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Chapter VI

Chapter IChapter IIChapter IIIChapter IVChapter VChapter VI

The affair of the brig Bonito was bound to cause a sensation in
Makassar, the prettiest, and perhaps the cleanest-looking of all
the towns in the Islands; which however knows few occasions for
excitement. The “front,” with its special population, was soon
aware that something had happened. A steamer towing a sailing
vessel had been observed far out to sea for some time, and when the
steamer came in alone, leaving the other outside, attention was
aroused. Why was that? Her masts only could be seen–with furled
sails–remaining in the same place to the southward. And soon the
rumour ran all along the crowded seashore street that there was a
ship on Tamissa reef. That crowd interpreted the appearance
correctly. Its cause was beyond their penetration, for who could
associate a girl nine hundred miles away with the stranding of a
ship on Tamissa reef, or look for the remote filiation of that
event in the psychology of at least three people, even if one of
them, Lieutenant Heemskirk, was at that very moment passing amongst
them on his way to make his verbal report?

No; the minds on the “front” were not competent for that sort of
investigation, but many hands there–brown hands, yellow hands,
white hands–were raised to shade the eyes gazing out to sea. The
rumour spread quickly. Chinese shopkeepers came to their doors,
more than one white merchant, even, rose from his desk to go to the
window. After all, a ship on Tamissa was not an everyday
occurrence. And presently the rumour took a more definite shape.
An English trader–detained on suspicion at sea by the Neptun–
Heemskirk was towing him in to test a case, and by some strange
accident–

Later on the name came out. “The Bonito–what! Impossible! Yes–
yes, the Bonito. Look! You can see from here; only two masts.
It’s a brig. Didn’t think that man would ever let himself be
caught. Heemskirk’s pretty smart, too. They say she’s fitted out
in her cabin like a gentleman’s yacht. That Allen is a sort of
gentleman too. An extravagant beggar.”

A young man entered smartly Messrs. Mesman Brothers’ office on the
“front,” bubbling with some further information.

“Oh, yes; that’s the Bonito for certain! But you don’t know the
story I’ve heard just now. The fellow must have been feeding that
river with firearms for the last year or two. Well, it seems he
has grown so reckless from long impunity that he has actually dared
to sell the very ship’s rifles this time. It’s a fact. The rifles
are not on board. What impudence! Only, he didn’t know that there
was one of our warships on the coast. But those Englishmen are so
impudent that perhaps he thought that nothing would be done to him
for it. Our courts do let off these fellows too often, on some
miserable excuse or other. But, at any rate, there’s an end of the
famous Bonito. I have just heard in the harbour-office that she
must have gone on at the very top of high-water; and she is in
ballast, too. No human power, they think, can move her from where
she is. I only hope it is so. It would be fine to have the
notorious Bonito stuck up there as a warning to others.”

Mr. J. Mesman, a colonial-born Dutchman, a kind, paternal old
fellow, with a clean-shaven, quiet, handsome fade, and a head of
fine iron-grey hair curling a little on his collar, did not say a
word in defence of Jasper and the Bonito. He rose from his arm-
chair suddenly. His face was visibly troubled. It had so happened
that once, from a business talk of ways and means, island trade,
money matters, and so on, Jasper had been led to open himself to
him on the subject of Freya; and the excellent man, who had known
old Nelson years before and even remembered something of Freya, was
much astonished and amused by the unfolding of the tale.

“Well, well, well! Nelson! Yes; of course. A very honest sort of
man. And a little child with very fair hair. Oh, yes! I have a
distinct recollection. And so she has grown into such a fine girl,
so very determined, so very–” And he laughed almost boisterously.
“Mind, when you have happily eloped with your future wife, Captain
Allen, you must come along this way, and we shall welcome her here.
A little fair-headed child! I remember. I remember.”

It was that knowledge which had brought trouble to his face at the
first news of the wreck. He took up his hat.

“Where are you going, Mr. Mesman?”

“I am going to look for Allen. I think he must be ashore. Does
anybody know?”

No one of those present knew. And Mr. Mesman went out on the
“front” to make inquiries.

