en-es  JUST—WILLIAM BY RICHMAL CROMPTON
CAPÍTULO I GUILLERMO VA AL CINE Todo empezó con la tía de Guillermo, que aquella mañana estaba de buen humor, y le dio un chelín por echar una carta al correo y llevarle sus paquetes de la tienda de comestibles

"Cómprate caramelos o ve al cine", le dijo despreocupadamente, mientras se lo daba.

Guillermo caminó lentamente por la calle, mirando la moneda pensativo. Después de cálculos profundos, basados en el hecho de que un chelín es el equivalente de dos monedas de seis peniques, llegó a la conclusión de que podía permitirse ambos lujos.

En materia de dulces, William sostenía francamente la superioridad de la cantidad sobre la calidad. Además, conocía todas las tiendas de dulces en dos millas a la redonda de su casa cuyos propietarios añadían un dulce extra después de pesarlos y él optaba exclusivamente por estas tiendas. Con cara solemne y mirada impaciente, siempre observaba el proceso del peso, y conocía y evitaba las tiendas "tacañas".

Se dirigía ahora hacia su confitero favorito y permaneció de pie detrás de la ventana durante cinco minutos, diividido entre las atractivas rivales Ojos de grosella y Bolas de mármol. Ambas costaban 2 peniques por 4 onzas. Guillermo nunca compraba lujos más caros. Al final se relajó su frente fruncida y entró en la tienda.

"Seis peniques de Ojos de grosella", dijo, con un aire de ligera autosuficiencia. El monto de sus compras raramente excedía un penique.

"¡Hola!" dijo el tendero , con divertida sorpresa.

"Tengo un poco de dinero esta mañana", explicó Guillermo despreocupadamente, con el aire de un Rothschild.

Observó como pesaba las golosinas de color verde esmeralda con silenciosa intensidad, vio con satisfacción la golosina extra añadida después de pesarlas, recibió la valiosa bolsa de papel y, poniéndose dos dulces en la boca, salió de la tienda.

Chupando lentamente, caminó calle abajo hacia el cine Palacio. Guillermo no tenía la costumbre de frecuentar cines. Solo había estado allí una vez en la vida.

Fue un programa emocionante. Primero vino la historia de ladrones que, al salir de algún edificio, miraban con cuidado arriba y abajo de la calle acurrucados y agachados, después se deslizaban ostentosamente en su camino de una manera que garantizaba atraer la atención y la sospecha en cualquier lugar y tiempo. La trama se enredaba. La policía los persiguió, se lazaron sobre un tren en movimiento y entonces, sin razón aparente, se lazaron desde allí a un vehículo de motor y desde este se sumergieron en un río agitado. Era apasionante, y Guillermo se emocionó. Sentado casi inmóvil, observaba, con los ojos bien abiertos y fascinados, aunque su mandíbula nunca dejaba de moverse y de vez en cuando su mano iba mecánicamente a la bolsa de papel de sobre sus rodillas y le llevaba un Ojo de Grosella a la boca

La siguiente película era una simple historia de amor rural, en la que figuraba una sencilla doncella de campo cortejada por el terrateniente, cuyos bigotes le marcaban como el villano.

Después de muchas aventuras, la sencilla doncella de campo fue conquistada por un simple chico de la tierra, con un pintoresco atuendo rústico, cuyas emociones fueron representadas fielmente por gestos que debían haber requerido mucha habilidad gimnástica; el villano finalmente se muestra languideciendo en una celda de la prisión, todavía entreteniéndose en frecuentes juegos con las cejas.

Luego vino otra historia de amor, esta vez de una pareja de corazón noble, consumida por la pasión mutua y separada no solo por una serie de malentendidos posibles solo en una película, sino también por el orgullo virginal y la reserva por parte de la heroína y el orgullo viril y la reserva por parte del héroe que los obligaba a esconder su ardor bajo un aspecto frío y altivo. El hermano de la heroína se movía a través de la historia como un hada buena, tierna y protectora hacia su hermana huérfana y finalmente explicó a cada uno la pasión ardiente del otro.

Era emocionante y conmovedor y Guillermo se emocionó y se conmovió.

La siguiente fue una comedia. Comenzó por un trabajador solitario dedicado a repintar una puerta y terminó con una multitud de gente diversa, todos cubiertos de pintura, que caían escaleras abajo uno encima del otro. Fue divertida. Guillermo se divirtió a carcajadas y ruidosamente.

Al final vino la historia patética sobre la decadencia de un borrachin. Empezó como un joven licencioso llevando traje de etiqueta bebiendo bebidas alcohólicas y jugando a las cartas, terminó como un viejo salvaje llevando trapos aún bebiendo bebidas alcohólicas y jugando a las cartas. Tenía una niña pequeña con expresión piadosa y superior, que gastaba su tiempo llorando sobre él y exhortándolo a una vida mejor, hasta que, en un momento de exasperación justificable, él le tiró una botella de cerveza a la cabeza. Luego humedeció con lágrimas de arrepentimiento su cama en el Hospital , se arrancó el pelo, alzó los brazos hacia el Cielo, se golpeó el chaleco y la abrazó contra su pecho, por lo que no era de extrañar, después de toda esa excitación, que la niña tuviera una recaída y con las palabras "Adiós, padre. No pienses en lo que has hecho. Te perdono ", se muriese pacíficamente.

Guillermo, al final, respiró profundamente y aún chupando, se levantó con la multitud y se marchó.

Una vez afuera, miró alrededor cautelosamente y se escabulló calle abajo en dirección a su casa. Entonces se dio la vuelta de repente y corrió hacia abajo por una callejuela para que sus imaginarios perseguidores le perdieran la pista. Sacó un lápiz de su bolsillo y, apuntando con él en el aire vacío, disparó dos veces. Dos de sus perseguidores cayeron muertos, el resto continuó con redoblado vigor. No había tiempo que perder. Corriendo como si le fuera la vida en ello, se abalanzó por la calle siguiente, dejando en su rastro a un anciano señor curándose un dedo del pie y maldiciendo con locuacidad. Cuando se acercaba a su puerta, Guillermo volvió a sacarse el lápiz del bolsillo, sin dejar de mirar hacia atrás y disparando mientras iba caminando, corrió hacia su propia entrada.

Guillermo, chocó con su padre pues no miraba hacia donde iba.
El padre de Guillermo, que ese día se había quedado en casa por un fuerte dolor de cabeza y un malestar en el hígado, se levantó del medio de un arbusto de rododendros y agarró a Guillermo por el cuello.

"Tú, joven rufián", rugió, "¿qué es eso de atacarme así?" Guillermo se soltó suavemente.

"No estaba atacándote, padre", dijo, dócilmente. "Solo estaba entrando por la puerta, como otras personas. Solo que no estaba mirando por el camino que venías, pero no puedo mirar hacia todas partes al mismo tiempo, porque ... " "¡Cállate! ", Rugió el padre de Guillermo.

Como el resto de la familia, temía la elocuencia de Guillermo.

''¿Qué tienes en la lengua? Saca la lengua." Guillermo obedeció El color de la lengua de Guillermo habría avergonzado los tintes más frescos de la primavera.

''¿Cuantas veces tengo que decirte'' gritó el padre de Guillermo, ''que no quiero que tú comas venenos asquerosos todo el día entre horas?'' ''No es veneno asqueroso'', dijo Guillermo. "Son solo algunas golosinas que me dio la Tía Susana porque fuí amablemente a la oficina postal para ella y-----''"¡Cállate! ¿Tienes más cosas asquerosas? " " No son cosas asquerosas ", dijo Guillermo, obstinadamente. "Son buenas. Solo coge una, y prueba. Son unas golosinas que tía Susana me dio y - " " ¡Cállate! ¿Dónde están? "Lentamente y a regañadientes, Guillermo sacó su bolsa. Su padre la cogió y la arrojó lejos en los arbustos. Durante los siguientes diez minutos Guillermo llevó a cabo una completa y sistemática búsqueda entre los arbustos y durante el resto del día comió Ojos de grosella y tierra del jardín a partes iguales.

