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0105_001E III The Heart Of Man Anna Katharine Green

XXVIII I Hope Never To See That Man

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" Why should she have feared the disapproval of this man?" she inwardly queried, as she cast him a confiding look which pleased him greatly, as his tone now showed.

"When I lost my daughter, I lost everything," he declared, as they walked slowly up the road. "Nothing excites my interest, save that which once excited hers. I am told that the deepest interest of her life lay here. I am also told that it was an interest quite worthy of her. I expect to find it so. I hope with all my heart to find it so, and that is why I have come to this town and expect to linger till Mr. Brotherson has recovered sufficiently to see me. I hope that this will be agreeable to him. I hope that I am not presuming too much in cherishing these expectations.

Doris turned her candid eyes upon him.

"I cannot tell; I do not know," said she. "Nobody knows, not even the doctor, what effect the news we so dread to give him will have upon Mr. Brotherson. You will have to wait - we all shall have to wait the results of that revelation. It cannot be kept from him much longer. When I return, I shall shrink from his first look, in the fear of seeing it betray this dreadful knowledge. Yet I have a faithful woman there to keep every one out of his room."

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"You have had much to carry for one so young," was Mr. Challoner's sympathetic remark. "You must let me help you when that awful moment comes. I am at the hotel and shall stay there till Mr. Brotherson is pronounced quite well. I have no other duty now in life but to sustain him through his trouble and then, with what aid he can give, search out and find the cause of my daughter's death which I will never admit without the fullest proof, to have been one of suicide."

Doris trembled.

"It was not suicide," she declared, vehemently. "I have always felt sure that it was not; but to-day I KNOW."

Her hand fell clenched on her breast and her eyes gleamed strangely. Mr. Challoner was himself greatly startled. What had happened - what could have happened since yesterday that she should emphasise that now?

"I've not told any one," she went on, as he stopped short in the road, in his anxiety to understand her. "But I will tell you. Only, not here, not with all these people driving past; most of whom know me. Come to the house later - this evening, after Mr. Brotherson's room is closed for the night. I have a little sitting-room on the other side of the hall where we can talk without being heard. Would you object to doing that? Am I asking too much of you?"

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