‘I hate that girl like poison!’ said Miss Demolines, confidentially, drawing herself very near to Johnny as she spoke.
‘But what has she done?’
’What has she done? I can’t tell you what she has done. I could not demean myself by repeating it. Of course we all know what she wants. She wants to catch Conway Dalrymple. That’s as plain as anything can be. Not that I care about that.’
‘Of course not,’ said Johnny.
’Not in the least. It’s nothing to me. I have known Conway Dalrymple, no doubt, for a year or two, and I should be sorry to see a young man who has his good points sacrificed in that sort of way. But it is mere acquaintance between Mr Dalrymple and me, and of course I cannot interfere.’
‘She’ll have a lot of money, you know.’
’He thinks so; does he? I suppose that is what Maria has told him. Oh, Mr Eames, you don’t know the meanness of women; you don’t indeed. Men are so much more noble.’
‘Are they, do you think?’
’Than some women. I see women doing things that really disgust me; I do indeed;—things that I wouldn’t do myself, were it ever so;—striving to catch men in every possible way, and for such purposes! I wouldn’t have believed it of Maria Clutterbuck. I wouldn’t indeed. However I will never say a word against her, because she has been my friend. Nothing shall ever induce me.’
John Eames before he left Porchester Terrace, had at last succeeded in calling his fair friend Madalina, and had promised that he would endeavour to open the artist’s eyes to the folly of painting his picture in Broughton’s house without Broughton’s knowledge.
MR TOOGOOD’S IDEAS ABOUT SOCIETY
A day or two after the interview which was described in the last chapter John Eames dined with his uncle Mr Thomas Toogood, in Tavistock Square. He was in the habit of doing this about once a month, and was a great favourite both with his cousins and with their mother. Mr Toogood did not give dinner-parties; always begging those whom he asked to enjoy his hospitality, to take pot luck, and telling young men whom he could treat with familiarity—such as his nephew—that if they wanted to be regaled a la Russe they must not come to Number 75 Tavistock Square. ’A leg of mutton and trimmings; that will be about the outside of it,’ he would say; but he would add in a whisper—’and a glass of port such as you don’t get every day of your life.’ Polly and Lucy Toogood were pretty girls, and merry withal, and certain young men were well contented to accept the attorney’s invitation—whether attracted by the promised leg of mutton, or the port wine, or the young ladies, I will not attempt to say. But it had so happened that one young man, a clerk from John Eames’s office, had partaken so often of the put luck and port wine that Polly Toogood had conquered him by her charms, and he was now a slave,