But Crosbie was very comfortable in his mind on that afternoon. He had hardly dared to hope for success, but he had been successful. He had not even thought of Butterwell as a possible fountain of supply, till his mind had been brought back to the affairs of the office, by the voice of Sir Raffle Buffle at the corner of the street. The idea that his bill would be dishonoured, and that tidings of his insolvency would be conveyed to the Commissioners at his Board, had been dreadful to him. The way in which he had been treated by Musselboro and Dobbs Broughton had made him hate City men, and what he supposed to be City ways. Now there had come to him a relief which suddenly made everything feel light. He could almost think of Mr Mortimer Gazebee without disgust. Perhaps after all there might be some happiness yet in store for him. Might it not be possible that Lily would yet accept him in spite of the chilling letter—the freezing letter which he had received from Lily’s mother? Of one thing he was quite certain. If ever he had the opportunity of pleading his own cause with her, he certainly would tell her everything respecting his money difficulties.
In that last resolve I think we may say that he was right. If Lily would ever listen to him again at all, she certainly would not be deterred from marrying him by his own story of his debts.
LILY DALE GOES TO LONDON
One morning towards the end of March the squire rapped at the window of the drawing-room of the Small House in which Mrs Dale and Lily were sitting. He had a letter in his hand, and both Lily and her mother knew that he had come down to speak about the contents of the letter. It was always a sign of good-humour on the squire’s part, this rapping at the window. When it became necessary to him in his gloomy moods to see his sister-in-law, he would write a note to her, and she would go across to him at the Great House. At other times, if, as Lily would say, he was just then neither sweet nor bitter, he would go round to the front door and knock, and be admitted after the manner of ordinary people; but when he was minded to make himself thoroughly pleasant he would come and rap at the drawing-room window, as he was doing now.
‘I’ll let you in, uncle; wait a moment,’ said Lily, as she unbolted the window which opened out upon the lawn. ’It’s dreadfully cold, so come in as fast as you can.’