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- If I might suggest—the funds—any sum that you may have invested would be more available, perhaps. A few days you know, my dear Sir, as far as I am concerned, would not make the smallest difference to me, I am sure.”
Perhaps,” said More, "you are not the only person who wants money. What if I am in want of some money myself ?”
“Your banker, Sir, would surely not object to your overdrawing a little.”
My banker has reminded me that I have already overdrawn too much.”
“ And you won't touch the funds ?” said the attorney.
“I have not a penny in the funds. A friend has relieved me of what I had. word, Mr. Bellerby, with the exception of what Moreton will fetch, I am without a shilling.”
A slight twinkling might have been observed under Mr. Bellerby's bushy eye
brows, as he thought of foreclosing. It instantly passed off.
“This is very serious, very serious. We must see what can be done, Sir. Property is worth very little just now—worth very
little money is so excessively scarce. However, we must see what can be done to meet your wishes.”
There was another pause.
“I think,” began Mr. Bellerby, “I intimated to you in my last, in our correspondence relative to the raising of further sums on the Moreton estate, that I had been unable to find a mortgagee.
You were then, I think, Sir, in communication with Mr. Winter;" here the attorney looked hard at Pierce, and said, “ did he, may I ask, advise a more advantageous mode of raising the sum you required ?”
“He did. It was by following his advice that I now find myself in the present difficulty.”
“ Indeed !" said Mr. Bellerby, with affected surprise. “Would
like to see your room, Sir? To-morrow we will endeavour to make arrangements for the sale of your estate.”
The sudden and severe commencement of his misfortunes at Mona had, as we have seen, thrown Pierce More into a state of mind which in a short time must have seriously affected his health. The second shock, on his arrival in London, had perhaps for the moment counteracted the effect of the first. As soon, however, as he had sufficiently recovered from the surprise of finding himself a ruined man, his thoughts again recurred to Lady Eda as by far the bitterest loss of the two. Added to these trials, enough in themselves to stagger the strongest constitution, Pierce had not touched any food for nearly eight-and-forty hours. He sat up through the night, dozing and dreaming of all that happened to him. At breakfast he was too unwell to keep his place at table.
About the middle of the day Miss Bellerby made her appearance.
She, too, looked harassed and ill; but she did her best to be kind and hospitable to her father's guest. With the quickness of a woman's tact, she soon discovered that Pierce's indisposition was more than a slight attack of illness ; there was a look of deep melancholy in his face which, as she sometimes observed when he was not aware of her presence, changed for a second or so into an expression of anguish so acute that she felt convinced bodily suffering alone could not produce it.
How touchingly beautiful is the unselfishness of woman! How incomprehensible to men is that wonderful nature which makes woman forget herself and all she suffers, the very instant another is in pain! For our part, we are very much in the habit of forming our estimate of the characters of men by the estimation in which they hold their sister race; convinced there can be nothing noble in that mind which contemplates the loveliness of woman's nature through the deformity of its own callousness. We admire the man who, like the sentimental and kind-hearted Sterne, “has been in love with some princess or other all his life, hoping to go on so till he dies ; being firmly persuaded that if ever he does a mean action, it must be in some interval betwixt one passion and another.” Of all human qualities—and it is man's privilege to admire at least qualities he scarce hopes to attainthis perfect unselfishness is in the one sex the most engaging—to the other the most impossible.