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still she is breaking the law

still she is breaking the law

Following my chief’s departure, I continued in idle contemplation of the shadows. This occupation did not forbid a mental looking up and down of what would be my next day’s work. The prospect was far from refreshing. When one is under thirty, a proposal to plunder a girl—a beautiful girl, doubtless—of her diamonds, does not appeal to one. There would be woe, tears, lamentations, misery with much wringing of hands. I began to call myself a villain.

Then, as against her, and defensive of myself, I argued the outlaw character of the girl’s work. Be she beautiful or be she favored ill,
. It was our oath to seize the gems; whatever of later wrong was acted, at best or worst, it was no wrong done her. In truth! when she was at last left free and at liberty, she would be favored beyond her deserts; for those Customs laws which she was cheating spoke of grates and keys and bars and bolts.

In this wise, and as much as might be, I comforted myself against the disgrace of an enterprise from which I naturally recoiled, hardening myself as to the poor girl marked to be our prey. I confess I gained no great success; say what I might, I contemned myself.

While thus ruminating that dishonor into which I conceived myself to have fallen, I recalled a story written by Edgar Allen Poe. It is a sketch wherein a wicked man is ever followed and thwarted by one who lives his exact semblance in each line of face and form. This doppel-ganger, as the Germans name him, while the same with himself in appearance and dress, is his precise opposite in moral nature. This struggle between the haunted one and his weird, begins in boyhood and continues till middle age. At the last, frantic under a final opposition, the haunted one draws sword and slays his enemy. Too late, as he wipes the blood from his blade, he finds that he has killed his better self; too late he sees that from that time to the end, the present will have no hope, the future hold no heaven; that he must sink and sink and sink, until he is grasped by those hands outstretched of hell to forever have him for their horrid own. I wondered if I were not like that man unhappy; I asked if I did not, by these various defenses and apologies which I made ever for my wickedness, work towards the death of my better nature whose destruction when it did come would mean the departure forever of my soul’s chance.

I stood up and shook myself in a canine way. Decidedly, loneliness was making me morbid! However that may have been, I passed a far from happy afternoon.

Fairly speaking, these contentions shook me somewhat in my resolves. There were moments when I determined to refuse my diamond-hunting commission and resign my place. I even settled the style of my resignation; it should be full of sarcasm  The entire room was faced with polished granite..

But alas! these white dreams faded; in the end I was ready to execute the orders of Betelnut Jack; and that which decided me was surely the weakest thought of all. Somehow, I had in my thoughts put down the coming German maiden as beautiful; Betelnut Jack had said her age was twenty-three, which helped me to this thought of girlish loveliness. Thus, my imaginings worked in favor of the girl.

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