Prodigal Daughters | Joseph Hocking | Literary Fiction | Audiobook | English | 6/8

Prodigal Daughters | Joseph Hocking | Literary Fiction | Audiobook | English | 6/8

chapter 25 of prodigal daughters by Joseph Hawking this LibriVox recording is in the public domain recording by Kate phallus chapter 25 trebs engagement that had been the happiest evening which General Trelawney had known for some months almost for the first time since his homecoming the house had been a house of mirth he had laughed like a boy in a thrown off all thoughts of care and sorrow he had sung old songs with gusto he had revealed the sense of humor of which few thought him capable and had entered into the merriment of the evening as though he had not a care upon his heart never knew dad had it in him remarked John to his friend Davenport who was of the party why he's younger than any of us yes he's broken out in a new place hasn't he replied Davenport up to now he's always been the dignified puka officer why he could earn his living on the stage he seems to have forgotten what a great officer he is and acts like a kid and this was true all that military precision and more than a suggestion of stateliness which was characteristic of him had been thrown aside for months in spite of the honours which had been heaped upon him and in spite of the encomiums which had been passed upon him in high places general Trelawney's face had revealed the sad disappointed man he had a genius for affection no man thought more for his wife and children than he he never made a plan but that they participated in it and before his return to England his one thought was how he could make his children happy perhaps that was why his disappointment was so great at the attitude especially of Eleanor and Peggy it had come upon him almost like a thunderbolt and neither honor nor success could atone for what seemed to him the tragedy of his children's lives he was still anything but a rich man although his promotion had meant a larger income but he had enough to live in affluence and to grant to any reasonable desire of those he loved but the things he hoped for had been made impossible Eleanor had to all intents and purposes refused his affections she had resented what seemed to him the Communist essentials of home discipline while Peggy had preferred to link her life to a man who was utterly unworthy rather than share his home and his love his boy Trev too had disappointed him not that he was a bad fellow indeed in some respects he was proud of him he was tall and handsome and made a smart officer he had also done fairly well in his regiment but the father had been saddened by his son's selfishness and spent thrift habits he had lived only for himself and had run up debts without a thought of the suffering which he might inflict by doing so but today the general had been happy even in spite of his two daughters and the reason was that France had come home from Ireland not only that he had come home changed almost out of recognition for some time after going to Ireland trife's letters had been disappointing mostly they had been complaints of what a beastly whole Ireland was to live in and of the expenses which he could not meet then suddenly the father thought he saw change in his letters there no longer filled with grumbling and no mention was made of an increased allowance this was followed by the news that Trev had obtained leave and was coming back for at least a fortnight he had arrived home on the previous day and both father and mother had welcomed him with outstretched arms this has splintered Trev declared the general and you say you have a whole fortnight hope so dad said truth with a laugh but is anything the matter why my boy you look a bit seedy and worried and the little mother doesn't look as rosy as she used to why is it don't you worry about us my boy but I do dad replied 12 you don't look nearly so well as you did when I saw you in Plymouth is there something wrong money or anything of that sort why should you think that Trev was silent a minute I'm afraid I've caused you a lot of bother sir and I want to tell you that I'm ashamed of myself I am really why my boy is anything the matter with you oh no sir and Trev laughed merrily but I was a fool I know and a spendthrift fall into the bargain I thought I thought but that's all over sir I don't understand you said the general I'll tell you about it directly sir the general saw that there was a new light in his boys eyes that a wondrous change had come over him but where are the girls went on Trev why aren't they here you don't know you've never heard queried the general no of course they have not written me but there's nothing new in that they never have written me and I'm afraid I have been just as Carolus but where are they is anything the matter my boy said the general that's the whole trouble what's the whole trouble and a few words his father told him he softened the story as much as possible but at best it was a tragic business and the young soldier saw the meaning of his father's drawn and Haggard face and at the wistful look in his mother's eyes yes it's a bad business said the general at length and it's blackened everything but I'm glad to see you my boy glad to have you home now then tell me about yourself you look better happier yes how I am replied the young officer dad I'm ashamed of myself I am really I want you to forgive me to forgive you I don't understand my boy have you done anything wrong oh no sir no I've done nothing wrong that is in the way you think but I've been a mean selfish cuss and my eyes are opened I want to tell you about it why when you came down to see me at Plymouth my one thought of your coming was a sort of pride because you'd want a big name and because I thought you'd pay my debts and I can see now how disappointed you must have been you came back after all those years and I I well we won't talk about that now but my eyes are opened dad but I don't understand my boy and there was a catch in the generals voice you will when you have seen her sir seen who yes seen who repeated mrs. Trelawney eagerly may I bring her here sir she's in England in London for that matter what is it my boy asked the father eagerly have you fallen in love are you engaged fallen in love I should rather think I have replied treads and his eyes were moist as he spoke but engaged I wish I were but let me tell you about it sir but who is it a tread repeated mrs. Trelawney her voice tremulous the greatest sweetest best truest girl in all the world cried Trev hilariously I came home mostly on account of that it was difficult to get away but I persisted and persisted until the CEO consented I met her new Belfast sir her father has a place there and I had to go to Belfast on duty it wasn't a long job but I had to go there for a week and I met her and fell in love at first sight she comes of a Cornish family to think of that do you know the Penryn stand I've heard of them certainly they're not very rich went on Trev but they're your sort dad mr. Arthur Penryn that's Mary's father has a little place not far from Belfast as I told you and he was sent over to Ireland on some government work a final chap he is just the perfect type of an old English squire and keen to keen as mustard as for mrs. Penryn mother will love her at first sight well we met at a dance and I was up to my neck in two minutes and again Trev laughs hilarious Lee of course I was not introduced to her as a nameless nobody he went on when mrs. Penryn knew I was your son it was alright as for Mary I say dad you must see her of course I must see her laughter the general who had followed troves sketchy and somewhat disconnected story with great interest but tell me more my boy yes tell us more tell us everything twelve cried mrs. Trelawney well sir as I told you I fell head-over-heels in love and she's made everything new to me sir she isn't the ordinary society girl although of course the family moves among the best people she's a real girl and and it was she who made me ashamed of myself she made me see what a selfish mean brute I had been in what way my son oh I don't know but when I saw how fond she was of her father and mother and how unselfish she was and how she was always willing to sacrifice her own pleasure for them and how before she did anything however little she considered whether it would please them or not I thought of the way I'd behaved it was that kind of thing so she made a new fellow of me I'm awfully glad to hear would you say my boy but did you say you were engaged no sir I wish I were but I believe it's all right in fact I feel sure it is well then tell me how matter stand it's like this and again Trev laughed happily as I told you I lost my heart at the dance of course I didn't say anything I dared not but I met her as often as I could and I got the CEO to send me to that district more than once and as I did my work fairly well he seemed willing and every time I saw her well you know sir how a chap feels so I spoke to mr. Penryn yes yes said the general What did he say well he asked about you sir he asked whether I'd written and told you he said that married was such a serious matter that you ought not to be left out of it but I could not help letting her know how I felt and the upshot of it all is sir that when they returned to England I got leave and Here I am and there in London and I want you to ask them up here will you of course I will nothing will give me greater pleasure I don't know mr. Arthur Penryn but I know of him they have a house in Kensington Sarah 36 Parkside Gardens can't you ring them up right away won't that be rather rushing at trove it may be sir but I I don't think so you have no idea what a splendid girl she is she's made me see everything differently and I want you to know her I am sure your lover she's not a bit showy or that kind of thing but she's a true girl sir and made me see everything differently this was the story which Trev had to tell his father a story which made the generals heart beat with joy it was not very eloquently told yet it revealed the fact that Trev Trelawney had been brought to see the truth through the influence of a pure girl that his love for one who was pure minded unselfish and unsullied had brought to life possibilities which had been long dormant in his nature before the day was over mr. and mrs. Penryn and their daughter Mary had promised to dine at the Trelawney's on the following evening and as a consequence trove was in the seventh heaven of delight when John came home Trev instead of meeting him as he had in the past with a rather supercilious stare and an attitude of patronage was eager for his company eager to tell him his story I say dad said John after a long talk with his brother you know dick Davenport had promised to come here to dinner tomorrow night hadn't I better tell him not to come not