Patty: Presently I shall be on the way to Japan. I was going without a word because I had given a promise to your brother John. But it is not within human nature, at least mine, to leave without telling you again that I love you better than life, and that I am innocent of the wrong you were so ready to believe. Some day ask John; tell him that I have broken my word; he will tell you how truth was made a lie. I realize now that I ought to have stood my ground. I ought to have nailed the lie then. But my proofs were not such as would do away with all doubts. And besides, when I saw that you had believed without giving me the benefit of a doubt, I was angry. And so I left you, refusing to speak one way or the other. John will tell you. And if my cause is still in your thought and you care to write, mail your letter to my bankers. They will forward it. And if I should have the happiness to be wanted, even if I am at the ends of the world, I shall come to you.
He did not sign it, but he read it over carefully. There was nothing to cut, nothing to add. He folded it, then laid his head on his extended arms. A door opened and closed, but his ear was dull. Then everything became still. Scientists have not yet fully explained what it is that discovers to us a presence in the room, a presence that we have neither seen nor heard enter. So it was with Warrington. There was no train of collected thought in his mind, nothing but stray snatches of this day and of that the picture of a smile, a turn in the road, the sound of a voice. And all at once he became conscious that something was compelling him to raise his head. He did so slowly.
A woman was standing within a dozen feet of the desk.
“Patty!” he cried, leaping to his feet bewildered.
Patty did not move. Alas, she had left all her great bravery at the threshold. What would he think of her?
“Patty!” he repeated. “You are here?”
“Yes.” All the blood in her body seemed to congest in her throat. “Are—is it true that you are going to Japan?” If he came a step nearer she was positive that she would fall.
“Yes, Patty; it is as true as I love you. But let us not speak of that,” sadly.
“Yes, yes! Let us speak of it!” a wild despair in her voice and gesture. “Let us speak of it, since I do nothing but think of it, think of it, think of it! Oh! I am utterly shameless, but I can not fight any longer. I have no longer any pride. I should despise you, but I do not. I should hate you, but I can not ... No, no! Stay where you are.”
“Patty, do you love me?” There was a note in his voice as vibrant as the second string of a cello.
“Do you still believe that I am a blackguard?”
“I care not what you are or what you have been; nothing, nothing. It is only what you have been to me and what you still are. Something is wrong; something is terribly wrong; I know not what it is. Surely God would not let me love you as I do if you were not worthy.”