"Your letters are Greek to me."
"Oh! indeed, I think we can soon make them into plain English!"
Mr. Ventnor passed through a moment of indecision. Should he lay his cards on the table? It was not his habit, and the proceeding was sometimes attended with risk. The knowledge, however, that he could always take them up again, seeing there was no third person here to testify that he had laid them down, decided him, and he said:
"Well, Mr. Heythorp, the long and short of the matter is this: Our friend Mr. Pillin paid you a commission of ten per cent. on the sale of his ships. Oh! yes. He settled the money, not on you, but on your relative Mrs. Larne and her children. This, as you know, is a breach of trust on your part.
The old man's voice: "Where did you get hold of that cock-and-bull story?" brought him to his feet before the fire.
"It won't do, Mr. Heythorp. My witnesses are Mr. Pillin, Mrs. Larne, and Mr. Scriven."
"What have you come here for, then--blackmail?"
Mr. Ventnor straightened his waistcoat; a rush of conscious virtue had dyed his face.