a bit of it said the general after a moment's reflection Dick's a nice lad and there's not the slightest reason for putting office visit but you must get home early you know jack said Trev it's going to be a white vest affair I tell you you wait until you have seen her old man it came about therefore that on the night of the painful scene between Barnes and Peggy that the Trelawney family were on the tiptoe of expectation and delight and the happiest evening the general had known for many months especially was he delighted with Mary Penryn for once at all events the lover had not painted into bright a color the woman he loved as Trev had said she was not a showy girl but her quiet humour her love of laughter her sweetness of disposition and the love that she evidently bored to her father and mother simply charmed general Trelawney trebs my boy go in and win he said before the Penguins had been in the house half an hour you have my fullest approval and consent isn't she splendid dad asked the young fellow say something better than that she's a really good girl and if she says yes well you'll have a treasure but I couldn't get it fixed up tonight good eye why not laughter the general I wouldn't wait 10 minutes if I were in your place 10 minutes not two but mr. pen runs old-fashioned and believes in the confidences Corvin answers Hanged laughed the general I'll speak to him it's alright my boy I can see it's alright the Trelawney's had arranged for the Penguins to come in an hour before dinner and ten minutes before the dinner gong sounded truth had managed to be alone with Mary trevor Lonnie's proposal was hardly in the nature of a proposal at all because the young people had tacitly settled the matter beforehand and were only waiting for the consent of the parents I say Mary said Trev eagerly dad's head-over-heels in love with you he is really not so much as I am with him left the girl and your father is agreeable if you are persistent Trev I say Mary may I will you have me it was all settled and when the dinner Gong sounded and as they took their places at the table the generals eyes were moist and his voice a little husky as for mrs. Trelawney she was sobbing for joy even although there was some sadness and her sobs because she remembered the two girls who were away I say dick said John to Davenport who had been alone with his friend ever since the latter had arrived this is no place for us were simply out of it I wish I were in it was Davenport's reply if it would make me look as happy as Trev looks by Jove he's all together changed he's like a new man what are you two boys laughing at asked the general Oh dick wants to sing it's love that makes the world go round and I won't let him laughed John this was the signal for a good deal of light hearted laughter and after that everything went merrily I want to give you a toast said the general towards the end of the dinner a speech just be each shouted John and Davenport together it's not going to be much of a speech my heart's to phone said the general but I can't that this occasion passed without saying a few words I'm going to ask you to drink the health of these two young people I have not known Mary two hours yet but I am over her head and ears in love with her perhaps you'll say I'm speaking impulsively but I'll say this nevertheless if Ida searched the world over I could not have found anyone whom I would rather have for trebs wife I have not talked with her half an hour altogether trev wouldn't let me but I have seen enough she's a good girl and a sweet girl and a girl of which any father might be well proud after all it doesn't take long to know people and I can always tell in five minutes whether I like them or not and I'm just in love with Mary and so is my wife here and so I say with a full heart god bless you my dear may you be happy and you too my boy and I trust and believe that you'll be worthy of the dear girl you have won and and here the general broke down for a moment he stood still smiling unable to speak then crossing to Mary side and putting his arms round her neck he kissed her god bless you my dear he said I saved had shouted truth almost beside himself with joy you are coming it a bit strong you know where do I come in that's what I want to know then mister Penryn a bluff Squire of the old school said a few words about Trev and expressed all sorts of good wishes for him after which there was general hand taking it was at that moment that the servant entered at the room and came to the general a gentleman wishes to see you Sara she said who is it what is his name he asked I don't know sir tell him I'm engaged I can't see him tonight yes sir but he said he came on very important business very important he said it was very urgent that he should see you sir and that he would not keep you more than five minutes oh well then I'll see him you'll excuse me panarin won't you then he went out and met Barnes end of chapter 25 chapter 26 of prodigal daughters by Joseph Hawking this LibriVox recording is in the public domain chapter 26 Jim's appeal for help what do you want repeated the general when Barnes did not reply why have you come here it's about peg yes what about Peggy well sir we're in a bit of a hole the general looked at Barnes and a feeling of disgust came over him he had just left a scene of happiness he had that night welcomed a prospective daughter-in-law to whom his heart had gone out at first sight she was a lady too refined and cultured and he had been very proud and happy now as he looked at Barnes showy but common to the fingertips he felt a kind of nausea the thought that his daughter could have picked up and married a fellow like this almost maddened him for the general was a proud man proud of his name proud of his associations proud of an unsullied reputation he had a whole the instincts of an English gentleman and thus to have a fellow like this coming to his house and telling him that his daughter Peggy was in trouble almost overwhelmed him still he kept himself outwardly calm what have I to do with it he asked I need not to repeat to you the history of the whole miserable affair or how i forbade you to seek my daughter's company in any way you took your own line you defied me and now I fail to see what it has to do with me she is your daughter still general and she loves you still said Barnes he had rehearsed what he hoped would be the course of the interview and he determined to make a strong point of this he felt certain that in spite of the generals anger his love for Peggy was as strong as ever so he adopted this line of attack and from his standpoint he was right there was no more vulnerable point in the generals armor than this and Barnes saw it of course I know we were wrong he went on but we could not help it I loved peg and peg loved me of course she was a bit willful and liked her own way but at bottom she's terribly fond of you general in spite of the fact that the general knew the fellow was telling lies his words affected him so much did he yearn for the love of his child that the words spoken even as they were by Barnes brought tears to his eyes we were as happy as turtledoves went on bond seemed the impression he had made and we should have got on well but for this money business you know how do things are general and I'd be the last man in the world to say anything against peg but she's not very economical you know sir and she don't know how to manage very well she wasn't brought up that way however I'm not going to blame peg I love her too much but there it is were up against it Trelawny felt sure that the fellow was playing a part and even although his loved one out to his child he could not help hardening his heart he felt cynical too and more than a little bitter still again I inquire what have I to do with it perhaps you don't think what a bitter pill this is to me said Barnes ignoring the generals question especially after the way you treated me and what you said to me when we met last of course it was a mistake and nobody feels it more than my own people they have reproached me again and again for giving up another girl for pink nice girl she was too had paying little millinery business of her own and doing well why if I'd married Agnes Parks I'd need not to have done a stroke of work but there it's no use talking about that I was in love and married Peggy the general made emotion of disgust yes and came to me with the proposal that if I would recognize you you would would bride dare not speak of it oh no sir broken bonds I can understand that too but why did I do it it was for peg sake I know I tried to deceive you by telling you that we weren't married but I thought that it was my only way to get your recognition but it wasn't for myself it was for peg you don't believe me because you don't understand me but here was our position we loved each other and because you put the kibosh on everything we had to get married without your consent and I in order to get your recognition told you what was not true I admit it was a mistake sir but I did the honorable thing however it's no use talking about we're in queer Street sir say peg has been a bit extravagant if you like I'm not the one to throw up that against her but I don't know how we're going to live I thought I should have got an increase of pay but times have got bad and I haven't and now we can't pay our way we owe three weeks rent and pegs nearly starving starving ejaculated the general well we don't know where the next week's food is to come from and and there you are here's a letter I got today telling me that if I don't pick up the rent at once I shall be kicked out and here are these bills I'm not come for myself I could manage all right but it's peg she's breaking her heart some might say she's a bit unreasonable I've offered to take her home to Camden Town and live with my mother and sisters but she won't she's too proud to associate with them if she would do that we might rub along but if nothing is done for us we will be on the streets there was so much truth in this statement that Barnes was able to speak almost convincingly what do you owe asked the general how much is it three weeks rent at two pound five a week that's six pounds 15 shillings and there's these other bills that come – eight pounds four shillings that's nearly 15 pounds I would not come for myself it spake I'm troubling about you should have thought of it before you did this mad dishonorable thing I know I should and I'm downright sorry but what's done is done besides it's harder to live than I thought prices are going up like mad and pegs nearly out of her head but why have you come to me the general could not help saying come to you sir cried Barnes with a show of righteous indignation because I didn't think you were made of stone what I said too peg tonight was that if you'd allow us say to pound a week we don't