The Prime Minister
Part 11 out of 16
as fast as I can.'
'God knows I would not have trodden on you.'
'I am willing,--if it be necessary. Then came the question;--
as I had done this evil, how was it to be rectified? Any man
with a particle of spirit would have taken his rubs and said
nothing about it. But as this man asked for the money, it was
right that he should have it. If it is all made public he won't
get very well out of it.'
'What does that matter to me?'
'Nor shall I;--only luckily I do not mind it.'
'But I mind it for you.'
'You must throw me to the whale. Let somebody say in so many
words that the Duchess did so and so. It was very wicked no
doubt; but they can't kill me,--nor yet dismiss me. And I won't
resign. In point of fact I shan't be a penny the worse for it.'
'But I should resign.'
'If all the Ministers of England were to give up as soon as their
wives do foolish things, that question about Queen's Government
would become very difficult.'
'They may do foolish things, dear; and yet--'
'And yet what?'
'And yet not interfere in politics.'
'That's all you know about it, Plantagenet. Doesn't everybody
know that Mrs Daubney got Dr MacFuzlem made a bishop, and that
Mrs Gresham got her husband to make that hazy speech about
women's rights, so that nobody should know which way he meant to
go? There are others just as bad as me, only I don't think they
got blown up so much. You do now as I ask you.'
'I couldn't do it, Cora. Though the stain were but a little
spot, and the thing to be avoided political destruction, I could
not ride out of the punishment by fixing that stain upon my wife.
I will not have your name mentioned. A man's wife should be
talked about by no one.'
'That's highfaluting, Plantagenet.'
'Glencora, in these matters you must allow me to judge for
myself, and I will judge. I will never say that I didn't do it;
--but that it was my wife who did.'
'Adam said so,--because he chose to tell the truth.'
'And Adam has been despised ever since,--not because he ate the
apple, but because he imputed the eating of it to a woman. I
will not do it. We have had enough of this now.' Then she
turned to go away;--but he called her back. 'Kiss me, dear,' he
said. Then she stooped over him and kissed him. 'Do not think I
am angry with you because the thing vexes me. I am dreaming
always of some day when we may go away together with the
children, and rest in some pretty spot, and live as other people
'It would be very stupid,' she muttered to herself as she left
He did to up to town for the Cabinet meeting. Whatever may have
been done at that august assembly there was certainly no
resignation, or the world would have heard it. It is probable,
too, that nothing was said about these newspaper articles.
Things if left to themselves will generally die at last. The old
Duke and Phineas Finn and Barrington Erle were all of the opinion
that the best plan for the present was to do nothing. 'Has
anything been settled?' The Duchess asked Phineas when he came
'Oh yes;--the Queen's Speech. But there isn't very much in it.'
'But about the payment of this money?'
'I haven't heard a word about it,' said Phineas.
'You're just as bad as all the rest, Mr Finn, with your pretended
secrecy. A girl with her sweetheart isn't half so fussy as a
young Cabinet Minister.'
'The Cabinet Ministers get used to it sooner, I think,' said
Parliament had already met before Mr Slide had quite determined
in what way he would carry on the war. He could indeed go on
writing pernicious articles about the Prime Minister ad
infinitum,--from year's end to year's end. It was an occupation
in which he took delight, and for which he imagined himself to be
peculiarly well suited. But readers will become tired even of
abuse if it be not varied. And the very continuance of such
attacks would seem to imply that they were not much heeded.
Other papers had indeed taken the matter up,--but they had taken
it up only to drop it. The subject had not been their own. The
little discovery had been due not to their acumen, and did not
therefore bear with them the highest interest. It had almost
seemed as though nothing would come of it,--for Mr Slide in his
wildest ambition could have hardly imagined the vexation and
hesitation, the nervousness and serious discussion which his
words had occasioned among the great people at Matching. But
certainly the thing must not be allowed to pass away as a matter
of no moment. Mr Slide had almost worked his mind up to real
horror as he thought of it. What! A prime minister, a peer, a
great duke,--put a man forward as a candidate for a borough,
and, when the man was beaten, pay his expenses! Was this to be
done,--to be done, and found out and nothing come of it in these
days of purity, when a private member of Parliament, some mere
nobody loses his seat because he has given away a few bushels of
coals or a score or two of rabbits! Mr Slide's energetic love of
public virtue was scandalized as he thought of the probability of
such a catastrophe. To his thinking public virtue consisted in
carping at men high placed, in abusing ministers and judges and
bishops,--and especially in finding out something for which they
might be abused. His own public virtue was in this matter very
great, for it was he who had ferreted out the secret. For his
intelligence and energy in that matter the country owed him much.
But the country would pay him nothing, would give him none of the
credit he desired, would rob him of this special opportunity of
declaring a dozen times that the "People's Banner" was the surest
guardian of the people's liberty,--unless he could succeed in
forcing the matter further into public notice. 'How terrible is
the apathy of the people at large,' said Mr Slide to himself,
'when they cannot be awakened by such a revelation as this!'
Mr Slide knew very well what ought to be the next step. Proper
notice should be given and a question should be asked in
Parliament. Some gentleman should declare that he had noticed
such and such statements in the public press, and that he thought
it right to ask whether such and such payments had been made by
the Prime Minister. In his meditations Mr Slide went to so far as
to arrange the very words which the indignant gentleman should
utter, among which words was a graceful allusion to a certain
public-spirited newspaper. He did even go so far as to arrange a
compliment to the editor,--but in doing so he knew that he was
thinking only of that which ought to be, and not of that which
would be. The time had not come as yet in which the editor of a
newspaper in this country received a tithe of the honour due to
him. But the question in any form, with or without a compliment
to the "People's Banner", would be the thing that was now
Who was to ask the question? If public spirit were really strong
in the country there would be not difficulty on that point. The
crime committed had been so horrible that all the great
politicians of the country ought to compete for the honour of
asking it. What greater service can be trusted to the hands of a
great man than that of exposing the sins of the rulers of the
nation? So thought Mr Slide. But he knew that he was in advance
of the people, and that the matter would not be seen in the
proper light by those who ought to see it. There might be a
difficulty in getting any peer to ask the question on the House
in which the Prime Minister himself sat, and even in the other
House there was now but little of that acrid, indignant
opposition upon which, in Mr Slide's opinion, the safety of the
nation altogether depends.
When the statement was first made in the "People's Banner", Lopez
had come to Mr Slide at once and had demanded his authority for
making it. Lopez had found the statement to be most injurious to
himself. He had been paid his election expenses twice over,
making a clear profit of 500 pounds by the transaction, and,
thought the matter had at once time troubled his conscience, he
had already taught himself to regard it as one of those bygones
to which a wise man seldom refers. But now Mr Wharton would know
that he had been cheated, should the statement reach him. 'Who
gave you authority to publish all this?' asked Lopez, who at this
time had become intimate with Mr Slide.
'Is it true, Lopez?' asked the editor.
'Whatever was done was done in private,--between me and the
'Dukes, my dear fellow, can't be private, and certainly not when
they are Prime Ministers.'
'But you've no right to publish these things about me.'
'Is it true? If it's true, I have got every right to publish it.
If it's not true, I've got the right to ask the question. If you
will 'ave to do with Prime Ministers you can't 'ide yourself
under a bushel. Tell me this;--is it true? You might as well
go 'and in 'and with me in the matter. You can't hurt yourself.
And if you oppose me,--why I shall oppose you.'
'You can't say anything of me.'
'Well;--I don't know about that. I can generally 'it pretty
'ard if I feel inclined. But I don't want to 'it you. As
regards you I can tell the story one way,--or the other, just as
you please.' Lopez, seeing it in a manner not inimical to
himself. The present project of his life was to leave his
troubles in England,--Sexty Parker being the worst of them,--
and get away to Guatemala. In arranging this the good word of Mr
Slide might not benefit him, but his ill word might injure him.
And then let him do what he would, the matter must be made
public. Should Mr Wharton hear of it,--as of course he would,--
it must be brazened out. He could not keep it from Mr Wharton's
ears by quarrelling with Quintus Slide.
'It was true,' said Lopez.
'I knew it before just as well as though I had seen it. I ain't
often very wrong in these things. You asked him for the money,--
and threatened him.'
'I don't know about threatening him.'
''E wouldn't have sent it else.'
'I told him that I had been deceived by his people in the
borough, and that I had been put to expense through the
misrepresentations of the Duchess. I don't think I did ask for
the money. But he sent a cheque, and of course I took it.'
Of course;--of course. You couldn't give me a copy of the
'Never kept a copy.' He had a copy in his breast coat-pocket at
that moment and Slide did not for a moment believe the statement
made. But in such discussions one man hardly expects truth from
another. Mr Slide certainly never expected truth from any man.
'He sent the cheque almost without a word,' said Lopez.
'He did write a note, I suppose?'
'Just a few words.'
'Could you let me 'ave that note?'
'I destroyed it at once.' This also was in his breast pocket at
'Did 'e write it 'imself?'
'I think it was his private Secretary, Mr Warburton.'
'You must be sure, you know. Which was it?'
'It was Mr Warburton.'
'Was it civil?'
'Yes, it was. If it had been uncivil I should have sent it back.
I'm not the man to take impudence even from a duke.'
