‘Lord save us!’ he ejaculated, grimly, ‘it’s yon French body. An’ hoo’s a’ wi’ ye, laddie? Eh, but ye’re brawly dressed, my young man,’ with a disproving look; ‘I’m hopin’ they duds are paid for.’
‘Of course they are,’ replied Vandeloup, gaily, ’do you think I stole them?’
‘Weel, I’ll no gae sa far as that,’ remarked Archie, cautiously; ‘maybe ye have dwelt by the side o’ mony waters, an’ flourished. If he ken the Screepture ye’ll see God helps those wha help themselves.’
‘That means you do all the work and give God the credit,’ retorted Gaston, with a sneer; ‘I know all about that.’
‘Ah, ye’ll gang tae the pit o’ Tophet when ye dee,’ said Mr McIntosh, who had heard this remark with horror; ‘an’ ye’ll no be sae ready wi’ your tongue there, I’m thinkin’; but ye are not speerin aboot Mistress Villiers.’
‘Why, is she in town?’ asked Vandeloup, eagerly.
‘Ay, and Seliny wi’ her,’ answered Archie, fondling his frill; ‘she’s varra rich noo, as ye’ve nae doot heard. Ay, ay,’ he went on, ’she’s gotten a braw hoose doon at St Kilda, and she’s going to set up a carriage, ye ken. She tauld me,’ pursued Mr McIntosh, sourly, looking at Vandeloup, ’if I saw ye I was to be sure to tell ye to come an’ see her.’
‘Present my compliments to Madame,’ said Vandeloup, quickly, ’and I will wait on her as soon as possible.’
‘Losh save us, laddie,’ said McIntosh, irritably, ‘you’re as fu’ o’ fine wards as a play-actor. Have ye seen onything doon in this pit o’ Tophet o’ the bairn that rin away?’
‘Oh, Miss Marchurst!’ said Vandeloup, smoothly, ready with a lie at once. ‘No, I’m sorry to say I’ve never set eyes on her.’
‘The mistress is joost daft aboot her,’ observed McIntosh, querulously; ‘and she’s ganging tae look all thro’ the toun tae find the puir wee thing.’
‘I hope she will!’ said M. Vandeloup, who devoutly hoped she wouldn’t. ‘Will you come and have a glass of wine, Mr McIntosh?’
Til hae a wee drappy o’ whusky if ye’ve got it gude,’ said McIntosh, cautiously, ’but I dinna care for they wines that sour on a body’s stomach.’
McIntosh having thus graciously assented, Vandeloup took him up to the Club, and introduced him all round as the manager of the famous Pactolus. All the young men were wonderfully taken up with Archie and his plain speaking, and had Mr McIntosh desired he could have drunk oceans of his favourite beverage. However, being a Scotchman and cautious, he took very little, and left Vandeloup to go down to Madame Midas at St Kilda, and bearing a message from the Frenchman that he would call there the next day.
Archie having departed, Vandeloup got through the rest of the day as he best could. He met Mr Wopples in the street, who told him how he had found Kitty, quite unaware that the young man before him was the villain who had betrayed the girl. Vandeloup was delighted to think that Kitty had not mentioned his name, and quite approved of Mr Wopples’ intention to take the girl on tour. Having thus arranged for Kitty’s future, Gaston went along to his broker, and found that the astute Polglaze had got him his shares.