"A very singular prohibition,' remarked Mrs. Fyne after a short silence. 'He seemed to love the child.'
"She was puzzled. But I surmised that it might have been the sullenness of a man unconscious of guilt and standing at bay to fight his 'persecutors,' as he called them; or else the fear of a softer emotion weakening his defiant attitude; perhaps, even, it was a self-denying ordinance, in order to spare the girl the sight of her father in the dock, accused of cheating, sentenced as a swindler--proving the possession of a certain moral delicacy.
"Mrs. Fyne didn't know what to think. Shė supposed it might have been mere callousness. But the people amongst whom the girl had fallen had positively not a grain of moral delicacy. Of that she was certain. Mrs. Fyne could not undertake to give me an idea of their abominable vulgarity. Flora used to tell her something of her life in that household, over there, down Limehouse*way. It was incredible. It passed Mrs. Fyne's comprehension. It was a sort of moral savagery which she could not have thought possible.
"I, on the contrary, thought it very possible. I could imagine easily how the poor girl must have been bewildered and hurt at her reception in that household-- envied for her past while delivered defenceless to the tender mercies of people without any fineness either of feeling or mind, unable to understand her misery,