The other part of the town, the part near the church and the fort,
got its information in another way. The first thing disclosed to
it was Jasper himself, walking rapidly, as though he were pursued.
And, as a matter of fact, a Chinaman, obviously a sampan man, was
following him at the same headlong pace. Suddenly, while passing
Orange House, Jasper swerved and went in, or, rather, rushed in,
startling Gomez, the hotel clerk, very much. But a Chinaman
beginning to make an unseemly noise at the door claimed the
immediate attention of Gomez. His grievance was that the white man
whom he had brought on shore from the gunboat had not paid him his
boat-fare. He had pursued him so far, asking for it all the way.
But the white man had taken no notice whatever of his just claim.
Gomez satisfied the coolie with a few coppers, and then went to
look for Jasper, whom he knew very well. He found him standing
stiffly by a little round table. At the other end of the verandah
a few men sitting there had stopped talking, and were looking at
him in silence. Two billiard-players, with cues in their hands,
had come to the door of the billiard-room and stared, too.

On Gomez coming up to him, Jasper raised one hand to point at his
own throat. Gomez noted the somewhat soiled state of his white
clothes, then took one look at his face, and fled away to order the
drink for which Jasper seemed to be asking.

Where he wanted to go–or what purpose–where he, perhaps, only
imagined himself to be going, when a sudden impulse or the sight of
a familiar place had made him turn into Orange House–it is
impossible to say. He was steadying himself lightly with the tips
of his fingers on the little table. There were on that verandah
two men whom he knew well personally, but his gaze roaming
incessantly as though he were looking for a way of escape, passed
and repassed over them without a sign of recognition. They, on
their side, looking at him, doubted the evidence of their own eyes.
It was not that his face was distorted. On the contrary, it was
still, it was set. But its expression, somehow, was
unrecognisable. Can that be him? they wondered with awe.

In his head there was a wild chaos of clear thoughts. Perfectly
clear. It was this clearness which was so terrible in conjunction
with the utter inability to lay hold of any single one of them all.
He was saying to himself, or to them: “Steady, steady.” A China
boy appeared before him with a glass on a tray. He poured the
drink down his throat, and rushed out. His disappearance removed
the spell of wonder from the beholders. One of the men jumped up
and moved quickly to that side of the verandah from which almost
the whole of the roadstead could be seen. At the very moment when
Jasper, issuing from the door of the Orange House, was passing
under him in the street below, he cried to the others excitedly:

“That was Allen right enough! But where is his brig?”

Jasper heard these words with extraordinary loudness. The heavens
rang with them, as if calling him to account; for those were the
very words Freya would have to use. It was an annihilating
question; it struck his consciousness like a thunderbolt and
brought a sudden night upon the chaos of his thoughts even as he
walked. He did not check his pace. He went on in the darkness for
another three strides, and then fell.

The good Mesman had to push on as far as the hospital before he
found him. The doctor there talked of a slight heatstroke.
Nothing very much. Out in three days. . . . It must be admitted
that the doctor was right. In three days, Jasper Allen came out of
the hospital and became visible to the town–very visible indeed–
and remained so for quite a long time; long enough to become almost
one of the sights of the place; long enough to become disregarded
at last; long enough for the tale of his haunting visibility to be
remembered in the islands to this day.

The talk on the “front” and Jasper’s appearance in the Orange House
stand at the beginning of the famous Bonito case, and give a view
of its two aspects–the practical and the psychological. The case
for the courts and the case for compassion; that last terribly
evident and yet obscure.

It has, you must understand, remained obscure even for that friend
of mine who wrote me the letter mentioned in the very first lines
of this narrative. He was one of those in Mr. Mesman’s office, and
accompanied that gentleman in his search for Jasper. His letter
described to me the two aspects and some of the episodes of the
case. Heemskirk’s attitude was that of deep thankfulness for not
having lost his own ship, and that was all. Haze over the land was
his explanation of having got so close to Tamissa reef. He saved
his ship, and for the rest he did not care. As to the fat gunner,
he deposed simply that he thought at the time that he was acting
for the best by letting go the tow-rope, but admitted that he was
greatly confused by the suddenness of the emergency.

As a matter of fact, he had acted on very precise instructions from
Heemskirk, to whom through several years’ service together in the
East he had become a sort of devoted henchman. What was most
amazing in the detention of the Bonito was his story how,
proceeding to take possession of the firearms as ordered, he
discovered that there were no firearms on board. All he found in
the fore-cabin was an empty rack for the proper number of eighteen
rifles, but of the rifles themselves never a single one anywhere in
the ship. The mate of the brig, who looked rather ill and behaved
excitedly, as though he were perhaps a lunatic, wanted him to
believe that Captain Allen knew nothing of this; that it was he,
the mate, who had recently sold these rifles in the dead of night
to a certain person up the river. In proof of this story he
produced a bag of silver dollars and pressed it on his, the
gunner’s, acceptance. Then, suddenly flinging it down on the deck,
he beat his own head with both his fists and started heaping
shocking curses upon his own soul for an ungrateful wretch not fit
to live.

