He had a glimmer of Richard Lindley beginning at the beginning again to build a modest fortune: it was the sort of thing the Richard Lindleys were made for. Corliss was not troubled. Richard had disliked him as a boy; did not like him now; but Corliss had not taken his money out of malice for that. The adventurer was not revengeful; he was merely impervious.
At the hotel, he learned that Moliterno’s cable had not yet arrived; but he went to an agency of one of the steamship lines and reserved his passage, and to a railway ticket office and secured a compartment for himself on an evening train. Then he returned to his room in the hotel.
The mirror over the mantelpiece, in the front room of his suite, showed him a fine figure of a man: hale, deep-chested, handsome, straight and cheerful.
He nodded to it.
“Well, old top,” he said, reviewing and summing up his whole campaign, “not so bad. Not so bad, all in all; not so bad, old top. Well played indeed!”
At a sound of footsteps approaching his door, he turned in casual expectancy, thinking it might be a boy to notify him that Moliterno’s cable had arrived. But there was no knock, and the door was flung wide open.
It was Vilas, and he had his gun with him this time. He had two.
There was a shallow clothes-closet in the wall near the fireplace, and Corliss ran in there; but Vilas began to shoot through the door.
Mutilated, already a dead man, and knowing it, Corliss came out, and tried to run into the bedroom. It was no use.
Ray saved his last shot for himself. It did the work.
There is a song of parting, an intentionally pathetic song, which contains the line, “All the tomorrows shall be as to-day,” meaning equally gloomy. Young singers, loving this line, take care to pronounce the words with unusual distinctness: the listener may feel that the performer has the capacity for great and consistent suffering. It is not, of course, that youth loves unhappiness, but the appearance of it, its supposed picturesqueness. Youth runs from what is pathetic, but hangs fondly upon pathos. It is the idea of sorrow, not sorrow, which charms: and so the young singer dwells upon those lingering tomorrows, happy in the conception of a permanent wretchedness incurred in the interest of sentiment. For youth believes in permanence.
It is when we are young that we say, “I shall never,” and “I shall always,” not knowing that we are only time’s atoms in a crucible of incredible change. An old man scarce dares say, “I have never,” for he knows that if he searches he will find, probably, that he has. “All, all is change.”
It was an evening during the winter holidays when Mrs. Lindley, coming to sit by the fire in her son’s smoking-room, where Richard sat glooming, narrated her legend of the Devil of Lisieux. It must have been her legend: the people of Lisieux know nothing of it; but this Richard the Guileless took it for tradition, as she alleged it, and had no suspicion that she had spent the afternoon inventing it.