'If you'll give me those two letters, Lopez, I'll stick to you
through thick and thin. By heavens I will! Think what the
"People's Banner" is. You may come to want that kind of thing
some of these days.' Lopez remained silent, looking into the
other man's eager face. 'I shouldn't publish them, you know; but
it would be so much to me to have the evidence in my hands. You
might do worse, you know, than make a friend of me.'
'You won't publish them?'
'Certainly not. I shall only refer to them.'
Then Lopez pulled a bundle of papers out of his pocket. 'There
they are,' he said.
'Well,' said Slide, when he had read them, 'it is one of the
rummiest transactions I ever 'eard of. Why did 'e send the
money? That's what I want to know. As far as the claim goes,
you 'adn't a leg to stand on.'
'You 'adn't a leg to stand on any way. But that doesn't much
matter. He sent the money, and the sending of the money was
corrupt. Who shall I get to ask the question. I suppose young
Arthur Fletcher wouldn't do it.'
'They're birds of a feather,' said Lopez.
'Birds of a feather do fall out sometimes. Or Sir Orlando
Drought? I wonder whether Sir Orlando Drought would do it. If
any man 'ated another, Sir Orlando Drought must 'ate the Duke of
'I don't think he would let himself down to that kind of thing.'
'Let 'imself down! I don't see any letting down in it. But
those men who have been in cabinets do stick to one another even
when they are enemies. They think themselves so mighty that they
oughtn't to be 'andled like other men. But I'll let them know
that I'll 'andle them. A Cabinet Minister or a cowboy is the
same to Quintus Slide when he has got his pen in 'is hand.'
On the next morning there came out another article in the
"People's Banner", in which the writer declared that he had in
his own possession the damnatory correspondence between the Prime
Minister and the late candidate at Silverbridge. 'The Prime
Minister may deny the fact,' said the article. 'We do not think
it probable, but it is possible. We wish to be fair and
aboveboard in everything. And therefore we at once inform the
noble Duke that the entire correspondence is in our hands.' In
saying this Mr Quintus Slide thought that he had quite kept the
promise which he made when said that he would only refer to the
'I CAN SLEEP HERE TO-NIGHT, I SUPPOSE?'
That scheme of going to Guatemala had been in the first instance
propounded by Lopez with the object of frightening Mr Wharton
into terms. There had, indeed, been some previous thoughts on
the subject,--some plan projected before his marriage, but it
had been resuscitated mainly in the hope that it might be
efficacious to extract money. When by degrees the son-in-law
began to feel that even this would not be operative on his
father-in-law's purse,--when under this threat neither Wharton
nor Emily gave way,--and when, with the view of strengthening
his threat, he renewed his inquires as to Guatemala and found
that there might still an opening for him in that direction,--
the threat took the shape of a true purpose, and he began to
think that he would in real earnest try his fortunes in a new
world. From day to day things did not go well with him, and from
day to day Sexty Parker became more unendurable. It was
impossible for him to keep from his partner this plan of
emigration,--but he endeavoured to make Parker believe that the
thing, if done at all, was not to be done till all his affairs
were settled,--or in other words all his embarrassments cleared
by downright money payments, and that Mr Wharton was to make
these payments on the condition that he thus expatriated himself.
But Mr Wharton had made no such promise. Though the threatened
day came nearer and nearer he could not bring himself to purchase
a short respite for his daughter by paying money to a scoundrel,
--which payment he felt sure would be of no permanent service.
During all this time Mr Wharton was very wretched. If he could
have freed his daughter from her marriage by half his fortune he
would have done it without a second thought. If he could have
assuredly purchased the permanent absence of her husband, he
would have done it at a large price. But let him pay what he
would, he could see his way to no security. From day to day he
became more strongly convinced of the rascality of this man who
was his son-in-law, and who was still an inmate in his own house.
Of course he had accusations enough to make within his own breast
against his daughter, who, when the choice was open to her, would
not take the altogether fitting husband provided for her, but had
declared herself to be broken-hearted for ever since she were
allowed to throw herself away upon this wretched creature. But
he blamed himself as much as he did her. Why had he allowed
himself to be so enervated by her prayers at last as to surrender
everything,--as he had done? How could he presume to think that
he should be allowed to escape, when he had done so little to
prevent the misery?
He spoke to Emily about it,--not often, indeed, but with great
earnestness. 'I have done it myself,' she said, 'and I will bear
'Tell him you cannot go till you know to what home you are
'That is for him to consider. I have begged him to let me
remain, and I can say no more. If he chooses to take me, I shall
Then he spoke to her about money. 'Of course I have money,' he
said. 'Of course I have enough both for you and Everett. If I
could do any good by giving it to him, he should have it.'
'Papa,' she answered, 'I will never again ask you to give him a
single penny. That must be altogether between you and him. He
is what they call a speculator. Money is not safe with him.'
'I shall have to send it to you when you are in want.'
'When I am--dead there will be no more to be sent. Do not look
like that, papa. I know what I have done, and I must bear it. I
have thrown away my life, it is just that. If baby had lived it
would have been different.' This was about the end of January,
and then Mr Wharton heard of the great attack made by Mr Quintus
Slide against the Prime Minister, and heard, of course, of the
payment alleged to have been made to Ferdinand Lopez by the Duke
on the score of the election at Silverbridge. Some persons spoke
to him on the subject. One or two friends at the club asked him
what he supposed to be the truth in the matter, and Mrs Roby
inquired of him on the subject. 'I have asked Lopez,' she said,
'and I am sure from his manner that he did get the money.'
'I don't know anything about it,' said Mr Wharton.
'If he did get it I think he was very clever.' It was well known
at this time to Mrs Roby that the Lopez marriage had been a
failure, that Lopez was not a rich man, and that Emily, as well
as her father, was discontented and unhappy. She had latterly
heard of the Guatemala scheme, and had of course expressed her
horror. But she sympathized with Lopez rather than with his
wife, thinking that if Mr Wharton would only open his pockets
wide enough things might still be right. 'It was all the
Duchess's fault, you know,' she said to the old man.
'I know nothing about it, and when I want to know I certainly
shall not come to you. The misery that he has brought upon me is
so great that it makes me wish I had never seen anyone who knew
'It was Everett who introduced him to your house.'
It was you who introduced him to Everett.'
'There you are wrong,--as you often are, Mr Wharton. Everett
met him first at the club.'
'What's the use of arguing about it? It was at your house that
Emily met him. It was you that did it. I wonder you can have
the face to mention his name to me.'
'And the man living all the time in your house!'
Up to this time Mr Wharton had not mentioned to a single person
the fact that he had paid his son-in-law's election expenses at
Silverbridge. He had given him the cheque without much
consideration, with the feeling that by doing so he would in some
degree benefit his daughter, and had since regretted the act,
finding that no such payment from him could be of any service to
Emily. But the thing had been done,--and there had been, so
far, an end of it. In no subsequent discussion would Mr Wharton
have alluded to it, had not circumstances now as it were driven
it back upon his mind. And since the day on which he had paid
the money he had been, as he declared to himself, swindled over
and over again by his son-in-law. There was the dinner at
Manchester Square, and after that the brougham, and the rent, and
a score of bills, some of which he had paid and some declined to
pay! And yet he had said but little to the man himself of all
these injuries. Of what use was it to say anything? Lopez would
simply reply that he had asked him to pay nothing. 'What is it
all,' Lopez had once said, 'to the fortune I had a right to
expect with your daughter?' 'You had no right to expect a
shilling,' Wharton had said. Then Lopez had shrugged his
shoulders, and there had been an end of it.
But now, if this rumour were true, there had been a positive
dishonesty. From whichever source the man might have got the
money first, if the money had been twice got, the second payment
had been fraudulently obtained. Surely if the accusation had
been untrue Lopez would have come to him and declared it to be
false, knowing what must otherwise be his thoughts. Lately, in
the daily worry of his life, he had avoided all conversation with
the man. He would not allow his mind to contemplate clearly what
was coming. He entertained some irrational, undefined hope that
something would at last save his daughter from the threatened
banishment. It might be, if he held his own hand tight enough,
that there would not be money enough even to pay for her passage
out. As for her outfit, Lopez would of course order what he
wanted and have the bills sent to Manchester Square. Whether or
not this was being done neither he nor Emily knew. And thus
matters went on without much speech between the two men. But now
the old barrister thought that he was bound to speak. He
therefore waited on a certain morning till Lopez had come down,
having previously desired his daughter to leave the room.
'Lopez,' he asked, 'what is this that the newspapers are saying
about your expenses at Silverbridge?'
Lopez had expected the attack and had endeavoured to prepare
himself for it. 'I should have thought, sir, that you would not
have paid much attention to such statements in a newspaper.'
'When they concern myself, I do. I paid your electioneering
'You certainly subscribed 500 pounds towards them, Mr Wharton.'
'I subscribed nothing, sir. There was no question of a
subscription,--by which you intend to imply contribution from
other sources. You told me that the contest cost you 500 pounds
and that sum I handed to you, with the full understanding on your
part, as well as on mine, that I was paying for the whole. Was
'Have it your own way, sir.'
'If you are not more precise, I shall think that you have
'Yes, sir;--defrauded me to the Duke of Omnium. The money is
gone, and it matters little which. But if that be so I shall
know that either from him or from me you have raised money under
'Of course, Mr Wharton, from you I must bear whatever you may
choose to say.'
