He pressed her hand rapturously, half-doubting whether her pronunciation of the word had not a rather too confident twang.
Was it not delightful, he asked her, that they should be thus one to the other, and none know of it. She thought so too, and smiled happily, promising secresy, at his request; for the sake of continuing so felicitous a life.
“You, you know, have an appointment with Captain Gambier, and, I with Lady Charlotte Chillingworth,” said he. “How dare you make appointments with a captain of hussars?” and he bent her knuckles fondlingly.
Emilia smiled as before. He left her with a distinct impression that she did not comprehend that part of her lesson.
Wilfrid had just bled his father of a considerable sum of money; having assured him that he was the accepted suitor of Lady Charlotte Chillingworth, besides making himself pleasant in allusion to Mrs. Chump, so far as to cast some imputation on his sisters’ judgement for not perceiving the virtues of the widow. The sum was improvidently large. Mr. Pole did not hear aright when he heard it named. Even at the repetition, he went: “Eh?” two or three times, vacantly. The amount was distinctly nailed to his ear: whereupon he said, “Ah!—yes! you young fellows want money: must have it, I suppose. Up from the bowels of the earth Up from the—: you’re sure they’re not playing the fool with you, over there?”
Wilfrid understood the indication to Stornley. “I think you need have no fear of that, sir.” And so his father thought, after an examination of the youth, who was of manly shape, and had a fresh, non-fatuous, air.
“Well, if that’s all right...” sighed Mr. Pole. “Of course you’ll always know that money’s money. I wish your sisters wouldn’t lose their time, as they do. Time’s worth more than money. What sum?”
“I told you, sir, I wanted—there’s the yacht, you know, and a lot of tradesmen’s bills, which you don’t like to see standing:-about—perhaps I had better name the round sum. Suppose you write down eight hundred. I shan’t want more for some months. If you fancy it too much...”
Mr. Pole had lifted his head. But he spoke nothing. His lips and brows were rigid in apparent calculation. Wilfrid kept his position for a minute or so; and then, a little piqued, he moved about. He had inherited the antipathy to the discussion of the money question, and fretted to find it unnecessarily prolonged.
“Shall I come to you on this business another time, sir?”
“No, God bless my soul!” cried his father; “are you going to keep this hanging over me for ever? Eight hundred, you said.” He mumbled: “salary of a chief clerk of twenty years’ standing. Eight: twice four:—there you have it exactly.”
“Will you send it me in a letter?” said Wilfrid, out of patience.
“I’ll send it you in a letter,” assented his father. Upon which Wilfrid changed his mind. “I can take a chair, though. I can easily wait for it now.”