“Damned young fool!” he muttered at last; and began the ascent.
A MARQUIS ON MATRIMONY
“My dear Miss Scott,” Lord Arranmore said, settling himself in the most comfortable of her fragile easy-chairs, and declining tea. “I cannot fail to perceive that my cause is hopeless. The united efforts of myself and your worthy relatives appear to be powerless to unearth a single grain of common-sense in your—er—pardon me—singularly obstinate disposition.”
A subdued smile played at the corners of her mouth.
“I am delighted that you are convinced, Lord Arranmore,” she said. “It will save us both a good deal of time and breath.”
“Well—as to that I am not so sure,” he answered, deliberately. “You forget that there is still an important matter to be decided.”
She looked at him questioningly.
“The disposal of the money, of course,” he said.
“The disposal of it? But that has nothing to do with me!” she declared. “I refuse to touch it—to have anything to do with it.”
He shook his head.
“You see,” he explained, “I have placed it, or rather my solicitors have, in trust. Actually you may decline, as you are doing, to have anything to do with it—legally you cannot avoid your responsibilities. That money cannot be touched without your signature.”
She laughed a little indignantly.
“Then you had better withdraw it from trust, or whatever you call it, at once. If it was there until I was eighty I should never touch it.”
“I understand that perfectly,” Lord Arranmore said. “You have refused it. Very well! What are we going to do with it?”
“Put it back where it came from, of course,” she answered.
“Well,” he said, “by signing several papers that might be managed. In that case I should distribute it amongst the various public-houses in the East End to provide drinks for the thirstiest of their customers.”
“If you think that,” she said, scornfully, “a reputable use to make of your money.”
He held out his hand.
“My dear Miss Scott. Our money!”
“The money,” she exclaimed. “I repeat, the money. Well, there is nothing more to be said about it.”
“Will you sign the papers which authorize me to distribute the money in this way?”
She thought for a moment.
“No; I will not.”
“Exactly. You would be very foolish and very untrue to your principles if you did. So you see, this sum is not to be foisted altogether upon me, for there is no doubt that I should misuse it. Now I believe that if you were to give the matter a little consideration you could hit upon a more reasonable manner of laying out this sum. Don’t interrupt me, please. My own views as to charity you know. You however look at the matter from an altogether different point of view. Let us leave it where it is for the moment. Something may occur to you within the next few months. Don’t let it be a hospital, if you can help it—something altogether original would be best. Set your brain to work. I shall be at your service at any moment.”