There were four pages of this, growing more and more incoherent, and then at the last, the writer went on, his writing suddenly larger and more distinct, as if he had taken pains to render it legible:
“I am going to die, Brigit, so good-bye. If you would have married me I should not have done this. It is all your fault. “Gerald Carron.”
For an instant her indignation at the incredible cowardice of the man crushed every other feeling. Then a thrill of horror came over her. Looking again at the last page she saw below the signature:
“If you will come to see me at five o’clock to-morrow, and are kind to me, I won’t do it.”
Returning to her mother’s room the girl handed her the letter. “Read the last page,” she said briefly.
Lady Kingsmead shuddered. “We must wire him. We’ll tell him to come down here—he must be mad—I—oh, Brigit!”
Brigit shook her head. “Of course he’s mad. But we must go to him. We’ll wire from the station.”
Hurrying her distracted mother to the train, the girl settled into a corner and remained in unbroken silence until they reached town.
“It is odious, disgusting of him,” she broke out in the hansom as they went up St. James Street. “When he is quieted down, mother, you must make him understand that I absolutely refuse to accept the responsibility of his deeds. I never could bear him.”
Lady Kingsmead nodded. “It is the morphine he takes. He must go into one of these great cure places—or no, that is for drinking, I believe——”
They had reached the house and gone up the stairs before she spoke again. “I hope he won’t be violent,” she declared, “I wish you hadn’t insisted on coming. A wire would have done every bit as well——”
No one answering the ring, Brigit tried the door on which a card bearing Carron’s name was neatly tacked.
To her surprise the door was open, and crossing the little ante-chamber the two women went into the sitting-room.
Lying on his face by the fireplace, in which red ashes still glowed, Gerald Carron lay dead, a revolver near him, his face in a small pool of blood.
Lady Kingsmead fainted dead away for once in her life, dropping in a huddled heap near the man she had loved and unloved.
Brigit stared at them for a moment, wondering vaguely which of them was dead, which only fainting. Then, just as she was kneeling to raise her mother to a better position, the door opened and two men, one of them Giacomo, Carron’s valet, entered in great haste.
The second man was, he explained, a doctor, whom the valet had gone for on finding his master’s body.
The next few minutes were minutes that Brigit never forgot. The Italian servant, chattering and weeping, the young doctor helping her to loosen Lady Kingsmead’s tight clothes; his hurried explanations and questions; the very closeness of the air, with the smell of gunpowder still faintly perceptible.