'Is it true that you have applied to the Duke of Omnium for money
on account of your expenses at Silverbridge, and is it true that
he has paid you on that score?'
'Mr Wharton, as I have said just now, I am bound to hear and to
bear from anything you may choose to say. Your connection with
my wife and your age alike restrain my resentment. But I am not
bound to answer your questions when they are accompanied by such
language as you have chosen to use, and I refuse to answer
further questions on this subject.'
'Of course I know that you have taken the money from the Duke.'
'Then why do you ask me?'
'And of course I know you are well aware as I am of the nature of
the transaction. That you can brazen it out without a blush only
proves to me that you have got beyond the reach of shame.'
'Very well, sir.'
'And you have no further explanation to make?'
'What do you expect me to say? Without knowing any of the facts
of the case,--except the one, that you contributed 500 pounds to
my election expenses, you take upon yourself to tell me that I am
a shameless, fraudulent swindler. And then you ask for a further
explanation! In such a position is it likely that I shall
explain anything;--that I can be in a humour to be explanatory?
Just turn it all over in your own mind, and ask yourself the
'I have turned it over in my mind, and I have asked myself the
question, and I do not think it probable that you should wish to
explain anything. I shall take steps to let the Duke know that I
as your father-in-law had paid the full sum which you had stated
that you had spent at Silverbridge.'
'Much the Duke will care about that.'
'And after what has passed I am obliged to say that the sooner
you leave this house the better I shall be pleased.'
'Very well, sir. Of course I shall take my wife with me.'
'That must be as she pleases.'
'No, Mr Wharton. That must be as I please. She belongs to me,--
not to you or to herself. Under your influence she has forgotten
much of what belongs to the duty of a wife, but I do not think
that she will so far have forgotten herself as to give me more
trouble than to bid her come with me when I desire it.'
'Let that be as it may. I must request that you, sir, will
absent yourself. I will not entertain as my guest a man who has
acted as you have done in this matter,--even though he be my
'I can sleep here tonight, I suppose?'
'Or to-morrow if it suits you. As for Emily, she can remain
here, if you will allow her to do so.'
'That will not suit me,' said Lopez.
'In that case, as far as I am concerned, I shall do whatever she
may ask me to do. Good morning.'
Mr Wharton left the room, but did not leave the house. Before he
did so he would see his daughter, and, thinking it probable that
Lopez would also choose to see his wife, he prepared to wait in
his own room. But, in about ten minutes, Lopez started from the
hall door in a cab, and did so without going upstairs. Mr
Wharton had reason to believe that his son-in-law was almost
destitute of money for immediate purposes. Whatever he might
have would at any rate be serviceable for him before he started.
Any home for Emily must be expensive; and no home in their
present circumstances could be so reputable for her as one under
her father's roof. He therefore almost hoped that she might
still be left with him till that horrid day should come,--if it
ever did come,--in which she would be taken away from him for
ever. 'Of course, papa, I shall go if he bids me,' she said,
when he told her all that he thought it right to tell her of that
'I hardly know how to advise you,' said the father, meaning in
truth to bring himself round to the giving of some advice adverse
to her husband's will.
'I want no advice, papa.'
'Want no advice! I never knew a woman who wanted it more.'
'No, papa. I am bound to do as he tells me. I know what I have
done. When some poor wretch has got himself into perpetual
prison by his misdeeds, no advice can serve him. So it is with
'You can at any rate escape from your prison.'
'No;--no. I have a feeling of pride which tells me that as I
chose to become the wife of my husband,--so I insisted on it in
opposition to all my friends,--as I would judge for myself,--I
am bound to put up with my choice. If this had come upon me
through the authority of others, if I had been constrained to
marry him, I think I could have reconciled myself to deserting
him. But I did it myself, and I will abide by it. When he bids
me to go, I shall go.' Poor Mr Wharton went to his chambers, and
sat there the whole day without taking a book or a paper into his
hands. Could there be no rescue, no protection, no relief? He
turned over in his head various plans, but in a vague and useless
manner. What if the Duke were to prosecute Lopez for the fraud!
What if he could implore Lopez to abandon his wife,--pledging
himself by some deed not to return to her,--for, say, twenty or
even thirty thousand pounds! What if he himself were carry his
daughter away to the continent, half forcing and half persuading
her to make the journey! Surely there might be some means found
by which the man might be frightened into compliance. But there
he sat,--and did nothing. And in the evening he ate a solitary
mutton chop at The Jolly Blackbird, because he could not bear to
face even his club, and then returned to his chambers,--to the
great disgust of the old woman who had them in charge at nights.
And at about midnight he crept away to his own house, a wretched
Lopez when he left Manchester Square he did not go in search of a
new home for himself and his wife, nor during the whole of the
day did he trouble himself on that subject. He spent most of the
day at the rooms in Coleman Street of the San Juan Mining
Association, of which Mr Mills Happerton had once been Chairman.
There was now another Chairman and other Directors; but Mr Mills
Happerton's influence had so far remained with the Company as to
enable Lopez to become well-known in the Company's offices, and
acknowledged as a claimant for the office of resident Manager at
San Juan in Guatemala. Now the present project was this,--that
Lopez was to start on behalf of the Company early in May, that
the Company was to pay his own personal expenses out to
Guatemala, and that they should allow him while there a salary of
1,000 pounds a year for managing the affairs of the mine. As far
as this offer went, the thing was true enough. It was true that
Lopez had absolutely secured the place. But he done so subject
to the burden of one very serious stipulation. He was to become
the proprietor of fifty shares in the mine, and to pay up 100
pounds each on those shares. It was considered that the man who
was to get 1,000 pounds a year in Guatemala for managing the
affair, should at any rate assist the affair, and show his
confidence in the affair, to an extent as great as that. Of
course the holder of these fifty shares would be fully entitled
as any other shareholder to that twenty per cent which those
shares who promoted the mine promised as the immediate result of
At first Lopez had hoped that he might be enabled to defer the
actual payment of the 5,000 pounds till after he had sailed.
When once out in Guatemala as manager, as manager he would
doubtless remain. But by degrees he found that the payment must
actually be made in advance. Now there was nobody to whom he
could apply but Mr Wharton. He was, indeed, forced to declare at
the office that the money was to come from Mr Wharton, and had
given some excellent but fictitious reason why Mr Wharton could
not pay the money till February.
And in spite of all that had come and gone he still did hope that
if the need to go were actually there he might even get the money
from Mr Wharton. Surely Mr Wharton would sooner pay such a sum
than be troubled at home with such a son-in-law. Should the
worst come to the worst, of course he could raise the money by
consenting to leave his wife at home. But this was not part of
his plan, if he could avoid it. 5,000 pounds would be a very low
price at which to sell his wife, and all that he might get from
his connection with her. As long as he kept her with him he was
in possession at any rate of all that Mr Wharton would do for
her. He had not therefore as yet made up his final application
to his father-in-law for the money, having found it possible to
postpone they payment till the middle of February. His quarrel
with Mr Wharton this morning he regarded as having little or no
effect upon his circumstances. Mr Wharton would not give him the
money because he loved him, nor yet from personal respect, nor
from any sense of duty as to what he might owe a son-in-law. It
would simply be given as the price by which his absence might be
purchased, and his absence would not be the less desirable
because of this morning's quarrel.
But, even yet, he was not quite resolved as to going to
Guatemala. Sexty Parker had been sucked nearly dry, and was in
truth at this moment so violent with indignation and fear and
remorse that Lopez did not dare to show himself in Little Tankard
Yard; but still there were, even yet, certain hopes in that
direction from which greater results might come. If a certain
new spirit which had just been concocted from the bark of trees
in Central Africa, and which was called Bios, could only be made
to go up in the market, everything might be satisfactorily
arranged. The hoardings of London were already telling the
public if it wished to get drunk without any of the usual
troubles of intoxication it must drink Bios. The public no
doubt does read the literature of the hoardings, but then it
reads so slowly! This Bios had hardly been twelve months on the
boards as yet! But they were now increasing the size of the
letters in the advertisements and the jocundity of the pictures,
--and the thing might be done. There was, too, another hope,--
another hope of instant moneys by which Guatemala might be staved
off, as to which further explanation shall be given in a further
'I suppose I shall find Dixon a decent sort of fellow?' said
Lopez to the Secretary of the Association in Coleman Street.
'Rough, you know,'
'Oh yes,--he's all that.'
'If he's honest, and what I call loyal, I don't care a straw for
anything else. One doesn't expect West-end manners in Guatemala.
But I shall have a deal to do with him,--and I hate a fellow
that you can't depend on.'
'Mr Happerton used to think a great deal of Dixon.'
'That's all right,' said Lopez. Mr Dixon was the underground
manager out at the San Juan mine, and was perhaps as anxious for
a loyal and honest colleague as was Mr Lopez. If so, Mr Dixon
was very much in the way to be disappointed.
Lopez stayed at the office all the day studying the affairs of
the San Juan mine, and then went to the Progress for dinner.
Hitherto he had taken no steps whatever as to getting lodgings
for himself or his wife.