desk much you see we might have rub along the general did not reply the whole of there was so sordid so piteous that he could not never did he despised the fellow as he despised him now he saw through the mask he was wearing understood the tones of his voice and loathed his presence but he could not close his heart against his child he could not bear to think of her being in want he realized the kind of furnished rooms which could be had for two pounds a week and felt what Peggy must be suffering by living in them he knew that Barnes had moved from the place where their last interview took place and had been informed of the part of the city where they now lived a common unsavory and squalid quarter come now general and Barnes as he thought he saw the other relenting spoke eagerly can't you four pegs sake let bygones be bygones why can't we live happy together what's the use of keeping up this bitterness whatever you may say I'm your son-in-law why can't you do the Christian thing and own it why can't we be friendly like I'll not disgrace you I was an officer in the Army just as you are and I could pass muster with any of your fine friends and I asked you straight can you a professor Lee Christian man shut your daughter and the man she has chosen out of your heart and home I mean to get on and when things have settled down a bit I'll make my way peg shall have her motorcar and her fine dresses with the best of them but just now were under water and pegs heart is breaking what we want is just a little help in money and a little love and sympathy I'm willing to forgive all the hard things you've said to me and it seems to me that it's your duty to forgive anything which I have said in a temper and I'll admit I've got my pride same as you have that might hurt you now then general here's my hand on it Barnes imagined this was a very moving speech he had thought it out while walking from the subway station to the Trelawny home and he expected a great deal from it the general had been brought up in an old-fashioned school and had always maintained the sacredness of marriage ties he loathed the thought of easy divorces and had always held that people once married took each other until death parted them if that were so his child's husband had to become in a very sacred way his son and in spite of the loathing he felt for Barnes the fact struck home now perhaps this revealed itself in his features for Barnes who had been watching him closely went on eagerly yes I can see you hate me he said but hatred is not a Christian thing general to err is human but to forgive is divine and what I ask is can't you forgive us again the keen eyes of the older man pierced the mask of the other but still he hesitated I must think about it he said half unconsciously at that moment there was a knock at the door may I come in dad and trev entered the room Dick Davenport said he must be going sir and I thought you might like to speak to him before he went this was perfectly true but it was not the only reason why Trev interrupted them he had an idea that his father had a visitor whom he wanted to get rid of and as they wanted the general back with them badly he thought he might help him by going to him besides the five minutes which the servant mentioned were far more than up I'm sorry Trev but I speak to Davenport just now will you tell him that I'm engaged and asked him to come again soon and will you come back here for a minute Trev gave a quick searching glance at his father's face and then looked towards Barnes he had a suspicion that something was wrong certainly dad he left the room as he spoke but returned a minute later this said the general is the man I told you about what the fellow who who yes said the general the young officer looked at Barnes intently and quickly summed him up lieutenant Trelawney I believe said Barnes glad to see you yes in a way were relations and he giggled nervously as he held out his hand but trove did not take it instead he looked at his father as if for further information it's the old story said the general a little bit early and then in a few words he described the purport of Barnes's visit and he wants you to receive him here as your son-in-law and every tone of his voice was a sting a sting which even Barnes felt yes and I am his son-in-law too and your brother-in-law you can't get over that blusters Barnes whose temper was rising I suppose you don't want to see your sister going out Charing do you father shall I kick him out of the house asked at Rev I will if you'll let me come none of that cried Barnes two can play at that game wait a minute said the general there's peg to consider I must think and I must consult your mother but Dad you couldn't let that bounder come here think of Mary yes I am thinking of her my boy and I'm thinking of peg too he walked to the door as he spoke and opened it there you can go now he said looking at Barnes do you mean to say he'll do nothing then why it's downright cruel and unchristian that's not your affair look here I've come to you straight and I've eaten humble pie because of your daughter but if anything happens to her don't you blame me that's all this way please and Barnes noting the look in the generals eyes left the room and walked towards the front door followed by Trev when he had reached the drive he found Trev by his side now mr. Barnes remember and there was an intensity in the young fellows voice I know all about you my brother told me yes I've heard of that affair at the Cosmopolitan Hotel you lied then I expect you have been lying tonight but I shall make it my business to find out the truth and if anything is wrong I'll not let you off as easily as my brother did remember that now get out Barnes walked some distance in a black rage yet fearful all the same he could not understand these people they seemed to possess a power which took all the fight out of him his blustering was all in vain his pleading useless he made an exclamation in two words which was to the effect that he had given up all hope of salvation but I must be careful he reflected presently after all he may do something and I must not put pegs back up until all hope is gone when the general returned to the drawing room he found that Davenport had gone and thus only his own family and the Penguins were there for a little time he seemed it destroyed as though he had something upon his mind which he did not know how to express then a flash of resolution came into his eyes I have something to say to you he said slowly something that is painful very painful then don't say it my friend replied mr. Penryn but I must said the general it affects you in a way you became a member of my family from tonight and because you're a girl and my boy are engaged you have the right to know and it's my duty to tell you not that not that Lester cried mrs. Trelawney piteously for TREB had told her who his father's visitor was yes replied the general I must I have always believed in absolute frankness and this is not a matter that I can keep secret up to half an hour ago this has been one of the happiest evenings of my life you remember however that I was called out and it is about that that I want to speak he quickly told the story gave it in its gaunt unpleasant outlines when he had finished mr. Penryn held out his hand I'm sorry for you he said it's the kind of thing that's happening on all hands these days it's seen in different ways in different grades of society thank God I know nothing about it myself as my mary has never become imbued with these modern notions but several of my friends are troubled in the same way they say little about it but the things there thank you replied the general I felt I ought to tell you seeing that the two families are to become united but it's a bitter pill to swallow my friend my god it must be still it's not so bad as it is with son after all your youngest daughter is married while the other although it must be terribly painful too you may see her foolishness and come home yes there's that this is the question what ought I to do I told Eleanor that my doors were always open to her that if she comes back and is prepared to accept at the life of our home such as it is she shall receive a daughter's welcome I have said the same to peg but does that mean that I am to accept that fellow does the Christian law demand that Penryn tell me no cried John hotly no law human or divine demands that would you let that mouth eaten poisonous worm come here think what he did mr. Penryn and boy like he impulsively told of Barnes's proposal at the Cosmopolitan Hotel could we have that thing here why he hasn't the manners of a yard dog nor the morals of a giraffe I agree with John cried Trev you could not do it dad you simply couldn't why think of Mary having to – and he looked at tenderly at the girl who had become engaged to him that night why Mary if you saw him a common vulgar bounder you'd understand me Mary Penryn did not speak there had been a strange look in her eyes while the general had told his story a look of yearning and tenderness and pity and something more she rose from her chair and went to mrs. Trelawney I'm so sorry she whispered in her ear so very sorry Oh what you must have felt and she kissed her affectionately I want to do what's right Penryn said the general I would be the last to do anything that would weaken the meaning of marriage but can I ought I to welcome that fellow to my house ought I to admit him here as my son-in-law under any pretext I ask you as a Christian man no remarked mr. Penryn after a long silence I'll try to help them went on the general when I last saw Peggy she was still unrepentant still defiant her mother wrote to her telling her that our doors were open to her but that we could not receive that man and her reply was that she wanted neither our help nor our recognition and that she proposed to live independently of us she also told her mother that her doors would be shut against us I'm sorry to have to say this Penryn on this night of all others but I want to be absolutely open with you and and I want your advice I want to help my child I must help her but in helping her I am helping her husband are tied to do that he's a great strong coarse individual he can make his way well enough that is he can earn enough for his bread and cheese but peg is different she is my child of course said Mr Penryn you can't help your daughter without at the same time helping barns – I see that and I must help her I simply can't see my child in want but we can't have that fellow here a dad cried Trev i i wouldn't let Mary know him one must have some self-respect you know what kind of a fellow is he asked mr. Penryn the general sketched him perfectly yet justly he made plain to the other the kind of pushing half-educated fellow who thought it a fine thing to be an officer and who had all sorts of puffed up