’It’s the interest on my own money. Why don’t he give it me? I suppose he has had it.’
’You must ask him that, Mrs Van Siever. You’re in partnership with him, and he can tell you. Nobody knows anything about it. If you were in partnership with me, then of course I could tell you. But you’re not. You’ve never trusted me, Mrs Van Siever.’
The lady remained there closeted with Mr Musselboro for an hour after that, and did, I think, at length learn something more as to the details of her partner’s business than her faithful servant Mr Musselboro had at first found himself able to give to her. And at last they came to friendly and confidential terms, in the midst of which the personal welfare of Mr Dobbs Broughton was, I fear, somewhat forgotten. Not that Mr Musselboro palpably and plainly threw his friend overboard. He took his friend’s part—alleging excuses for him, and pleading some facts. ’Of course, you know, a man like that is fond of pleasure, Mrs Van Siever. He’s been at it more or less all his life. I don’t suppose he ever missed a Derby or an Oaks, or the cup at Ascot, or the Goodwood in his life.’ ‘He’ll have to miss them before long, I’m thinking,’ said Mrs Van Siever. ’And as to not cashing up, you must remember, Mrs Van Siever, that ten per cent won’t come in quite as regularly as four or five. When you go for high interest, there must be hitches here and there. There must, indeed, Mrs Van Siever.’ ‘I know all about it,’ said Mrs Van Siever. ’If he gave it to me as soon as he got it himself, I shouldn’t complain. Never mind. He’s only got to give me my little bit of money out of the business, and then he and I will be all square. You come and see Clara this evening, Gus.’
Then Mr Musselboro put Mrs Van Siever into another cab, and went out upon the ’Change—hanging about the Bank, and standing in Threadneedle Street, talking to other men just like himself. When he saw Dobbs Broughton he told that gentleman that Mrs Van Siever had been in her tantrums, but that he had managed to pacify her before she left Hook Court. ‘I’m to take the cheque for the five hundred tonight,’ he said.
On the first of March, Conway Dalrymple’s easel was put up in Mrs Dobbs Broughton’s boudoir upstairs, the canvas was placed upon it on which the outlines of Jael and Sisera had been already drawn, and Mrs Broughton and Clara Van Siever and Conway Dalrymple were assembled with the view of steady art-work. But before we see how they began their work together, we will go back for a moment to John Eames on his return to his London lodgings. The first thing every man does when he returns home after an absence, is to look for his letters, and John Eames looked at his. There were not very many. There was a note marked immediate from Sir Raffle Buffle, in which Sir R had scrawled in four lines a notification