’Just as I remarked, you are not thorough. You have genius and courage out of proportion, and you are a dead failure, Roy; because, no sooner have you got all Covent Garden before you for the fourth or fifth time, than in go your hands into your pockets, and you say—No, there’s an apple I can’t have, so I’ll none of these; and, by the way, the apple must be tolerably withered by this time. And you know perfectly well (for you don’t lack common sense at a shaking, Roy Richmond), that you’re guilty of simple madness in refusing to make the best of your situation. You haven’t to be taught what money means. With money—and a wife to take care of it, mind you—you are pre-eminently the man for which you want to be recognized. Without it—Harry ’ll excuse me, I must speak plainly—you’re a sort of a spectacle of a bob-cherry, down on your luck, up on your luck, and getting dead stale and never bitten; a familiar curiosity’
Jorian added, ‘Oh, by Jove! it’s not nice to think of.’ My father said: ’Harry, I am sure, will excuse you for talking, in your extreme friendliness, of matters that he and I have not—and they interest us deeply—yet thought fit to discuss. And you may take my word for it, Jorian, that I will give Alphonse his medical dose. I am quite of your opinion that the kings of cooks require it occasionally. Harry will inform us of Mdlle. Chassediane’s commands.’
The contents of the letter permitted me to read it aloud. She desired to know how she could be amused on the Sunday.
‘We will undertake it,’ said my father. ’I depute the arrangements to you, Jorian. Respect the prejudices, and avoid collisions, that is all.’
Captain DeWitt became by convenient stages cheerful, after the pink slip of paper had been made common property, and from a seriously-advising friend, in his state of spite, relapsed to the idle and shadow-like associate, when pleased. I had to thank him for the gift of fresh perceptions. Surely it would be as well if my father could get a woman of fortune to take care of him!
We had at my request a consultation with Dettermain and Newson on the eve of the journey to Riversley, Temple and Jorian DeWitt assisting. Strange documentary evidence was unfolded and compared with the date of a royal decree: affidavits of persons now dead; a ring, the ring; fans, and lace, and handkerchiefs with notable initials; jewelry stamped ’To the Divine Anastasia’ from an adoring Christian name: old brown letters that shrieked ‘wife’ when ‘charmer’ seemed to have palled; oaths of fidelity ran through them like bass notes. Jorian held up the discoloured sheets of ancient paper saying: