Even when they stood together beside the body, the hand which he had in his shook so that he threw his arms round her, thinking that she would fall.
Later in life, when he recalled this, he understood what she had silently endured, what an unbending will she had brought to the struggle, but also what it had cost her.
At the time he did not in the least comprehend it. He imagined that she suffered from the horror of the moment as he himself did.
There lay the giant, in wretchedness and squalor! He who had once boasted of his cleanliness, and expected the like in others, lay there, dirty and unshaven, under dirty bed clothes, in linen so ragged and filthy that no workman on the estate had worse. The clothes which he had worn the day before lay on a chair beside the bed, miserably threadbare, foul with dirt, sweat, and tobacco, and stinking like everything else. His mouth was distorted, his hands tightly clenched; he had died of a stroke.
And how forlorn and desolate was all around him! Why had his son never noticed this before? Why had he never felt that his father was lonely and forsaken? To how great an extent no words could express.
Rafael burst into tears; louder and louder grew his sobbing, until it sounded through all the rooms. The people from the estate came in one by one. They wished to satisfy their curiosity.
The boy’s crying, unconsciously to himself, influenced them all: they saw everything in a new light. How unfortunate, how desolate, how helpless had he been who now lay there. Lord, have mercy on us all!
When the corpse of Harald Kaas had been laid out, the face shaved, and the eyes closed, the distortion was less apparent. They could trace signs of suffering, but the expression was still virile. It seemed a handsome face to them now
Within a few days of the funeral mother and son were in England.
Rafael was now to enter upon a long course of study, for which, by his earlier education, his mother had prepared him, and for which, by painful privations, she had saved up sufficient money.
The property was to the last degree impoverished, and burdened with mortgages, and the timber only fit for fuel.
Their neighbour the Dean, a clear-headed and practical man, took upon himself the management of affairs; as money was needed the work of devastation must begin at once. The mother and son did not wish to witness it.
They came to England like two fugitives who, after many and great trials, for affection’s sake seek a new home and a new country.
Rafael was then twelve years old.
They were inseparable, and in the shiftless life that they led in their new surroundings they became, if possible, more closely attached to each other.
Yet not long afterwards they had their first disagreement.