“Glad to hear it,” said Jimmie. “I want your word of honor that you won’t exceed your income hereafter, and that you will leave London for six months and go home.”
“I will; I swear it!”
“And you will have nothing more to do with Flora and her kind?”
“I believe you,” said Jimmie, patting the young man on the shoulder. “Cheer up now and we’ll breakfast together presently, and meanwhile I’ll send a man round to your rooms for some morning togs. Then I’ll leave you here while I go down to the city to see my bankers. I’ll be back before noon, and bring a solicitor with me; I want the thing done ship-shape.”
With that, Jimmie retired to the bedroom, where he was soon heard splashing in his tub. An hour later, when breakfast was over, he hurried away. He returned at half-past twelve, accompanied by an elderly gentleman of legal aspect, Mr. Grimsby by name. Bertie was ready, dressed in a suit of brown tweeds, and the three went on foot to Duke street, St. James’. They passed through the narrow court, and, without knocking, entered the office of Benjamin and Company. No one was there, but two persons were talking in a rear apartment, the door of which stood open an inch or so. And one of the voices sounded strangely familiar to Jimmie.
“Listen!” he whispered to Bertie. “Do you hear that?”
ON THE TRACK.
In answer to Jimmie’s question, Bertie gave him a puzzled look; he clearly did not understand. At the same instant the conversation in the next room was brought to a close. Some person said “Good-morning, Benjamin,” and there was a sound of a door closing and of retreating footsteps; one of the speakers had gone, probably by another exit. The house, as Jimmie suspected, fronted on Duke street, and it was the rear portion that was connected with the court.
The elderly Jew, who was Mr. Benjamin himself, promptly entered the office, adjusting a black skull-cap to his head. He gave a barely perceptible start of surprise at sight of his visitors; he could not have known that they were there. He apologized extravagantly, and inquired what he could have the pleasure of doing for them. Mr. Grimsby stated their business, and the Jew listened with an inscrutable face; his deep-sunken eyes blinked uneasily.
“Do I understand,” he said, addressing himself to the Honorable Bertie, “that you wish to take up not only the bill which is due to-day—”
“No; all of them, Benjamin,” Bertie interrupted. “My friend wants to pay you to the last penny.”
“I shall be happy to oblige,” said the Jew, rubbing his hands. “I always knew that you were an honest young gentleman, Mr. Raven. I am sorry that I had to insist on payment, but my partner—”
“Will you let me have the paper, sir,” Jimmie put in, curtly.
The Jew at once bestirred himself. He opened a safe in which little bundles of documents were neatly arranged, and in a couple of minutes he produced the sheaf of bills that had so nearly been the ruin of his aristocratic young client. The first one was among the number; it had been renewed several times, on Nevill’s indorsement.