All this the gunner reported at once to his commanding officer.

What Heemskirk intended by taking upon himself to detain the Bonito
it is difficult to say, except that he meant to bring some trouble
into the life of the man favoured by Freya. He had been looking at
Jasper with a desire to strike that man of kisses and embraces to
the earth. The question was: How could he do it without giving
himself away? But the report of the gunner created a serious case
enough. Yet Allen had friends–and who could tell whether he
wouldn’t somehow succeed in wriggling out of it? The idea of
simply towing the brig so much compromised on to the reef came to
him while he was listening to the fat gunner in his cabin. There
was but little risk of being disapproved now. And it should be
made to appear an accident.

Going out on deck he had gloated upon his unconscious victim with
such a sinister roll of his eyes, such a queerly pursed mouth, that
Jasper could not help smiling. And the lieutenant had gone on the
bridge, saying to himself:

“You wait! I shall spoil the taste of those sweet kisses for you.
When you hear of Lieutenant Heemskirk in the future that name won’t
bring a smile on your lips, I swear. You are delivered into my
hands.”

And this possibility had come about without any planning, one could
almost say naturally, as if events had mysteriously shaped
themselves to fit the purposes of a dark passion. The most astute
scheming could not have served Heemskirk better. It was given to
him to taste a transcendental, an incredible perfection of
vengeance; to strike a deadly blow into that hated person’s heart,
and to watch him afterwards walking about with the dagger in his
breast.

For that is what the state of Jasper amounted to. He moved, acted,
weary-eyed, keen-faced, lank and restless, with brusque movements
and fierce gestures; he talked incessantly in a frenzied and
fatigued voice, but within himself he knew that nothing would ever
give him back the brig, just as nothing can heal a pierced heart.
His soul, kept quiet in the stress of love by the unflinching
Freya’s influence, was like a still but overwound string. The
shock had started it vibrating, and the string had snapped. He had
waited for two years in a perfectly intoxicated confidence for a
day that now would never come to a man disarmed for life by the
loss of the brig, and, it seemed to him, made unfit for love to
which he had no foothold to offer.

Day after day he would traverse the length of the town, follow the
coast, and, reaching the point of land opposite that part of the
reef on which his brig lay stranded, look steadily across the water
at her beloved form, once the home of an exulting hope, and now, in
her inclined, desolated immobility, towering above the lonely sea-
horizon, a symbol of despair.

The crew had left her in due course in her own boats which directly
they reached the town were sequestrated by the harbour authorities.
The vessel, too, was sequestrated pending proceedings; but these
same authorities did not take the trouble to set a guard on board.
For, indeed, what could move her from there? Nothing, unless a
miracle; nothing, unless Jasper’s eyes, fastened on her tensely for
hours together, as though he hoped by the mere power of vision to
draw her to his breast.

All this story, read in my friend’s very chatty letter, dismayed me
not a little. But it was really appalling to read his relation of
how Schultz, the mate, went about everywhere affirming with
desperate pertinacity that it was he alone who had sold the rifles.
“I stole them,” he protested. Of course, no one would believe him.
My friend himself did not believe him, though he, of course,
admired this self-sacrifice. But a good many people thought it was
going too far to make oneself out a thief for the sake of a friend.
Only, it was such an obvious lie, too, that it did not matter,
perhaps.

I, who, in view of Schultz’s psychology, knew how true that must
be, admit that I was appalled. So this was how a perfidious
destiny took advantage of a generous impulse! And I felt as though
I were an accomplice in this perfidy, since I did to a certain
extent encourage Jasper. Yet I had warned him as well.

“The man seemed to have gone crazy on this point,” wrote my friend.
“He went to Mesman with his story. He says that some rascally
white man living amongst the natives up that river made him drunk
with some gin one evening, and then jeered at him for never having
any money. Then he, protesting to us that he was an honest man and
must be believed, described himself as being a thief whenever he
took a drop too much, and told us that he went on board and passed
the rifles one by one without the slightest compunction to a canoe
which came alongside that night, receiving ten dollars apiece for
them.