When the time came at which Lopez should have left Manchester
Square he was still there. Mr Wharton, in discussing the matter
with his daughter,--when wishing to persuade her that she might
remain in his house even in opposition to her husband,--had not
told her that he had actually desired Lopez to leave it. He had
then felt sure that the man would go and take his wife with him,
but he did not even yet know the obduracy and cleverness and the
impregnability of his son-in-law. When the time came, when he
saw his daughter in the morning after the notice had been given,
he could not bring himself even then to say to her that he had
issued an order for his banishment. Days went by and Lopez was
still there, and the old barrister had no further word on the
subject. The two men never met;--or met simply in the hall or
passages. Wharton himself studiously avoided such meetings, thus
denying himself the commonest uses of his own house. At last
Emily told him that her husband had fixed the day for her
departure. The next Indian mail-packet by which they would leave
England would start from Southampton on the 2nd of April, and she
was to be ready to go on that day. 'How is it to be till then?'
the father asked in a low, uncertain voice.
'I suppose I may remain with you.'
'And your husband?'
'He will be here, too,--I suppose.'
'Such a misery,--such a destruction of everything no man ever
heard of before!' said Mr Wharton. To this she made no reply,
but continued working at some necessary preparation for her
final departure. 'Emily,' he said. 'I will make any sacrifice
to prevent it. What can be done? Short of injuring Everett's
interests, I will do anything.'
'I do not know,' she said.
'You must understand something of his affairs.'
'Nothing whatever. He has told me nothing of them. In earlier
days,--soon after our marriage,--he bade me get money from
'When you wrote to me for money from Italy?'
'And after that. I have refused to do anything,--to say a word.
I told him that it must be between you and him. What else could
I say? And now he tells me nothing.'
'I cannot think that he wants you to go with him.' Then there
was again a pause. 'Is it because he loves you?'
'Not that, papa.'
'Why then should he burden himself with a companion? His money,
whatever he has, would go further without such impediment.'
'Perhaps he thinks, papa, that while I am with him he has a hold
'He shall have a stronger hold by leaving you. What is he to
gain? If I could only know his price.'
'Ask him, papa.'
'I do not know how I am to speak to him again.'
Then again there was a pause. 'Papa,' she said after a while, 'I
have done it myself. Let me go. You will still have Everett.
And it may be that after a time I shall come back to you. He
will not kill me, and it may be that I shall not die.'
'By God!' said Mr Wharton, rising from his chair suddenly, 'if
there was money to be made by it, I believe he would murder you
without a scruple.' Thus it was that within eighteen months of
her marriage the father spoke to his daughter of her husband.
'What am I to take with me?' she said to her husband a few days
'You had better ask your father.'
'Why should I ask him, Ferdinand? How should he know?'
'And how should I?'
'I should have thought you would interest yourself about it.'
'Upon my word I have enough to interest me just at present,
without thinking of your finery. I suppose you mean what clothes
you should have?'
'I was not thinking of myself only.'
'You need think of nothing else. Ask him what he pleases to
allow you to spend, and then I will tell you what to get.'
'I will never ask him for anything, Ferdinand.'
'Then you may go without anything. You might as well do it at
once, for you will have to do it sooner or later. Or, if you
please, go to his tradesmen and say nothing to him about it.
They will give you credit. You see how it is, my dear. He has
cheated me in a most rascally manner. He has allowed me to marry
his daughter, and because I did not make a bargain with him as
another man would have done, he denies me the fortune I had a
right to expect with you. You know that the Israelites despoiled
the Egyptians, and it was taken as merit on their part. Your
father is a Egyptian to me, and I will despoil him. You can tell
him that I say so if you please.'
And so the days went on till the first week of February had
passed, and Parliament had met. Both Lopez and his wife were
still living in Manchester Square. Not another word had been
said as to that notice to quit, nor an allusion made to it. It
was supposed to be a settled thing that Lopez was to start with
his wife for Guatemala in the first week of April. Mr Wharton
had himself felt that difficulty as to his daughter's outfit, and
had told her that she might get whatever it pleased her on his
credit. 'For yourself, my dear.'
'Papa, I will get nothing till he bids me.'
'But you can't go across the world without anything. What are
you to do in such a place as that unless you have the things you
'What do poor people do who have to go? What should I do if you
had cast me off because of my disobedience?'
'But I have not cast you off.'
'Tell him that you will give him so much, and then, if he bids
me, I will spend it.'
'Let it be so. I will tell him.'
Upon that Mr Wharton did speak to his son-in-law;--coming upon
him suddenly one morning in the dining-room. 'Emily will want an
outfit if she is to go to this place.'
'Like other people she wants many things that she cannot get.'
'I will tell my tradesmen to furnish her with what she wants, up
to,--well,--suppose I say 200 pounds. I have spoken to her and
she wants your sanction.'
'My sanction for spending money? She can have that very
'You can tell her so;--or I will do so.'
Upon that Mr Wharton was going, but Lopez stopped him. It was
now essential that the money for the shares in the San Juan mine
should be paid up, and his father-in-law's pocket was still the
source from which the enterprising son-in-law had hoped to
procure it. Lopez had fully made up his mind to demand it,
and thought that the time had now come. And he was resolved that
he would not ask it as a favour on bended knee. He was beginning
to feel his own power, and trusted that he might prevail by other
means than begging. 'Mr Wharton,' he said, 'you and I have not
been very good friends lately.'
'There was a time,--a very short time,--during which I thought
that we might hit it off together, and I did my best. You do
not, I fancy, like men of my class.'
'Well;--well! You had better go on if there be
anything to say.'
'I have much to say, and I will go on. You are a rich man, and I
am your son-in-law.' Mr Wharton put his left hand up to his
forehead, brushing the few hairs back from his head, but he said
nothing. 'Had I received from you during the last most vital
year that assistance which I think I had a right to expect, I
also might have been a rich man now. It is no good going back to
that.' Then he paused, but still Mr Wharton said nothing. 'Now
you know what has come to me and to your daughter. We are to be
'Is that my fault?'
'I think it is, but I mean to say nothing further of that. This
Company which is sending me out, and which probably will
be the most thriving thing of the kind which has come up within
these twenty years, is to pay me a salary of 1,000 pounds a year
as resident manager of San Juan.'
'So I understand.'
'The salary alone would be a beggarly thing. Guatemala, I take
it, is not the cheapest country in the world in which a man can
live. But I am to go out there as the owner of fifty shares on
which 100 pounds each must be paid up, and I am entitled to draw
another 1,000 pounds a year as dividend on the profit of those
'That will be twenty per cent.'
'And will double you salary.'
'Just so. But there is one little ceremony to be perfected
before I can be allowed to enter upon so halcyon a state of
existence. The 100 pounds a share must be paid up.' Mr Wharton
simply stared at him. 'I must have the 5,000 pounds to invest in
the undertaking before I can start.'
'Now I have not got 5,000 pounds myself, nor any part of it. You
do not wish, I suppose, to see either me or your daughter starve.
And as for me, I hardly flatter myself when I say that you are
very anxious to be rid of me, 5,000 pounds is not very much for
me to ask of you, as I regard it.'
'Such consummate impudence I never met in my life before!'
'Nor perhaps so much unprevaricating downright truth. At any
rate such is the condition of my affairs. If I am to go the
money must be paid this week. I have, perhaps foolishly, put off
mentioning the matter till I was sure that I could not raise the
sum elsewhere. Though I feel my claim on you to be good, Mr
Wharton, it is not pleasant to me to make it.'
'You are asking me for 5,000 pounds down!'
'Certainly I am.'
'What security am I to have?'
'Yes;--that if I pay it I shall not be troubled again by the
meanest scoundrel that it has ever been my misfortune to meet.
How am I to know that you will not come back to-morrow? How am I
to know that you will go at all? Do you think it will be
probable that I will give you 5,000 pounds on your own simple
'Then the scoundrel will stay in England,--and will generally
find it convenient to live in Manchester Square.'
'I'll be d-d if he does. Look here, sire. Between you and me
there can be a bargain, and nothing but a bargain. I will pay
the 5,000 pounds,--on certain conditions.'
'I didn't doubt at all that you would pay it.'
'I will go with you to the office of this Company, and will pay
for the shares if I can receive assurance there that the matter
is as you say, and that the shares will not be placed in your
power before you have reached Guatemala.'
'You can come to-day, sire, and receive all that assurance.'
'And I must have a written undertaking from you,--a document
which my daughter can show if it be necessary,--that you will
never claim her society again or trouble her with any
'You mistake me, Mr Wharton. My wife goes with me to Guatemala.'
'Then I will not pay one penny. Why should I? What is your
presence or absence to me except as it concerns her? Do you
think that I care for your threats of remaining here. The police
will set that right.'
'Wherever I go, my wife goes.'
'We'll see to that too. If you want the money, you must leave
her. Good morning.'
Mr Wharton as he went to his chambers thought the matter over.
He was certainly willing to risk the 5,000 pounds demanded if he
could rid himself and his daughter of this terrible incubus, even
if it were only for a time. If Lopez would but once go to
Guatemala, leaving his wife behind him, it would be comparatively
easy to keep them apart should he ever return. The difficulty
now was not in him, but in her. The man's conduct had been so
outrageous, so barefaced, so cruel, that the lawyer did not doubt
but that he could turn her husband out of his house, and keep the
wife, even now, were it not that she was determined to obey the
man whom she, in opposition to all her friends, had taken as her
master. 'I have done it myself, and I will bear it,' was all the
answer she would make when her father strove to persuade her to
separate herself from her husband. 'You have got Everett,' she
would say. 'When a girl is married she is divided from her
family;--and I am divided.' But she would willingly stay if
Lopez would bid her stay. It now seemed that he could not go
without the 5,000 pounds; and, when the pressure came upon him,
surely he would go and leave his wife.
