Vol.1 f.046 recto




Status: Incomplete

Yes[?] [??] Mother, I have [????] [??????????????] yet something more to say. It has been [????????] It has been upon my mind, from night and day, this [????] long time. [this year]
[????] It is far more difficult to say than what I have [???????????????????????] said. That concerned myself; this
[???????????????????????????] concerns us all!”

[??? your father; ?????????????.] Us all! Who [??] are us all?”

Yes. [??] father you, me Yourself, myself, my dead father.”

She took her hands from the desk; folded them in her lap, and sat looking at them towards the fire with
the impenetrability impenetrability of an old Egyptian sculpture [?????????????????????????]

“You knew knew my father [?????] infinitely better than I ever [????] knew him; and [????????????????????????????] his reserve reserve with me [???????] [???????????????????????????????????] yielded to you. You were much the stronger, mother, and directed him. As a child, I knew it as well as I know it now. I knew that your ascendancy over him was the cause of his going to China to take care of the business there, while you took care of it here (though I do not even now know whether these were really terms of separation that you agreed upon); and that it was your will that I should remain with you until I was twenty, and then go to him as I did. You will not be offended by my recalling this, after twenty years?”

“I am waiting to hear why you recall it.”

He lowered his voice, and said, with manifest reluctance, and against his will:

“I want to ask you, mother, whether it ever occurred to you to suspect—”

At the word Suspect, she turned her eyes momentarily upon her son, with a dark frown. She then suffered them to seek the fire, as before; but with the frown fixed above them, as if the sculptor of old Egypt had indented it in the hard granite face, to frown for ages.

“—that he had any secret remembrance which caused him trouble of mind—remorse? Whether you ever observed anything in his conduct suggesting that; or ever spoke to him upon it, or ever heard him hint at such a thing?”

“I do not understand what kind of secret remembrance you mean to infer that your father was a prey to,” she returned, after a silence. “You speak so mysteriously.”

“Is it possible, mother,” her son leaned forward to be the nearer to her while he whispered it, and laid his hand nervously upon her desk, “is it possible, mother, that he had unhappily wronged any one, and made no reparation?”

Looking at him wrathfully, she bent herself back in her chair to keep him further off, but gave him no reply.

“I am deeply sensible, mother, that if this thought has never at any time flashed upon you, it must seem cruel and unnatural in me, even in this confidence, to breathe it. But I cannot shake it off. Time and change (I have tried both before breaking silence) do nothing to wear it out. Remember, I was with my father. Remember, I saw his face when he gave the watch into my keeping, and struggled to express that he sent it as a token you would understand, to you. Remember, I saw him at the last with the pencil in his failing hand, trying to write some word for you to read, but to which he could give no shape. The more remote and cruel this vague suspicion that I have, the stronger the circumstances that could give it any semblance of probability to me. For Heaven’s sake, let us examine sacredly whether there is any wrong entrusted to us to set right. No one can help towards it, mother, but you.”

Still so recoiling in her chair that her overpoised weight moved it, from time to time, a little on its wheels, and gave her the appearance of a phantom of fierce aspect gliding away from him, she interposed her left arm, bent at the elbow with the back of her hand towards her face, between herself and him, and looked at him in a fixed silence “In grasping at money and in driving hard bargains—I have begun, and I must speak of such things now, mother—some one may have been grievously deceived, injured, ruined. You were the moving

Notes and Questions

Nobody has written a note for this page yet

Please sign in to write a note for this page