There would have been results! Indeed yes. The apple would be intact to-day; there would be no human race; there would be no you; there would be no me. And the old, old creation-dawn scheme of ultimately launching me into the literary guild would have been defeated.
THE DEATH OF JEAN
He decided to go home for the holidays, and how fortunate it seems now that he did so! We sailed for America on the 18th of December, arriving the 21st. Jean was at the wharf to meet us, blue and shivering with the cold, for it was wretchedly bleak there, and I had the feeling that she should not have come.
She went directly, I think, to Stormfield, he following a day or two later. On the 23d I was lunching with Jean alone. She was full of interest in her Christmas preparations. She had a handsome tree set up in the loggia, and the packages were piled about it, with new ones constantly arriving. With her farm management, her housekeeping, her secretary work, and her Christmas preparations, it seemed to me that she had her hands overfull. Such a mental pressure could not be good for her. I suggested that for a time at least I might assume a part of her burden.
I was to remain at my own home that night, and I think it was as I left Stormfield that I passed jean on the stair. She said, cheerfully, that she felt a little tired and was going up to lie down, so that she would be fresh for the evening. I did not go back, and I never saw her alive again.
I was at breakfast next morning when word was brought in that one of the men from Stormfield was outside and wished to see me immediately. When I went out he said: “Miss Jean is dead. They have just found her in her bath-room. Mr. Clemens sent me to bring you.”
It was as incomprehensible as such things always are. I could not realize at all that Jean, so full of plans and industries and action less than a day before, had passed into that voiceless mystery which we call death.
Harry Iles drove me rapidly up the hill. As I entered Clemens’s room he looked at me helplessly and said:
“Well, I suppose you have heard of this final disaster.”
He was not violent or broken down with grief. He had come to that place where, whatever the shock or the ill-turn of fortune, he could accept it, and even in that first moment of loss he realized that, for Jean at least, the fortune was not ill. Her malady had never been cured, and it had been one of his deepest dreads that he would leave her behind him. It was believed, at first; that Jean had drowned, and Dr. Smith tried methods of resuscitation; but then he found that it was simply a case of heart cessation caused by the cold shock of her bath.