performance of her conjugal duties. Silence, Calumny! Your sympathy, Wives of England, for Madame Fosco!
Second question. If Anne Catherick had not died when she did, what should I have done? I should, in that case, have assisted worn-out Nature in finding permanent repose. I should have opened the doors of the Prison of Life, and have extended to the captive (incurably afflicted in mind and body both) a happy release.
Third question. On a calm revision of all the circumstances—Is my conduct worthy of any serious blame? Most emphatically, No! Have I not carefully avoided exposing myself to the odium of committing unnecessary crime? With my vast resources in chemistry, I might have taken Lady Glyde's life. At immense personal sacrifice, I followed the dictates of my own ingenuity, my own humanity, my own caution—and took her identity, instead. Judge me by what I might have done. How comparatively innocent! how indirectly virtuous I appear, in what I really did!
I announced, on beginning it, that this narrative would be a remarkable document. It has entirely answered my expectations. Receive these fervid lines—my last legacy to the country I leave for ever. They are worthy of the occasion, and worthy of
The Story concluded by Walter Hartright.
When I closed the last leaf of the Count's manuscript, the half-hour during which I had engaged to remain at Forest Road had expired. Monsieur Rubelle looked at his watch, and bowed. I rose immediately, and left the agent in possession of the empty house. I never saw him again; I never heard more of him or of his wife. Out of the dark byways of villainy and deceit, they had crawled across our path—into the same byways they crawled back secretly and were lost.
In a quarter of an hour after leaving Forest Road, I was at home again.
But few words sufficed to tell Laura and Marian how my desperate venture had ended, and what the next event in our lives was likely to be. I left all details to be described later in the day; and hastened back to St. John's Wood, to see the person of whom Count Fosco had ordered the fly when he went to meet Laura at the station.