"And they will be; you couldn't look on and see it. Do come to my rescue this once. You really might do something for them."
With a rumbling sigh he answered:
"Wait. Can't give you a penny now. Poor as a church mouse."
Mrs. Larne heaved one of her most buoyant sighs. She certainly did not believe him.
"Well!" she said; "you'll be sorry when we come round one night and sing for pennies under your window. Wouldn't you like to see Phyllis? I left her in the hall. She's growing such a sweet gairl. Guardy just fifty!"
Mrs. Larne threw up her hands. "Well! You'll repent it. I'm at my last gasp." She sighed profoundly, and the perfume of violets escaped in a cloud; Then, getting up, she went to the door and called: "Phyllis!"
When the girl entered old Heythorp felt the nearest approach to a flutter of the heart for many years. She had put her hair up! She was like a spring day in January; such a relief from that scented humbug, her mother. Pleasant the touch of her lips on his forehead, the sound of her clear voice, the sight of her slim movements, the feeling that she did him credit--clean-run stock, she and that young scamp Jock--better than the holy woman, his daughter Adela, would produce if anyone were ever fool enough to marry her, or that pragmatical fellow, his son Ernest.
And when they were gone he reflected with added zest on the six thousand pounds he was getting for them out of Joe Pillin and his ships. He would have to pitch it strong in his speech at the general meeting. With freights so low, there was bound to be opposition. No dash nowadays; nothing but gabby caution! They were a scrim-shanking lot on the Board--he had had to pull them round one by one--the deuce of a tug getting this thing through! And yet, the business was sound enough. Those ships would earn money, properly handled-good money