[Footnote A: “Boston”
is a game of cards, and the
“Boston-parti” is a club, the members of which meet and play
at each other’s houses.]
Mrs. Worse had also believed this story; but that afternoon she learnt to think otherwise. It was quite clear to her, after hearing Mr. Samuelsen’s figures and calculations, that the shop was not at all to be despised, and she came at last to perceive that this was what had really so long kept everything going.
The two sat over their figures far into the night. At first comprehension seemed quite hopeless to Mrs. Worse. The explanations she had heard from her husband’s friends and creditors during the last few days were so complicated, and couched in terms beyond her understanding; but with Peter Samuelsen it was quite otherwise. He never went on until he was quite sure that she comprehended what he said. At length it all began to dawn upon her, and she kept on repeating, “I declare, it is all as clear as daylight.”
Next morning she ordered her carriage and drove off alone. The scandal this excited in the town was beyond description. To think that she, who scarcely owned the very clothes on her back, should have the audacity to drive in a carriage and pair before the very noses of those whom her husband had swindled! The general feeling towards her had hitherto been favourable, and several people could not help feeling a mischievous delight at the idea of seeing the haughty Mrs. Worse live on a monthly allowance. But now all were as hard as stone. Mrs. Worse herself did not seem to be so nervous as she was the day before, and when she entered Consul Carman’s office, with Pitter Nilken’s papers under her arm, her step was as firm and confident as a man’s.
It was now several years since Worse had left the firm, but some ill-feeling had long remained on both sides, and the deceased and Mr. Garman had never got on well together. It was thus no light matter for the widow to betake herself to Consul Garman; but Mr. Samuelsen had assured her that it was quite out of the question to think of keeping the business going without a guarantee from Garman and Worse.