Page:Court Royal.djvu/97

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get twice the value of the repairs from him, and I think I can patch up the window myself. I am skilful with my knife, and I have diamonds by the dozen wherewith to cut glass. Putty is easily made with white lead and boiled oil. I don’t want any tradesmen in my repository. Light-fingered gents they.’ He looked round his storerooms and rubbed his hands. ‘What a mighty piece of good luck it was that the tow and tallow shop burnt instead of this emporium of beauty and utility! I am sure, Joanna,’ he added, with unction in his tones, ‘we ought to be truly thankful for mercies; and I hope, my child, you will take this to heart, and be thankful that the old housekeeper over the way was burnt instead of me and you.’

‘She escaped,’ said the girl. ‘She was saved by the fire-escape.’

‘That modifies the case,’ observed the Jew. ‘Still, though things did not go as far as they might have gone, we sha’n’t do wrong to be thankful. At least, you can.’ The Jew looked with complacence at his collections of glass, china, furniture, and clothing, and sighed. ‘What a quantity of beautiful things we have here!’ he exclaimed. ‘I could sit by the hour looking at them, watching the play of light over the cupboards and washhandstands, and in and out among the old clothes. It is lovely. Don’t talk to me about landscape! I’ve seen folks sit on the Hoe and look out over Plymouth Sound, and the Mount Edgcumbe woods, and Maker Point, and say it was all a lovely, ever-varying scene. I can make nothing of it; but I do see a feast of beauty in these storerooms. This is the sort of landscape to gratify the healthy eye. Dear! dear! dear! how could Rachel ever make up her mind to leave this?’

‘Rachel!’ exclaimed the girl. ‘Who was she?’

Lazarus shook his head. ‘This is a vale of tears,’ he said, ‘full of moths. There is one yonder, Joanna; kill it.’

‘Who was Rachel?’ asked Joanna.

‘I wish you would go sharp after that moth,’ said the Jew. ‘Dear alive! the mischief these moths do is awful.’

‘Who was Rachel?’ asked Joanna again. ‘I will catch no moths till you have satisfied me.’

‘I will tell you by-and-by.’ The Jew sighed. ‘Ah! Joanna, I am not the ungrateful old master you may have supposed me. You have done me many a service, but none greater than that of last night. I know I am indebted to you, less the value of the carpets spoilt by the fire. Deduct them from the total and still something remains, not much, but a balance