Se paseó por el jardín trasero y trepó al muro.

"¡Hola!" dijo la niñita vecina, mirando hacia arriba.

Algo de la cabeza y los rizos de la niñita le recordó a Guillermo a la sencilla doncella campesina. Hubo un toque al temperamento artístico de Guillermo. De repente se sintió a sí mismo el sencillo hijo campesino de la tierra.

"Hola, Juana", dijo con una voz ronca y profunda que pretendía expresar un afecto intenso. "¿Me has echado de menos mientras estuve fuera?" "No sabía que estabas fuera", dijo Juana. "¿Por qué estás hablando tan raro?" "No estoy hablando raro", dijo Guillermo con la misma voz ronca, "No puedo evitar hablar así". "Estás resfriado. Eso es lo que tienes. Eso es lo que mamá dijo cuando te vio chapotear con tu tina de agua de lluvia esta mañana. Dijo: "Lo siguiente que sabremos de Guillermo Brown será que está en la cama con un resfriado". "No es un resfriado", dijo Guillermo misteriosamente. "Es justo como me siento". "¿Qué estás comiendo?" "Ojos de grosella. ¿Quieres uno?” Se sacó el paquete del bolsillo y se lo dio. “Vamos. Toma dos o tres ", dijo con imprudente generosidad.

Pero están sucios.''Toma Es solo tierra ordinaria. Se va pronto cuando los chupas. Son muy buenos.'' Le sirvió generosamente una lluvia de ellos.

"Digo", dijo, volviendo a su personaje de sencillo campesino enamorado. "¿Dijiste que me has echado de menos? Apuesto a que no pensaste en mí tanto como yo en ti. Apuesto a que no. Su voz se hacía cada vez más profunda hasta que casi se apagó.

¿Digo, Guillermo, te duele tanto la garganta que tienesque hablar así ?" Sus ojos azules estaban ansiosos y comprensivos.

Guillermo puso una mano en su garganta y frunció el ceño.

''Un poco",confesó a la ligera.

''¡Oh, Guillermo!''ella entrelazó sus manos. ''¿ Te duele todo el tiempo?'' Su atención era halagadora.

"No hablo mucho de esto de todas maneras, ¿no piensas?'' dijo valientemente.

Ella se sobresaltó y le miró fijamente con sus grandes ojos azules.

"¡Oh, Guillermo! ¿Son, son tus...pulmones? Yo tuve una tía que tuvo pulmonía y tosía y tosía", Guillermo tosió precipitadamente, "y esto la lastimó y la puso terriblemente mal." Oh, Guillermo, espero que no sea pulmonía". Su carita tierna y nerviosa se volvió hacia él. "Sospecho que tengo pulmonía", dijo, "pero no quiero hacer un drama de esto". Tosió de nuevo.

"¿Qué dice el médico sobre ello?" Guillermo reflexionó un minuto.

"Dice que seguro que es pulmonía", dijo al final. "Dice que sea muy cuidadoso". "Guillermo, ¿te gustaría mi nueva caja de pinturas?. "Creo que no. Ahora no. Gracias”. “Tengo tres pelotas y una es casi nueva. ¿No te gustaría, Guillermo? " " No, gracias. Ya ves, no me sirve de nada el haber coleccionado muchas cosas. Nunca se sabe - con pulmonía ". "¡Oh Guillermo! " Su angustia era patética.

"Por supuesto ", dijo él precipitadamente, "si tengo cuidado todo irá bien. No te preocupes por mí". "¡Juana!" desde la casa.

"Es mi madre. Adiós, Guillermo, mi amigo. Si mi padre me trae a casa chocolatinas, te las llevaré para ti. Lo haré - de verdad. Gracias por los Ojos de grosella. Adiós ". "Adiós - y no te preocupes por mí ", añadió valientemente.

Se metió otro Ojo de grosella en la boca y dio vueltas sin rumbo fijo hasta la parte delantera de la casa Su hermana mayor, Ethel, estaba en la puerta principal, dándole la mano a un chico.

"Haré todo lo que pueda por ti", estaba diciendo con seriedad.

Sus manos estaban entrelazadas.

"Sé que lo harás ", dijo él igual de serio.

Tanto la mirada como el apretón de manos fueron largos. El chico se alejó. Ethel estuvo de pie en la puerta, mirándolo, con una mirada distante en los ojos. Guillermo estaba interesado.

"Era Jack Morgan ¿verdad?" le dijo.

"Sí", dijo Ethel distraídamente y entró en la casa.

La mirada, el largo apretón de manos y las palabras permanecieron en la memoria de Guillermo. Tenían que tenerse mucho cariño, como se tienen las personas cuando están comprometidas, pero él sabía que no estaban comprometidos. Quizás eran demasiado orgullosos para dejar que el otro supiera cuanto se querían- como el hombre y la chica de la película. Ethel necesitaba un hermano como el de la película para decir al hombre cuanto le gustaba. Y de golpe una luz se encendió en la mente de Guillermo y se quedó, muy pensativo.

En el salón, Ethel estaba hablando con su madre.

Él se le va a declarar el domingo que viene. Me lo dijo porque soy su mejor amiga y quería preguntarme si pensaba que tiene alguna oportunidad. Dije que pensaba que la tenía, que trataría de prepararla un poco y hablaría bien de él si podía. ¿No es emocionante?" "Sí, querida. A propósito, ¿viste a Guillermo en alguna parte? Espero que no esté haciendo travesuras". "Estaba en el jardín frontal hace un minuto". Se dirigió hacia la ventana. "Sin embargo no está allí ahora". Guillermo acababa de llegar a la casa del señor Morgan.

La criada lo condujo al salón del señor Morgan.

"El Sr. Brown", anunció.

El joven se levantó para recibir su visita con una cortesía no exenta de perplejidad. Su familiaridad con Guillermo era mínima.

"Buenas tardes", dijo Guillermo. He venido de parte de Ethel". "¿Sí?". "Sí". Guillermo buscó a tientas en su bolsillo y al final sacó un capullo de rosa, ligeramente aplastado por su confinamiento en compañía de los Ojos de grosella, un penique, una navaja y una pieza de masilla

"Ella le envía esto", dijo Guillermo con seriedad.

El señor Morgan lo contempló con el aire de un sonámbulo.

Guillermo ofrece el capullo de rosa al señor Morgan.
“¿Sí? Em... es muy amable de su parte. " " un recuerdo cortés. un souvenir ", explicó Guillermo

“Si. E... ¿algún mensaje? " " Oh, sí. Quiere que venga a verla esta noche. " " Em...sí. Por supuesto. Acabo de verla. Tal vez recordó algo que quería decirme después de que me fuera." "Quizás." Entonces,"¿Alguna hora en particular?" "No. Supongo que a eso de las siete.” “Oh, si”. Los ojos del señor Morgan se fijaron con una mirada fascinada y maravillada en el débil, y de ninguna manera inmaculado, capullo de rosa.

"¿Dices que ella me envió esto?" "Sí". "¿Y ningún otro mensaje?" "No". "Em...bueno, díle que iré con mucho gusto, ¿quieres?" "Sí". Silencio.

Y a continuación, "Ethel piensa muchísimo en usted". El Sr. Morgan se pasó una mano por la frente.

"¿Sí? Amable - eh - muy amable, estoy seguro ". "Siempre hablando de usted en sus sueños", continuó Guillermo, preparando su tema. "Yo duermo en la habitación de al lado y puedo oírla hablando de usted toda la noche. Simplemente diciendo su nombre una y otra vez. Jack Morgan, Jack Morgan, Jack Morgan". La voz de Guillermo era ronca y conmovedora. "Exactamente así, una y otra vez. Jack Morgan, Jack Morgan, Jack Morgan ". El Sr. Morgan se quedó sin habla. Estaba sentado contemplando con expresión horrorizada a su joven visitante.

