THE ARRIVAL OF A LADY OF QUALITY
door. ‘Monsieur,’ she called, ‘I have something to tell you. I have just brought back her jewel—I stole it! Now come, madame, to my room and I will tell you the rest!’
“I followed her upstairs, leaving the horror-stricken young man dazed and speechless. She shut the door, locked it, and faced me.
“‘I have lied to both of you, madame. I did not steal your jewel; nobody stole it. I found it a few minutes ago under the edge of the rug where it had rolled; you dropped it in my room the night you wore it. In my agony to find some way out I seized on this. It came to me in a flash and I ran downstairs clutching it in my hand, knowing I would be lost if I hesitated a moment. It is over now. He will never see me again!’
“I stood half paralyzed at the situation; she erect before me, her eyes blazing, her figure stretched to the utmost, like an animal in pain.
“‘And you deliberately told him you were a thief!’ I at last managed to stammer out. ‘Why?’
“‘Because it was the only way to escape—it was the only way out. I never want him to think of me in any other light—I want to be dead to him forever! Nothing else would