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MR. LOVEGROVE was very uneasy in his
mind. A small circumstance had put the
climax to a heap of doubts and suspicions
which had long been accumulating. It may
be remembered that Mr. Lovegrove had
expressed to his partner his desire to have a
little confidential talk with him, and that
his partner had expressed himself perfectly
willing that the confidential talk should
take place. It had not yet taken place,
however. Mr. Frost always found some
excuse for postponing it.

On the same day on which Mr. Lovegrove
had first spoken of this desire on his
part, it may also be remembered that a sum
of money just received by the firm had
been taken away by Mr. Frost, to bank, as
he said. Mr. Lovegrove had asked him
about it later, and Mr. Frost had answered,
Oh yes; it was all right. And there the
matter had dropped. But two days after
Mr. Frost's visit to the Princess de' Barletti,
Mr. Lovegrove made the very disagreeable
discovery that the money in question had
never been paid into the bank at all! The
sum was an insignificant one after all; and
could he have looked upon the circumstance
as a mere instance of carelessness and
forgetfulness on the part of Mr. Frost, he
would have been irritated and annoyed by
it, certainly, but he would have felt no
more serious distress than those epithets
might convey. But Mr. Frost, when
questioned, had not clapped his hand to his
forehead and exclaimed that the matter
had slipped his memory: he had not even
acknowledged that he had not paid the
money, and promised that he would remedy
the omission. He had answered with
composure that the matter was all right. Mr.
Frost, then, had told his partner a lie. Mr.
Lovegrove was more hurt by this discovery
than he would willingly have acknowledged.
He had a very strong attachment to Sidney
Frost. He had the habit of looking up to
his talents and character with much the
same admiring delight with which a little
boy contemplates the cock of his school;
though at the same time Mr. Lovegrove
understood very well what were the solid
plodding qualities in which he himself
excelled his partner, and which were especially
useful to the success of their joint affairs.

Mr. Lovegrove had no sooner made the
discovery above-mentioned than he resolved,
with an inflexible resolution, to lose no more
time in coming to an explanation with his
partner. The discovery was made after
office hours. Mr. Frost had already left
Bedford-square. The junior partner
debated with himself what measures he should
take in order to carry out the purpose he
had formed. Mr. Lovegrove having once
formed a purpose, never permitted himself
to discuss whether or no he should carry it
out; he merely considered how he should
fulfil it, which was one of the results of
the smallness of his faculty of imagination
and also one of the secrets of his success
in life.

"Sarah, my dear," said he to his wife,
after tea, "I am going over to Bayswater
this evening."

"To a party?" demanded Mrs. Lovegrove,
with a rapid, jealous notion that her
long-nourished suspicions of Mrs. Frost's
intention to insult her unmistakably had
at length been confirmed.

"To a party! My dear Sarah, what are