’I dare say not. But if you could just let me have the account, Mr Bozzle—’
’The account? Oh, yes that is necessary; ain’t it? These sort of inquiries do come a little expensive, Mr Trewillian; because time goes for so much; and when one has to be down on a thing, sharp, you know, and sure, so that counsel on the other side can’t part you from it, though he shakes you like a dog does a rat, and one has to get oneself up ready for all that, you know, Mr Trewillian; as I was saying, one can’t count one’s shillings when one has such a job as this in hand. Clench your nail—that’s what I say; be it even so. Clench your nail— that’s what you’ve got to do.’
‘I dare say we shan’t quarrel about the money, Mr Bozzle.’
’Oh dear no. I find I never has any words about the money. But there’s that one question. There’s a young Mr Stanbury has gone down, as knows all about it. What’s he up to?’
‘He’s my particular friend,’ said Trevelyan.
‘Oh h. He do know all about it, then?’
‘We needn’t talk about that, if you please, Mr Bozzle.’
’Because there was words between him and the Colonel upon the platform and very angry words. The young man went at the Colonel quite open-mouthed savage-like. It’s not the way such things should be done, Mr Trewillian; and though of course it’s not for me to speak—she’s your lady—still, when you has got a thing of this kind in hand, one head is better than a dozen. As for myself, Mr Trewillian, I never wouldn’t look at a case, not if I knew it, unless I was to have it all to myself. But of course there was no bargain, and so I says nothing.’
After considerable delay the bill was made out on the spot, Mr Bozzle copying down the figures painfully from his memorandum-book, with his head much inclined on one side. Trevelyan asked him, almost in despair, to name the one sum; but this Bozzle declined to do, saying that right was right. He had a scale of pilfering of his own, to which he had easily reconciled his conscience; and beyond that he prided himself on the honesty of his accounts. At last the bill was made out, was paid, and Bozzle was gone. Trevelyan, when he was alone, threw himself back on a sofa, and almost wept in despair. To what a depth of degradation had he not been reduced!
As Hugh Stanbury went over to Lessboro’, and from thence to Nuncombe Putney, he thought more of himself and Nora Rowley than he did of Mr and Mrs Trevelyan. As to Mrs Trevelyan and Colonel Osborne, he felt that he knew everything that it was necessary that he should know. The man had been there, and had seen Mrs Trevelyan. Of that there could be no doubt. That Colonel Osborne had been wickedly indifferent to the evil consequences of such a visit, and that all the women concerned had been most foolish in permitting him to make it, was his present conviction.