“Very well, John; let it be so,” said James, with magnanimity. “Your check for fees will be duly returned; but it must be understood that they are to be presented.”
“Not at the bank,” said John, hastily. “I have recently had to oblige a client,” he added by way of explanation to Eustace, “and my balance is rather low.”
“No,” said James; “I quite understand. I was going to say ’are to be presented to my clerk.’”
And with this solemn farce, the conference came to an end.
HOW AUGUSTA WAS FILED.
That very afternoon Eustace returned to Lady Holmhurst’s house in Hanover-square, to tell his dear Augusta that she must attend on the following morning to be filed in the Registry at Somerset House. As may be imagined, though willing to go any reasonable length to oblige her new-found lover, Augusta not unnaturally resisted this course violently, and was supported in her resistance by her friend Lady Holmhurst, who, however, presently left the room, leaving them to settle it as they liked.
“I do think that it is a little hard,” said Augusta with a stamp of her foot, “that, after all that I have gone through, I should be taken off to have my unfortunate back stared at by a Doctor some one or other, and then be shut up with a lot of musty old wills in a Registry.”
“Well, my dearest girl,” said Eustace, “either it must be done or else the whole thing must be given up. Mr. John Short declares that it is absolutely necessary that the document should be placed in the custody of the officer of the Court.”
“But how am I going to live in a cupboard, or in an iron safe with a lot of wills?” asked Augusta, feeling very cross indeed.
“I don’t know, I am sure,” said Eustace; “Mr. John Short says that that is a matter which the learned Doctor will have to settle. His own opinion is that the learned Doctor—confound him!—will order that you should accompany him about wherever he goes till the trial comes off; for, you see, in that way you would never be out of the custody of an officer of the Court. But,” went on Eustace, gloomily, “all I can tell him, if he makes that order, is, that if he takes you about with him he will have to take me too.”
“Why?” said Augusta.
“Why? Because I don’t trust him—that’s why. Old? oh, yes; I dare say he is old. And, besides, just think: this learned gentleman has practised for twenty years in the Divorce Court! Now, I ask you, what can you expect from a gentleman, however learned, who has practised for twenty years in the Divorce Court? I know him,” went on Eustace, vindictively—“I know him. He will fall in love with you himself. Why, he would be an old duffer if he didn’t.”
“Really,” said Augusta, bursting out laughing, “you are too ridiculous, Eustace.”
“I don’t know about being ridiculous, Augusta: but if you think I am going to let you be marched about by that learned Doctor without my being there to look after you, you are mistaken. Why, of course he would fall in love with you, or some of his clerks would; nobody could be near you for a couple of days without doing so.”