Read CHAPTER XVI - A FIGHT of The End of a Coil , free online book, by Susan Warner, on ReadCentral.com.

The cab stopped, and Dolly’s heart gave a great thump against her ribs.  What was she afraid of?

Mrs. Jersey said she would wait in the cab, and Dolly applied herself to the door-knocker.  A servant came, a stupid one seemingly.

“Is Mr. Copley at home?”

“I dunno.”

“Will you find out, please?”

“Jemima, who’s that?” called a voice of authority from behind the scenes.

“Somebody arter the gentleman, ma’am.  I dunno, is he in his room?”

The owner of the voice came forward; a portly, respectable landlady.  She surveyed Dolly, glanced at the cab, became very civil, invited Dolly in, and sent the maid upstairs to make inquiries, declaring she did not know herself whether the gentleman were out or in.  Dolly would not sit down.  The girl brought down word that Mr. Copley was not out of his bedroom yet.

“I went in the parlour, ma’am, and knocked, ma’am; and I might as well ha’ axed my broom, ma’am.”

“I’ll go up,” said Dolly hastily; and waiting for no answer, she brushed past landlady and maid and ran up the stairs.  Then paused.

“Which rooms? on the first floor?”

The woman of the house came bustling after her up the stairs and opened the door of a sitting-room.  It was very comfortably furnished.

“You couldn’t go wrong, ma’am,” she said civilly, “I ’ave no one in my rooms at this present, except Mr. Copley.  I suppose you are his daughter, ma’am?”

“His daughter,” Dolly repeated, standing still and facing the landlady, and keeping down all outward expression of the excitement which was consuming her.  She knew she kept it down; she faced the woman steadily and calmly, and the landlady was more and more humbly civil.  “Mr. Copley is not ill?” Dolly went on.

“Oh, dear, no, ma’am! not to call h’ill.  Mr. Copley is in enjoyment of very good ’ealth; as I ’ave occasion to know, ma’am, who cooks his meals for him.  I can allers tell by that.  When a gentleman or a lady ’as good taste for their victuals, I think it’s no ’arm if they sleeps a little long in the morning; it’s a trifle onconvenient to the ’ouse, it may be, when things is standing roun’, but it’s good for theirselves, no doubt, and satisfyin’ and they’ll be ready for their breakfast when they comes h’out.  And shall I wake Mr. Copley for you, ma’am?  It’s time for him, to be sure.”

“Thank you, no; you need not do anything.  I will sit here and wait a little.”

“And Mr. Copley’s coffee’ll be ready for him, ma’am, when he’s ready for h’it.  Mr. Copley, he sets a good deal by his coffee, and likes it made particular, and he gets it made particular.  Didn’t Mr. Copley tell you, ma’am, as his coffee was satisfactory?”

“I daresay it is,” said Dolly; “and I will ring for it when my father wants it.  You may leave me; I will wait here.”

The landlady had been going round the room, picking up a bit of paper here and wiping her apron over a table there, the while taking a careful view of Dolly and examining her all over.  Dolly’s figure and manner were irreproachable; and with renewed proffers of service, the woman at last, having no choice, left the room.  Dolly stood still a moment then, collecting herself and looking at the situation.  Past one o’clock, and her father not out of his room!  That was not like any of his habits, as she knew them; and Dolly stood with the shadow of a nameless fear falling across her spirit.  Nameless, and formless; she did not discern it clearly or attempt to examine it; the mere shadow of it chilled her to the bone.  She stood thinking, and trembling.  Not at his office for several days, though business must be calling for him; not out of his room at one o’clock in the afternoon, though all his old simple home habits were opposed to such a waste of daylight!  Should she try to arouse him?  Dolly did try, after a little while; for she could not bear the still waiting; she knocked at the inner door; but she got no response.  Then she went down to Mrs. Jersey at the cab, and told her the state of the case, begging her to go away and not wait any longer. She must wait, and it was impossible to say how long.

“Miss Dolly, does your father often rise so late?”

“They say so.  He never used, but it seems he does now.”

“It’s the way with a many,” said the housekeeper.  “Never mind me, my dear.  I’ll wait here, or if I get tired of that, I will come in and sit with the landlady.  I shall not leave you.”

