"Mention his name no more to me. His crime and his punishment have killed me."
"Oh," said Robert, hastily, "he shall not be punished for your sake."
"Not be punished? It is not in your hands to decide. God has punished him. He is insane."
"Quite mad;--quite mad. Gentlemen, I can no longer support this interview. Send me your solicitor's address; the deeds shall be prepared. I wish the new firm success. Probity is the road to it. Good-day."
He wound up the affairs, had his name and Arthur's painted out at his own expense, and directed the painters to paint the Penfolds' in at theirs; went home to Elmtrees, and died in three days. He died lamented and honored, and Robert Penfold was much affected. He got it into his head that he had killed him with Arthur's confession, putting it before him so suddenly. "I have forgotten who said 'Vengeance is mine,' " said Robert Penfold.
The merchant priest left the office to be conducted by his father; he used the credit of the new firm to purchase a living in the Vale of Kent; and thither he retired, grateful to Providence, but not easy in his conscience. He now accused himself of having often distrusted God, and seen his fellow creatures in too dark a light. He turned toward religion and the care of souls.
Past suffering enlightens a man, and makes him tender; and people soon began to walk and drive considerable distances to hear the new vicar. He had a lake with a peninsula, the shape of which he altered, at a great expense, as soon as he came there. He wrote to Helen every day, and she to him. Neither could do anything _con amore_ till the post came in.
One afternoon as he was preaching with great unction, he saw a long puritanical face looking up at him with a droll expression of amazement and half-irony. The stranger called on him and began at once. "Wal, parson, you are a buster, you air. You ginn it us hot--_you_ did. I'm darned if I ain't kinder ashamed to talk of this world's goods to a saint upon airth like you. But I never knowed a parson yet as couldn't collar the dollars."