d and smugly turned 鏉窞娲楁荡浼氭墍鍙岄鏈嶅姟 the other cheek. He was a week in the office and went away without saying a word.
Frederic received a letter from one of the executors requesting him to hand over all papers and securities to another larger firm of solicitors. Without comment a statement 鏉窞瑗挎箹澶滅綉 of account was enclosed, showing a deficit in the Bradby-Folyat estate of six thousand pounds. Every nerve in Frederic鈥檚 body quivered and went hot and dry. He locked the statement away and gave orders for the Bradby-Folyat deed-box to be handed over to the representatives 鏉窞鐢峰＋绉佷汉spa of the nominated solicitors upon their giving a receipt for it. Mechanically, with a fevered concentration upon the figures as an occupation to keep himself from thinking, he went into
his banking account. He had three hundred pounds in cash. His shares, which would have to be sold at a loss, would realise 鏉窞澶滅敓娲昏鍧?19 another [Pg 327]thousand. Outstanding debts amounted to not two hundred. . . . His wife鈥檚 money was hers upon trust for her children, or, failing her children, for her nephews and nieces. All 鏉窞鎸夋懇涓€鏉￠緳 the Clibran-Bell money was trust money. His father had none, only 鏉窞spa姝ｈ鐨勫惂 enough to make a small provision for his old age and his wife and Mary.
The executor called. He was polite鈥攁 barrister by profession, with the most suave and urbane brow-beating manner. He supposed that the numerous mistakes could be rectified, and that where losses had occurred through incompetent investment the deficiency would be made good. Frederic said not a word. He twiddled a little piece of paper between his fingers and his face was as white as the paper. The executor drew his own conclusions and said:
鈥淚t is misappropriation and embezzlement. I have tried to 鏉窞妗戞嬁瑗垮瓙闃佽鍧?persuade Batson鈥檚 not to take proceedings, but they insist that it must go before the Law Society. . . . You will be lucky if you get no worse than being struck off the rolls.鈥?
The words bit into Frederic鈥檚 brain and went trickling down his spine. The executor 鏉窞榫欏嚖妤艰鍧?took his hat and left him sitting by his table still twiddling the little piece of paper, with his face as grey as a goose-feather. He sat very still for a long time staring at the piece of paper in his hand. Presently he let it fall, but still he sat staring. . . . He heard his clerks go. The cashier brought the key of the safe. He said good-night. Frederic said good-night, and was startled at the sound of his own voice. The silence had seemed to him so inevitable, so final, surely eternal.
One thought sprang to life in his brain: 鈥淣o one must know.鈥?That gave him a 鏉窞娲楁荡妗戞嬁鍏ㄥpurpose and brought him to the need of action. At home he forced an amiable mood upon his wife. In the evening they called at Burdley Park and took Mary to the theatre. They saw her home after a merry evening, and, in the highest spirits, they called on the Clibran-鏉窞鎸夋懇鏈€鏀炬澗鐨勫湴鏂?Bells and invited some of the family to come and play whist on the morrow. Frederic smoked a cigar with his father-in-law and discussed the new waterworks [Pg 328]scheme and the police scandal which had lately set all the town by the ears, a whole division having been discovered to be drawing l