Inwardly thankful, Dolly went back to her post and sat down and looked around her.  She could tell nothing by the room or its contents.  Both were nice enough; there was a slight smell of cigars, that was all to find fault with.  Dolly waited.  The stillness grew dreadful.  To seventeen years old the first trouble comes hard; albeit seventeen years old has also a great fund of spirit and strength to meet and conquer trouble.  But what was the trouble here?  It was not the unusual scantiness of means; that could soon be made right, if other things were not wrong which wrought to cause it.  On the other hand, if her father had fallen irreparably into bad habits ­Dolly would not admit the “irreparably” into her thoughts.  But it was bitter to her that children should ever have to find their parents in the wrong; dreadful to have occasion to be ashamed of them.  She knew, if her case proved such a one, it would be only one of a great many; she had read of such things, although chiefly among another class of people who were of coarser habits and duller natures, and if they fell had less distance to fall to get to the lowest level of society.  But her father! ­Dolly cowered with her head down upon the back of a chair, and a cry in her heart calling upon his name.  Her father? could she have to blush for him?  All her nature revolted against it; the thought came over her as a thick black cloud, so thick that for the moment light was banished from all her little landscape.  Oh, how can fathers do such things! and how can daughters live under them!  Death might be borne easier; but disgrace?  Death would leave the loved one still her own; disgrace seemed to have a power of annihilation.  Still, Dolly knew not that such trouble was really come upon her; alas, she did know too well that the fear of it had.  And what a descent did that alone imply!  She raised her head again, and sat with dry eyes and a beating heart, waiting.

At last she was sure she heard some movement in the inner room.  She heard the click of things that were moved; the fall of a chair that was knocked over, sounds of steps.  Finally the door opened, and Mr. Copley appeared on the threshold.  The sight of him smote his daughter.  His dress was carelessly thrown on; that was not so very remarkable, for Mr. Copley never was an exact man in matters of the toilet.  It was not merely that.  But Dolly’s eye saw that his step was unsteady, his face dull and flushed, and his eye had a look which even a very little experience understands.  His air was haggard, spiritless, hopeless; so unlike the alert, self-sufficient, confident manner of old, that Dolly’s heart got a great wrench.  And something in the whole image was so inexpressibly pitiful to her, that she did the very last thing it had been in her purpose to do; she fled to him with one bound, threw herself on his breast, and burst into a heartbreak of tears.

Poor Mr. Copley was greatly startled and sorely perplexed.  He had not been prepared to see his daughter; and though miserably conscious that he offered ground enough himself for Dolly’s passion, he could not yet be sure that it concerned him.  It might be wrought by some other cause; and in sore dismay and uncertainty he was not able to bring out a word of question.  Dolly sobbed, and sobbed; and putting her arms up around his neck strained him in an embrace that was most pitifully longing and tender.  Mr. Copley felt the pitifulness; he did not know what it meant.  It was not till Dolly had released him and was trying to dry her eyes that he brought out a question.

“What’s the matter with you, Dolly?”

Dolly heard the thick and lumbering accent of his words, and burst forth in a despairing cry.  “O father! what is the matter with you?”

“I’m all right,” said poor Mr. Copley.  “I’m all right.  What are you here for?”

“I wanted to see you.  Why did you never come down?  You haven’t been near us.”

“I was coming ­hindered always ­I was coming, Dolly.  How’s your mother?”

Dolly made a great effort after voice and calmness.

“She is well ­I mean, she is no worse than usual.  Will you have your coffee, father?”

But Dolly’s voice choked with a sob.  Mr. Copley looked at her in a helpless kind of way and made no answer.  Dolly rang the bell.

“How ­a ­how did you get here?” was the next question, put in evident embarrassment.

“You wouldn’t come to Brierley, father; so I had to come to London.  I came with a friend.”

“St. Leger?”

“St. Leger!  No, indeed.  Oh, I came with a very nice friend, who took good care of me.  Now, here’s your breakfast.”

Dolly was glad of the chance to get upon common everyday ground, till her breath should be free again.  She helped arrange the dishes; dismissed the maid; poured out Mr. Copley’s coffee and served him.

“Better take some yourself, Dolly.  Had your breakfast?  Let Mrs. Bunce do you another chop.”

Dolly at first said no; but presently felt that she was faint and exhausted, and agreed to the suggestion.  She rang for another cup and plate, and ordered the chop.  Meanwhile Mr. Copley drank coffee and made a poor hand of the rest of his breakfast.

“What did you come up for, Dolly?”

“To see you, sir.”

“You might have waited for that.”

“But how long?  I had waited.”

“What’s up? ­if your mother’s well.”

