Part 6 out of 6
cynicism bowed to her.
"You have avenged much and many," said he. "I have often had a presentiment
that my day of wrath would come."
He lifted his hat, bowed to me without looking at me, and, drawing the
tatters of his pose still further over his wounds, moved away toward the
I, still in a stupor, watched him until he had disappeared. When I turned
to her, she dropped her eyes. "Uncle Howard will be back this afternoon,"
said she. "If I may, I'll stay at the house until he comes to take me."
A weary, half-suppressed sigh escaped from her. I knew how she must be
reading my silence, but I was still unable to speak. She went to the horse,
browsing near by; she stroked his muzzle. Lingeringly she twined her
fingers in his mane, as if about to spring to his back! That reminded me of
a thousand and one changes in her--little changes, each a trifle in itself,
yet, taken all together, making a complete transformation.
"Let me help you," I managed to say. And I bent, and made a step of my
She touched her fingers to my shoulder, set her narrow, graceful foot upon
my palm. But she did not rise. I glanced up; she was gazing wistfully down
"Women have to learn by experience just as do men," said she forlornly.
"Yet men will not tolerate it."
I suppose I must suddenly have looked what I was unable to put into
words--for her eyes grew very wide, and, with a cry that was a sigh and a
sob, and a laugh and a caress all in one, she slid into my arms and her
face was burning against mine.
"Do you remember the night at the theater," she murmured, "when your lips
almost touched my neck?--I loved you then--Black Matt--_Black Matt_!"
And I found voice; and the horse wandered away.
* * * * *
How Langdon eased his pain and soothed his vanity? Whenever an old
Babylonian nobleman had a misfortune, he used to order all his slaves to be
lashed, that their shrieks and moans might join his in appeasing the god
who was punishing him. Langdon went back to Wall Street, and for months he
made all within his power suffer; in his fury he smashed fortunes, lowered
wages, raised prices, reveled in the blasts of a storm of impotent curses.
But you do not care to hear about that.
As for myself, what could I tell that you do not know or guess? Now that
all men, even the rich, even the parasites of the bandits, groan under
their tyranny and their taxes, is it strange that the resentment against me
has disappeared, that my warnings are remembered, that I am popular? I
might forecast what I purpose to do when the time is ripe. But I am not
given to prophecy. I will only say that I think I shall, in due season, go
into action again--profiting by my experience in the futility of trying to
hasten evolution by revolution. Meanwhile--
As I write, I can look up from the paper, and out upon the lawn, at a
woman--what a woman!--teaching a baby to walk. And, assisting her, there
is a boy, himself not yet an expert at walking. I doubt if you'd have to
glance twice at that boy to know he is my son. Well--I have borrowed a leaf
from Mulholland's philosophy. I commend it to you.