1 90 Ashes of Incense

“I didn’t. I only heard her laugh—after she found you.”

“Oh, her laugh—God!” Michael dropped down into a chair, and covered his face with hands that trembled from excitement. “It’s that laugh that’s making me do this, I tell you. It’s

“It is Fate,” said Paula firmly. Since this morning—when he had promised—she had felt very firm. “There is no getting round it, Mi- chael, it is Fate. Didn’t she herself point it out to us?” Paula had the most obliging memory; it forgot or remembered other people’s responsi- bility for her deeds, just as it pleased. “Didn’t she say ‘and your light is of course the true light’? Didn’t she agree that sometimes one must sufier for the good of all—didn’t she? Didn’t she say she approved that man’s action (no, they did not call it murder any more) toward his wife? Yes!” Paula’s voice was shrill with triumph. “Dolly is the very one who suggested the whole thing to us—poor silly little doll! And noW—I really be- lieve you’d back out—now, when it’s as easy as nothing, when it’s as simple as

“No,” said Michael, looking utterly wretched, “I won’t back out. I’ve given my word and I’ll stand by it. As you say, it’s the simplest thing in the world—since she’s told the servants about