“I do believe it—heartily!”

“Thank you, sir. Then I shall make bold to give you one word of advice. Don’t stir in the matter, nor make any threats 长沙桑拿洗浴休闲 against any one, until you have ascertained from Mrs. Errington where she got the notes that she paid to Ravell.”

Algernon had bent down his head again, and he now answered without looking up:

“No doubt Mrs. Errington can account for them to me, but she is not bound to do so to any one else. Nor can I allow any one to hint that she is so bound. I should be a blackguard if I could listen to a word of that sort.”

“I hope it may come right, Mr. Errington. After all, there has been nothing, and, so far as I see, there can be nothing, but talk to hurt you.”

“My good fellow,” said Algernon, as he once more gave his hand to his clerk, “it’s a kind of talk which poisons a man’s life. You know that as well as I do.”

Then Gibbs took his leave of his superior, and went back into the outer office to watch over the epistolary correspondence of Whitford. As he sat at his desk there 长沙桑拿都有什么 his mind was full of sympathy with Algernon Errington. “Poor young man! He took it beautifully. It must be a terrible blow—an awful blow. But, no doubt, he has had his suspicions before now. What a warning against worldly-mindedness! He is a victim to that vain and godless woman; and that’s all that comes of the marriage that so uplifted the heart of his mother. But he would be a beautiful character, if he had only got religion, and would leave off profane swearing. He is so guileless and outspoken, like a child, almost. Ah, poor young man! I hope the Lord may bless this trial to him. But—religion or no religion—I don’t believe he’ll ever be fit to be postmaster of Whitford.” Thus ran the reflections of Mr. Obadiah Gibbs.

When Algernon reached home that evening, he bade Lydia put up a few things for him into a little travelling valise; and when he met his wife at the dinner-table, he told her he should go up to London that 长沙桑拿休闲论坛 night by the mail-coach. He explained, in answer to her surprised inquiries, lamentations, and objections, uttered in a querulous drawl, that he must get help from Lord Seely; that it was useless to write to him under the present circumstances, seeing that his wife would probably intercept the letter; and that, therefore, he had resolved to go to town himself and obtain a personal interview with Lord Seely.

“But, Ancram!—what’s the use? Why on earth should you fly off in this way? I’m sure it won’t do! Do you suppose for an instant that Aunt Belinda will let you get at him?”

“I must try for it. Things have got to that pass now, that——Do you know what happened to me just as I went out after lunch? Gladwish, the shoemaker, sent to threaten me with arrest! I shall be walked off to prison, I suppose, for a few wretched pairs of abominable shoes. The fellow has no more notion of fitting my foot than a farrier.”

“To prison! Oh, Ancram! But Gladwish’s bill cannot be so very large——”

“Of course it’s not ‘so very large!'”
“Then, if we paid it, or even part of it——”

“Paid it! Upon my word, Cassy, you are too absurd! ‘Paid it!’ In the first place, I have only a very few pounds in the house—barely enough to take me to town, I think; and, in the next place, if I paid Gladwish, what would be the result? The butcher, the baker, and the candlestick-maker would be all down on me with summonses, and writs, and 长沙桑拿论坛社区executions, and bedevilments of every imaginable kind. But you have no more notion—you take it all so coolly. ‘Pay him!’ By George! Cassy, it’s very hard to stand such nonsense!”

Castalia withdrew from the


table, and sat down on the little sofa and cried. Her husband looked at her across a glass of very excellent sherry, which he was just about to hold up to the light. “I think, Castalia,” he said, “I really do think, that when a man is in such trouble as I am, reduced to the brink of ruin, not knowing which way to turn for a ten-pound note, struggling, striving, bothering his brains to find a way out of the confounded mess, he might expect something more cheering and encouraging from his wife than perpetual snivelling.” With that he cracked a filbert with a sharp jerk of 长沙桑拿攻略 indignation. But Algernon’s forte was not the minatory or impressively wrathful style of eloquence. He could hurl a sarcasm, sharp, light, and polished; but when he came to wielding such a ponderous weapon as serious reproof on moral considerations, he was apt


to make a poor hand of it. It was excessively disagreeable, too, to see that woman’s thin shoulders moving convulsively under her gay-coloured dress, as she sobbed with her head buried in the sofa cushions. That really must be put a stop to. So, as it appeared evident that scolding would not quench the tears, he tried coaxing. The coaxing was not so efficacious as it would have been once. Still, Castalia responded to it to the extent of endeavouring to check the sobs 长沙桑拿中心 which still shook her frail chest and throat. “When shall you be back, Ancram?” she said, looking beseechingly at him. He answered that he hoped to be in Whitford again on Tuesday night, or Wednesday at the latest (it was then Monday), and he particularly impressed on her the necessity of telling any one who might inquire the cause of his absence, that he had been suddenly called up to town by the illness of Lord Seely. He had, in fact, said a word or two to that effect when, on his way home, he had ordered the fly, which was to carry him and his valise to the coach-office. Castalia insisted on accompanying him to the coach, despite the damp cold of the night, a proceeding which he did not much combat, since he felt it would serve to give colour to his statement to the landlord of the “Blue Bell.”

“Keep up your spirits, Cassy,” he cried, waving his hand from the coach-window as he stood in the inn yard, muffled in shawls and furs. “I hope I shall bring back good news of your uncle.”

Then Castalia was trundled back to Ivy Lodge in the jingling old fly, whilst her husband rolled swiftly behind four fleet horses towards London.

Stiff, tired, and cold, Algernon alighted the next morning at the coach-office in London after his night journey. He drove to a fashionable hotel not very far from Lord Seely’s house, and refreshed himself with a warm bath and a luxurious breakfast. By the time that was done it was eleven o’clock in the forenoon. He had been considering how best to proceed, in a leisurely way, during his breakfast, and had decided to go to Lord Seely’s house without further delay. He knew Lady Seely’s habits well enough to feel tolerably sure that she would not be out of her bed before eleven o’clock, nor out of her room before mid-day. He thought he might gain access to his lordship by a coup de main, if he so timed his visit as to avoid encountering my lady. So he had himself driven to within a few yards of the house, and walked up to the well-known door. It was a different arrival from his first appearance on that threshold. Algernon did not fail to think of the contrast, and he told himself that he had 长沙桑拿spa会所 been very badly used by the whole Seely family: they had done so infinitely less for him than he had expected! The sense of injury awakened by this reflection was as supporting to him as a cordial.

The servant who opened the door, and who at once recognised Algernon, stared in surprise on seeing him, but was too well trained to express emotion in any other way. After a few inquiries about Lord Seely’s health, Algernon asked if he could be allowed to see his lordship. This, however, was a difficult matter. My lord was better, certainly, the footman said, but my lady had given strict orders that he was not to be disturbed. No one was admitted to his room except the doctor, who would not make his visit until late in the afternoon.