‘He is looking very well,’ said Mrs Outhouse.
‘Is he? I dare say he is well. Louey, my boy, are you happy?’ The question was asked in a voice that was dismal beyond compare, and it also remained unanswered. He had been desired to speak nicely to his papa; but how was it possible that a child should speak nicely under such a load of melancholy? ‘He will not speak to me,’ said Trevelyan. ‘I suppose it is what I might have expected.’ Then the child was put off his knee on to the floor, and began to whimper. ’A few months since he would sit there for hours, with his head upon my breast,’ said Trevelyan.
‘A few months is a long time in the life of such an infant,’ said Mrs Outhouse.
‘He may go away,’ said Trevelyan. Then the child was led out of the room, and sent up to his mother.
‘Emily has done all she can to make the child love your memory,’ said Mrs Outhouse.
’To love my memory! What, as though I were dead. I will teach him to love me as I am, Mrs Outhouse. I do not think that it is too late. Will you tell your husband from me, with my compliments, that I shall cause him to be served with a legal demand for the restitution of my child?’
‘But Sir Marmaduke will be here in a few days.’
’I know nothing of that. Sir Marmaduke is nothing to me now. My child is my own and so is my wife. Sir Marmaduke has no authority over either one or the other. I find my child here, and it is here that I must look for him. I am sorry that you should be troubled, but the fault does not rest with me. Mr Outhouse has refused to give me up my own child, and I am driven to take such steps for his recovery as the law has put within my reach.’
‘Why did you turn your wife out of doors, Mr Trevelyan?’ asked Mrs Outhouse boldly.
’I did not turn her out of doors. I provided a fitting shelter for her. I gave her everything that she could want. You know what happened. That man went down and was received there. I defy you, Mrs Outhouse, to say that it was my fault.’
Mrs Outhouse did attempt to show him that it was his fault; but while she was doing so he left the house. ’I don’t think she could go back to him,’ said Mrs Outhouse to her husband. ’He is quite insane upon this matter.’
‘I shall be insane, I know,’ said Mr Outhouse, ’if Sir Marmaduke does not come home very quickly.’ Nevertheless he quite ignored any legal power that might be brought to bear against him as to the restitution of the child to its father.
PARKER’S HOTEL, MOWBRAY STREET