finds a difficulty in raising the money, and he further wishes to raise a trifle of a few thousand. I have a client who will advance the entire sum. There is nothing extraordinary in this, nor is the Duke threatened in any way.’
‘What is the name of your client?’
‘Emmanuel. The transfer of the mortgage will not affect the Duke in the least. The debt remains, and the interest will be paid to Mr. Emmanuel instead of to Messrs. Stephens.’
‘I do not like this,’ said Beavis. ‘An Emmanuel, I suppose the same man, has the mortgage on the home estate, with park and mansions. Does this fellow, Emmanuel, know the condition we are in?’
‘I know his thoughts as little as yourself,’ answered Crudge, who wished to bring this conversation to an end.
‘This is the third time the name of Emmanuel has turned up in the affairs of the Duke.’
‘It is possible.’
‘I see,’ said Beavis; ‘you will say no more. Well, good-night. At what time will you be at my father’s office tomorrow?’
‘At half-past ten or eleven.’
‘Say eleven. Allow me time to have an interview first with the Marquess. Good-night.’
When Beavis was gone, Crudge shrugged his shoulders. ‘No good in that fellow. Bitten with the aristocratic craze. Wouldn’t I only like to have my claws as firm as himself in the wool! Bob, bob, bob—till I fed on the fat of the dying wether.’
On Beavis’s return, he saw that there was a light in the study. His father had not gone to bed. Beavis was glad of it, as he felt in no mood for sleep, so he knocked at the door and went in.
Mr. Worthivale was sitting over the fire, with a slipper-