“So, Mesurier,” he continued, affectionately, “when I met you and understood something of your nature, I thought that in you I had found one who was worthy to guard this treasure for me, and perhaps pass it on again to some other chosen spirit—so that these beautiful words of a noble woman’s heart shall not die—for when a man loves a woman, Mesurier, as you yourself must know, he is insatiable to hear her praise, and it is agony for him to think that her memory may suffer extinction. Therefore, Mesurier,—Henry, let me call you,—I want to give the memory of my love into your hands. I want you to love it for me, when perhaps I can love it no more. I want you sometimes to open this box, and read in these letters, as if they were your own; I want you sometimes to speak softly the name of ‘Helen,’ when my lips can speak it no more.”
Such was the beautiful legacy of which Henry found himself the possessor by Gerard’s death. Early on that day he had remembered his promise to his dead friend, and had found the silver box, and locked it away among his own most sacred things. Some day, in an hour and place upon which none might break, he would open the little box and read Helen’s letters, as Gerard had wished. Already one sentence was fixed unforgettably upon his mind, and he said it over softly to himself as he sat by Gerard’s silent bed: “Do you believe in a love that can lie asleep, as in a trance in this world, to awaken again in another,—a love that during centuries of silence can still be true, and be love still in a thousand years? If you do, go on loving me. For that is the only love I dare give you; I must love you no more in this world.”
Strange dreams of the indomitable dust! Already another man’s love was growing dear to him. Already his soul said the name of “Helen” softly for Gerard’s sake.