"¿Estás seguro?" dijo por fin. Podría ser el nombre de alguien diferente". "No, no era", dijo Guillermo con firmeza. ''Es el suyo. 'Jack Morgan, Jack Morgan, Jack Morgan'- justo eso. Y no come nada, ahora. Siempre rondando por las ventanas para verle a pasar a usted.'' Perlas de sudor le corrían por la frente al Sr. Morgan.

''Es---Horrible, '' dijo por fin en un susurro ronco.

Guillermo estaba complacido. El joven por fin se había dado cuenta de su crueldad. Pero a Guillermo nunca le gustaba dejar un trabajo a mediad. Se quedó sentado y con calma y en silencio consideró su declaración siguiente. Mecánicamente puso la mano en el bolsillo y se metió un ojo de grosella en la boca. El Sr Morgan también estaba sentado en silencio con una expresión de espanto en el rostro, contemplando el vacío.

"Tiene su foto", dijo Guillermo por fin, "la puso en una de esas cosas pequeñas redondas con una cadena alrededor de su cuello". "¿Estás seguro?", Dijo el Sr. Morgan desesperadamente.

"Seguro que es el destino", dijo Guillermo levantándose. "Bueno, será mejor que me vaya". Especialmente quiere verle a solas esta noche. Adiós". Pero el Sr. Morgan no respondió. Se sentó acurrucado en su silla mirando hacia él hasta mucho después de que Guillermo se hubiera marchado con desenvoltura. Luego humedeció sus labios secos.

"Dios mío", gimió.

Guillermo estaba pensando en las películas cuando iba a casa. La del pintor fue muy buena. ¡Cuando todos se cubrieron de pintura! ¡Y cuando todos cayeron escaleras abajo! De pronto Guillermo se carcajeó en voz alta del recuerdo. ¿Pero qué había estado haciendo el tipo pintor muy al principio, antes de que comenzara a pintar? Había estado sacando la pintura vieja con una especie de antorcha y un cuchillo, después comenzó a poner la pintura nueva. Algo así como derretir la pintura vieja y luego rasparla. Guillermo no había visto nunca hacerlo en la vida real, pero suponía que ese era el modo de retirar la pintura vieja. Derritiéndola con algún tipo de fuego y raspándola después. No estaba seguro de si era así, pero podía averiguarlo. Cuando entró en la casa, tomó su navaja del bolsillo, la abrió atentamente y se fue arriba.

El Sr Brown llegó a casa cerca la hora de cenar.

"¿Cómo está tu cabeza, padre?", Dijo Ethel con simpatía.

"¡Podrida!", Dijo el Sr. Brown, hundiéndose fatigosamente en un sillón.

''Quizás la cena va a mejorarla,'' dijo la Sra Brown, ''debería estar preparada ahora.'' La criada entró en la sala.

El Sr. Morgan, Señora. Desea ver a la Srta Ethel. Le he hecho pasar a la biblioteca" '¿Ahora?'' explotó el Sr Brown. ''¿Qué---por qué diablos viene este joven idiota a tal hora? ¡Las siete! ¿A qué hora piensa que cenamos? ¿Qué pretende viniendo a visitar a la gente a la hora de cenar? Qué...". "Ethel, querida", interrumpió la Sra. Brown, "vete y mira qué quiere y deshazte de él tan pronto como puedas". Ethel entró en la biblioteca, cerrando cautelosamente la puerta detrás de ella por mantener fuera el sonido de los comentarios de su padre, que eran claramente audibles a través de la sala.

Se dio cuenta del aspecto pálido y demacrado de la cara del Sr. Morgan cuando él se levantó a saludarla.

"Et.. buenas tardes, Srta. Brown". "Buenas tardes, Sr. Morgan". Luego se sentaron en silencio, esperando ambos alguna explicación acerca de la visita. El silencio se volvió opresivo. El Sr. Morgan, con aspecto de gran congoja y turbación, movió sus pies y tosió Ethel miró el reloj. Entonces-- " ¿Llovía cuando usted vino, Sr. Morgan?" "¿Llover? Eh-- No No-- en absoluto". Silencio.

"Pensé que estaba para llover esta tarde". "Sí,por supuesto. Eh-- no, en absoluto". Silencio.

'' Aquí las carreteras se ponen tan mal cuando llueve.'' ''Sí''. El Sr Morgan levantó la mano como si quisiera aflojar su cuello. ''Eh--muy malas''.''Casi intransitables.'' ''Eh--totalmente.'' Silencio otra vez.

En el salón, el Sr Brown estaba cada vez más intranquilo.

"¿Se mantendrá la cena esperando toda la noche por causa de este joven? ¡Las siete y cuarto! Sabes, es justo lo que no puedo soportar--que se intervenga en mis comidas. "¿se arruinará mi digestión simplemente porque este joven papanatas elige hacer sus visitas sociales a las siete de la tarde?'' ''Entonces, tenemos que invitarle a cenar,'' dijo la Sra Brown, deseperadamente. "Realmente debemos". "No debemos", dijo el Sr. Brown. No me puedo quedar fuera de la oficina por un día sin tener que entretener todos los jovenes estupidos de millas a la redonda.'' Sonó el teléfono. Levantó las manos sobre la cabeza.

''Oh----' ''Voy, querido,'' dijo la Sra Brown precipitadamente.

Volvió con el ceño fruncido.

''Es la Sra Clive'', dijo. ''Dice que Juana ha estado muy enferma debido a unas terribles golosinas que le dio Guillermo y dice que sentía saber lo de Guillermo y que espera que vaya a mejorar pronto. No pude acabar de entenderlo, pero parece que Guillermo les dijo que tuvo que ir al médico por sus pulmones y el médico le dijo que estaban muy débiles y que debía tener cuidado. El Sr. Brown se levantó y la miró. "Pero, ¿por qué diablos?", Dijo lentamente.

"No sé, querido", dijo la Sra Brown, con gesto de importencia. "No sé nada sobre eso". "Está loco", dijo el Sr. Brown con convicción. "Loco. Es la única explicación". Entonces sucedió el abrir y cerrar de la puerta principal y Ethel entró. Ella estaba muy sonrojada.

Guillermo estaba de rodillas detrás de su puerta y un rizo de humo estaba saliendo de ella.
• "Se ha ido", dijo. • "¡Madre, es sencillamente horrible! No me explicó mucho, pero parece que de hecho Guillermo fue a su casa y le dijo que yo quería verlo a solas a las siete esta tarde. • Hoy apenas he hablado con Guillermo . • No pudo haber entendido mal nada de lo que dije. • Y de hecho se llevó una flor -un capullo de rosa de aspecto espantoso- y dijo que se lo había enviado yo . • Sencillamente no sabía dónde mirar ni qué decir. ¡Fue horrible! "La Sra. Brown se sentó mirando sin fuerzas a su hija.

El señor Brown se levantó con el aspecto de un hombre provocado más allá de lo soportable.

"¿Dónde está Guillermo?", Dijo brevemente.

"No lo sé, pero creo haberlo oído subir las escaleras hace un rato". Guillermo estaba arriba. Durante los últimos veinte minutos había estado feliz y silenciosamente ocupado en la puerta de su habitación con una vela encendida en una mano y una navaja en la otra. No había duda al respecto. Con un experimento exitoso, había demostrado que esa era la forma como se conseguía quitar la pintura vieja. Cuando el señor Brown subió, había quitado por completo la pintura de un panel.

