Concerning the Carnival of Crime in Connecticut 323
corner as faithfully as I had done it myself. Well, I found out by accident that you failed of your promise. Was that right?"
In simple truth, I never had thought of that family a second time! And now such a splintering pang of guilt shot through me ! I glanced up at my Conscience. Plainly, my heavy heart was affecting him. His body was drooping forward; he seemed about to fall from the bookcase. My aunt continued :
" And think how you have neglected my poor prote'gt at the almshouse, you dear, hard-hearted promise-breaker!" I blushed scarlet, and my tongue was tied. As the sense of my guilty negligence waxed sharper and stronger, my Conscience began to sway heavily back and forth; and when my aunt, after a little pause, said in a grieved tone, " Since you never once went to see her, maybe it will not distress you now to know that that poor child died, months ago, utterly friendless and forsaken !" my Conscience could no longer bear up under the weight of my sufferings, but tumbled headlong from his high perch and struck the floor with a dull, leaden thump. He lay there writhing with pain and quaking with apprehension, but straining every muscle in frantic efforts to get. up. In a fever of expectancy I sprang to the door, locked it, placed my back against it, and bent a watchful gaze upon my struggling master. Already my fingers were itching to begin their murderous work.
" Oh, what can be the matter!" exclaimed by aunt, shrinking from me, and following with her frightened eyes the direction of mine. My breath was coming in short, quick gasps now, and my excitement was almost uncontrollable. My aunt cried out:
" Oh, do not look so ! You appall me ! Oh, what can the matter be ? What is it you see ? Why do you
stare so? Why do you work your fingers like that?" u**