“You’ll remember your promise, D’Arcy? You will be quite sure to take me home to bury me? And you will call my child after my father,—Jan?”
The detective.—The “Jook.”—Jan stands by his mother’s grave.—His after history.
As he had resolved, the painter secured the help of the police in tracing Jan’s pedigree. He did not take the bow-legged boy into his confidence, but that young gentleman recognized the detective officer when he opened the door for him; and he laid his finger by his snub nose, with a wink of intense satisfaction.
On hearing the story, the detective expressed his opinion (founded on acquaintance with Sal) that George’s pocket had been picked by his companions, and not by chance thieves in the fair; and he finally proved his sagacity in the guess by bringing the pocket-book and the letter to the artist.
With his mother’s letter (it had been written at Moerdyk, on her way to England) before them, Jan and the artist were sitting, when Mr. Ford’s client was announced, and Jan stood face to face with his father.
The gentle reader will willingly leave a veil over that meeting, which the artist felt a generous shame to witness. With less delicacy, the bow-legged boy had lingered outside the door, but when the studio rang with a passionate cry,—“My son! my son!”—he threw his green baize apron over his head, and crying, “The jook!” plunged downwards into the basement, and shed tears of sympathy amongst the boots and bottles.
To say that Lady Adelaide forgave the past, and received her husband’s son with kindness, is to do scant justice to the generous affection which he received from her. With pity for her husband mingled painful astonishment that he should have trusted her so little; but if the blow could never be quite repaired, love rarely meets with its exact equivalent in faith or tenderness, and she did not suffer alone. She went with Jan and his father to visit Master Lake, and her gracious thanks to the windmiller for his care of her step-son gave additional bitterness to her husband’s memories of the windmill.
It was she who first urged that they should go to Holland. Jan’s grandfather was dead,—Mr. Ford’s client could make no reparation there,—but the cousin to whom the old wooden house now belonged gave Jan many things which had been his mother’s. Amongst these was a book of sketches by herself, and a collection of etchings by her great-grandfather, a Dutch artist; and in this collection Jan found the favorite of his childhood. Did the genius in him really take its rise in the old artist who etched those willows which he had once struggled to rival with slate-pencil?