‘He was so beautiful, Mrs Hurtle!’
’But he hadn’t the spirit of a mouse in his bosom. Well, Ruby, you have one more choice left you. Shall it be John Crumb or Mrs Buggins?’
‘He wouldn’t come, Mrs Hurtle.’
‘Leave that to me, Ruby. May I bring him if I can?’ Then Ruby in a very low whisper told Mrs Hurtle, that if she thought proper she might bring John Crumb back again. ‘And there shall be no more nonsense?’
‘No,’ whispered Ruby.
On that same night a letter was sent to Mrs Buggins, which Mrs Hurtle also composed, informing that lady that unforeseen circumstances prevented Ruby Ruggles from keeping the engagement she had made; to which a verbal answer was returned that Ruby Ruggles was an impudent hussey. And then Mrs Hurtle in her own name wrote a short note to Mr John Crumb.
Dear Mr Crumb,
If you will come back to London
I think you will find Miss Ruby
Ruggles all that you desire.
’She’s had a deal more done for her than I ever knew to be done for young women in my time,’ said Mrs Pipkin, ’and I’m not at all so sure that she has deserved it.’
‘John Crumb will think she has.’
’John Crumb’s a fool;—and as to Ruby; well, I haven’t got no patience with girls like them. Yes; it is for the best; and as for you, Mrs Hurtle, there’s no words to say how good you’ve been. I hope, Mrs Hurtle, you ain’t thinking of going away because this is all done.’
Dolly Longestaffe had found himself compelled to go to Fetter Lane immediately after that meeting in Bruton Street at which he had consented to wait two days longer for the payment of his money. This was on a Wednesday, the day appointed for the payment being Friday. He had undertaken that, on his part, Squercum should be made to desist from further immediate proceedings, and he could only carry out his word by visiting Squercum. The trouble to him was very great, but he began to feel that he almost liked it. The excitement was nearly as good as that of loo. Of course it was a ’horrid bore,’—this having to go about in cabs under the sweltering sun of a London July day. Of course it was a ’horrid bore,’—this doubt about his money. And it went altogether against the grain with him that he should be engaged in any matter respecting the family property in agreement with his father and Mr Bideawhile. But there was an importance in it that sustained him amidst his troubles. It is said that if you were to take a man of moderate parts and make him Prime Minister out of hand, he might probably do as well as other Prime Ministers, the greatness of the work elevating the man to its own level. In that way Dolly was elevated to the level of a man of business, and felt and enjoyed his own capacity.