ideas as to how a gentleman should behave but who in spite of everything revealed the real texture of his character a vulgar fellow who by his showy good looks and fine physique was calculated to capture an impulsive unthinking girl but who had not even a nodding acquaintance with the first principles of Honor a snob a bounder and a bully combined who under the veneer of a cheap education tried to pose as a gentleman yes continued the general and then Penryn then hits a ghastly problem to me as you may imagine I am as sure as that to win to make for that Peggy in spite of her stubbornness and willfulness and rebellious Ness in spite of the fact that she has cared for this man in a way was sooner or later understand of the kind of fellow he is and detest him she will feel that his very touch as an insult what then does a ceremony in a registry office or in a church for that matter make them man in white I know I have very strict views about marriage but this business has made me think furiously isn't marriage dead when all respect all honor all love are gone but there will think no more about it now I'm dreadfully grieved Penryn that this should have happened My dear fellow replied the squire a thing like that might happen to anybody and it is in fact happening to thousands today and the secret of the whole trouble is the lack of the religious instinct that is the secret of all our present-day troubles cried mrs. Trelawney oh I did hope during the war that we as a nation were being purified it was also fine at first people of every class were being uplifted they were doing great things millions of young fellows were offering their lives as a sacrifice young girls brought up in refined homes were gladly undertaking the meanest and the most painful duties that they might render help and we were all saying that we were fighting for a great peace and now that peace has come there is no peace the turmoil and the strife and the selfishness seemed to be worse than ever nothing is settled everything is in a state of unrest and we seem to be drifting drifting we know not where no doubt you are right Alice said general but we mustn't saddened these young people Trev you dog you ought to be a happy fellow I am cried Trev I'm the happiest chap in the world and you Mary you are not very miserable are you thank God for you my dear said the general as he kissed Mary goodnight I'm happy in spite of everything Penryn I feel as though Mary has brought a new interest a new hope a new joy to life god bless you my dear fellow Alice we must go and see peg first thing tomorrow morning said the general to his wife when their visitors were gone and they found themselves alone end of chapter 26 chapter 27 of prodigal daughters by Joseph Hawking this LibriVox recording is in the public domain recording by Kate Wallace chapter 27 the home of the Barnes Peggy stood in the shabby little room miserable ashamed yet angry and defiant it was now past at 10:00 in the morning and Barnes had gone to his work the breakfast things had not yet been cleared away and the room looked even worse than usual when she saw her father and mother she instinctively rushed to the door to let them in but when they stood within the room and she realized the sordid squalor of her surroundings a flush of angry shame swept over her for a moment the tears rushed to her eyes and a sob caught in her throat but she quickly mastered herself she remembered what she had said to her father the day before she left her home she caught herself thinking of their last interview when they had come to the rooms to which Barnes had first brought her her old pride too searched back in her her own sense of defiance dominated her poorest she was miserable as she might be squalid as were her surroundings she would not let her father see any weakness in her she would hold by the bargain she had made she would not admit that she had made a mistake Barnes had not told her where he had been on the previous night when he had returned very late he had not spoken to her and that morning he had been sullen and out of temper he had given dark hints as to what would happen if something did not turn up but he made no direct statement as to what had taken place she was therefore ignorant as to how her father and mother had learned her whereabouts and knew nothing of Barnes's visit I could not help coming to you my little girl said the general you are in trouble aren't you she did not reply but looked at him silently defiantly now tell us all about it went on her father let us hear about your difficulties what difficulties the difficulties he the man you married told me about last night told you last night what do you mean didn't you know he came to Hampstead there was a quick flash in the girls eyes instinctively she understood what had taken place that Barnes had been to her father to appeal for help and she felt more humiliated than ever my darling I'm so sorry tell us all about it cried mrs. troll ollie there's nothing to tell replied the girl I'm not complaining but but pleaded mrs. Trelawney surely pegged my darling you'll tell your old mother I'm sorry he went to you said the girl doggedly I knew nothing about it he had no right to bother you but my dear we can't know of your trouble and not come to you I don't see why not I took my own course I forfeit it all claims upon you when I left her I must bear my own burden the girl's spirit was unbroken a proud look still flashed from her eyes she might suffer but she would suffer in silence as far as they were concerned never would she willingly admit that she had made a mistake but he told us that you were in debt almost starving he told you that did he that's why we came said the general you are still our little kitty Peggy again the tears rushed into her eyes the touch of tenderness when I broke her down but again she steeled herself and became defiant I asked for no pity she said won't you come back with us and spend the day at home pleaded her mother we will bring you back here in time for your your husband's dinner he'll not let him come home then the question flashed from her with the suddenness of a pistol shot they were both silent they had made up their minds on this question I see he's not good enough for you I may come home but not he still they remained silent but they stood looking at her and she could not help seeing the love that shone from their eyes the girl understood she saw what was in her father's mind as plainly as if he had spoken she knew that he regarded Barnes as a vulgar outsider a man with whom he would not willingly associate one who was low bred and contemptible and she knew they were right but she would not give in something within her rose in defiance of her father's feeling she saw Barnes almost as they saw him but something she could not tell what made her loyal to him she would tell them nothing of his brutality of his meanness of the things he had said to her if he is not good enough to come to your house I am NOT good enough for a moment the general was nonplussed could not help admiring her loyalty to the man whose unworthiness he was sure she realized he was a man of quick understanding and he knew the kind of things he would say to her knew of the reproaches with which he would taunt her but she would not admit them to him but Peggy my darling we want to help you cried at the mother I don't want your help but he told her father that she would be thrown into the streets of something was not done then I'll be thrown into the streets but we want you Peggy and there was a tremor in general Trelawney's voice do you know trebs home and and he's engaged the girl became interested in a moment trav home engaged to whom to the sweetest girl I ever met cried the general he met her in Ireland her name's Mary Penryn she and her people were at our house last night we all fell in love with her right away and Travis such a changed fellow you never saw such a difference in a boy the pen runes are a Cornish family they have a place it is little more than a farm just outside Falmouth and they're awfully nice people and she what she liked is she could looking perhaps some might not call her so replied her father but she's such a sweet unselfish good girl the words made her realize where she was what she had done and again the look of defiance came back she wanted to see Travis fiance more than words could say her blood was thicker than water and in her own way she had always been fond of Trev but her father's words were a reproach sweet unselfish good she sneered I suppose she's one of the pious sort yes replied the general quietly she is she says nothing about it but she is if Trev had searched the world of he could not have found anyone who would have pleased me more the girl did not speak a word but looked out of the window on the dirty dismal street with unseeing eyes if you'll come home said the mother I'm sure Trev will go and bring her to meet you he doesn't need any excuse to be with her I can tell you and she laughed as she spoke no reply to Pig I don't want to see her of course you've told her all about me and they don't want to be introduced to my news sister as a bad girl of the family for that matter I'm not the bad girl of the family I've only done what I felt Admira – have you seen Eleanor lately no replied mrs. Trelawney with a sigh we have not is there any use you're waiting here longer asked Peggy after an awkward silence this kind of thing doesn't make me any happier and I don't suppose it's very pleasant for you I'm not penitent a bit I'm just the same as ever I was I'm not going home to be pitied by the servants and and patronized besides I have my duty to my husband she said this as a kind of afterthought and she flung the words that her father almost insolently very well Paik said the general then there is no more to be said except to this we want to help you if we can I refuse your help I won't accept anything if you won't recognise Jim I don't want your help do you think I can recognise him asked the general quietly would you bake like me to have him in my house and introduce him as the husband you have chosen perhaps there was something more in her father's tones than in his words that helped the girl to see what his feelings were and although she wanted to answer in the affirmative she could not something kept back the words yet we want to help you my little girl went on the general tenderly and I don't want to be helped then we may as well go Alice good morning my dear please remember that her parents house is always open to you in spite of himself he could not help the emphasis which almost unconsciously he laid on the last word Peggy watched them go saw them get into the motorcar which stood near the door and drive away then she stood for a long time motionless her mind far away she was thinking about a thousand things she could not put into words