He raised the pistol, and once more took in at a glance the scene around him, while his thoughts ran on: "Really, a lovely spot for my last act! Beneath these spreading boughs the body will lie comfortably on the soft grass,--for how long before it is found? For days, perhaps for weeks, the place is so secluded. I should like to know what they will say in Berlin when the newspapers announce, 'At last the body has been discovered of Egon von Ernau, who disappeared so many days or weeks ago,' etc., and there will, of course, follow a long description of the place where it was found, and of the condition and clothes of the corpse. The more there is to tell, the better for some poor devil of a reporter. I do not grudge it him. I can at least serve one man in the world by my death. And the news will fly like wildfire. It would be almost worth living for,--the hearing of all that heartless gossip. How busy all those empty heads will be with wondering what could have driven a fellow so favoured by fortune to suicide! 'An unfortunate love-affair,' the sentimentally disposed will declare. 'His father wished to force him into a marriage with a person of high rank, and in his despair he took his own life.' Of course they must invent some reason for a man's escaping from this wretched, wearisome existence. Fools! If life were worth living, why should I not comply with my respected parent's wishes? All women are alike. It is all the same tiresome sham."