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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 107 pages of information about Victorian Short Stories.

‘But I thought as an old friend of my father you would, perhaps—­’

’Young man, don’t fool it away.  He’s waiting for you, I suppose, round the corner, with a bottle of fizz, ready to close.’

‘He is.’

’Well, go and drink his champagne.  Always get whatever you can.  And then tell him that you’ll see him—­’

‘I certainly will, sir, if you advise it.  And then?’

’And then—­leave it to me.  And, young man, I think I heard, a year or two ago, something about you and my girl Rosie.’

‘There was something, sir.  Not enough to trouble you about it.’

‘She told me.  Rosie tells me all her love affairs.’

‘Is she—­is she unmarried?’

’Oh, yes! and for the moment I believe she is free.  She has had one or two engagements, but, somehow, they have come to nothing.  There was the French count, but that was knocked on the head very early in consequence of things discovered.  And there was the Boom in Guano, but he fortunately smashed, much to Rosie’s joy, because she never liked him.  The last was Lord Evergreen.  He was a nice old chap when you could understand what he said, and Rosie would have liked the title very much, though his grandchildren opposed the thing.  Well, sir, I suppose you couldn’t understand the trouble we took to keep that old man alive for his own wedding.  Science did all it could, but ’twas of no use—­’ The financier sighed.  ’The ways of Providence are inscrutable.  He died, sir, the day before.’

‘That was very sad.’

’A dashing of the cup from the lip, sir.  My daughter would have been a countess.  Well, young gentleman, about this estate of yours.  I think I see a way—­I think, I am not yet sure—­that I do see a way.  Go now.  See this liberal gentleman, and drink his champagne.  And come here in a week.  Then, if I still see my way, you shall understand what it means to hold the position in the City which is mine.’

‘And—­and—­may I call upon Rosie!’

‘Not till this day week—­not till I have made my way plain.’

Act IV

’And so it means this.  Oh, Rosie, you look lovelier than ever, and I’m as happy as a king.  It means this.  Your father is the greatest genius in the world.  He buys my property for sixty thousand pounds—­sixty thousand.  That’s over two thousand a year for me, and he makes a company out of it with a hundred and fifty thousand capital.  He says that, taking ten thousand out of it for expenses, there will be a profit of eighty thousand.  And all that he gives to you—­eighty thousand, that’s three thousand a year for you; and sixty thousand, that’s two more, my dearest Rosie.  You remember what you said, that when you married you should step out of one room like this into another just as good?’

‘Oh, Reggie,’ she sank upon his bosom—­’you know I never could love anybody but you.  It’s true I was engaged to old Lord Evergreen, but that was only because he had one foot—­you know—­and when the other foot went in too, just a day too soon, I actually laughed.  So the pater is going to make a company of it, is he?  Well, I hope he won’t put any of his own money into it, I’m sure, because of late all the companies have turned out so badly.’

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