Una hora después Guillermo se sentó en el jardín trastero sobre una caja del revés chupando, con cierto obstinado desafío, el último y más sucio de los Ojos de grosella. Tristemente revisó el día. No había sido un éxito. Su generosidad con la niñita vecina había sido malinterpretada como un atentado contra su vida, sus esfuerzos por ayudar en el incidente amoroso de su única hermana habían sido dolorosamente malentendidos, finalmente porque (entre otras cosas) había descubierto un método perfectamente científico para retirar la pintura vieja, había sido brutalmente atacado por un padre violento e irrazonable. De repente Guillermo empezó a preguntarse si su padre bebía. Se vió a sí mismo, a través de una bruma de patetismo, como el hijo de un borrachín. Intentó imaginar a su padre llorando sobre él en el hospital e implorando su perdón. De todas formas, era un milagro que él no estuviera ahora allí. Sus hombros caídos-- su actitud global era la expresión de un extremo abatimiento.

Dentro de la casa, su padre, recostado a la larga en un sillon, debatia con su esposa sobre el tema de su hijo. Una mano apretaba su frente dolorida, y la otra gesticulaba libremente. "Está loco", dijo, "completa y espantosamente loco. Deberias llevarle a un médico y que examine su cerebro. Míralo hoy. Empieza golpeándome en mitad de los rododendros--sín ninguna provocación, fíjate. No había hablado con él. Entonces trató de envenenar a esta bonita chiquita de al lado con alguna cosa mala que pensé que tiraría. Después corre a a decir a la gente que tiene tuberculosis. Eso parece, ¿no piensas? Entonces lleva mensajes increíbles y pruebas de amor de Ethel a jovenes desconocidos y los trae por aquí cuando estamos a punto de cenar, y después se va a quemar y destrozar las puertas. ¿Qué sentido tiene esto--todo esto? Son actos de un lunático--deberías llevarlo para que le examinen su cerebro.'' La Sra Brown cortó su lana de zurcir y puso a un lado el calcetín que acababa de terminar de zurcir.

"Ciertamente parece muy ridículo, querido", dijo suavemente. "Pero podría haber alguna explicación a todo eso, si pudiéramos saber. Los niños son tan raros". Miró el reloj y se acercó a la ventana, "¡Guillermo!", Llamó. "Es tu hora de acostarse, cariño". Guillermo se levantó tristemente y entró lentamente a la casa.

“Buenas noches, madre”, dijo; luego, le dirigió una mirada triste y de reproche a su padre.

