Sister, I have some bad news for you... Brentley died in a railroad disaster. I'm sorry!
I want to be alone!
Now I can live for myself. FREE! BODY AND SOUL FREE!
It was her sister Josephine who told her, in broken sentences; veiled hints that revealed in half concealing. Her husband's friend Richards was there, too, near her. It was he who had been in the newspaper office when intelligence of the railroad disaster was received, with Brently Mallard's name leading the list of "killed."
"Louise, open the door! Open the door --you will make yourself ill."
She wept at once, with sudden, with abandonment, in her sister's arms. When the storm of grief had spent itself she went away to her room alone. She would have no one follow her.
Are you alright?
Yes, Josephine. I am more than alright!
She sat with her head thrown back upon the cushion of the chair, quite motionless, except when a sob came up into her throat and shook her, as a child who has cried itself to sleep continues to sob in its dreams. There was something coming to her and she was waiting for it, fearfully. She don't know, but a thought came to his mind: Free! Body and soul free!
What is going in on here? She's dead?
Josephine was kneeling before the closed door with her lips to the keyhold, imploring for admission. "Louise, open the door! I beg; open the door--you will make yourself ill. What are you doing, Louise? For heaven's sake open the door."
She arose at length and opened the door to her sister's importunities. There was a feverish triumph in her eyes, and she carried herself unwittingly like a goddess of Victory. She clasped her sister's waist, and together they descended the stairs.
Some one was opening the front door. It was Brently Mallard who entered, a little travel-stained, composedly carrying his grip-sack and umbrella. He had been far from the scene of the accident. He stood amazed at Josephine's piercing cry; at Richards' quick motion to screen him from the view of his wife. She had died of heart disease--of the joy that kills.