h it was necessary to your interests to know. I have said that the Brotherhood identifies its members by a mark that lasts for life. See the place, and the mark on it for yourself."
He raised his bare arm, and showed me, high on the upper part of it and in the inner side, a brand deeply burnt in the flesh and stained of a bright blood-red colour. I abstain from describing the device which the brand represented. It will be sufficient to say that it was circular in form, and so small that it would have been completely covered by a shilling coin.
"A man who has this mark, branded in this place," he said, covering his arm again, "is a member of the Brotherhood. A man who has been false to the Brotherhood is discovered sooner or later by the chiefs who know him—presidents or secretaries, as the case may be. And a man discovered by the chiefs is dead. NO HUMAN LAWS CAN PROTECT HIM. Remember what you have seen and heard—draw what conclusions YOU like—act as you please. But, in the name of God, whatever you discover, whatever you do, tell me nothing! Let me remain free from a responsibility which it horrifies me to think of—which I know, in my conscience, is not my responsibility now. For the last time I say it—on my honour as a gentleman, on my oath as a Christian, if the man you pointed out at the Opera knows ME, he is so altered, or so disguised, that I do not know him. I am ignorant of his proceedings or his purposes in England. I never saw him, I never heard the name he goes by, to my knowledge, before to-night. I say no more. Leave me a little, Walter. I am overpowered by what has happened—I am shaken by what I have said. Let me try to be like myself again when we meet next."
He dropped into a chair, and turning away from me, hid his face in his hands. I gently opened the door so as not to disturb him, and spoke my few parting words in low tones, which he might hear or not, as he pleased.
"I will keep the memory of to-night in my heart of hearts," I said. "You shall never repent the trust you have reposed in me. May I come to you to-morrow? May I come as early as nine o'clock?"
"Yes, Walter," he replied, looking up at me kindly, and speaking in English once more, as if his one anxiety now was to get back to our former relations towards each other. "Come to my little bit of breakfast before I go my ways among the pupils that I teach."
"Good-night, my friend."