Samuel Butler: The Way of All Flesh

82. CHAPTER LXXXII (continued)

How cruel, how infamously unfeeling Ernest thought he had been.

"Mother," he said, "forgive me--the fault was mine, I ought not to have been so hard; I was wrong, very wrong"; the poor blubbering fellow meant what he said, and his heart yearned to his mother as he had never thought that it could yearn again. "But have you never," she continued, "come although it was in the dark and we did not know it--oh, let me think that you have not been so cruel as we have thought you. Tell me that you came if only to comfort me and make me happier."

Ernest was ready. "I had no money to come with, mother, till just lately."

This was an excuse Christina could understand and make allowance for; "Oh, then you would have come, and I will take the will for the deed--and now that I have you safe again, say that you will never, never leave me--not till--not till--oh, my boy, have they told you I am dying?" She wept bitterly, and buried her head in her pillow.

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