“Buenas noches, padre”, dijo. “No pienses en lo que has hecho, yo ol...”. Se detuvo y decidió, apresuradamente pero sabiamente, retirarse lo antes posible.
unit 2
“Buy some sweets or go to the Pictures,” she said carelessly, as she gave it to him.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 3
William walked slowly down the road, gazing thoughtfully at the coin.
2 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 5
In the matter of sweets, William frankly upheld the superiority of quantity over quality.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 9
Both were sold at 4 ounces for 2d.
2 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 10
William never purchased more expensive luxuries.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 11
At last his frowning brow relaxed and he entered the shop.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 12
“Sixpenneth of Gooseberry Eyes,” he said, with a slightly self-conscious air.
2 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 13
The extent of his purchases rarely exceeded a penny.
2 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 14
“Hello!” said the shopkeeper, in amused surprise.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 15
“Gotter bit of money this mornin’,” explained William carelessly, with the air of a Rothschild.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 17
Sucking slowly, he walked down the road towards the Picture Palace.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 18
William was not in the habit of frequenting Picture Palaces.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 19
He had only been there once before in his life.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 20
It was a thrilling programme.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 22
The plot was involved.
2 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 24
It was thrilling and William thrilled.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 30
It was moving and touching and William was moved and touched.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 31
The next was a comedy.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 33
It was amusing.
2 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 1 week ago
unit 34
William was riotously and loudly amused.
2 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 35
Lastly came the pathetic story of a drunkard’s downward path.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 39
Do not think of what you have done.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 1 week ago
unit 40
I forgive you,” passed peacefully away.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 1 week ago
unit 41
William drew a deep breath at the end, and still sucking, arose with the throng and passed out.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 1 week ago
unit 42
Once outside, he glanced cautiously around and slunk down the road in the direction of his home.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 43
Then he doubled suddenly and ran down a back street to put his imaginary pursuers off his track.
2 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 44
He took a pencil from his pocket and, levelling it at the empty air, fired twice.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 45
Two of his pursuers fell dead, the rest came on with redoubled vigour.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 46
There was no time to be lost.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 1 week ago
unit 49
William, knocking into his father while not looking where he is going.
2 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 1 week ago
unit 52
“I wasn’t chargin’, Father,” he said, meekly.
2 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 53
“I was only jus’ comin’ in at the gate, same as other folks.
2 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 1 week ago
unit 55
Like the rest of the family, he dreaded William’s eloquence.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 56
“What’s that on your tongue!
2 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 57
Put your tongue out.” William obeyed.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 58
The colour of William’s tongue would have put to shame Spring’s freshest tints.
3 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 61
Have you got any more of the foul things?” “They’re not foul things,” said William, doggedly.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 62
“They’re good.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 63
Jus’ have one, an’ try.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 64
They’re jus’ a few sweets Aunt Susan kin’ly gave me an’——” “Be quiet!
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 65
Where are they?” Slowly and reluctantly William drew forth his bag.
2 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 1 week ago
unit 66
His father seized it and flung it far into the bushes.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 68
He wandered round to the back garden and climbed on to the wall.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 69
“Hello!” said the little girl next door, looking up.
2 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 70
Something about the little girl’s head and curls reminded William of the simple country maiden.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 71
There was a touch of the artistic temperament about William.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 72
He promptly felt himself the simple country son of the soil.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 73
“Hullo, Joan,” he said in a deep, husky voice intended to be expressive of intense affection.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 74
“Have you missed me while I’ve been away?” “Didn’t know you’d been away,” said Joan.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 76
That’s what you’ve got.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 77
That’s what Mother said when she saw you splashing about with your rain tub this morning.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 79
“It’s jus’ the way I feel.” “What are you eating?” “Gooseberry Eyes.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 80
Like one?” He took the packet from his pocket and handed it down to her.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 81
“Go on.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 82
Take two—three,” he said in reckless generosity.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 83
“But they’re—dirty.” “Go on.
3 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 84
It’s only ord’nery dirt.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 85
It soon sucks off.
2 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 86
They’re jolly good.” He poured a shower of them lavishly down to her.
2 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 87
“I say,” he said, reverting to his character of simple country lover.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 88
“Did you say you’d missed me?
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 89
I bet you didn’t think of me as much as I did of you.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 90
I jus’ bet you didn’t.” His voice had sunk deeper and deeper till it almost died away.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 92
William put one hand to his throat and frowned.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 93
“A bit,” he confessed lightly.
2 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 94
“Oh, William!” she clasped her hands.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 95
“Does it hurt all the time?” Her solicitude was flattering.
2 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 96
“I don’t talk much about it, anyway, do I?” he said manfully.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 1 week ago
unit 97
She started up and stared at him with big blue eyes.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 98
“Oh, William!
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 99
Is it—is it your—lungs?
2 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 101
Oh, William, I do hope you’ve not got lungs.” Her tender, anxious little face was upturned to him.
2 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 102
unit 103
“What does the doctor say about it?” William considered a minute.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 104
“He says it’s lungs all right,” he said at last.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 106
Not now.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 1 week ago
unit 107
Thanks.” “I’ve got three balls and one’s quite new.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 108
Wouldn’t you like it, William?” “No—thanks.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 109
You see, it’s no use my collectin’ a lot of things.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 110
You never know—with lungs.” “Oh, William!” Her distress was pathetic.
2 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 111
“Of course,” he said hastily, “if I’m careful it’ll be all right.
2 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 112
Don’t you worry about me.” “Joan!” from the house.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 113
“That’s Mother.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 114
Good-bye, William dear.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 115
If Father brings me home any chocolate, I’ll bring it in to you.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 116
I will—honest.
2 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 117
Thanks for the Gooseberry Eyes.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 118
Good-bye.” “Good-bye—and don’t worry about me,” he added bravely.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 119
He put another Gooseberry Eye into his mouth and wandered round aimlessly to the front of the house.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 120
His grown-up sister, Ethel, was at the front door, shaking hands with a young man.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 121
“I’ll do all I can for you,” she was saying earnestly.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 122
Their hands were clasped.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 123
“I know you will,” he said equally earnestly.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 124
Both look and handclasp were long.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 125
The young man walked away.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 126
Ethel stood at the door, gazing after him, with a far-away look in her eyes.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 127
William was interested.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 1 week ago
unit 128
“That was Jack Morgan, wasn’t it?” he said.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 1 week ago
unit 129
“Yes,” said Ethel absently and went into the house.
3 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 1 week ago
unit 130
The look, the long handclasp, the words lingered in William’s memory.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 1 week ago
unit 133
Ethel wanted a brother like the one in the pictures to let the man know she was fond of him.
3 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 1 week ago
unit 134
Then a light came suddenly into William’s mind and he stood, deep in thought.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 135
Inside the drawing-room, Ethel was talking to her mother.
2 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 136
“He’s going to propose to her next Sunday.
2 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 137
unit 139
Isn’t it thrilling?” “Yes, dear.
2 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 140
By the way, did you see William anywhere?
3 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 142
“He’s not there now, though.” William had just arrived at Mr. Morgan’s house.
2 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 143
The maid showed him into Mr. Morgan’s sitting-room.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 144
“Mr.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 145
Brown,” she announced.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 146
The young man rose to receive his guest with politeness not unmixed with bewilderment.
2 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 147
His acquaintance with William was of the slightest.
2 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 148
“Good afternoon,” said William.
2 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 150
“She sent you this,” said William gravely.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 151
Mr. Morgan gazed at it with the air of one who is sleep-walking.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 152
William offering the rosebud to Mr. Morgan.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 153
“Yes?
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 154
Er—very kind of her.” “Kinder keep-sake.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 155
Souveneer,” explained William.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 156
“Yes.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 157
Er—any message?” “Oh, yes.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 158
She wants you to come in and see her this evening.” “Er—yes.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 159
Of course.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 160
I’ve just come from her.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 164
Then, “She thinks an awful lot of you, Ethel does.” Mr. Morgan passed a hand over his brow.
2 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 165
“Yes?
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 1 week ago
unit 167
“I sleep in the next room and I can hear her talkin’ about you all night.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 168
Jus’ sayin’ your name over and over again.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 169
‘Jack Morgan, Jack Morgan, Jack Morgan.’” William’s voice was husky and soulful.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 170
“Jus’ like that—over an’ over again.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 171
‘Jack Morgan, Jack Morgan, Jack Morgan.’” Mr. Morgan was speechless.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 172
He sat gazing with horror-stricken face at his young visitor.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 173
“Are you—sure?” he said at last.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 174
“It might be someone else’s name.” “No, ’tisn’t,” said William firmly.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 175
“It’s yours.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 176
‘Jack Morgan, Jack Morgan, Jack Morgan’—jus’ like that.
3 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 177
An’ she eats just nothin’ now.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 179
“It’s—horrible,” he said at last in a hoarse whisper.
2 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 180
William was gratified.
2 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 181
The young man had at last realised his cruelty.
3 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 182
But William never liked to leave a task half done.
2 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 183
He still sat on and calmly and silently considered his next statement.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 184
Mechanically he put a hand into his pocket and conveyed a Gooseberry Eye to his mouth.
2 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 185
Mr. Morgan also sat in silence with a stricken look upon his face, gazing into vacancy.
2 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 187
“Sure’s fate,” said William rising.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 188
“Well, I’d better be goin’.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 189
She pertic-ler wants to see you alone to-night.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 190
Good-bye.” But Mr. Morgan did not answer.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 191
unit 192
Then he moistened his dry lips.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 193
“Good Lord,” he groaned.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 194
William was thinking of the pictures as he went home.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 195
That painter one was jolly good.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 196
When they all got all over paint!
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 197
And when they all fell downstairs!
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 198
William suddenly guffawed out loud at the memory.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 199
But what had the painter chap been doing at the very beginning before he began to paint?
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 201
Just sort of melting the old paint and then scraping it off.
2 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 202
unit 203
Melting it with some sort of fire, then scraping it off.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 204
He wasn’t sure whether it was that, but he could find out.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 205
unit 206
Mr. Brown came home about dinner-time.
2 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 207
“How’s your head, father?” said Ethel sympathetically.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 208
“Rotten!” said Mr. Brown, sinking wearily into an arm-chair.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 210
“Mr.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 1 week ago
unit 211
Morgan, mum.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 212
He wants to see Miss Ethel.
2 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 1 week ago
unit 213
I’ve shown him into the library.” “Now?” exploded Mr. Brown.
2 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 214
“What the deu—why the dickens is the young idiot coming at this time of day?
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 215
Seven o’clock!
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 216
What time does he think we have dinner?
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 217
What does he mean by coming round paying calls on people at dinner time?
3 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 219
She noticed something wan and haggard-looking on Mr. Morgan’s face as he rose to greet her.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 221
The silence became oppressive.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 222
Mr. Morgan, with an air of acute misery and embarrassment, shifted his feet and coughed.
2 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 223
Ethel looked at the clock.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 224
Then— “Was it raining when you came, Mr. Morgan?” “Raining?
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 225
Er—no.
2 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 226
No—not at all.” Silence.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 227
“I thought it looked like rain this afternoon.” “Yes, of course.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 228
Er—no, not at all.” Silence.
2 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 230
“Er—very bad.” “Almost impassable.” “Er—quite.” Silence again.
2 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 1 week ago
unit 231
Inside the drawing-room, Mr. Brown was growing restive.
2 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 232
“Is dinner to be kept waiting for that youth all night?
2 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 233
Quarter past seven!
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 1 week ago
unit 234
You know it’s just what I can’t stand—having my meals interfered with.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 236
“We really must.” “We must not,” said Mr. Brown.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 238
He raised his hands above his head.
2 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 1 week ago
unit 239
“Oh——” “I’ll go, dear,” said Mrs. Brown hastily.
2 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 240
She returned with a worried frown on her brow.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 1 week ago
unit 241
“It’s Mrs. Clive,” she said.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 1 week ago
unit 244
“But—why—on—earth?” he said slowly.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 245
“I don’t know, dear,” said Mrs. Brown, helplessly.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 246
“I don’t know anything about it.” “He’s mad,” said Mr. Brown with conviction.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 247
“Mad.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 248
unit 249
She was very flushed.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 250
William kneeling behind his door, with a curl of smoke rising from it.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 251
“He’s gone,” she said.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 252
“Mother, it’s simply horrible!
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 254
I’ve hardly spoken to William to-day.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 255
He couldn’t have misunderstood anything I said.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 256
And he actually took a flower with him—a dreadful-looking rosebud—and said I’d sent it.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 257
I simply didn’t know where to look or what to say.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 258
It was horrible!” Mrs. Brown sat gazing weakly at her daughter.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 259
Mr. Brown rose with the air of a man goaded beyond endurance.
2 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 260
“Where is William?” he said shortly.
2 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 261
“I don’t know, but I thought I heard him go upstairs some time ago.” William was upstairs.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 263
There was no doubt about it.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 264
By successful experiment he had proved that that was the way you got old paint off.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 265
When Mr. Brown came upstairs he had entirely stripped one panel of its paint.
3 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 1 week ago
unit 267
Sadly he reviewed the day.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 268
It had not been a success.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 270
Suddenly William began to wonder if his father drank.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 271
He saw himself, through a mist of pathos, as a Drunkard’s child.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 272
He tried to imagine his father weeping over him in Hospital and begging his forgiveness.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 273
It was a wonder he wasn’t there now, anyway.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 274
His shoulders drooped—his whole attitude became expressive of extreme dejection.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 276
One hand was pressed to his aching brow, and the other gesticulating freely.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 277
“He’s insane,” he said, “stark, raving insane.
2 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 1 week ago
unit 278
You ought to take him to a doctor and get his brain examined.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 279
Look at him to-day.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 280
unit 281
I hadn’t spoken to him.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 282
unit 283
Then he goes about telling people he’s consumptive.
3 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 1 week ago
unit 284
He looks it, doesn’t he?
2 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 1 week ago
unit 286
Where’s the sense in it—in any of it?
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 1 week ago
unit 288
“It certainly sounds very silly, dear,” she said mildly.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 289
“But there might be some explanation of it all, if only we knew.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 291
“It’s your bed-time, dear.” William rose sadly and came slowly into the house.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 292
“Good night, Mother,” he said; then he turned a mournful and reproachful eye upon his father.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 293
“Good night, Father,” he said.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 2 weeks ago
Mafalda • 1778  translated  unit 279  10 months, 2 weeks ago
Mafalda • 1778  translated  unit 247  10 months, 2 weeks ago
Boot2 • 5523  commented on  unit 232  10 months, 2 weeks ago
Mafalda • 1778  translated  unit 225  10 months, 2 weeks ago
terehola • 6017  commented on  unit 228  10 months, 2 weeks ago
Mafalda • 1778  translated  unit 225  10 months, 2 weeks ago
carme2222 • 6300  translated  unit 210  10 months, 2 weeks ago
carme2222 • 6300  commented on  unit 205  10 months, 2 weeks ago
Boot2 • 5523  translated  unit 215  10 months, 2 weeks ago
Mafalda • 1778  commented on  unit 201  10 months, 2 weeks ago
carme2222 • 6300  commented on  unit 189  10 months, 2 weeks ago
carme2222 • 6300  commented on  unit 163  10 months, 2 weeks ago
Boot2 • 5523  translated  unit 175  10 months, 2 weeks ago
terehola • 6017  translated  unit 165  10 months, 2 weeks ago
terehola • 6017  commented on  unit 129  10 months, 2 weeks ago
marina • 39  commented on  unit 141  10 months, 2 weeks ago
carme2222 • 6300  translated  unit 156  10 months, 2 weeks ago
carme2222 • 6300  translated  unit 153  10 months, 2 weeks ago
marina • 39  translated  unit 144  10 months, 2 weeks ago
carme2222 • 6300  translated  unit 106  10 months, 2 weeks ago
Mafalda • 1778  commented on  unit 69  10 months, 2 weeks ago
carme2222 • 6300  translated  unit 81  10 months, 3 weeks ago
carme2222 • 6300  translated  unit 62  10 months, 3 weeks ago
carme2222 • 6300  commented on  unit 53  10 months, 3 weeks ago
carme2222 • 6300  commented on  unit 33  10 months, 3 weeks ago
carme2222 • 6300  commented on  unit 25  10 months, 3 weeks ago
Mafalda • 1778  commented on  unit 22  10 months, 3 weeks ago
Mafalda • 1778  commented on  unit 9  10 months, 3 weeks ago

