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thing about the place, as I looked at it once again, suggested tragic deeds. At every turn in the road I seemed to see the ghost of the colonel loom. And despite myself, I evoked in my imagination his cries, his struggles, his looks on that horrible night of the crime....

Crime or struggle? Really, it was rather a struggle; I had been attacked, I had defended myself; and in self-defence.... It had been an unfortunate struggle, a genuine tragedy. This idea gripped me. And I reviewed all the abuse he had heaped upon me; I counted the blows, the names ... It was not the colonel's fault, that I knew well; it was his affliction that made him so peevish and even wicked. But I pardoned all, everything!... The worst of it was the end of that fatal night ... I also considered that in any case the colonel had not long to live. His days were numbered; did not he himself feel that? Didn't he say every now and then, "How much longer have I to live? Two weeks, or one, perhaps less?"

This was not life, it was slow agony, if one may so name the continual martyrdom of that poor man.... And who knows, who can say that the struggle and his death were not simply a coincidence? That was after all