“Next day he was ill with shame and grief, but had not the courage
to confess his lapse to his benefactor. When the gunboat stopped
the brig he felt ready to die with the apprehension of the
consequences, and would have died happily, if he could have been
able to bring the rifles back by the sacrifice of his life. He
said nothing to Jasper, hoping that the brig would be released
presently. When it turned out otherwise and his captain was
detained on board the gunboat, he was ready to commit suicide from
despair; only he thought it his duty to live in order to let the
truth be known. ‘I am an honest man! I am an honest man!’ he
repeated, in a voice that brought tears to our eyes. ‘You must
believe me when I tell you that I am a thief–a vile, low, cunning,
sneaking thief as soon as I’ve had a glass or two. Take me
somewhere where I may tell the truth on oath.’

“When we had at last convinced him that his story could be of no
use to Jasper–for what Dutch court, having once got hold of an
English trader, would accept such an explanation; and, indeed, how,
when, where could one hope to find proofs of such a tale?–he made
as if to tear his hair in handfuls, but, calming down, said:
‘Good-bye, then, gentlemen,’ and went out of the room so crushed
that he seemed hardly able to put one foot before the other. That
very night he committed suicide by cutting his throat in the house
of a half-caste with whom he had been lodging since he came ashore
from the wreck.”

That throat, I thought with a shudder, which could produce the
tender, persuasive, manly, but fascinating voice which had aroused
Jasper’s ready compassion and had secured Freya’s sympathy! Who
could ever have supposed such an end in store for the impossible,
gentle Schultz, with his idiosyncrasy of naive pilfering, so
absurdly straightforward that, even in the people who had suffered
from it, it aroused nothing more than a sort of amused
exasperation? He was really impossible. His lot evidently should
have been a half-starved, mysterious, but by no means tragic
existence as a mild-eyed, inoffensive beachcomber on the fringe of
native life. There are occasions when the irony of fate, which
some people profess to discover in the working out of our lives,
wears the aspect of crude and savage jesting.

I shook my head over the manes of Schultz, and went on with my
friend’s letter. It told me how the brig on the reef, looted by
the natives from the coast villages, acquired gradually the
lamentable aspect, the grey ghastliness of a wreck; while Jasper,
fading daily into a mere shadow of a man, strode brusquely all
along the “front” with horribly lively eyes and a faint, fixed
smile on his lips, to spend the day on a lonely spit of sand
looking eagerly at her, as though he had expected some shape on
board to rise up and make some sort of sign to him over the
decaying bulwarks. The Mesmans were taking care of him as far as
it was possible. The Bonito case had been referred to Batavia,
where no doubt it would fade away in a fog of official papers. . .
. It was heartrending to read all this. That active and zealous
officer, Lieutenant Heemskirk, his air of sullen, darkly-pained
self-importance not lightened by the approval of his action
conveyed to him unofficially, had gone on to take up his station in
the Moluccas. . . .

Then, at the end of the bulky, kindly-meant epistle, dealing with
the island news of half a year at least, my friend wrote: “A
couple of months ago old Nelson turned up here, arriving by the
mail-boat from Java. Came to see Mesman, it seems. A rather
mysterious visit, and extraordinarily short, after coming all that
way. He stayed just four days at the Orange House, with apparently
nothing in particular to do, and then caught the south-going
steamer for the Straits. I remember people saying at one time that
Allen was rather sweet on old Nelson’s daughter, the girl that was
brought up by Mrs. Harley and then went to live with him at the
Seven Isles group. Surely you remember old Nelson–”

Remember old Nelson! Rather!

The letter went on to inform me further that old Nelson, at least,
remembered me, since some time after his flying visit to Makassar
he had written to the Mesmans asking for my address in London.

That old Nelson (or Nielsen), the note of whose personality was a
profound, echoless irresponsiveness to everything around him,
should wish to write, or find anything to write about to anybody,
was in itself a cause for no small wonder. And to me, of all
people! I waited with uneasy impatience for whatever disclosure
could come from that naturally benighted intelligence, but my
impatience had time to wear out before my eyes beheld old Nelson’s
trembling, painfully-formed handwriting, senile and childish at the
same time, on an envelope bearing a penny stamp and the postal mark
of the Notting Hill office. I delayed opening it in order to pay
the tribute of astonishment due to the event by flinging my hands
above my head. So he had come home to England, to be definitely
Nelson; or else was on his way home to Denmark, where he would
revert for ever to his original Nielsen! But old Nelson (or
Nielsen) out of the tropics seemed unthinkable. And yet he was
there, asking me to call.

