“Don’t, please—do not talk of such a thing!” ejaculated the horrified Geoffrey. “Where the devil is my cheque-book? Oh, I know, I left it in Bolton Street. Here, this will do as well,” and he took up a draft note made out to his order, and, rapidly signing his name on the back of it, handed it to Mr. Granger. It was in payment of the fees in the great case of Parsons and Douse and some other matters. Mr. Granger took the draft, and, holding it close to his eyes, glanced at the amount; it was L200.
“But this is double what I asked for,” he said doubtfully. “Am I to return you L100?”
“No, no,” answered Geoffrey, “I daresay that you have some debts to pay. Thank Heaven, I can get on very well and earn more money than I want. Not enough clothing—it is shocking to think of!” he added, more to himself than to his listener.
The old man rose, his eyes full of tears. “God bless you,” he said, “God bless you. I do not know how to thank you—I don’t indeed,” and he caught Geoffrey’s hand between his trembling palms and pressed it.
“Please do not say any more, Mr. Granger; it really is only a matter of mutual obligation. No, no, I don’t want any note of hand. If I were to die it might be used against you. You can pay me whenever it is convenient.”
“You are too good, Mr. Bingham,” said the old clergyman. “Where could another man be found who would lend me L200 without security?” (where indeed!) “By the way,” he added, “I forgot; my mind is in such a whirl. Will you come back with me for a few days to Bryngelly? We shall all be so pleased if you can. Do come, Mr. Bingham; you look as though you want a change, you do indeed.”
Geoffrey dropped his hand heavily on the desk. But half an hour before he had made up his mind not to go to Bryngelly. And now——The vision of Beatrice rose before his eyes. Beatrice who had gone cold all winter and never told him one word of their biting poverty—the longing for the sight of Beatrice came into his heart, and like a hurricane swept the defences of his reason to the level ground. Temptation overwhelmed him; he no longer struggled against it. He must see her, if it was only to say good-bye.
“Thank you,” he said quietly, lifting his bowed head. “Yes, I have nothing particular to do for the next day or two. I think that I will come. When do you go back?”
“Well, I thought of taking the night mail, but I feel so tired. I really don’t know. I think I shall go by the nine o’clock train to-morrow.”
“That will suit me very well,” said Geoffrey; “and now what are you going to do to-night? You had better come and dine and sleep at my house. No dress clothes? Oh, never mind; there are some people coming but they won’t care; a clergyman is always dressed. Come along and I will get that draft cashed. The bank is shut, but I can manage it.”