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would have increased the theatrical picturesqueness of the

“Why not, mother? I mean it.” “You pain me, my son. I trust you
will return from Australia in a position of affluence. I believe there
is no society of any kind in the Colonies, nothing that I would call
society; so when you have made your fortune you must come back
and assert yourself in London.”

“Society!” muttered the lad. “I don’t want to know anything about
that. I should like to make some money to take you and Sibyl off
the stage. I hate it.” “Oh, Jim!” said Sibyl, laughing, “how unkind
of you! But are you really going for a walk with me? That will be
nice! I was afraid you were going to say good-bye to some of your
friends-to Tom Hardy, who gave you that hideous pipe, or Ned
Langton, who makes fun of you for smoking it. It is very sweet of
you to let me have your last afternoon. Where shall we go? Let us
go to the Park.” “I am too shabby,” he answered, frowning. “Only
swell people go to the Park.” “Nonsense, Jim,” she whispered,
stroking the sleeve of his coat.

He hesitated for a moment. “Very well,” he said at last, “but don’t
be to long dressing.” She danced out of the door. One could hear
her singing as she ran upstairs. Her little feet pattered overhead.
He walked up and down the room two or three times. Then he
turned to the still figure in the chair. “Mother, are my things
ready?” he asked.

“Quite ready, James,” she answered, keeping her eyes on her work.
For some months past she had felt ill at ease when she was alone
with this rough, stern son of hers. Her shallow secret nature was
troubled when their eyes met. She used to wonder if he suspected
anything. The silence, for he made no other observation, became
intolerable to her. She began to complain. Women defend
themselves by attacking, just as they attack by sudden and strange
surrenders. “I hope you will be contented, James, with your sea-
faring life,” she said. “You must remember that it is your own
choice. You might have entered a solicitor’s office. Solicitors are a
very respectable class, and in the country often dine with the best
families.” “I hate offices, and I hate clerks,” he replied. “But you
are quite right. I have chosen my own life. All I say is, watch over
Sibyl. Don’t let her come to any harm. Mother, you must watch
over her.” “James, you really talk very strangely. Of course I watch
over Sibyl.” “I hear a gentleman comes every night to the theatre,
and goes behind to talk to her. Is that right? What about that?”
“You are speaking about things you don’t understand, James. In
the profession we are accustomed to receive a great deal of most
gratifying attention. I myself used to receive many bouquets at one
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