The Tempting of Tavernake
I.21. Some Excellent Advice
Tavernake, in response to a somewhat urgent message, walked into his solicitor's office
almost as soon as they opened on the following morning. The junior partner of the firm,
who took an interest in him, and was anxious, indeed, to invest a small amount in the
Marston Rise Building Company, received him cordially but with some concern.
"Look here, Tavernake," he said, "I thought I'd better write a line and ask you to come
down. You haven't forgotten, have you, that our option of purchase lasts only three days
"Well, what of it?" he asked.
"It's just as well that you should understand the situation," the lawyer continued. "Your
old people are hard upon our heels in this matter, and there will be no chance of any
extension--not even for an hour. Mr. Dowling has already put in an offer a thousand
pounds better than yours; I heard that incidentally yesterday afternoon; so you may be
sure that the second your option has legally expired, the thing will be off altogether so far
as you're concerned."
"That's all very well," Tavernake remarked, "but what about the plots that already belong
"They have some sort of scheme for leaving those high and dry," the solicitor explained.
"You see, the drainage and lighting will be largely influenced by the purchaser of the
whole estate. If Dowling gets it, he means to treat your plots so that they will become
practically valueless. It's rather a mean sort of thing, but then he's a mean little man."
"Well," he announced, "I was coming to see you, anyhow, this morning, to talk to you
about the money."
"Your friend isn't backing out?" the lawyer asked, quickly.
"My friend has not said anything about backing out yet," Tavernake replied, "but
circumstances have arisen during the last few days which have altered my own views as
to the expediency of business relations with this person. I haven't any reason to suppose
that the money won't be forthcoming, but if I could get it from any other source, I should
The solicitor looked blank.