Anthony Trollope, Can You Forgive Her?: Vol. 2, Ch. 36

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Chapter LXXVI: The Landlord's Bill 

"You are in trouble, Mr Fitzgerald, I fear," said Mr Palliser, standing over Burgo as he lay upon the ground. They were now altogether beyond the gas-lights, and the evening was dark. Burgo, too, was lying with his face to the ground, expecting that the footsteps which he had heard would pass by him.

"Who is that?" said he, turning round suddenly; but still he was not at once able to recognize Mr Palliser, whose voice was hardly known to him.

"Perhaps I have been wrong in following you," said Mr Palliser, "but I thought you were in distress, and that probably I might help you. My name is Palliser."

"Plantagenet Palliser?" said Burgo, jumping up on to his legs and looking close into the other's face. "By heavens! it is Plantagenet Palliser! Well, Mr Palliser, what do you want of me?"

"I want to be of some use to you, if I can. I and my wife saw you leave the gaming-table just now."

"Is she here too?"

"Yes;—she is here. We are going home, but chance brought us up to the salon. She seemed to think that you are in distress, and that I could help you. I will, if you will let me."

Mr Palliser, during the whole interview, felt that he could afford to be generous. He knew that he had no further cause for fear. He had no lingering dread of this poor creature who stood before him. All that feeling was over, though it was as yet hardly four months since he had been sent back by Mrs Marsham to Lady Monk's house to save his wife, if saving her were yet possible.

"So she is here, is she;—and saw me there when I staked my last chance? I should have had over twenty thousand francs now, if the cards had stood to me."

"The cards never do stand to any one, Mr Fitzgerald."

"Never;—never,—never!" said Burgo. "At any rate, they never did to me. Nothing ever does stand to me."

"If you want twenty thousand francs,—that's eight hundred pounds, I think—I can let you have it without any trouble."

"The devil you can!"

"Oh, yes. As I am travelling with my family—" I wonder whether Mr Palliser considered himself to be better entitled to talk of his family than he had been some three or four weeks back—"As I am travelling with my family, I have been obliged to carry large bills with me, and I can accommodate you without any trouble."

There was something pleasant in this, which made Burgo Fitzgerald laugh. Mr Palliser, the husband of Lady Glencora M'Cluskie, and the heir of the Duke of Omnium happening to have money with him! As if Mr Palliser could not bring down showers of money in any quarter of the globe by simply holding up his hand. And then to talk of accommodating him,—Burgo Fitzgerald, as though it were simply a little matter of convenience,—as though Mr Palliser would of course find the money at his bankers' when he next examined his book! Burgo could not but laugh.

"I was not in the least doubting your ability to raise the money," said he; "but how would you propose to get it back again?"

"That would be at your convenience," said Mr Palliser, who hardly knew how to put himself on a proper footing with his companion, so that he might offer to do something effectual for the man's aid.

"I never have any such convenience," said Burgo. "Who were those women whose tubs always had holes at the bottom of them? My tub always has such a hole."