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III The Heart Of Man Anna Katharine Green

XXVIII I Hope Never To See That Man

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Mr. Challoner watched her with dilated eyes, the spell under which she spoke falling in some degree upon him. Had she finished? Was this all? No; she is speaking again, but very low, almost in a whisper.

"There is music - a crash - but I plainly see his other hand approach the object he is holding. He takes something from the end - the object is pointed my way - I am looking into - into - what? I do not know. I cannot even see him now. The space where he stood is empty. Everything fades, and I wake with a loud cry in my ears and a sense of death here." She had lifted her hand and struck at her heart, opening her eyes as she did so. " Yet it was not I who had been shot," she added softly.

Mr. Challoner shuddered. This was like the reopening of his daughter's grave. But he had entered upon the scene with a full appreciation of the ordeal awaiting him and he did not lose his calmness, or the control of his judgment.

"Be seated, Miss Scott," he entreated, taking a chair himself. "You have described the spot and some of the circumstances of my daughter's death as accurately as if you had been there. But you have doubtless read a full account of those details in the papers; possibly seen pictures which would make the place quite real to you. The mind is a strange storehouse. We do not always know what lies hidden within it."

"That's true," she admitted. "But the man! I had never seen the man, or any picture of him, and his face was clearest of all. I should know it if I saw it anywhere. It is imprinted on my memory as plainly as yours. Oh, I hope never to see that man!"

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Mr. Challoner sighed; he had really anticipated something from the interview. The disappointment was keen. A moment of expectation; the thrill which comes to us all under the shadow of the supernatural, and then - this! a young and imaginative girl's dream, convincing to herself but supplying nothing which had not already been supplied both by the facts and his own imagination! A man had stood at the staircase, and this man had raised his arm. She said that she had seen something like a pistol in his hand, but his daughter had not been shot. This he thought it well to point out to her.

Leaning toward her that he might get her full attention, he waited till her eyes met his, then quietly asked:

"Have you ever named this man to yourself?"

She started and dropped her eyes.

"I do not dare to," said she.


"Because I've read in the papers that the man who stood there had the same name as -"

"Tell me, Miss Scott."

"As Mr. Brotherson's brother."

"But you do not think it was his brother?"

"I do not know."

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