Page:In the Roar of the Sea.djvu/408

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taken. I am no good now—without my right hand. I will not go to jail."

She caught his arm, and tearing the kerchief from her neck, bound it round and round where the veins were severed.

"It is in vain," he said. "I have lost most of my blood. Ju!"—he held her with his left hand—"Ju, if you live, swear to me, swear you will sign the register."

She was looking into his face—it was ghastly, partly through loss of blood, partly because lighted by the glare of the burning tobacco that dropped from above. Then a sense of vast pity came surging over her along with the thought of how he had loved her. Into her burning eyes tears came.

"Judith!" he said, "I made my confession to you I told you my sins. Give me also my release. Say you forgive me."

She had forgotten her peril, forgotten about the fire that was above and around, as she looked at his eyes, and, holding the maimed right arm, felt the hot blood welling through her kerchief and running over her hand.

"I pray you, oh, I pray you, come outside. There is still time."

Again he shook his head. "My time is up. I do not want to live. I have not your love. I could never win it, and if I went outside I should be captured and sent to prison. Will you give me my absolution?"

"What do you mean?" And in her trembling concern for him—in the intensity of her pity, sorrow, care for him—she drew his wounded hand to her and pressed it against her heaving bosom.

"What I mean is, can you forgive me?"

"Indeed—indeed I do."

"What—all I have done?"


She saw only a dying man before her, a man who might be saved if he would, but would not because her love was everything to him, and that he never, never could gain. Would she make no concession to him? could she not draw a few steps nearer? As she looked into his face and held his bleeding arm to her bosom, pity overpowered her—pity, when she saw how strong