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The Master of Silence: A Romance, a novel by Irving Bacheller

Chapter 14

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After dinner Rayel and I went at once to our stateroom.

"I am out of patience with myself," said he, as soon as we were seated. "My mind is failing me just when I need it most. I have grown dull and stupid. For more than a week I have been trying to find out that man's secret. I knew that he had a secret, and that it concerned us. Not until to-night was I certain that I had found it out. Once I could see the truth clearly. No matter how deeply it was buried under lies--I could see it. But now there is something like a mist before my eyes, and I am sure of nothing. Perhaps it is because I am now a liar myself, as bad as any of them. God have mercy on me!" said he, rising, and speaking with much animation. "I know now what is blinding my soul. When a man lies he loses some degree of his power to distinguish between truth and falsehood."

He stood looking into my face impatiently, as if waiting to hear what I would say to his remark.

"That would be the natural result, I have no doubt," said I; "but are you not trying to convict yourself of too much wickedness and stupidity?"

I had never considered the misfortune of knowing too much--of being able to detect every difference between word and thought, between appearance and reality. That was the power which Rayel possessed, and it increased his moral responsibility by as much as it transcended the power common to others. Here, indeed, was a man ripe for the fate of a martyr.

"Won't you tell me Fenlon's secret, if you have found it out?" I asked. "I've been thinking about it night and day since we first saw him."

"Be wise! Don't try to learn too fast, Kendric" said he. "You shall know it soon, I am sure of that--indeed, I promise that you shall."

"I am quite willing to wait on the future for everything if you think it is best," I said.

We sat for a long time, making plans for our future life in England. It was near midnight when we retired to our berths, but we were up early in the morning, eager to catch the first sight of land. On reaching the deck we were overjoyed to see the distant spires of Southampton glowing in the morning sun. _

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