In the course of that day Mr Wharton went to the offices of the
San Juan mine and asked to see the Director. He was shown up
into a half-furnished room, two storeys high, in Coleman Street,
where he found two clerks sitting upon stools;--and when he
asked for the Director was shown into the back room in which sat
the Secretary. The Secretary was a dark, plump little man with a
greasy face, who had the gift of assuming an air of great
importance as he twisted his chair round to face visitors who
came to inquire about the San Juan Mining Company. His name was
Hartlepod; and if the San Juan mine 'turned out trumps', as he
intended that it should, Mr Hartlepod meant to be a great man in
the city. To Mr Hartlepod Mr Wharton with considerable
embarrassment, explained as much of the joint history of himself
and Lopez as he found to be absolutely necessary. 'He has only
left the office about half an hour,' said Mr Hartlepod.
'Of course you understand he is my son-in-law.'
'He has mentioned your name to us, Mr Wharton, before now.'
'And he is going to Guatemala?'
'Oh yes;--he's going out. Has he not told you as much himself?'
'Certainly, sir. And he has told me that he is desirous of
buying certain shares in the Company before he starts.'
'Probably, Mr Wharton.'
'Indeed, I believe he cannot go unless he buys them.'
'That may be so, Mr Wharton. No doubt he has told you all that
'The fact is, Mr Hartlepod, I am willing, under certain
stipulations, to advance him the money.' Mr Hartlepod bowed. 'I
need not trouble you with my private affairs between myself and
my son-in-law.' Again the Secretary bowed. 'But it seems to be
for his interest that he should go.'
'A very great opening indeed, Mr Wharton. I don't see how a man
is to have a better opening. A fine salary! His expenses are
paid! One of the very best things that has come up for many
years! And as for the capital he is to embark in the affair, he
is as safe to get twenty per cent in it,--as safe,--as safe as
the Bank of England.'
'He'll have the shares?'
'Oh yes;--the scrip will be handed to him at once.'
'If you mean about the mine, Mr Wharton, you may take my word
that it's all real. It's not one of those sham things that melt
away like snow and leave the shareholders nowhere. There's the
prospectus, Mr Wharton. Perhaps you have not seen that before.
Take it away and cast your eyes over it at your leisure.' Mr
Wharton put the somewhat lengthy pamphlet into his pocket. 'Look
at the list of Directors. We've three members of Parliament, a
baronet, and one or two City names that are as good,--as good as
the Bank of England. If that prospectus won't make a man
confident I don't know what will. Why, Mr Wharton, you don't
think that your son-in-law would get those fifty shares at par
unless he was going out as our general manager. You'll see if
you look. About a quarter of a million paid up. But it's all in
a box as one may say. It's among ourselves. The shares ain't in
the market. Of course it's not for me to say what should be done
between you and your son-in-law. Lopez is a friend of mine, and
a man I esteem, and all that. Nevertheless I shouldn't think of
advising you to do this or that,--or not to do it. But when you
talk of safety, Mr Wharton,--why, Mr Wharton, I don't scruple to
tell you as a man who knows what these things are, that this is
an opportunity that doesn't come a man's way perhaps twice in his
Mr Wharton found he had nothing more to say, and went back to
Lincoln's Inn. He knew very well that Mr Hartlepod's assurances
were not worth much. Mr Hartlepod himself and his belongings,
the clerks in his office, the look of the rooms, and the very
nature of the praises which he had sung, all them inspired
anything but confidence. Mr Wharton was a man of the world; and,
though he knew nothing of City ways, was quite aware that no man
in his senses would lay out 5,000 pounds on the mere word of Mr
Hartlepod. But still he was inclined to make the payment. If
only he could secure the absence of Lopez,--and if could be sure
that Lopez would in truth go to Guatemala, and also if he could
induce the man to go without his wife, he would risk the money.
The money would, of course, be thrown away,--but he would throw
it away. Lopez no doubt declared that he would not go without
his wife, even though the money were paid for him. But the money
was an alluring sum! As the pressure upon the man became
greater, Mr Wharton thought he would probably consent to leave
his wife behind him.
In his emergency the barrister went to his attorney and told him
everything. The two lawyers were closeted together for an hour,
and Mr Wharton's last words to his old friend were as follows:--
'I will risk the money, Walker, or rather I will consent
absolutely to throw it away,--as it will be thrown away,--if it
can be managed that he shall in truth go to this place without
It cannot be supposed that Ferdinand Lopez at this time was a
very happy man. He had, at any rate, once loved his wife, and
would have loved her still could he have trained her to think as
he thought, to share his wishes, and 'to put herself into the
same boat with him',--as he was wont to describe the unison and
sympathy which he required from her. To give him his due, he did
not know that he was a villain. When he was exhorting her to
'get round her father' he was not aware that he was giving her
lessons which must shock a well-conditioned girl. He did not
understand that everything that she had discovered of his moral
disposition since her marriage was of a nature to disgust her.
And, not understanding all this, he conceived that he was
grievously wronged by her, in that she adhered to her father
rather than to him. This made him unhappy, and doubly
disappointed him. He had neither got the wife that he had
expected nor the fortune. But he still thought that the fortune
may come if he would only hold on to the wife which he had got.
And then everything had gone badly with him since his marriage.
He was apt, when thinking over his affairs, to attribute all this
to the fears and hesitation and parsimony of Sexty Parker. None
of his late ventures with Sexty Parker had been successful. And
now Sexty was in a bad condition, very violent, drinking hard,
declaring himself to be a ruined man, and swearing that if this
and that were not done he would have bitter revenge. Sexty still
believed in the wealth of his partner's father-in-law, and still
had some hope of salvation from that source. Lopez would declare
to him, and up to this very time persevered in protesting, that
salvation would be found in Bios. If Sexty would only risk two
or three thousand pounds more upon Bios,--or his credit to that
amount failing the immediate money,--things might still be
right. 'Bios be d-d,' said Sexty, uttering a string of heavy
imprecations. On that morning, he had been trusting to native
produce rather than to the new African spirit. But now, as the
Guatemala scheme really took form and loomed on Lopez's eyesight
as a thing that might be real, he endeavoured to keep out of
Sexty's way. But in vain, Sexty too had heard of Guatemala, and
in his misery hunted Lopez about the city. 'By G-, I believe
you're afraid to come to Little Tankard Yard,' he said one day,
having caught his victim under the equestrian statue in front of
'What is the good of my coming when you will do nothing when I am
'I'll tell what it is, Lopez,--you're not going out of the
country about this mining business, if I know it.'
'Who said I was?'
'I'll put a spoke in your wheel there, my man. I'll give a
written account of the dealings between us to the Directors. By
G-, they shall know their man.'
'You're an ass, Sexty, and always were. Look here. If I can
carry on as though I were going to this place, I can draw 5,000
pounds from old Wharton. He has already offered it. He has
treated me with a stinginess that I never knew equalled. Had he
done what I had a right to expect, you and I would have been rich
men now. But at last I have got a hold upon him to 5,000 pounds.
As you and I stand, pretty nearly the whole of that will go to
you. But don't you spoil it all by making an ass of yourself.'
Sexty, who was three parts drunk, looked up into his face for a
few seconds, and then made his reply. 'I'm d-d if I believe a
word of it.' Upon that Lopez affected to laugh, and then made
All this, as I have said, did not tend to make his life happy.
Though he had impudence enough, and callousness of conscience
enough to get his bills paid by Mr Wharton as often as he could,
he was not quite easy in his mind while he was doing so. His
ambition had never been high, but it had soared higher than that.
He had had great hopes. He had lived with some high people. He
had dined with lords and ladies. He had been the guest of a
Duchess. He had married the daughter of a gentleman. He had
nearly been a member of Parliament. He still belonged to what he
considered to be a first-rate club. From a great altitude he
looked down upon Sexty Parker and men of Sexty's class, because
of his social successes, and because he knew how to talk and to
look like a gentleman. It was unpleasant to him, therefore, to
be driven to the life he was now living. And the idea of going
to Guatemala and burying himself in a mine in Central America was
not to him a happy idea. In spite of all that he had done he had
still some hope that he might avoid the banishment. He had
spoken the truth to Sexty Parker in saying that he intended to
get the 5,000 pounds from Mr Wharton without that terrible
personal sacrifice, though he had hardly spoken the truth when he
assured his friend that the greater portion of that money would
go to him. There were many schemes fluctuating through his
brain, and all accompanied by many doubts. If he could get Mr
Wharton's money by giving up his wife, should he consent to give
her up? In either case should he stay or should he go? Should
he run one further great chance with Bios,--and if so, by whose
assistance? And if he should at least decide that he would do so
by the aid of a certain friend that was yet left to him, should
he throw himself at that friend's feet, the friend being a lady,
and propose to desert his wife and begin the world again with
her? For the lady in question was a lady in possession, as he
believed, of very large means. Or should he cut his throat and
have done with all his troubles, acknowledging to himself that
his career had been a failure, and that, therefore, it might be
brought with advantage to an end? 'After all,' said he to
himself, 'that may be the best way of winding up a bankrupt
Our old friend Lady Eustace, in these days, lived in a very small
house in a very small street bordering upon Mayfair; but the
street, though very small, and having disagreeable relations with
a mews, still had an air of fashion about it. And with her lived
the widow, Mrs Leslie, who had introduced Mrs Dick Roby, and
through Mrs Roby, to Ferdinand Lopez. Lady Eustace was in the
enjoyment of a handsome income, as I hope that some of my readers
may remember,--and this income, during the last year or two, she
had learned to foster, if not with much discretion, at any rate
with great zeal. During her short life she had had many
aspirations. Love, poetry, sport, religion, fashion, Bohemianism
had all been tried; but in each crisis there had been a certain
care for wealth which had saved her from the folly of squandering
what she had won by her early energies in the pursuit of her then
prevailing passion. She had given her money to no lover, had not
lost it on race-courses, or in building churches,--nor even had
she materially damaged her resources by servants and equipages.
