But she was not beyond consolation, and she also found consolation in Mr Fisker's visits. 'I used to sign a paper every quarter, she said to Fisker, as they were walking together one evening in the lanes round Hampstead. 'You'll have to do the same now, only instead of giving the paper to any one you'll have to leave it in a banker's hands to draw the money for yourself.
Lord Alfred, and Miles with him, had left London a day or two before Melmotte's death, having probably perceived that there was no further occasion for their services. To Fisker's appeal Lord Alfred was proudly indifferent. Who was this American that he should call upon a director of the London Company to appear?
In all these things Madame Melmotte put herself into Fisker's hands with the most absolute confidence, and, indeed, with a confidence that was justified by its results. It was not by robbing an old woman that Fisker intended to make himself great.
They are adventurers, as I am, and I do not see why we should not suit each other. 'They say also that Fisker will marry Miss Melmotte. 'Why should I object to that? I shall not be jealous of Mr Fisker's attentions to the young lady. But it will suit me to have some one to whom I can speak on friendly terms when I am back in California.
Nobody cares for anything else. Fisker's all very well; but he only wants the money. Do you think Fisker'd ask me to marry him if I hadn't got anything? Not he! He ain't slow enough for that. 'I think he's a very nice young man, said Madame Melmotte.
She had contrived to learn that, in the United States, a married woman has greater power over her own money than in England, and this information acted strongly in Fisker's favour. On consideration of the whole subject she was inclined to think that she would do better in the world as Mrs Fisker than as Marie Melmotte, if she could see her way clearly in the matter of her own money.
After all, what was wanted from Mr Melmotte was little more than his name, for the use of which Mr Fisker proposed that he should receive from the speculative public two or three hundred thousand pounds. At the end of a fortnight from the date of Mr Fisker's arrival in London, the company was fully launched in England, with a body of London directors, of whom Mr Melmotte was the chairman.
The letter written at Liverpool, but dated from the Langham Hotel, had been posted at the Euston Square Railway Station at the moment of Fisker's arrival. Fisker sent in his card, and was asked to wait. In the course of twenty minutes he was ushered into the great man's presence by no less a person than Miles Grendall.
'I should just go, because I'd taken a salary from the d Company, said the careful father, 'but when there I wouldn't say a word. So Miles Grendall, obeying his parent, reappeared upon the scene. But Fisker's attention was perhaps most usefully and most sedulously paid to Madame Melmotte and her daughter.
On receipt of a message from his American correspondent he had gone down to Liverpool, and had there awaited Fisker's arrival, taking counsel with his friend Mr Ramsbottom. In the meantime Hetta's letter was lying at the Beargarden, Paul having written from his club and having omitted to desire that the answer should be sent to his lodgings.
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