presently she realized that there was a packet on the table and almost listless Lee she looked at it it was a long envelope and in her father's handwriting she saw the words for Peggy eagerly she opened it at that moment she forgot all her pride and her stubbornness forgot to that sense of defiance which she was glad she had maintained the envelope contained the letter from the landlord of the house telling them that if the rent was not paid they would be forthwith ejected it also contained at the bills which Barnes had shown her the night before these Barnes had left at the generals house she saw at a glance that the bills were receded and that the account for the rent was settled then she caught sight of another envelope on which was written the words with dads and mother's love it contained several pound notes in spite of herself her lips quivered and again her eyes became flooded with tears she stood for some time holding the notes in her hand as if undecided what to do with them pride defiance tenderness hunger were all expressed in her eyes her father had helped her in spite of herself the rent was paid the bills were settled and he had left her money she saw the meaning of it her father still loved and although when helping her he was obliged to help Barnes he would help him as little as possible he would not recognize their marriage but his heart went out to her then the floodgates of her misery were opened and throwing herself upon the shabby greasy lodging-house chair she burst into heartbreaking sobs Barnes did not come home to lunch that day but at half past 6:00 in the evening he appeared with a look half of fear half of expectation in his eyes for in spite of the mountebank bravado which he exhibited before her the man was afraid of her she did not speak on his arrival but laid his evening meal before him without a word nice loving welcome anyhow said Barnes presently aren't you going to have any dinner I'm not hungry what's the matter he snarled that's your pride I suppose and there was a sneer in her voice what do you mean you know what I mean you went to my father last night and told him about the rent and the bills that had not been paid has he been here asked Barnes eagerly What did he say she took the receipt it accounts from the envelope and flung them before him there she said and there was infinite scorn in her voice Barnes looked at them eagerly and noted that the bills were receded that's something anyhow he muttered in tones of satisfaction but is that all peg didn't he give you anything else tell me all about it What did he say he said enough to make me ashamed oh what's the use of talking like that we can't live on air but surely this is not all he gave you some money didn't he I told him I would not have any reply to Paik I didn't know he'd paid these things until he'd gone I never felt so humiliated in my life do you mean to say he offered you money and you wouldn't take it why you bloomin idiot can't you see that he caught his wife's eyes as he spoke and in spite of his anger the sentence hung on his lips unfinished after all what's this he went on presently the next week's rent will be due on Saturday and then what are we going to do if instead of paying these things he'd given you the money it would have been something like I could have held a part of these bills over for a few weeks and we should have had something to go on with you mean that you would not have paid your debts you can bet your shoes I wouldn't have paid them until I was obliged but did he come alone no my mother came with him and you didn't ask them for any money certainly not well for the blathering fools why you might easily have got a 20 pound note out of them but for your infernal pride did they say anything about your going home yes what they wanted to take me back with them and you wouldn't go no well of all the Barnes's indignation and wonder seemed to be so great that he could not finish the sentence why didn't you go because I didn't want to did they say anything about me not much but they said something what was it they said they would have me but they would not have you and what was your reply I told them that if you were not good enough to be received then I wasn't Barnes was silent a few seconds even he understood something of what was in the girl's mind do you think they will ever relent pake he asked presently no they never will a nice Christian he is sneered Barnes a nice forgiving Christian gentleman isn't he he'll not have his own son-in-law in his house dirty pride he's no gentleman peg he may be a general and all that kind of thing but he's no gentleman my girl the girls anger was aroused in spite of herself of course he would say that she remarked why shouldn't I say it it's true isn't it no it's not true then what do you mean by talking like that because you don't know what a gentleman is she was angry with herself as she spoke she felt that she was becoming more and more common the longer she lived with this man felt that she was sinking to his level and yet she could not help herself look here none of that cried Barnes starting to his feet I'm not going to be insulted very well then you shouldn't ask me questions yes hit me if you like but you dare not you're afraid he flung himself into his chair again and went on with his dinner did they tell you that too brother travels home yes he's on leave I suppose yes he brought home his fiancee oh I see some swell Dame I suppose of course she could come home but I'm not good enough who was she her name is Penryn she comes of an old Cornish family old Cornish family eh no wonder the country is turning Bolshevist I shall turn Bolshevik mice up soon it would do me good to see some of these proud stomach Duras de Kratz thrown into the streets peg did not reply for some time after this there was a silence Barnes was evidently thinking deeply I'm going out he said at length the girl did not speak you don't ask me where I'm going but I'll tell you I'm going to get a little pleasure a little comfort fat lot of comfort I get my own home with a wife who won't be reasonable still picky kept silence have you nothing to say I was only wondering where I should go when you had gone how you can go or you like I don't care a feeling of helplessness and hopelessness rushed over her and in spite of all she could do she burst into a flood of sobbing what's the use of that asked Barnes if you were reasonable we might get on even yet reasonable what do you mean well we're in a whole while rents are as they are we can't live in this way there must be a change if we are to stay together there are only two courses open to us yes what are they one is that you'll get your old man to help us Oh Jim she cried I can't I simply can't think of the way I left them think of the promises you made me and then ask yourself how I can go back to them and and no I can't do it I really can't I'll do anything in reason let's get out of London let's go into the country somewhere and take a little cottage I'll work like a slave I'll do anything but don't ask me to accept charity in in that way catch me leaving London cried Barnes counts Jim Barnes getting away from everything that makes life worth living besides you talk like a fool how can I get anything to do in the country what is the other thing you have in your mind asked the girl why if you'd consent to go to Camden town and live with mother we could save practically all our rent that would make two pounds a week difference to us we could just manage then but but good we have our own rooms need we live with the family I daresay that could be managed replied Barnes quickly he saw signs of yielding in Peggy's face and was pleased accordingly part you must put on no airs you know and you'll have to help mother with the work I don't mind work I don't mind anything cried the girl but I do want to maintain my self-respect well there's some sense in that said Barnes somewhat mollified and I'll go up and talk with mother right away but you are an awful fool beg your father could give you 3 or 4 pounds a week without knowing it was gone and we could be as happiest turtledoves a week later peg found herself installed at fifteen primrose Terrace Camden Town it had cost her a good deal to consent but consented she had and for a few days after she had taken up her boat there she felt happier she did her best to be agreeable to Barnes his two sisters Edith and Emily while even mrs. Barnes was mollified at her evident endeavour to be pleasant yes and mrs. Barnes to a neighbor to whom she had given a glowing account of Peggy's Advent my son has brought his wife home and as you may say mrs. Simpkins she has brought a new interest to my life she is a dear little thing and of course a perfect lady I error father as a general said mrs. Simpkins yes said mrs. Barnes and will soon be made barren that too perhaps the Lord of course it's very high family oh it was a perfect love match mrs. Simpkins well I hope it will turn out all right remarked mrs. Simpkins with a sniff I hope so I'm sure replied mrs. Barnes and of course she fair worships the ground gem stands on well I don't think much of these fine matches after all she can't be much of a wife do him or warrant she's never done a day's work in her life and doesn't know how to cook a dinner of course no lady wood was mrs. barns reply then what good is she is a wife what's the use of marrying into our family if you get no benefit from it now if the general was to allow her say for pound a week don't be something in it but there I suppose he was not agreeable to the match why dear mrs. Simpkins it's all the other way he was delighted with our Jim then why didn't they go to amstead to live asked mrs. Simpkins you say the general lives in a big house why shouldn't they're large there instead of both of you oh my dear and mrs. barns gave a knowing smile you don't know our Jim he's a regular Barnes he is proud as Lucifer Jim says the general to him you come and live with me my house is open to you but Jim wouldn't know general he says I've got me pride I have and I'll not accept charity from anyone that's why he wouldn't take an allowance but of course Emily and Edith will go up to amstead sometimes and very likely Liddy t'lani will come to see me I shall believe that when I see it sniffed mrs. Simpkins watch you don't believe me cried mrs. Barnes indignantly didn't you see the general and his son come here the very day they was married oh yes I know it was a runaway marriage and no doubt the Trelawney's were a bit angry at the time but that was before they knew my Jim what the general said to me that morning was this once done can't be undone mrs. bond and I hope the two families will be friendly he says you'll see mrs. Simpkins you'll see in spite of this and similar conversations however Barnes was greatly chagrined at peggy's insistent refusals to