Briefly, Mrs. Chump, aided by Braintop, her squire, had at last hunted Mr. Pericles down, and the wrathful Greek had called her a beggar. With devilish malice he had reproached her for speculating in such and such Bonds, and sending ventures to this and that hemisphere, laughing infernally as he watched her growing amazement. “Ye’re jokin’, Mr. Paricles,” she tried to say and think; but the very naming of poverty had given her shivers. She told him how she had come to him because of Mr. Pole’s reproach, which accused her of causing the rupture. Mr. Pericles twisted the waxy points of his moustache. “I shall advise you, go home,” he said; “go to a lawyer: say, ‘I will see my affairs, how zey stand.’ Ze man will find Pole is ruined. It may be—I do not know—Pole has left a little of your money; yes, ma’am, it may be.”
The end of the interview saw Mrs. Chump flying past Mr. Pericles to where Braintop stood awaiting her with a meditative speculation on that official promotion which in his attention to the lady he anticipated. It need scarcely be remarked that he was astonished to receive a scent-bottle on the spot, as the only reward his meritorious service was probably destined ever to meet with. Breathless in her panic, Mrs. Chump assured him she was a howling beggar, and the smell of a scent was like a crool blow to her;” above all, the smell of Alderman’s Bouquet, which Chump—“tell’n a lie, ye know, Mr. Braintop, said was after him. And I, smell’n at ’t over ’n Ireland—a raw garl I was—I just thought ’m a prince, the little sly fella! And oh! I’m a beggar, I am!” With which, she shouted in the street, and put Braintop to such confusion that he hailed a cab recklessly, declaring to her she had no time to lose, if she wished to catch the train. Mrs. Chump requested the cabman that as a man possessed of a feeling heart for the interests of a helpless woman, he would drive fast; and, at the station, disputed his charge on the ground of the knowledge already imparted to him of her precarious financial state. In this frame of mind she fell upon Brookfield, and there was clamour in the house. Wilfrid arrived two hours after Mrs. Chump. For that space the ladies had been saying over and over again empty words to pacify her. The task now devolved on their brother. Mr. Pole, though he had betrayed nothing under the excitement of the sudden shock, had lost the proper control of his mask. Wilfrid commenced by fixedly listening to Mrs. Chump until for the third time her breath had gone. Then, taking on a smile, he said: “Perhaps you are aware that Mr. Pericles has a particular reason for animosity tome. We’ve disagreed together, that’s all. I suppose it’s the habit of those fellows to attack a whole family where one member of it offends them.” As soon as the meaning of this was made clear to Mrs. Chump, she caught it to her bosom for comfort; and finding it gave less than at the moment she required, she flung it away altogether; and then moaned, a suppliant, for it once more. “The only thing, if you are in a state of alarm about my father’s affairs, is for him to show you by his books that his house is firm,” said Wilfrid, now that he had so far helped to eject suspicion from her mind.