“I shall go to the City now, and I shall ask all our creditors to meet me to-morrow. I shall read them Pearson’s letter, and put myself into their hands.”
“And they, what will they do?”
“What can they do? They will serve writs for their money, and the firm will be declared bankrupt.”
“And the meeting will be to-morrow, you say. Will you take my advice?”
“What is it, Clara?”
“To ask them for a few days of delay. Who knows what new turn matters may take?”
“What turn can they take? I have no means of raising the money.”
“Let us have a few days.”
“Oh, we should have that in the ordinary course of business. The legal formalities would take them some little time. But I must go, Clara, I must not seem to shirk. My place now must be at my offices.”
“Yes, dear, you are right. God bless you and guard you! I shall be here in The Wilderness, but all day I shall be by your office table at Throgmorton Street in spirit, and if ever you should be sad you will hear my little whisper in your ear, and know that there is one client whom you will never be able to get rid of—never as long as we both live, dear.”
FRIENDS IN NEED.
“Now, papa,” said Clara that morning, wrinkling her brows and putting her finger-tips together with the air of an experienced person of business, “I want to have a talk to you about money matters.”
“Yes, my dear.” He laid down his paper, and looked a question.
“Kindly tell me again, papa, how much money I have in my very own right. You have often told me before, but I always forget figures.”
“You have two hundred and fifty pounds a year of your own, under your aunt’s will.
“Ida has one hundred and fifty.”
“Now, I think I can live very well on fifty pounds a year, papa. I am not very extravagant, and I could make my own dresses if I had a sewing-machine.”
“Very likely, dear.”
“In that case I have two hundred a year which I could do without.”
“If it were necessary.”
“But it is necessary. Oh, do help me, like a good, dear, kind papa, in this matter, for my whole heart is set upon it. Harold is in sore need of money, and through no fault of his own.” With a woman’s tact and eloquence, she told the whole story. “Put yourself in my place, papa. What is the money to me? I never think of it from year’s end to year’s end. But now I know how precious it is. I could not have thought that money could be so valuable. See what I can do with it. It may help to save him. I must have it by to-morrow. Oh, do, do advise me as to what I should do, and how I should get the money.”
The Doctor smiled at her eagerness. “You are as anxious to get rid of money as others are to gain it,” said he. “In another case I might think it rash, but I believe in your Harold, and I can see that he has had villainous treatment. You will let me deal with the matter.”