"Oh, dear! that is so hard. But I have studied Henry. Well, there-- I have unsexed myself--in imagination."
"You are not only a man but a single-minded man, with a high and clear sense of obligation. You are a trustee, bound by honor to protect the interests of a certain woman and a certain child. The lady, under influence, wishes to borrow her son's money, and risk it on rotten security. You decline, and the lady's husband affronts you. In spite of that affront, being a high-minded man not to be warped by petty irritation, you hurry to your lawyers to get two thousand pounds of your own, for the man who had affronted you."
"Is that so?" said Mrs. Little. "I was not aware of that."
"I have just learned it, accidentally, from the son of the solicitor Raby went to that fatal night."
A tear stole down Mrs. Little's cheek.
"Now, remember, you are not a woman, but a brave, high-minded man. In that character you pity poor Mr. Little, but you blame him a little because he fled from trouble, and left his wife and child in it. To you, who are Guy Raby--mind that, please--it seems egotistical and weak to desert your wife and child even for the grave." (The widow buried her face and wept. Twenty-five years do something to withdraw the veil the heart has cast over the judgment.) "But, whatever you feel, you utter only regret, and open your arms to your sister. She writes back in an agony, for which, being a man, you can not make all the allowance you would if you were a woman, and denounces you as her husband's murderer, and bids you speak to her and write to her no more, and with that she goes to the Littles. Can you blame yourself that, after all this, you wait for her to review your conduct more soberly, and to invite a reconciliation."
Mrs. Little gave Dr. Amboyne her hand, "Bitter, but wholesome medicine!" she murmured, and then was too overcome to speak for a little while.
"Ah, my good, wise friend!" said she at last, "thick clouds seem clearing from my mind; I begin to see I was the one to blame."