“How could you consent to do such a thing? You don’t care for him in the least.”
“No,” said my wife; “nor shall I ever do so if I live for fifty years. I care for no one but you. But I shall always do my duty to my husband, who is a kind and good man and lives entirely for me.”
“If he died, you would marry me?” asked Captain Morland.
“Of course I would, and, as the children’s storybooks say, ’live happily ever afterwards.’ But don’t let us discuss deplorable futurities.”
This was enough for me. I saw, now that it was too late, how wise my sister Ruth had been, and how foolishly I had acted. There was nothing to be done, however, to remedy matters, in view of the words spoken by my wife, and words which breathed of truth. I went out quietly into the garden of the hotel and came back a few minutes later. I asked Captain Morland to dine with us, and he accepted my invitation. I carefully watched him and my wife during the evening, and clearly saw that the case was hopeless from my point of view.
On the morrow I made my will, and left everything to my wife with the exception of fifty thousand pounds for my sister Ruth. I then wrote the little history of my mistake, and am posting it from the top of Mont Revard to my friend Ross, and have asked him to act as he thinks best. It is hard to die, but, in my position, it is still harder to live.
Having set my entire affections in one direction, and having been hopelessly unsuccessful, there is only one thing to be done, and that is to end matters. And I shall end them to-night.
* * * * *
Extract from an Aix-les-Bains newspaper:—
“The body of a rich Englishman, named Gardner, who was staying at the Hotel de l’Europe, was found lying at the bottom of the precipice between Aix and Mont Revard. It is, of course, pure conjecture how the unfortunate gentleman met his fate, but no foul play is suspected, as his money and valuables were found upon his body. We anxiously await developments. The police are maintaining a strict reserve.”
* * * * *
WRITTEN IN COLLABORATION WITH THE LATE SIR AUGUSTUS HARRIS.
REMBRANDT TEMPENNY, an Artist.
MRS. TEMPENNY, his Wife.
CHARLES SYLVESTER, an Artist.
MRS. SYLVESTER, his Wife.
ROSALINE, a Model.
HENRICH SCHERCL, an Art Dealer.
ROBERT ADDISON, a Sporting Man.
SARAH ANN, a Maid-of-all-Work.
SUSAN, Parlourmaid at the Tempenny’s.
GROGGINS, a Sheriff’s Officer.