His address was at a boarding-house in one of those Bayswater
squares, once of leisure, which nowadays are reduced to earning
their living. Somebody had recommended him there. I started to
call on him on one of those January days in London, one of those
wintry days composed of the four devilish elements, cold, wet, mud,
and grime, combined with a particular stickiness of atmosphere that
clings like an unclean garment to one’s very soul. Yet on
approaching his abode I saw, like a flicker far behind the soiled
veil of the four elements, the wearisome and splendid glitter of a
blue sea with the Seven Islets like minute specks swimming in my
eye, the high red roof of the bungalow crowning the very smallest
of them all. This visual reminiscence was profoundly disturbing.
I knocked at the door with a faltering hand.

Old Nelson (or Nielsen) got up from the table at which he was
sitting with a shabby pocket-book full of papers before him. He
took off his spectacles before shaking hands. For a moment neither
of us said a word; then, noticing me looking round somewhat
expectantly, he murmured some words, of which I caught only
“daughter” and “Hong Kong,” cast his eyes down, and sighed.

His moustache, sticking all ways out, as of yore, was quite white
now. His old cheeks were softly rounded, with some colour in them;
strangely enough, that something childlike always noticeable in the
general contour of his physiognomy had become much more marked.
Like his handwriting, he looked childish and senile. He showed his
age most in his unintelligently furrowed, anxious forehead and in
his round, innocent eyes, which appeared to me weak and blinking
and watery; or was it that they were full of tears? . . .

To discover old Nelson fully informed upon any matter whatever was
a new experience. And after the first awkwardness had worn off he
talked freely, with, now and then, a question to start him going
whenever he lapsed into silence, which he would do suddenly,
clasping his hands on his waistcoat in an attitude which would
recall to me the east verandah, where he used to sit talking
quietly and puffing out his cheeks in what seemed now old, very old
days. He talked in a reasonable somewhat anxious tone.

“No, no. We did not know anything for weeks. Out of the way like
that, we couldn’t, of course. No mail service to the Seven Isles.
But one day I ran over to Banka in my big sailing-boat to see
whether there were any letters, and saw a Dutch paper. But it
looked only like a bit of marine news: English brig Bonito gone
ashore outside Makassar roads. That was all. I took the paper
home with me and showed it to her. ‘I will never forgive him!’ she
cries with her old spirit. ‘My dear,’ I said, ‘you are a sensible
girl. The best man may lose a ship. But what about your health?’
I was beginning to be frightened at her looks. She would not let
me talk even of going to Singapore before. But, really, such a
sensible girl couldn’t keep on objecting for ever. ‘Do what you
like, papa,’ she says. Rather a job, that. Had to catch a steamer
at sea, but I got her over all right. There, doctors, of course.
Fever. Anaemia. Put her to bed. Two or three women very kind to
her. Naturally in our papers the whole story came out before long.
She reads it to the end, lying on the couch; then hands the
newspaper back to me, whispers ‘Heemskirk,’ and goes off into a
faint.”

He blinked at me for quite a long time, his eyes running full of
tears again.

“Next day,” he began, without any emotion in his voice, “she felt
stronger, and we had a long talk. She told me everything.”

Here old Nelson, with his eyes cast down, gave me the whole story
of the Heemskirk episode in Freya’s words; then went on in his
rather jerky utterance, and looking up innocently:

“‘My dear,’ I said, ‘you have behaved in the main like a sensible
girl.’ ‘I have been horrid,’ she cries, ‘and he is breaking his
heart over there.’ Well, she was too sensible not to see she
wasn’t in a state to travel. But I went. She told me to go. She
was being looked after very well. Anaemia. Getting better, they
said.”

He paused.

“You did see him?” I murmured.

