The Crystal Stopper
5. The Twenty-Seven
The child was sleeping peacefully on the bed. The mother did not move from the sofa on
which Lupin had laid her; but her easier breathing and the blood which was now
returning to her face announced her impending recovery from her swoon.
He observed that she wore a wedding-ring. Seeing a locket hanging from her bodice, he
stooped and, turning it, found a miniature photograph representing a man of about forty
and a lad--a stripling rather--in a schoolboy's uniform. He studied the fresh, young face
set in curly hair:
"It's as I thought," he said. "Ah, poor woman!"
The hand which he took between his grew warmer by degrees. The eyes opened, then
closed again. She murmured:
"Do not distress yourself... it's all right he's asleep."
She recovered consciousness entirely. But, as she did not speak, Lupin put questions to
her, to make her feel a gradual need of unbosoming herself. And he said, pointing to the
"The schoolboy is Gilbert, isn't he?"
"Yes," she said.
"And Gilbert is your son?"
She gave a shiver and whispered:
"Yes, Gilbert is my son, my eldest son."
So she was the mother of Gilbert, of Gilbert the prisoner at the Sante, relentlessly pursued
by the authorities and now awaiting his trial for murder!
"And the other portrait?"