“And now I have finished. Before this meets any other eye than mine I shall be dead—beyond the punishment of this world and awaiting the punishment of the next. Lest some may fancy I do not believe this,—thinking that if I did I could not so have acted,—let me say there is no moral restraining power in fear. Fear is essentially selfish, and selfishness is at the bottom of all crimes, my own among the rest. I leave behind me none who will mourn me, and have but one satisfaction, viz.: the knowledge that I shall be regarded as an artist in crime. I take this occasion to bid the public an adieu not altogether, I confess, unmixed with regrets. I am now on that eminence called ‘Life’; in a few minutes I shall have jumped off into the darkness, and then—–all is mystery.”
When I had finished reading this article we all remained silent for a long time. Gwen was the first to speak, and then only to say slowly, as if thinking aloud: “And so it is all over.”
It often happens that two souls who
love are, like the parts of
a Mexican gemel-ring, the more difficult to intertwine the better
they fit each other.
You may be assured that, after reading M. Godin’s confession, we looked forward to seeing Maitland with a good deal of interest. We knew this new turn of affairs would cause him to call at once, so we all strove to possess our souls in patience while we awaited his coming. In less than half an hour he was with us. “The news of your success has preceded you,” said Gwen as soon as he was seated. “I wish to be the first to offer you my congratulations. You have done for me what none other could have done and I owe you a debt of gratitude I can never repay. The thought that I was unable to carry out my father’s wishes,—that I could do nothing to free his name from the reproaches which had been cast upon it, was crushing my heart like a leaden weight. You have removed this burden, and, believe me, words fail to express the gratitude I feel. I shall beg of you to permit me to pay you the sum my father mentioned and to—to—” She hesitated and Maitland did not permit her to finish her sentence.
“You must pardon me, Miss Darrow,” he replied, “but I can accept no further payment for the little I have done. It has been a pleasure to do it and the knowledge that you are now released from the disagreeable possibilities of your father’s will is more than sufficient remuneration. If you still feel that you owe me anything, perhaps you will be willing to grant me a favour.”