en-fr  JUST—WILLIAM BY RICHMAL CROMPTON
CHAPITRE I. WILLIAM VA AU CINÉMA Tout commença avec la tante de William, qui était de bonne humeur ce matin-là, et le remercia d'un shilling pour lui avoir posté une lettre et porté ses paquets de chez l'épicier.

- Achete des bonbons ou va au cinéma, dit-elle imprudemment, alors qu'elle le lui donnait.

William descendit lentement la rue, tout en observant pensivement la pièce. Après d'intenses calculs, basés sur le fait qu'un shilling équivaut à deux pièces de six pence, il en arriva à la conclusion qu'il pouvait s'offrir ces deux petits luxes.

En matière de bonbons, William préférait franchement la quantité à la qualité. De plus, il connaissait toutes les boutiques de bonbons dans un rayon de deux milles autour de chez lui, dont le propriétaire ajoutait un bonbon supplémentaire après la pesée, et il fréquentait exclusivement ces boutiques. La mine solennelle et l'oeil impatient, il surveillait toujours la pesée et les boutiques "mesquines" étaient identifiées et bannies.

Il se dirigeait maintenant vers son confiseur préféré et se tint devant la vitrine pendant cinq minutes, déchiré entre les attraits rivaux des Gooseberry Eyes et des Marble Balls. Les deux étaient vendus à 20 cents les 4 onces. William n'achetait jamais de gâteries plus chères. Enfin, son front soucieux se détendit et il entra dans la boutique.

— Six pence de Gooseberry Eyes, dit-il, d'un air un peu gêné. L'étendue de ses achats dépassait rarement un penny.

— Bonjour, dit le marchand, surpris et amusé.

— J'ai un peu d'argent ce matin, expliqua William négligemment, d'un air à la Rothschild.

Il observa avec une gravité silencieuse la pesée des friandises vertes émeraude, vit avec satisfaction le supplément ajouté après la balance, reçut le précieux sac de papier et, mettant deux bonbons dans sa bouche, dès la sortit du magasin.

Suçotant lentement ses bonbons, il descendit la route vers le Picture Palace. William n'avait pas l'habitude de se rendre aux Picture Palaces. Il n' y était allé qu'une seule fois dans sa vie.

C'était un programme excitant. D'abord il y avait l'histoire d'escrocs désespérés qui, en sortant de n'importe quel bâtiment, ont jeté un coup d'oeil prudemment dans la rue de haut en bas dans des attitudes recroquevillées et accroupies, puis se faufilaient ostensiblement sur leur chemin de manière à attirer l'attention et la suspicion à tout moment et en tout lieu. "L'intrigue était compliquée." Ils étaient poursuivis par la police, sautaient sur un train en marche et puis, sans raison valable, bondissaient de celui-ci sur une automobile de passage de laquelle ils plongaient dans une rivière en mouvement. C'était palpitant et William était ravi. Assis tout à fait immobile, il regardait, les yeux grands et fascinés, bien que ses mâchoires ne cessaient jamais leur mouvement rotatif et que de temps à autre sa main se dirigerait machinalement vers le sac en papier sur ses genoux et lui transmettrait un Gooseberry Eye à sa bouche.

La pièce suivante était une simple histoire d'amour campagnarde, dans laquelle une simple jeune fille de la campagne est courtisée par le propriétaire terrien qui était marquée comme le méchant par sa longue moustache élaborée.

Après de nombreuses aventures, la simple jeune fille du pays fut séduite par un simple garçon du pays en tenue pittoresque et rustique, dont les émotions étaient représentées par une gestuelle qui devait avoir requis une grande compétence gymnique; le méchant fut finalement montré se morfondant dans une cellule de prison, se livrant toujours à des jeux de sourcils variés.

Puis vint une autre histoire d'amour - cette fois-ci celle d'un couple au cœur noble, consumé d'une passion partagée et tenu éloigné non seulement par une série de malentendus seulement possibles dans un film mais aussi du fait de l'orgueil virginal et de la réserve de l'héroïne ainsi que de la morgue virile et de la réserve du héros qui les contraignait à dissimuler leur ardeur sous des apparences froides et hautaines. Le frère de l'héroïne apparaissait tout au long de l'histoire comme une bonne fée, tendre et protecteur envers son orpheline de sœur et expliquant finalement à chacun la passion brûlante de l'autre.

C'était émouvant et touchant et William fut ému et touché.

