Two years before John's birth the brothers had quarrelled about a woman. It was John's mother. She had engaged herself to the younger brother, and afterward fallen in love with the elder one. The voice of conscience told her that it was her duty to carry out her engagement, and she did so. Then the voice of conscience took sides with the laws of life and told the lovers that they must renounce each other, and they both did that as well. But the poor girl found it easier to renounce life than love, and after flying to religion as an escape from the conflict between conjugal duty and elemental passion she gave birth to her child and died. She was the daughter of a rich banker, who had come from the soil, and she had been brought up to consider marriage distinct from love. Exchanging wealth for title, she found death in the deal.