'Proceed. Continue.'

'Oh! Well, you remember what you were saying about America?'

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'What was I saying about America?'

'The other day, don't you remember? What a lot of money there was to be made there and so forth.'

'I'm going there.'

'To America?'

'To make money?'

Gates nodded--sadly, it seemed to Bill. He was rather a melancholy young man, with a long face not unlike a pessimistic horse.

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'Gosh!' he said.

Bill felt a little damped. By no mental juggling could he construe 'Gosh!' into an expression of enthusiastic approbation.

Gates looked at Bill curiously. 'What's the idea?' he said. 'I could have understood it if you had told me that you were going to New York for pleasure, instructing your man Willoughby to see that the trunks were jolly well packed and wiring to the skipper of your yacht to meet you at Liverpool. But you seem to have sordid motives. You talk about making money. What do you want with more money?'

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'Why, I'm devilish hard up.'

'Tenantry a bit slack with the rent?' said Gates sympathetically.

Bill laughed.

'My dear chap, I don't know what on earth you're talking about. How much money do you think I've got? Four hundred pounds a year, and no prospect of ever making more unless I sweat for it.'