“One morning, I was called down stairs by Mrs. Jansen; it was three or four days after the assault had been made on Christina. There I found the chief of police of that department. He said it had become necessary, in the course of the legal proceedings, that Brederhagan should be identified by Christina as her assailant. The doctor had reported that there was now no danger of her death; and the family of the little rascal desired to get him out on bail. I told him I would confer with the physician, when he called, as to whether Christina could stand the excitement of such an interview, and I would notify him. He thanked me and took his leave. That day I spoke upon the subject to Dr. Hemnip, and he thought that Christina had so far recovered her strength that she might see the prisoner the day after the next. At the same time he cautioned her not to become nervous or excited, and not to attempt to speak. She was simply to write ‘Yes’ on her tablet, in answer to the question asked her by the police. The interview was to be as brief as possible. I communicated with the chief of police, as I had promised, giving him these details, and fixed an hour for him to call.”
MAX’S STORY CONTINUED—THE WIDOW AND HER SON
“The next day, about ten in the morning, I went out to procure some medicine for Christina. I was gone but a few minutes, and on my return, as I mounted the stairs, I was surprised to hear a strange voice in the sick-room. I entered and was introduced by Mrs. Jansen to ‘Mrs. Brederhagan,’ the rich widow, the mother of the little wretch who had assaulted Christina. She was a large, florid woman, extravagantly dressed, with one of those shallow, unsympathetic voices which betoken a small and flippant soul. Her lawyers had told her that Nathan would probably be sent to prison for a term of years; and so she had come to see if she could not beg his victim to spare him. She played her part well. She got down on her knees by the bedside in all her silks and furbelows, and seized Christina’s hand and wept; and told of her own desolate state as a widow—drawing, incidentally, a picture of the virtues of her deceased husband, which he himself—good man—would not have recognized in this world or any other. And then she descanted on the kind heart of her poor boy, and how he had been led off by bad company, etc., etc. Christina listened with an intent look to all this story; but she flushed when the widow proceeded to say how deeply her son loved her, Christina, and that it was his love for her that had caused him to commit his desperate act; and she actually said that, although Christina was but a poor singer, with no blood worth speaking of, in comparison with her own illustrious long line of nobodies, yet she brought Christina an offer from her son—sanctioned by her own approval—that he would—if she would spare him from imprisonment and his family from disgrace—marry her outright and off-hand; and that she would, as a magnanimous and generous, upper-crust woman, welcome her, despite all her disadvantages and drawbacks, to her bosom as a daughter! All this she told with a great many tears and ejaculations, all the time clinging to Christina’s hand.