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Between Friends
written by "Chambers, Robert W. (Robert William), 1865-1933"
...it's true that Christ is merciful.... So I'll take no chances of a getaway. You might fool me—one way or another—if you were dead." Graylock lifted his head from his hands: "I don't know how much of the other debt I've already paid, Drene. But I've paid heavily since I knew her—if that is any satisfaction to you. And since I knew she cared for you, and when I realized that you meant to strike me through her—I have paid, heavily.... Yet, if you were honestly in love with her—" "Is that any of your damned business?" "She's only a child—" "You rat! That's what's coming to you!" "If you say so. But what is coming to her, Drene?" "Continue to guess. But I know you. It's yourself you're sorry for and what you'll have to endure—live through. That's what you can't stand, and remain the sleek, self-satisfied rat you are. No, it will make earth a living hell for you; never a second, day or night, will you be able to forget—if you really do love her.... And I believe you do—I don't understand how a thing like you can love—but it seems it can." After a silence Graylock said: "You don't care if you damn yourself?" "It's worth it to me." "Are you willing that I should know you are as great a blackguard as I am?" Drene's gaunt features reddened and he set his jaws in silence. "Don't you care what you do to her?" asked Graylock, unsteadily. "It's a viler business than that for which you are punishing me." For a long time Drene sat there looking down at the weapon on his knees. And after a while, the other man spoke huskily: "It's bad enough either way for me, Drene. I'll do what you wish in the matter. I'll leave the country; I'll stay; whichever you say. Or," he said with a ghastly smile, "I'll clean out that automatic for you to-night—if you'll marry her." Drene looked up, slowly: "What did you say?" "I said that I'd clean out y...

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