“I wanted to talk to you, father, and I couldn’t do it in letters; because there the talking was all on one side, and I wanted to hear what you would say.”

“Why, didn’t I answer you?”

“No, sir.”

“Well, what do you want, Dolly?”

“I want a great deal, father.  Wait, please, till I get my chop; for I cannot talk to you till I do.”

“‘Ill talking between a full man and a fasting,’ eh?  Well, here’s your breakfast.”

It was only the bespoken cup and plate, however, and Mr. Copley had to wait longer.  It came at last, the chop; and till it came Dolly said no more.  Her father watched her, and watched her, and could not take his eyes off her.  The flush on her cheek and the sparkle in her eye, the moisture still lingering on her eyelashes, how sweet she was! and how indefinably lovely!  Dolly had grown into a woman; she had the presence and poise that belong to a high-bred woman; and yet she had not lost her girlhood nor grown out of its artless graces; and as Mr. Copley looked he saw now and then a very childlike trembling of the under lip.  It troubled his heart.  He had been very uncomfortable ever since his meeting with his daughter; the discomfort began now to develope into the stings and throes of positive pain.  What was she there for? whence had come that agony of tears? and why when those tears were pouring from her eyes did her soft arm clasp him so? did she want help from him? or for him?  Mr. Copley grew extremely uneasy; restless and fidgeting.  Dolly ate her chop and her potatoe, needing it, I fancy; and perhaps she wanted to gain time too.  Mr. Copley had no appetite.  He had none to begin with, and certainly Dolly’s appearance had not given him what he had not before.

“You don’t make much of a breakfast, father,” Dolly observed.

“Never do,” he returned.  “No time to eat, when a man has just got up.  A cup of coffee is the only thing.  The French way is the best.”

“You did not use to be up so late, in the old days.”

“Don’t think it’s the best time either; but ­you must do as the rest of the world do; swim with the ­what is it? ­swim with the current.”

“How if the current goes the wrong way?”

“Can’t help yourself; you must go along, if you are in it.”

Dolly was silent, finishing her luncheon.  She ate fast and hurriedly.  Then she pushed her chair away and came round and sat upon her father’s knee; laying one arm round his neck and looking into his face.

“Father,” she said in her clear, musical voice, sweet as a bird’s notes, ­“father, suppose we get out of the current?”

“What current do you mean?  It makes a great confusion to try to have your meals at a different hour from the rest of the world.”

“I don’t mean that, father.”

“What have you come up to town for?”

“To see about it,” said Dolly, with a smile that dimpled her cheeks most charmingly, and covered the anxiety she did not want to show.

“To see about what?  Dolly, you are grown a woman.”

“Yes, father.”

“And, I declare you’re a beautiful woman, child.  It’s time we were thinking of getting you married.”

“You’re not in a hurry, are you, father?”

“In a hurry!” said Mr. Copley, gazing at her admiringly.  “Why, yes.  I want you to be married while you can choose your place in the world, and enjoy it when you have got it.  And you can choose now, Dolly.”

“What, sir?”

“Your husband.”

“But, father,” cried Dolly, while her cheeks covered themselves with the most brilliant roses, “I cannot choose what is not presented to my choice!”

“No, child; take what is.  That’s what I am thinking of.  Good enough too.  Don’t you like the ticket you have drawn?”

“Father,” said Dolly, turning the tables now on her side, and laying her face in his neck, “I wish you would have nothing to do with lotteries or gaming!”

“I have nothing to do with lotteries, child.”

“But with gaming?”

“What put such a thing into your head?”

Dolly hesitated, strained him a little closer in her embrace, and did not answer directly.

“Father, I wish you would!”

“What folly are you talking, Dolly?” said Mr. Copley angrily.  “You are meddling with what you do not understand.”

But Dolly only clung closer, and having once broken the ice would not now give back.  She must speak now.

“Father,” she said, half sobbing, yet commanding the sobs down, “we are getting ruined.  We are losing each other.  Mother and I live alone ­we do not see you ­we are poor ­we have not money to pay our dues ­mother is not getting better ­and I am breaking my heart about her, and about you.  O father, let us come and live together again.”

Dolly got no answer to this outburst, and hardly was conscious that she got none, she was so eagerly trying to swallow down the emotion which threatened to master her voice.  Mr. Copley had no answer ready.

“Father,” Dolly began again, “mother wants to travel; she wants to go to Venice.  Suppose we go?”

