310 Concerning the Carnival of Crime in Connecticut
fulness faded out of that poor girl's face, when you saw her furtively slip beneath her shawl the scroll she had so patiently and honestly scribbled at — so ashamed of her darling now, so proud of it before — when you saw the gladness go out of her eyes and the tears come there, when she crept away so humbly who had come so—"
" Oh, peace ! peace ! peace ! Blister your merciless tongue, haven't all these thoughts tortured me enough without your coming here to fetch them back again!"
Remorse ! remorse ! It seemed to me that it would eat the very heart out of me! And yet that small fiend only sat there leering at me with joy and contempt, and placidly chuckling. Presently he began to speak again. Every sentence was an accusation, and every accusation a truth. Every clause was freighted with sarcasm and derision, every slow-dropping word burned like vitriol. The dwarf reminded me of times when I had flown at my children in anger and punished them for faults which a little inquiry would have taught me that others, and not they, had committed. He reminded me of how I had disloyally allowed old friends to be traduced in my hearing, and been too craven to utter a word in their defense. He reminded me of many dishonest things which I had done; of many which I had procured to be done by children and other irresponsible persons; of some which I had planned, thought upon, and longed to do, and been kept from the performance by fear of consequences only. With exquisite cruelty he recalled to my mind, item by item, wrongs and unkindnesses I had inflicted and humiliations I had put upon friends since dead, " who died thinking of those injuries, maybe, and grieving over them," he added, by way of poison to the stab.
"For instance," said he, "take the case of your younger brother, when you two were boys together,