Mr. Pole shook his head, as one who deals with a gross delusion: “I remember nothing about it.”
“Not about—?” Mrs. Chump dropped her chin. “Ye don’t remember the givin’ of me just that sum of seventy-five, in eight notes, Pole?”
“Eh? I daresay I have given you the amount, one time or other. Now, let’s be quiet about it.”
“Yesterday mornin’, Pole! And the night I go to bed I count my money, and, says I, I’ll not lock ut up, for I’ll onnly be unlockin’ again to-morrow; and doin’ a thing and undoin’ ut’s a sign of a brain that’s addled—like yours, Pole, if ye say ye didn’t go to give me the notes.”
Mr. Pole frowned at her sagaciously. “Must change your diet, Martha!”
“My dite? And what’s my dite to do with my money?”
“Who went into Mrs. Chump’s bedchamber this morning?” asked Mr. Pole generally.
A pretty little housemaid replied, with an indignant flush, that she was the person. Mrs. Chump acknowledged to being awake when the shutters were opened, and agreed that it was not possible her pockets could have been rifled then.
“So, you see, Martha, you’re talking nonsense,” said Mr. Pole. “Do you know the numbers of those notes?”
“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.”