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18. More Business
When Leonard tendered the eight hundred pounds in payment of his debt of five hundred,
Mr. Cavendish at first refused to take it. But when Leonard calmly but firmly refused to
pay a single penny beyond the obligations already incurred, including interest on the full
sum for one day, he acquiesced. He knew the type of man fully; and knew also that in all
probability it would not be long before he would come to the Firm again on a borrowing
errand. When such time should come, he would put an extra clause into his Memorandum
of Agreement which would allow the Firm full power to make whatever extra charge they
might choose in case of the slightest default in making payment.
Leonard's visits to town had not of late been many, and such as he had had were not
accompanied with a plethora of cash. He now felt that he had earned a holiday; and it was
not till the third morning that he returned to Brindehow. His father made no comment on
his absence; his only allusion to the subject was:
'Back all right! Any news in town?' There was, however, an unwonted suavity in his
manner which made Leonard a little anxious. He busied himself for the balance of the
morning in getting together all his unpaid accounts and making a schedule of them. The
total at first amazed almost as much as it frightened him. He feared what Stephen would
say. She had already commented unfavourably on the one amount she had seen. When
she was face to face with this she might refuse to pay altogether. It would therefore be
wise to propitiate her. What could he do in this direction? His thoughts naturally turned to
the missing letter. If he could get possession of it, it would either serve as a sop or a
threat. In the one case she would be so glad to have it back that she would not stick at a
few pounds; in the other it would 'bring her to her senses' as he put in his own mind his
intention of blackmail.
He was getting so tightened up in situation that as yet he could only do as he was told,
and keep his temper as well as he could.
Altogether it was in a chastened mood that he made his appearance at Normanstand later
in the afternoon. He was evidently expected, for he was shown into the study without a
word. Here Miss Rowly and Stephen joined him. Both were very kind in manner. After
the usual greetings and commonplaces Stephen said in a brisk, businesslike way:
'Have you the papers with you?' He took the bundle of accounts from his pocket and
handed them to her. After his previous experience he would have suggested, had he
dared, that he should see Stephen alone; but he feared the old lady. He therefore merely
'I am afraid you will find the amount very large. But I have put down everything!'
So he had; and more than everything. At the last an idea struck him that as he was getting
so much he might as well have a little more. He therefore added several good-sized