"Then tell me," whispered Alfred, his eyes sparkling and his face beaming, "who was that you were talking to just now? Was it?--wasn't it?--who was it?"
WHILE Dodd stood lowering in the doorway, he was nevertheless making a great effort to control his agitation.
At last he said in a stern but low voice, in which, however, a quick ear might detect a tremor of agitation: "I have changed my mind, sir: I want my money back."
At this, though David's face had prepared him, Mr. Hardie's heart sank: but there was no help for it. He said faintly, "Certainly. May I ask----?" and there he stopped; for it was hardly prudent to ask anything.
"No matter," replied Dodd, his agitation rising even at this slight delay. "Come! my money! I must and will have it."
Hardie drew himself up majestically. "Captain Dodd, this is a strange way of demanding what nobody here disputes."
"Well, I beg your pardon," said Dodd, a little awed by his dignity and fairness, "but I can't help it."
The quick, supple banker saw the slight advantage he had gained, and his mind went into a whirl. What should he do? It was death to part with this money and gain nothing by it. Sooner tell Dodd of the love affair, and open a treaty on this basis: he clung to this money like limpet to its rock; and so intense and rapid were his thoughts and schemes how to retain it a little longer, that David's apologies buzzed in his ear like the drone of a beetle.