"Well, since you never said so, and Mr. Phelps never said so, andnobody else knew anything of the matter, then the thief's presencein the room was purely accidental. He saw his chance and he took it."The statesman smiled. "You take me out of my province there," saidhe.
"It is not my fault, madame. At Malta, I loved a young girl,was on the point of marrying her, when war came and carriedme away. I thought she loved me well enough to wait for me,and even to remain faithful to my memory. When I returnedshe was married. This is the history of most men who havepassed twenty years of age. Perhaps my heart was weaker thanthe hearts of most men, and I suffered more than they wouldhave done in my place; that is all." The countess stoppedfor a moment, as if gasping for breath. "Yes," she said,"and you have still preserved this love in your heart -- onecan only love once -- and did you ever see her again?"
"Doing well, I suppose?"