He found very little, for the Palace Beautiful showed none of its charms to his eyes; in Dove’s opinion it was a poor sort of place—clean, certainly, but what of that? Dove considered that cleanliness meant poverty. Dove’s tastes lay in the direction of rooms thickly carpeted; he liked two or three carpets, one on the top of the other, on a floor; he liked the rooms to be well crowded with furniture—furniture of the good old mahogany type, heavy and dark—and the windows draped with thick merino. A room so furnished would, as Dove expressed it, look solid, and mean a heavy purse, and perhaps a nice little nest-egg laid by tidily in one of the drawers or bureaus. Such a room would be very interesting to examine, but this sitting-room, with its crimson drugget, and its white flooring, its one or two choice engravings on the walls, and its little book-case filled with good and valuable books, was, Dove considered, very shabby indeed. He found nothing more worth taking, and having given the Pink a kick by way of a parting blessing, he left the room, made his exit again by the roof, and so departed unperceived. He had Primrose’s letter in his pocket, and he thought himself very lucky to have so nicely secured her quarter’s allowance. He returned to his own house in Eden Street, and in the privacy of his back parlor opened Mr. Danesfield’s letter. It was a short letter, and, as it happened was not written by Mr. Danesfield at all. Dove, however, by patient spelling and peering, presently mastered its contents.
“High Street, Rosebury,
“In Mr. Danesfield’s absence, I send you a cheque for L17 10_s._, according to his orders. The cheque will require your signature at the back, and if you will kindly sign it you, or any one else, can obtain cash for the amount at the Metropolitan Bank, Strand.
“I expect Mr. Danesfield home in about six weeks; he has been wintering abroad.
Dove took the greater part of an hour to make this letter out; next he fingered the cheque, turning it backwards and forwards; then his face grew very blank—for, unsigned, that cheque was valueless. He was a violent man, and he uttered some strong expressions, and his wife, on hearing them, took good care to keep out of his way. She could not make out why Dove sat so long in the back parlor, and why he refused to eat his dinner, which was very hot and tasty. After a time, with a sigh of relief, she heard him go out.
Dove had hastily fastened up the letter, trusting to no one’s noticing that it had been opened. Again he reached Miss Egerton’s house; again he made his way from the roof to the upper landing, and from the upper landing to the girls’ rooms; the letter was not placed on the table, but was skilfully slipped down between some books which lay in a pile on Jasmine’s little writing-table. It might have been put there by any one who was dusting the room, and it might have lain in its present position unseen for many days. Dove hoped no one would perceive it; he scowled at the poor little Pink, who crouched away from him, and turning on his heel again, left the room.