in the event of her having been really subjected to the influence of religious belief. On the Minister's own, authority, I declared that there was every reason to adopt this conclusion; and in support of what I had said I showed him the confession. It only contained a few lines, acknowledging that she had committed the murder, and that she deserved her sentence. "From the planning of the crime to the commission of the crime, I was in my right senses throughout. I knew what I was doing." With that remarkable disavowal of the defence set up by her advocates, the confession ended.
My colleague read the paper and handed it back to me without making any remark. I asked if he suspected the Prisoner of feigning conversion to please the Minister.
"She shall not discover it," he answered gravely, "if I do."
It would not be true to say that the Doctor's obstinacy had shaken my belief in the good result of the Minister's interference. I may, however, acknowledge that I felt some misgivings, which were not dispelled when I found myself in the presence of the Prisoner.
I had expected to see her employed in reading the Bible. The good book was closed, and was not even placed within her reach. The occupation to which she was devoting herself astonished and repelled me.
Some carelessness on the part of the attendant, had left on the table the writing materials that had been needed for her confession. She was using them now--when death on the scaffold was literally within a few hours of her--to sketch a portrait of the female warder Who was on the watch! The Doctor and I looked at each other; and now the sincerity of her repentance was something that I began to question, too.
She laid down the pen and proceeded quietly to explain herself.
"Even the little time that is left me proves to be a weary time to get through, 'she said. "I am making a last use of the talent for drawing and catching a likeness, which has been one of my gifts since I was a girl. You look as if you didn't approve of such employment as this for a woman who is going to be hanged. Well, sir, I have no doubt you are right." She paused and tore up the portrait. "If I have misbehaved myself," she resumed, "I make amends. To find you in an indulgent frame of mind
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Publication information: Book title: The Legacy of Cain. Contributors: Wilkie Collins - Author. Publisher: John W. Lovell Company. Place of publication: New York. Publication year: 1891. Page number: 22.
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