“I am never going to leave you alone, you know, papa,” she whispered.
“Papa, come in there with me.”
Carroll laughed then. “Run along, honey,” he said, and gave her a kiss, and pushed her softly out of the room.
Carroll, left alone, lighted another cigar from force of habit. It was one of the abominably cheap ones which he had been smoking lately when by himself. He never offered one to anybody else. But soon the cigar went out and he never noticed it. He sat in a deep-hollowed chair before a fireless hearth, and the strange expression upon his face deepened. It partook of at once exaltation and despair. He heard the soft murmur of voices from the parlor where the lovers were. He reflected that he should tell Anderson, before he married Charlotte, the purpose in his mind; that he owed it to him, since that purpose might quite reasonably cause a man to change his own plans with regard to marrying her. He decided that he would tell him that night before he left. But he felt that it would make no difference to a man of Anderson’s type; that it was only for his own sake, the sake of his own honor, that it was necessary to tell him at all. Then he fell to thinking of what was before him, of the new life upon which he would enter the next Monday, and it was actually to this man of wrong courses but right instincts, this man born and bred of the best and as the best, as if he were contemplating the flames of the stake or the torture of the rack. He felt, in anticipation, his pride, his self-respect, stung as with fire and broken as upon the wheel. He was beset with the agonies of spiritual torture, which yet brought a certain solace in the triumph of endurance. He had at once the agony and the delight of the fighter, of the wrestler with the angel. What he had set himself to do for the sake of not only making good to others what they had lost through him, but what he had lost through himself, was unutterably terrible to him. But while his face was agonized, he yet threw back his head with the motion of the conqueror. And he owned to himself that the conquest was even greater because it was against such petty odds, because both the fight and the triumph savored of the ignoble, even of the ridiculous. It would be much easier to be a hero whom the multitude would applaud and worship than a hero whom the multitude would welcome with laughter. When comedy becomes tragedy, when the ignominious becomes victorious, he who brings it about becomes majestic in spite of fate itself. And yet withal the man sitting there listening to the soft murmur from the other room felt that his own life, so far as the happiness which, after all, makes life worth living for mortal weakness, was over. He thought of his wife and sister and children, who would be all safely sheltered, and, he hoped, even happy in time, although separated from him; and while