At this swift rejoinder, Mr. Hardie felt like a too confident swordsman, who, attacking in a passion suddenly receives a prick that shows him his antagonist is not one to be trifled with. He was on his guard directly, and said coldly, "You have been belying me to my very clerk."
"No, sir: you are mistaken; I have never mentioned your name to your clerk."
Mr. Hardie reflected on what Skinner had told him, and found he had made another false move. He tried again: "Nor to the Dodds?" with an incredulous sneer.
"Nor to the Dodds," replied Alfred calmly.
"What, not to Miss Julia Dodd?"
"No, sir, I have seen her but once, since--I discovered about the fourteen thousand pounds."
"What fourteen thousand pounds?" inquired Mr. Hardie innocently.
"What fourteen thousand pounds!" repeated the young man disdainfully. Then suddenly turning on his father, with red brow and flashing eyes: "The fourteen thousand pounds Captain Dodd brought home from India: the fourteen thousand pounds I heard him claim of you with curses: ay, miserable son, and miserable man, that I am, I heard my own father called a villain; and what did my father reply? Did you hurl the words back into your accuser's throat? No: you whispered, 'Hush! hush! I'll bring it you down.' Oh, what a hell Shame is!"