“Have you been here all the time?” murmured Violet.
“How sweet of you, Allegro!” The dark eyes opened wider; they seemed to be watching something very intently, something that Olga could not see. “I suppose you thought I was asleep,” she said.
“I wasn’t,” said Violet. “I was just—away.”
Olga was silent. The clasp of her hand was very close.
“My dear,” Violet said, “I’ve been there again.”
“I’ve been right up to the Gate of Heaven,” she said. “It’s very lovely up there, Allegro. I wanted to stay.”
“Did you, dear?”
“Yes. I didn’t mean to come back again. I didn’t want to come back.” A sudden spasm contracted her brows. “What happened before I went, Allegro? I’m sure something happened.”
Very tenderly Olga sought to reassure her. “You were ill, dear. You were upset. But you are better now. Don’t let us think about it.”
“Ah! I remember!” Violet raised herself abruptly. Her eyes shone wide with terror in the failing light. “Allegro!” she said. “I—killed him!”
“No, no, dear!” Olga’s hand tenderly pressed her down again. “He is only—a little—hurt. You didn’t know what you were doing.”
But recollection was dawning in the seething brain. One memory after another pierced through the turmoil. “I had to do it!” she whispered. “He is so cruel. He keeps me back. He holds the door when I want to get away. Allegro, why won’t he let me go? I’m nothing to him. He doesn’t love me. He doesn’t—even—hate me.” A great shudder ran through her. She fell back upon the pillow as though her strength were gone. “Oh, why won’t he open the door and let me go?” She moaned piteously. “Why does he keep bringing me back? I know I shall kill him. I shall be driven to it. And it’s such a horrible thing to do—that dreadful soft feeling under the knife, and the blood—the blood—oh, Allegro!”
She tried to raise herself again, and was caught into Olga’s arms. She turned her face into her neck and shuddered.
“I’m not mad now,” she whispered. “Really I’m not mad now! But I soon shall be. I can feel it coming back. My brain is like—a fiery wheel. Oh, don’t let it come again, Allegro! Help me—help me to get away—before it comes again!”
Olga strained her to her heart, saying no word.
“They’ll shut me up,” the broken whisper continued. “I shall never find my soul again. I shan’t even have you, and there’s no one else I love. All the rest are strangers. Only he will come and look at me with his cruel, cold green eyes, and I shall kill him—I know I shall kill him—unless they bind me hand and foot. Allegro! Allegro!” She was shivering violently now. “Perhaps they will do that. It’s happened before, hasn’t it? ‘Bound hand and foot and cast into outer darkness.’ That’s hell, isn’t it? Oh, Olga, shall I be sent to hell if I kill him?”