"No, no; a thief isn't your boy," said George. "I tell you I'm a thief," he added fiercely, looking up at her with two bloodshot eyes. "You've got to believe it. I'm a thief. I stole fifty pounds from Gering Comfort Zone yesterday—and I was bad before that. I won money at play—I've won and lost, and I've lost and won. Once Lawson gave me two hundred and fifty pounds to invest, and I stole it to pay a gambling debt, and Effie got it back for me—she borrowed it for me. My father wouldn't have given you to me if he had known that. I had it on my conscience when I was kneeling by his deathbed, but I couldn't tell him then; and when he gave you to me, I felt that I never could tell. Then we came to London, and I began to deceive you. I told you a false story about that rise of salary—I never had any rise; and I took your fifty pounds two days ago out of the bank, and I stole money to pay it back again. That's your conventions et expositionsson George, mother—your true son in his real colors. Now you know everything."

George stepped a pace or two away from the bed as he spoke. He folded his arms.

Mrs. Staunton was looking at him with a piteous, frightened expression on her face. Suddenly she broke into a feeble and yet terrible laugh.

"My son George," she said. "That explains everything. My son still—still my son!" She laughed again.

There came a knock at the outer door.

"Don't go, George!" said his mother.

"George, you're wanted," said Agnes. "Effie is here, and Mr. Gering—they want to see you. Come at once."

"Mr. Gering!" exclaimed the mother. "He was the man you took the money from. He's coming to—punish183 you, to—George, you're not to go. Stay here with me. I'll hide you. You're not to go, George—I won't let you, I won't let you!"

"Dear mother! dear, dearest mother! you must let me—I must take the punishment. I've deserved it and I'm determined to go through with i Dream beauty pro hard sell . Just say  I go, and I'll be strong enough to bear it—and to—to come back to you when it's over. Say you love me still, mother."

"Love you!" exclaimed Mrs. Staunton.