The Expiation (1909)
- Summaries (2)
William is drawn to Edward's wife, Helen. Sensing his feelings might lead him into an affair, he decides to go away. As he says goodbye to Helen, Edward spies from behind a curtain. Soon afterwards Edward shoots himself, believing Helen can be happier with William. When William returns to convince Helen to become his wife, she refuses, blaming herself for Edward's suicide.
Edward Waterbury is a confirmed dipsomaniac and is assisted to his home from the club by William Trevor, a friend of the family. Trevor's kindly nature has impressed Mrs. Waterbury, and there is a slight suggestion that they love, but both being the souls of honor, hide it from each other. However, Trevor, appreciating the fact that Mrs. Waterbury is wedded to a hopeless drunkard, feels half-inclined to declare his love for the suffering woman, and persuade her to leave Waterbury. But, no. He reasons such a step would not be honorable, so he decides to go away to avoid a wrong. Hence, he plans to go to the far West. He cannot leave without saying good-bye, and repairs to their home with this intention only. Waterbury from the next room, whither he has gone surreptitiously to drink, witnesses their parting and misconstrues the intent of the meeting deeming it an intrigue. Trevor leaves for the west and Mrs. Waterbury retires to her room. Waterbury enters and seizing a revolver is at first in mind to satisfy his jealous rage: hut on second thought he feels that he himself is to blame, and the weapon he would use on them should more justifiably be turned on himself. This decides him, and he writes the following: "My Dear Helen, I realize my weakness is incurable. I am your curse. Will be so no longer. You and Trevor love. My last toast. To you both." Leaving the letter on the table, he takes a glass of brandy in one hand and with the pistol in the other, makes good his assertion. The house is at once panic-stricken, and when the wife sees the lifeless form of her husband in the chair and rends his letter, she at once blames herself for his act, although drink was really the cause, and resolves to expiate her self-accused wrong. A friend of Trevor writes to him of the sad affair and he determines to return and declare his love for the widow. However, the poor woman has vowed to lead a penitential life, and no persuasion can induce her to change her determination, so Trevor must bow to the inevitable, and leaves. The subject is rather out of the ordinary, and being beautifully staged and acted, will prove intensely interesting.
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