The Ace of Hearts

1 
    CHAPTER ONE.
  The House of a
Certain Brotherhood.

2
"Gentlemen, our sister
Lilith did not wish
to be present at this
preliminary meeting. She
has, however, empowered
us to proceed with-
      out her."

3
"I have read the
 reports -----"

4
"We have met to
determine the fate
of a certain man."

5
"This certain man has
had the power and
opportunity to make
the world better. -
He has made it worse."

6
"To us, who have had the 
best of opportunities
for studying it, this
certain man's character
reveals unscrupulous
ambition on a colossal
       scale."

7
"I have been in this 
man's confidence for
three months. It is
my conviction that his
death would rid the
world of an intolerable 
      menace."

8
"Mr. Forrest."

9
"Mr. Morgridge."

10
"For three months,
disguised as a waiter,
you have served this 
man at table. What
is your judgment? -"

11
"Each day this 
man grows greater
in vainglory and
cruelty. He has
lived too long! -"

12
"Death!"

13
"Mr. Farallone!"

14
"For three months, you
have been painting this 
man's portrait - What
 is your judgment?"

15
"When the mood is on
him, he thinks aloud.
He has lived a thousand
times too long! Death!"

16
"Do you all vote 
for his death at 
  our hands?"

17
"Our verdict is
  unanimous."

18
"Let us adjourn till ten
o'clock. We shall then
decide, in our usual
way, upon which one of
us devolves the duty of
destroying the man who
has been condemned."

19
"Will one of you 
notify Lilith?"

20
"Perhaps you had
better both go."

21
CHAPTER TWO.
A Chapter of
Preparations.

22
"I wish to speak
with her alone."

23
"You have no better 
  right than I."

24
"The loser will
  wait here."

25
"If you win, I 
wish you luck."

26
"Has Farallone
  told you?"

27
"Some one of us is
going to be chosen
for this dangerous 
work, Lilith. It may
be you yourself, -
     or I. -"

28
"Does it matter who 
is chosen, if the 
work is well done?"

29
"It may mean death,
not only for the man
who has been condemned
to die, but for his
   executioner."

30
"One of us, perhaps,
has but a few hours 
to live. Do you never
think of love, Lilith?"

31
"I have not thought 
     of love."

32
"Won't you think 
  of it now?"

33
"I have loved you 
always. - Once you
let me think that
  some day --"

34
"I even took out a
license to be married.
--- Look, I have
it always -- on my
      heart."

35
"It's of no use,
Forrest. - I can
think of nothing 
but the Cause!"

36
"Don't take life to 
heart! Hear that
wind! Who knows 
but the world may
 end tonight?"

37
 CHAPTER THREE.
The Ace of Hearts.

38
"What's the 
trick of it?"

39
"Turn the monogram
plate as far as it
will turn to the
left. Five minutes
   later --"

40
  "You are to
be congratulated."

41
"Behold the prize
for which we are 
    playing!"

42
"Will you deal the 
  cards, Lilith?"

43
"According to our ancient 
custom, the man who has
lived too long will be 
put to death by that
one among us to whom
shall be dealt the Ace
     of Hearts."

44
"You are splendid."

45
"You have made me 
unlucky in love -
but at cards you
have made me very,
  very lucky."

46
"This is the happiest 
moment of my life."

47
"Give me my prize!"

48
"I'm glad I wasn't
chosen. It makes 
a difference when
a man's married -
and has a wife and 
    kiddies."

49
"Nothing could make me
wish that I had not
    been chosen."

50
 "When and how 
will you use it?"

51
"Every morning at nine
o'clock to the second,
the man who has lived 
too long sits down to
his breakfast in the
restaurant where I work."

52
"He always takes 
the same chair at 
 the same table."

53
"Never mind showing
us. We'll take your
word for it. - This
money may help you
to escape in case 
you are involved in
 the explosion."

54
"For me there was
never anything but
  the Cause --"

55
"But you and the
Cause are now one
and inseparable."

56
"Would you have more
courage if I married 
  you - or less?"

57
"More, Lilith, more!
A thousand times
      more!"

58
"I will marry 
you tonight!"

59
"You said you could 
think of nothing but 
   the Cause --"

60
"I am terribly
sorry for you."

61
"Forgive me, gentlemen
- I don't know how
I am to live through
   this night --"

62
    CHAPTER FOUR.
  The House of the 
Other Man's Felicity.

63
"Are you two married
    --- or not?"

64
"Nobody but death
can part us now."

65
"It was his mother's 
ring. And he has 
never loved any one
    but me."

66
"The violence of the 
storm will rid the
city of filth and
   rubbish --"

67
"-- but this will
rid the world of an
unclean and evil
      soul."

68
 "You must be
terribly cold."

69
"I have to be at the 
restaurant at seven 
o'clock sharp. If
it was remembered 
that I had been late,
suspicion might point 
to me -- afterwards."

70
"What a hero you 
will be to me -- 
  afterwards!"

71
CHAPTER FIVE.
The Awakening.

72
"I was trying to 
get away without 
  waking you."

73
  "The weather has
changed, my darling -"

74
"-- like our hearts."

75
"What you are going to 
do seemed so right -- 
     yesterday."

