“The numbers at the sides, ye mean, Pole?”
“Ay, the numbers at the sides, if you like; the 21593, and so on?”
“The 21593! Oh! I can’t remember such a lot as that, if ever I leave off repeatin’ it.”
“There! you see, you’re not fit to have money in your possession, Martha. Everybody who has bank-notes looks at the numbers. You have a trick of fancying all sorts of sums in your pocket; and when you don’t find them there, of course they’re lost! Now, let’s have some breakfast.”
Arabella told the maids to go out. Mr. Pole turned to the breakfast-table, rubbing his hands. Seeing herself and her case abandoned, Mrs. Chump gave a deplorable shout. “Ye’re crool! and young women that look on at a fellow-woman’s mis’ry. Oh! how can ye do ut! But soft hearts can be the hardest. And all my seventy-five gone, gone! and no law out of annybody. And no frightenin’ of ’em off from doin’ the like another time! Oh, I will, I will have my money!”
“Tush! Come to breakfast, Martha,” said Mr. Pole. “You shall have money, if you want it; you have only to ask. Now, will you promise to be quiet? and I’ll give you this money—the amount you’ve been dreaming about last night. I’ll fetch it. Now, let us have no scenes. Dry your eyes.”
Mr. Pole went to his private room, and returned just as Mrs. Chump had got upon a succession of quieter sobs with each one of which she addressed a pathetic roll of her eyes to the utterly unsympathetic ladies respectively.
“There, Martha; there’s exactly the sum for you—free gift. Say thank you, and eat a good breakfast to show your gratitude. Mind, you take this money on condition that you let the servants know you made a mistake.”
Mrs. Chump sighed heavily, crumpling the notes, that the crisp sweet sound might solace her for the hard condition.
“And don’t dream any more—not about money, I mean,” said Mr: Pole.
“Oh! if I dream like that I’ll be living double.” Mrs. Chump put her hand to the notes, and called him kind, and pitied him for being the loser. The sight of a fresh sum in her possession intoxicated her. It was but feebly that she regretted the loss to her Samuel Bolton Pole. “Your memory’s worth more than that!” she said as she filled her purse with the notes. “Anyhow, now I can treat somebody,” and she threw a wink of promise at Adela. Adela’s eyes took refuge with her papa, who leaned over to her, and said: “You won’t mind waiting till you see me again? She’s taken all I had.” Adela nodded blankly, and the next moment, with an angry glance toward Mrs. Chump, “Papa,” said she, “if you wish to see servants in the house on your return, you must yourself speak to them, and tell them that we, their master and mistresses, do not regard them as thieves.” Out of this there came a quarrel as furious as the ladies would permit it to be. For Mrs. Chump, though willing to condone the offence for the sum she had received, stuck infamy upon the whole list of them. “The Celtic nature,” murmured Cornelia. And the ladies maintained that their servants should be respected, at any cost. “You, ma’am,” said Arabella, with a clear look peculiar to her when vindictive—“you may have a stain on your character, and you are not ruined by it. But these poor creatures...”