At the present time she was still young, and still pretty,--
though her hair and complexion took rather more time than in the
days when she won Sir Florian Eustace. She still liked a lover,
--or perhaps two,--though she had thoroughly convinced herself
that a lover may be bought too dear. She could still ride a
horse, though hunting regularly was too expensive for her. She
could talk of religion if she could find herself close to a well-
got-up clergyman,--being quite indifferent as to the
denomination of the religion. But perhaps a wild dash for a time
into fast vulgarity was what in her heart of hearts she liked
best,--only that it was so difficult to enjoy the pleasures
without risk of losing everything. And then, together with these
passions, and perhaps above them all, there had lately sprung up
in the heart of Lady Eustace a desire to multiply her means by
successful speculation. This was the friend with whom Ferdinand
Lopez had lately become intimate, and by whose aid he hoped to
extricate himself from some of his difficulties.
Poor as he was he had contrived to bribe Mrs Leslie by handsome
presents out of Bond Street;--for, as he still lived in
Manchester Square, and was the undoubted son-in-law of Mr
Wharton, his credit was not altogether gone. In the giving of
these gifts no purport was, of course, named, but Mrs Leslie was
probably aware that her good word with her friend was expected.
'I only know what I used to hear from Mrs Roby,' Mrs Leslie had
said to her friend. 'He was mixed up with Hunky's people, who
roll in money. Old Wharton wouldn't have given him his daughter
if he had not been doing well.'
'It's very hard to be sure,' said Lizzie Eustace.
'He looks like a man who'd know how to feather his own nest,'
said Mrs Leslie. 'Don't you think he's very handsome?'
'I don't know that he's likely to do the better for that.'
'Well; no; but there are men of whom you are sure, when you look
at them, that they'll be successful. I don't suppose he was
anything to begin with, but see where he is now!'
'I believe you are in love with him, my dear,' said Lizzie
'Not exactly. I don't know that he has given me any provocation.
But I don't see why a woman shouldn't be in love with him if she
likes. He is deal nicer than those fair-headed men who haven't
got a word to say to you, and yet look as though you ought to
jump down their mouths:--like that fellow you were trying to
talk to last night,--that Mr Fletcher. He could just jerk out
three words at a time, and yet he was proud as Lucifer. I like a
man who if he likes me is neither ashamed nor afraid to say so.'
'There's a romance there, you know. Mr Fletcher was in love with
Emily Wharton, and she threw him over for Ferdinand Lopez. They
say he has not held his head up since.'
'She was quite right,' said Mrs Leslie. 'But she is one of those
stiff-necked creatures who are set up with pride though they have
nothing to be proud of. I suppose she had a lot of money. Lopez
would never have taken her without.'
When, therefore, Lopez called one day at the little house in the
little street he was not an unwelcome visitor. Mrs Leslie was in
the drawing-room, but soon left it after his arrival. He had of
late been often there, and when he at once introduced the subject
on which he was himself intent it was not unexpected. 'Seven
thousand five hundred pounds!' said Lizzie, after listening to
the proposition which he had come to make. 'That is a very large
sum of money!'
'Yes;--it's a large sum of money. It's a large affair. I'm in
it to rather more than that, I believe.'
'How are you going to get people to drink it?' she asked after a
'By telling them that they ought to drink it. Advertise it. It
has become a certainty now that if you will only advertise
sufficiently you may make a fortune by selling anything. Only
the interest on the money expended increases in so large a ratio
in accordance with the magnitude of the operation! If you spend
a few hundreds in advertising you throw them away. A hundred
thousand pounds well laid out makes a certainty of anything.'
'What am I to get to show for my money;--I mean immediately, you
'Registered shares in the Company.'
'The Bios Company?'
'No;--we did propose to call ourselves Parker and Co., limited.
I think we shall change the name. They will probably use my
name. Lopez and Co., limited.'
'But it's all for Bios?'
'Oh yes;--all for Bios.'
'And it's to come from Central Africa?'
'It will be rectified in London, you know. Some English spirit
will perhaps be mixed. But I must not tell you the secrets of
the trade till you join us. That Bios is distilled from the
bark of the Duffer-tree is a certainty.'
'Have you drank any?'
'I've tasted it.'
'Is it nice?'
'Very nice;--rather sweet, you know, and will be the better for
'Gin?' suggested her ladyship.
'Perhaps so,--or whisky. I think I may say that you can't do
very much better with your money. You know I would not say this
to you were it not true. In such a matter I treat you as if,--
as if you were my sister.'
'I know how good you are,--but seven thousand five hundred! I
couldn't raise so much as that just at present.'
'There are to be six shares,' said Lopez, 'making 45,000 pounds
capital. Would you consent to take a share jointly with me?
That would be three thousand seven hundred and fifty.'
'But you have a share already,' said Lizzie suspiciously.
'I should then divide that with Mr Parker. We intend to register
at any rate as many as nine partners. Would you object to hold
it with me?' Lopez, as he asked this question, looked at her as
though he were offering her half his heart.
'No,' said Lizzie slowly, 'I don't suppose I should object to
'I should be doubly eager about the affair if I were in
partnership with you.'
'It's such a venture.'
'Nothing venture nothing have.'
'But I've got something as it is, Mr Lopez, and I don't want to
lose it all.'
'There's no chance of that if you join us.'
'You think Bios is so sure?'
'Quite safe,' said Lopez.
'You must give me a little more time to think about it,' said
Lady Eustace at last, panting with anxiety, struggling with
herself, anxious for the excitement which would come to her from
dealing in Bios, but still fearing to risk the money.
This had taken place immediately after Mr Wharton's offer of the
5,000 pounds in making which he had stipulated that Emily should
be left at home. Then a few days went by, and Lopez was pressed
for his money, at the office of the San Juan mine. Did he or did
he not mean to take up the mining shares allotted to him? If he
did mean to do so, he must do it at once. He swore by all his
gods that of course he meant to take them up. Had not Mr Wharton
himself been at the office, saying that he intended to pay for
them? Was not that a sufficient guarantee? They knew well
enough that Mr Wharton was a man to whom the raising of 5,000
pounds could be a matter of no difficulty. But they did not
know, never could know, how impossible it was to get anything
done by Mr Wharton. But Mr Wharton had promised to pay for the
shares, and when money was concerned his word would surely
suffice. Mr Hartlepod, backed by two of the Directors, said if
the thing was to go on at all, the money must really be paid at
once. But the conference was ended by allowing the new local
manager another fortnight in which to complete the arrangement.
Lopez allowed four days to pass by, during each of which he was
closeted for a time with Lady Eustace, and then made an attempt
to get at Mr Wharton through his wife. 'Your father has said
that he will pay the money for me,' said Lopez.
'If he has said it he certainly will do it.'
'But he has promised it on the condition that you should remain
at home. Do you wish to desert your husband?' To this she made
no immediate answer. 'Are you already anxious to be rid of me?'
'I should prefer to remain at home,' she said in a very low
'Then you do wish to desert your husband?'
'What is the use of all this, Ferdinand? You do not love me.
You did not marry me because I loved you.'
'By heaven I did;--for that and that only.'
'And how have you treated me?'
'What have I done to you?'
'But I do not mean to make accusations, Ferdinand. I should only
add to our miseries by that. We should be happier apart.'
'Not I. Nor is that my idea of marriage. Tell your father that
you wish to go with me, and then he will let us have the money.'
'I will tell him no lie, Ferdinand. If you bid me go, I will go.
Where you find a home I must find one too if it be your pleasure
to take me. But I will not ask my father to give you money
because it is my pleasure to go. Were I to say so he would not
'It is you who have told him to give it me only on the condition
of your staying.'
'I have told him nothing. He knows that I do not wish to go. He
cannot but know that. But he knows that I mean to go if you
'And you will do nothing for me?'
'Nothing;--in regard to my father.' He raised his fist with the
thought of striking her, and she saw the motion. But his arm
fell again to his side. He had not quite come to that yet.
'Surely you will have the charity to tell me whether I am to go,
if it be fixed,' she said.
'Have I not told you twenty times?'
'Then it is fixed.'
Yes;--it is fixed. Your father will tell you about your things.
He has promised some beggarly sum,--about as much as a tallow-
chandler would give his daughter.'
'Whatever he does for me will be sufficient for me. I am not
afraid of my father, Ferdinand.'
'You shall be afraid of me before I have done with you,' said he,
leaving the room.
Then as he sat at his club, dining there alone, there came across
his mind what the world would be like to him if he could leave
his wife at home and take Lizzie Eustace with him to Guatemala.
