‘Oh, I suppose we are all bad,’ replied Charlotte.

The old man emitted a huge leonine sigh. If they were all bad, who had made them so? If they were unprincipled, selfish, and disreputable, who was to be blamed for the education which had had so injurious an effect.

‘I know you’ll ruin me among you,’ said he.

‘Why, papa, what nonsense that is. You are living within your income this minute, and if there are any new debts, I don’t know of them. I am sure there ought to be none, for we are dull enough here.’

‘Are those bills of Madeline’s paid?’

‘No, they are not. Who was to pay them?’

‘Her husband may pay them.’

‘Her husband! Would you wish me to tell her you say so? Do you wish to turn her out of your home?’

‘I wish she would know how to behave herself.’

‘Why, what on earth has she done now? Poor Madeline! To–day is only the second time she has gone out since we came to this vile town.’

He then sat silent for a time, thinking in what shape he would declare his resolve. ‘Well, papa,’ said Charlotte, ‘shall I stay here, or may I go up–stairs and give mamma her tea?’

‘You are in your brother’s confidence. Tell me what he is going to do?’

‘Nothing, that I am aware of.’

‘Nothing—nothing! Nothing but eat and drink, and spend every shilling of my money he can lay his hands upon. I have made up my mind, Charlotte. He shall eat and drink no more in this house.’

‘Very well. Then I suppose he must go back to Italy.’

‘He may go where he pleases.’

‘That’s easily said, papa; but what does it mean? You can’t let him live—’

‘It means this,’ said the doctor, speaking more loudly than was his wont, and with wrath flashing from his eyes; ‘that as sure as God rules in heaven, I will not maintain him any longer in idleness.’

‘Oh, ruling in heaven!’ said Charlotte. ‘It is no use talking about that. You must rule him here on earth; and the question is, how you can do it. You can’t turn him out of the house penniless, to beg about the street.’

‘He may beg where he likes.’

‘He must go back to Carrara. That is the cheapest place he can live at, and nobody there will give him credit for above two or three hundred pauls. But you must let him have the means of going.’

‘As sure as—’

‘Oh papa, don’t swear. You know you must do it. You were ready to pay two hundred pounds for him if the marriage came off. Half that will start him to Carrara.’

‘What? Give him a hundred pounds!’

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