In Friendship's Guise eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 207 pages of information about In Friendship's Guise.

“What amount is the bill that falls due to-day?”

“Seven hundred and fifty pounds, with interest.”

“And there are others?”

“Yes; three more—­all renewals.”

“And the total sum?  Can you give it to me?”

“What’s the use?” Bertie muttered.  “But if you want to know—­” He took a bit of paper from his pocket.  “I counted it up yesterday,” he added.  “I can’t get clear of the Jews for less than twenty-five hundred pounds.”

“It’s a heavy sum!”

“I can’t raise a fraction of it.  And the worst of it is that Victor Nevill is on—­By Jove, I shouldn’t have let that out!”

“You mean that Nevill indorsed the paper—­all of it?”

“Only the first bill, and the next one Benjamin and Company took without an indorsement, as they did with the later ones.  Nevill warned me what would happen if I kept on.  I wish I had listened to him!”

Jimmie looked very grave.

“So Nevill steered you to the Jews!” he said, in a troubled tone.  “It was hardly the act of a friend.  Have you spoken to him in regard to this matter?”

“Yes, but he was short of money, and couldn’t help me,” Bertie replied.  “He was awfully cut up about it, and went to see the Jews.  It was no good—­they refused to renew the bill on his indorsement.”

“And heretofore they have accepted paper bearing your own signature only!  Of course they knew that you had future expectations, or that your father would protect them from loss.  It’s the old game!”

“My expectations are not what they were,” Bertie said sullenly, “and that’s about what has brought things to a crisis.  I can see through a millstone when there is a hole in it.  I have a bachelor uncle on my mother’s side—­a woman-hater—­who always said that he would remain single and make me his heir.  But he changed his mind a couple of months ago, and married.”

“Be assured that Benjamin and Company know that,” Jimmie answered; “it’s their reason for refusing to renew the bill.”

“Yes; Nevill told me the same.  He advised me to own up to the governor.”

“How about your eldest brother—­Lord Charters?”

“No good,” the Honorable Bertie replied, gloomily; “we are on bad terms.  And George is in New York.”

“Then I must put you on your feet again.”

“You!”

“Yes; I will lift your paper—­the whole of it.”

“Impossible!  I can’t accept money from a friend!”

“I’m more than that, my boy—­or will be.  Isn’t your brother going to marry my cousin?  And, anyway, we’ll call it a loan.  I’ll take your I O U for the amount, and you can have twenty years to repay it—­a hundred if you like.  I can easily spare the money.”

“I tell you I won’t—­”

“Don’t tell me anything.  It’s settled.  I mean to do it.”

Bertie broke down; his scruples yielded before his friend’s persistence.

“I’ll pay it back,” he cried, half sobbingly.  “I’ll be able to some day.  God bless you, Jimmie—­you don’t know what you’ve saved me from.  Another chance!  I will make the most of it!  I’ll cut the old life and run straight—­I mean it this time.  I’m done with cards and evil companions, and all the rest of it!”

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In Friendship's Guise from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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