“By God, you—you’ve shot him, Bud!” he whimpered, “you—you’ve killed dear old Geoff—oh, my God!”
“Aw, quit—quit all that!” whispered M’Ginnis breathlessly, “that’s what we came for, ain’t it? What you lookin’ at?”
“It lays so—still! so awful still!” Spike gasped.
“Well, what ye got t’ go starin’ at it that ways for? Come on—let’s beat it; it’s us for th’ quick get-away in case any one heard. Come on, Kid!”
“But you’ve—killed Geoff!”
“I guess he don’t need no more—’n’ say, Kid, you’re in on this job too, don’t forget! Come on, it’s little old N’ York for ours!”
Though M’Ginnis dragged at him, Spike huddled limply on his knees, his glaring eyes always staring in the one direction; whereupon M’Ginnis cursed and left him.
But all at once, finding himself alone, to horror came fear, and stumbling to his feet Spike began to draw away from that awful thing that held his gaze; slowly he retreated, always going backwards, and though he stumbled often against tree and sapling, yet so long as it was in sight needs must he walk backwards. When at last a kindly bush hid it from his sight, he turned and ran—ran until, panting and wild-eyed, he burst from the wood and was out upon the open road. Even then he paused to stare back into that leafy gloom but saw and heard nothing. Then, uttering a moan, he turned and ran sobbing along the darkening road.
But, within that place of shadows, from amid the leaves of a certain great tree, dropped one who came beside that motionless form, and knelt there awhile. When at last he rose, a ring lay upon his open palm—a ring in the shape of two hands clasping each other; then, with this clenched in a pallid fist, he also turned and left that still and awful thing with its face hidden in last year’s dead and rotting leaves.
For three miserable days Spike had remained indoors, eating little, sleeping less, venturing abroad only at dusk to hurry back with the latest paper and, locked within his bedroom, to scan every scare head and column with eyes dilating in dreadful expectation of beholding the awful word—murder.
For three interminable days Hermione, going about her many duties slow of foot and listless, had scarcely heeded him, conscious only of her own pain, the agony of longing, the yearning ache that filled her, throbbing in every heart-beat—an ache that would not be satisfied. Thus, lost in her own new sorrow, she spoke seldom, sighed often, and sang not at all; often sitting at her sewing machine with hands strangely idle and gaze abstracted. Spike, watching furtively, had seen her eyes brim over with great, slow-falling tears; more than once he had heard her bitter weeping in the dawn. At such times he had yearned to comfort her, but between them was memory, dividing them like