He bowed his head. “May God give you all the happiness that I wish for you,” he said. “The End!”
She looked steadily into his eyes for a long time, searching his soul for the hope that never dies. Then she gently withdrew her hands and stood away from him, humbled in her own soul.
“Yes,” she whispered. “Good-bye.”
He straightened his shoulders and drew a deep breath through compressed nostrils. “Good-bye! God bless you,” was all that he said.
She left him standing there; the wall between them was too high, too impregnable for even Love to storm.
Lady Deppingham came to him there a moment later. “I am sorry,” she said tenderly. “Is there no hope?”
“There is no hope—for her!” he said bitterly. “She was condemned too long ago.”
On the pier they said good-bye to him. He was laughing as gaily and as blithely as if the world held no sorrows in all its mighty grasp.
“I’ll look you up in London,” he said to the Deppinghams. “Remember, the real trial is yet to come. Good-bye, Browne. Good-bye, all! You may come again another day!”
The launch slipped away from the pier. He and Bowles stood there, side by side, pale-faced but smiling, waving their handkerchiefs. He felt that Genevra was still looking into his eyes, even when the launch crept up under the walls of the distant ship.
Slowly the great vessel got under way. The American cruiser was already low on the horizon. There was a single shot from the King’s Own: a reverberating farewell!
Hollingsworth Chase turned away at last. There were tears in his eyes and there were tears in those of Mr. Bowles.
“Bowles,” said he, “it’s a rotten shame they didn’t think to say good-bye to old man Skaggs. He’s in the same grave with us.”
A TOAST TO THE PAST
The middle of June found the Deppinghams leaving London once more, but this time not on a voyage into the mysterious South Seas. They no longer were interested in the island of Japat, except as a reminiscence, nor were they concerned in the vagaries of Taswell Skaggs’s will.
The estate was settled—closed!
Mr. Saunders was mentioned nowadays only in narrative form, and but rarely in that way. True, they had promised to visit the little place in Hammersmith if they happened to be passing by, and they had graciously admitted that it would give them much pleasure to meet his good mother.
Two months have passed since the Deppinghams departed from Japat, “for good and all.” Many events have come to pass since that memorable day, not the least of which was the exchanging of L500,000 sterling, less attorneys’ and executors’ fees. To be perfectly explicit and as brief as possible, Lady Deppingham and Robert Browne divided that amount of money and passed into legal history as the “late claimants to the Estate of Taswell Skaggs.”