Le suivant était une comédie. Il commença avec un ouvrier solitaire, engagé pour repeindre une porte et s'acheva avec une foule de gens différents, tous couverts de peinture, tombant les uns sur les autres en bas d'escaliers. C'était amusant. William fut tapageusement et bruyamment amusé.

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.
unit 2
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.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 13
The extent of his purchases rarely exceeded a penny.
1 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.
2 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 18
William was not in the habit of frequenting Picture Palaces.
3 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 19
He had only been there once before in his life.
1 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 20
It was a thrilling programme.
2 Translations, 5 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, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 10 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 30
It was moving and touching and William was moved and touched.
1 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity 6 months ago
unit 31
The next was a comedy.
1 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity 6 months ago
unit 33
It was amusing.
1 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity 6 months ago
unit 34
William was riotously and loudly amused.
1 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity 6 months ago
unit 35
Lastly came the pathetic story of a drunkard’s downward path.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 39
Do not think of what you have done.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 40
I forgive you,” passed peacefully away.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 45
Two of his pursuers fell dead, the rest came on with redoubled vigour.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 46
There was no time to be lost.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 49
William, knocking into his father while not looking where he is going.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 52
“I wasn’t chargin’, Father,” he said, meekly.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 53
“I was only jus’ comin’ in at the gate, same as other folks.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 55
Like the rest of the family, he dreaded William’s eloquence.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 56
“What’s that on your tongue!
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 57
Put your tongue out.” William obeyed.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 62
“They’re good.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 63
Jus’ have one, an’ try.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 65
Where are they?” Slowly and reluctantly William drew forth his bag.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 66
His father seized it and flung it far into the bushes.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 68
He wandered round to the back garden and climbed on to the wall.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 69
“Hello!” said the little girl next door, looking up.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 71
There was a touch of the artistic temperament about William.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 72
He promptly felt himself the simple country son of the soil.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 76
That’s what you’ve got.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 80
unit 81
“Go on.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 82
Take two—three,” he said in reckless generosity.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 83
“But they’re—dirty.” “Go on.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 84
It’s only ord’nery dirt.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 85
It soon sucks off.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 86
unit 87
unit 88
“Did you say you’d missed me?
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 89
I bet you didn’t think of me as much as I did of you.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 92
William put one hand to his throat and frowned.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 93
“A bit,” he confessed lightly.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 94
“Oh, William!” she clasped her hands.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 95
“Does it hurt all the time?” Her solicitude was flattering.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 96
“I don’t talk much about it, anyway, do I?” he said manfully.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 97
She started up and stared at him with big blue eyes.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 98
“Oh, William!
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 99
Is it—is it your—lungs?
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 103
“What does the doctor say about it?” William considered a minute.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 104
“He says it’s lungs all right,” he said at last.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 106
Not now.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 107
Thanks.” “I’ve got three balls and one’s quite new.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 108
Wouldn’t you like it, William?” “No—thanks.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 109
You see, it’s no use my collectin’ a lot of things.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 110
unit 111
unit 112
Don’t you worry about me.” “Joan!” from the house.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 113
“That’s Mother.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 114
Good-bye, William dear.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 115
If Father brings me home any chocolate, I’ll bring it in to you.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 116
I will—honest.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 117
Thanks for the Gooseberry Eyes.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 118
unit 121
“I’ll do all I can for you,” she was saying earnestly.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 122
Their hands were clasped.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 123
“I know you will,” he said equally earnestly.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 124
Both look and handclasp were long.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 125
The young man walked away.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 126
unit 127
William was interested.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 128
“That was Jack Morgan, wasn’t it?” he said.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 129
“Yes,” said Ethel absently and went into the house.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 130
The look, the long handclasp, the words lingered in William’s memory.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 135
Inside the drawing-room, Ethel was talking to her mother.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 136
“He’s going to propose to her next Sunday.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 139
Isn’t it thrilling?” “Yes, dear.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 140
By the way, did you see William anywhere?
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 143
The maid showed him into Mr. Morgan’s sitting-room.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 144
“Mr.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 145
Brown,” she announced.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 147
His acquaintance with William was of the slightest.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 148
“Good afternoon,” said William.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 150
“She sent you this,” said William gravely.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 151
Mr. Morgan gazed at it with the air of one who is sleep-walking.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 152
William offering the rosebud to Mr. Morgan.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 153
“Yes?
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 154
Er—very kind of her.” “Kinder keep-sake.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 155
Souveneer,” explained William.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 156
