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|III The Heart Of Man||Anna Katharine Green|
XXXVI The Man Within And The Man Without
|Page 3 of 4||
"Can you swear to that?"
"I can and will, if you require it. But you ought to believe my word, sir. I am square as a die in all matters not connected - well, not connected with my profession," he smiled in a burst of that whimsical humour, which not even the seriousness of the moment could quite suppress.
"And what surety have I that you do not consider this very matter of mine as coming within the bounds you speak of?"
"None. But you must trust me that far."
Brotherson surveyed him with an irony which conveyed a very different message to the detective than any he had intended. Then quickly:
"To how many have you spoken, dilating upon this device, and publishing abroad my secret?"
"I have spoken to no one, not even to Mr. Gryce. That shows my honesty as nothing else can."
"You have kept my secret intact?"
"Entirely so, sir."
"So that no one, here or elsewhere, shares our knowledge of the new points in this mechanism?"
"I say so, sir."
"Then if I should kill you," came in ferocious accents, " now
"You would be the only one to own that knowledge. But you won't kill me."
"Need I go into reasons?
"Why? I say."
"Because your conscience is already too heavily laden to bear the burden of another unprovoked crime"
Brotherson, starting back, glared with open ferocity upon the man who dared to face him with such an accusation.
"God! why didn't I shoot you on entrance!" he cried. "Your courage is certainly colossal."
A fine smile, without even the hint of humour now, touched the daring detective's lip. Brotherson's anger seemed to grow under it, and he loudly repeated:
"It's more than colossal; it's abnormal and -" A moment's pause, then with ironic pauses -" and quite unnecessary save as a matter of display, unless you think you need it to sustain you through the ordeal you are courting. You wish to help me finish and prepare for flight?"
I sincerely do."
"You consider yourself competent?"
Brotherson's eyes fell and he walked once to the extremity of the oval flooring and back.
"Well, we will grant that. But that's not all that is necessary. My requirements demand a companion in my first flight. Will you go up in the car with me on Saturday night?"
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