“Have you formed any plan, then?”
“Yes,” answered Sir John, with great deliberation, “I think I see my way; but I must have time to think of it. I will speak to you about it to-morrow.”
When Lady Bellamy had gone, the little man rose, peeped round to see that nobody was within hearing, and then, rubbing his dry hands with infinite zest, said aloud, in a voice that was quite solemn in the intensity of its satisfaction,
“The Lord hath delivered mine enemies into mine hand.”
Two days after Sir John had been taken into confidence, Philip received a visit from Lady Bellamy that caused him a good deal of discomfort. After talking to him on general subjects for awhile, she rose to go.
“By the way, Mr. Caresfoot,” she said, “I really had almost forgotten the object of my visit. You may remember a conversation we had together some time ago, when I was the means of paying a debt owing to you?”
“Then you will not have forgotten that one of the articles of our little verbal convention was, that if it should be considered to the interest of all the parties concerned, your daughter’s old nurse was not to remain in your house?”
“Well, do you know, I cannot help thinking that it must be a bad thing for Angela to have so much of the society of an ill-educated and not very refined person like Pigott. I really advise you to get rid of her.”
“She has been with me for twenty years, and my daughter is devoted to her. I can’t turn her off.”
“It is always painful to dismiss an old servant—almost as bad as discarding an old dress; but when a dress is worn out it must be thrown away. Surely the same applies to servants.”
“I don’t see how I am to send her away.”
“I can quite understand your feelings; but then, you see, an agreement implies obligations on both sides, doesn’t it? especially an agreement ‘for value received,’ as the lawyers say.”
Philip winced perceptibly.
“I wish I had never had anything to do with your agreements.”
“Oh! if you think it over, I don’t think that you will say so. Well, that is settled. I suppose she will go pretty soon. I am glad to see you looking so well—very different from your cousin, I assure you. I don’t think much of his state of health. Good-bye; remember me to Angela. By the way, I don’t know if you have heard that George has met with a repulse in that direction; he does not intend to press matters any more at present; but, of course, the agreement holds all the same. Nobody knows what the morrow may bring forth.”
“Where you and my amiable cousin are concerned, I shall be much surprised if it does not bring forth villany,” thought Philip, as soon as he heard the front door close. “I suppose that it must be done about Pigott. Curse that woman, with her sorceress face. I wish I had never put myself into her power; the iron hand can be felt pretty plainly through her velvet glove.”