76
"I envy no man. And
yet I wish that I
were setting out
this day to do some
commonplace piece of
      work."

77
"If we could be sure
that only the wicked
 man would suffer!"

78
"Hatred seems so 
wrong - now that 
 we have love."

79
"Don't do it! Listen!
I'll dress at once -
we'll drop that thing
in the river. We'll
      go west!"

80
"We'll change our
names to keep our 
new hearts and minds 
    company."

81
"Wherever we might go,
they would be sure to 
find us - and, besides,
we could not change our
  own consciences."

82
"After today I shall
have done my share."

83
"How about my oath?
The changing of a
mind does not excuse
the breaking of an 
      oath!"

84
"Won't you please 
go back to bed!"

85
"I have only enough
courage and sense of
obligation to carry
me through. I dare
  not kiss you!"

86
"Have you more courage 
this morning -- or 
less? Will you be 
able to do it - now?"

87
"I have enough courage.
And I'm on my way!"

88
"Don't bump into me
like that, or we'll
neither of us ever
  get anywhere."

89
"You won't weaken?"

90
"I have given my 
word of honor."

91
"I'll come back here 
as soon as it's over,
if I can. If not, I
ask you - you personally
- to be very tender with 
Lilith, and to see her 
     through --"

92
"I have just seen 
Forrest. We have
only to wait. I'll
answer for him."

93
"Well, then, we 
may as well have 
  breakfast."

94
CHAPTER SIX.
The Bargain.

95
"Thank God I've
found you - at
    last."

96
 "-- He isn't
going to do it!

97
"We punish traitors 
   with death. -"

98
"I tell you he
isn't going to 
do it. I know."

99
"You are lying!
Forrest will do
his work. He is
a man of honor."

100
"If you had drawn
the Ace of Hearts,
I might have married 
     you --"

101
"-- and I might be
pleading with him
for your life as
I now plead with 
  you for his."

102
"What is the matter 
 with you today?"

103
"Heart!"

104
"Because I love you
-- Lilith -- I will
make this offer --"

105
"If for love of you
Forrest weakens and
commits treason, I
will save him from
the consequences --"

106
"- but if he meets
his death through
the events of today,
you are to marry me!"

107
"Is it a bargain,
    Lilith?"

108
"You would, would you!
- You think you'll 
run straight to
    Forrest."

109
"You think you'll tell
him he can betray us
and still be safe -
But you shall not!"

110
"We'll be married,
little sweetheart,
before anybody knows
that we've run
     away."

111
"Oh, I was lying. I
wanted you to promise 
safety - so I could
    tell him."

112
"I meant no wrong
- but I do love
  him - I do."

113
"Did you mean it when
you said it might have 
been like this -- if
I had drawn the Ace
    of Hearts?"

114
"It's too late now
even to telephone 
     him! --"

115
"-- Oh, my darling,
I'm so sorry -- so
     sorry --"

116
CHAPTER SEVEN.
The Man Who Had 
Lived Too Long.

117
"You stay right where 
you are, my man, till
I've ordered breakfast."

118
CHAPTER EIGHT.
Extra! Extra!

119
"Yuxtra! Yuxtra!"

120
"What's the meaning
     of this?"

121
"I can't expect you to
understand - but -"

122
  "Go on --
We're waiting!"

123
"There were two lovers
at the next table. They
had run away to be
    married --"

124
"The diamond in her 
ring was so little
-- so pathetic --"

125
"Under the table his
feet were touching
     hers --"

126
"-- so I couldn't
   do it --"

127
"Love is destruction.
Take the woman who 
has corrupted you
    and go!"

128
"Meanwhile, in our usual
way, we shall consider
the exact manner of your
death -- and determine
by whose hand you shall
    be destroyed!"

129
"Though you were a
stone and hid at the 
bottom of the sea,
we would find you."

130
"I know that. Kill
me now and get it
   over with."

131
"It is far better I
should lose my own
life and honor and
  even my love -"

132
"- than that I should
destroy the life and
happiness of two innocent,
  loving children."

133
"Tonight - at seven."

134
"It is true, Lilith,
that love gives a
man more courage -
but only for righteous 
      deeds."

135
"And now let's hurry!
While there's life,
   there's hope."

136
CHAPTER NINE.
The Men Who Had 
Lived Too Long.

137
"- Pity was stronger
than poor Forrest --
and so he must die! -"

138
"But I myself am 
no longer sure that
the world can be 
regenerated by
destruction."

139
 "Construction is
what the world needs.
 Love is what the 
   world needs."

140
 "- Love is
construction!"

141
"It would be funny if 
he were to escape us 
    after all."

142
"Mr. Farallone will
  come to order."

143
"The man who has lived 
too long will have to
live a little longer.
Our immediate business -"

144
"- is to discover
who is to be the
instrument of the
traitor's punishment."

145
"Kismet!"

146
"Will Mr. Farallone
do us the honor of
sharing his little 
  joke with us?"

147
"I'll share it with 
you all in about two 
     seconds."

148
The results of an 
explosion are often
  very curious.

149
   CHAPTER TEN.
The Ace of Hearts
     is gone.

150
 "All about the 
big explosion in 
   the city!"

151
"So, Farallone
found the way."

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