The Flaw in the Crystal - lightnovelgate.com
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"Well, I admit it was uncommonly queer."
He left it there and reverted to his theme.
"But it's no wonder--if you sat down to that for six weeks--it's no wonder you got scared. It's inconceivable to me how that woman could have let you in for him. She knew what he was."
"She didn't know what I was doing till it was done."
"She'd no business to let you go on with it when she did know."
"Ah! but she knew--then--that it was all right."
"Absolutely right. Rodney----" She called to him as if she would compel him to see it as it was. "I did no more for him than I did for you and Bella."
He started. "Bella?" he repeated.
He stared at her. He had seen something.
"You wondered how she got all right, didn't you?"
He said nothing.
"That was how."
And still he did not speak. He sat there, leaning forward, staring now at his own clasped hands. He looked as if he bowed himself before the irrefutable.
"And there was you, too, before that."
"I know," he said then; "I can understand _that_. But--why Bella?"
"Because Bella was the only way."
She had not followed his thoughts nor he hers.
"The only way?" he said.
"To work it. To keep the thing pure. I had to be certain of my motive, and I knew that if I could give Bella back to you that would prove--to me, I mean--that it was pure."
"But Bella," he said softly--"Bella. Powell I can understand--and me."
It was clear that he could get over all the rest. But he could not get over Bella. Bella's case convinced him. Bella's case could not be explained away or set aside. Before Bella's case he was baffled, utterly defeated. He faced it with a certain awe.
"You were right, after all, about Bella," he said at last. "And so was I. She didn't care for me, as I told you. But she does care now."
She knew it.
"That was what I was trying for," she said. "That was what I meant."
"You meant it?"
"It was the only way. That's why I didn't want you to come back."
He sat silent, taking that in.
"Don't you see now how it works? You have to be pure crystal. That's why I didn't want you to come back."
Obscurely, through the veil of flesh, he saw.
"And I am never to come back?" he said.
"You will not need to come."
"You mean you won't want me?"
"No. I shall not want you. Because, when I did want you it broke down."
"I see. When you want me, it breaks down."
He rallied for a moment. He made his one last pitiful stand against the supernatural thing that was conquering him.
He had risen to go.
"And when _I_ want to come, when I long for you, what then?"
"_Your_ longing will make no difference."
She smiled also, as if she foresaw how it would work, and that soon, very soon, he would cease to long for her.
His hand was on the door. He smiled back at her.
"I don't want to shake your faith in it," he said.
"You can't shake my faith in It."
"Still--it breaks down. It breaks down," he cried.
"Never. You don't understand," she said. "It was the flaw in the crystal."
Soon, very soon he would know it. Already he had shown submission.
She had no doubt of the working of the Power. Bella remained as a sign that it had once been, and that, given the flawless crystal, it should be again.