“Can’t travel without money, Dolly.  You say we haven’t any.”

“Would it cost more to travel than to live as we are living?”

“You say we cannot do that.”

“Father, do you say so?”

“I am merely repeating your statements, Dolly, to show you how like a child you talk.”

“Answer me as if I were a child then, father, and tell me what we can do.  But don’t let us go on living as we are doing!”

“I thought I had done the very best thing possible for your mother, when I got her that place down at ­I forget what’s the name of the place.”

“Brierley.”

“I thought I had done the very best thing for her, when I settled her there.  Now she is tired of it.”

“But father, we cannot pay our way; and it worries her.”

“She is always worrying about something or other.  If it wasn’t that, it would be something else.  Any man may be straightened for cash now and then.  It happens to everybody.  It is nothing to make a fuss about.”

“But, father, if I cannot pay the servants, they must be without cash too; and that is hard on poor people.”

“Not half so hard as on people above them,” replied her father hastily.  “They have ways and means; and they don’t have a tenth or a hundredth as many wants, anyhow.”

“But those they have are wants of necessary things,” urged Dolly.

“Well, what do you want me to do?” said Mr. Copley, with as much of harshness in his manner as ever could come out towards Dolly.  “I cannot coin money for you, well as I would like to do it.”

“Father, let us take what we have got, and go to Venice! all together.  We’ll travel ever so cheaply and live ever so plainly; only let us go!  Only let us go!”

“Think your mother’d like travelling second-class?” said Mr. Copley in the same way.

“She wouldn’t mind so very much; and I wouldn’t mind it at all.  If we could only go.”

“And what is to become of my business?”

Dolly did not dare give the answer that rose to her tongue, nor let her father know how much she knew.  She came up on another side of the subject, and insisted that the consulate might be dispensed with.  Mr. Copley did not need the office and might well be tired of it by this time.  Dolly pleaded, and her father heard her with a half embarrassed, half sullen face; feeling her affectionate entreaties more than was at all convenient, and conscious at the same time of a whole side of his life that he would be ashamed his daughter should know; and afraid of her guessing it.  Alas, for father and child both, when such a state of things comes about!

“Come, father!” said Dolly at last, touching her forehead to his forehead in a sweet kind of caress, ­“I want you.”

“Suppose I find somebody else to go with you instead of me?”

“Nobody else will do.  Come, father!  Do come.”

“You might set off with Lawrence,” said Mr. Copley as if considering, “and I might join you afterwards; at Venice, perhaps, or Nice, or somewhere.  Hey?”

“That won’t do.  I would not go with Mr. Lawrence.”

“Why not?”

“Too much of an honour for him.”

“You need not be afraid of showing him too much honour, for he is willing to give you the greatest man can give to a woman.”

Dolly coloured again, and again touched her forehead to her father’s forehead and sat so, leaning against him.  Maybe with an instinct of hiding her cheeks.

“Father, let us go to Venice!” she began again, leaving Mr. St. Leger.  “Just think what fun it would be, to go all together.  We have been living so long without you.  I believe it would just make mother up.  Think of seeing Venice together, father! ­and then maybe we would go on to Geneva and get a look at Mont Blanc.”

“Geneva is a place for lovers,” said Mr. Copley.

“Why?”

“Romantic.”

“Can’t anybody else be romantic, except that sort of people?  I am romantic, ­and I do not care a straw about anybody but mother and you.”

“Don’t tell Mr. St. Leger that.”

“He might as well know it.  Come, father!  Say you’ll go.”

It was hard to withstand her.  The pure, gentle intonations rang upon Mr. Copley’s soul almost like bells of doom, because he did withstand her.  She was his saving good angel; he half knew it; he was ashamed before his child, and conscience knocked hard at the door of his heart; but the very shame he felt before her made her presence irksome to him, while yet it was, oh, so sweet!  Alas, “he that doeth evil hateth the light.”  He was entangled in more than one sort of net, and he lacked moral power to break the meshes.  The gentle fingers that were busy with the net, trying to unloose it, were a reproach and a torment to him.  She must marry St. Leger; so his thoughts ran; it was the best thing that could happen to her; it was the best he could do for her.  Then she would be secure, at all events.

“Dolly, why don’t you like Lawrence?” he began.

“He’s too handsome, father, ­for one thing.”

“I never heard of such a reason for a lady’s dislike.  That’s play, Dolly.”

“And he knows it; there’s another thing.”

