Charlotte Mary Yonge.

Nuttie's father online

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crisis with her father.'

That crisis was to involve more than Annaple in
the least expected. ISTuttie found that the momentous
confession could not possibly take place before the
interview with Mr. Bulfinch, at which her presence was
needed to help her father with his papers. The prin-
cipal concern was to show the full enormity of the
bailiff, and decide upon the steps to be taken, the
solicitor being anxious for a prosecution, while a certain
tenderness for poor Gregorio's memory, or perhaps for
the exposure of his own carelessness, made Mr. Egre-
mont reluctant. There was also a proposal, brought
forward with much diffidence from ]\Ir. Condamine's
mother, to rent Bridgefield House, but on this, as well
as respecting a successor to the bailiff, Mr. Egremont

420 NUTTIE'S father. [chap.

was to give his answer the next day, when ]\Ir. Bul-
finch would call again.

Nuttie was thankful for the business that had
filled up the hour after luncheon, when Alwyn used
to play in the drawing-room and delight his father ;
but she was feeling desperate to have the crisis over,
and resolved to speak when she went out driving with
him. It was he, however, who began. * I sounded
IMark's wife yesterday, Ursula. She is a nice little
thing enough, and a good wife in her way.'

* A very good wife.'

' Except when she persuaded him to turn up liis
nose at the agency. D'ye think he would take it
now, since he has tasted the sweets of his umbrella
business ? ' then, as Nuttie paused, taken by surprise ;
' Five hundred a year and the Home Farm would be
better than, what is it, a hundred and fifty and a floor
over a warehouse ! I don't like to see old Will's son
wearing himself out there, and the lad is a good honest
lad, with business habits, who would do justice to you
after I am gone.'

' Father,' said Nuttie, trembling with the effort, * I
want you to do something better than that. I want
you to let ]\Iark take the agency with a view to him-
self — not me. Let him be as he would have been if
he had never hunted us up at Micklethwayte, and put
me in his place.'

'Eh!' said Mr. Egremont. * It is not entailed —
worse luck ; if it had been, I should not have been
bound to dance attendance at the lieels of such an old
sinner as tlie General.*

* Xo, but it ought to go to the heir male, and keep
in the. old name. Think — there have been Egremonts
at Bridgeiield fur four hundred years !'

XXXIX.] ANNAPLE'S ambition FALLEN. 421

* Very pretty talk, but how will it be with you,
Miss. We shall have Fane, and I don't know how
many more, coming after the scent of Bridgefield now,'
he said with a heavy sigh, ending with a bitter ' Hang
them all 1'

' And welcome,' said Nuttie, answering the tliought
rather than the words. ' Father, I wanted to tell
you '

' You don't mean that any one has been after you
at such a time as this !' he cried.

* It was before — I mean it was the evening when
we were all so glad, before we began to be afraid.'

' The imibrella man ! By Jove ! '

'And now,' went on Nuttie, in spite of the ex-
plosion, ' he would hardly have ventured to go on with
it but for this — I mean,' as her father gave a little
laugh of his unpleasant sort, ' he said it would be the
greatest possible relief, and make it all right for the
property to go to the heir male.'

' Hein ! You think so, do you ? See how it will
be when I come to talk to him ! A shrewd fellow
like that who got out of the Micklethwayte concern
just in time. Catch him giving up a place like that,
though he may humbug you.'

' Then you will see him, father ?'

' If you turn him in on me, I can't help it. Bless
me ! umbrellas everywhere ! And here you mean to
turn me over to the mercies of that solenni idiot,
Edsall. I should have been better off with poor

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Online LibraryCharlotte Mary YongeNuttie's father → online text (page 28 of 28)