"Oh!" Emily cried, "is there some good in this woman, after all?"
"There's no good in the woman!" Mrs. Rook answered desperately. "There's nothing but fear--fear of hell now; fear of the pocketbook in the past time. Twice I tried to destroy it--and twice it came back, to remind me of the duty that I owed to my miserable soul. I tried to throw it into the fire. It struck the bar, and fell back into the fender at my feet. I went out, and cast it into the well. It came back again in the first bucket of water that was drawn up. From that moment, I began to save what I could. Restitution! Atonement! I tell you the book found a tongue--and those were the grand words it dinned in my ears, morning and night." She stooped to fetch her breath--stopped, and struck her bosom. "I hid it here, so that no person should see it, and no person take it from me. Superstition? Oh, yes, superstition! Shall tell you something? _You_ may find yourself superstitious, if you are ever cut to the heart as I was. He left me! The man I had disgraced myself for, deserted me on the day when I gave him the stolen money. He suspected it was stolen; he took care of his own cowardly self--and left me to the hard mercy of the law, if the theft was found out. What do you call that, in the way of punishment? Haven't I suffered? Haven't I made atonement? Be a Christian--say you forgive me."
"Ah! that comforts me! Now you can go."
Emily looked at her imploringly. "Don't send me away, knowing no more of the murder than I knew when I came here! Is there nothing, really nothing, you can tell me?"
"Haven't I told you already? Go downstairs, and see the wretch who escaped in the dawn of the morning!"
"Gently, ma'am, gently! You're talking too loud," cried a mocking voice from outside.
"It's only the doctor," said Mrs. Rook. She crossed her hands over her bosom with a deep-drawn sigh. "I want no doctor, now. My peace is made with my Maker. I'm ready for death; I'm fit for Heaven. Go away! go away!"
In a moment more, the doctor came in--a brisk, smiling, self-sufficient man--smartly dressed, with a flower in his button-hole. A stifling odor of musk filled the room, as he drew out his handkerchief with a flourish, and wiped his forehead.