Guatemala was very distant, and it would matter little there
whether the woman he brought with him was his wife or no. It was
clear enough to him that his wife desired no more of his company.
What were the conventions of the world to him? This other woman
had money at her own command. He could not make it his own
because he could not marry her, but he fancied that it might be
possible to bring her so far under his control as to make the
money almost as good as his own. Mr Wharton's money was very
hard to reach, and would be as hard to reach,--perhaps harder,--
when Mr Wharton was dead, as now, during his life. He had said a
good deal to the lady since the interview of which a report has
been given. She had declared herself to be afraid of Bios. She
did not in the least doubt that great things might be ultimately
done with Bios, but she did not quite see the way with her small
capital,--thus humbly did she speak of her wealth,--to be one
of those who should take the initiative in the matter. Bios
evidently required a great deal of advertisement, and Lizzie
Eustace had a short-sighted objection to expend what money she
had saved on the hoardings of London. Then he opened to her the
glories of Guatemala, not contenting himself with describing the
certainty of twenty per cent, but enlarging on the luxurious
happiness of life in a country so golden, so green, so gorgeous,
and so grand. It had been the very apple of the eye of the old
Spaniards. In Guatemala, he said, Cortez and Pizzaro had met and
embraced. They might have done so for anything as far as Lizzie
Eustace knew to the contrary. And here our hero took advantage
of his name. Don Diego di Lopez had been the first to raise the
banner of freedom in Guatemala when the kings of Spain became
tyrants to their American subjects. All is fair in love and war,
and Lizzie amidst the hard business of her life still loved a
dash of romance. Yet, he was about to change the scene and try
his fortune in that golden, green, and gorgeous country. 'You
will take your wife of course,' Lady Eustace had said. Then
Lopez had smiled, and shrugging his shoulders had left the room.
It was certainly the fact that she could not eat him. Other men
before Lopez have had to pick up what courage they could in their
attacks upon women by remembering that fact. She had flirted
with him in a very pleasant way, mixing up her prettiness and her
percentages in a manner that was peculiar to herself. He did not
know her, and he knew that he did not know her;--but still there
was the chance. She had thrown his wife more than once in his
face, after the fashion women do when they are wooed by married
men since the days of Cleopatra downwards. But he had taken that
simply as encouragement. He had already let her know that his
wife was a vixen who troubled his life. Lizzie had given him her
sympathy, and had almost given him a tear. 'But I am not a man
to be broken-hearted because I have made a mistake,' said Lopez.
'Marriage vows are very well, but they shall never bind me to
misery.' 'Marriage vows are not very well. They may be very
ill,' Lizzie had replied, remembering certain passages in her own
There was no doubt about her money, and certainly she could not
eat him. The fortnight allowed him by the San Juan Company had
nearly gone by when he called at the little house in the little
street, resolved to push his fortune in that direction without
fear and without hesitation. Mrs Leslie again took her
departure, leaving them together, and Lizzie allowed her friend
to go, although the last words that Lopez had spoken had been, as
he thought, a fair prelude to the words he intended to speak to-
day. 'And what do you think of it?' he said, taking both her
hands in his.
'Think of what?'
'Of our Spanish venture.'
'Have you given up Bios, my friend?'
'No; certainly not,' said Lopez, seating himself beside her. 'I
have not taken the other half share, but I have kept my old
venture in the scheme. I believe in Bios, you know.'
'Ah;--it is nice to believe.'
'But I believe more firmly in the country to which I am going.'
'You are going then?'
'Yes; my friend;--I am going. The allurements are too strong to
be resisted. Think of that climate and of this.' He probably
had not heard of the mosquitoes of Central America when he so
spoke. 'Remember that an income that gives you comfort here will
there produce every luxury which wealth can purchase. It is to
be a king there, or to be but very common among commoners here.'
'And yet England is a dear old country.'
'Have you found it so? Think of the wrongs which you have
endured;--of the injuries you have suffered.'
'Yes indeed.' For Lizzie Eustace had gone through hard days in
'I certainly will fly from such a country to those golden shores
on which man may be free and unshackled.'
'And your wife?'
'Oh, Lizzie!' It was the first time he had called her Lizzie,
and she was apparently neither shocked nor abashed. Perhaps he
thought too much of this, not knowing how many men had called her
Lizzie in her time. 'Do not you at least understand that a man
or a woman may undergo a tie, and yet be justified in
disregarding it altogether?'
'Oh yes;--if there has been bigamy, or divorce, or anything of
that kind.' Now Lizzie had convicted her second husband of
bigamy, and had freed herself after that fashion.
'To h--- with their prurient laws,' said Lopez, rising suddenly
from his chair. 'I will neither appeal to them nor will I obey
them. And I expect from you as little subservience as I myself
am prepared to pay. Lizzy Eustace, will you go with me to that
land of the sun,
Where the rage of the vulture, the love of the turtle
Now melt into sorrow, now madden to crime?
Will you dare to escape with me from the cold conventionalities,
from the miserable thraldom of this country bound in swaddling
cloths? Lizzie Eustace, if you will say the word, I will take
you to that land of glorious happiness.'
But Lizzie Eustace had 4,000 pounds a year and a balance at her
banker's. 'Mr Lopez,' she said.
'What answer have you to make me?'
'Mr Lopez, I think you must be a fool.'
He did at last succeed in getting himself into the street, and at
any rate she had not eaten him.
MRS PARKER'S SORROWS.
The end of February had come, and as far as Mrs Lopez knew she
was to start for Guatemala in a month's time. And yet there was
so much indecision in her husband's manner, and apparently so
little done by him in regard to personal preparation, that she
could hardly bring herself to feel certain that she would have to
make the journey. From day to day her father would ask her
whether she had made her intended purchases, and she would tell
him that she had still postponed the work. Then he would say no
more, for he himself was hesitating, doubtful what he would do,
and still thinking that when at last the time should come, he
would buy his daughter's release at any price that might be
demanded. He had seen Lopez more than once, and had also seen Mr
Hartlepod. Mr Hartlepod had simply told him that he would be
very happy to register the shares on behalf of Lopez as soon as
the money was paid. Lopez had been almost insolent in his
bearing. 'Did Mr Wharton think,' he asked, 'that he was going to
sell his wife for 5,000 pounds?' 'I think you will have to raise
your offer,' Mr Walker had said to Mr Wharton. That was all very
well. Mr Wharton was willing enough to raise the offer. He
would have doubled the offer could he thereby have secured the
annihilation of Lopez. 'I will raise it if he will go without
his wife, and give her a written assurance that he would never
trouble her again.' But the arrangement was one which Mr Walker
found it very difficult to carry out. So things went on till the
end of February had come.
And during all this time Lopez was still a resident in Mr
Wharton's house. 'Papa,' she said to him one day, 'this is the
cruellest thing of all. Why don't you tell him he must go?'
'Because he would take you with him.'
'It would be better so. I could come and see you.'
'I did tell him to go--in my passion. I repented of it
instantly, because I should have lost you. But what did my
telling matter to him? He was very indignant, and yet he is
'You told him to go?'
'Yes;--but I am glad that he did not obey me. There must be an
end of it soon, I suppose.'
'I do not know, papa.'
'Do you think he will not go?'
'I feel that I know nothing, papa. You must not let him stay
always, you know.'
'And what will become of you when he goes?'
'I must go with him. Why should you be sacrificed also? I will
tell him that he must leave the house. I am not afraid of him,
'Not yet, my dear;--not yet. We will see.'
At this time Lopez declared his purpose one day of dining at the
Progress, and Mr Wharton took advantage of the occasion to remain
at home with his daughter. Everett was now expected, and there
was a probability that he might come on this evening. Mr Wharton
therefore returned from his chambers early; but when he reached
the house he was told that there was a woman in the dining-room
with Mrs Lopez. The servant did not know what woman. She had
asked to see Mrs Lopez, and Mrs Lopez had gone down to her.
The woman in the dining-room was Mrs Parker. She had called at
the house about half-past five, and Emily had at once come down
when summoned by tidings that a "lady" wanted to see her.
Servants have a way of announcing a woman a lady, which clearly
expresses their own opinion that the person in question was not a
lady. So it had been on the present occasion, but Mrs Lopez had
at once gone to her visitor. 'Oh, Mrs Parker, I am so glad to
see you. I hope you are well.'
'Indeed then, Mrs Lopez, I am very far from well. No poor woman,
who is the mother of five children, was ever farther from being
well than I am.'
'Is anything wrong?'
'Wrong, ma'am. Everything is wrong. When is Mr Lopez going to
pay my husband all the money he has took from him?'
'Has he taken money?'
'Taken! he has taken everything. He has shorn my husband as
bare as a board. We're ruined, Mrs Lopez, and it's your husband
has done it. When we were at Dovercourt, I told you how it was
going to be. His business has left him, and now there is
nothing. What are we to do?' The woman was seated on a chair,
leaning forward with her two hands on her knees. The day was
wet, the streets were half mud and half snow, and the poor woman,
who had made her way through the slush, was soiled and wet. 'I
look to you to tell me what me and my children is to do. He's
your husband, Mrs Lopez.'
'Yes, Mrs Parker, he is my husband.'
'Why couldn't he let Sexty alone? Why should the like of him be
taking the bread out of my children's mouths? What had we ever
done to him? You're rich.'
'Indeed I am not, Mrs Parker.'
