Chapter XV: An Addition to the House

Hence in a couple of days there was a stir in the legal house of Jones, Morgan, & Co., with much rustling of parchment, and signing of names, and drinking of inferior sherry. The result of all which was that the firm of Girdlestone & Co. were seven thousand pounds the richer, and Thomas Dimsdale found himself a recognized member of a great commercial house with all the rights and privileges appertaining thereto.

“A good day’s work, Tom,” said the old doctor, as they left the lawyer’s office together. “You have now taken an irrevocable step in life, my boy. The world is before you. You belong to a first-class firm and you have every chance. May you thrive and prosper.”

“If I don’t it won’t be my fault,” Tom answered with decision. “I shall work with my whole heart and soul.”

“A good day’s work, Ezra,” the African merchant was remarking at that very moment in Fenchurch Street. “The firm is pinched again for working expenses. This will help;” and he threw a little slip of green paper across the table to his son.

“It will help us for a time,” Ezra said, gloomily, glancing at the figures. “It was fortunate that I was able to put you on his track. It is only a drop in the ocean, however. Unless this diamond spec. comes off, nothing can save us.”

“But it shall come off,” his father answered resolutely. He had succeeded in obtaining an agent who appeared to be almost as well fitted for the post as the recalcitrant major. This worthy had started off already for Russia, where the scene of his operations was to lie.

“I hope so,” said Ezra. “We have neglected no precaution. Langworthy should be at Tobolsk by this time. I saw that he had a bag of rough stones with him which would do well enough for his purpose.”

“We have your money ready, too. I can rely upon rather over thirty thousand pounds. Our credit was good for that, but I did not wish to push it too far for fear of setting tongues wagging.”

“I am thinking of starting shortly in the mail boat Cyprian,” said Ezra. “I should be at the diamond fields in little more than a month. I dare say Langworthy won’t show any signs for some time yet, but I may as well be there as here. It will give me a little while to find my way about. You see, if the tidings and I were to come almost simultaneously, it might arouse suspicions. In the meantime, no one knows our little game.”

“Except your friend Clutterbuck.”

A dark shadow passed over Ezra’s handsome face, and his cruel lip tightened in a way which boded little good to the old soldier should he ever lie at his mercy.

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