"And this brings me back to what is my only great trouble now. I told you, in the letter I left behind me, you would hear from me in a month at furthest. It will be not a month, but eleven weeks. Good heavens! when I think what anxiety you may have suffered on my account! You know I am a pupil of the good doctor, and so I put myself in your place, and I say to myself, 'If my Grace had promised to write in a month, and eleven weeks had passed without a word, what would my feelings be?' Why, I think I should go mad; I should make sure you were ill; I should fear you were dead; I should fancy every terrible thing on earth, except that you were false to your poor Henry. That I should never fear: I judge you by myself. Fly, steamboat, with this letter to my love, and set her mind at ease. Fly back with a precious word from her dear hand, and with that in my bosom, nothing will ever daunt me.
"God bless you! angel of my life, darling of my heart, star on which all my hopes are fixed! Oh, what miserable bad tools words are! When I look at them, and compare them with how I love you, I seem to be writing that I love you no more than other people love. What I feel is so much greater than words.
"Must I say farewell? Even on paper, it is like tearing myself away from heaven again. But that was to be: and now this is to be. Good-by, my own beloved.
Coventry read this sentence by sentence, still looking up, nearly every sentence, at her to whom it was addressed.
The letter pleaded on his knee, the pale face pleaded a few yards off; he sat between the two bleeding lovers, their sole barrier and bane.
His heart began to fail him. The mountain of crime looked high. Now remorse stung him deeper than ever; jealousy spurred him harder than ever; a storm arose within his breast, a tempest of conflicting passion, as grand and wild as ever distracted the heart; as grand and wild as any poet has ever tried to describe, and, half succeeding, won immortal fame.
"See what I can do?" whispered conscience. "With one bound I can give her the letter, and bring the color back to that cheek and joy to that heart. She will adore me for it, she will be my true and tender friend till death. She will weep upon my neck and bless me."
"Ay," whispered jealousy, "and then she will marry Henry Little."