“Oh, yes; I did see him,” he started again, talking in that
reasonable voice as though he were arguing a point. “I did see
him. I came upon him. Eyes sunk an inch into his head; nothing
but skin on the bones of his face, a skeleton in dirty white
clothes. That’s what he looked like. How Freya . . . But she
never did–not really. He was sitting there, the only live thing
for miles along that coast, on a drift-log washed up on the shore.
They had clipped his hair in the hospital, and it had not grown
again. He stared, holding his chin in his hand, and with nothing
on the sea between him and the sky but that wreck. When I came up
to him he just moved his head a bit. ‘Is that you, old man?’ says
he–like that.

“If you had seen him you would have understood at once how
impossible it was for Freya to have ever loved that man. Well,
well. I don’t say. She might have–something. She was lonely,
you know. But really to go away with him! Never! Madness. She
was too sensible . . . I began to reproach him gently. And by and
by he turns on me. ‘Write to you! What about? Come to her! What
with? If I had been a man I would have carried her off, but she
made a child, a happy child, of me. Tell her that the day the only
thing I had belonging to me in the world perished on this reef I
discovered that I had no power over her. . . Has she come here with
you?’ he shouts, blazing at me suddenly with his hollow eyes. I
shook my head. Come with me, indeed! Anaemia! ‘Aha! You see?
Go away, then, old man, and leave me alone here with that ghost,’
he says, jerking his head at the wreck of his brig.

“Mad! It was getting dusk. I did not care to stop any longer all
by myself with that man in that lonely place. I was not going to
tell him of Freya’s illness. Anaemia! What was the good? Mad!
And what sort of husband would he have made, anyhow, for a sensible
girl like Freya? Why, even my little property I could not have
left them. The Dutch authorities would never have allowed an
Englishman to settle there. It was not sold then. My man Mahmat,
you know, was looking after it for me. Later on I let it go for a
tenth of its value to a Dutch half-caste. But never mind. It was
nothing to me then. Yes; I went away from him. I caught the
return mail-boat. I told everything to Freya. ‘He’s mad,’ I said;
‘and, my dear, the only thing he loved was his brig.’

“‘Perhaps,’ she says to herself, looking straight away–her eyes
were nearly as hollow as his–‘perhaps it is true. Yes! I would
never allow him any power over me.'”

Old Nelson paused. I sat fascinated, and feeling a little cold in
that room with a blazing fire.

“So you see,” he continued, “she never really cared for him. Much
too sensible. I took her away to Hong Kong. Change of climate,
they said. Oh, these doctors! My God! Winter time! There came
ten days of cold mists and wind and rain. Pneumonia. But look
here! We talked a lot together. Days and evenings. Who else had
she? . . . She talked a lot to me, my own girl. Sometimes she
would laugh a little. Look at me and laugh a little–”

I shuddered. He looked up vaguely, with a childish, puzzled
moodiness.

“She would say: ‘I did not really mean to be a bad daughter to
you, papa.’ And I would say: ‘Of course, my dear. You could not
have meant it.’ She would lie quiet and then say: ‘I wonder?’
And sometimes, ‘I’ve been really a coward,’ she would tell me. You
know, sick people they say things. And so she would say too:
‘I’ve been conceited, headstrong, capricious. I sought my own
gratification. I was selfish or afraid.’ . . . But sick people,
you know, they say anything. And once, after lying silent almost
all day, she said: ‘Yes; perhaps, when the day came I would not
have gone. Perhaps! I don’t know,’ she cried. ‘Draw the curtain,
papa. Shut the sea out. It reproaches me with my folly.'” He
gasped and paused.

“So you see,” he went on in a murmur. “Very ill, very ill indeed.
Pneumonia. Very sudden.” He pointed his finger at the carpet,
while the thought of the poor girl, vanquished in her struggle with
three men’s absurdities, and coming at last to doubt her own self,
held me in a very anguish of pity.

“You see yourself,” he began again in a downcast manner. “She
could not have really . . . She mentioned you several times. Good
friend. Sensible man. So I wanted to tell you myself–let you
know the truth. A fellow like that! How could it be? She was
lonely. And perhaps for a while . . . Mere nothing. There could
never have been a question of love for my Freya–such a sensible
girl–”

“Man!” I cried, rising upon him wrathfully, “don’t you see that she
died of it?”

He got up too. “No! no!” he stammered, as if angry. “The doctors!
Pneumonia. Low state. The inflammation of the . . . They told me.
Pneu–”

He did not finish the word. It ended in a sob. He flung his arms
out in a gesture of despair, giving up his ghastly pretence with a
low, heartrending cry:

“And I thought that she was so sensible!”

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