Next day brought the Admiral
a cheque for L5,000 from Mr.
McAdam, and a stamped agreement
by which he made over
his pension papers to the speculative investor. It
was not until he had signed and sent it off that the full
significance of all that he had done broke upon him. He
had sacrificed everything. His pension was gone. He had
nothing save only what he could earn. But the stout old
heart never quailed. He waited eagerly for a letter from
the Saint Lawrence Shipping Company, and in the meanwhile
he gave his landlord a quarter's notice. Hundred pound
a year houses would in future be a luxury which he could
not aspire to. A small lodging in some inexpensive part
of London must be the substitute for his breezy Norwood
villa. So be it, then! Better that a thousand fold than
that his name should be associated with failure and
On that morning Harold Denver
was to meet the creditors of
the firm, and to explain the
situation to them. It was a hateful
task, a degrading task, but he
set himself to do it with quiet
resolution. At home they waited
in intense anxiety to learn the
result of the meeting. It was
late before he returned, haggard
pale, like a man who has done
and suffered much.
in front of
"We are going to try a little
change of scene," said the Admiral. "This
place is neither town nor country.
But never mind that, boy. Tell
us what happened in the City."
"God help me! My wretched business
driving you out of house and
home!" cried Harold, broken down
by this fresh evidence of the
effects of his misfortunes. "It
is easier for me to meet my creditors
than to see you two suffering
so patiently for my sake."
"Tut, tut!" cried the Admiral. "There's
no suffering in the matter. Mother
would rather be near the theaters.
That's at the bottom of it, isn't
it, mother? You come and sit
down here between us and tell
us all about it."
Harold sat down with a loving
hand in each of his.
"It's not so bad as we thought," said
he, "and yet it is bad enough.
I have about ten days to find
the money, but I don't know which
way to turn for it. Pearson,
however, lied, as usual, when
he spoke of L13,000. The amount
is not quite L7,000."
his hands. "I
knew we should weather it after
all! Hurrah my boy! Hip, hip,
gazed at him
while the old seaman waved his
arm above his head and bellowed
out three stentorian cheers. "Where
am I to get seven thousand pounds
from, dad?" he asked.
mind. You spin
they were very
good and very
kind, but of
they must have either their money
or their money's worth. They
passed a vote of sympathy with
me, and agreed to wait ten days
before they took any proceedings.
Three of them, whose claim came
to L3,500, told me that if I
would give them my personal I.O.U.,
and pay interest at the rate
of five per cent, their amounts
might stand over as long as I
wished. That would be a charge
of L175 upon my income, but with
economy I could meet it, and
it diminishes the debt by one-half."
Again the Admiral burst out
about L3,200 which has to be
found within ten days. No man
shall lose by me. I gave them
my word in the room that if I
worked my soul out of my body
every one of them should be paid.
I shall not spend a penny upon
myself until it is done. But
some of them can't wait. They
are poor men themselves, and
must have their money. They have
issued a warrant for Pearson's
arrest. But they think that he
has got away the States."
"These men shall have their
money," said the Admiral.
my boy, you
of the family.
One never does know until one
tries. What have you yourself
I have about
as much more. There's a good
start. Now, mother, it is your
turn. What is that little bit
of paper of yours?"
Mrs. Denver unfolded it, and
placed it upon Harold's knee.
"Five thousand pounds!" he
"Ah, but mother is not the
only rich one. Look at this!" And
the Admiral unfolded his cheque,
and placed it upon the other
one to the
other in bewilderment. "Ten thousand
pounds!" he cried. "Good heavens!
where did these come from?"
"You will not worry any longer,
dear," murmured his mother, slipping
her arm round him.
his quick eye
upon one of
cheques. "Doctor Walker!" he
cried, flushing. "This is Clara's
doing. Oh, dad, we cannot take
this money. It would not be right
boy, I am glad
you think so.
It is something,
to have proved one's friend,
for a real good friend he is.
It was he who brought it in,
though Clara sent him. But this
other money will be enough to
cover everything, and it is all
did you get
tut! See what
it is to have
a City man
to deal with.
It is my own, and fairly earned,
and that is enough."
"Dear old dad!" Harold squeezed
his gnarled hand. "And you, mother!
You have lifted the trouble from
my heart. I feel another man.
You have saved my honor, my good
name, everything. I cannot owe
you more, for I owe you everything
So while the autumn sunset
shone ruddily through the broad
window these three sat together
hand in hand, with hearts which
were too full to speak. Suddenly
the soft thudding of tennis balls
was heard, and Mrs. Westmacott
bounded into view upon the lawn
with brandished racket and short
skirts fluttering in the breeze.
The sight came as a relief to
their strained nerves, and they
burst all three into a hearty
fit of laughter.
"She is playing with her nephew," said
Harold at last. "The Walkers
have not come out yet. I think
that it would be well if you
were to give me that cheque,
mother, and I were to return
it in person."
Harold. I think
it would be very nice.
He went in through the garden.
Clara and the Doctor were sitting
together in the dining-room.
She sprang to her feet at the
sight of him.
"Oh, Harold, I have been waiting
for you so impatiently," she
cried; "I saw you pass the front
windows half an hour ago. I would
have come in if I dared. Do tell
us what has happened."
have come in
to thank you
both. How can I repay you for
your kindness? Here is your cheque,
Doctor. I have not needed it.
I find that I can lay my hands
on enough to pay my creditors."
"Thank God!" said
sum is less
than I thought,
and our resources considerably
more. We have been able to do
it with ease."
"With ease!" The Doctor's brow
clouded and his manner grew cold. "I
think, Harold, that you would
do better to take this money
of mine, than to use that which
seems to you to be gained with
you, sir. If
from any one
it would be
you. But my father has this very
sum, five thousand pounds, and,
as I tell him, I owe him so much
that I have no compunction about
owing him more."
are some sacrifices which a son
should not allow his parents
What do you
that you do
not know how this money has been
give you my
Walker, that I have no idea.
I asked my father, but he refused
to tell me."
"I thought not," said the Doctor,
the gloom clearing from his brow. "I
was sure that you were not a
man who, to clear yourself from
a little money difficulty, would
sacrifice the happiness of your
mother and the health of your
do you mean?"
is only right
that you should
the commutation of your father's
pension. He has reduced himself
to poverty, and intends to go
to sea again to earn a living."
is the truth.
has told Ida. He was with him
in the City when he took his
poor pension about from dealer
to dealer trying to sell it.
He succeeded at last, and hence
"He has sold his pension!" cried
Harold, with his hands to his
face. "My dear old dad has sold
his pension!" He rushed from
the room, and burst wildly into
the presence of his parents once
more. "I cannot take it, father," he
cried. "Better bankruptcy than
that. Oh, if I had only known
your plan! We must have back
the pension. Oh, mother, mother,
how could you think me capable
of such selfishness? Give me
the cheque, dad, and I will see
this man to-night, for I would
sooner die like a dog in the
ditch than touch a penny of this