CHAPTER I
WILLIAM GOES TO THE PICTURES
It all began with William’s aunt, who was in a good temper that morning, and gave him a shilling for posting a letter for her and carrying her parcels from the grocer’s.

“Buy some sweets or go to the Pictures,” she said carelessly, as she gave it to him.

William walked slowly down the road, gazing thoughtfully at the coin. After deep calculations, based on the fact that a shilling is the equivalent of two sixpences, he came to the conclusion that both luxuries could be indulged in.

In the matter of sweets, William frankly upheld the superiority of quantity over quality. Moreover, he knew every sweet shop within a two miles radius of his home whose proprietor added an extra sweet after the scale had descended, and he patronised these shops exclusively. With solemn face and eager eye, he always watched the process of weighing, and “stingy” shops were known and banned by him.

He wandered now to his favourite confectioner and stood outside the window for five minutes, torn between the rival attractions of Gooseberry Eyes and Marble Balls. Both were sold at 4 ounces for 2d. William never purchased more expensive luxuries. At last his frowning brow relaxed and he entered the shop.

“Sixpenneth of Gooseberry Eyes,” he said, with a slightly self-conscious air. The extent of his purchases rarely exceeded a penny.

“Hello!” said the shopkeeper, in amused surprise.

“Gotter bit of money this mornin’,” explained William carelessly, with the air of a Rothschild.

He watched the weighing of the emerald green dainties with silent intensity, saw with satisfaction the extra one added after the scale had fallen, received the precious paper bag, and, putting two sweets into his mouth, walked out of the shop.

Sucking slowly, he walked down the road towards the Picture Palace. William was not in the habit of frequenting Picture Palaces. He had only been there once before in his life.

It was a thrilling programme. First came the story of desperate crooks who, on coming out of any building, glanced cautiously up and down the street in huddled, crouching attitudes, then crept ostentatiously on their way in a manner guaranteed to attract attention and suspicion at any place and time. The plot was involved. They were pursued by police, they leaped on to a moving train and then, for no accountable reason, leaped from that on to a moving motor-car and from that they plunged into a moving river. It was thrilling and William thrilled. Sitting quite motionless, he watched, with wide, fascinated eyes, though his jaws never ceased their rotatory movement and every now and then his hand would go mechanically to the paper bag on his knees and convey a Gooseberry Eye to his mouth.

The next play was a simple country love-story, in which figured a simple country maiden wooed by the squire, who was marked out as the villain by his moustachios.

After many adventures the simple country maiden was won by a simple country son of the soil in picturesque rustic attire, whose emotions were faithfully portrayed by gestures that must have required much gymnastic skill; the villain was finally shown languishing in a prison cell, still indulging in frequent eye-brow play.

Next came another love-story—this time of a noble-hearted couple, consumed with mutual passion and kept apart not only by a series of misunderstandings possible only in a picture play, but also by maidenly pride and reserve on the part of the heroine and manly pride and reserve on the part of the hero that forced them to hide their ardour beneath a cold and haughty exterior. The heroine’s brother moved through the story like a good fairy, tender and protective towards his orphan sister and ultimately explained to each the burning passion of the other.

It was moving and touching and William was moved and touched.

The next was a comedy. It began by a solitary workman engaged upon the re-painting of a door and ended with a miscellaneous crowd of people, all covered with paint, falling downstairs on top of one another. It was amusing. William was riotously and loudly amused.

Lastly came the pathetic story of a drunkard’s downward path. He began as a wild young man in evening clothes drinking intoxicants and playing cards, he ended as a wild old man in rags still drinking intoxicants and playing cards. He had a small child with a pious and superior expression, who spent her time weeping over him and exhorting him to a better life, till, in a moment of justifiable exasperation, he threw a beer bottle at her head. He then bedewed her bed in Hospital with penitent tears, tore out his hair, flung up his arms towards Heaven, beat his waistcoat, and clasped her to his breast, so that it was not to be wondered at that, after all that excitement, the child had a relapse and with the words “Good-bye, Father. Do not think of what you have done. I forgive you,” passed peacefully away.

William drew a deep breath at the end, and still sucking, arose with the throng and passed out.

Once outside, he glanced cautiously around and slunk down the road in the direction of his home. Then he doubled suddenly and ran down a back street to put his imaginary pursuers off his track. He took a pencil from his pocket and, levelling it at the empty air, fired twice. Two of his pursuers fell dead, the rest came on with redoubled vigour. There was no time to be lost. Running for dear life, he dashed down the next street, leaving in his wake an elderly gentleman nursing his toe and cursing volubly. As he neared his gate, William again drew the pencil from his pocket and, still looking back down the road, and firing as he went, he rushed into his own gateway.