appeal to her parents for help what I say is this she said to her one night if you loved Jim as you ought to you'll do everything you can for him that's what I say what's the use of happened silly pride like that it isn't as though your parents couldn't afford it Jim told me before we were married that he had no need of my father's help was her reply oh that's all my I young people talk like that without thinking and I'll tell you this Jim won't stand it forever you know all it Mitch and not bad-looking go but good looks don't last long and you're not as pretty as you were when Jim knew you first Peggy realized this with a sense of bitterness realized too that her clothes were becoming shabby and that she saw no means of buying new ones of course went on mrs. Barnes we were all pleased when Jim told us about you at first but we naturally thought that your father when he came home would be sensible it isn't as though Jim were a common young man he might have married well he might and when he threw up Agnes parks for you I gave him a piece of my mind gave up Agnes parks for me what do you mean Oh didn't you know and mrs. Barnes laughed meaningly did you think you were the first girl that Jim ever kissed why he's had dozens of them my dear and Agnes Parks was a good chance to just nice little millinery business of her own and makes good money what all he says is it's very hard for a young man to give up a girl with money and to marry somebody who hasn't got a penny and who is too proud to get it I'm not too proud replied Peggy I have tried to get work mrs. Barnes laughed sneeringly tried to get work yes but what good are you it's all very well to say he went to munitions and made good money before the war was over that's no good now you know you're not that for nothing and that's why I say Jim was a fool to marry you if you'd any sense it would be a different thing besides why hasn't your mother come to see you like any decent mother art because I've not told them where I am replied Peggy and because I would not have her here and why not asked mrs. Barnes indignantly were married into each other's families and there ought to be a friendship between us if she was anything like a lady she didn't write me and the girls to come and see her and the general would drop in here of a night and smoke a pipe that's what I should like to see I told him so straight I said to him in general I said you want to set them up in a nice little home I said and give them a thousand pounds as a nest egg and then let there be friendship between the two families that's what I said to him straight now then run away and leave the dinner table I'm not going to do the work of the house while you sit here doing nothing what this kind of thing cost Peggy can be better understood than described ever since the first day she came to the house mrs. Barnes had insisted on her doing the work of a servant this the girl had done eagerly almost gladly anything was better than sitting brooding over the past and wondering what the future would bring forth much as she hated her associations with mrs. Barnes this was not the heaviest burden she had to bear it was when Barnes his two sisters came home at night and she had to listen to their taunts that her life became almost unbearable for although the first few days they treated her almost with kindness their attitude presently changed the girl could not help being proud and somewhat reserved and the mrs. Barnes instinctively felt that Peggy regarded them as inferiors it was this that antagonized them of course they said to her you stay here all day and do nothing while we earn our living we've not got any aristocratic friends but let me tell you this madam the name of Barnes is just as good as that of Trelawney and if either of us married we wouldn't be a drag on our husbands and you need not sniff that the young men we bring home either there were Jim's friends before you knew him and are quite as good as you are as for Barnes he did not spend many of his evenings at home in the mane he went out alone leaving his young wife to do the best she could aren't you ever going to spend an evening at home Jim she said to him one night I'll go with you to the movies if you like oh you've come to that have you laughed Barnes time was when you declared you would not go to such common places I'll go anywhere for a little change was her reply we might go to the movies and even to the theaters if you'd be sensible he retorted but where am I to get money from for amusements no madam when you're dirty pride has come down a bit and when your father comes off his high horse I may be able to give you some pleasure not till then as for me I'm going to get comfort where I can after she had been at Camden Town a few weeks she wrote to her sister baking her to come and see her she was utterly miserable and depressed and longed for society other than that of the Barnes family she had not heard from Elinor for a long time and she had not the heart to go and see her but now as she could bear it no longer and although the Barnes girls had hinted to her that her sister was obliged to leave st. Hildebrand's mansions she wrote to her there and was more than delighted when she got a letter saying that her sister would come to her on the following Sunday after noon May Eleanor come to see us cried Barnes when she informed him of her letter of course she may main she mother I suppose so was mrs. Barnes reply but she must take us as we are however I expect that will be alright seeing as how she works for her living the same as other people and I've never been the one to keep up ill-feeling between the two families during the next two days mrs. Barnes was more than ordinarily gracious to Peggy and even went so far as to make special purchases at a local confectioner's in honor of Eleanor's coming winter was now upon them and the days were cold and rare and if there was one spot more depressing than another in the whole of camden town it was primrose Terrace a cold grey mist wrapped at the whole neighborhood like a mantle and mrs. Barnes complained that the gasping key used in her room would drive her to the poorhouse on the Sunday afternoon when Elinor was expected Peggy sat in her bedroom alone she had drawn the terror to the window and was watching every passerby with eagerness the thought of her sister coming to see her was like a ray of sunshine on a dark day never had she realized how dear her own flesh and blood were to her at length she saw her coming down the street and then with an eagerness of which she did not believe herself capable she rushed downstairs and ran towards the door Oh Elinor she cried I am glad you've come this way quick but as get upstairs before they see us end of chapter 27 chapter xxviii of prodigal daughters by Joseph Hawking this LibriVox recording is in the public domain recording by Kate Wallace chapter 28 Eleanor visits Peggy when they reached Peggy's bedroom the two sisters looked at each other for some time without speaking it seemed as though a barrier stood between them a barrier that both were afraid to pull down I hope you're not cold said Peggy presently there's a fire downstairs but I wanted to have you a few minutes to myself I don't mind the cold replied Elinor is anything the matter Peggy why have you come here to live I'll tell you all about that presently replied the girl but I want to know about you these Barnes girls have been saying all sorts of horrible things about you they aren't true are they I don't know what they have been saying replied her sister but there's nothing you need to trouble about are you still its beacon Burnham's no replied the girl I've got another place where at another firm in the city good pay the same as I had before and that girl chalu isn't she cold she's not living with you is she Emily Boren says but I won't tell you no she's gone away replied Elinor calmly but another girl lives with me now one who was in the same office is she nice she's rather colorless and altogether uninteresting but she's alright tell me about yourself why have you come here to live a flush-mounted Peggy's cheeks ah-hoo she said I'm so miserable tell me about it Jim said we could not afford to live in a place of our own and and it's too horrible to think about why aren't they kind to you it's not that so much they seem to have different feelings they don't understand you know but they're I'm glad to have you they'll be calling us down to tea in a few minutes but I just wanted to get you up here alone first have you heard from father and mother not often replied Elinor they came to see me soon after I left home I told you about that they've written to me twice since and I replied that I preferred to stay where I was and to be alone then John wrote asking if he might come to see me and I told him no peggy gave a quivering sigh do you know trebs home she asked he's engaged is he do we know the girl no but they say she's wonderful how do you know they came to see me that is father and mother Zedd before I came here tell me about it cried Elinor eagerly why did they come to see you did they say anything about me then Peggy unable to contain herself further told her sister the story of the past few months and they asked you to go home yes and oh I did so long to go why didn't you would you how could I they refused to have anything to do with Jim they have insulted him again and again and after what I had said to them I could not I wish you'd let me know how poor you were said Elinor presently I would have helped you but I thought you had only just enough to pay your way yes but I would have managed to help you somehow would you oh but I could not take anything I couldn't really I say Elinor it hasn't been a great success has it Elinor was silent why haven't you been to see me he asked Peggy presently still the other girl did not speak oh you need not be afraid to tell me and Peggy knows it her sisters looks I know what you feel you never liked Jim I know and now it's worse than ever do you still like him asked Eleanor is he kind to you of course he's kind to me right Peggy in an attempt to be loyal and of course I'm fond of him but yes it's being here the girl almost sobbed his mother and sisters are just awful sometimes I think they mean to be kind but they don't understand they seem to think that father and mother should come to see them and should make Jim and allowance they laugh at what they call my pride because I won't write home for help if I could only get away if if we two could be together but you've told me nothing about yourself and I want to know do you see much of Tempe's and Cory now no why not have you quarreled I don't see anything of her anyhow d go to the amazon club no I haven't been for a long time why I haven't that's all Oh Eleanor I do wish I could go home why don't you I can't you know I can't I could not leave Jim