“Yes.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 157
Er—any message?” “Oh, yes.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 158
She wants you to come in and see her this evening.” “Er—yes.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 159
Of course.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 160
I’ve just come from her.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 165
“Yes?
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 167
unit 168
Jus’ sayin’ your name over and over again.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 170
“Jus’ like that—over an’ over again.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 171
unit 172
He sat gazing with horror-stricken face at his young visitor.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 173
“Are you—sure?” he said at last.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 175
“It’s yours.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 176
‘Jack Morgan, Jack Morgan, Jack Morgan’—jus’ like that.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 177
An’ she eats just nothin’ now.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 179
“It’s—horrible,” he said at last in a hoarse whisper.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 180
William was gratified.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 181
The young man had at last realised his cruelty.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 182
But William never liked to leave a task half done.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 183
He still sat on and calmly and silently considered his next statement.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 187
“Sure’s fate,” said William rising.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 188
“Well, I’d better be goin’.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 189
She pertic-ler wants to see you alone to-night.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 190
Good-bye.” But Mr. Morgan did not answer.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 192
Then he moistened his dry lips.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 193
“Good Lord,” he groaned.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 194
William was thinking of the pictures as he went home.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 195
That painter one was jolly good.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 196
When they all got all over paint!
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 197
And when they all fell downstairs!
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 198
William suddenly guffawed out loud at the memory.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 201
Just sort of melting the old paint and then scraping it off.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 203
Melting it with some sort of fire, then scraping it off.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 204
He wasn’t sure whether it was that, but he could find out.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 206
Mr. Brown came home about dinner-time.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 207
“How’s your head, father?” said Ethel sympathetically.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 208
“Rotten!” said Mr. Brown, sinking wearily into an arm-chair.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 210
“Mr.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 211
Morgan, mum.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 212
He wants to see Miss Ethel.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 213
I’ve shown him into the library.” “Now?” exploded Mr. Brown.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 215
Seven o’clock!
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 216
What time does he think we have dinner?
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 217
What does he mean by coming round paying calls on people at dinner time?
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 221
The silence became oppressive.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 223
Ethel looked at the clock.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 224
Then— “Was it raining when you came, Mr. Morgan?” “Raining?
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 225
Er—no.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 226
No—not at all.” Silence.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 227
“I thought it looked like rain this afternoon.” “Yes, of course.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 228
Er—no, not at all.” Silence.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 230
unit 231
Inside the drawing-room, Mr. Brown was growing restive.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 232
“Is dinner to be kept waiting for that youth all night?
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 233
Quarter past seven!
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 234
unit 236
“We really must.” “We must not,” said Mr. Brown.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 238
He raised his hands above his head.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 239
“Oh——” “I’ll go, dear,” said Mrs. Brown hastily.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 240
She returned with a worried frown on her brow.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 241
“It’s Mrs. Clive,” she said.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 244
“But—why—on—earth?” he said slowly.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 245
“I don’t know, dear,” said Mrs. Brown, helplessly.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 247
“Mad.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 249
She was very flushed.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 250
William kneeling behind his door, with a curl of smoke rising from it.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 251
“He’s gone,” she said.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 252
“Mother, it’s simply horrible!
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 254
I’ve hardly spoken to William to-day.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 255
He couldn’t have misunderstood anything I said.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 257
I simply didn’t know where to look or what to say.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 258
It was horrible!” Mrs. Brown sat gazing weakly at her daughter.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 259
Mr. Brown rose with the air of a man goaded beyond endurance.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 260
“Where is William?” he said shortly.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 263
There was no doubt about it.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 265
unit 267
Sadly he reviewed the day.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 268
It had not been a success.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 270
Suddenly William began to wonder if his father drank.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 271
He saw himself, through a mist of pathos, as a Drunkard’s child.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 273
It was a wonder he wasn’t there now, anyway.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 276
unit 277
“He’s insane,” he said, “stark, raving insane.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 278
You ought to take him to a doctor and get his brain examined.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 279
Look at him to-day.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 281
I hadn’t spoken to him.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 283
Then he goes about telling people he’s consumptive.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 284
He looks it, doesn’t he?
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 286
Where’s the sense in it—in any of it?
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 288
“It certainly sounds very silly, dear,” she said mildly.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 289
“But there might be some explanation of it all, if only we knew.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 293
“Good night, Father,” he said.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
Gabrielle • 13947  commented on  unit 19  10 months, 4 weeks ago
Gabrielle • 13947  commented on  unit 4  10 months, 4 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.