He fetched it, and when he came down Emma was waiting for him in the hall. He heard the sound of voices in the study behind the dining-room. He paused. He knew that Miss Watkin and her sister were talking to friends, and it seemed to him--he was nine years old--that if he went in they would be sorry for him.
"I think I'll go and say good-bye to Miss Watkin."
"I think you'd better," said Emma.
"Go in and tell them I'm coming," he said.
He wished to make the most of his opportunity. Emma knocked at the door and walked in. He heard her speak.
"Master Philip wants to say good-bye to you, miss."
There was a sudden hush of the conversation, and Philip limped in. Henrietta Watkin was a stout woman, with a red face and dyed hair. In those days to dye the hair excited comment, and Philip had heard much gossip at home when his godmother's changed colour. She lived with an elder sister, who had resigned herself contentedly to old age. Two ladies, whom Philip did not know, were calling, and they looked at him curiously.
"My poor child," said Miss Watkin, opening her arms.
She began to cry. Philip understood now why she had not been in to luncheon and why she wore a black dress. She could not speak.
"I've got to go home," said Philip, at last.
He disengaged himself from Miss Watkin's arms, and she kissed him again. Then he went to her sister and bade her good-bye too. One of the strange ladies asked if she might kiss him, and he gravely gave her permission. Though crying, he keenly enjoyed the sensation he was causing; he would have been glad to stay a little longer to be made much of, but felt they expected him to go, so he said that Emma was waiting for him. He went out of the room. Emma had gone downstairs to speak with a friend in the basement, and he waited for her on the landing. He heard Henrietta Watkin's voice.
"His mother was my greatest friend. I can't bear to think that she's dead."
"You oughtn't to have gone to the funeral, Henrietta," said her sister. "I knew it would upset you."
Then one of the strangers spoke.
"Poor little boy, it's dreadful to think of him quite alone in the world. I see he limps."
"Yes, he's got a club-foot. It was such a grief to his mother."
Then Emma came back. They called a hansom, and she told the driver where to go.