BOOK II. OLD AND YOUNG.
14. CHAPTER XIV.
Fred colored. "You wished to have the letter, sir. I should
think it very likely that Mr. Bulstrode's denial is as good
as the authority which told you what he denies."
"Every bit. I never said I believed either one or the other.
And now what d' you expect?" said Mr. Featherstone, curtly, keeping on
his spectacles, but withdrawing his hands under his wraps.
"I expect nothing, sir." Fred with difficulty restrained himself
from venting his irritation. "I came to bring you the letter.
If you like I will bid you good morning."
"Not yet, not yet. Ring the bell; I want missy to come."
It was a servant who came in answer to the bell.
"Tell missy to come!" said Mr. Featherstone, impatiently. "What business
had she to go away?" He spoke in the same tone when Mary came.
"Why couldn't you sit still here till I told you to go? want
my waistcoat now. I told you always to put it on the bed."
Mary's eyes looked rather red, as if she had been crying. It was
clear that Mr. Featherstone was in one of his most snappish humors
this morning, and though Fred had now the prospect of receiving
the much-needed present of money, he would have preferred being free
to turn round on the old tyrant and tell him that Mary Garth was
too good to be at his beck. Though Fred had risen as she entered
the room, she had barely noticed him, and looked as if her nerves
were quivering with the expectation that something would be thrown
at her. But she never had anything worse than words to dread.
When she went to reach the waistcoat from a peg, Fred went up
to her and said, "Allow me."
"Let it alone! You bring it, missy, and lay it down here,"
said Mr. Featherstone. "Now you go away again till I call you,"
he added, when the waistcoat was laid down by him. It was usual
with him to season his pleasure in showing favor to one person
by being especially disagreeable to another, and Mary was always
at hand to furnish the condiment. When his own relatives came
she was treated better. Slowly he took out a bunch of keys from
the waistcoat pocket, and slowly he drew forth a tin box which was
under the bed-clothes.