Εικόνες σελίδας
PDF
Ηλεκτρ. έκδοση

one of several relating to the same subject, there was nothing left to bring forward and form a new bone of contention.

"All right for Tuesday, old fellow."

It was the elder's voice which called out from behind a huge mahogany bureau, as the younger presently put on his greatcoat, took up his hat and stick, and turned his back upon the familiar desk-for ever.

It was Saturday; he would not come up on Monday. But he said nothing about it to Amos, and Amos only showed that he knew by his "All right for Tuesday". It was the brothers' way.

170

CHAPTER XVIII.

SIR PHILIP'S MEDITATIONS.

"THEY tell me two of the most extraordinarylooking men have been down to see it," said Lady Tilbury, referring to Old Cary Hall, the sale of which was now known to all, and formed the chief topic of conversation in the neighbourhood.

Sir Philip, when confiding it to her sympathetic ear a month before, had begged for a week's grace before having the news bruited abroad; and this had been religiously observed. More, the two who felt themselves to be his friends--who were certainly his nephew's friends above all others-told each other that when the affair was public property it would be time enough to admit that they had possessed the

secret as a secret.

But they had had to keep their own counse longer than was to have been expected. Mr. Jabez Druitt had not only readily granted Sir Philip's request of the same nature, but with a delicacy of feeling for which he was given no

credit then or thereafter by the cynical baronet, suffered a considerable time to elapse before taking any steps towards entering upon possession of his newly-acquired territory.

Sir Philip, with the Channel between him and all he had lost, with no further call upon his emotions, and with an easier mind than he had known for many a long day, speedily discovered that the throes he had endured in parting with his ancient acres had more of sentiment in them than anything else.

He had suffered no real loss or so he told
Nothing had disappeared from his

himself.
life-except debts.

He could go on living as he had done before; no, hang it! a great deal better than he had done before; and in truth it came to this at last, that he only wondered, wondered aloud and openly, how he had been so infatuated as to hang on so long to a mere foible—an obsolete, expensive prejudice.

He had desired his man of business to make no mention of Old Cary Hall or anything connected with it, once the requisite papers were signed, and the change of owners effected. He did not care to know what Mr. Druitt proposed to do with it; whether he meant to live in it, let it, or raze it to the ground. He never wished to hear Mr. Druitt's name.

But perhaps, even when thus peremptory, the writer scarcely intended his prohibition to be adhered to with rigid fidelity; and it is certain that by the end of a week he began to repent having issued it.

What the deuce was Jabez doing?

The name "Jabez" tickled Sir Philip's fancy, and he now never spoke nor thought of Mr. Druitt by any other cognomen. Jabez ? He wondered what Jabez was like? How Jabez would go down among the Somersetshire folk? What would be said of himself for selling his patrimony to a―Jabez?

"Let them say what they like! Let them be as wild as they please!" quoth he, chuckling. "I got my price; and what the dickens is it to me who picks up my old shoes? I couldn't keep them on my feet; if Jabez can, Jabez is welcome. I daresay Jabez is a very decent fellow," proceeded Sir Philip complacently. "If that ass of a Worthington had not pestered me with his praises, dinning his 'Mr. Druitt' here and Mr. Druitt' there into my ears till they were sick of the sound, I-'pon my word, I shouldn't have minded showing him a little civility. Might have dined him at my club-dined him with his own money," chuckling anew at the conceit; "and drunk good luck to our bargain in a bottle of fizz. I almost wish I had. Then

[ocr errors]

name

دو

I should at least have known what sort of a looking man I have sent down among the clodhoppers. Faith, they'll not make it a bed of roses for him if he's a bounder. His very Sir Philip paused, pursed up his lips, and shook his head. "Won't do, Jabez. I'm sorry for you, Jabez; but if you are to have any peace of mind in Old Cary Hall, any comfortable seat under the mahogany of the good folk down there, you must get rid of that name somehow-Mr. Jabez Druitt."

Curiosity at length was too much for pride; the exile felt that he must know what the supplanter was about. Had he not himself said that the supplanter might be a decent fellow? Why, then, had he made such a fuss about holding him at arm's length? It was not as though Jabez had made any attempt to break through the guard: Jabez had done nothing of the kind; had not suggested a single meeting; had not even addressed him a letter.

"I have always had Now I have cut my I'd give anything to

"It was all that confounded sentimentality," mused Sir Philip at last. too much of it, bother it! own throat, for the fact is know what Jabez is doing to the old place, and what people are saying about Jabez. What they are saying about me"-arching his eyebrows "I think I can do without hearing."

« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »