When I say “confided to me,” I must add that in the many confidences William Sharp made to me on the matter, I was always aware of a reserve of fanciful mystification, and I am by no means sure, even now, that I, or any of us—with the possible exception of Mrs. Sharp—know the whole truth about “Fiona Macleod.” Indeed it is clear from Mrs. Sharp’s interesting revelations of her husband’s temperament that “the whole truth” could hardly be known even to William Sharp himself; for, very evidently in “Fiona Macleod” we have to deal not merely with a literary mystification, but with a psychological mystery. Here it is pertinent to quote the message written to be delivered to certain of his friends after his death: “This will reach you,” he says, “after my death. You will think I have wholly deceived you about Fiona Macleod. But, in an intimate sense this is not so, though (and inevitably) in certain details I have misled you. Only, it is a mystery. I cannot explain. Perhaps you will intuitively understand or may come to understand. ’The rest is silence.’ Farewell. WILLIAM SHARP.”
“It is only right, however, to add that I, and I only, was the author—in the literal and literary sense—of all written under the name of ‘Fiona Macleod.’”
“Only, it is a mystery. I cannot explain.” Does “I cannot explain” mean “I must not explain,” or merely just what it says? I am inclined to think it means both; but, if so, the “must not” would refer to the purely personal mystification on which, of course, none would desire to intrude, and the “cannot” would refer to that psychological mystery which we are at liberty to investigate.