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£60, the consequences may be most miserable for me, and I don't know if I can survive what may happen. Will my dearest Patty bring with her this amount as a short loan, to be speedily repaid 1 At any rate, you must not fail to be there, and to gratify with the sight of you your longing
The reading was not achieved without sundry interjections and other observations, which are here omitted. Patty was weeping bitterly by the time it was ended. Said she through her tears, "You do not, I am certain, misunderstand me. I am not crying on account of the writer of that abominable, that wicked letter. Oh no, no! I am lamenting my folly, my infatuation, in having for a moment admired—believed—well, it is over now. Let us burn the horrible paper, and never again think of it."
"My darling, I do most heartily thank you for the manner in which you have just now acted," answered Bateman; "and I admire, believe me, the truthfulness and decision which you have shown. You don't know how much I admire them, nor how pleased I am. This miserable incident has served to confirm aDd establish our trust in each other. That is the main point of the business." (Some passages here, which would have required stage directions had it been a play.) "That being understood, my dear," continued Batemau, "let us now think of the distress of this wretched young
man, for money, I perceive"
"What!" exclaimed Patty, "you"
"Pardon me, Patty. I was going to say that it is clear to me he is distressed for want of money."
"And if he is?"
"If he is, I at once recognise in him, ne'er-dowell as I fear he is, a person once honoured by the regard of my loving, faithful wife—my wife who has given me, who has shown me, her whole heart. Shall she alone show trust and love, and am I to do nothing in return?"
Patty was weeping profusely as she held her husband's hand. "I do not understand you, dear," she at length said.
"You do not observe, perhaps, that this young man is evidently in some serious scrape—not unlikely in such difficulty as has been with such persons the beginning of a bad end. Nothing but extreme necessity, I am sure, would have induced him to address you thus."
Patty did not speak.
"This money, timely supplied, and not supplied by the means which he counted on, may, if his feelings can still be touched, prove the means of saving him from destruction. I propose to give him those means."
"I; who else? Now stop, darling—I know all that you would say; but I wish you to understand that, in order that he may get the assistance, it will be necessary for you to go and meet him. I, of course, will accompany you. Do you feel equal to this?"
Equal to it! If it had been to cost her her life she would have done it, and let him see how she could bear herself in such an ordeal. "Quite equal," answered she, with eyes flashing through her tears.
"He would not at first stand quietly to be spoken to by me," pursued Bateman. "You therefore must tell him that the money is forthcoming, and bring me gently on the scene. After that, I may be able to say a few words of advice."
How Patty loved and honoured him, she was scarcely able to say. After this trying scene they separated, and then met again, when Patty's emotion had somewhat subsided, to arrange details. Fortunately, the money which Bateman had drawn that morning for Mr Maunder was in Bank of England notes. These, or some of them, he would give to Eoberts, and arrange with Mr Maunder by a cheque. As to the manner of encountering Eoberts, they settled that too, and determined to pass through the glass-door into the garden, and so to the trysting-place unobserved; but as we shall presently see how they did it, a programme of their proceedings is not here necessary. Now let us change the scene a little.
We have said nothing of George Bateman for some time; and indeed there was not much to say, except that, after his uncle's marriage, he grew to be more savage and wicked and profane than ever. Two or three cautious overtures for a pacification, coming from Hillside, were repelled with insult. George and his mother had omitted no opportunity of doing and saying invidious things. Bateman, now that he had become so happy himself, had grown very anxious about George, and would have been glad of a reconciliation, and to have had him back again at his desk in the office. George, when everybody was saying kind things about his uncle's marriage, could not bear to sit in the coffee-room at the hotel, and he got permission to go and sulk in a little apartment situated between the coffee