The Debtor eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 637 pages of information about The Debtor.

Then Carroll turned and went home across the field; the evidence of his guilt was hidden away out of sight, but the memory and consciousness of it was in his very soul and had become a part of him, and his hate of the man who had brought him to it stalked by his side like a demon across the fields.

Chapter XXXIV

The next morning Carroll looked ill, so ill that Charlotte regarded him with dismay as she sat opposite him at the breakfast-table.  She was full of delight over her meal.  She had gotten up early and made the fire and cooked the breakfast; in fact, Carroll had been awakened from the uneasy sleep into which he had fallen towards morning by the fragrance of the coffee.  He opened his eyes, and it took him some time to adjust himself to his environment, so much had happened since the morning before.  He awoke in the same room, in the same bed, but spiritual stresses had made him unfamiliar with himself.  It took him some time to recall everything—­the departure of his family, his journey to Port Willis, Charlotte’s return, the chloroform—­but that which required no time to return, which was like a vital flame in him from the first second of his consciousness, was his hatred of the man who had done him the wrong.  As he lay there reflecting he became aware that he had always hated in just such measure as this, from the very first moment in which he had become aware of the wrong, only he had not himself fairly sensed the mighty power of the hate.  He had not known that it so permeated his very soul, so filled it with unnatural fire.  At last he arose and dressed and went down-stairs, and greeted Charlotte, radiant and triumphant, and seated himself opposite her at the table, when her face fell.

“You are certainly ill, papa,” said she.

“No, dear,” said Carroll.  “I am not ill at all.”  This morning he tried to eat, to please her, for his appetite of the night before had gone.  He was haggard and pale, and his eyes looked strained.

“You look very ill,” said Charlotte.  “Let me call the doctor for you, papa, dear.”

Carroll laughed.  “Nonsense,” he said.  “I am as well as ever I was.  You make a baby of your old father, honey.”

“Have another chop, then,” said Charlotte.

And Carroll passed his plate for the chop, and ate it, although it fairly nauseated him.  He looked at the child opposite as he ate, and she looked as beautiful as an angel, and as good as one to him.  He thought how the little thing had come back to him, her unfortunate father, who had made such a muddle of his life, who had been able to do so little for her; how she had given up the certainty of a happy and comfortable home for uncertainty, and possibly privation, and the purest gratitude and love that was so intense possessed him.  Looking at Charlotte, he almost forgot the hatred of the man who had brought this upon him, and then the hatred awoke to fiercer life because of the love.

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The Debtor from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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