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III The Heart Of Man Anna Katharine Green

XXV The Oval Hut

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Something blue moved there, and in another moment, to his great amazement, there stepped into view the spirited form of Doris Scott, who if he had given the matter a thought he would have supposed to be sitting just then by the bedside of her patient, a half mile back on the road.

She was dressed for the woods in a blue skirt and jacket and moved like a leader in front of a heavily laden wagon now coming to a standstill before the closely shut shed - if such we may call it.

"I have a key," so she called out to the driver who had paused for orders. "When I swing the doors wide, drive straight in."

Sweetwater took a look at the wagon. It was piled high with large wooden boxes on more than one of which he could see scrawled the words: 0. Brotherson, Derby, Pa.

This explained her presence, but the boxes told nothing. They were of all sizes and shapes, and some of them so large that the assistance of another man was needed to handle them. Sweetwater was about to offer his services when a second man appeared from somewhere in the rear, and the detective's attention being thus released from the load out of which he could make nothing, he allowed it to concentrate upon the young girl who had it in charge and who, for many reasons, was the one person of supreme importance to him.

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She had swung open the two wide doors, and now stood waiting for horse and wagon to enter. With locks flying free - she wore no bonnet - she presented a picture of ever increasing interest to Sweetwater. Truly she was a very beautiful girl, buoyant, healthy and sweet; as unlike as possible his preconceived notions of Miss Challoner's humble little protegee. Her brown hair of a rich chestnut hue, was in itself a wonder. On no head, even in the great city he had just left, had he seen such abundance, held in such modest restraint. Nature had been partial to this little working girl and given her the chevelure of a queen.

But this was nothing. No one saw this aureole when once the eye had rested on her features and caught the full nobility of their expression and the lurking sweetness underlying her every look. She herself made the charm and whether placed high or placed low, must ever attract the eye and afterwards lure the heart, by an individuality which hardly needed perfect features in which to express itself.

Young yet, but gifted, as girls of her class often are, with the nicest instincts and purest aspirations, she showed the elevation

of her thoughts both in her glance and the poise with which she awaited events. Sweetwater watched her with admiration as she superintended the unloading of the wagon and the disposal of the various boxes on the floor within; but as nothing she said during the process was calculated to afford the least enlightenment in regard to their contents, he presently wearied of his inaction and turned back towards the highway, comforting himself with the reflection that in a few short hours he would have her to himself when nothing but a blunder on his part should hinder him from sounding her young mind and getting such answers to his questions as the affair in which he was so deeply interested, demanded.

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