Something strangely stirred the heart of the woman. Her hand went out and touched his thick, black hair.
“Be of good cheer,” she whispered. “Though I am ignorant and do not fully understand, as yet, some glimmer of the light has reached my eyes. I can learn, and I will learn, and dare, and do! All my life I have eaten the bread of this bitter slavery, taken the thing I had no right to take, unknowingly wielded the lash on bleeding backs of men and women and children.
“All my life have I, in ignorance and idleness, done these things. But never shall I do them again. That is all past and gone, an evil dream that is no more. From now, if you will be patient and forgive and teach me, I will stand with you and yours, and glory in the new-found strength and majesty of this supreme ideal!”
He made no answer, save to reach one hand to her, through the bars. Their hands met in a long, clinging tension. The policeman, somewhat down the corridor, moved officiously in their direction.
“Here, now, none o’ that!” he blurted. “Break away! An’ say, time’s up. Yuh stayed too long, miss, as it is!”
Their hands parted. Still Gabriel did not look up.
“Are—are you coming back again?” he asked.
“Yes, Gabriel. Tomorrow.”
“And will you tell me then who you are?”
“I’ll tell you now, if you want to know.”
“I do,” he answered, and raised his head. Their eyes met, steadily. “I do, now that you too have seen the light, and that you understand. Tell me, who are you?”
A moment’s pause.
Then, facing him, she answered:
“I am Catherine Flint, only daughter of Isaac Flint, the Billionaire!”
Speechless and dazed, Gabriel stared at her as though at some strange apparition.
“Daughter of—of Isaac Flint?” he stammered, clinging to the bars.
“Come, come, lady, yuh can’t stay no longer!” the officer again insisted, tapping her on the shoulder. “Yuh’d oughta been out o’ here ten minutes ago! No, nuthin’ doin’!” he concluded, as she turned to him appealingly. “Not today! Time’s up an’ more than up!”
Catherine stretched out her hand to Gabriel, in farewell. He took it, silently.
“Good-bye!” said she. “Until I come again, good-bye. Keep up a stout heart, for I am with you. We—we can’t lose. We shall win—we must win! Don’t condemn me for being what I am and who I am, Gabriel. Only think what—with your help—I may yet be! And now again, good-bye!”
Their hands parted. Gabriel, still silent, stood there in his cell, watching her till she vanished from his sight down the long corridor of grief and tears. The officer, winking wisely to himself, thrust his tongue into his cheek.
“Daughter of Isaac Flint, th’ Billionaire!” he was thinking, with derision. “Oh, yes, billionaires’ daughters would be visitin’ Socialists an’ bums an’ red-light con-workers like this geezer. Oh yes, sure, sure they would—I should worry!”