Reluctant Confession

" What did you do? Cannot you let me know?"
" Don't ask! . . . 'Twas midnight, and I'd lost at cards."
" Ah. Was it crime — or seemed it to be so?"
" No — not till afterwards."
" But what , then, did you do?"
" Well — that was the beginning — months ago;
You see, I had lost, and could not pay but — so.
And there flashed from him strange and strong regards
That you only see when scruples smash to shards;
And thus it happened — O it rained and blew! —
But I can't tell. 'Twas all so lurid in hue!
And what was worst came after, when I knew
What first crossed not my mind,
And he has never divined!" . . .
" But he must have, if he proposed it you?"
" I mean, that — I got rid of what resulted
In a way a woman told me I consulted:
'Tis that he does not know;
Great God, it harrows me so!
I did not mean to. Every night —
In hell-dark dreams
I see an appealing figure in white —
That somehow seems
A newborn child in the clothes I set to make,
But left off, for my own depraved name's sake!"
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