The Two Destinies HTML version

37. The Two Destinies
I MADE no movement to leave the room; I let no sign of sorrow escape me. At last, my
heart was hardened against the woman who had so obstinately rejected me. I stood
looking down at her with a merciless anger, the bare remembrance of which fills me at
this day with a horror of myself. There is but one excuse for me. The shock of that last
overthrow of the one hope that held me to life was more than my reason could endure. On
that dreadful night (whatever I may have been at other times), I myself believe it, I was a
maddened man.
I was the first to break the silence.
"Get up," I said coldly.
She lifted her face from the floor, and looked at me as if she doubted whether she had
heard aright.
"Put on your hat and cloak," I resumed. "I must ask you to go back with me as far as the
She rose slowly. Her eyes rested on my face with a dull, bewildered look.
"Why am I to go with you to the boat?" she asked.
The child heard her. The child ran up to us with her little hat in one hand, and the key of
the cabin in the other.
"I'm ready," she said. "I will open the cabin door."
Her mother signed to her to go back to the bed-chamber. She went back as far as the door
which led into the courtyard, and waited there, listening. I turned to Mrs. Van Brandt
with immovable composure, and answered the question which she had addressed to me.
"You are left," I said, "without the means of getting away from this place. In two hours
more the tide will be in my favor, and I shall sail at once on the return voyage. We part,
this time, never to meet again. Before I go I am resolved to leave you properly provided
for. My money is in my traveling-bag in the cabin. For that reason, I am obliged to ask
you to go with me as far as the boat."
"I thank you gratefully for your kindness," she said. "I don't stand in such serious need of
help as you suppose."
"It is useless to attempt to deceive me," I proceeded. "I have spoken with the head partner
of the house of Van Brandt at Amsterdam, and I know exactly what your position is.