and they won't have him I say couldn't we manage to live together you say you have a fairly good salary and if Jim could find a cheaper place couldn't you come and live with us we might manage then I must think about it replied Elinor after a long silence perhaps it might be managed I know you don't like Jim persisted Peggy but I wish you could I would do anything to get away from these people here it's not only Jim's sister but they're young men who come to see them they're simply awful they expect me to laugh at their jokes and to be friendly with them but I can't I simply can't you'll see them presently and then you'll understand their tea is ready mrs. Barnes is coming for us come now you've two girls said mrs. Barnes entering the room tea is ready how are you mr. Lonnie holding out her hand to Elinor glad to see you I'm sure I expected you to come here a lot after Jim and your sister were married I'm not the one to bear malice I say let's be friends but come down right away tease all on the table and I don't keep it after 5 o'clock to please nobody especially on a Sunday afternoon evidently the occasion was intended to be an important one a round table too large for the room had been placed in the center of what they called their drawing-room and was covered with a large amount of eatables tears were drawn up all round it as if for a large party no sooner had Eleanor and Peggy come down than Emily and Edith Barnes followed by their Swain's came out of the back room while Jim Barnes stood at the foot of the stairs waiting to receive them hello Eleanor cried Barnes with a great show of hardiness now this is what I call something like I'm sure I'm pleased to see you how are you what not one kiss for your brother-in-law come now I say I must salute my sister with a brotherly kiss and Barnes put his hand on her shoulder as if to carry his words into effect yes and why not said mrs. Barnes as Elinor drew away I'm sure nothing could be more natural my husband's brother Andrew Barnes he was a clerk in a surveyors office he was always came to see us twice a week after we were married and he never failed to kiss me I should have thought it funny if he hadn't nothing doing Tim cried Emily's Swain a young man who rejoiced in the name of Sam pilling I say that's too bad Sam pilling was Emily Barnes's latest conquest both the young men who were at primrose Terrace on the night general Trelawney first returned from abroad had long since been forgotten but I think the young ladies quite right went on pilling kissing ain't for public I say it's a private affair what do you say mr. wani well kissing or no kissing interposed mrs. Barnes it's tea time and I hate tea when it's over brewed or when it gets cold over brewed tea always gives me indigestion as for cold tea it's just horrible there now sit down the table is rather small for so many of us so you'll have to squeeze up not the slightest objection to squeezing mrs. Barnes laughed pilling indeed I think it's okay there now we're all snug and comfortable plenty of room haven't you miss Trelawny tell me if I'm squeezing you too tight at this there was a general titter although Emily Barnes was much annoyed that pelling should have chosen to sit beside Eleanor instead of herself Eleanor won't mind remarked Emily when the laughter had subsided will you the girl was saved the pain of answering by mrs. Barnes asking in a loud voice who would and who would not have sugar look here mother said Barnes after that lady had finished pouring out tea this cake and stuff is all very well but both pilling and leather hoods have come all the way from bottom and there'll be a bit peckish haven't you got anything more substantial oh yes replied mrs. Barnes joyfully I boiled a bitter amia today and it's on the sideboard in the other room if anybody would like to have a bit of am say so will you Eleanor my dear make yourself quite at home you're one of the family and I'm not going to call you mr. Lonnie anymore Jim shouted mrs. Barnes to her son who had gone to cut the hem there is some mustard in the cupboard and pepper and salt too if anybody wants it but I'm afraid it's too much of a crush to have the pickles out aren't you having any ham mr. Oney asked pelling who was vigorously applying his knife and fork his people originally came from Yorkshire were what they called high teas are common Elinor replied in the negative oh well London ways are all very well remarked pilling but give me old Yorkshire it may be a bit rough up there but we know what's what in her endeavour to be agreeable Elinor entered into conversation with pelling who seemed to find her company vastly entertaining indeed he became so interested in what Elinor said that he paid but little attention to Emily Barnes on the other side of the table as a consequence that lady became jealous in addition she had anything but kindly feelings towards Elinor she remembered the conversation between them on Hampstead Heath some time before which had wrinkled ever since she thinks she's honoring us by being here to tea she reflected but I'll pay her out before long now this is what I like remarked mrs. Barnes presently all the children home and everybody happy yes I know things are a terribly dear but dear as they are I hope everybody will have a good meal that's what my poor husband used to say when people came in to have a bite with us captain come again was his motto Herbert things are different now from what they were then I say said Leatherhead who's sitting next to Edith Barnes was enjoying himself vastly couldn't the whole lot of us do a theater tomorrow night come now mrs. Barnes wouldn't you shut up the house for one evening there's a good piece on at the Lyceum and nothing would please me better than to pay for two or three seats what do you say pilling own game said pilling and I've heard the plays a good one plenty of fighting and spying in mystery that's the sort of thing I like what do you say miss Trelawney I'm sure it will give me great pleasure to take you I'm afraid I can't replied Elinor but why have even other engagement of course she has said Emily Barnes who thought she saw a chance of pain that stuck-up Trelawney girl out as she called it the Lyceum is too tamed for her she prefers going to the frivolity with mr. Wickham and to some place to supper afterwards by the way how is mr. Wickham Elinor come come Emily that's going a bit too far interposed Barnes why is it going too far asked Emily by this time madly jealous that the attention her lover was paying Eleanor she does go to the frivolity with mr. Wickham and a man I know told me he saw them at supper at the azure sky one of those fast nightclubs that was raided of course mr. Wickham is a married man but that doesn't matter does it come now it's no use getting huffy about it we know what we know a flush of shame surmounted the girls face and she did not know what to say she felt as though her horrible experiences of the evening to it Emily referred must be known to all London and she would have given anything to have got out of the room her previous experiences during the afternoon were painful enough but she felt that this was more than she could bear and what if a girl go out for an evening Zin join mminton who evidently admired Elinor very much as far as I know there's no harm in the friv or going out for a bit of supper and a hot bath towards every party desert these days some people seem very lucky snood Emily it isn't every typist that can drink champagne with their suppers no it isn't laughed spilling I wish I could get it sometimes now if we've all finished it a broken mrs. Barnes you'd better get into the other room Peggy and I will wash up the tea-things now Miss Trelawney you must not take any notice of Emily she's a bit tart with her tongue but she doesn't mean anything wrong go into the sitting-room and make yourself at home there's a nice fire there I'm afraid I can't stay any longer replied Elinor I must go but not yet objected mrs. Barnes it's only just turned six thank you I really must get back well if you will your will assented mrs. Barnes after a great many protestations had been made but I don't see any reason why we expected you to spend the evening with us I'll see you home anyhow said Barnes no no please don't trouble replied Elinor I can quickly get to the station from here couldn't think of it persisted Barnes what see my own sister-in-law go home alone no indeed that wouldn't do but I really prefer it aged the girl I couldn't think of you're leaving peg I hope aches alright I often leave her of an evening you see she has mother now I'll put on my overcoat right away but I really couldn't dream event said Elinor with the note in her voice which even Barnes could not help noticing do you mean to say you'd rather have me he said with heightened voice very well I'm not the one to push my company upon anyone oh please don't take it that way said Elinor who was anxious for Peggy's sake not to have any unpleasantness but I really would prefer to be alone of course she would laughed Emily no doubt she has her engagements Tim and although you have married a girl without a penny to her name the Trelawney's think themselves superior to the Barnes Peggy had listened to all this in positive agony she had heard a garbled account of what Emily Barnes had said to her sister when they met on Hampstead Heath but she had no idea that the girl would have said such things before others she saw how every word had cut Elinor like a knife saw the anger and pain which she had tried to suppress Emily she cried passionately I did not bring my sister here to be insulted had I known she should not have come where we didn't want her retorted Emily we maybe common people but we are respectable stick up for your family Jim talk about insult indeed we don't go to nightclubs with married men of course she wouldn't let you kiss her Jim but I'll warrant she was not so particular about mr. Wickham her own brother-in-law isn't good enough for her oh do let me get out of this cried Elinor losing control over herself put on your hat and come with me to the station peg that's it is it shouted Barnes you wouldn't let me come with you but you're dragged Pegg out I'm going to have a kiss before you go what happened after that Elinor could hardly tell she remembered a wild struggle with Barnes and presently found herself in the street with Peggy by her side as they neared Camden Town station she grew calmer I couldn't peg really I couldn't she said couldn't what asked Peggy couldn't live with you and that man forgive me I don't want to hurt your feelings but I really couldn't Peggy was silent she realized what was in her sister's mind and while she felt somewhat angry she could not blame her I hate the thought of you going back to them said Eleanor presently it's horrible simply too horrible ejaculated the other look