John Shandon, a man of thirty-eight is in love with Virginia Harding, a girl of about twenty. Virginia values his friendship greatly, but realizes she can never marry him. Ralph Shandon, John's nephew, returns from an expedition in the North. John introduces him to Virginia and it is a case of love at first sight. When Ralph tells his uncle that Virginia has promised to marry him, John for the first time in his life is tempted. He deliberates on the thought of how he can get rid of Ralph. He is in possession of a letter written by Ralph's mother before her death. This letter is written on three pages, and by omitting the second, it reads to the effect that Ralph's mother died of hereditary insanity and that Ralph is subject to this affliction. John shows this letter to Ralph. Ralph, not wishing to marry Virginia with this taint in his blood, returns to the north after writing her a note explaining his act. Virginia is heartbroken. Sometime later John, repentant, tells her of his ...
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