This is the point at which Sir Thomas Blunt breaks into Dreever history. Sir Thomas was a small, pink, fussy, obstinate man with a genius for trade and the ambition of an Alexander the Great; probably one of the finest and most complete specimens of the came-over-Waterloo-Bridge-with-half-a crown-in-my-pocket-and-now-look-at-me class of millionaires in existence. He had started almost literally with nothing. By carefully excluding from his mind every thought except that of making money, he had risen in the world with a gruesome persistence which nothing could check. At the age of fifty-one, he was chairman of Blunt's Stores, L't'd, a member of Parliament (silent as a wax figure, but a great comfort to the party by virtue of liberal contributions to its funds), and a knight. This was good, but he aimed still higher; and, meeting Spennie's aunt, Lady Julia Coombe-Crombie, just at the moment when, financially, the Dreevers were at their lowest ebb, he had effected a very satisfactory deal by marrying her, thereby becoming, as one might say, Chairman of Dreever, L't'd. Until Spennie should marry money, an act on which his chairman vehemently insisted, Sir Thomas held the purse, and except in minor matters ordered by his wife, of whom he stood in uneasy awe, had things entirely his own way.
One afternoon, a little over a year after the events recorded in the preceding chapter, Sir Thomas was in his private room, looking out of the window, from which the view was very beautiful. The castle