William, knocking into his father while not looking where he is going.
William’s father, who had stayed at home that day because of a bad headache and a touch of liver, picked himself up from the middle of a rhododendron bush and seized William by the back of his neck.

“You young ruffian,” he roared, “what do you mean by charging into me like that?”

William gently disengaged himself.

“I wasn’t chargin’, Father,” he said, meekly. “I was only jus’ comin’ in at the gate, same as other folks. I jus’ wasn’t looking jus’ the way you were coming, but I can’t look all ways at once, cause——”

“Be quiet!” roared William’s father.

Like the rest of the family, he dreaded William’s eloquence.

“What’s that on your tongue! Put your tongue out.”

William obeyed. The colour of William’s tongue would have put to shame Spring’s freshest tints.

“How many times am I to tell you,” bellowed William’s father, “that I won’t have you going about eating filthy poisons all day between meals?”

“It’s not filthy poison,” said William. “It’s jus’ a few sweets Aunt Susan gave me ’cause I kin’ly went to the post office for her an’——”

“Be quiet! Have you got any more of the foul things?”

“They’re not foul things,” said William, doggedly. “They’re good. Jus’ have one, an’ try. They’re jus’ a few sweets Aunt Susan kin’ly gave me an’——”

“Be quiet! Where are they?”

Slowly and reluctantly William drew forth his bag. His father seized it and flung it far into the bushes. For the next ten minutes William conducted a thorough and systematic search among the bushes and for the rest of the day consumed Gooseberry Eyes and garden soil in fairly equal proportions.

He wandered round to the back garden and climbed on to the wall.

“Hello!” said the little girl next door, looking up.

Something about the little girl’s head and curls reminded William of the simple country maiden. There was a touch of the artistic temperament about William. He promptly felt himself the simple country son of the soil.

“Hullo, Joan,” he said in a deep, husky voice intended to be expressive of intense affection. “Have you missed me while I’ve been away?”

“Didn’t know you’d been away,” said Joan. “What are you talking so funny for?”

“I’m not talkin’ funny,” said William in the same husky voice, “I can’t help talkin’ like this.”

“You’ve got a cold. That’s what you’ve got. That’s what Mother said when she saw you splashing about with your rain tub this morning. She said, ‘The next thing that we shall hear of William Brown will be he’s in bed with a cold.’”

“It’s not a cold,” said William mysteriously. “It’s jus’ the way I feel.”

“What are you eating?”

“Gooseberry Eyes. Like one?” He took the packet from his pocket and handed it down to her. “Go on. Take two—three,” he said in reckless generosity.

“But they’re—dirty.”

“Go on. It’s only ord’nery dirt. It soon sucks off. They’re jolly good.” He poured a shower of them lavishly down to her.

“I say,” he said, reverting to his character of simple country lover. “Did you say you’d missed me? I bet you didn’t think of me as much as I did of you. I jus’ bet you didn’t.” His voice had sunk deeper and deeper till it almost died away.

“I say, William, does your throat hurt you awful, that you’ve got to talk like that?”

Her blue eyes were anxious and sympathetic.

William put one hand to his throat and frowned.

“A bit,” he confessed lightly.

“Oh, William!” she clasped her hands. “Does it hurt all the time?”

Her solicitude was flattering.

“I don’t talk much about it, anyway, do I?” he said manfully.

She started up and stared at him with big blue eyes.

“Oh, William! Is it—is it your—lungs? I’ve got an aunt that’s got lungs and she coughs and coughs,” William coughed hastily, “and it hurts her and makes her awful bad. Oh, William, I do hope you’ve not got lungs.”

Her tender, anxious little face was upturned to him. “I guess I have got lungs,” he said, “but I don’t make a fuss about ’em.”

He coughed again.

“What does the doctor say about it?”

William considered a minute.

“He says it’s lungs all right,” he said at last. “He says I gotter be jolly careful.”

“William, would you like my new paintbox?”

“I don’t think so. Not now. Thanks.”

“I’ve got three balls and one’s quite new. Wouldn’t you like it, William?”

“No—thanks. You see, it’s no use my collectin’ a lot of things. You never know—with lungs.”

“Oh, William!”

Her distress was pathetic.

“Of course,” he said hastily, “if I’m careful it’ll be all right. Don’t you worry about me.”

“Joan!” from the house.

“That’s Mother. Good-bye, William dear. If Father brings me home any chocolate, I’ll bring it in to you. I will—honest. Thanks for the Gooseberry Eyes. Good-bye.”

“Good-bye—and don’t worry about me,” he added bravely.

He put another Gooseberry Eye into his mouth and wandered round aimlessly to the front of the house. His grown-up sister, Ethel, was at the front door, shaking hands with a young man.

“I’ll do all I can for you,” she was saying earnestly.

Their hands were clasped.

“I know you will,” he said equally earnestly.

Both look and handclasp were long. The young man walked away. Ethel stood at the door, gazing after him, with a far-away look in her eyes. William was interested.

“That was Jack Morgan, wasn’t it?” he said.

“Yes,” said Ethel absently and went into the house.

The look, the long handclasp, the words lingered in William’s memory. They must be jolly fond of each other, like people are when they’re engaged, but he knew they weren’t engaged. P’raps they were too proud to let each other know how fond they were of each other—like the man and girl at the pictures. Ethel wanted a brother like the one in the pictures to let the man know she was fond of him. Then a light came suddenly into William’s mind and he stood, deep in thought.

Inside the drawing-room, Ethel was talking to her mother.

“He’s going to propose to her next Sunday. He told me about it because I’m her best friend, and he wanted to ask me if I thought he’d any chance. I said I thought he had, and I said I’d try and prepare her a little and put in a good word for him if I could. Isn’t it thrilling?”

“Yes, dear. By the way, did you see William anywhere? I do hope he’s not in mischief.”

“He was in the front garden a minute ago.” She went to the window. “He’s not there now, though.”

William had just arrived at Mr. Morgan’s house.

The maid showed him into Mr. Morgan’s sitting-room.

“Mr. Brown,” she announced.

The young man rose to receive his guest with politeness not unmixed with bewilderment. His acquaintance with William was of the slightest.

“Good afternoon,” said William. “I’ve come from Ethel.”

“Yes?”

“Yes.” William fumbled in his pocket and at last drew forth a rosebud, slightly crushed by its close confinement in the company of the Gooseberry Eyes, a penknife, a top and a piece of putty.

“She sent you this,” said William gravely.

Mr. Morgan gazed at it with the air of one who is sleep-walking.

William offering the rosebud to Mr. Morgan.
“Yes? Er—very kind of her.”

“Kinder keep-sake. Souveneer,” explained William.

“Yes. Er—any message?”

“Oh, yes. She wants you to come in and see her this evening.”

“Er—yes. Of course. I’ve just come from her. Perhaps she remembered something she wanted to tell me after I’d gone.”

“P’raps.”

Then, “Any particular time?”

“No. ’Bout seven, I expect.”

“Oh, yes.”

Mr. Morgan’s eyes were fixed with a fascinated wondering gaze upon the limp, and by no means spotless, rose-bud.

“You say she—sent this?”

“Yes.”

“And no other message?”

“No.”

“Er—well, say I’ll come with pleasure, will you?”

“Yes.”

Silence.

Then, “She thinks an awful lot of you, Ethel does.”

Mr. Morgan passed a hand over his brow.

“Yes? Kind—er—very kind, I’m sure.”

“Always talkin’ about you in her sleep,” went on William, warming to his theme. “I sleep in the next room and I can hear her talkin’ about you all night. Jus’ sayin’ your name over and over again. ‘Jack Morgan, Jack Morgan, Jack Morgan.’” William’s voice was husky and soulful. “Jus’ like that—over an’ over again. ‘Jack Morgan, Jack Morgan, Jack Morgan.’”

Mr. Morgan was speechless. He sat gazing with horror-stricken face at his young visitor.

