“I tell you what, I will go down the first thing tomorrow to Southampton, and will sail at once for Ostend. There I will pay her off, alter her rig, and ship a fresh crew. I will draw my money from the bank. If things go well, I shall be set up again. If they go badly, there will be some long faces at Tattersall’s on settling day, but I shall be away, and the money will be enough if we have to cruise for a couple of years, or double that, before she gives in.
“I shall try mild measures for a good bit; be very respectful and repentant and all that. If I find after a time that that does not fetch her, I must try what threats will do. Anyhow, she won’t leave until she steps on shore to be married, or safer still, till I can get a clergyman on board to marry us there. Would you like to go with us?”
“If the thing bursts up, there is nothing I should like better.”
“You will have to help me carry her off, Jim, and the day that she signs her name Bertha Carthew I will give you a couple of thousand pounds.”
“That is a bargain,” the man said. “It is a good scheme altogether, if we can hit upon some plan for carrying her away.”
“It is of no use to think of that, until we know where she will be. I don’t see at present how it is to be done, but I know that there is always a way if one can think of it. You telegraph to me every day Poste Restante, Ostend, or wherever I am stopping. I will send you the name of the hotel I put up at directly I get there. You had better send someone down at once to Ryde to let you know what she is doing, and when she comes up to town; it is just on the cards that they may not come for a bit, but may go for a cruise in Mallett’s yacht, as they did last autumn. Anyhow, let me know, and if I telegraph for you to come over, cross by the next boat.
“Likely enough I may run over myself as soon as I get the business there going all right; but of course I shall stay there if I can. I should get it done in half the time if I were present to push things on. Of course, you will run down and see how the horse is getting on, and pick up any information that you can, and let me know about it.”
“I will put that into good hands, Carthew. It is better that I should stay here and watch things at Tattersall’s; then I can keep you informed how things are looking every day, and be ready to start as soon as I get your telegram. But, of course, you won’t do anything until after the race is run.”
“No, I feel as safe as a man can as to Rosney, but even if he wins I shall carry my idea out. I have had enough of the turf, and burnt my fingers enough over it, and I shall be glad to settle down as a country gentleman again. If I lose I shall make a private sale of all my horses before I leave the course. That ought to bring me in another seven or eight thousand pounds for our trip.”