“I, Lawrence Darrant, about to die by my own hand confess that I——”
[He reads on silently, in horror; finishes, letting the paper drop, and recoils from the couch on to a chair at the dishevelled supper table. Aghast, he sits there. Suddenly he mutters:]
If I leave that there—my name—my whole future!
[He springs up, takes up the paper again, and again reads.]
My God! It’s ruin!
[He makes as if to tear it across, stops, and looks down at those two; covers his eyes with his hand; drops the paper and rushes to the door. But he stops there and comes back, magnetised, as it were, by that paper. He takes it up once more and thrusts it into his pocket.]
[The footsteps of a Policeman pass, slow and regular, outside. His face crisps and quivers; he stands listening till they die away. Then he snatches the paper from his pocket, and goes past the foot of the couch to the fore.]
All my——No! Let him hang!
[He thrusts the paper into the fire, stamps it down with his foot, watches it writhe and blacken. Then suddenly clutching his head, he turns to the bodies on the couch. Panting and like a man demented, he recoils past the head of the couch, and rushing to the window, draws the curtains and throws the window up for air. Out in the darkness rises the witch-like skeleton tree, where a dark shape seems hanging. Keith starts back.]
What’s that? What——!
[He shuts the window
and draws the dark curtains across it
[Clenching his fists,
he draws himself up, steadying himself
with all his might. Then slowly he moves to the door, stands a
second like a carved figure, his face hard as stone.]
[Deliberately he turns out the light, opens the door, and goes.]
[The still bodies lie
there before the fire which is licking at
the last blackened wafer.]
THE LITTLE MAN
The little man.
The Dutch boy.
The station official.
Afternoon, on the departure platform of an Austrian railway station. At several little tables outside the buffet persons are taking refreshment, served by a pale young waiter. On a seat against the wall of the buffet a woman of lowly station is sitting beside two large bundles, on one of which she has placed her baby, swathed in a black shawl.
Waiter. [Approaching a table whereat sit an English traveller and his wife] Two coffee?