“Are you—sure?” he said at last. “It might be someone else’s name.”

“No, ’tisn’t,” said William firmly. “It’s yours. ‘Jack Morgan, Jack Morgan, Jack Morgan’—jus’ like that. An’ she eats just nothin’ now. Always hangin’ round the windows to watch you pass.”

The perspiration stood out in beads on Mr. Morgan’s brow.

“It’s—horrible,” he said at last in a hoarse whisper.

William was gratified. The young man had at last realised his cruelty. But William never liked to leave a task half done. He still sat on and calmly and silently considered his next statement. Mechanically he put a hand into his pocket and conveyed a Gooseberry Eye to his mouth. Mr. Morgan also sat in silence with a stricken look upon his face, gazing into vacancy.

“She’s got your photo,” said William at last, “fixed up into one of those little round things on a chain round her neck.”

“Are—you—sure?” said Mr. Morgan desperately.

“Sure’s fate,” said William rising. “Well, I’d better be goin’. She pertic-ler wants to see you alone to-night. Good-bye.”

But Mr. Morgan did not answer. He sat huddled up in his chair staring in front of him long after William had gone jauntily on his way. Then he moistened his dry lips.

“Good Lord,” he groaned.

William was thinking of the pictures as he went home. That painter one was jolly good. When they all got all over paint! And when they all fell downstairs! William suddenly guffawed out loud at the memory. But what had the painter chap been doing at the very beginning before he began to paint? He’d been getting off the old paint with a sort of torch thing and a knife, then he began putting the new paint on. Just sort of melting the old paint and then scraping it off. William had never seen it done in real life, but he supposed that was the way you did get old paint off. Melting it with some sort of fire, then scraping it off. He wasn’t sure whether it was that, but he could find out. As he entered the house he took his penknife from his pocket, opened it thoughtfully, and went upstairs.

Mr. Brown came home about dinner-time.

“How’s your head, father?” said Ethel sympathetically.

“Rotten!” said Mr. Brown, sinking wearily into an arm-chair.

“Perhaps dinner will do it good,” said Mrs. Brown, “it ought to be ready now.”

The housemaid entered the room.

“Mr. Morgan, mum. He wants to see Miss Ethel. I’ve shown him into the library.”

“Now?” exploded Mr. Brown. “What the deu—why the dickens is the young idiot coming at this time of day? Seven o’clock! What time does he think we have dinner? What does he mean by coming round paying calls on people at dinner time? What——”

“Ethel, dear,” interrupted Mrs. Brown, “do go and see what he wants and get rid of him as soon as you can.”

Ethel entered the library, carefully closing the door behind her to keep out the sound of her father’s comments, which were plainly audible across the hall.

She noticed something wan and haggard-looking on Mr. Morgan’s face as he rose to greet her.

“Er—good evening, Miss Brown.”

“Good evening, Mr. Morgan.”

Then they sat in silence, both awaiting some explanation of the visit. The silence became oppressive. Mr. Morgan, with an air of acute misery and embarrassment, shifted his feet and coughed. Ethel looked at the clock. Then—

“Was it raining when you came, Mr. Morgan?”

“Raining? Er—no. No—not at all.”

Silence.

“I thought it looked like rain this afternoon.”

“Yes, of course. Er—no, not at all.”

Silence.

“It does make the roads so bad round here when it rains.”

“Yes.” Mr. Morgan put up a hand as though to loosen his collar. “Er—very bad.”

“Almost impassable.”

“Er—quite.”

Silence again.

Inside the drawing-room, Mr. Brown was growing restive.

“Is dinner to be kept waiting for that youth all night? Quarter past seven! You know it’s just what I can’t stand—having my meals interfered with. Is my digestion to be ruined simply because this young nincompoop chooses to pay his social calls at seven o’clock at night?”

“Then we must ask him to dinner,” said Mrs. Brown, desperately. “We really must.”

“We must not,” said Mr. Brown. “Can’t I stay away from the office for one day with a headache, without having to entertain all the young jackasses for miles around.” The telephone bell rang. He raised his hands above his head.

“Oh——”

“I’ll go, dear,” said Mrs. Brown hastily.

She returned with a worried frown on her brow.

“It’s Mrs. Clive,” she said. “She says Joan has been very sick because of some horrible sweets William gave her, and she said she was so sorry to hear about William and hoped he’d be better soon. I couldn’t quite make it out, but it seems that William has been telling them that he had to go and see a doctor about his lungs and the doctor said they were very weak and he’d have to be careful.”

Mr. Brown sat up and looked at her. “But—why—on—earth?” he said slowly.

“I don’t know, dear,” said Mrs. Brown, helplessly. “I don’t know anything about it.”

“He’s mad,” said Mr. Brown with conviction. “Mad. It’s the only explanation.”

Then came the opening and shutting of the front door and Ethel entered. She was very flushed.

William kneeling behind his door, with a curl of smoke rising from it.
“He’s gone,” she said. “Mother, it’s simply horrible! He didn’t tell me much, but it seems that William actually went to his house and told him that I wanted to see him alone at seven o’clock this evening. I’ve hardly spoken to William to-day. He couldn’t have misunderstood anything I said. And he actually took a flower with him—a dreadful-looking rosebud—and said I’d sent it. I simply didn’t know where to look or what to say. It was horrible!”

Mrs. Brown sat gazing weakly at her daughter.

Mr. Brown rose with the air of a man goaded beyond endurance.

“Where is William?” he said shortly.

“I don’t know, but I thought I heard him go upstairs some time ago.”

William was upstairs. For the last twenty minutes he had been happily and quietly engaged upon his bedroom door with a lighted taper in one hand and penknife in the other. There was no doubt about it. By successful experiment he had proved that that was the way you got old paint off. When Mr. Brown came upstairs he had entirely stripped one panel of its paint.

An hour later William sat in the back garden on an upturned box sucking, with a certain dogged defiance, the last and dirtiest of the Gooseberry Eyes. Sadly he reviewed the day. It had not been a success. His generosity to the little girl next door had been misconstrued into an attempt upon her life, his efforts to help on his only sister’s love affair had been painfully misunderstood, lastly because (among other things) he had discovered a perfectly scientific method of removing old paint, he had been brutally assaulted by a violent and unreasonable parent. Suddenly William began to wonder if his father drank. He saw himself, through a mist of pathos, as a Drunkard’s child. He tried to imagine his father weeping over him in Hospital and begging his forgiveness. It was a wonder he wasn’t there now, anyway. His shoulders drooped—his whole attitude became expressive of extreme dejection.

Inside the house, his father, reclining at length in an armchair, discoursed to his wife on the subject of his son. One hand was pressed to his aching brow, and the other gesticulating freely. “He’s insane,” he said, “stark, raving insane. You ought to take him to a doctor and get his brain examined. Look at him to-day. He begins by knocking me into the middle of the rhododendron bushes—under no provocation, mind you. I hadn’t spoken to him. Then he tries to poison that nice little thing next door with some vile stuff I thought I’d thrown away. Then he goes about telling people he’s consumptive. He looks it, doesn’t he? Then he takes extraordinary messages and love tokens from Ethel to strange young men and brings them here just when we’re going to begin dinner, and then goes round burning and hacking at the doors. Where’s the sense in it—in any of it? They’re the acts of a lunatic—you ought to have his brain examined.”

Mrs. Brown cut off her darning wool and laid aside the sock she had just finished darning.

“It certainly sounds very silly, dear,” she said mildly. “But there might be some explanation of it all, if only we knew. Boys are such funny things.”

She looked at the clock and went over to the window, “William!” she called. “It’s your bed-time, dear.”

William rose sadly and came slowly into the house.

“Good night, Mother,” he said; then he turned a mournful and reproachful eye upon his father.

“Good night, Father,” he said. “Don’t think about what you’ve done, I for——”

He stopped and decided, hastily but wisely, to retire with all possible speed.