MR. POMEROY’S PLAN
Mr. Pomeroy chuckled as he went down the stairs. Things had gone so well for him, he owed it to himself to see that they went better, he had mounted with a firm determination to effect a breach even if it cost him my lord’s enmity. He descended, the breach made, the prize open to competition, and my lord obliged by friendly offices and unselfish service.
Mr. Pomeroy smiled. ‘She is a saucy baggage,’ he muttered, ’but I’ve tamed worse. ’Tis the first step is hard, and I have taken that. Now to deal with Mother Olney. If she were not such a fool, or if I could be rid of her and Jarvey, and put in the Tamplins, all’s done. But she’d talk! The kitchen wench need know nothing; for visitors, there are none in this damp old hole. Win over Mother Olney and the Parson—and I don’t see where I can fail. The wench is here, safe and tight, and bread and water, damp and loneliness will do a great deal. She don’t deserve better treatment, hang her impudence!’
But when he appeared in the hall an hour later, his gloomy face told a different story. ‘Where’s Doyley?’ he growled; and stumbled over a dog, kicked it howling into a corner. ‘Has he gone to bed?’
The tutor, brooding sulkily over his wine, looked up. ‘Yes,’ he said, as rudely as he dared—he was sick with disappointment. ’He is going in the morning.’
‘And a good riddance!’ Pomeroy cried with an oath. ’He’s off it, is he? He gives up?’
The tutor nodded gloomily. ‘His lordship is not the man,’ he said, with an attempt at his former manner, ‘to—to—’
‘To win the odd trick unless he holds six trumps,’ Mr. Pomeroy cried. ’No, by God! he is not. You are right, Parson. But so much the better for you and me!’
Mr. Thomasson sniffed. ‘I don’t follow you,’ he said stiffly.
‘Don’t you? You weren’t so dull years ago,’ Mr. Pomeroy answered, filling a glass as he stood. He held it in his hand and looked over it at the other, who, ill at ease, fidgeted in his chair, ’You could put two and two together then, Parson, and you can put five and five together now. They make ten—thousand.’
‘I don’t follow you,’ the tutor repeated, steadfastly looking away from him.
’Why? Nothing is changed since we talked—except that he is out of it! And that that is done for me for nothing, which I offered you five thousand to do. But I am generous, Tommy. I am generous.’
‘The next chance is mine,’ Mr. Thomasson cried, with a glance of spite.
Mr. Pomeroy, looking down at him, laughed—a galling laugh. ’Lord! Tommy, that was a hundred years ago,’ he said contemptuously.
‘You said nothing was changed!’
‘Nothing is changed in my case,’ Mr. Pomeroy answered confidently, ’except for the better. In your case everything is changed—for the worse. Did you take her part upstairs? Are your hands clean now? Does she see through you or does she not? Or, put it in another way, my friend. It is your turn; what are you going to do?’