here come with me to live we could manage somehow I need not pay any more for rooms you shall sleep with me as you used to when we were kids and and perhaps I could find you work Peggy's eyes flashed at this and for a moment she seemed as though she would accept her sister's suggestion she shook her head despondently however no she said I can't leave Jim but forgive me for asking you there if I had known oh never mind me interrupted her sister I'm alright it's you I'm thinking about come and see me off and peg I nearly always stay in of an evening now and I get home from business at half past six I dare not replied the girl they say things bad enough to me now when she returned to Primrose Terrace she went straight to her bedroom and sat there in the dark Barnes heard her come in and when she didn't come downstairs and join the others he went to her what are you moping here for he asked angrily why don't you come down with the rest and be pleasant I wanted to be alone Jim was her reply alone why do you want to be alone Oh you're thinking about Eleanor I suppose well what business had she to be so hoity-toity peg did not reply aren't you going to speak aren't you coming down with the others and be pleasant still she was silent oh hang your dirty pride he said with an oath well if I can't have a bit of comfort here I shall go where I can soon after he left the house after that Peggy's life became a perfect misery mrs. Barnes upgraded her with being utterly useless besides being a drag on the family if you'd only be sensible said mrs. Barnes Jim would like you better but how can he care about a girl who was always peevish and never brings a penny to help or I tell you straight we are not going to stand it much longer the girls are complaining too and say the place isn't like home any longer if you want to keep Jim you'd better swallow your pride and get your family to help you what would a few pounds a week be to them nothing and it would be a great deal to us as for Barnes he seldom stayed in the house at night when he came home from work he partook of his food in silence and then went out alone while mrs. Barnes and her daughters would look at each other significantly do you know where Jim goes to asked Peggy on one occasion he won't tell me oh he goes where he can have Pleasant society retorted Emily it's no use saying I like it said mrs. Barnes woefully but Jim was always that way and they've always said that he liked Agnes best of all the girls he kept company with of course she has nice house too and nobody would be pleasanter or more entertaining than Jim when he's a mind to a little later Peggy realized that an air of mystery prevailed in the house there was nothing definite upon which she could fasten but from the sudden silence which fell upon mrs. Barnes and her daughters whenever she entered the room she could not help realizing that they were discussing matters about which they did not wish her to know have you seen your sister lately asked mrs. Barnes of her one day I've only seen her once since she was here replied Peggy but she showed my dear urged the woman with a show of friendliness we don't want to be a disturbing element between relations of course she thinks herself too good to come here again and we think ourselves too good to have her snapped Emily still I say you ought to go and see her sometimes continued mrs. Barnes at that moment Barnes came back to his dinner and evidently something unpleasant had happened for he was in a bad temper I was just saying to Peggy that she ought to go and see her sister oftener why don't you spend a Saturday afternoon with her typists are always free of a Saturday afternoon would you mind if I went Jim asked Peggy and there was eager nurse in her voice I don't care where you go was his reply you can throw your self in the river for all I care come Jim you don't mean that said his mother coaxingly don't mind him Peggy my dear you go and have a chat with your sister it will do you good it came about therefore that on the following Saturday afternoon Peggy made her way to Elinor's rooms look here peg said Eleanor I'm not going to ask you any questions but we're going to have a jolly time I have been very economical lately and I can afford to give you a treat we will go to a matinee of Chu chin tau this afternoon and then we'll go to a nice place for tea and after that we'll come home here and spend the evening together that's awfully good of you you're sure you can afford it perfectly sure it will be lovely quite Peggy but it must not get home later than nine o'clock that can be easily managed come on for nearly three hours the girls forgot their troubles in the brilliant spectacle at His Majesty's Theatre and afterwards according to Eleanor's programme they went to a cosy Tea Room where they spent some time together we've had a glorious time cried Peggy when at length they reached Eleanor's room but Eleanor you don't seem happy don't bother about me I'm all right and don't let's think of anything unpleasant let's talk about old times when we were kitties together for more than two hours they chatted together as girls we'll own or appear to be gay almost hilariously so while Peggy forgetting for a moment her associations with Primrose Terrace seemed something like the Peggy of old times oh if we could only live together Eleanor if we could only spend our evenings like this but we can't replied the other I must say it pink I simply could not stand that man I know you have married him but but he's impossible won't you leave him and come with me no replied Peggy even yet she felt she must be loyal to him the evening before he had remained at home and she thought he appeared kinder and more thoughtful just before nine o'clock peggy left at st. Hildebrand's mansions for camden town and she shuddered as she made her way through the cold wintry night it was not raining but the air was dank and depressing the streets were muddy and miserable as she neared the station her mind flashed in spite of herself to her old home her conversation with her sister had brought up a thousand memories of those days before the war when as children they laughed and romped in the great playroom she thought of a party they had once had when her father had come into the room just as Santa Claus and had given them all sorts of presents what fun they had what laughter and she had given it a hole up for this she was still only a child in years and yet she felt that her childhood was passing from her and that she had nothing to look forward to but a lifetime's association with the Barnes family her mad she had been not only mad but wicked for she had been wicked she felt it now she remembered the look on her father's face as she saw him last realized how old and how Haggard he appeared and yet he had been kind and loving through it all then she thought of her mother thought also of the way she had defied her and threatened her and why had she done it how had it all ended would Barnes be home when she arrived at Primrose Terrace she did not expect him she almost hoped he would not be oh the horror of the place the miserable squalid course common horror of it all yes she had been fooled and worse than a fool she too had been common and vulgar she had been enamoured of people of whom she now felt ashamed fancy introducing Barnes to her father's friends but more than that she had been a wicked yes positively wicked she had saddened the lives of both her father and her mother again her mind flashed back to the old home of her childhood and she remembered how her father used to put her to bed and listen to her while she said her prayers she called to mind the words with which she always finished her prayers god bless daddy and mummy and Trev and John and Eleanor and make me a good girl and bless everybody and make them happy for Christ's sake amen she had laughed at all this now she was going back to Camden town to Primrose Terrace and to the Barnes family she left the train at Camden town and found her way through the dismal muddy streets to Primrose Terrace when she arrived at number 13 she founded the place in darkness what did it mean mrs. Barnes never went out in the evening although the girls always went to the pictures on a Saturday evening and generally returned about half-past ten with their young men she tried the door it was locked and silence reigned in the house the houses on either side of number thirteen were also in darkness what should she do perhaps mrs. Barnes thought she would not be home until late and had gone with her daughter's to the movies she remembered a picture Palace in the Main Street not far away she would go there and spend an hour by that time mrs. Barnes would have returned a little later she had partially forgotten her troubles in watching an impossible story being reproduced on the screen then when it was over she came out into the street again o'clock nearby struck half-past ten she hurried back to Primrose Terrace and found that number thirteen was still in darkness what could it mean they knew she was out and she had told them she should return about nine o'clock she seized the rusty knocker and rapped at the door there was no response she knocked louder still no answer she began to be frightened something had happened and with a kind of frenzy she knocked still louder then she heard a movement in the adjoining house and the door opened who's that it's I mrs. Simpkins mrs. Jim Barnes oh it's you is it well mrs. Barnes asked me to tell you when you came back but she and her girls had gone away for a bit of a holiday but where I don't know nothing about that she said they might be away several days I expect this letter would tell you all you want to know she asked me to give it to you if you should come good night dark ain't it and the woman sniggered meaningly Peggy took the letter like one in a dream she was too bewildered to readily comprehend the meaning of it all she walked to the nearest lamppost and opened the letter it was in Barnes's handwriting but there was no address or signature I've had enough of it she read and so I expect have you if you want your liberty you can easily get it I'm going my way and you can go yours end of chapter 28

2 thoughts on “Prodigal Daughters | Joseph Hocking | Literary Fiction | Audiobook | English | 6/8

  1. Prodigal Daughters | Joseph Hocking | Literary Fiction | Audiobook | English | 6/8

    Parts of this video:

    Part 1:

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    Part 6: (this video)

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  2. Prodigal Daughters | Joseph Hocking | Literary Fiction | Audiobook | English | 6/8

    25: [00:00:00] – Trev's Engagement

    26: [00:23:01] – Jim's Appeal for Help

    27: [00:49:32] – The Home of the Barnes

    28: [01:23:51] – Eleanor Visits Peggy

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