’You won’t see any lady here; and if you don’t get out of my house when I tell you, I’ll send for a real policeman.’ Then was Bozzle conquered; and, as he went, he admitted to himself that he had sinned against all the rules of his life in attempting to go beyond the legitimate line of his profession. As long as he confined himself to the getting up of facts nobody could threaten him with ‘a real policeman.’ But one fact he had learned to-day. The clergyman of St Diddulph’s, who had been represented to him as a weak, foolish man, was anything but that. Bozzle was much impressed in favour of Mr Outhouse, and would have been glad to have done that gentleman a kindness had an opportunity come in his way.
‘What does he want, Uncle Oliphant?’ said Mrs Trevelyan at the foot of the stairs, guarding the way up to the nursery. At this moment the front door had just been closed behind the back of Mr Bozzle.
‘You had better ask no questions,’ said Mr Outhouse.
‘But is it about Louis?’
‘Yes, he came about him.’
’Well? Of course you must tell me, Uncle Oliphant. Think of my condition.’
’He had some stupid paper in his hand from your husband, but it meant nothing.’
‘He was the messenger, then?’
’Yes, he was the messenger. But I don’t suppose he expected to get anything. Never mind. Go up and look after the child.’ Then Mrs Trevelyan returned to her boy, and Mr Outhouse went back to his papers.
It was very hard upon him, Mr Outhouse thought, very hard. He was threatened with an action now, and most probably would become subject to one. Though he had been spirited enough in presence of the enemy, he was very much out of spirits at this moment. Though he had admitted to himself that his duty required him to protect his wife’s niece, he had never taken the poor woman to his heart with a loving, generous feeling of true guardianship. Though he would not give up the child to Bozzle, he thoroughly wished that the child was out of his house. Though he called Bozzle a knave and Trevelyan a madman, still he considered that Colonel Osborne was the chief sinner, and that Emily Trevelyan had behaved badly. He constantly repeated to himself the old adage, that there was no smoke without fire; and lamented the misfortune that had brought him into close relation with things and people that were so little to his taste. He sat for awhile, with a pen in his hand, at the miserable little substitute for a library table which had been provided for him, and strove to collect his thoughts and go on with his work. But the effort was in vain. Bozzle would be there, presenting his document, and begging that the maid might be rung for, in order that she might hear him called a knave. And then he knew that on this very day his niece intended to hand him money, which he could not refuse. Of what use would it be to refuse it now, after it had been once taken? As he could not write a word, he rose and went away to his wife.