“Well, of course he knows it.  How can he help knowing it?”

“And he’s too rich.”

“Dolly, you are talking nonsense.”

“And he knows that.”

“He doesn’t know he’s too rich,” said Mr. Copley, with a little bitterness.  “No St. Leger ever did that.”

“Well, father, that’s what he is.  Very handsome, and very rich.  He is nothing else.  He would suit some people admirably; but he don’t suit me.”

“What sort of thing would suit you?”

“A very perverse sort of a person, who is called Frank Collinshaw Copley.”

“Well, you’ve got me,” said her father, laughing a little at her.  He could not help it.  “You want something else besides.”

“I don’t, father, indeed.”

“And, my child, money is necessary in this world.  You cannot get along without money.”

“Father, will you come to Venice? and we’ll get along with very little money.  Father, we must go, for mother.  The doctor says so, and she is just longing to go.  We ought to go as soon as ever you can be ready.”

“You show how much you know about it, when you talk of Venice and a little money!  You had better take Mr. St. Leger.”

“Father, everybody says living is cheap in Switzerland.”

“You talked of Venice.”

“And Italy.  The doctor says mother ought to stay some time at Nice, or Naples.  Father, you can arrange it.  Do!  Give up the consulate, and let us take mother to Italy; and then home if you like.  I don’t much care, so that we have you.”  And again Dolly’s forehead bent over to give a soft impact to her father’s brown brow.

“Who did you come to town with?” he said suddenly.  She told him.

“Well, now you had better go back with her, and I will see what I can do.”

“You will go, father?”

“If I cannot immediately, I will send you and come on after.”

“I cannot go without you, father.  Oh, come, come!” And Dolly rained kisses upon his face, and stroked his forehead and cheeks, and was so entirely delicious in her tenderness and her sweetness, her love and her anxiety, that the heart of ordinary man could not stand it.  Anything else became more easy than to refuse her.  So Mr. Copley said he would go; and received a new harvest of caresses in reward, not wholly characterised by the usual drought of harvest-time, for some drops of joy and thankfulness still came falling, a sunlit shower.

“Now, my child,” said her father, “you had better go back to your good housekeeper, and then back to your mother, and get all things ready for a start.”

“Father, I can stay here to-night, can’t I?”

Mr. Copley was not sure that he wanted her; yet he could not refuse to make inquiry.  There was no difficulty; plenty of room; and Dolly joyously prepared herself to gather in the fruits of her victory, through that following care and those measures of security for want of which many a victory has been won in vain.  Mrs. Jersey had long since been informed that she need not wait, and had driven away.  Dolly now sent for her portmanteau, and established herself in her father’s sitting room.

Mr. Copley looked on, helplessly; half delighted, half bored.  He would not have chosen to have Dolly there just then; yet being there she was one of the most lovely visions that a father’s eye could rest upon.  Grown to be a woman ­yes, she was; ordering and arranging things with a woman’s wisdom and skill; ordering him, Mr. Copley felt with a queer sensation; and yet, so simple and free and sweet in all her words and ways as might have become seven instead of seventeen.  St. Leger might be glad if he could get her!  Yet she was inconvenient to Mr. Copley.  She stood in his way, like the angel in Balaam’s; only not with a sword drawn, but with loving looks, and kisses, and graces, and wiles of affection; and who could withstand an angel?  He gave up trying; he let her have her way; and when dinner time came, Dolly and he had an almost jovial dinner.  Until Mr. Copley rose from table, unlocked a cupboard, and took out a bottle of wine.  Dolly’s heart gave a sudden leap that meant a throe of pain.  Was there another fight to be fought?  How should she fight another fight?  But the emergency pressed her.

“O father,” she cried, “is that sherry?”

“No, it is better,” said her father ­pouring out a glass, ­“it is Madeira.”

Dolly saw the hand tremble that grasped the bottle, and she sprang up.  She went round to her father, fell down on her knees before him, and laid one hand on the hand that had just seized the glass, the other on his shoulder.

“Please, father, don’t take it! please don’t take it!” she said in imploring tones.  Mr. Copley paused.

“Not take it?  Why not?” said he.

“It is not good for you.  I know you ought not to take it, father.  Please, please, don’t!”

Dolly’s eagerness and distress were too visible to be disregarded, by Mr. Copley at least.  Her hand was trembling too.  His still held the glass, but he looked uncertainly at Dolly, and asked her why it should not be good for him?  Every gentleman in the land drank wine ­that could afford it.

