love letters in The Gadfly

1955_ovod
"Dear Jim."
"I am to be shot at sunrise to-morrow. So if I am to keep at all my
promise to tell you everything, I must keep it now. But, after all,
there is not much need of explanations between you and me. We always
understood each other without many words, even when we were little
things.

"And so, you see, my dear, you had no need to break your heart over
that old story of the blow. It was a hard hit, of course; but I have had
plenty of others as hard, and yet I have managed to get over them,--even
to pay back a few of them,--and here I am still, like the mackerel in
our nursery-book (I forget its name), 'Alive and kicking, oh!' This
is my last kick, though; and then, to-morrow morning, and--'Finita la
Commedia!' You and I will translate that: 'The variety show is over';
and will give thanks to the gods that they have had, at least, so much
mercy on us. It is not much, but it is something; and for this and all
other blessings may we be truly thankful!

"About that same to-morrow morning, I want both you and Martini to
understand clearly that I am quite happy and satisfied, and could ask no
better thing of Fate. Tell that to Martini as a message from me; he is a
good fellow and a good comrade, and he will understand. You see, dear,
I know that the stick-in-the-mud people are doing us a good turn and
themselves a bad one by going back to secret trials and executions so
soon, and I know that if you who are left stand together steadily and
hit hard, you will see great things. As for me, I shall go out into
the courtyard with as light a heart as any child starting home for the
holidays. I have done my share of the work, and this death-sentence is
the proof that I have done it thoroughly. They kill me because they are
afraid of me; and what more can any man's heart desire?

"It desires just one thing more, though. A man who is going to die has
a right to a personal fancy, and mine is that you should see why I have
always been such a sulky brute to you, and so slow to forget old scores.
Of course, though, you understand why, and I tell you only for the
pleasure of writing the words. I loved you, Gemma, when you were an ugly
little girl in a gingham frock, with a scratchy tucker and your hair in
a pig-tail down your back; and I love you still. Do you remember that
day when I kissed your hand, and when you so piteously begged me 'never
to do that again'? It was a scoundrelly trick to play, I know; but you
must forgive that; and now I kiss the paper where I have written your
name. So I have kissed you twice, and both times without your consent.

"That is all. Good-bye, my dear."

 

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