“There’s no pride about ’im, that’s what I like,” said Mrs. Kybird to her lord and master as they sat alone after closing time over a glass of gin and water. “He’s a nice young feller, but bisness is bisness, and s’pose you don’t get your rent?”
“I shall get it sooner or later,” said Mr. Kybird. “That stuck-up father of ’is ’ll be in a fine way at ’im living here. That’s wot I’m thinking of.”
“I don’t see why,” said Mrs. Kybird, bridling. “Who’s Captain Nugent, I should like to know? We’re as good as what ’e is, if not better. And as for the gell, if she’d got ’all Amelia’s looks she’d do.”
“’Melia’s a fine-looking gal,” assented Mr. Kybird. “I wonder——”
He laid his pipe down on the table and stared at the mantelpiece. “He seems very struck with ’er,” he concluded. “I see that directly.”
“Not afore I did,” said his wife, sharply.
“See it afore you come into the shop,” said Mr. Kybird, triumphantly. “It ’ud be a strange thing to marry into that family, Emma.”
“She’s keeping company with young Teddy Silk,” his wife reminded him, coldly; “and if she wasn’t she could do better than a young man without a penny in ’is pocket. Pride’s a fine thing, Dan’l, but you can’t live on it.”
“I know what I’m talking about,” said Mr. Kybird, impatiently. “I know she’s keeping company with Teddy as well as wot you do. Still, as far as money goes, young Nugent ’ll be all right.”
“’Ow?” inquired his wife.
Mr. Kybird hesitated and took a sip of his gin and water. Then he regarded the wife of his bosom with a calculating glance which at once excited that lady’s easily kindled wrath.
[Illustration: “He regarded the wife of his bosom with a calculating glance.”]
“You know I never tell secrets,” she cried.
“Not often,” corrected Mr. Kybird, “but then I don’t often tell you any. Wot would you say to young Nugent coming into five ’undred pounds ’is mother left ’im when he’s twenty-five? He don’t know it, but I do.”
“Five ’undred,” repeated his wife, “sure?”
“No,” said the other, “I’m not sure, but I know. I ’ad it from young Roberts when ’e was at Stone and Dartnell’s. Five ’undred pounds! I shall get my money all right some time, and, if ’e wants a little bit to go on with, ’e can have it. He’s honest enough; I can see that by his manner.”
Upstairs in the tiny room under the tiles Mr. Jack Nugent, in blissful ignorance of his landlord’s generous sentiments towards him, slept the sound, dreamless sleep of the man free from monetary cares. In the sanctity of her chamber Miss Kybird, gazing approvingly at the reflection of her yellow hair and fine eyes in the little cracked looking-glass, was already comparing him very favourably with the somewhat pessimistic Mr. Silk.