Page:What will he do with it.djvu/641

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WHA T WILL HE DO WITH IT? 631

harsh. In the same position, any other man would not have been less severe."

" Any other man ! " she exclaimed ; " ay, possibly ! but would the scorn of any other man so have crushed self-esteem ? The injuries of the wicked do not sour us against the good ; but the scoff of the good leaves us malignant against virtue itself. Any other man ! Tut ! Genius is bound to be indulgent. It should know human errors so well — has, with its large luminous forces, such errors itself when it deigns to be human, that, where others may scorn, genius should only pity." She paused a moment, and then slowly resumed, "And pity was my due. Had 3'ou, or had any one lofty as yourself in reputed honor, but said to me, ' Thou hast sinned — thou must suffer ; but sin itself needs compassion, and compassion forbids thee to despair' — why, then I might have been gentler to the things of earth, and less steeled against the influences of Heaven than I have been. That is all — no matter now. Mr. Darrell, I would not part from you with angry and bitter sentiments. Colonel Morley tells me that you have not only let the man, whom we need not name, go free, but that you have guarded the secret of his designs. For this I thank you. I thank you, because what is left of that blasted and deformed existence I have taken into mine. And I would save that man from his own devices as I would save my soul from its own temptations. Are you large-hearted enough to comprehend me ? Look in my face — you have seen his ; all earthly love is erased and blotted out of both."

Guy Darrell bowed his head in respect that partook of awe.

" You too," said the grim woman, after a pause, and approach- ing him nearer — '■'■ yoit^ too, have loved, I am told, and you, too, were forsaken."

He recoiled and shuddered.

" What is left to your heart of its ancient folly ? I should like to know ! I am curious to learn if there be a man who can feel as woman ! Have you only resentment? have you only disdain .? have you only vengeance ? have you pity ? or have you the jealous, absorbing desire, surviving the affection from which it sprang, that still the life wrenched from you shall owe, despite itself, a melancholy allegiance to your own ? "

Darrell impatiently waved his hand to forbid further ques- tions ; and it needed all his sense of the service this woman had just rendered him, to repress his haughty displeasure at so close an approach to his torturing secrets.

Arabella's dark bright eyes rested on his knitted brow, for a moment, wistfully, musingly. Then she said, " I see ! man's in-

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