“But, father,” said Dolly, “can you afford it?”

“Yes,” said Mr. Copley.  “Get up, Dolly.  Here is the wine; it costs no more to drink it than to let it alone.”  And he swallowed the wine in the glass at a single draught.

“O father, don’t take any more!” cried Dolly, seeing a preparatory movement of the hand towards the bottle.  “O father! don’t, don’t!  One glass is enough.  Don’t take any more to-day!”

“You talk like a goose, Dolly,” said Mr. Copley, filling his glass.  “I feel better already for that.  It has done me good.”

“You only think so.  It is not doing you good.  O father! if you love me, put the bottle away.  Don’t take a drop more!”

Dolly had turned pale in her agony of pleading; and her father, conscious in part, and ashamed with that secret consciousness, and taken by surprise at her action, looked at her and ­did not drink.

“What’s the matter with you, child?” he said, trying for an unconcerned manner.  “Why should not I take wine, like everybody else in the world?”

“Father, it isn’t good for people.”

“I beg your pardon; it is very good for me.  Indeed, I cannot be well without it.”

“That’s the very thing, father; people cannot do without it; and then it comes to be the master; and then ­they cannot help themselves.  Oh, do let it alone!”

“What’s the matter, Dolly?” Mr. Copley repeated with an air of injury, which was at the same time miserably marred by embarrassment.  “Do you think I cannot help myself? or how am I different from every other gentleman who takes wine?”

“Father, a great many of them are ruined by it.”

“Well, I am not ruined by it yet.”

“Father, how can you tell what might be?  Father, I can’t bear it!” Dolly could not indeed; she broke down.  She sat on the floor and sobbed.

If Mr. Copley could have been angry with her; but he could not, she was so sweet in every pleading look and tone.  If he could have dismissed her pleading as the whimsy of a fool; but he could not, for he knew it was wise truth.  If he had been further gone in the habit which was growing upon him, to the point of brutality; but he was not yet; he was a man of affectionate nature.  So he did not get angry, and though he wished Dolly at Brierley instead of in his room, he could not let her break her heart, seeing that she was there.  He looked at her in uncomfortable silence for a minute or two; and then the bitterness of Dolly’s sobs was more than he could stand.  He rose and put the bottle away, locked it up, and came back to his place.  Dolly’s distress hindered her knowing what he had done.

“It’s gone,” Mr. Copley said in an injured tone, as of one oppressed and persecuted.  “It is put away, Dolly; you need not sit there any longer.”

Dolly looked up, rose from the floor, came into her father’s arms, laid her two arms about his neck and her weary head upon his shoulder.  It was a soft little head, and the action was like a child.  Mr. Copley clasped her tenderly.

“Dolly,” he said, ­“my child ­you are giving yourself a great deal more trouble than you need.”

Dolly murmured, “Thank you, father!”

“You mustn’t be superstitious.”

Alas!  Dolly had seen his face already altered by the indulgence of his new habits.  Involuntarily her arms pressed him closer, and she only by an effort prevented a new outbreak of bitter sorrow.  That was not best just now.  She put a force upon herself; after a while looked up, and kissed her father; kissed him again and again.

“I declare!” said Mr. Copley, half delighted and half conscience-stricken, “you are a little witch, Dolly.  Is this the way you are going to rule other folks beside me?  Mr. St. Leger, for instance?”

“Mercy, father! no,” said Dolly, recoiling.

“I don’t believe he would be hard to manage.  He’s desperately in love with you, Dolly.”

“Father, I don’t want to manage.  And I don’t think Lawrence is in any danger.  It isn’t in him to be desperate about anything.”

“So much the better, I think,” said her father.  “What if he should want to go with us to Venice?”

“Don’t let him!  We do not want him.”

“He would be useful, I daresay.  And I should have to take my secretary, Dolly.”

“Take that other fellow, the one I saw in your office to-day.”

“What, Babbage?  He’s a raw article, Dolly, very raw.  I put him there to answer questions.  The fellow was in a forlorn state here with nothing to do.”

They calmed down after a while; and the rest of the evening was largely spent in considering plans and details of their projected movements.  It was agreed that Dolly should rejoin Mrs. Jersey the next day, to be ready to return to Brierley with her; that then all preparations should be made for a speedy start to the Continent.  Father and daughter talked themselves into ordinary composure, and when they had bid each other good night, Dolly went to rest with a feeling of some hopefulness.