Mrs. Verrian sighed, and again she gave his letter back to her son. “Perhaps you are right, Philip. She is probably so tough as not to feel it very painfully.”
“She’s not so tough but she’ll be very glad to get out of it so lightly. She has had a useful scare, and I’ve done her a favor in making the scare a sharp one. I suppose,” Verrian mused, “that she thinks I’ve kept copies of her letters.”
“Yes. Why didn’t you?” his mother asked.
Verrian laughed, only a little less bitterly than before. “I shall begin to believe you’re all alike, mother.”
I didn’t keep copies of her letters because I wanted to get her and her letters out of my mind, finally and forever. Besides, I didn’t choose. to emulate her duplicity by any sort of dissimulation.
“I see what you mean,” his mother said. “And, of course, you have taken the only honorable way.”
Then they were both silent for a time, thinking their several thoughts.
Verrian broke the silence to say, “I wish I knew what sort of ’other girl’ it was that she ‘got together with.’”
“Because she wrote a more cultivated letter than this magnanimous creature who takes all the blame to herself.”
“Then you don’t believe they’re both the same?”
“They are both the same in stationery and chirography, but not in literature.”
“I hope you won’t get to thinking about her, then,” his mother entreated, intelligibly but not definitely.
“Not seriously,” Verrian reassured her. “I’ve had my medicine.”
Continuity is so much the lesson of experience that in the course of a life by no means long it becomes the instinctive expectation. The event that has happened will happen again; it will prolong itself in a series of recurrences by which each one’s episode shares in the unending history of all. The sense of this is so pervasive that humanity refuses to accept death itself as final. In the agonized affections, the shattered hopes, of those who remain, the severed life keeps on unbrokenly, and when time and reason prevail, at least as to the life here, the defeated faith appeals for fulfilment to another world, and the belief of immortality holds against the myriad years in which none of the numberless dead have made an indisputable sign in witness of it. The lost limb still reports its sensations to the brain; the fixed habit mechanically attempts its repetition when the conditions render it impossible.