'Yes, you are. You're living here in a grand house, and your
father's made of money. You'll know nothing of want, let the
worst come to the worst. What are we to do, Mrs Lopez? I'm the
wife of that poor creature, and you're the wife of the man that
has ruined him. What are we to do, Mrs Lopez?'
'I do not understand my husband's business, Mrs Parker.'
'You're one with him, ain't you? If anybody has ever come to me
and said my husband had robbed him, I'd never have stopped till I
knew the truth of it. If any woman had ever said to me that
Parker had taken the bread out of her children's mouths, do you
think that I'd sit as you are sitting? I tell that Lopez has
robbed us,--has robbed us, and taken everything.'
'What can I say, Mrs Parker;--what can I do?'
'Where is he?'
'He is not here. He is dining at his club.'
'Where is that? I will go there and shame him before them all.
Don't you feel no shame? Because you've got things comfortable
here, I suppose it's all nothing to you. You don't care, though
my children were starving in the gutter,--as they will do.'
'If you knew me, Mrs Parker, you wouldn't speak to me like that.'
'Know you! Of course I know you. You're a lady, and your
father's a rich man, and your husband thinks no end of himself.
And we're poor people, so it don't matter whether we're robbed
and ruined or not. That's about it.'
'If I had anything, I'd give you all that I had.'
'And he's taken to drinking that hard that he's never rightly
sober from morning to night.' As she told this story of her
husband's disgrace, the poor woman burst into tears. 'Who's to
trust him with business now? He's that broken-hearted that he
don't know which way to turn,--only to the bottle. And Lopez
has done it all,--done it all! I haven't got a father, ma'am,
who has got a house over his head for me and my babies. Only
think if you was turned out into the street with your baby, as I
am like to be.'
'I have no baby,' said the wretched woman through her tears and
'Haven't you, Mrs Lopez? Oh dear!' exclaimed the soft-hearted
woman, reduced at once to pity. 'How was it then?'
'He died, Mrs Parker,--just a few days after he was born.'
'Did he now? Well, well. We all have our troubles, I suppose.'
'I have mine, I know,' said Emily, 'and very, very heavy they
are. I cannot tell you what I have had to suffer.'
'Isn't he good to you?'
'I cannot talk about it, Mrs Parker. What you tell me about
yourself has added greatly to my sorrows. My husband is talking
of going away--to live out of England.'
'Yes, at a place they call,--I forgot what they call it, but I
'I know. Sexty told me. He has no business to go anywhere,
while he owes Sexty such a lot of money. He has taken
everything, and now he is going to Kattymaly!' At this moment Mr
Wharton knocked at the door and entered the room. As he did so
Mrs Parker got up and curtsied.
'This is my father, Mrs Parker,' said Emily. 'Papa, this is Mrs
Parker. She is the wife of Mr Parker, who is Ferdinand's
partner. She has come here with bad news.'
'Very bad news, indeed, sir,' said Mrs Parker, curtseying again.
Mr Wharton frowned, not as being angry with the woman, but
feeling that some further horror was to be told him of his son-
in-law. 'I can't help coming, sir,' continued Mrs Parker.
'Where am I to go if I don't come? Mr Lopez, sir, has ruined us
root and branch,--root and branch.'
'That at any rate is not my fault,' said Mr Wharton,
'But she is his wife, sir. Where am I to go if not to where he
lives? Am I to put up with everything gone, and my poor husband
in the right way to go to Bedlam, and not to say a word about it
to the grand relations of him who did it all?'
'He is a bad man,' said Mr Wharton. 'I cannot make him
'Will he do nothing for us?'
'I will tell you all I know about him.' Then Mr Wharton did tell
her all that he knew, as to the appointment at Guatemala and the
amount of salary which was to be attached to it. 'Whether he
will do anything for you, I cannot say;--I should think not,
unless he be forced. I should advise you to go to the offices of
the Company in Coleman Street and try to make some terms there.
But I fear,--I fear that it will all be useless.'
'Then we may starve.'
'It is not her fault,' said Mr Wharton, pointing to his daughter.
'She has had no hand in it. She knows less of it than you do.'
'It is my fault,' said Emily, bursting out in self-reproach,--
'my fault that I married him.'
'Whether married or single he would have preyed upon Mr Parker to
the same extent.'
'Like enough,' said the poor wife. 'He'd prey upon anybody as he
could get hold of. And so, Mr Wharton, you think that you can do
nothing for me.'
'If your want be immediate I can relieve it,' said the barrister.
Mrs Parker did not like the idea of accepting direct charity,
but, nevertheless, on going away did take the five sovereigns
which Mr Wharton offered to her.
After such an interview as that the evening between the father
and the daughter was not very happy. She was eaten up by
remorse. Gradually she had learned how frightful was the thing
she had done in giving herself to a man of whom she had known
nothing. And it was not only that she had degraded herself by
loving such a man, but that she had been persistent in clinging
to him though her father and all his friends had told her of the
danger which she was running. And now it seemed that she had
destroyed her father as well as herself! All that she could do
was to be persistent in her prayer that he would let her go. 'I
have done it,' she said that night, 'and I could bear it better,
if you would let me bear it alone.' But he only kissed her, and
sobbed over her, and held her close to his heart with his
clinging arms,--in a manner in which he had never held her in
their old happy days.
He took himself to his own rooms before Lopez returned, but she
of course had to bear her husband's presence. As she had
declared to her father more than once, she was not afraid of him.
Even though he should strike her,--though he should kill her,--
she would not be afraid of him. He had already done worse to her
than anything that could follow. 'Mrs Parker has been here to-
day,' she said to him that night.
'And what did Mrs Parker have to say?'
'That you ruined her husband.'
'Exactly. When a man speculates and doesn't win of course he
throws the blame on someone else. And when he is too much of a
cur to come himself, he sends his wife.'
'She says you owe him money.'
'What business have you to listen to what she says? If she comes
again, do not see her. Do you understand me?'
'Yes, I understand. She saw papa also. If you owe him money,
should it not be paid?'
'My dearest love, everybody who owes anything to anybody should
always pay it. That is so self-evident that one would almost
suppose that it might be understood without being enunciated.
But the virtue of paying debts is incompatible with an absence of
money. Now, if you please, we will not say anything more about
Mrs Parker. She is not at any rate a fit companion for you.'
'It was you who introduced her.'
'Hold your tongue about her,--and let that be an end of it. I
little knew what a world of torment I was preparing for myself
when I allowed you to come and live in your father's house.'
WHAT THE DUCHESS THOUGHT OF HER HUSBAND.
When the session began it was understood in the political world
that a very strong opposition was to be organized against the
Government under the guidance of Sir Orlando Drought, and that
the great sin to be imputed to the Cabinet was an utter
indifference to the safety and honour of Great Britain, as
manifested by their neglect of the navy. All the world knew that
Sir Orlando had deserted the Coalition because he was not allowed
to build new ships, and of course Sir Orlando would make the most
of his grievance. With him was joined Mr Boffin, the patriotic
Conservative who had never listened to the voice of the seducer,
and the staunch remainder of the Tory party. And with them the
more violent of the Radicals were prepared to act, not desirous,
indeed, that new ships should be built, or that a Conservative
Government should be established,--or, indeed, that anything
should be done,--but animated by intense disgust that so mild a
politician as the Duke of Omnium should be Prime Minister. The
fight began at once, Sir Orlando objecting violently to certain
passages in the Queen's Speech. It was all very well to say that
the country was at present at peace with all the world; but how
was peace to be maintained without a fleet? Then Sir Orlando
paid a great many compliments to the Duke, and ended his speech
by declaring him to be the most absolutely faineant minister that
had disgraced the country since the Duke of Newcastle. Mr Monk
defended the Coalition, and assured the House that the navy was
not only the most powerful navy existing, but that it was the
most powerful that ever had existed in the possession of this or
any other country, and was probably in absolute efficiency
superior to the combined navies of all the world. The House was
not shocked by statements absolutely at variance with each other,
coming from two gentlemen who had lately been members of the same
Government, and who must be supposed to know what they are
talking about, but seemed to think that upon the whole Sir
Orlando had done his duty. For though there was complete
confidence in the navy as a navy, and though a very small
minority would have voted for any considerably increased expense,
still it was well that there should be an opposition. And how
can there be an opposition without a subject for grumbling,--
some matter on which a minister can be attacked? No one really
thought that the Prussians and French combined would invade our
shores and devastate our fields, and plunder London, and carry
our daughters away into captivity. The state of the funds showed
very plainly that there was no such fear. But a good cry was a
very good thing,--and it is always well to rub up the officials
of the Admiralty by a little wholesome abuse. Sir Orlando was
thought to have done his business well. Of course he did not
risk a division upon the address. Had he done so he would have
been 'nowhere'. But, as it was, he was proud of his achievement.
The ministers generally would have been indifferent to the very
hard words that were said of them, knowing what they were worth,
and feeling aware that a ministry which had everything too easy
was very sore on the subject. The old Duke's work at this time
consisted almost all together in nursing the younger Duke. It
did sometimes occur to his elder Grace that it might be well to
let his brother retire, and that a Prime Minister, malgre lui,
could not be a successful Prime Minister, or a useful one. But
if the Duke of Omnium went the Coalition must go too, and the
Coalition had been the offspring of the old statesman. The
country was thriving under the Coalition, and there was no real
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