‘The man should have sent it to me,’ said Charlotte.

‘I wish he had with all my heart—if you would have paid it. I see enough in it, to know that three quarters of it are for Madeline.’

‘She has little else to amuse her, sir,’ said Charlotte with true good nature.

‘And I suppose he has nothing to amuse him,’ said the doctor, throwing over another letter to his daughter. It was from some member of the family of Sidonia, and politely requested the father to pay a small trifle of £ 700, being the amount of a bill discounted in favour of Mr Ethelbert Stanhope, and now overdue for a period of nine months.

Charlotte read the letter, slowly folded it up, and put it under the edge of the tea–tray.

‘I suppose he has nothing to amuse him but discounting bills with Jews. Does he think I’ll pay that?’

‘I am sure he thinks no such thing,’ said she.

‘And who does he think will pay it?’

‘As far as honesty goes, I suppose it won’t much matter if it is never paid,’ said she. ‘I dare say he got very little of it.’

‘I suppose it won’t much matter either,’ said the father, ‘if he goes to prison and rots there. It seems to me that that’s the other alternative.’

Dr Stanhope spoke the custom of his youth. But his daughter, though she lived so long abroad, was much more completely versed in the ways of the English world. ‘If the man arrests him,’ said she, ‘he must go through the court.’

It is thus, thou great family of Sidonia—it is thus that we Gentiles treat thee, when, in our most extreme need, thou and thine have aided us with mountains of gold as big as lions—and occasionally with wine–warrants and orders for dozens of dressing–cases.

‘What, and become an insolvent?’ said the doctor.

‘He’s that already,’ said Charlotte, wishing always to get over a difficulty.

‘What a condition,’ said the doctor, ‘for the son of a clergyman of the Church of England.’

‘I don’t see why clergymen’s sons should pay their debts more than other young men,’ said Charlotte.

‘He’s had as much from me since he left school as is held sufficient for the eldest son of many a nobleman,’ said the angry father.

‘Well, sir,’ said Charlotte, ‘give him another chance.’

‘What!’ said the doctor, ‘do you mean that I am to pay that Jew?’

‘Oh, no! I wouldn’t pay him, he must take his chance; and if the worst comes to the worst, Bertie must go abroad. But I want you to be civil to Bertie, and let him remain here as long as we stop. He has a plan in his head, that may put him on his feet after all.’

Just at that moment the door opened, and Bertie came in whistling. The doctor immediately devoted himself to his egg, and allowed Bertie to whistle himself round to his sister’s side without noticing him.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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